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꧁༺࿅ིཽ• –– •❈• –– •࿅ིཽ༻꧂


     "Absolutely not!" Liwei thundered. I had never seen him so furious before. I knew that his anger wasn't directed at me, but I couldn't help but reel from the sheer authority in his voice. He paced about the room, repeatedly clenching and unclenching his hands. His eyes iridescently glowed gold, his dragon was in control of his body. It was only a matter of time before he shifted in the middle of our bedroom.

"I will not have my mate putting her life in danger by pursuing the Tarot. You have little means of defending yourself and you're still learning about the Realm," he continued.

"I know that I'm not the strongest dragon out there, but she told me that it has to be me to do this. Not a member of the King's Army, not you, and certainly not Jing-Wei," I explained as I stood on my own two feet steadily.

Liwei's eyes widened in shock at my stance before shaking his head in disbelief. "I would never send Jing-Wei to complete such a task."

"But you'd send Guanyu or any of the other guards."

"If that's what keeps you safe, then so be it." He looked at me fiercely, his gaze unwavering. His expression softened when he took note of my look of terror and astonishment. His eyes slowly reverted back to their normal hues, but an auric tint remained at its edges. "Mingxia. You're my other half, I can't send you off into a battle blind and without me. You have to understand that if anything were to happen to you, I wouldn't be able to survive. Wuzhen would be plunged into darkness and anarchy, with no ruler to protect or guide them. You're basing your decisions on a woman you've met all but a few times in your dreams. How do I know she isn't someone that simply wishes to lure you into a trap? I can't trust someone that I haven't met or seen."

"Can you trust me?" I asked suddenly, desperate to hear the response I yearned to hear.

Liwei was at my side in an instant with his arms wrapped tightly around me. "You're the only one that I can truly trust, xīngān. I'm concerned that your kindness is being taken advantage of. Can't you understand that I only want to keep you safe?"

"I do understand, but I can't sit here and let Hena have her way with Naestrirea. It's already impacted Wuzhen. Look at our people, they're not really happy. They've lost their loved ones, I've lost my parents. I don't know what they look like, what their names are, or how they even died. If I can do something to make the future seem more hopeful, our people will be able to live peacefully and not in hiding."

His arms around me dropped and he held my hands in his own, gently rubbing circles on the back. "I understand your need to do this, but I can't agree to it. Not now."

"When?" I asked quietly, looking down at my hands.

"Just not now, Mingxia. There are other things that need to be taken care of that cannot be solved by this journey. The food shortages and demons in Shangzihua and our relations with the humans. I don't want to argue with you about this, can't we just have one day in which the Tarot do not dominate our lives?" He placed his hand under my chin and raised my face up slightly to meet his gaze. They swirled with uncertainty and panic, making my heart feel like it was being squeezed.

Whether he liked it or not, the Tarot would dominate our lives and continue to do so until they were contained. I nodded, but I could tell that my response did not put him at ease. He closed his eyes and rubbed them whilst letting out a deep sigh. "Meihui, you'll be the death of me, xīngān," he muttered.

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