Published at 13th of August 2019 05:49:39 PM
Chapter 275
December 29-30, 20XX (Sunday- Monday)
Various Places

"Can you mourn for someone you do not know?" Mei Lin asked her older brother on her right side . Her fists clenched on the fabric of his sleeves, feeling nauseous at her wild emotions .
"Of course, " Chang Min nodded . His eyes were blurry from watching the scene in front of them .
Their father, Jerome Bonaparte, was standing still in front of the open casket, eyes drones out into daydream-like state . He looked as if he had no soul in his body staring into something but never really noticing it . Chang Min had seen and heard his father in different states of emotions, but this was the first time that he had no feelings plastered on his face . Mei Lin had tried to insert herself into her father's embrace, only to be sidestepped and ignored . Chang Min had to let her lean on him for comfort .
Without realizing her tears, Mei Lin could not bear to see her father's face devoid of anything . What hurts most was that the face in the casket was the same one that she had learned how to paint with, added with the fact that he was a family member that she could not spend any more time with . Just when they could have, Fate had snatched their chance to meet .
"Don't cry too much . " Chang Min whispered, caressing her back . He too wanted to cry, but he had to be strong because his father was already broken and his sister already starting to shatter . Someone has to be calm and deal with the guest . Great-grandpere Alfonsi would be happy to know that he was strong enough when others couldn't .
When guests began to pour into the hall, Mei Lin forced herself to came down . She heard Chang Min talking with people and accepting their condolences with a firm nod . Mei Lin did not know what to do . Do you say thank you when you are told that she has their sympathy? As if she wanted them!
"He is in peace . I am sure he is happily reuniting with great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother too . " Chang Min said in French, as he shook hands with a French soldier .
Because Mei Lin worked and stayed in Italy before, she had come to learn Italian . But because her father in the guise of her Italian/French mentor, she had come to realize why her mentor had thought her both language instead of just Italian . She turned back to look at her father again . When Mei Lin saw no changes, she sighed and sat down nearest to the casket . Closing her eyes, Mei Lin fell asleep as she sat .
Jerome Bonaparte had a million thoughts running through his mind, but his grandpere's last words to him echoed like it was recorded and played in repeat, over and over again . 'Take care of the last Arcadia Member' was one of his last requests for him to do . Jerome Bonaparte gritted his teeth and clenched his fists . As soon as he goes back to Beijing, he will hunt every foreigner and interrogate them until he can find that Fool!
"Mei Lin, stop sleeping here!" Chang Min's Chinese words of reprimand floated like a sore thumb in Jerome's ears .

Looking at Mei Lin's tired looking eyes- puffy and red, Jerome remembered the last sentence that his grandpere uttered, 'Be a better father . ' The fact that he told him to do better as a father than as a soldier meant more than what everyone thought . Commander Alfonsi had always served the country first and thought of his family next, so Jerome had never seen or heard the commander say about being a better father . In fact, it was always have been; a soldier is the pride of the country and all those patriotic speeches of his .
Jerome gently pushed Chang Min as he sat down beside Mei Lin, letting her head lean on his chest as his left arm wrapped around her, holding her steady as she slept .
Unknowingly to them, a man hidden by the shadows was watching them with interest . He too had come to the wake of the Great Italian born turned French when he married Commander . Commander Alfonsi has been his Major and teacher when he was participating in the military, and the commander had treated him like his son .
The man turned to his assistant and asked, "Who was the girl with Jerome?"
"She is Mei Lin Bonaparte, your granddaughter, Sire . She was known as Wu Mei Li before becoming Mrs . Zhao Mei Lin . "
"The child that was left in the orphanage?" Jean Bonaparte remembered the baby that he had once held when his son had fled to hide .
"Yes, Sire . She married the Zhao family's heir, who is also Lady Xing's heir . "
Jean Bonaparte's eyebrows raised . At the back, her hair looked so much like the Alfonsi woman that he had fallen in love with as a teen . If he had not been a Bonaparte, he would have married Alexa Alfonsi without a doubt . Now, the only thing she left beside was the son he cannot make his heir and grandchildren he was forced to stay away from .
Politics and Royalty, even in modern times, are still so archaic .
"I heard that she is also the famous painter called Miss M . You have one of her paintings in your study," The assistant whispered as softly as he could so he would not disturb other people from the wake .
"What?!" Jean Bonaparte's head turned fast at his assistant when he shouted in surprise . Alexa Alfonsi has passed her talent for the arts through their descendants . Even years after her death, Alexa still made Jean Bonaparte's heart beat rapidly with excitement . She had always been the woman that filed his dreary life with wonder and surprise . Now, he meets with another version of his Alexa but with his own blood added into the mix .
"Keep tabs on her for me . "