Book 3 Chapter 21.5

Book 3 Chapter 21.5 - Return

Madeline stood there quietly the entire time, her posture not changing in the slightest. Regardless of whether it was when Li Gaolei greeted her, or when he walked past her, she didn’t show the slightest reaction. 

Su suddenly felt his heart tense up. He knew that right now, she already completely sealed herself up, no longer willing to come into contact with the outside world. In her eyes, from what she perceived, Su was the only thing in her world, just like how it was eight years ago. 

Su tossed the alloy gun case to the side, and then he properly closed the doors, isolating them from the frigid winds and icy rain outside. The room immediately recovered its warmth and peacefulness. 

After leading Madeline to the second floor, Su pointed towards the surroundings and upstairs. “This floor and the floor above are all ours. Choose a room you like, I’m going downstairs to clean up a bit and make something for you to eat along the way.”

As he watched Madeline who continued to stand in her original spot without moving, Su helplessly shook his head. He removed the combat jacket that was already soaked through and lightly patted her head. “Go and choose a room, alright? You can pick any one you want!”

Only when Madeline’s figure disappeared into the third floor did Su go downstairs, carrying the alloy gun case to the small living room that had been modified into a temporary equipment storage. He unloaded all of the equipment he had, organizing them separately. He then entered the kitchen, removed four large steaks from the refrigerator, and then concentrated his attention on preparing them. 

For Su who had emerged from the wilderness, he naturally cared a lot about food. Soon after, the four steaks were prepared. Perhaps the taste wouldn’t be at its best, but most of its nutrients were retained. In reality, from a perspective of replenishing nutrients, directing absorbing nutrient filled paste was the fastest method, and Su himself would rely on them for months on end as his primary diet, without feeling that this was unusual at all. However, Madeline was different. Su didn’t want her to always eat nutrient-filled paste, at least wishing that she could occasionally eat some other things. 

Su didn’t mind investing all of his time and energy into combat and training if it allowed those at his side a chance to enjoy life and leisure. 

When the four large half cooked steaks were placed on the plate, Su turned around. Right when he was about to place the steaks onto the dining table, he suddenly saw that Madeline had unknowingly when appeared behind him. Her hands were once again wrapped around her knees, curling up on a small couch on the side as she quietly watched Su. 

“Come and eat!” Su laughed and called out. What made him extremely happy was that Madeline already seemed to loosen up a bit, no longer completely closing herself off like when Li and Li Gaolei were here. 

At both ends of the dining table, Su and Madeline sat facing each other, concentrated and quiet as they worked at the steaks in front of them. They never spoke when eating, always exceptionally focused. 

Soon after, the four steaks disappeared from the meal plate. Just as Su was going to put away the dishes, Madeline raised her head and looked at Su as if she wanted to say something. However, from her brows that were locked together, it seemed like she was struggling with her decision. 

Um… that…” The young girl’s gaze landed on the empty plate without moving. Every single word she spoke was extremely difficult, as if it wasn’t any easier for her to utter these words than if she was fighting a great battle against a powerful opponent. 

Hm?” Su raised his heads and looked at her with a smile. From what he remembered, Madeline rarely spoke, and during their period of survival in the wilderness, she would even go several months on end without speaking a single sentence. When people who rarely spoke suddenly opened their mouth, it was not unusual for them to find it a bit difficult. That was why Su waited patiently. 

For the current Madeline, Su’s gaze was like intense sunlight. Meanwhile, she was like flesh and blood that had been eternally soaked in darkness, sizzling under the scorching sunlight, one that was going to fall apart any second now. 

“Su, I still want more to eat!” With a voice even softer than that of a mosquito’s and speaking as fast as a bullet, she finished this sentence.

Still hungry? Su gave Madeline a rather strange look, but this look made this young lady’s head sink even further downwards. Her dark gray hair hung down, completely covering her face. 

However, why was it so difficult for her to ask for just a bit more to eat? Su was quite confused. Moreover, the four steaks he made already took into account his and Madeline’s body energy needs, and it should have been just enough. However, Madeline’s abilities had completely disappeared, and her body’s fundamental qualities had improved substantially, so eating a bit more was also normal. That was why Su only chuckled. He had her wait a bit, taking out two larger steaks from the freezer to cook them. 

As he prepared the two large steaks, Su suddenly realized that Madeline seemed to call him Su just now. When Su and Madeline were together, they never addressed each other, because most of the time, it was only the two of them there. When Su spoke, it was always for Madeline to hear, and the same held true the other way as well. However, the situation was different now, so they truly had to deal with the problem of address. Su could directly call her her name, but when it happened the other way around, it seemed a bit strange. However, Su didn’t mind this, what he cared about was simply how Madeline felt. It was fine for her to call him whatever she wanted. 

The dinner quickly finished. Madeline quietly watched as Su collected the tableware and inspected his equipment. Finally, under Su’s request, she finally went upstairs to rest. Right now, she could be completely regarded as an ordinary girl, so she still needed enough sleep. Once her abilities developed to a sufficient degree, then she could receive the effects of rest just from replenishing energy. In addition, from what Su had planned, he was going to bring her to the training place tomorrow to inspect her body’s fundamental inner qualities, and that was going to be a busy and exhausting day. 

In the temporary equipment storage, Su was currently carefully inspecting every case of equipment. He didn’t have any time to waste and had to earn enough money in the outside battlefield. To raise Madeline again was going to require a sea of resources; this was something Su was extremely clear on. In addition, before his and Madeline’s enemies began to act, he had to prepare enough startup funds to initially arm her. 

Once Madeline’s body inspection was completed, he would start fighting the Scorpions of Disaster again. This time, he might encounter Pandora again, but Su believed that with the space probing ability fully formed, he had enough certainty in avoiding Pandora, or at the very least, he would be able to run away. 

He didn’t plan to bring Madeline with him, instead preparing to have Li and Li Gaolei stay behind to look after her. Meanwhile, General Morgan had even promised him that as long as Su went out to battle for the Black Dragonriders, then inside Dragon City, he would take responsibility for protecting those at Su’s side. There was nothing that carried more weight, at least within Dragon City, than General Morgan’s promise. 

When the sky brightened, only then did Su finish all of his preparations. He released a breath of air. In the past, for the sake of quickly increasing his abilities, Su would often accept missions that endangered his life. However now, unless absolutely necessary, he didn’t want to take such large risks. He had to live, at least live until Madeline regained enough ability to protect herself. If he died in battle now, then there was no way Su would know what kind of things Madeline would end up facing. 

Su left the equipment storage and walked towards the third floor. There was still an hour before the sky brightened, so he was going to get some rest too. When he brought Madeline to the training place, he also prepared to report his eight levels of Perception Domain ability to general headquarters. Space probing was a rare ability, but it existed in the Black Dragonriders’ list of abilities. After reporting his eighth level ability, Su’s contributions would already be enough to promote him to the rank of Colonel. He needed the status of a Colonel right now, because this would clearly inform everyone that he had the potential to become a general. This was actually a threat, a warning, and at the same time, a message to certain people that he was worth roping in. As for who these people included, Su didn’t think that far yet. 

With Madeline back, after this night alone, Su’s way of thinking and way of doing things changed greatly. 

When he pushed open the door to his own bedroom, Su suddenly stopped and stared blankly. 

Madeline was currently lying on Su’s large bed in all of her clothes, fast asleep. Her deep gray hair scattered down onto the pillow like a cloud. Even though she fell asleep, she was still hugging her knees. Her body was rolled up like a ball, as if she was a kitten that feared cold. 

Su slowed down his movements and gently stabilized his breathing. He watched this sleeping girl, and slowly, a smile appeared on his face. 

If she could sleep peacefully like this, he would give up anything, even if it was dignity or hatred. 

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If only someone would love me like Su loves Madeline

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