༺ VII ༻

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꧁༺࿅ིཽ• –– •❈• –– •࿅ིཽ༻꧂

     When we returned to my home, my parents were waiting in the same room with the Emperor, worry and concern plastered all over their faces. I could tell that they wanted to ask how I was, but they didn't want to push me if I wasn't ready to talk yet. They were being patient as they always had been with me. It almost pained me to say what I needed to.

Liwei gently squeezed my hand for reassurance and it gave me the confidence I needed to speak first. Approaching my father, I looked at him with nothing but a sincere expression. "Bàba...Thank you for caring enough to help me. It's thanks to you that I'm alive. I wish my legs weren't like this, but if it means that I'm alive to achieve my dreams, it's a small price to pay. Please stop punishing yourself for something that you could not prevent."

He let out a deep breath of relief and his shoulders drooped as he relaxed. He had expected me to be angry from hearing about my upbringing. If I was going to be angry with anyone, it'd be those that inflicted harm on me. I embraced him and clung to him tightly, not wanting to let go. I wanted to ingrain his strong ginseng scent into my memory. Over the years, it was something I had come to relate home to.

I lifted one arm and opened it to my mother, prompting her to join us. She sniffled and joined us, squeezing my arm a little tightly. It was as if she was afraid I'd pass through her hands and disappear just as quickly as I appeared in her life. I closed my eyes, breathing deeply and trying to remember everything I could about them and our home. It would be a long time before I would see them again.

The Emperor cleared his throat, which caused us to look up suddenly. We smiled sheepishly at His Majesty, for we had forgotten that he was in the room. He didn't seem moved by the ambiance at all, if anything, maybe a little annoyance.

"My apologies, Your Majesty," I bowed to him respectfully.

He made a grunting noise in acknowledgment and cleared his throat once again. "It seems that you've accepted my son as your mate and your new position. Given that, you must be aware that we have to return to the Palace, yes?"

"Yes, Taizi informed me, Your Highness. May I have a few moments to pack up my belongings?" I tentatively asked.

"You don't need to take anything with you. Everything will be ready for you at the Palace," he simply replied.

"I beg your pardon, Your Highness, but I would like to take some of my texts with me so that I may continue my studies." I may not have been able to take anything else, but I felt that the only thing that would allow me to maintain my sanity and remember home would be to take my dreams with me. After all, Healer Liang did say that my skills weren't needed here. Maybe I could be useful in the mainlands.

The Emperor ran his fingers through his grey beard whilst pondering. I half-expected him to decline, but to my astonishment, he agreed, "You may bring as many books as you like so long as there is room for everyone."

"Thank you very much! You are too kind, your Majesty."

He waved his hand dismissively and muttered something that I couldn't quite catch. He made eye contact with my father, a serious expression embedded in his aged features. I could tell that he wanted to have a conversation about me, which I wanted to stick around for, but Liwei wouldn't stand for it.

A Celestial Requiem (Book 1, The Secrets of Tarot series) ✔Where stories live. Discover now