To the Imperial Palace Without Queen Sisi
“He. Has arrived. Yes or no?”
The young man was concerned. Veirya held her long sword to her chest; she sat by the window and peered into the darkness outside. In a steady voice, she said, “I. Miss him. A bit now. I think. I might. Have done the wrong thing. Perhaps. I shouldn’t have come here. I now feel. That it’s better. By his side.”
“… You did not make the wrong choice. You merely chose the nation over that man. You are this nation’s hero. You were and are still are giving everything for this nation just as we are.”
Veirya gaze was focused on the outside the entire time. For a long while, she didn’t utter a word. Eventually, she solemnly asked, “Do you. Know. Where he is. At the moment?”
“No. We have not found him. He never had any unique traits. Our soldiers did not find him in the city. Further, it is an irrefutable fact that he did not commit a crime or do anything wrong. Therefore, we cannot justify putting out an arrest warrant and investigating his whereabouts. We did locate his horse carriage, but it was empty. We do not know where he has gone…
“Lord Veirya, it is your business with him. As an outsider, it is not my place to say much; however, I still want to mention one point: you do not need to go to him. Once you become Queen, you can have him come to you. Hence, need only to wait. When the time comes, he will come to you.”
Veirya tilted her head to think: “Are you. Absolutely sure. That he. Will take the initiative. To come to me?”
“Absolutely.” After a small nod, the young man left the room, as it was time for Veirya to turn in.
“He will come find me on his own,” Veirya repeated to herself.
He had never taken the initiative to go to her. When they first met, she was the one who brought him out from the Demon King’s place. He took the initiative to contact Queen Sisi and get engaged with Lucia, but he had never chosen her side. She believed that if she were to become the Queen, then he would take the initiative to go to her side. If that was how it worked, she just needed to wait.
I felt quite sleep deprived when I woke up the next day. It wasn’t that it was bad sleeping in a chair as I had often slept in all sorts of odd places in the past. I couldn’t sleep because Queen Sisi slept on the bed behind me. She left me irritated as I couldn’t forget her touch on my back. As soon as I thought about the fact that she was sleeping behind me, I’d become restless.
“I only love Veirya Queen Sisi hasn’t even been by my side for a few days. Why am I suddenly feeling restless around Queen Sisi?” I asked inwardly.
When Queen Sisi woke up, she yawned. Her first reaction when she sat up and saw me was to freeze. She shyly turned her head and pinched her hand. In a quiet voice, she stammered, “Umm… good morning… uhh… sorry… about last night… I… I… panicked…”
I shook my head: “Do not mind it. Just do not show it as things will get messy if Leah finds out.”
Queen Sisi gestured she understood, and then we left the room. Outside, a group of succubi crowded around Leah. She sat on the thigh of one of the succubi and enjoyed having another succubus feed her a fruit. She looked as proud as a Queen among succubi. The elves sat to the side. Ciara carefully fed the Elven Queen a strange soup.
When she saw Queen Sisi and I come down, Leah cheerfully hopped off the succubus’ thigh to run over to me and hug me around my waist. She sniffed me, and then she cheerfully giggled: “Papa doesn’t have Queen Sisi’s scent. It seems that Papa truly learnt Papa’s lesson, huh? Leah is glad.”
Fact: we didn’t do anything indecent last night. Something did happen, but both of us hid it. As a result, Leah didn’t find out. I picked Leah up and gave the succubi a nod: “Thank you for taking care of Leah.”
“Leah possesses the most venerated bloodline among us, so it is only right that we take care of our Leah. There is no need to thank us.”
Sophia gave me a nod unlike her concerned cohorts. I had the impression that they wanted to say something to me, but Leah gave them an incredibly aggressive glare. The succubi were worried about their so-called concept of belonging. In other words, since I was Leah’s prey, no other succubus dared to think about going after me.
Leah caressed my face: “Papa, what do you plan to do today? You should tidy yourself today; you have a beard on your chin now… You never grew a beard before… Ever since Mama Veirya left, you seem to be in a daze, not knowing what you should do…”
“Uhm… Papa will tidy up.”
It had been a long time since I last cared about my appearance. Leah was right. Ever since Veirya left, I was dead set on just one thing – reinstating Queen Sisi to stop Veirya from becoming Queen. That was all that was ever on my mind, thereby forgetting about my appearance. Had Queen Sisi not helped me wipe my body down last night, I wouldn’t have even thought of it.
“Unfortunately, we are all girls here, so we do not have a shaver,” notified Sophia. She added, “It would be weird, and we would stand out if we went to buy one, right?’
“It’s fine.” Ciara made the remark while drawing her long sword and chuckling: “If you can trust me, I can use this to help you shave.”
“All right, do it.”
I had no qualms with trusting Ciara. As the Elven Queen’s bodyguard, swordplay was a field of expertise for her. Queen Sisi, however, stood between us and disputed, “It’s too dangerous. I won’t allow it. He has very important business today. He can’t have a wound on his face.”
“Then… what do we do?”
Ciara pulled her sword back. Queen Sisi turned to me and suggested, “Leave it to me today. I won’t allow something so dangerous to happen! Go with your beard. That… will make you look more mature…”
Queen Sisi made me pay attention to my beard with her remark. I never thought about growing a beard, but after hearing that from her… Should I have a beard from now, I wondered.
Leah clung to my arm and enthusiastically asked, “Papa, can Leah follow you today?”
“Sorry, Leah, it might be dangerous today, so Papa can’t bring you. Wait for Papa at home.”
Leah tightened her hold on my arm and pleaded, “That’s even more of a reason for Leah to go with Papa!! If Leah can’t go, then, Papa, can you stay, too? It’s dangerous… Can you not go, Papa…?”
“No, Papa has to go.”
I had to go; I had to go into the imperial palace to be able to see Veirya. It was dangerous to meet the young man from the military. Nevertheless, it was my only chance. If Veirya chose to return to my side after we met, then I could save myself all the trouble. My scout mission was important.
Queen Sisi stroked Leah’s head. She crouched and whispered in Leah’s ear, “Don’t worry, Leah. Your father has his own plan. If he dares to go into danger, he must be able to return safe and sound. We need to believe in him. Your father is not a man with brawn but no brain.”
Leah was still fearful of Queen Sisi to a degree. After all, the traumatic experience Queen Sisi gave her when they first met still gripped Leah’s heart. Leah snuggled up in my arms. I caressed her head with a smile. I looked into her eyes and promised, “Leah, when Papa went to the elven lands, it was more dangerous, wasn’t it? Papa came back in the end, right? Papa promises to come back this time. Papa is the smartest one here.”
“Leah believes in you, Papa!!” With a firm nod, Leah reached up around my neck and kissed my forehead. She softened her tone: “Papa, ask Mama Veirya to come back. Without her around, you smell bitter… Papa looks sad.”
“Is that right…?”
Queen Sisi looked at me in silence, albeit with mixed emotions. I stood up and swept my gaze over everyone present: “I shall be on my way now, then. Your Majesty, if mishap truly befalls me th-”
Queen Sisi vigorously covered my mouth before I finished: “I don’t like to hear that sort of stuff. That shouldn’t be something that you say. You and I never talk about ‘what if’. You must believe that you can make it back in order to come back when the going gets tough. You must come back, not just for Leah, but also for me.”
Queen Sisi caressed my face, eager to kiss my lips. Nonetheless, as she saw Leah present, she stopped herself, leaving her with just my touch and warmth.
“Go, my knight. I shall wait for you here to send me back…”
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