Linley landed on the side of the lake. Filled with excitement, he stared at Delia, whose eyes were filled with unshed tears. He had the sudden urge to immediately take Delia into his arms. But although he had this urge, he still just stood there in front of Delia, his mouth open, but not knowing what to say.
He had ten million words in his heart, but he couldn’t get a single word out.
“Linley, you haven’t changed.” Delia laughed. She was the one to reach out to him, with her left hand.
Seeing that white, dainty hand, Linley was stunned for a moment. Delia glanced at him out of the corner of her eyes. “Hey, Dumbo, are you going to make me use the Soaring Technique, just so that I can get to the center of the lake?” There was a distance of several dozen meters from here to the center of the lake. If Delia didn’t use the Soaring Technique, she wouldn’t be able to get there.
Seeing the way Delia was looking at him, and her ivory white arm, Linley immediately reached out with his own right hand and took hers in his own.
“So, uh, Linley. I’ll be leaving now.” Zassler finally spoke.
Linley and Delia’s faces both suddenly flushed pink. Linley turned to glance at Zassler, speechless. Zassler winked towards Linley, then turned and ran away at high speed.
“That’s just how Zassler is.” Holding hands with Delia, Linley tapped his foot, summoning a wind which swirled around both of them. Gently…Linley and Delia floated to the center of the lake. They stepped onto the edges of the stone platform, then sat down next to each other.
The two continued to hold hands. Feeling the soft warmth of Delia’s hand in his own, Linley felt as though he was currently standing in the clouds. Delia’s face was slowly turning pink as well. The atmosphere between the two instantly grew more intimate.
Linley saw that in the water, not too far away, Bebe had popped his little head out and was using his sneaky little eyes to peek at Linley and Delia.
“Oh! Boss! You guys keep doin’ what you were doing. Bebe’s gonna just go somewhere else to play for a bit. You guys keep on at it!” Bebe, knowing that he had been discovered, immediately sank down into the water. However, Linley and Delia didn’t notice that far away, on top of a tree near the peak of Mt. Blackraven, a Wildthunder Stormhawk was stealthily peeping at them.
“Hehe.” Delia immediately began to giggle. “Linley, Bebe really is adorable.”
Linley nodded and laughed as well. “That’s just how Bebe is. Oh, right. Delia, why is it that you waited so long to come here after you left the O’Brien Empire? Did something happen?” Linley still remembered how, when Delia had left, she said she would soon come find him.
Delia nodded, but she fell silent.
The events which had occurred in the imperial capital had truly hurt Delia. She was very disappointed in her parents. Linley’s words…instantly made Delia feel downcast.
“What happened? Talk to me.” Linley squeezed Delia’s hand.
“You really want to know?” Delia stared at Linley, her face close to his.
“If you listen to the story, then you’ll have to marry me.” Delia suddenly said.
“Wha….” This sneak attack truly caught Linley offguard. Delia truly was the only woman Linley was currently interested in, but for him to immediately marry her…Linley, in his heart, was still rather nervous. His first relationship’s failure had caused Linley to be rather defensive in these matters.
He still didn’t dare to totally invest himself in any relationship with a woman.
He was afraid he would be utterly heartbroken once again.
“I’m just joking with you.” Delia began to laugh, then let out a flirtatious sniff. “Sheesh, Linley. Can’t you just pretend or just tease me for a moment?” Delia’s words made Linley feel less awkward.
Delia took a deep breath. “I can tell you the story now, if you still want to hear it?”
Linley immediately nodded.
Delia settled her thoughts. Holding Linley’s hand, staring at the peaceful lake waters, she slowly said, “Linley. When I received my clan’s letter saying that I had to go back, I found, upon my return…my grandmother was perfectly fine. There was nothing wrong with her at all.”
When Delia had written him a letter saying that her grandmother was in excellent shape, Linley had already sensed that there was something that lay hidden.
“Afterwards, I found out that my parents found out from Teacher that the reason I stayed behind in the O’Brien Empire was to be together with you. Thus, my parents used this scheme to get me to come back and to part from you.” Delia laughed bitterly as she looked at Linley. “This scheme was a very clumsy one, but I still fell for it.”
Linley was puzzled. “Your parents…”
“It was for the clan.”
Delia sighed. “Before you had started your own side in the Anarchic Lands, virtually everyone in the six major forces believed you were a member of the O’Brien Empire. The O’Brien Empire and the Yulan Empire have always viewed each other as principal rivals.”
Linley understood. The most powerful forces in the Yulan continent were these two Empires.
“In my parents’ opinion, if I were to marry you, then that would be tantamount to colluding and allying with an important Saint of the enemy. The Emperor of the Yulan Empire would have less trust in our clan. Thus, my father and mother didn’t want me to be with you.”
Delia glanced at Linley. “Naturally though, this was just my parents’ opinion. They didn’t know…that we’ve never discussed marriage.”
Linley could only rub his nose.
Delia said falteringly, “The imperial capital is filled with people pursuing me, and my parents kept on trying to persuade me to marry someone else. I wasn’t willing! I really hate that! Linley…I really wanted to leave right away and come looking for you, but I didn’t want to break the relationship between me and my parents. I really love my parents!”
“I understand,” Linley said consolingly.
Of course he understood how Delia was feeling. This was because he, too, was a man who cherished his relatives and his parents.
“I really wanted to come find you, but I didn’t want to lose my parents either.” Delia chewed on her lips, lowering her voice. Linley could clearly sense that Delia was squeezing his hands more tightly now.
Linley rested Delia’s hand on his leg.
Delia glanced at Linley, a hint of a smile appearing on her face. “I was waiting…waiting for you to found your Duchy. But my parents said that I should marry the Emperor of the Yulan Empire and become the Empress.”
“Hrm?” Linley felt a hint of anger in his heart.
Delia’s parents really were going too far.
“I wasn’t willing. That time, I got angry with my parents.” Delia shook her head helplessly. “I’ve always been a filial, obedient child in front of my parents. But that time, I really lost my temper. I told my father clearly that I would rather die than marry those people.”
Linley felt a grateful feeling in his heart. For a woman to be willing to do this was truly moving.
“I was waiting…and finally, the letter I waited for arrived. You had founded the Baruch Duchy.” Delia looked at Linley. “At the time, I was extremely excited. My parents would no longer block us from being together.” Linley felt extremely happy as well.
As Linley saw it, Delia should have come happily after having a good talk with her parents.
“But when I told this news to my parents…they once again advised me to marry that Emperor.” A bitter look was on Delia’s face.
“How can they be like that?” Linley’s face changed.
For them to act like this…Linley could totally understand how Delia must have felt.
“Right, how can they be like that?” Delia’s eyes had a sad look in them. “I had went to them happily, but I didn’t expect that this would be the result. Actually…I should’ve predicted it. My father is the leader of our clan. Of course he has to think about things from the clan’s standpoint. In his eyes, the Emperor is very talented and has a high status. Marrying him would also be of benefit to the clan. Marrying his Imperial Majesty truly would have been absolutely perfect. However…he had never considered things from my standpoint.”
Delia took a deep breath. “So. I didn’t spend any more time on vain hopes.”
Delia looked at Linley. “I just came. I didn’t bother with discussing it with my parents. I left the imperial capital and came to find you.”
Seeing the look in Delia’s eyes, Linley, in his heart, had a powerful surge of emotion…he felt moved, saddened, and fulfilled!
“Delia…” Linley wanted to say something, but the words stuck in his throat and wouldn’t come out.
The girl in front of him…
For his sake, she had waited ten years by herself.
For his sake, she could ignore the allure of becoming the Empress.
For him, she even left her beloved parents and journeyed all alone to this place to find him.
Linley suddenly felt a strong sense of humiliation. He suddenly felt that he really despised himself, really hated himself!
“She’s a girl. She’s sacrificed so much for you, but from start to finish, you’ve never even…you’ve never even given her as much as a promise.” Linley was berating himself mentally.
“What am I waiting for? What do I have to hesitate about?”
He looked into Delia’s eyes. Delia had always made her feelings very clear, and had always been waiting for him…but he had always been hesitating. But today, Linley knew that he could no longer hesitate. He had kept on hesitating for so long…
What he had gained was already extremely precious.
“She gave up everything and waited ten years. And she is still waiting…without any promises from me.” Linley saw the tears in the corner of Delia’s eyes. His heart twitched hard, and he howled at himself, “Do you want to have Delia wait forever? Until the day her heart dies and she leaves by herself?”
Linley felt a stabbing pain in his heart.
That layer of ice surrounding Linley’s heart finally shattered and melted away.
Linley didn’t want to wait any longer.
He didn’t want to make himself wait!
And he didn’t want to make Delia wait either!
“Linley, what’s wrong?” Seeing the look on Linley’s face, she couldn’t help but feel concerned.
Linley suddenly stretched out his hand and held Delia by her shoulders. Delia could feel her heart begin to thump. Linley stared at Delia, took a deep breath, then said seriously, “Delia…marry me!”
Delia’s eyes turned as round as the moon as she stared at Linley in shock.
Upon these words coming out, in Linley’s consciousness, a bolt of lightning flashed past his mind, illuminating every single scene he had shared with Delia. From the very first time they had met at the Ernst Institute and he had seen that adorable girl. Their time spent together as children. That farewell kiss that night at Wushan Township…
One scene after another.
He felt a warm feeling in his heart.
With a wife like this, what more did he need?
“Linley.” Delia cleared her throat, staring at Linley with wide eyes. “What did you just say? Can you say it again? Please?” Delia’s voice was quavering.
Linley stared at Delia. One word at a time, he said to her, “Delia. Marry me! Marry me, Linley. Be with me forever, and let us never be separated. Alright?” Linley’s voice was trembling as well. Right now, Linley felt very nervous.
Delia looked into Linley’s eyes. Suddenly, her tears came rolling out.
How long had it been?
How long had she waited for this day?
Even when they were children and their affection was rather indistinct, she had hoped for this day to come one day. Hoped that Linley would become her knight in shining armor.
One day after another, she had waited…
That year, she had only been a little girl in her teens. But now, she was already a twenty eight year old lady. Over ten years had passed. Whether it was when Linley and Alice had been together, or when Linley had gone missing for ten years, or when her parents had stopped them from being together, she hadn’t given up.
The only thing she was afraid of was…
Linley abandoning her!
She had always been waiting. She hadn’t even dare to force Linley to give her any promises!
“Are you willing?” Seeing Delia’s entire face covered with tears, Linley felt deeply touched and moved.
Delia suddenly threw herself into Linley’s embrace, wrapping her arms around him tightly and saying repeatedly into Linley’s ear, “I’m willing, I’m willing, I’m willing…”
Linley could feel the warmth from Delia’s body. In his heart, he felt more content than he ever had in the past.
[TL – The name of this chapter was, ‘Delia, Marry Me!’]