Knight and Princess
Queen Sisi wasn’t what I thought she was. Her past was different to what I imagined. As the saying goes, I don’t know everything someone went through; all that I’m doing is criticising them from my standpoint. Everything Achilles, the military, Edward and the guard unit knew was limited to purely everything they could know. Their experiences weren’t what Queen Sisi experienced. So-called loyalty was worthless to Queen Sisi. She wasn’t after that sort of loyalty. She knew very well what their so-called virtues offered.
Queen Sisi wasn’t wrong, strictly speaking. The people had always been foolish, and their biggest problem was that they didn’t acknowledge their foolishness. The more civilised a society is, the smarter and more civilised the fools believed themselves to be. They didn’t know what was good and what was correct. They just needed what they needed. Once they couldn’t obtain what they needed, they wrote off everything you ever did. A minute amount of aggravation was enough to light the fire and trigger them into erupting.
Queen Sisi’s father met his end at the hands of fools. The people are forgetful and easily angered, foolish and ignorant. Hence, they executed Queen Sisi’s father despite him never having done anything wrong. He merely turned down a few noble families. Queen Sisi realised her father’s mistake, which was why she relied on her blade to rule her nation. She didn’t know if she was right or wrong, but she knew her father was wrong.
I stayed silent. Queen Sisi took a brief break from speaking. She sat next to me with a gentle demeanour and her head gently resting on me. She carried on, “I witnessed lots and lots of things. I fell to the bottom of the valley from the peak, and I’ve also gone from the bottom to the top. I’ve seen too many people. That’s why I like Veirya, who’s pure. I’ve never seen someone so pure before. Veirya doesn’t have any ulterior motives. She protects me in such a pure and beautiful way, which is why I like her so much.”
Queen Sisi gently took off her shoes and dipped her feet into the hot spring. Her pure white feet resembled fish jumping out and diving into the water underneath the pure moonlight and steam in the spring. She gently hugged me and tenderly said, “I know the people around me are divided. I’m not miserable; I’m just disappointed. I once trusted Achilles and company a lot. I entrusted them with my trust, yet they didn’t understand me. What right and wrong is there as a monarch? Little Doggy, if I manage to conquer the elves this time, no one will claim I was wrong to attack the elves, correct? I don’t need those people. I need those loyal to me around me, not a group of people with ulterior motives.”
“We do not think that attacking the elves is wrong. It is just that it is not the right timing.”
“Is now not prime time? The elves must be conducting an internal clean up right now. The faction that supports their Queen and the current ruling faction must be in conflict. During the war against the Demon King, our military was smaller than it is now, and we won in the end, didn’t we? However, that’s not the problem I’m talking about. Little Doggy, come join me, okay? What I want isn’t an elf; I want to prove that I’m correct. Little Doggy, join me. Come and help me as Veirya does. Prove to them I’m correct. Tell them that my definition of kingship is correct.”
I could see Queen Sisi’s sincerity and seriousness in her eyes. I, as a matter of fact, could even see her pleading me subtly with her eyes. She looked at me the same way Leah did. I almost stopped breathing because of her demeanour and the fact that she was hugging me with her warmth. I could also see her beautiful face, but my brain wouldn’t stop.
Queen Sisi was different to Veirya. My only weakness was Veirya. I only lost my ability to think when I was in Veirya’s presence. I knew how to answer even if Queen Sisi kissed me. Furthermore, Queen Sisi could cry at the drop of a hat; putting on the act that she currently has going isn’t a challenge for her. Queen Sisi didn’t lie about one thing, for sure. She was truly scary skilled with psychological manipulation.
I looked at Queen Sisi then looked away. I solemnly asserted, “Your Majesty, I am sure that you must be able to understand one thing.”
I turned back to look at Queen Sisi and replied, “I sympathise with your past and can understand your current methods.”
Queen Sisi happily clasped my face and smiled: “I know that you’re an astute and emotional man. You’re the only one who can understand me. I always feel happy when you’re with me. You can do what others can’t. I’m inviting you again: Little Doggy, help prove me right and them idiotic. I can give you anything that you want. I…”
“Sorry, Your Majesty.” I resolutely interjected. I then shook my head: “Your Majesty, I am sure you understand that sympathising with you does not imply that I will help you. All of your past experiences are merely the reason you have chosen your current path. Nevertheless, that reason is not a reason for you to do this. They are two different matters. Being sympathetic of your past does not mean that I approve of you. I merely said I sympathise with your past. I never said that I believe what you are doing at the moment to be correct.”
Queen Sisi’s expression immediately changed. She released me. Her smile was erased, but her gaze didn’t show aggression or disappointment. To the contrary, she was very calm. Maybe she had totally given up after I refused her so many times. Perhaps that was her last attempt that still ended in failure. Queen Sisi asked again, “Are you… really not willing to?”
“I think you are wrong, Your Majesty. If you attack now, your success is unlikely. As a businessman, I will not support a Queen who fails.”
“Isn’t that why your job is to make what would otherwise fail a success?! It’s the job of all vassals to make what their ruler wants a success, isn’t it?! Why can’t you help me?! Why?!”
“Because my loyalty belongs to Veirya, not you. Moreover, I do not plan to change who I dedicate my loyalty to. Your Majesty, many people say that I do not have a bottom line, but my bottom line is Veirya and Leah. They are my family. Everything I ever do will be for them whether that is in the present or future. But nonetheless, I have already thought for you. Your Majesty, once your attack on the elves fails, you will lose everything that you currently have. You went through a lot to obtain everything that you have now. Do you understand that?”
Queen Sisi nodded: “Yes. It is precisely because I went through hell that I don’t care what happens in the future. I’ve never considered what will happen in the future. All I care about is what I will gain after victories. If not even I believe in its success, how will it ever succeed? I’ve never questioned myself. I’ll still do it.”
“I know. If you truly want to do something, we cannot stop you by any means.”
Queen Sisi stood up. She took a few steps on the stone steps in the spring and stood in the centre. She skilfully spun a circle in the spring and then smiled gleefully: “That is life, Little Doggy. I am enjoying what’s called life right now. I’m enjoying everything I never enjoyed. Whatever happens, I’ll accept the results. However, I still hope a knight will come to my rescue when I’m in danger just as portrayed in many fairy tales. In the end, the knight and Princess always lived happily ever after.”
“Do you still believe in fairy tales?”
“Of course I do. It’s just that this world won’t let me believe in them. There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to it.”
I was sure Veirya would protect Queen Sisi if the latter was in danger during the war against the elves. I couldn’t stop Veirya if she chose to do so. Queen Sisi was important to Veirya. I had no doubt Veirya would go to her rescue in the elven lands. The elves, however, would consider it an attack from Veirya.
Veirya couldn’t show up in the elven lands. In fact, Veirya couldn’t have a part in the war. The elves were aware of how frightening Veirya was. Lucia would probably have her eyes on Veirya the moment Veirya entered the elven forest. Lucia did say that Veirya’s head was what she wanted most.
I was certain Queen Sisi’s campaign was bound to end in failure for her. Consequently, Veirya couldn’t go to Queen Sisi’s rescue once the result was irreversible. That meant I was the only candidate who could go.
I wouldn’t save Queen Sisi because I like her smile, which a child would wear, as she played in the water, definitely not because of her many invites and definitely not because of her body and smile. I merely didn’t want Veirya to risk her safety.
That night, Queen Sisi basked in the moonlight and cheerfully played in the water. I silently watched her. It was also then that the oath between the knight and Princess was established…
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