Little Lily quickened out of the room, obviously frightened from Tucaost's unusual anger.
"What did she mean, Tucaost? What powers?" I was frightened by the idea of becoming a blood-drinking monster like this man standing before me.
But he just stood at the door, frowning as he looked at me across the room.
Then I thought I realized something, and I told him, "I understand that, last night, you had just waken up from a sleep and you were weak, and you were desperately in need for blood. So, if…it was not your intention to drink from me, you can – "
"Stop…" he spoke softly.
"No," I ignored his protest. "You can kill me. Forget about the promise you made with…the prince. There is no greater joy for me than…to be…with him…" I forced back my tears. I thought the memories of the prince would not hurt me anymore, but I guess I was wrong.
"It was not a mistake," Tucaost replied after a while. "I, too, was astonished when I found myself drinking from you. But nay, it was not a mistake. Your last encounter with Wang Li worried me, and I realized I cannot be at your side constantly. And so I have decided to grant you some of my abilities, but worry not, you shall not transform into a vampire like me. Do not be troubled by the words of Lily." He forced an assuring smile.
"Thank you…I guess." I smiled weakly. "But you didn't have to go to such an extent…"
"Yes. I was amazed by my own behavior as well."
Tucaost came to sit beside me, "Indeed, my action was drastic. In truth, you are the first human that I let survived under my fangs. I can think of no explanation to justify my actions other then, you have become more important than reason itself."
"What?" What does he mean?
He took my hand in his, "I remain skeptic about my feelings for you and the prince. Though I believe he is my one true love, perhaps my desire to keep you from harm no longer has any relation with the promise I made with him. I merely, do not wish to see the expression you had while under the threat of Wang Li again. The desperation you expressed, was nothing like you. Even when I first saw you on the night of the prince's death, there was no such heart-breaking look on your face. Do you understand me, Bell? You should never give up hope, giving up is noting like you."
There was silence. He then took a piece of cake and delivered it to me. In response, I opened my mouth and let him fed me. When he brushed away the tears on my cheek, it was then did I realized I was crying.
"You have no idea how frightened I was," I said softly. "Although you have done similar things to me, I knew you would not go too far. But for Wang Li? It was terrifying…I'm not sure what was I scared of…I thought I had similar experience before, with the emperor perhaps, when he came to me on our first night, but no…It was not the same…I was not prepared for anything like that! It was…"
Tucaost held me tight in his arms. Though the warmth had faded away from him, I did not care. For the first time, I felt fortunate to have Tucaost beside me. I held him in return.
He gave out a laugh. "Poor Jade…"
I was alerted. Was it a joke? Did I just fall into this trap?
But he continued, "Need not to worry, sweet Jade, for I have given you powers in your own command. In a short while you will notice, your strength is as strong as average men. You shall be no weaker than Zi-jian. Your actions will be swifter, and visions clearer. Your wounds heal faster, and from illness you will quickly recover."
He said I would gain a body equal to a woman who has roamed the Rivers and Lakes for years; and that if I wish to, he would teach me swordsmanship or basic kung-fu to protect myself. He reassured me that events similar to my assault from Wang Li would not happen again.
"Now, of all these things I have done for you, how would you repay me?"
I stared at him and blushed. Though I knew what he might mean, I asked nonetheless, "…what would you want?"
"A 'thank you' perhaps?"
I could not help but laughed at my foolishness.
"Nevertheless, I would not mind gratitude repaid in action," he grinned.
"You were really very harsh towards Lily," I tried to change the subject.
"So she will have reasons to run to Zi-jian and cry," Tucaost smiled.
"How are they doing? How long have I slept? It felt so long…"
"Not too long, but Zi-jian knows you have been in my compartment for a day and a night."
"Is Zi-jian! – " the cake arrived at my lips, I had to gulped it down.
"He is gradually accepting Lily, and is obviously avoiding me."
"Zi-jian worries me…"
Then suddenly Tucaost landed a kiss between my frowning brows.
"You will have to start calling me William if you want to sound convincing for your cousin."
I sighed and pouted as Tucaost…William fed me another cake.