The three of us arrived at the imperial palace. I was concerned about Leah, but she didn’t plan to allow Veirya to run around arm in arm with me, which was why she joined us despite having to face Queen Sisi. The imperial palace had restored its lively atmosphere with people coming and going from the palace again. It returned to its typical state; the people on the streets were rowdy and bustling. There were no signs any turmoil took place last night. But nevertheless, upon closer inspection, the believers, who should’ve been heading to the chapel in their robes early in the morning, were missing.
There was nobody in the robe on the street. The white chapel had been reduced to remnants of a fire. It was probably going to be torn down soon. Nobody dared to comment on it. Usually, the believers would be quite fervent, but not even one person was crying.
I couldn’t tell you if they were truly believers or not. Of course, lots of them felt their beliefs weren’t even worth a mention compared to their lives, I’d presume. After all, those who were willing to die for their beliefs died last night.
Queen Sisi stopped the chapel from getting their hands on their weapons last night. The knights gave the adventurers’ their weapons. That was precisely why the soldiers were able to march in and begin an onslaught as if there was nobody there. Not even highly-trained knights would be able to take on fully-equipped soldiers without their weapons. With Queen Sisi and my combined efforts, the chapel practically had no means of fighting back. The weapons were withheld, and we saw through their plans. They didn’t save anything. Had I not protected the pope’s daughter and Angelina, Queen Sisi would’ve completely eradicated the chapel.
Once a guard saw us, he froze for a moment before smiling: “Her Majesty said you might be back today, so she had us stationed here to wait for you. Her Majesty is currently having lunch. We shall lead you inside.”
“Queen Sisi knew I’d come again? I guess that means I was right to come this time. I thought Queen Sisi was very mindful of Veirya’s existence,” I thought to myself.
Veirya was very loyal to Queen Sisi, but who could say for sure if anyone was actually loyal. Ambitions and loyalty are hidden inside, which is why they can’t be seen. Loyalty on the surface is easily seen and easily falsified. I brought Angelina to my side, which meant I had to convince Queen Sisi I didn’t pose a threat to her. I would share the chapel’s fate, otherwise.
We entered the imperial palace. Queen Sisi sat in the dining hall. There were lots of dishes on the table, but the only thing on her plate was fruit, some vegetables and a tiny bit of meat. She went to great lengths to maintain her appearance. She never lowered her expectations for herself.
“Ah, Veirya, my Veirya. I’m talking to the real Veirya this time, right?”
Queen Sisi wore a simple V-neck white dress that highlighted her skin. She stood up with a joyous smile. She ran up to Veirya on her bare feet. She giggled as she tightly hugged Veirya around her neck and kissed Veirya on the cheek. Veirya, aloof as always, went down on one knee to salute her: “Your Majesty.”
“Mm, mm, my Veirya, there’s no need to salute me. I’m in a fantastic mood right now, and you’re my good friend. There’s no need for you to salute me. We’re in private at the moment. If you want, I can be your friend.”
Veirya shook her head: “I dare not.”
Queen Sisi hopelessly smiled. She pinched Veirya’s face; I let out a breath of relief. Queen Sisi was just being courteous. If you actually believed you were qualified to be her friend, she’d turn on you. Veirya’s response was the response she wanted to hear. Queen Sisi’s question was to remind Veirya of her place. This was her speech deciphered: “You’re just my soldier; do you honestly believe you’re my friend?”
By the looks of it, Veirya was truly loyal from the bottom of her heart. Veirya didn’t understand what Queen Sisi was implying, but she sincerely viewed Queen Sisi as her Queen.
Queen Sisi had us sit down and said, “Veirya, eat up. I thought you’d all be back, so I had some nice dishes prepared for you. You just arrived at the imperial capital, right? I’m very happy to see you.”
Veirya nodded and picked up the food to begin eating without any reservation. Once she began eating, she lost interest in the conversation, while Queen Sisi didn’t plan to say anything else to Veirya. She heard the answer she wanted from Veirya, after all. I had prepared myself for when Queen Sisi looked at me but she didn’t. She watched Veirya and softly giggled: “Veirya, I have something to tell you.”
“What are you orders?”
“Don’t leave yet tomorrow. Tomorrow is my birthday. I plan to invite you to attend the ball where the army parade is held. It’ll be during the day but will be a grand event; nonetheless. I’ve already organised it.”
Veirya nodded without even thinking: “Yes, Your Majesty.”
I had my doubts. I didn’t believe it was Queen Sisi’s birthday tomorrow. A monarch’s birthday would never be so peaceful.
Queen Sisi then quickly looked over to me and softly chuckled: “Do you not believe me?”
“Your birthday is not tomorrow, is it?”
Queen Sisi shook out her hair, wearing a smug smile. Then, she suddenly gazed over to Veirya and smiled: “My enemies are dead. The death of my enemies is my moment of birth. Therefore, it is my birthday.”
Queen Sisi took a light hold of Veirya’s hand: “Little Doggy, you truly do continue to give me pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise. You’re different to those around me. I’m very interested in you. How about this: Veirya, you can choose anything you like. I’ll exchange it with you. Do you want richer land or money? Anything will do. As long as you name it, I shall give it to you. You just need to give Little Doggy to me.”
Veirya silently looked at Queen Sisi for a while. Veirya was Queen Siss’ loyalest soldier, her most trusted individual. She had never let Queen Sisi down. Veirya could give Queen Sisi anything she wanted, whether it was victory, dignity or even the Demon King’s head. This time, however, Veirya gently shook her head: “Sorry, Your Majesty, but I do not accept the exchange.”
Queen Sisi raised an eyebrow. She still wore a calm look, but she was in a foul mood: “Really? Veirya, I can give you anything that you want. I just want Little Doggy. Little Doggy is but a spoil of war to you, isn’t he?”
Veirya solemnly replied, “He is. Very Important to me. I. Do not want anything. Sorry, Your Majesty. I. Will not exchange him.”
“Really?” asked Queen Sisi
Veirya didn’t avert her gaze. She sincerely nodded then pushed her plate of food away and nodded.
Queen Sisi hopelessly smiled and touched Veirya’s head: “Eat, eat, Veirya. I wouldn’t take Little Doggy as payment for a meal. We won’t make a trade, then. I have mixed feelings knowing that you finally have something that you want, Veirya. With that said, Little Doggy will probably love tomorrow’s banquet.”
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