The One and Only Queen
“I know what you’re thinking right now. Put another way, you plan to have Queen Sisi forgive you for your deeds and reduce your damages as much as possible, correct? You no longer have your ace. Veirya is on our side.”
I saw the young man’s mouth twitch. Sisi chuckled. She derided, “I knew that killing someone was something that trash among trash could do. Even a farmer could kill someone with their pickaxe. Hence, killing wasn’t a show of supreme power. A monarch’s power is generosity. Besides myself, nobody can pardon you dead lot. Your deeds can be classified as insurrection, but I don’t plan to do anything to you. You once fought alongside me, so I shall forgive and not punish you. In saying that, you should be aware that, after what you did, you are no longer qualified to remain in your posts.”
The people before her didn’t utter a word. The young man expressed, “Sorry, Your Majesty, what we need to say this time is that you should not disb-“
“Not disband you?” Sisi chimed in with a snicker and slam of her hand on the table. Gaze and voice stern, she exclaimed, “This army is my army. It’s supposed to be loyal to me, not you lot. My army should serve me, not you. By the sounds of it, you don’t even consider it an insurgence. You still don’t think you’re wrong?!”
“We did it for the nation!!”
“You crowned Veirya for the nation?!” I rhetorically asked. I snickered: “You know whether or not Veirya can be an excellent Queen. Crowning Veirya for the nation, really? Do you seriously think that? In my opinion, you want to send this nation to its demise. I said it before: Sisi is the representative of this nation. Questioning her is questioning the nation. Betraying her is betraying the nation. You’re the culprits who almost destroyed this empire!! You traitors still have the gall to make requests? Also, if you’re asking me, you all deserve to be cold in the ground! Have you shown any sincerity for a negotiation? You want to bring along a group of fully-armed soldiers to a negotiation?! Sisi, there’s no need to waste our time on them. They’ll have their comeuppance meted out to them later!”
I dragged Sisi off. Sisi was shocked, but she still left with me. Under normal circumstances, the negotiation would’ve been held after our victory. The opposition had no ability to resist at that point. All they could do was accept our conditions. Howbeit, they still had an ace up their sleeve – us. We were in their hands. The military’s soldiers were all around us. If we refused to negotiate, they could very well hold us captive. As such, though it appeared that we had won and they could only act to reduce their sentence a little after we talked, we had to negotiate with them.
Sisi said what she said to avoid putting us at the disadvantage. In other words, we wouldn’t deal with them right away. Instead, we’d deal with them later on. For this negotiation, we just needed to leave, and complete victory was ours. Once Queen Sisi returned to the throne, the traitors would just be sheep waiting to be slaughtered.
What I did was aggravate the opposition on purpose. I provoked the military and forcibly ended the discussions. We might be able to make it out alive, but if the military decided to play suicide bomber, then we might be at out wits end. That was what I thought… until I saw the high regard in which the soldiers held Sisi.
I felt that, if they were to actually give the command to kill Sisi, then the soldiers might not have obeyed. True, Sisi lost in the war, but what truly displeased the soldiers was that they weren’t allowed to join the war. Their concern wasn’t whether the Queen was right or not; they felt that the defeat was a consequence of their absence. Therefore, they didn’t side with their chiefs.
“Stop!” yelled the young man from behind.
The soldiers around us immediately gathered to block our path. Sisi furiously turned around and thundered, “Aphor!! Who gave you the gall to speak to me in that tone?! I’m your Queen. Did you father sacrifice his life for me on the field for you to speak to me in that manner?!”
Aphor’s face froze stiff. He looked to his comrades next to him, but they refused to regard him. Their loyalty for Veirya wasn’t as strong as his. Since things were going south, so they didn’t plan to continue with it. Their priority had switched to keeping their lives. So accordingly, they rather bow to the Queen.
“I apologise, Your Majesty,” apologised Aphor, speaking through his teeth as he knelt.
“Hmph.” Sisi thundered at the guards in her way, “What are you trying to do? I’m your Queen. What are you trying to do?!”
“Think carefully, Aphor. As your senior, I shall do you the favour of kindly breaking down your current predicament for you.” I gently cleared my throat: “What is your capital to negotiate with us now? Can you keep us here? Do you think that your soldiers are still loyal to you? Can you trap us? Veirya is now on our side. Let’s say we don’t make it back. I wonder what two killing machines, namely Veirya and Angelina, will do. Do you think those people next to you will allow you to tie them up to your capsizing boat with you? You’re alone now. What are you still trying at this point? You’d be better off making arrangements for your funeral. I wanted to kill you with my own hands the moment you lied to Veirya.”
The soldiers made way. Sisi and I strutted out. We refused the negotiation, which meant that we might be met with a to-the-death attack, but I didn’t care or feel scared. I had Veirya with me. Scare me.
I left the imperial palace hand in hand with Sisi. She kept her head down in silence the entire time. I knew why. Had I agreed to their requests and proceeded with the negotiation, then it proved that I didn’t want Veirya or need her to protect her. It would prove that I was definitely going to be with Sisi, but I left the imperial palace. Hence, it proved that I didn’t plan to stay at the imperial palace. I planned to return to Veirya. Consequently, Sisi felt that I rejected her. Actually, I, arguably, betrayed her.
“Sisi, I don’t want to betray you.” I halted in my tracks: “I just wanted to craft an excuse to kill him. If you try to settle the score with him later, I won’t get my revenge now. He tricked Veirya, and mocked me face to face. I can’t let him off for it. I’ve never believed that justice comes late. Justice that comes late is pointless justice. I want to kill him. Right. Now.”
Sisi figuratively jumped and firmly gripped my hand.
“Sisi, I won’t betray you. I made a promise to you; therefore, I promise to stay by your side. I won’t leave you again, Sisi. However, that’s all I can give you…”
“Dongqing… Dongqing… You…” sobbed Sisi. She banged her head on my chest and sobbed, “Dongqing… Dongqing… That’s not… what I want… Dongqing… please… I… I don’t want to just be by your side…”
“Sorry, Your Majesty.”
I pushed Sisi back a bit. I went down on one knee and grabbed her hand. I looked up at her and kissed the back of her hand: “Henceforward, I am your knight, Sisi. I will forever remain by your side. I will come to the imperial capital. I will not allow what happened to you to repeat. No matter what happens to you, I will always be by your side, Sisi. I hereby pledge my loyalty to you, and I will never betray my oath.”
“What I want is your love… Dongqing… I… this isn’t what I want…”
Sisi grabbed my arms tightly and cried.
“Sorry, Sisi… This is all that I can give you…” I didn’t hug Sisi back. I carried on: “I will protect you from your side, take care of you and devote my loyalty to you, but… love… I’ve given my love away, and I won’t betray it.”
“I will love Veirya,” was what I nearly blurted.
I knew my feelings. When I saw Veirya, I knew that I would never be able to stop loving Veirya. I wanted to go and see her. At the same time, I couldn’t betray Sisi.
“I will stay by her side forever. I can’t make her my wife, but I will fulfil my duties as a Prince Consort. I will use every fibre of my being to protect her and this nation that she loves. I swear to never betray my pledge,” I silently pledged.
“Dongqing… Dongqing… Dongqing…”
Queen Sisi trembled as she cried in front of me. I held her hand tightly while remaining on one knee. She was the Queen, so she didn’t fall. I was her knight, so I didn’t embrace her. I knew that I liked her and wanted to be together with her. If I could marry Sisi, I could say with certainty that she’d be very happy. Alas, she gave our chance to be together away to Veirya that night.
Life doesn’t have a redo button, and I wouldn’t choose again. All I could do was protect her, my one and only Queen, with all I had. I would love Veirya, but I would continue to stay by Sisi’s side. Henceforth, it wouldn’t be just Veirya who protected Sisi as I shall, as well.
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