“Count Lin!” Irena quavered. Irena ran over and hugged the main sitting in his armchair, thereby nearly knocking him off his chair.
Leah yanked Irena off and nicely told the latter, “He’s okay. Don’t worry. He’s just a little weak.”
What made Lin Chucheng feel most awkward was that he was actually Lin Dongqing’s biological son, yet he wasn’t the first or most worried about his father when he was ill.
Lin Dongqing was basically incapacitated in his armchair that he always sat in, countenance a pallor white. Ross, Leah and Ascillia were gathered around him, all looking concerned.
Lin Dongqing quickly shifted his eyes from Ross, Leah and Ascilla over to Lin Chucheng, who was stationary. It was Lin Chucheng’s first time noticing how weak his father was. He always perceived his father to be an insurmountable mountain. He compared him to a mountain he couldn’t climb over when the vast ocean was behind the mountain.
Lin Chucheng only knew that his father once suffered a serious illness that required him to travel to the other side of the world for treatment. Regrettably, things changed on this end, so he had to return prior to finishing.
Veirya hugged her husband gently. Lin Dongqing affectionately stroked her head. Next, he looked up to Lin Dongqing: “Didn’t I tell you to go and work as Irena’s assistant? What are you back here for?”
“Count Lin… You are ill…” pointed out Irena, kneeling next to Lin Dongqing and clinging to his arm.
“It’s all right. It’s just the same old illness. I don’t have time to go across the world for treatment now, though, because the war is starting. I need to hold things together. I need to stay here. Otherwise, the children won’t be able to contain it.”
“Can’t you let go?” asked Veirya, voice raspy.
Veirya never cried. To be precise, she abandoned fear on the battlefield. Still, she was genuinely afraid when she saw her husband in his weak state. Though the two got married and loved each other deeply, they seldom had the chance to be together. It wasn’t easy for him to spend time by her side, yet he had a relapse. Worse, he didn’t plan to get treated.
“Count Lin, you need to seek treatment!” exclaimed Ascillia, grabbing one of Lin Dongqing’s arms. “I will get in contact with them! You are Troy Kingdom’s friend! The elves there can surely cure you with their magic! You cannot let anything happen to you! If you fall here, we will truly be lost! You must live on!”
Lin Dongqing forced a smile. He lightly grabbed his cane and weakly replied, “If those young ones knew what war and politics are, I wouldn’t need to be so worried, but they don’t know a thing. This war is absolutely pointless, yet they still started it. I can’t let them destroy everything this nation built up and obtained over the last two decades. This nation has only just been established. It has a long journey ahead.”
“Stop putting yourself on a pedestal, will you?!” thundered Lin Chucheng, dispelling the depressing atmosphere.
Leah spun around and fumed, “Chu, this is no time for you to be arguing!”
“Leah, do you still not see how conceited he is?!” shouted Lin Chucheng, holding two white cannonballs in his hands. “Who do you think you are? Sure, you built up the nation. Maybe you did do a tonne of things. Do you really think this empire can’t be without you, though?! Why do you refuse to trust others?! Why do you feel the need to control everything?! Why do you insist that nobody is as smart as you?!”
Angry, Veirya stood up, but Lin Dongqing tugged her arm to stop her from speaking.
“Why do you always refuse to trust people?! When will you do away with your arrogance?! I know why you sent me to the tax bureau! I know what you want me to see, but do you see it?! Why do you refuse to trust others?! We won’t ruin this empire even without you! I… Even I will try to end the war! Why do you just refuse to believe in anyone?!” shouted Lin Chucheng, tears coursing down his face.
Although Lin Chucheng’s speech started to become slightly indistinct, he didn’t back down. He wiped his tears and continued, “Can’t you trust others?! Can’t you let others do what they want?! Stop trying to control everything! Everybody will still give their best even without you! Why can’t you see everybody’s efforts?!”
Lin Dongqing silently watched his son hopelessly cry similarly to a pleading child. He remembered seeing his son cling to his leg and beg him not to leave back then. He regretted leaving his son when his son implored him to stay – and still did, for that matter. Even so, he didn’t want to admit that he sadly discovered he was incapable of telling his son he loved him back then and still couldn’t despite his desire for familial love.
Lin Dongqing lowered his head, pulling his shoulders forward and sighed: “Ascillia, help me get in contact with Troy Kingdom. I’ll head there as soon as I can. I hope they can treat me. Ross, I’m leaving the war in your hands. You must provide the people in the rear with the conditions and chips to negotiate. Give them a splendid victory. Don’t drag it into a bottomless swamp. Leah, my beloved daughter, go and influence their negotiators. Have them come up with a negotiation layout as soon as possible. This is my final advice to all of you. As for the rest, do as Chu says.”
Lin Chucheng juddered for the reason that he never heard his father sound so gentle, which he wasn’t accustomed to. Nevertheless, it was heart-warming…
Lin Dongqing forced a smile. He was Lin Chucheng’s father, but he couldn’t bring himself to hug his son. Nonetheless, it was enough for the two of them.
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