I never imagined Queen Sisi’s guest was Veirya… It was awkward when our eyes met. Veirya came out from the dining hall and scanned the ladies-in-waiting around before fixing her eyes on me. I had no idea what to say.
“Should I greet her, or should I salute her with the same level of respect as given to the Queen? Or does Veirya have something to say to me?” I pondered.
Veirya didn’t give me a chance to reach a conclusion, nonetheless. I believed that I processed and pondered things fast, but Veirya’s patience ran dry even faster. She walked off. Queen Sisi remained in the dining hall even after Veirya left. The ladies-in-waiting tensely regarded each other. The dining hall was dead silent as if there was no one present. Or, perhaps, there was an angry Queen who was inside the dining hall, looking to vent on someone for some therapy. I didn’t know what Veirya and Queen Sisi discussed. But nevertheless, it didn’t seem harmonious. Unlike last time when Queen Sisi didn’t hesitate to hug her warrior despite her being covered in blood, Veirya apparently disappointed Queen Sisi this time.
I took in a deep breath and squeezed through the crowd to head to the dining hall. I knocked on the door. I heard the sound of Queen Sisi knocking on her glass. I surmised it was her indication for me to enter.
I entered the dining hall. Queen Sisi was still sitting on her master seat. She fiddled with an exquisitely carved fork, appearing to be deep in her own thoughts. I went to speak, but she swiftly made a hush hand gesture: “Wait, my little doggy. Be quiet for now. Be quiet for now. I’m serious. I’m thinking. I’m thinking about something very, very important. Serious. Don’t speak… Well, you completely derailed my thoughts. So, what is it now, Little Doggy?”
I doubt any sane person would’ve been able to handle Queen Sisi’s abrupt change of mind… Wearing a helpless smile, I expressed, “Your Majesty, I wanted to report to you since my foot has healed. Thank you for taking care of me.”
“I’m not blind. If you could walk here, it’s enough proof that you’ve healed, isn’t it?” Queen Sisi grouchily glared at me. Then, she threw aside her fork and got up. She irritably scratched her head and muttered to herself, “How could I be so foolish. Damn it. I shouldn’t have sent her, but I don’t have a better candidate at the moment, do I…? Aaaahh, darn it. There are usually always people around me, yet they’re all rubbish bins. Not one of them can be relied on when I need them.”
I cautiously asked, “Your Majesty, should I or should I not ask why exactly you are so frustrated?”
I had no way of guessing what her issue. I didn’t know the contents of her discussion with Veirya. I knew even less about what happened during my time off to heal my foot.
Queen Sisi shook her head: “Nothing. It’s just that my plan will have to be delayed. I take that back. It can’t be enacted now. I have no one loyal and reliable enough to take up the most important post at the moment.”
I was curious what the post was. My brain wildly sent me hints, telling me to take up the job. It was an opportunity from the heavens. Queen Sisi needed someone loyal and reliable. Why couldn’t that person be me? Didn’t that mean that I had a legitimate reason to leave under her orders? As long as I could leave Queen Sisi, I could ensure that I could complete the task she assigned me. I could take Leah along with me, which would perfectly fulfil my promise to her. I could stay by her side henceforward; I wouldn’t have to wake early and return late, either. Thus, I asked, “Your majesty, what is it about?’
“Little Doggy, you’re asking too many questions. Since when did dogs ask their owner so many questions?”
Queen Sisi’s dangerous smile hinted to me that I had gone too far. She was annoyed, and patience wasn’t her forte. Consequently, I shut up. I tried to read her. I had no clues that could help me figure out what was on her mind. Rather, perhaps it was better to ask Veirya what happened. It would be much simpler to get Veirya to spill something than Queen Sisi.
I made a small bow. I knew that the smartest decision in that situation was to get out of there and fast. However, I had something I had to do. Queen Sisi stood at the window with her arms folded, presumably continuing her contemplation of whatever it was. I was hesitant to speak for it most certainly wasn’t the appropriate time to. If I didn’t, though, how would I face Leah? Should I have just waited?
Noticing me still standing there, Queen Sisi looked over and frowned, “Do you have other business? Little Doggy, I hope you have something that can cheer me up to say. How come you’ve become stupid after breaking your leg from your fall? You should be very clear what you should do in this circumstance, yet you’re still here. You best say that something that amuses me.”
“Truth be told, it will not make you laugh. Rather, it is a request I wish to make of you.” I checked her response before elaborating, “I apologise, Your Majesty. I know that this is not the right time to make a request, but sometimes, once you miss it, you will no longer have the chance. I hope that you can help Leah settle down. She is lonely at the moment. I hope to give her something to do. Allow her to stick with me, or you can allow me to go and resolve the problem so that Leah and I can leave.”
Queen Sisi snickered: “Really now? Little Doggy, you sure are quite amazing, huh? You’re providing me with options now of all times? Why do I have to choose? You’re only my prisoners of war. What right do you have to be negotiating conditions with me? All right, give me a reason for why I must choose.”
Queen Sisi walked up to me. I didn’t avert my gaze on her. I looked straight into her heterochrommia eyes and replied in a quiet voice, “Because… that painting.”
“I already took care of you.”
“I meant your attitude toward it. You and your father seem… to have had a good relationship. My situation with Leah is the same. I am sure you understand how Leah feels.”
Queen Sisi fell into a silence. She scratched her burgundy hair before replying, “Geez, Little Doggy, your brain is annoying me, especially right now. Get out now. I’ll do something but, right now, get out.”
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