17. The Returnee Noble Lady (16)
Jill and Sufia, both were tied up with rope and were thrown into a warehouse beside the cathedral.
“Stay here and be quiet! Oi, did you find that little girl yet—!?”
“Not yet, I asked the guard and he said he didn’t know.”
“J, ju, just so you know, I, I’m Marquis Veil’s daughter…”
Both Sufia’s voice and body were trembling. A mercenary disguised in the uniform of the Northern Division ridiculed her.
“Oops, it seems that I failed to explain it to you. Listen, you’re a hostage, Lady Sufia. Keep quiet until your turn comes.”
“M, my turn…? Wh, what could you be planning?”
“We came from Kratos under the guide of a certain girl.”
Sufia lifted her face, frowning.
“N, no way! Could it be, it’s the same girl Hadith returned with—!?”
“Exactly! What was her name again… Jill! Your Emperor is an utter fool, to be deceived by a kid like that!”
“D, don’t you dare insult Hadith-sama—!!”
Suddenly, Sufia, who was trembling a second ago, declared.
“I, It is as I thought…! Deep down, I just knew it…! Besides, Hadith-sama isn’t in the wrong! It’s the one who fooled him who’s in the wrong! Other than that, I do think that girl is ill-natured, yes, but not to this extent…!”
However, the mercenary only shrugged Sufia’s claims and turned his heels on her.
Jill used her entire body to support Sufia.
“T, th, thank you…”
“I, I’m so sorry, forgive me… a boy this small also got captured because of me… if, if only I was under fourteen years old, then Hadith-sama might not have been deceived by such a mean girl!”
Sufia burst into tears, however, judging by the overall situation, she was quite under control.
I’m sure she’s having a hard time, but it helps that she isn’t becoming hysterical…
Left alone with Sufia in the warehouse, Jill scanned her vicinity.
Other than a few things, it was mostly empty. There was a small window placed high near the ceiling, however, only large enough for a child to pass through.
It seemed that they were only separated from the outside by a single iron door. Their only source of illumination was the sunbeam entering through said small window. The interior of the warehouse was dim even though it was noon.
Jill couldn’t escape just like that. If she want to free Sufia along with her, she would need manpower. She also needed to know the number of enemies. What she required the most was information.
…they’re trying to make a spy out of me. I need to grasp the enemy’s entire plan if I want to reverse it…!
Unfortunately for them, Jill had escaped the confinement room and was caught along with Sufia. They must be experiencing some confusion right now.
Both Sufia and the mercenaries from before thought she was a boy. Her disguise was still safe.
First, she should gather as much information as she can from Sufia.
“Lady Sufia, why did you visit this place today?”
“Because… Father told me to talk to the Priest regarding Hadith-sama’s predicament so that the Priest could offer him a prayer… he even readied a carriage for me…”
“Speaking of which, where’s your attendant? If you’re the daughter of the Marquis, then you should at least be followed by one to the cathedral…”
“…maybe they all got captured too. You’re awfully calm aren’t you? Aren’t you the slightest bit afraid?”
It was unknown for how long Sufia had stopped crying, but she was now staring at Jill.
Jill too, realized her attitude was far from being childish. Not that she could help it, considering the situation.
“Y, yes, well, this kind of thing happened often where I come from…”
“I see… Aren’t I no good? All I did was panic…”
“Not really. I think you’re managing well on your own.”
“Don’t worry about me. I was just crying a little. It’ll be alright, I’m sure Father and Hadith-sama will rescue us soon.”
“I can’t help but be curious, why do you believe in Hadith-sama so much? That… I heard you’re his fiancée candidate…”
Blinking, Sufia smiled bitterly.
“…you see, I like dragons.”
Dragons? Jill repeated. Dragons are only born in the Rave Empire and who receive the divine protection from the Dragon God that watches over the sky. Till that moment, Jill had only seen dragons on the battlefield.
…thinking about it, in the future, I might be able to meet or even ride a dragon!
As Jill pondered, Sufia gazed far away.
“Far in the northeast, near the villa of Marquis Veil, there is a place said to be where dragons gather. My mother died when I was born, and I since grew up in the mansion. However, I didn’t belong in the mansion. As such, I often fled to the dragon’s gathering place. If it was that place, my tutors would be reluctant to come after me—besides, they all sneered at me, anyway, because my Father abandoned me.”
Since there were no dragon in Kratos, Jill didn’t know anything about their habitat—is it supposed to be a dangerous place?
Seeing Jill’s concern, Sufia grinned mischievously.
“I know that dragons are dangerous creatures. They’re also Dragon God Rave’s underlings. Yet, I’ll have you know that I’ve been speaking with them ever since I was still a child!”
“Speak with them—the dragons!?”
“Although I didn’t understand what they was saying… nevertheless, I felt like they were greeting me. I didn’t feel unsafe at all. I was so happy, I felt like they listened to my every word! Ever since that day, I’ve talked to the dragons every day—rumors began to circulate that I’m a woman with a screw loose. One who claims she is able to talk to dragons and whatnot.”
Suddenly, Sufia’s gaze dulled.
“Everyone shunned me, and when I had already given up on any notion of getting married—Hadith-sama, who had just become an Emperor, wanted to see me. All thanks to the rumors!“
From that day on, Sufia went happily. Everyone’s treatment of her changed dramatically.
Marquis Veil summoned Sufia home and prepared her to meet Hadith. All the etiquette and lessons she had painstakingly learned turned out to not be so useless after all. Albeit her stepmother and stepsister still acted coldly towards her, Sufia believed if she worked hard and proved herself to be an asset to the Marquis, it could lead to the deepening of their relationships—
“—I was determined to do my best to get engaged with Hadith. But, in front of everyone, Hadith asked me—‘Can you see something on my shoulder?’”
—after he had heard to the rumors, Hadith must had expected Sufia to be able to perceive Rave.
“I couldn’t see anything.”
Sounding a little miserable, Sufia laughed.
**T/N: … … … WHAT!? THEN SUFIA IS GOING TO BECOME A DECENT, GOOD HEARTED, LOVE RIVAL!? HOW AM I GOING TO HATE HER!??!?!?!?! *got shot through the chest by the blinding light that is her decent-ness