The “I Love You” She Speaks Of
Leah had fallen asleep at the table by the time I returned downstairs. The walking bird joined her, curling up into a small ball next to Leah’s side. I smiled helplessly. Staying up late wasn’t healthy for Leah; I had to hurry and take her up. Veirya sat next to Leah. She poked the walking bird’s fur out of curiosity.
Angelina came out from the kitchen, wiping her hands at the same time. She gave me a doting smile and suggested, “You must be quite tired after all that. I’ll take Leah upstairs first. You should also turn in soon.”
I understood Angelina wanted to let Veirya and I have time alone together. Anna came out with a broth that had just finished. She added some dry meat and bread for one sumptuous meal according to the standards we had available. Anna delivered the food upstairs to Queen Sisi, while Angelina carried Leah up. The elves were silent. Apparently, they had turned in already.
There was only Veirya and I at the table just as when we first arrived in the North. Veirya wouldn’t say anything to me, while I wouldn’t know what to say, either. Despite me accomplishing what was borderline impossible, Veirya didn’t give me any reward. I was a tad unhappy about that, but that was the true Veirya. Since Veirya was the woman I liked, I had to be ready to forego any unrealistic expectations of her. Nonetheless, she suddenly spoke up not long after I sat down.
“How did you. Rescue. Queen Sisi?”
I looked up stiffly at Veirya. I didn’t know how to answer. I did something that was literally impossible to do, using a method that easily deserved to be a cult classic, so I could even brag in Queen Sisi’s presence. In saying that, I didn’t want to share it because I was ashamed of myself. There was nothing worth bragging about when I had to hurt Lucia to succeed. Others might consider an elf they could be with or without, an idiot I fooled, an example of my intellect. From my perspective, she was a pitiful girl I hurt, deceived and was then left behind in the elven lands. Moreover, what was I supposed to tell Veirya? Was I supposed to tell the woman I liked that I got engaged with Lucia and even had Veirya’s invite prepared? What, do I just say, “I did it to save Queen Sisi, so you don’t need to worry. I still love you?” Prove to me that would be wise.
When it came down to it, however, Veirya didn’t seem as though she’d spare me if I kept silent. I hesitated for a while before finally answering, “I… took advantage of petite Lucia to rescue Queen Sisi.”
Veirya nodded. By the looks of it, she wasn’t angry with me using Lucia. Despite being good friends, the two gave their utmost for their respective races as their race’s heroes. They both put aside their friendship when their races were involved.
“When you were away. I was. Somewhat lonely.”
Given that I liked Veirya, her statement set my face ablaze. I stared at the marks on the table and shyly muttered, “Truth be told… I… missed you when I was there, too… I’m sorry… for leaving without a word…”
Perhaps what I worried about was insignificant to Veirya.
Veirya then changed the topic: “After you left. Angelina told me. A lot of things. In the past. I always. Treated you as Her Majesty’s reward. I felt. You should obey me. But. Angelina said. I was wrong. She said. You helped me. Because you loved me. You and I. Are actually the same.”
I looked back up at Veirya, surprised. She, on the other hand, was as calm as always. She reached her hand out to me: “I don’t know. What love is. So I don’t know. If I love you or not. But, I feel. I don’t. Want to let you leave. If that is love. Then. I think I love you.”
“Mm… Veirya, if I may, I want to say the same thing to you, as well, Veirya.”
My heart began to race wildly just as my mind did, thinking, “What’s this considered? Isn’t this a great opportunity for me? They say that short partings make the heart grow fonder. So, Veirya has realised her feelings for me, and she finally understood what I cared about, and she finally sees me as a human being, and she said those three words, I love you, to me.
“The last one to say that to me was Lucia. My heart rate didn’t change at all when Lucia said it, but now that Veirya said she loved me in spite of not understanding its meaning, my heart feels as if it’s going to explode. Is this what love is? I know that this isn’t nice to Lucia, but maybe I really never loved her.”
“Uhm. What do you plan to do. About Queen Sisi?”
“Queen Sisi… mm… Someone came to ask you to go to the imperial capital to become a Queen, right?”
I, personally, wanted to continue with the topic of our feelings for a while, but Queen Sisi, apparently, was more important. I didn’t plan to compete with Queen Sisi. What would be the point of getting jealous of Queen Sisi? I didn’t get confrontational as to why people asked Veirya why she wanted to be a Queen, either. It didn’t really serve any practical purpose even if I did know.
“Uhm. I turned them down. Because. I felt. You wouldn’t. Let me go.”
“Good call. Don’t go. They’re not doing it for your benefit or the nation. Their goal is to make you a puppet as you don’t know how to rule as a monarch. My next goal from here is to go to the imperial capital and crown Queen Sisi again. It shouldn’t be difficult. Queen Sisi didn’t commit any major mistake. She should return to the throne since she’s back.”
If Veirya and Queen Sisi competed for the throne, Queen Sisi, admittedly, would be in dire straits. Veirya was a war hero and saved a good number of people in the most recent war. Meanwhile, Queen Sisi was a defeated Queen who I brought back. If you compared the two, anyone could tell who had more support. The people’s opinions didn’t mean squat, of course. Nevertheless, I required the people’s power in this instance. With the military controlling the imperial capital, the unarmed merchants, alone, wouldn’t be enough. I needed the majority, the people, in order to crown Queen Sisi again. If Veirya contended for the throne, then the people would never side with us. That would seal Queen Sisi’s fate as a one-man army. Fortunately, Veirya was on our side.
“But, hang on. She just said that she loved me. Is that topic already done and dusted?!” I suddenly realised.
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