18. The Returnee Noble Lady (17)
Sufia’s depressed voice echoed in the warehouse.
“Although I was baffled by the question, I know it was of a great importance to Lord Hadith—as such, I answered honestly, which ended horribly for me. When I returned home and told my Father about it, he got terribly mad. He said why didn’t I just lie and say ‘I can’—!?”
“…but, that would also mean deceiving His Majesty the Emperor…”
“Exactly. Father also told me, Hadith asked every potential fiancée he met the same question. He was mad because of my ‘dumb’ answer and told me to give back all the money he had spent on me growing up. He said that I should just earn money for myself starting from now on by becoming a high-ranking prostitute.”
Jill’s impression of Marquis Veil being a respectable man shattered into eight pieces.
The sight of Sufia, who tried to smile earnestly despite all the pain she felt, hurt Jill.
“But, the scene happened to be seen by Lord Hadith, whom was just passing by. He defended me by making me one of his tea friends.”
Hadith hadn’t chosen a fiancée up until then. In that case, even if she was merely a tea friend, Sufia would be the most likely candidate to be his fiancée.
Marquis Veil couldn’t stand up to that, and was forced to let Sufia live under his roof in the Imperial Capital.
“His Majesty is always busy, but he always held a tea ceremony once per month for me to keep up with the pretenses. He would prepare very delicious cakes and cookies.”
Jill wanted to inquire whether or not they were also made by him, but she didn’t want to interrupt the flow of the story.
“But, he said that he couldn’t make me his fiancée. It would be dangerous, or so he told me.”
“Dangerous as in… you would be harassed by other fiancée candidates?”
Sufia shook her head.
“Because of the curse… weren’t you informed that the previous Crown Princes died in rapid succession?”
“I’ve heard of that.”
“I see. I’ve always lived in the countryside, so I didn’t know much about His Majesty’s curse. When I first heard of it—how horrible, I thought. But His Majesty always appeared to be lonely. Avoided by all his brothers—all he said was, ‘whelp, what can you do?’. Even though he’s a kind person…”
“That’s why you kept attending his tea ceremonies. Lady Sufia is a brave person.”
How much courage would it take for such a girl to confront the Cursed Emperor alone?
Sufia stared at the dirty floor of the warehouse.
“I don’t think so. If I lose his favor and cease being considered his tea ceremony friend anymore, I’ll forced to be a prostitute. I wouldn’t want that…”
So Sufia isn’t as bubbly as Jill thought. She had a realistic grasp over her current situation.
“Despite my intentions, His Majesty continues the tea ceremonies. Even though if something were to happen—for example, me dying, would be blamed entirely on his shoulders. Isn’t he a lot braver than me?”
“That’s why I want to help His Majesty. I confessed to him before he departed to Kratos—I told him to make me his wife. Then, I was told that he couldn’t, because I’m over fourteen years old.”
…it was that statement—his statement, to be precise—that ruined the entire flow of the story instead.
Jill averted her gaze gently.
“I thought it was surely a joke! He’s just making an excuse to not hurt my feelings—but!!! Then he returned with a really small girl from Kratos…!! What can I do to protect His Majesty from all the bad rumors spreading about him because of this girl—!?”
“P, please calm down… we have some more pressing issues to worry about, right now.”
“Y, yes, I’m sorry, you’re right, I got emotional…”
Sufia pursed her lips tightly. When Jill saw it, she laughed bitterly.
Even the ‘Priest’ was set up by him… does he want to throw away his daughter that much?
Even if she managed to escape with Sufia, she could be made out to be Sufia’s kidnapper—or at worst, Sufia might get killed during their escape. She needs a more solid foundation before she can execute her plan.
The advantage here was, the enemies were still searching for Jill, the supposed traitor. There was a chance for the plan to succeed. If only there was more manpower, though…
“Get inside—! What a lot of work—!”
“Do not touch me with such dirty hands, you’ll dirty my—kyaaa—!”
“Hmph. There are two of you, and you can’t guard a single kid—!? How incompetent!”
The iron door opened, and three people were kicked inside. They fell on the floor while screaming. One of them looked familiar—
—the man’s jacket caught Jill’s eyes.
It’s the soldier that was tasked with guarding me before—! Crap, he mustn’t see my face—!
However, while she was worrying, the guard soldier paid her attention no longer. How relieved she was.
The iron door closed after such an abandoning statement.
The two people who were thrown into the warehouse stood up.
“It turns out they’re really bandits. This is entirely your fault, you fool!”
“It’s not my fault! It’s because you got mad, which let them to take advantage of your emotional state!”
Those were the names of her subordinates, who died six years later.
The two turned around to Jill, who muttered in a daze.
“What, who’s this kid? Your acquaintance, Camilo?”
“Shuuut up! Don’t mention my real name! Oh, sorry~ everything’s alright, I’m the kind Lady Camila! This is Zeke, but… I certainly don’t know this kid. I’m sorry, have we met somewhere? Oh my… what happened? Why are you crying…?”
Camila peeked anxiously at Jill. She was younger than Jill remembered. However, her beauty mark was in the same place, which was under the corner of her right eye.
“Nooo, it’s your fault, Zeke! No, don’t be scared! The young lady behind her is also pale! Do something, please!”
“Do you want this to be your final resting place?”
His words are as cold as always
He was shorter, but the creases of his eyebrows, which were always furrowed, remained the same.
Jill spilled a laugh.
I see… no one has been robbed of their lives because of me yet.
But the countdown had surely started. …it’s six years from now on… from the bottom of her heart, Jill was aware of such.
***T/N: Oh God so Marquis Veil turned the story around and even managed to trick this Translator! You deserve death for that–!!!!