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Obligation

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She didn't wish for it at all. It was an obligation she, as the queen, couldn't refuse. For the safety of her country, the kingdom she once ruled all alone, she should do this.

For the peace they held dear she sacrificed her feelings.

A war would break soon they said. Her kingdom was prosperous but small, the lack of manpower as warriors wouldn't get the kingdom to win. She was almost desperate until the neighbor kingdom offered an agreement to make a coalition between their kingdoms.

It was basically an offer to unite their kingdoms with the condition for her to be the queen for their kingdom's King.

A political marriage.

She never thought of this before, but if it could save her people then so be it.

Because it was the queen's duty.

The arrangement was welcomed by their people as they cheered for them. In the middle of this euphoria she was truly glad to see the happiness beamed from them,

but deep inside she felt miserable, for her freedom had been confined by a sacred bond.

The king was a gracious man who would stand proudly in front of everyone to lead the way, letting his trusted knights to protect his back. A charming king they couldn't ask for more. She too, thought the king as remarkable. He was a bit of an eccentric and could act goofy to make her laugh. A really nice gentleman.

To have this great man as a husband, she'd probably receive envy from women all over the world.

No use, though, for she didn't even love the king.

It was really hard to not think of being around him as a burden, such cruelty she couldn't even deny.

But apparently the king, on the contrary, had loved the queen deeply.

To arrange this kind of political marriage while shamefully making use of the fear of war, surely the queen wouldn't refuse. But hey, isn't this a symbiotic mutualism?

He could help her kingdom without this condition, though.

Maybe the king actually just wanted to bound the queen to him.

Maybe, just maybe, his love gradually almost changed into obsession. Who knows, even he couldn't get any answer for that.

Their interaction in the palace was very limited because the both of them were busy, especially the king. In the middle of his busyness, though, the king eventually managed to compose a song for his queen.

It was actually a love song, so fine and divine like those beautiful sonnets of Shakespeare.

Hoping it would somehow move the queen's heart to try loving him.

But sadly, he was too late.

His decision of assigning his most trusted knight as the queen's personal guard was a grave mistake of him.

Of course.

He should've known that his bestfriend and his best right-hand man, Sena Izumi, was a really brilliant man. No doubt even the queen could fall for him. 

He smiled bitterly, the queen never once stare at him like that. How painful. Only one look and he already realized everything. This plan was a selfish one from the start, a karma he deserved.

The queen herself felt guilty for this. She knew she didn't love him but she couldn't break this bond, the punishment of betrayal would be severe. Still, knowing all of it she fell for the knight.

That great king didn't deserve to be hurt like this.

Even so, how do you even stop love from blooming she wondered.

The king too, had known that the queen didn't love him for the slightest, but still he didn't want to let go of her. His love was too much that the pain couldn't overpower it.

If only there's a place for this love to be conveyed, he wouldn't have to feel suffocated like this.

He was no Arthur, therefore no Lancelot or Guinevere would betray him.

Because he was no Arthur, therefore there was no betrayal.

For his Guinevere didn't even love him from the start and his Lancelot never did anything wrong.

It was his own ego which took fault.

"King, you look horrible," the raven-haired knight said. "Is something wrong?"

"Nggh, everything is wrong, Rittsu!!" He scratched his head furiously, "I was wrong, I was really wrong. I'm such an idiot... how do I pay for my sin? Tell me Rittsu!"

"Whoa, calm down there," he gave the king's back a pat. "Nacchan, help me."

"Hmm, what is it?" The blond knight approached them, "Ohh dear... King, what happened to you?"

"Aarghh everything is so suffocating, Naru. It felt like I'm in the middle of dizzying noises that made me feel nauseous. This is too hard for me to bear, after all..."

"Ahh," Arashi made a knowing look after he took a guess of his king's problem. "I see. Love is a truly difficult thing right, King?"

"Nnh..."

"Answer me then, our King. Do you want to give up or do you not?"

"... I don't know."

"A king shouldn't let loose of his words, you know? Answer me clearly."

"I SAID I DON'T KNOW!" The king shouted unintentionally, he quickly apologized for raising his voice. "I've taken her of her freedom cunningly... even I couldn't dare to do more, Naru."

"Pardon me, then let me change the question." Arashi took a pause.

"Do you love her?"

"... I do. Of course, I really do! If not I wouldn't even try so hard like this! I love her so deeply, my wound isn't even this deep."

"It's such a shame for you to even doubt on your feelings, King. If your love is that great then you shouldn't give up."

"She loved someone else, Naru."

"You are legitimately her husband, for god's sake! Steal your wife's heart back. You are the king of this kingdom, you should be able to do that. As your knights, we always have faith on you."

"... Too complicated. My head hurts, my heart hurts even more."

"Fufu, love is a battlefield as people said. But to win it you should try to survive in the real battlefield first. Let her know your sincerity and bring victory onto her hand."

"Right, King. Best of luck for you and for us."

With his determination finally came back, the king grinned broadly.

"Thank you, guys. I love you all~!!"

He swore an oath.

Not long, the war actually began. The troops were preparing to set off for war with the King in the very front line to take the lead.

The king approached his most trusted knight first. "Sorry, Sena. I don't want to give up, after all."

"Uh, I don't know what you are talking about but of course you shouldn't give up in a war."

"Hahah, it's not that but nevermind!"

Leaving his knight all confused without answering to his call, then he walked towards the sole person who took his attention all the time.

"Anzu," he called the queen for one last time before going for this risky war.

"Yes, I'm here. Please take care."

"Sure, sure, I surely will!" The king said. "I had sworn to bring victory to your hand and when that happens..."

The king smiled,

"Please open your heart for me, just a little bit is fine. I love you, you know? This love isn't an arrangement, Anzu."

The queen's heart ached, but she too smiled.

"I could only try if you survive, that's why please come back safely with everyone."

Feeling really glad, he landed a kiss on his queen's lips. It was an innocent gentle kiss, though not really brief as he wanted to appreciate the time he could spend with her. Not slightly caring for anyone to watch.

Hoped his feelings could finally be conveyed.

Still taken aback, she was flushed but the king grinned.

"I promise this to be my last sin, so please forgive just this once."

He walked back to his horse. Drawing his sword and pointing it up to the sky as if challenging the sky itself, the sword glinted under the sun.

"EVERYONE, LET'S WIN THIS JUDGEMENT!"

So, they went and the queen prayed.

For them and the peace to return.

For her king to keep his oath.

And for her to also fulfill her promise.