Lucia exhaled a breath of relief. She gently scrubbed her hands that had been washed with Veirya and her lover’s blood in the basin.
Not only was Veirya bleeding incessantly, but even her organs were damaged. Had it not been thanks to the elves’ medical skills and emergency powder for controlling bleeding, Veirya wouldn’t have lasted until the rain stopped. At long last, she had escaped critical condition and just needed to wake up.
Ignoring Travor’s involvement, Lucia couldn’t bear to see her old friend die before her eyes, either. She and Veirya didn’t have any enmity between them; they just happened to love the same man. Lucia didn’t hate Veirya. Veirya never used any underhanded schemes to win Travor’s heart. Lucia understood that she just happened to lose. She admitted to being somewhat jealous. Still, her sense of justice wouldn’t allow her to leave Veirya for dead.
Lucia gulped down a cup of water. Then, she turned around to catch one of her attendants approaching her. The attendant hesitated for a moment before opening the curtain and conveying in a quiet voice, “Your Majesty, I am not sure if I should report this.”
“Speak your mind.”
Lucia sat down to the side. She trusted her attendants. Lots of them were elves she had known since childhood; some had even taken care of her. She believed them to be loyal and brave. As such, she never suspected them.
Lucia’s attendant dithered and dithered… Finally, he reported, “Before I tell you, I need to apologise first. Your Majesty, we formed a small team and kidnapped a human from the mine at the frontier without your permission. We kidnapped one of them and demanded Lord Travor, personally, delivers the ransom here so that you could meet him.”
“That is preposterous!” Lucia slammed the table and furiously rose to her feet. In a muffled voice, she reprimanded, “What were you thinking?! I told you that the matter between Travor and I is our business! It’s private business! I should prioritise elves and the forest, not my personal feelings! What do we do if your act instigates humanity into getting revenge on us? Moreover, what would parliament say?! How would I explain it?!”
“I beg your pardon, Your Majesty!” The attendant immediately bowed his head.
Lucia started pacing until an idea flourished in her mind. Softly, she questioned, “Did you mean… that I, I meant, you were the ones who wounded Veirya?!”
“I… think so… Perhaps they attacked Lord Travor and Lord Veirya due to him refusing to pay the ransom… thereby causing Lord Veirya’s injury. I think that might have been what happened, which is why I am reporting this matter to you… As you saw, Lord Travor has an overwhelming desire for vengeance. I think something happened in humanity’s side that is keeping him from blaming us. However, if he does find fault with us later on… what do we do?”
“Mm… Go and kill that human, and pretend nothing ever happened,” answered Lucia, after a long think. “Since we don’t know why he hasn’t realised the connection to us, we should prevent him from making the connection. Kill the hostage, and pretend nothing happened. Remember: you never kidnapped anyone, understood? Don’t tell any other elf. Pretend this never happened.”
“Yes, Your Majesty!”
“Mm…” Queen Sisi read the letter and then cast her gaze on the rain outside. She scratched her head and then she threw the letter onto the desk in an annoyed manner. “How weird… Why did Veirya die when Achilles didn’t do anything…? Well, whatever, it says she’s dead in the letter… Who knows..? That wasn’t part of my predictions.”
Queen Sisi extended forth a hand to stop a lady-in-waiting who went to speak. Queen Sisi wasn’t asking for opinions. She was merely muttering to herself to sort out her thoughts. True, she did say that she wanted to kill Veirya. Even so, she knew that Achilles wouldn’t do so. Furthermore, that wasn’t her main agenda. She was merely afraid that Veirya would come for her head.
Veirya’s mishap definitely didn’t spell good news. Lin Dongqing was headed to the imperial capital with a vengeance. He could accept Sisi causing his bankruptcy. If he believed that she killed Veirya, though… there’d be no telling what he’d do for there’d be nothing he wouldn’t do should the blame fell in her lap.
Veirya’s mishap messed with Sisi’s head. She pinched her own face and sighed. She picked up a blank letter and began to write. Once done, she handed the letter to the lady-in-waiting and instructed “Rush this letter to Achilles as fast as possible, and don’t concern yourself any further.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Queen Sisi heaved a heavy breath again. Then, she peered out the window to watch the rain with a smile. “Interesting. Things are getting more and more interesting. Dongqing, hurry to my side. I am so looking forward to what you can do this time… While you’re at it, help me get rid of those elves. Since it happened there, the elves can forget running from the blame. Oh, right, what’s that on your neck?”
Queen Sisi touched the necklace on the lady-in-waiting’s neck. The necklace resembled a tiny flower carved from a piece of jade. Ladies-in-waiting in the imperial palace were forbidden from wearing any jewellery, hence why the lady-in-waiting quaked in her boots.
Fortunately, Queen Sisi didn’t hurt her. Instead, she sighed again. “I’ve heard it plenty of times as of recent. Why do you ladies-in-waiting love to wear jewellery? I don’t recall you all having a habit of wearing jewellery before. I saw the head lady-in-waiting confiscate many from you all, however. What’s going on?”
“These… have recently become popular in the imperial capital… They come from a merchant who came back from the North,” explained the lady-in-waiting, quivering as she spoke. “The merchants said… that these gave them good luck while they were in the North… And so… lots of people want to buy them… They are very dear… We were told that we had to wear it at all times…”
“I see. Hide it well, then. Don’t let the head lady-in-waiting catch you. I don’t care about discipline in the palace and, therefore, will keep the secret for you.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty!”
“Good… luck…” repeated Queen Sisi. Queen Sisi watched the lady-in-waiting leave. Indeed, luck was the most important thing to her in her situation.
“This is for you, Lord Lin.”
As I was about to leave, the Elven Queen approached me. She removed her necklace and then tried to search for me. Ciara grabbed the necklace from her and handed it to me. A calm smile bloomed on the Elven Queen’s face. “Sorry, Lord Lin. I know that you need money this time, but I do not have any. I felt that perhaps this would be worth some money to you. I am returning this to you. If it can be of help to you, then that would be fantastic.”
Truth be told, the necklace was meaningless to me as it wasn’t worth much, but I took it anyway.
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