Chapter 20:

A Tripling Breakup

The Second Route

“Sina! Wait for a moment!” I shout and chase her up the stairs, but Sina doesn’t heed my request. “Sina, stop right there, it’s an order!”

Sina stops and turns to face me, “General, I cannot do this right now, and besides, it is a family matter. Please give me some time.”

“No, I can’t give you more time,” Sorry if that sounded rude but, “you will only retreat, I know it. And once you do, you will regret it!” I know this through experience. Repentance is important for a family to not fall apart… and to avoid untoward incidents…

“And how do you know about that!? Don’t try to act like you know what I’ll do!” Sina clears her throat, “General, sorry for my behavior, but please excuse me.”

I stop her again, “But can’t you just appreciate that they came to see you, all the way from the Lunis?”

“But I didn’t ask them to meet me, master, so please…!” she starts to become frustrated.

But this is a good sign. Give more frustration and she will reluctantly agree to talk it out. “No, no,” I pull Sina’s arm and drag her down the stairs, “you mustn’t retreat, and that is a command!”

“General, will all due respect!” Sina purses her lips, “this is a family matter!”

That was the loudest and angriest shout I have ever heard in my life that I had to release her and stop my pestering. I still held onto her arm to put in final words, “If that’s what you want… then I—” I look at Tina, “and Tina will leave this lobby, and you three can have all the time and space all by yourself. How’s that sound?”

“General, I asked for time, and space, but not with them,” Sina starts to sob.

“If you don’t resolve this situation between you and your sisters, I will resolve it myself, and besides, you still have to explain to them this family matter about having different fathers. You, and your sisters, are not obliged to disclose to me anything. Right now, trust me,” I stare into Sina’s eyes thinking that this time I can persuade her.

“Deliruu-kun, you don’t have to do this for us,” Lina says, “it’s alright if she doesn’t want to.”

“No, I disagree. Your lack of action will lead to regretting it later on, trust me,” My eyes fall to the floor, “I know…”

“Alright, alright, I get it! I’ll talk to them, okay?” Sina gives up her resistance.

“Good, great! Alright, Tina, let’s go and meet the Queen,” I say in relief.

“Wait, what for?” Tina asks.

“You seem to have forgotten something like a general.”

“What?” Tina tilts her head.

We enter the throne room and kneel before the Queen seated on the throne after the knights open the door for us.

“Oh, what have the generals have to do here today?” Amina asks enthusiastically.

“I have to come to report on the battle,” I say.

“Oh, right the battle,” Amina nervously laughs.

“She must have forgotten about it, huh,” I think.

“At ease, generals,” Amina says. “Please, start on your report.”

“We never encountered the Ugibiris Army at the ravine and confirmed that they won’t be able to cross it until a later time. This is because we fought a giant scorpion. It turns out, my Queen, that the scorpion is the master of the foxes. This battle ended with a decisive victory as I decided to let the scorpion retreat.”

“Wait, you let it retreat?” Amina asks in astonishment.

“Please calm yourself down. The scorpion is heavily wounded and is headed in the direction of Ugibiris.”

“And what is the purpose of this?” Amina inquires. “You could have taken the honor of defeating the master of the foxes. A legendary beast whose identity is still unknown until now.”

“I let it go forth as it is covered with blood. I used it as a decoy to make the enemy retreat back to their kingdom and defend it,” I say that with confidence.

“Oh!” Amina gasps, “That’s a clever idea!”

That persuasion seemed too easy.

“Also, worry not,” I continue to assure, “the outcome of the battle made no deaths, but eight knights were wounded, one of them severely wounded. The seven flew through the air and crashed into the ground, Inari, Werina, Jinachi, Berina, Chisaki, Uyuri, and Maeri are those people. The mortally wounded is Yoshika.”

For some reason, silence fills the room for a minute and I look at Tina and Amina, who are staring at me with wide eyes.

“I—is there something wrong? Ah!” I come upon a sudden realization of my failure. I already gave them enough trouble by setting a dangerous creature free and now I still have failed to protect and reduce any casualties among my soldiers. At this, I quickly bow, “I apologize for failing to protect my soldiers. If only I had trained better, no, if I wasn’t being an idio—”

“Wait, wait! That’s not it!” Amina interrupts.

“Ah!” I come upon to my sudden realization of my rudeness. I arrogantly assumed the topic of the meeting and took the reins into leading it. That is very rude when you do that in any business meeting. It doesn’t matter if you are the boss or not. To not let anyone, finish before you assume is a detriment to your reputation. At this, I quickly bow, “I’m sorry for interrupting your time to thinking. I will try to be more considerate next time. Please discipline me—”

“No! No! Wait a moment!” Amina stops me once again. Did I make the same mistake thrice!?

Feeling the Highness’ anger, I fall prostrate to the ground to ask for mercy, “If I deserve any punish—”

“General! Silence! You should be the one calming down! Goodness!” Amina looks at me, “please, stand up, and raise your head.”

“Yes!” I respond in a panic. I’ve gotten into her nerves, didn’t I!? But she starts giggling, and Tina joins her laughter but attempts to suppress it. “Uh…”

“Silence! Stop making me lau— ahahaha!” Amina loses her composure. “Your face, it’s gold!” she points at me.

“My face?” I ask as I feel around my face with my hands. It’s indeed quite cold and tense from the fright.

Amina regains herself and looks at me with a smile, “Worry not, you have done a great job, my general. I didn’t expect you to list down the wounded soldiers. No one has even listed the dead soldiers before. I was just amazed.”

“Your Majesty, about the wounded, all of them are back to their full health and are ready for battle, but I gave them a day off yesterday,” Tina informs.

“I see, that’s good. I can’t help but praise you, generals. You have done a great job. You, both, are clever, and I shall reward you for it. Rejoice in your victory!” Amina exclaims.

I only stand there in silence in shame of misunderstanding her. She isn’t mad at all.

“I have one request though,” Amina says, “I would like a written report of it. I couldn’t really catch everything.”

“Understood. Please excuse me for a bit,” I say.

“Wait, you are done!?” Amina and Tina shout in unison.

“Yes, please wait,” and I leave the throne room and return a few moments later with ten sheets of paper in my hand, “Here it is,” I hand them over to Amina.

“You didn’t have to do it in advance. You sure are forward-thinking,” Tina says.

I look at her in surprise, “Was that a compliment? Tha—”

“Nope, it was not. Definitely not.”

“What a shame, but I do it because I usually do it before.”

“That’s impressive,” Tina coldly replies.

“Oh, come on, where did your awe in me go?”

“There was none, not even a trace of it.”

This woman…

“Last thing, generals, how about the enemy?” Amina asks.

“I…” I didn’t prepare for this.

“I’ll take the lead,” Tina says to me, “My Queen, according to his report, and my witnessing, the Ugibiris Army would not launch an attack for a long time as they will have to mobilize against the scorpion. But once they realize its weakened condition, they will defeat it quickly, and remobilize to launch another attack against us. And I’m certain they would cross the ravine for that. They wouldn’t try to go around the scorpion and the ravine just to invade us because that will consume a plentitude of their resources. This is only a summary, but I shall make my strategic report tonight.”

“Well reported, but for now, in other words, we are safe from them?” Amina inquires.

“Yes, my Queen,” Tina answers.

“Then, let’s celebrate this wonderful victory!” Amina raises her fists in the air.

“There is no need for that,” I say. That’ll just be a waste of time.

“But this is your first victory. We should all have fun and rest,” Amina insists.

But I refuse. “My Queen, it certainly is a pleasure hearing from the Queen those words, but we only did our job serving you, and that is all that matters, and we are satisfied hearing you approve of it. And it would be unfair for the soldiers who did the fighting that we celebrate.”

“T—that’s a good point. Then, if you insist,” the Queen gives up, and the throne room doors open. The three sisters walk quite familiarly into the hall while Sina considerably distances herself from the twins.

“Have you made up yet?” I ask concernedly.

“Well, more or less,” Lina says with a hint of sadness.

“I see,” I say as I try to decipher a vague positive answer with her seemingly opposite countenance. And Rina, for the first time, shows a little worry.

“My Queen, I have something to say to you,” Sina announces.

“What is it? Do you need the others to leave?” Amina asks.

“No, there is no need for that,” she politely answers.

“Alright, continue then,” the Queen motions.

“I would like to respectfully discontinue serving as a maid,” Sina says without a hitch.

“Wait, what?” Amina says in shock, and the others look at Sina the same.

“S—sina, what are you saying?” exclaims Lina.

“May I ask why?” Amina asks.

“Is it because of me?” Lina goes to Sina and stands in front of her with her hands clasped, “If it is, I promise you not to show my face to you again.”

“There is no need for that, and I have been planning this for a while now,” I catch Sina glance at Tina, “so, no worries.”

Why did they glance at each other?

“B—but, you are stopping your service to the Queen!” Lina stammers.

“Please, it’s my decision,” Sina coldly reminds.

“Is it really your plan? Or did you decide

when I arrived here?”

“No, I told you. It isn’t your fault,” but in the tone of her voice, Sina seems to blame her.

“Then… why?” Lina asks almost on the verge of tears.

“Should there be a reason why? Look, mother had two husbands. Did she have a reason why, huh!?” Sina stomps to the ground as she bursts into anger.

“But, should we really decide to cut off our relations, to decide it, because of that?”

“It’s none of your business. It’s my decision! Do not try to prevent me as if you’ve known me for years! Don’t act like you are my sister!”

They tearfully stare into each other’s eyes while Rina tugs on Lina’s skirt avoiding any eye contact.

“Girls, girls, I thought this has been settled?” I ask.

“My Queen,” Wiping the tears from her eyes, Sina faces the Queen, “please, I would like to politely discontinue my services.” Sina bows.

“You have served well. I’m grateful for it,” Amina sighs, “I would still need it though, and I will miss you. But I can’t stop you from quitting. So, I allow it if that makes you more comfortable.”

Truly, a Queen. I know she chose her words very carefully to prevent the fragile situation from shattering.

“Thank you,” Sina bows again, “now if you excuse me, I will start to pack and leave. Thank you for letting me serve you, my Queen, my master.” Sina quickly leaves without even casting a glance or leaving a farewell to her half-sisters.

“S—sina…” Lina buries her face and starts to sob, and a crying Rina hugs her.

“I will be accompanying Sina in her leave too. Please excuse me,” Tina leaves the room while I and Amina can do nothing but stare at the heart-stricken sisters.

This is all my fault. If I shouldn’t have forced them to come with me to the castle, this shouldn’t have happened, and everything would have stayed in place in peace, but I am selfish. My past situation is obviously not applicable to this. I am a fool for thinking otherwise. I’m a horrible person. I want to kill myself a second time right now, but first, if I may be thick-faced, apologize and disappear from their lives.

I lowly bow toward them, “I’m sorry, Lina, Rina, I brought this sorrow unto you. If you’d like… If you’d like…” I run out of words as I think of nothing to say in compensation, but I continue, “I’m sorry. Also, to you my Queen, I’m sorry. I made one of your finest maids quit because of my selfishness.”

I hate my words. I hate my voice. Why do they sound so fake? I’m so hypocritical.

“Do not worry about that. We have several more maids here, but I’m not the one to forgive you,” Amina states.

“I—I’m sorry! Lina and Rina, I—I’ll do anything in return!” I’m such a hypocrite.

“Deliruu-kun, you have nothing to be sorry for. It isn’t your fault. It’s more of my selfishness in wanting to see her. It was my fault why she quitted,” Lina insists as she wipes her tears and shows her face to me and the Queen. “If you allow, I’ll serve as your maid once again, my Queen, and yours too, Deliruu-kun.”

“Lina…” I mutter, “don’t be kind to me…”

“Lina, you don’t have to do that. In fact, no one is at fault for the events today. Rejoice in the fact that you got to see and talk with your sister after all that time, and I’m grateful for the three of you being my maid during my reign. All the hardships, you three didn’t deserve,” Amina states.

Lina kneels to Rina and talks to her, “Rina, you can go back to Lunis, but I want to stay here. I will be staying here not because I want to see Sina, but I want to serve again.”

“B—but, that isn’t fair! I want to be with you always! So, in that case…” Rina looks at the ground then to Lina, “I’ll start serving as a maid again with you!”

“Well, I can’t say no to the resolution of yours. Thank you, Rina,” Lina faces the Queen, “Please accept us to serve you!” The sisters bow down, “and to you will be our master too, General Deliruu-sama!”

I only nod in response.

“It will be our pleasure to serve you, our Queen! We will do our best!” the twins say in unison.

Cali Maki