Having read through all the dangerous documents, such as Rindarl’s Intelligence Report with Ergnard, I immediately called Claudia-dono and asked her to “prepare for war”.
The latest report had information that couldn’t be overlooked. Densel is gathering a large amount of food and personnel ――― in other words, the fact that they are preparing for war is important, but so is the top secret information on a potential defector in their forces.
He was a young man, just a little over twenty years of age, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was horribly accurate with a knife, and he had burn marks all over his body.
How many people in this world are there that fit this concise description?
However, I have hope. I won’t give up.
I can’t give up until I see that this person is not Kamil with my own eyes.
“He might be your attendant?”
“It’s just a possibility.”
“Even though he’s from the enemy army?”
Ergnard’s voice was harsh. He has never met Kamil in person, but he is one of the people who was at the secret defensive battle where Kamil had disappeared. The first person to find me when I had fainted in the hallway was also him after he had beaten back the waves of soldiers from Densel and retreated back to the fortress.
“Because you said it, didn’t you? Kamil wasn’t there. And that he might have been kidnapped, judging from the traces that were left behind in the hallway. It’s not rare to take prisoners, is it?”
“That’s… true. But, it’s also possible that he disappeared on his own.”
I turned away from Ergnard, who was looking grim, and checked my equipment. My favourite halberd, my one-handed sword, and an old knife. The knife was from the first time I had stabbed a man to death and saved Kamil on that day.
――― The secret defensive battle. Even the name of the first battle that I have ever participated in has been lost, and it was now only vaguely called that.
Information about that battle was hidden because Arxia had received a lot of damage, and because all the troops that had attacked Jugfena Fortress were merely ‘bandits’. During the post-war process, Densel had said that all those who belonged to that army were ‘traitors’ to the Duke and they renounced their responsibilities towards that army.
I learnt of this a month after the battle.
During that January, I had turned into a living corpse; without conscious, without speaking, ate with assistance, went to the toilet, and slept like the dead.
When I came back to my senses and was asked about what happened, of course I thought Kamil was dead. I certainly heard his heart stop.
But they couldn’t find his body, no matter how much they searched. There was no reason for a corpse to move around on its own, so Kamil was treated as a ‘missing person’.
How did he survive with that wound? I rolled up my left sleeve and removed the cloth on my wrist.
The thin chain that he gave me was still on my wrist. The amber stone, which reminded me of Kamil’s eyes, is now cloudy with blood and grease. I have to get a craftsman to polish it soon.
And, I had a scar from another battle that ran down my arm, and the white skin that was a characteristic of the Jugfena region and I had the young skin of a 13 year old. There was no scar from the sword which was supposed to have pierced Kamil’s stomach on that day. It was already gone by the time I woke up, just like Kamil was.
“… Well, no matter who you’re looking for, it doesn’t change what you have to do in the battlefield.”
Ergnard said not long after while sighing.
“It hasn’t been three days since you’ve entered school…”
“I wonder if it’s an uncivilized Rindal thing, they pay no mind to whether they’re refined or not.”
I sighed. I never imagined that I would make a u-turn back to my fief, even though it hasn’t been five days since I’ve come to the royal capital. It isn’t good to mess up my life when it has finally completely changed, and I was happy with it.
“Dear me… So, is it Densel again? Do they never learn? Will the other three dukedoms watch from the side-lines this time?”
I ripped off the seal wax and held the paper that was inside to the light. The war with Densel, which began a year ago with a full-fledged battle on the plains, have been local conflicts, and Arxia Kingdom has continuously won unilaterally for now.
“Your mouth is smiling, Eliza.”
“Oh, my bad. It’s not like I enjoy war.”
It seemed that a smile floated on my face without me realising. I tightened my face when Ergnard pointed this out. I knew that it still looked superficial.
“Of course, Densel wouldn’t learn from experience. Anyway, even if they throw all they have into a battle, or even if an abrupt skirmish breaks out, it’ll be like they were crushed by a single girl. Their face is probably mangled. They won’t let the war end unless they win once.”
While saying that, Ergnard looked at me and laughed. I let his comment slide with a nonchalant expression on my face, but inside I was ashamed.
“For that reason, my precious child is referred to as a cruel Earl or cold blooded by those stupid nobles, though honestly it’s not a good thing to hear.”
“I don’t plan on doing anything drastic.”
“Yeah right. You’ve already rampaged enough… Come out when you’re ready. If we hurry, we’ll make it in time for the House of Lords today,” he said, and smoothly left the room.
I quickly gathered my weapons and followed after him. I wasn’t scheduled to attend today’s House of Lords meeting, but I don’t know when they will discuss the intelligence report, so it was better to participate whenever I can.
I lifted my left arm in front of me again and shook the thin chain around my wrist. The chain clinked together in the same way it had when it was dropped on my pillow on that day.
“… Let’s go. I feel bad for Densel, but I’ll have them accompany me on my childish outburst of anger for a while longer.”
I muttered and got up from the sofa to get dressed.
I raised the hem of my knight uniform’s long coat and left the dormitory. Now, it’s the beginning of a thrilling battle.
The stage of this game isn’t the academy where I am the villainess. Is it on the battlefield where I stand as feudal lord of Kaldia, hated by the enemy and feared as the Bloody Earl.
… Now, honestly, why did it turn out like this?