Waking From a Dream
When I woke up, it was dark outside and inside since nobody came in to light up the candles. Sisi bathed in the moonlight as still as a corpse.
I went to stand up, only to discover my legs were weak. It felt akin to having run a marathon and then trying to walk down the stairs. I used the bed for support to barely stand up. I wobbled a few steps and then dropped to my knees. It was a horrible feeling; it felt as though I aged decades in an instant. My abdomen looked as though it was concave after my organs had been taken out. I was hungry but also felt that I was missing a lot from my body.
I essentially crawled over to pull the window open. The breeze sobered me up a tad and also removed some of the stench in the room. Sisi rolled over and curled up. With her eyes closed and a husky voice, she whinged, “Close the window. I’m cold.”
“Get… up first.”
I discovered that my voice was also very husky when I went to speak. There was a burning and painful sensation in my throat. I searched for ages before finding the only kettle filled with wine lying shattered on the ground. I assumed the dark red liquid on the ground was wine.
Sisi held her head and used the bed to support herself to her feet. Feeling sore, she complained, “I feel horrible. My legs hurt. My nether region also aches. I’ve got a headache. My stomach aches, as well. Mm… I was so wild back there; why do I feel so horrible now?”
“You’re not so bad. I can’t even feel it now…”
I leaned on the wall and sighed. Our clothes rested in pieces on the ground thanks to Sisi. The stabbing sensation still lingered in my chest. I had blood on my chest – courtesy of Sisi. I probably had scratch marks inflicted all over my back. I resembled a soldier coming home from a war.
Sisi crawled to her bed and bemoaned, “My nails snapped. Geez, this is going to hurt for a long time. Dongqing, I didn’t stab my fingernails into your flesh, did I?”
“I don’t think so,” I answered, checking with my hands.
Upon hearing Sisi ring the bell, the ladies-in-waiting promptly knocked. I was indifferent to them when we were getting it on, but I felt ashamed now that it was over and, therefore, dashed to into a corner. Sisi weakly demanded, “Bring me some food and wine for now. Then, prepare proper food. I want to eat a lot. While you’re at it, prepare presentable clothes for Dongqing and me… Fill up my bathtub. We’re going to take a bath. Clean up the room while we’re bathing, understood?”
“Yes, Your Majesty…”
I swear I could see the ladies-in-waiting awkward looks despite having my back to them. Nevertheless, they most likely didn’t see the majority of it or the aggression. I figured they might as well not tidy the room. It’d be more convenient and quick to swap Sisi a new room. They were going to work overtime tonight. After all, the imperial palace wasn’t my humble house.
The ladies-in-waiting brought bread, smoked meat and honey wine in. The alight candles restored some resemblance of the bedroom to its former state. Sisi and I, two people who were starving mad, dug in without worrying about getting dressed.
I regained some thinking and moving capacity after I finally had something to eat. The lady-in-waiting by the side helped me wash my hair while I lazed in the bathtub. It was so comfortable that I almost fell asleep. The ladies-in-waiting gently massaged my body. I didn’t concern myself with gender formalities and whatnot. There were no male servants in the imperial palace, after all. I, however, suddenly heard movement in the water. I had something warm and heavy squash me. Yeah, Sisi plopped herself on top of me and leaned her head back on my shoulder. She shut her eyes and passed her hair to the lady-in-waiting behind.
The ladies-in-waiting gently combed Sisi’s long burgundy hair as always, albeit after a brief moment of surprise. That said, there was some sticky stuff in her long hair that wasn’t so easy to get out.
Sisi hooked her hand gently around my neck and bit my lip. In a tender voice, she conveyed, “What do you think, Dongqing? It was very happy day, wasn’t it? Be my husband. You can do whatever you want to me. As long as you want, I can spend as many days with you as you like.”
“I think I’ll have to take up praying, then,” I thought in response. “Sisi, you liked it?”
“Mhm, it was great.”
“Can I have the medal now?”
“… Do you really not plan to stay?”
“No.” Firmly, I explained, “Sisi, I came here to take the medal back. I didn’t come here to stay. So, I’ve done what you wanted me to. I can go back now.”
Sisi then pointed to the medal on the ground. The lady-in-waiting courteously handed it to me. I looked at it. It was the glory rewarded to the brave and was Veirya’s past. Though Veirya rarely shared her past with me, I had a good idea of what it entailed when humanity had yet to rule the world. I could imagine what she had to face.
“I’m giving it back to you. In saying that, I still hope you stay. Dongqing, I truly love you. You should be able to feel it! I truly love you very, very much,” expressed Sisi, albeit sounding closer to pleading, with her hands gently pressed on my chest.
I knew that. I knew that, obviously. I also knew how Sisi felt about me. Alas, I also knew that if I developed feelings for her as I did in the elven lands, then I wouldn’t be able to leave. I loved Veirya. Therefore, I had to go back, regardless.
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