༺ IX ༻

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꧁༺࿅ིཽ• –– •❈• –– •࿅ིཽ༻꧂

Crown Prince Fang Liwei

     When I heard the condition that Father was in, I felt angry with him for his foolishness and for my inability to help. To make matters worse, Mingxia was asking about the cause of Father's collapse. I didn't want to hide it from her, but exposing her to the world of the Tarot would expose her to danger that I didn't want her to ever experience. I couldn't keep it from her for long, eventually, she would find out from my thoughts. I managed to keep that part of my mind blocked off, but I knew that if she knew that there were any sort of blocks, she would be upset just as I would be if I knew she didn't want to open her mind to me.

I banged my hand against the mahogany table in frustration, causing it to splinter off. Dragons had enhanced senses, including strength, a fact that I didn't care about at the moment. If my Father was conscious, he surely would have something to show about my aggressive display of emotion. Why did you use the card? You knew what it would do to your mind and yet you used it, I thought. I knew he wouldn't answer it because he was currently at death's door, a place that I couldn't go to nor was I ready to go to.

"Taizi," a shrill voice called for me, interrupting my thoughts.

I spun around and looked down to see Hwang Jing-Wei, a Royal Messenger that Khaisitha assigned to Wuzhen. Khaisitha was an avian nation, known for its diverse bird shapeshifter population. It was a small island situated in the far north. Most have never had the opportunity to set foot on their territory because one typically needs to request permission prior to arrival. I've never entered their territory since there had never been a need to do so. Their people were known for their sensitive hearing. Rumor has it that they're capable of hearing an unwelcomed visitor enter their territory, which makes them a formidable species.

Each type of bird shapeshifter looks different from the next. Jing-Wei's avian form was a small blue bird to provide optimal surveillance when needed. Her subspecies, blue and green birds, typically serve as envoys between Khaisitha and their assigned nation. They aren't meant to be protectors in the physical sense, but simply of classified information.

Jing-Wei stared back at me with her cerulean colored eyes. "I returned when I heard of the Emperor's condition."

I slightly grimaced, still not used to Jing-Wei's hearing. She had been with us for five years and I was always surprised when she'd return based on something she had heard within the palace. I don't know if it was because she didn't feel comfortable being far away from the palace or if she really had that great of an ear. "He's been unconscious for a couple of hours. At this rate, I'm afraid he won't wake up."

She placed a gentle hand on my arm and attempted to comfort me, "Taizi, we knew this day would come. I'm amazed that he managed to survive this long. It's sadly admirable."

I sighed and rubbed between my eyes with my index finger and thumb. "I know. I was just hoping Mingxia could have a moment's peace to adjust to her position within the palace. She doesn't know much about the Celestials or even the Tarot."

"Liwei, please don't take offense at what I'm about to say. I say this as your friend and not Wuzhen's Royal Messenger or Khaisitha's envoy. You have to tell her. You would want her to tell you if the roles were reversed. Don't mess up what both of you have just discovered for something like the Tarot."

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