Act 29: Before Things Settle Down
When they arrived at the castle, Christina and Ted were called on by separate people first. Are we doing the interviews individually? Cordelia thought, but she was guided to the parlour with Emina. They were treated to tea and sweets.
(This looks delicious…… This isn’t the time to say that, right?)
Cordelia was puzzled because she didn’t know what was going on and Clarice smiled gently.
“I’m sorry, but it’s okay.”
“You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to.”
Cordelia finally realised her situation when she saw Clarice’s expression and heard what she’d said. She’s considerate towards a child who probably experienced something scary.
(You don’t have to be that considerate though……)
She was definitely nervous when she had confronted him, but she had already calmed down. Her fear might have flown off somewhere when the young man had thoroughly angered her at the end. But even so, that didn’t mean she wanted to meet him again.
In any case, she was sorry for wasting time.
(…… Honestly, this won’t be settled with the word ‘irritating’.)
She got more irritated the more she thought of it. What play? Stop messing around.
But, on the other hand, she was also concerned.
(I don’t know how much I should tell her.)
She questioned how much she could say when she thought about Christina. Of course, she had to give Clarice information about the young man, but if the conversation were to change to the silk, then she didn’t know how much she should say. In the first place, she didn’t know how true a child’s words would sound.
(I want to talk to Cyrus-oniisama…… Should I say that?)
The conversation wouldn’t change even if she spoke to Cyrus. However, she could probably deduce what information was necessary and which wasn’t if she spoke with him. It shouldn’t be weird for a 『scared child to rely on her older brother』.
“Keighley-sama…… Mm, can I talk to my Onii-sama? I don’t mind if he can’t talk to me until later.”
“Of course. The Deputy Commander has also ordered me to let you talk to him.”
“Th-thank you very much.”
Cyrus had already taken care of Cordelia’s concern. Onii-sama is so impressive. She thought as she drank her tea.
“At any rate….. The Deputy Commander’s intuition is excellent.”
Claire looked relieved when she saw Cordelia drink the tea. Cordelia tilted her head in confusion.
“Yes. He said he had a bad feeling and the man really showed up! I’m happy that no one got injured.”
From what Clarice was saying, Cordelia concluded that they guessed the young man would be there. It’s not surprising for the knights to have information on the Dark Guilds, she thought, but she still couldn’t ask about it further. If she asked about it now, then she would have to talk.
“I’ll be leaving now. If you need anything, please ring the bell.”
“I will. Thank you.”
Cordelia watched Clarice leave the room and confirmed that the door had closed, then she let out a short sigh. She couldn’t relax, but she felt calmer when there weren’t people around.
(But 『his intuition is spot on』?)
How far did his intuition go? How much did he predict? She thought as she looked at Emina who was sitting across from her.
Then she suddenly remembered something she’d forgot to ask Emina.
“Say, Emina are you good at magic?”
Cordelia thought that was one of the reasons why Cyrus had chosen Emina as an attendant. But she didn’t know that Emina was so good at magic.
Emina shook her head a little.
“I can use it to defend to a certain extent, but it’s not good enough for an escort.”
“But, you’re the one who called Onii-sama, right?”
Emina answered yes to the second question.
“Cyrus-sama asked me yesterday to contact him if anything happens. I can tamper with earth, so I could easily send signals if I know the place in advance.”
“That’s a handy skill.”
“It’s called 『signal』for convenience, but unfortunately, it’s just vibrations. There’s also the risk of the message not being transmitted because of wrong predictions, and it could also be drowned out by other sounds.”
“…… I take that back. It seems very hard to control. You know a lot about earth magic.”
For a moment, she thought, I’ll be happy if I can copy it, but delicate control was necessary and would be hard with her attributes. But Emina negated Cordelia’s words again.
“I don’t. I studied magic when I became an adult. Actually, I wouldn’t have had to learn magic if I hadn’t eloped.”
Cordelia blinked at the surprising confession. She knew that Emina had a reason for leaving home, but she never expected that was the reason. And, she had confessed it so suddenly.
However, in contrast to Cordelia who was surprised, Emina calmly continued.
“I was born to a noble house.”
“Yes, I know.”
“But I wanted to marry a commoner, who I’d met by chance. My family opposed it and strictly prohibited me from going out. So, I learnt magic to sneak out. Fortunately, I was compatible with earth magic, so it was easy to make an escape route. Later, I could easily lose the pursers my parents sent after me…… My family eventually gave up, and let me leave under the condition that I never return.”
(…… She actually eloped.)
“I worked at the market for a while. I was close to your sister before, and she eventually invited me to work for your family.”
She spoke blandly, but her actions were very bold for a lady. I can’t imagine her behaving like that since she’s so modest now. And I didn’t know she was married……
No, more importantly……
(The power of love is so magnificent…… Isn’t it?)
When she thought back on Marquis Flantheim’s love story and the confession between Aisha and Warren, then it must be so. However, unfortunately, it was something that she couldn’t vision right now.
(I wonder if it’s difficult to understand this without experiencing love.)
I don’t know if I’ll ever meet that person, but I have to become a beautiful lady with good manners, Cordelia decided. I’ll do my best.
Although she had made this decision, something that Emina said had bothered her.
“But, isn’t it hard for you to work for us Emina? You don’t get to meet your husband often because you live in our mansion, right?”
Isn’t it hard to live away from the person she’d eloped with?
“It’s enough for me if I get to go home on holidays. It’s easier to work than living in the environment I was in. My husband’s legs aren’t great, so it’s difficult for him to work outside. My wages are also excellent, so I’m extremely thankful for this job.”
“If you’re alright with it, then that’s fine…… I’m not Onee-sama, so I might not notice if I ask you to do something unreasonable. If I ask for too much, then don’t hesitate to tell me, alright?”
She didn’t know if it was alright to ask Emina about her history, so she never dared. But she regretted it a little now. If she had asked earlier, then she would have thought more about Emina’s circumstances.
“I’m pleased to be by your side right now, Ojou-sama. Being by your side lifts my spirits.”
“Yes. It’s very eye-catching…… how you always think of new ideas, how you can’t leave people alone and how I never know what you’re going to do next.”
Was the last thing a compliment? Cordelia was confused for a second, but Emina wasn’t sarcastic. Therefore, Cordelia smiled wryly.
“But, if you have something you want to say then tell me. Okay?”
“I will. But I know my family is waiting for me, so I don’t mind separating from them for a while. Please let me work so I can come home proudly.”
Emina smiled as she spoke.
Onee-sama knows about Emina’s situation since they’ve been friends for a while, so she probably wouldn’t ask Emina to do a job that would put her at a disadvantage. So, Cordelia didn’t ask her any more questions. It would be rude to persistently ask her about this after seeing her expression.
“Would you tell me more about this later? Also about your wonderful husband.”
“I’ll be happy to. I also have stories about my children Or child?. I miss my husband who takes care of me so much so you might get a little jealous.”
(…… So Emina is a mother.)
Cordelia was a bit surprised that Emina had joked a little and smiled.
After finishing her tea, Cordelia read the history book that was left in the room while waiting for Cyrus.
A clear knock reached her ears while she was spending time leisurely. Cyrus and Clarice came into the room.
“Sorry for making you wait.”
“Onii-sama…… Thanks for your hard work.”
“I’ll take you home. We can talk on the way. Emina, sorry, but could you talk with Keighley for a bit? I’ll send you home afterwards.”
(I won’t be going home with Emina.)
That’s too bad, she thought as she followed after Cyrus. When she turned around, Keighley sent her off with a smile, “Take care.” Emina bowed deeply.
Cordelia turned around, and the distance between her and Cyrus had gotten wider. She quickly chased after him.
“Where is Christina-sama……?”
“The Alcott House came to pick her up. She’s already on her way home.”
Even though it was her first time at the castle, she wouldn’t get lost if she followed after Cyrus. They were probably walking through the shortest route to the carriage.
While walking, Cordelia felt like she saw a tall figure who looked like Vernoux and a black-haired boy on the opposite corridor across from the courtyard. But she didn’t confirm it and pretended that she hadn’t seen them. Lots of people had black or blonde hair. She had probably imagined the bad vibes she was getting. She was sure of it.
(….. That was a close call.)
At the same time, she sighed. She was glad that it ended with just that level of approach. She didn’t even meet their gaze. She succeeded. Vernoux may have noticed her, but she can insist that she hadn’t seen them. Then there wouldn’t be any problems.
However, she could only be relieved for a brief moment. As the shadows began to fall and after boarding the carriage with Cyrus…… the aura became heavy.
“Do you have any excuses?”
“I do not.”
Cyrus said bluntly, and Cordelia quickly realised that she’d made a mistake.
“I know that you couldn’t have predicted this, but you were short sighted. You shouldn’t have gone to a place with few people around.”
“I agree with you.”
This time, no one was wounded because of the young man’s whim, but she didn’t know if it would have remained that way if Cyrus hadn’t come to their rescue. As a result, she could only say that they were lucky.
“…… It was Christina who had rushed out first, so I’m barking up the wrong tree placing all the blame on you.”
“Onee-sama didn’t do anything wrong.”
“I heard that she ended up at that place because she was chasing someone…… I also plan on telling Christina not to push it.”
Cyrus sighed lightly. He hadn’t said it out loud, but she could tell that he had worried about them.
“I have many questions. What happened to the young man who ran away?”
“He probably escaped. The special unit has taken over the search, but he’ll probably be hard to catch.”
“Can you not catch up with him either, Onii-sama?”
Cyrus was one of the best in the kingdom, she couldn’t believe that he couldn’t catch the young man. However, Cyrus frowned slightly at Cordelia’s question.
“Something unexpected happened. I can’t tell you about it, but unfortunately 『Ghost』has more bad luck than the rumours say.”
Cordelia heard a word that stuck out like a sore thumb and couldn’t help but repeat it.
“You didn’t hear about it from Keighley?”
“I told her that I wanted to talk to you, so she didn’t tell me anything.”
“Ghost is from a Dark Guild in Dulaus. Of course, it’s a common street name, but instead of seeking things of monetary value, he does whatever it takes to find things that amuse him. I’ve heard from the Dulaus officials that he’s quite a handful.”
Dulaus Kingdom was to the north of Crista Kingdom. Since the founding, they had often invaded the Crista Kingdom, and, even now, traffic is restricted between the two kingdoms because they don’t get along. However, the two kingdoms had been at a cease-fire for the last 30 years, since the enthronement of Dulaus’ recent King, but she didn’t know about it in detail.
However, he must be a really infamous person if his information was leaked even with the relationship between the two kingdoms.
(Such an annoying person has become interested in me……?)
It could be said that the incident could have been worse. But, when she summarised the information from Cyrus, another question popped into her mind.
“Mm…… Onii-sama, you’re not chasing after Ghost right?”
“Yeah. At least I don’t need to at the moment.”
Chasing after the Dark Guild shouldn’t be the job of the Imperial Guards. But, if that were true, then it provoked more questions. If Onii-sama were doing his professional job, then it would be difficult for him to show up just in time, like he had, even if his fiancée was in danger. The castle is far from where we were, but he had acted so quickly.
What question should I start with? She thought, as she stared at him and Cyrus spoke quietly.
“I was in town today.”
“Eh, but you were with Keighley-sama and the other knights, weren’t you? You were also wearing your uniform, right?”
“A spy from our house reported that he saw someone who looked like Ghost. The information was vague, but I arranged a meeting with the special unit since they’re chasing after him, and I went to talk with them along with the police.”
“It would have been great if you two hadn’t met him while you were in town, but my bad vibes are always correct. I made the right choice when I told Emina to inform me if anything happened.”
Of course, she was surprised that he was working on his day off, but the thing that surprised her the most was…… that she had misunderstood something.
“Onii-sama, where you perhaps investigating the silk-……”
Seeing Cyrus frown, Cordelia was convinced that she had misunderstood.
(The warning, don’t pursue it too far, was about Ghost……!)
If so, then you should have told me more. But she could guess why he hadn’t been clear. He probably didn’t want her to get too worried with vague information. Even so, he had warned her. The only thing that had happened was that she had mistaken his warning.
“…… I should have accompanied you both.”
She reflexively asked at his unexpected words.
“But I couldn’t prioritise my personal feelings since the citizens might be in danger.”
He might not have been answering her question, but he continued speaking. His voice was emotionless, and Cordelia couldn’t infer what he really meant.
But, she understood one thing.
“Onii-sama, you saved us.”
Under normal conditions, she should have cleaned up the mess she’d made, but Cyrus had helped her. Emina also helped her. To Cordelia, that was all that mattered. Surely, Christina felt the same.
Cyrus didn’t confirm Cordelia’s words, but he didn’t deny them either. He just quietly stared out the window.
“…… Anyway, can I ask you something else?”
“We have spies at our house?”
“You didn’t know?”
Cyrus said as if it was obvious, but this was the first time Cordelia had heard about it. And, even if he said they had spies, she couldn’t imagine what they were like at all. What kind of people are spies? The image that Cordelia had of a spy was her previous world’s ninjas, but the spies of this world aren’t ninjas.
No, but, possibly……
“Surely…… they don’t lurk above the ceilings?”
“…… What will they do with the information on our house? They look out for any changes in town. As for our foreign enemies, the magicians are more than enough.”
“The spies are only hired by contract. Usually, they live out their own lives.”
While reflecting on how wild her imagination was, Cordelia understood what spies were from Cyrus’s answer. I see. So we’re borrowing the eyes of people in town?
She kept in mind that she would have to stay out of the public gaze if she went incognito in town again.
“If you understand, then I have a question for you now. What was Ghost’s aim?”
Cordelia has stopped asking questions, and this time it was Cyrus’s turn.
“As you said, he just wanted to have fun. I thought he was the one who instructed my enemies from last time, but I couldn’t confirm this.”
“…… You’ve been singled out by an extremely annoying rascal.”
“Yes. However, I don’t know how long he will remain interested in me.”
Cyrus put his hand on his chin and looked as if he was thinking, then he frowned.
“For the time being, stay by Ronnie’s side as much as possible. Ghost is quick at escaping, and he tends not to fight against those who he deems to be stronger than him.”
When Cyrus had confronted him, Ghost had indeed determined that Cyrus was stronger than him in a short time. I’ll be troubling Ronnie with this, but if I think about it, we spend half our days together anyway, so this doesn’t really change anything. If anything, he would need to learn some noble mannerisms since he would have to stay by my side when Vernoux-sama visits.
She thought about Ghost again.
(He wasn’t involved in 『Cordelia’s』death flag right……?)
The cause of 『Cordelia’s』in-game death was her magic had run wild because of jealousy. The Prince didn’t return her feelings, and she was jealous of the Heroine. So, she had caused an uproar with her magic, but she couldn’t control it and destroyed herself. If so, then Ghost shouldn’t be involved.
But, it bothered her. Aren’t I forgetting something?
(『Cordelia』was an incredibly selfish lady, but I wonder if she was calculating enough to cause a riot.)
The death of 『Cordelia』had been a turning point in the game, but it wasn’t the end of the story. The game shouldn’t have ended with 『The Villainess has died, so the Prince and Heroine married peacefully』.
If I’m not mistaken, the two who had overcome the incident ―――.
“….. lia. Cordelia.”
“Why are you spacing out?”
From Cyrus’s attitude, it seemed that he called her name several times. After a moment’s hesitation, “I’m tired,” she said something that wasn’t a complete lie. But judging from Cyrus’s sigh, she hadn’t been able to deceive him.
“Don’t go out of the mansion for about a month. I’ll inform father.”
“You don’t have to write reflections.”
She had many things to write in her reflection, and it was natural for him to give her a light penalty. However, instead of a penalty, he had been cautious and told her not to go out of the mansion because of Ghost.
A month is a little long, she thought, but it couldn’t be helped.
Cordelia tilted her head in curiosity because Cyrus looked like he wanted to say something else.
“…… Have you heard anything from Christina?”
“Sister-in-law? No, nothing.”
While thinking that the conversation was strange, she remembered that she had been given Cyrus’s diary this morning. Perhaps, he was asking if she’d replied to the diary. Or he might be confirming something else.
“Onii-sama, won’t you practice smiling?”
Even Cordelia knew that she had said something crazy. Cyrus also didn’t seem to be caught off guard. But, Cordelia maintained her smile.
She thought that he was fine as he is now, but if he changed his attitude and showed his feelings, then it would be better. Christina might feel relieved if he did this instead of showing her his usual stiff expression.
However, Cyrus started to distort his expression. He’s not practising how to smile, he looks like he’s disgusted…… Cordelia laughed a little. She felt bad, but she felt that his expression was friendlier than usual.