20. The Returnee Noble Lady (19)
…aah, now that I think about it, was she perhaps the reason Zeke and Camila abandoned the Rave Empire?
Because six years later, Sufia was already dead.
Although the details of the case may have changed, it was certain that Marquis Veil caused some incident to frame the Northern Division. Zeke and Camila were caught in it. Because they were both quick-witted, they must’ve had suspected it had something to do with Marquis Veil—just like now. Then, whatever happened next, Sufia said the same thing, supporting them to escape.
But, it was unthinkable her father would just let her speak of the truth like that. On the contrary, she instead ‘committed suicide’, and was also charged with the murder of His Majesty’s fiancée candidates.
Afterwards, Marquis Veil, whom had mercilessly killed his own daughter, ‘appealed’ for her innocence, while also shamelessly saying that he would shoulder all the blame.
It was understandable why Hadith gave such grim punishment to Marquis Veil, which was the elimination of his family.
On the other hand, Zeke and Camila became mercenaries in the Kingdom of Kratos and met Jill. In other words, they didn’t return to the Rave Empire. Both of them didn’t say much about how they came to Kratos, but listening to the proceedings of the story, everything was obvious now.
The girl who told them to escape to safety—the girl whom was left alone—that girl was not only slandered, but also killed. They couldn’t do anything.
Of course they wouldn’t want to talk about such a miserable story.
Although Jill might be grasping, she was certain the truth wasn’t so far off.
“Even without doing that, there is a helping hand.”
Everyone turned their attentions towards Jill. Jill spoke to the lookout soldier.
“Do you remember the face of the girl you were guarding?”
“I do. Ah—I get it! I’ll look for the kid and ask her to testify—!?”
“There’s no need to look for her.”
She took off her hat. When she pulled her pin out and shook her head, her hair flowed down. She also took off her jacket.
Both the lookout soldier and Sufia shouted at the same time.
“Ah—!? I thought you ran away somewhere!!”
“Y, yo, you are the little girl Lord Hadith returned with…!”
“As I thought… I already suspect you were a girl.”
“Well, that’s right. There aren’t many kids from Kratos around here…”
Zeke and Camilla were unfazed. Camilla even seemed pleasantly surprised.
Jill looked around.
“I’m Jill Saber. As you might’ve guess, I’m that kid who’s framed as a spy. In other words, I’m on your side. The enemy hasn’t found me yet.”
Jill looked back at the sitting Zeke. With her standing up, their eye levels matched.
“This is a winning opportunity. The plan is also simple and obvious. Help the other soldiers of the Northern Division who are still trapped, protect Sufia, and reclaim naval port from the bandits.”
“…helping the victim, Lady Sufia, retake her naval port, and subsequently clear the allegation of you being a spy, huh?”
“But that’s not all. We have to complete everything before Marquis Veil’s private army arrives. That way, the Northern Division will have the upper hand against all the stigmas. In that situation, it will finally be clear who is actually trying to frame me as a spy and why. Marquis Veil won’t get away with this easily. Lady Sufia, you’re the key point.”
Jill kneeled in front of Sufia, staring into her large eyes and told her.
“Whatever the cause, if you end up dying, Marquis Veil will use it to his own advantage—that’s why, I’ll protect you.”
“Y, you, will protect, me…?”
“Yes, but you’ll have to oppose your father.”
“Are you ready for that? If you aren’t, you’ll eventually be killed.”
If she couldn’t do it, then helping Sufia would be pointless.
Sufia had to decide there.
Sufia wasn’t upset at all. She moved her lips with a determined face, although tinged with sorrow.
“I have one question… can I at least confirm it?”
“As long as I have the answer.”
“W, why would you help me!? I’m your love rival!”
“I’m not Lady Sufia’s love rival, because as of now, I have no plan of falling in love with His Majesty.”
Sufia was even more stunned.
Jill explained carefully because it would surely become more troublesome later if left unattended.
“As of now, we’re betrothed, we aren’t married, yet. Of course, the future is still unknown, but the present is the present. We are a couple in name only. There are no romantic feelings. Or rather—wouldn’t it be troublesome if His Majesty the Emperor harbored a romantic feelings towards a ten-year-old girl?”
“T, then, you and Lord Hadith, is there something deep going on?”
…let’s leave it at that. Jill left it to her own interpretation by not giving a clear answer.
Camila started to laugh.
“’A couple in name only’—! Kids nowadays sure say the most wondrous things—!”
“Oi, then, why aren’t you the one who appeal to His Majesty instead? Won’t he believe you?”
“T, that’s right. After all, the possibility of you betraying Lord Hadith…”
“There are reasons for us to choose each other and become a married couple. His Majesty won’t let go of me.”
Hadith needed Jill to prevent the curse.
Jill needed Hadith to avoid being engaged with Geraldo.
“…besides, I also promised to make him happy.”
“To Lord Hadith?”
“Yes. What I’m saying is, I’m the same as Lady Sufia. We are on His Majesty’s side. He won’t believe you any less than me.”
With a bitter face, Sufia pursed her lips.
Their time wasn’t enough to be squandered away.
But Jill waited. Camilla, Zeke, and even the lookout soldier—none of them said anything to rush Sufia.
After all, Sufia would be going against her father.
Even if it was the right thing to do, it was understandable that there were conflicts.
During this kind of moment, those who acted like they were unaffected by them weren’t trustworthy.
But those that couldn’t make a decision weren’t any less untrustworthy, either.
Against such a difficult decision—
—Sufia didn’t run away.
“I’ll believe you, Lady Jill. I shall oppose my own father!”
Jill strived to become a person that could support the weight of that decision.
“Understood. Then, I shall protect you with all my might. I respect your courage.”
She put her hand on her chest, and bowed like the way she used to in knighthood. Sufia’s cheeks were immediately flushed red as she fumbled.
“I, I might be an ignorant person, b-but please! I’ll be in your care!”
“Oi, is that kid really ten years old? More importantly, is that kid really a girl and not a man?”
“That’s the kind of thing that you’re born with, it has nothing to do with age or gender, you know!”
Jill stood up, ignoring the jerk Zeke’s and Camila’s mutterings.
“Let’s get started. We don’t have much time. If we don’t take care of the bandits before Marquis Veil’s private army arrives, he’ll swerve all the credit unto his own hands.”
***T/N: Whelp, Hadith, you might want to say goodbye to your fiance candidate cuz she’s starting to branch out.