Never did I expect to meet Queen Sisi again in that fashion.
Lucia gently grabbed onto my arm. I didn’t move; I, instead, slowly had a drink of wine and sucked on the ice cube in my mouth to leverage the cold to stimulate my brain. I felt as though the cold would tear the interior of my mouth. I felt sorry for Queen Sisi after witnessing the state she was in, but I was also angry. I couldn’t allow my heart rate to increase, though. I had to show I was indifferent to her circumstance. After all, my goal was solely to marry Lucia, not to save Queen Sisi.
“Don’t get angry. Don’t get angry,” I kept silently repeating in my mind.
Queen Sisi had her limbs tied to a cross. Her posture was weird. Her heavy belly slouched down as if it was going to peel off her body. Feeling her muscles and bones scream, she shrieked and cried: “Aaaaahh!!!”
Lucia gently patted me on my shoulder. She whispered in my ear, “I know, Dear. I totally understand. That human humiliated you without any hesitation; she nearly humiliated you as a dog, which is why I think this is nice. Humanity has abandoned her. As such, she has no value to us any longer. We’re going to use her for entertainment purposes. This is even better. I’ll let you vent today. Dear, let’s do this: do you want me to shatter her brains or the nut? Or would you like me to shoot one of her eyes? Or would you prefer her throat?”
Queen Sisi continued to scream as she squirmed. She futilely tried to escape the cross as her neck was pinned to the cross with an iron ring. Her belly swayed side to side, looking as if it was a water balloon.
I chuckled: “Lucia, do you want to demonstrate your prowess?”
“That’s a given. My goal this time is to impress you with my archery skills,” Lucia proudly reaffirmed. She pointed to Queen Sisi: “You can choose any spot you like. I’ll unquestionably be able to hit it. So, Dear, what is your choice?”
“Lucia, how good are your skills?”
Lucia’s brain stuttered. She glanced over to Queen Sisi before replying, “I can hit the nut from here, I guess. I can still hit it from further away. I can also curve shots. Those are all supreme skills.”
“Queen Sisi’s head would be too big of a target, then, right?”
“Of course. It’s child’s play to hit such a big target from here.”
“Shoot the nut, then. I’m not here to vent this time. Plus, killing her with one shot after the way she humiliated me doesn’t qualify as revenge. Letting her die now would be relieving her of her misery now. I want to humiliate her; not kill her.” I turned around to look over at Queen Sisi. I placed my cup down and smiled: “How about scaring her? Is she pregnant or something?”
“Oh, umm, that….”
Lucia giggled, deeming my reason acceptable. She then waved a hand. Five human prisoners, who had their hands restrained, were pressed down onto our table. Five elves stood behind them, resting heavy double-handed swords on their shoulders. The five humans exchanged glances while panicking. Their mouths were stuffed, so they couldn’t utter a word. Lucia stood up and shouted to Queen Sisi, “Sisi, listen in, before you are elven nobles. You’re our property and our prestige. Should you fail to show etiquette in everyone’s presence, I shall kill these five human soldiers in front of you. Know this: your soldiers are in their current predicament thanks to you. If you are rude, I’ll have your soldiers die and have you witness their execution as a penalty for your blunder!!”
Queen Sisi had no means of speaking. All she did was look in our direction. Lucia picked up her bow. She then looked at me and chuckled. I felt the pressure of a hand on me. I turned around to see her brother’s calm look. He lowered his head then gave me a weird smile and chuckled: “This is great, huh, my dear Lucia’s husband? It’s nice to see your enemy humiliated, isn’t it? That’s why you don’t care what happens to Queen Sisi, correct? That’s why you’re okay with watching her die, correct? Please enjoy it. Not everyone has the privilege to witness Lucia’s archery skills. Generally speaking, those who saw her archery skills are dead.”
“Yeah? I’m quite honoured, then. She’s quite lucky, too, then. Queen Sisi is one who will live to tell the tale, after all.”
I didn’t bother with Lucia’s brother again. I picked up the cup of wine. The banshee behind me quickly refilled my drink. The wine made from fruit perfectly suited my palate. It wasn’t strong and could calm me down somewhat. Lucia’s brother stayed by my side. He looked over to Queen Sisi and laughed condescendingly: “I wonder if Queen Sisi will make it. I can’t be sure where the arrow will fly to.”
“I have absolute faith in my wife.”
I gave Lucia’s brother my back. Lucia focused on taking aim and complained, “Brother, once my arrow leaves the string, it’ll make a circle and hit your hat as punishment for your rudeness toward me. Why do you not trust me? Name one time I missed. I said I’ll hit the nut. That means I will hit it without a doubt.”
Lucia immediately let the arrow go after she finished speaking. The sharp arrow pierced through the air and zipped toward Queen Sisi. Queen Sisi tragically howled. Due to her neck being restrained, however, she couldn’t move. The arrow was designed in a unique way. The rear of it had a ribbon tied on, allowing me to clearly see the trajectory and velocity the arrow travelled at. The nut was tiny; it wasn’t even as big as the arrow. I wasn’t sure if it’d put a hole in Queen Sisi’s head or hit the nut.
Two hundred metres took a while for an arrow to cross. Those few seconds were an incredibly long time to us. It was as though time had stagnated. All of our lives rode on those seconds. Those few seconds were the final last seconds of life for some. They gave me enough time to see me panic.
Lucia and her brother had enough time to kill me. Nobody knew where the arrow would fly to in those few seconds. It could’ve pierced Queen Sisi’s small head at any moment. The closer it got to her, the tenser I should’ve been. Howbeit, neither my heart rate nor expression changed.
All I could do was watch the arrow with a pretty ribbon on it fly toward the person I was supposed to save. All the while, I couldn’t allow my mouth to budge. I kept my eyes on Queen Sisi; meanwhile, all of the elves gazed at me.
The arrow hit the nut on Queen Sisi’s head precisely. The arrow terrified Queen Sisi, however. Anybody would be scared if they saw an arrow zip past their scalp to hit a nut on their head. Queen Sisi’s body spontaneously went limp, thereby relaxing her bladder. As a result, a liquid of disgusting colour began to spray from her lower body. Ashamed, Queen Sisi bunched her face up. She no longer even had the strength to cry. Her head sunk in defeat.
“Do it.” Lucia gave her command without any hesitation.
The executioners showed no mercy. They raised their double-handed swords up high and cleanly truncated the four soldier’s necks. Blood spraying, five heads tumbled across the ground. Their scarlet life force began to drip off the white tablecloth. The scarlet rain created a charming, yet despairing, sight.
Lucia set her bow down and jeered, “How unbecoming. How unbecoming. Queen Sisi, you’re supposed to be humanity’s Queen, yet you wet yourself in front of everyone? Look at your filth. Look at it. It’s repulsive. Is humanity’s Queen an animal? Do all the poor, insignificant humans in your imperial capital wet themselves whenever they get scared? Look at these five corpses! Good going!! They died because you couldn’t hold it in. You sure are an excellent Queen, huh?!!”
Lucia gently placed her hand on my wrist. I quietly had a nip of wine. I knew what I was supposed to do. I knew better than anyone else. If I couldn’t control my emotions, if I revealed just that teeny trace, I knew what would happen. Neither Queen Sisi nor I would escape with our lives. I surmised the shooting event to be the final test.
I knew that they did something extremely cruel to Sisi, but what was crueller was that they didn’t even give me the right to be angry. I had to say something. I couldn’t keep a lid on my mouth forever. They awaited my response. I needed to provide a response that showed indifference to Queen Sisi, yet also cared about her. If I answered incorrectly, the two of us would lose our lives on the spot. I only needed to answer with a word or two, but those could be my last words.
Lucia had her finger on my wrist while her brother had his hand on my neck. I couldn’t feel my heart beat, but they didn’t know. The tenser I was, the clearer my thinking was. Words were my weapon. Deceit was my style.
I looked over to Queen Sisi. I placed my cup of wine down and contracted my brows. I commented, “How repulsive.”
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