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Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to tell Queen Sisi what Achilles and the young man told me. She didn’t give me the chance; she left right after. I didn’t see her again that night. I did outright turn her down, but I was even more worried about her state of mind, as I didn’t inform her. She expressed she might lay her hands on Veirya, and she was serious.
Queen Sisi was the type who had to get what she wanted. I, unfortunately, became what she wanted. Bearing the pain of leaving Veirya to be by Queen Sisi’s side while claiming that I did so in order to protect Veirya, thereby hurting Veirya as you’d see in Korean dramas, wasn’t what I wanted. Staying by Veirya’s side was protecting her. It was precisely because I was by Veirya’s side that I could keep her safe. The moment I left Veirya, she’d truly be useless, and Queen Sisi wouldn’t hesitate to off her.
I speculated Queen Sisi would go looking for Veirya. Veirya was her sharpest blade. If Queen Sisi planned to attack another race, Veirya would be her most formidable combatant. Queen Sisi was just somewhat arrogant; she was still rational. At the very least, she’d do her best to put pressure on the other with her combat force.
I refused to let Veirya go regardless of whom Queen Sisi fought or what she did. I couldn’t see Queen Sisi winning with what she had. In the last war against the demons, everyone united to subdue the demons. Every soldier was fearless. Businesses donated their money that they considered treasures, and adventurers didn’t fear the ruthless demons. At this point, the military had other ideas in mind. The businessmen were afraid, and the people had yet to recover after the previous war. Queen Sisi didn’t understand that. Sure, she was proud and satisfied, but the nation wasn’t.
The carriage was already on the road. We could already see the outer perimeter of the imperial palace. We left the imperial capital first thing in the morning as if we were fleeing for dear life. Leah couldn’t forget the imperial capital. The weather was the same as usual. The temperature in the South was comfortably warm. The sky wasn’t very cloudy. The birds’ chirps attracted other birds. The gentle breeze carried along the smell of flowers and grass. I looked behind. There were no areas that rose up on the plains of the six-corner star city, but I knew the imperial capital was being turned upside down. Everything around looked beautiful, but the power spurting forth from within the city might destroy everything, everything that I knew, in the end.
While I was deep in thought, Veirya suddenly remarked, “You. Don’t seem. To be in a good mood.”
I looked at Veirya with a lost look. She then held my hand: “What. Is the matter? Did You. Not have fun. Last night? We. Had lots of fun.”
I softly sighed: “Many things might happen.”
“What things? Did you. Not already. Resolve them?”
“Things are always getting more and more complicated, more and more unacceptable, though, especially now. Veirya, you might not be aware, but the interior of the imperial capital is extremely chaotic at the moment, particularly around Queen Sisi. She wants to do something; I’m sure she plans to do something. She might be planning to attack the elves.”
“Really?” Veirya had no opinion of the possibility of another war. She looked completely relaxed: “In that case. I might. Go to war. Lucilia. Is very tough to fight. I might. Not be able to defeat her.”
“No, no, no, no!! What are you thinking? Veirya, this war has nothing to do with us. You’re no longer Her Majesty’s soldier. I told you about this to tell you not to get involved with it. Do not get involved even if Her Majesty personally comes knocking.” I pressed my hands on Veirya’s shoulders and carried on, “The war is most likely to fail, because nobody is helping Her Majesty. I’m just trying to figure out who stands to gain from this war, and what will happen once the war breaks out, because I only have a general understanding of the empire, I can’t figure anything out. With that said, because this war is doomed to end in failure, you can’t go, Veirya.”
“I can’t put Her Majesty in danger. Just because of fear of losing.”
Veirya moved my hands off her shoulders. That proved she was different to what I thought. Somewhat in a dilemma, I rubbed my head. Honestly, I had no way of telling Veirya about it. Veirya said the war was over, but she was still loyal to Queen Sisi. If Queen Sisi launched the attack, Veirya might join her. I needed to stop Veirya.
“Veirya, this war is different to the previous war. You can’t be at the forefront this time. You need to guard the second line for Her Majesty, as I don’t know what will happen after she launches the war. There may very likely be all sorts of schemes that will pop up behind the frontlines. The main thing to be concerned about this war isn’t the war itself, but the schemes behind the frontlines.”
Veirya deliberated what I said for a while and didn’t respond. She silently sat in the carriage. She hesitated for a bit before speaking: “Then, what exactly do I do? What can I. Do? I feel. That the things. You two are involved with. Have left me. At a loss for what to do.”
I explained, “You don’t need to be worried about anything; just sit back and watch. I just don’t know what might happen to Queen Sisi. Whatever happens, there’s bound to be a way to resolve it. It’s just… mm… that’s one matter… There’s one more thing that’s irritating me…”
I didn’t think it was a good idea to mention what that other matter bothering me was… Queen Sisi’s kiss continued to linger on my lips. I tried to forget it, but try as I may, I couldn’t forget it.
Queen Sisi wasn’t joking; she genuinely wanted me to join her, and she truly might harm Veirya. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of conflict. If she called Veirya to battle, but Veirya refused, that would mean Veirya betrayed her. That would become an excuse for her to take the initiative to eliminate Veirya. Veirya and Angelina were different. She knew full well what Veirya’s situation was, and everyone knew Veirya.
I needed to come up with an excuse that Queen Sisi couldn’t call into question to protect Veirya. At the same time, I needed to prevent Veirya from joining the war, but what would be a plausible excuse? Additionally, the missing crucial piece of information was that I didn’t know what means she would use to recruit Veirya. There was no certainty whatsoever. I wouldn’t have any clue until Queen Sisi made her move. But nevertheless, the pointless thinking tortured me. I knew it was useless to think about, but I panicked if I didn’t contemplate it.
I thought I’d be putting an end to something when I went to the imperial capital. Instead, it was only the beginning of everything.
The first thing I needed to do when we got back was to inform the elves of humanity’s planned attack so that they could prepare. While I was at it, I needed to clarify my position in the war with them, ensuring that the North would be safe after the fighting and the flavouring trade continued. Regardless of what took place, the North needed to continue to develop as per normal.
Lucilia purportedly gave me a present of some sort. I didn’t know what it was. It might be something very troublesome. Nevertheless, it was something to worry about it when we returned.
Current time in the imperial palace.
Achilles cautiously expressed, “Your Majesty, Mr. Lin has left the imperial capital. He should be heading to the North by now. I am not too sure what your intentions are. I want to know if Mr. Lin said something to you last night, at the very least.”
Queen Sisi poured honey onto her thin cake while eagerly picking up her fork to prepare to split the cake. She narrowed her eyes but didn’t raise her head; instead, she lazily replied, “Ah, I know Little Doggy has gone back. There’s nothing I can do. My confession last night fell through. It was the first time I experienced disappointment in love.”
Queen Sisi then licked the honey on her lip: “I have laid out the thoughts in my mind already. I believe we must attack the elves this time. I want all of the fame and reputation in the world. The elves have just gone through insurrection. The elf who has taken to the platform is not an elf who belongs in politics. Furthermore, the elves, who oppose the current ruling elven faction, will assist us in this war. By the way, purchase a batch of weapons from the dwarves using the money I earned this time. Equip the guards.”
“Your Majesty, even if you want to attack the elves, we suggest using your field military; they have always been fighting in wars, while the guards have only been guarding the imperial capital. When it comes to authentic combat, they are inferior to the field military.”
“No. Can’t you see the field military is questioning my decision this time? An army questioning commands cannot be employed. All they will end up doing on the frontlines is embarrassing me. The guards are adequate to defeat a bunch of sloppy elves. The military still doesn’t understand what it is that I need. I don’t need vassals who oppose me; you’re my vassals, so you should dedicate your heart and soul to accomplishing what I want to accomplish. Little Doggy does that better than all of you. He has never asked for reasons, yet perfectly accomplished what I asked of him. I like Little Doggy very much; he is the type of vassal I need, understood? You don’t exist to stop me from making errors; you exist to make my errors correct.”
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