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304 My Little Bird

 She wasn't able to convince Atlas to let her walk.  Before their back and forth argument reached a final answer, they arrived at Atlas house.

He gently sat her on the back porch, took some tools and a bucket and headed towards the field. She would not let him treat her like a disable person and planned to run after him when he was farther away. That way, he can't stop her from moving around.

Atlas set out towards the field but his old habit remained. He turned around to see if she was at the same spot and if she looked okay. After catching a glimpse, he proceeded forward.

She thought he wanted to see if she was okay and didn't think much of it, but halfway to the field, he stopped and turned around to study the figure sitting on his porch.

His actions suddenly troubled her heart. "What... why does he act like that? Does he turn around to look at the person behind regardless of who it was?" She had thought he only does that for the woman in the portrait.

She waved to him signaling for him to go. She was planning to run after him at this point but wasn't expecting him to turn back. She would sprint towards him as soon as he turned forward.

Yu Sha looked at her wounded leg and rubbed the injured site. "I'll pampered you tomorrow. Today, we must run to that man before he turned back around the third time." She talked with determination as if she knew, he would turn back around one more time.

She gathered all her physical strength and the moment he turned, she darted towards him like the breeze.

At the edge down the slope into the sunflower field, Atlas stopped and turned back around to see Yu Sha one more time, but never expected her to be closed behind. Before he could even say her name, she dashed right past him and shouted happily, "GOAL!"

She sped past the edge and leaped forward.

Atlas gave a start but his eyes followed her action as fast as her speed, overtaken by the brightness in her eyes and warmth of her laughter.

Yu Sha landed elegantly like a bird descending. She swiftly turned around to wave at Atlas and called. "Come down here!"

For once there were signs of life in his eyes and not an empty shell. He watched her intently not sure if he was living in the past or the present. She used to sneak out a lot, daring and reckless. She would jump down waterfall, descended hills and valleys like that, so elegantly as if she could air glide. And that behavior made him gave her the nickname, "My Little Bird."

The overwhelming feeling was so strong, Atlas didn't know what to do with those emotions. He had to shift away briefly to control those emotions. If he lost to his desire, the gate to her world would forever close and she would be sealed in this place with him.

As his eyelid shut close, a red teardrop escaped down to his cheek.

Confused why he turned his back towards her, Yu Sha didn't know what to do. She started walking up towards him. "Atlas, are you upset at me?" She thought she must have upset him since she didn't listen to him.

Not wanting to give her the wrong impression, he quickly turned around and spoke. "I've never been upset at you. I just wasn't sure what I am going to do with you."

She laughed as she knew she can be reckless and handful at times. "Sorry."

Atlas walked down and with the spade shovel, he started digging the ground around a sunflower root.

Yu Sha watched from the side thinking of something profound to say. She wanted to let him know she does not want to be limited by a mere wound on her leg. He needn't to be worry and baby her because of it. It was then her father's words came to mind.

"Atlas, you know... people are at their best potential when they are not limited or bound by the strict rules created to control them."

Unconsciously, his grip tightened as he took a swing, missed the ground, and barely scrapped the stalk of the sunflower when he heard the sentence. His eyes widened in desperation of the words that was once told to him by the king he served. "Wh... who told you that?"

Oblivious to the chaos in his heart, she replied. "My dad. He also said that when you see someone struggling to live their best, if you can't pull them up with you, then you must push them up. You'll never know one day they may be the person that will save you from the darkness."

He forgot to dig the sunflower root as he listened to her words. The kindest king in their world who was betrayed by the neighboring country. Not only did Atlas failed to protect him but also failed to keep the promise that he would make sure the queen, prince and princess be safe.

One more time, his eyes showed of life as the emotions he abandoned many millennials ago came crashing like the wave. After calming the raging emotion in his heart, he mumbled, "Yu Sha... I... I very much would like to meet your father one day."

"Mm... sure. When the chance comes, I'll introduce you to him. Let me warn you, he's a little crazy."

"Mm... I'll make note of that."

Seeing that Atlas hadn't continued digging, she offered. "Want me to do it?"

"Ahh... No." He proceeded to dig and when the root came into view, he asked. "Hold the bucket."

Yu Sha picked the bucket and put it next to the stalk.

Atlas carefully scoop the root and sat it in the bucket and fill the bucket. After making sure the roots had enough dirt and snuggled in the bucket, the two made their way back to the house.