Anna couldn’t possibly prepare all of the food and wine required for a banquet. As such, she went to ask for help. People from the tavern took responsibility for delivering a barrel of wine.
Alcohol in the North differed drastically to alcohol in the imperial capital. The imperial capital’s alcohol was mostly honey wine, a gentle type of alcoholic beverage. The North, on the other hand, normally offered distilled strong wine. Further, there was very little available, most likely due to there being very minimal leftover food to produce it. The tavern added the ear dish to our order. As for the food, we just asked for what they previously provided us.
Ross reported back at noon, supporting his sister. Veirya had a strong urge to touch it, curious about pregnancy; however, she didn’t have the courage to do so. Lilia, who had her triangular ears exposed as Ross did this time, affectionately hugged her long-lost brother. Even though I didn’t know Lilia well, I admired her for being a strong woman.
Albert bowed and conveyed, “I am truly happy to have received an invitation from you. We did not bring any presents, unfortunately. This is preserved fruit made from fruits in the South. I hope it would be to your liking.”
I doubt they imagined I’d invite them over, which would explain why they didn’t prepare any present. The preserved fruit was most likely provisions they brought along for their journey.
Leah eagerly opened the plain bag I passed her and scarfed down a yellow preserved fruit. A smile bloomed on her face as she exclaimed, “It’s very sweet, Papa! This is really nice. Thank you.”
“You are welcome,” humbly replied Albert.
Noticing Veirya gazing intently at her belly, Lilia formed an awkward smile, seemed puzzled as to why Veirya was so fixated on her belly. Breaking the awkward silence, Lilia expressed, “Ma’am Lin, your daughter is adorable. I hope our child will be as adorable in the future. Further, she bears a striking resemblance to you.”
“She’s not. My biological daughter.”
“Is that so…? How long have you and Lord Lin been married for, though?”
“We. Married?” asked Veirya, with her head titled.
“I saw the ring on your finger, which was why I assumed you and Lord Lin were married. Worry not, though, as you will have a child sooner or later. Moreover, even if you do not have one now, you will surely have one later. I am envious of you, having said that, as you are so lucky to have an adopted daughter as cute as Leah.”
“So. How exactly. Do I get a child? He just said. He needed to sleep with me. He also mentioned a lot of movement details. But I feel. None of it. Has to do. With having children. I want to know. How you and him. Had a child.”
Lilia turned her flush face away: “We… the topic… the topic should not be discussed here, right…? Also, also, people… are born able to, right? So… there is no need to ask someone else, is there?”
I quickly went over and patted Lilia on the shoulder: “Sorry, Ma’am Lilia, my wife used to be on the front lines. We have only gotten engaged at this state; we have no gotten married yet. She lacks a bit of common sense. That is why she has a lot of queries on such topics. I apologise if she made you feel uncomfortable.”
Veirya looked at me with a hint of displeasure as though I embarrassed her in front of people.
“You two must be deeply in love. Why have you not discussed marriage? If we have the chance, would we have the privilege of attending your wedding ceremony? Lord Lin, while it should not be me who says this, I do hope you would propose to Veirya soon.”
Veirya turned to me, rendering me bereft for words. I didn’t know what to do with my hand on her shoulder, either.
“I never thought that the man who could put away every businessman in the imperial capital would be shy when it came to this,” joked Albert. “However, we, as outsiders, should not comment. Let us be seated first.”
“Can I. Have a touch?” Veirya requested.
“Ah? Sorry?” Lilia responded.
Veirya clarified, “I want to touch your belly. I want to touch. Belly. I want to know. How having a child. Feels.”
”That sounds really scary! What does that mean? Is she saying she wants to cut open Lilia’s belly?“ I thought.
Lilia awkwardly laughed and nodded. Veirya’s hand never shook with hesitation when she swung her blade to cut someone, yet she was slow and shaky as she reached for Lilia’s belly. She gently pressed it on Lilia’s bulging belly. Watching Veirya radiate, I didn’t want to cut her off.
“Haha, it seems that your wife also likes children. Your family might become a very lively one,” Albert opined.
“Papa, do you like children?”
“I don’t hate them.”
Perhaps you should say that I didn’t know how to face my family. I never felt familial warmth; I had no clue how to raise a child… I might have a child now for all I knew… Plus, I couldn’t acknowledge I was the father.
“So, Papa, do you only want Mama Veirya’s child?”
“Of course. Only Veirya can have Papa’s child. As if anybody else would have Papa’s child.”
Angelina and the elves sitting at the table all froze. They all turned to looked to me… However, I ignored the two. Leah, on the other hand, kept her gaze on me and mused to herself.
“So, Leah is a not a possible candidate? Can’t Leah have Papa’s daughter, then?”
“What are you saying?! Leah!! That is a very dangerous thought you have. While I can understand children might senselessly speak, that is a very dangerous way of thinking.”
I looked at Albert and dryly laughed. At that moment, Veirya proudly took her hand off Lilia’s belly and sat down next to me, demanding, “I also want. A child. I want one. Quick.”
“Leave for another day. Leave it for another day,” I replied with a helpless chuckle.
Albert changed the topic: “Do you not plan to get involved this time, Lord Lin? Although you cannot go to the South, every businessman has their sights on the South at the moment. They are preparing to score a large sum. Even Queen Sisi has invested in it. She wants to invest in adventurers and businessman. As her favoured vassal, are you not going to go and see?”
“No. I might’ve gone under normal circumstances, but I’m not interested in an unstable investment. I almost found myself in trouble due to there being lots of businessmen last time. I have even less reasons to join the fray this time. I have other things to do in the North, so my attention will not be on the South for now.”
“To be honest, my other goal in coming here was to cash out at the bank because the bank in the South is stuck. They do not have much money left for us to withdraw. After listening to you, I intend to acquire some shares for the shipyard. The price is growing daily at the moment. The situation is the exact same as with the stones in the imperial capital.”
“It is not the same. The imperial capital’s stones were bubbles; they were things with no value, but this is a realistic financial pillar, one that will not depreciate. It is just that I believe people will have lost faith in this sort of investment after the last fiasco.”
“In saying that, the South is where businessmen’s big playground is. Just because the businessmen in the imperial capital have lost confidence and prefer to watch now, it does not mean that businessmen in the South share that same view. Lord Lin, I genuinely hope you can make a trip to the South. That is where brilliant businessmen such as yourself should be. Do you not feel lonely living in the North?”
I cheerfully took Veirya’s hand: “I won’t be lonely because I was never a businessman.”
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