“You do not need to worry, Countess. Your body will not show visible changes within the first month or two of your pregnancy. There is no need to be overly concerned. You just need to give up sleeping with Count Lin during the meantime. Your child has not stabilised yet, after all. Count Lin will just have to resist in the meantime,” the doctor educated with a laughed and doctor patted me on the shoulder.
I dryly chuckled. It was better to keep that sort of talk in private. I noticed Leah’s eyes sparkle upon hearing that I couldn’t sleep with Veirya. Oh, I knew very well what Leah was thinking. Although there was a bit of a misunderstanding between what I was thinking and what she was thinking, I guess Leah had her wish granted…
After the doctor left, I inhaled hard and notified, “Veirya, I might need to go to the South for a while in the coming days. You don’t need to come with me since you’re pregnant. I’ll go alone. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone for, but it shouldn’t take a week.”
“… Is it. Her Majesty’s command?”
“Not really. I, myself, want to go.”
I decided against hand balling the blame to Sisi because I’d end up offending two people. Veirya knew my personality too well. I brought a disaster through the door as a consequence of giving into my urges. Even though I knew what sort of disaster I once caused, it didn’t dampen my desire to go.
If the people in the South were barbarians who only swung axes and mumbled mumbo jumbo, then I’d agree that you’d have to stupid to venture there. As they had their own culture and gave me a sense of déjà vu, I had to go and see them.
The empire wasn’t just Sisi’s empire. It would go on to become the empire my children grew up in. It’s a foregone conclusion as to who was happier and more confident between a noble’s children born in nineteenth century England versus children born in the Qing Dynasty. I had to provide my children with a blissful and fulfilling life. To that end, I had to help the empire prosper further. The world wasn’t just one plain and an elven forest. There was more beyond the blue ocean. If there was more spacious land there and it was possible, I’d take it for my children.
“I see… When will you leave?”
“I’m not sure. I need to wait until the soldiers score a spectacular win before I go.”
Negotiations required bargaining chips. The opposition currently had the upper hand, so there was no reason they would want to call a ceasefire. From what I gathered thus far, the Empress had grown quite haughty, further reinforced by the fact that she sent assassins after me. It was an invasion for justice before but had turned into a blatant attack. Perhaps they were waiting for the water to calm down in winter and spring before assigning more soldiers to their frontline. I was ignorant of who their commander was but no matter. Even if their commander was a dog, it didn’t change the fact that we had to drive them back before their reinforcements arrived.
Sisi’s military outnumbered the South’s military. Ideally, Sisi and Lucilia would’ve resolved their grudge at my wedding as that would put a stop to the war between humans and elves, therefore allowing Sisi to mobilise her forces in the North back to the South. Having said that, mobilising an army would require time. Though the two factions maintained peace, it was just the calm before the storm.
“I see. You should. Go, then,” Veirya stated as she rubbed her belly. “I’m not worried. Now that. I’m back here. You don’t need. To worry about me. I told you. That you should. Go what you want to do. I used to be. Worried. But not any more.”
After a heaving big breath, I inquired, “Veirya, you are Veirya, right…? Are you honestly not Angelina?”
“What do you mean? Of course. I’m Veirya.”
Veirya gave me a grouchy look, so I carefully reached out to hug her. I wasn’t worried that I’d hurt her; I was worried that I’d get hurt. Every time I caught her body reactively jolt when I reached out to her, I’d suspect an incoming strike. As a result, I would test the waters every time I wanted to hug her. She reciprocated the hug. Once I averted the risk of getting hit, I’d always be treated to a reassuring and blissful hug.
“I’ll take good. Care of our child. Back at home.”
“I’ll be back in time.”
“I hope. You come back. Soon.”
“Obviously. My wife is pregnant; I must be back as soon as possible. I swear I’ll be there to witness our child’s birth.”
I touched Veirya’s belly then looked to Leah.
“Papa doesn’t need to say anything. Leah is used to it now. Papa always has so much to do. Leah knows that crying and whatnot won’t stop you. Papa will go regardless of what Leah says or does, so Leah won’t comment. Leah just hopes Papa can come back soon.”
“No, I hope you can come with me this time, Leah. I need your help this time.”
“Papa needs Leah’s help?” Leah riveted, stopped breathing for a few seconds then jumped to her feet. “Leah will help Papa. If Papa needs Leah, Leah will do Leah’s best! What do you need Leah to do, Papa?! Leah will do anything!”
“Nothing. You just need to follow Papa.” I scrubbed Leah’s small head.
Veirya warned, “If you two go together. You mustn’t. Do anything. Behind my back. Leah. We made a deal. You can’t. Lay your hands. On your Papa. Understood?”
With a sincere nod, Leah guaranteed, “Leah knows, Mama Veirya. Leah won’t do it.” Of course, even if Leah did break their promise, Veirya wouldn’t possibly know…
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