Chapter 13: The farewell, of you and me. — III
The man who had been grabbing me by the collar just a while ago was now confusedly holding me in his arms as I cried deliriously. Even as I was dragged outside the room, my screams did not stop. These weren’t words. These were more primal than the cries of beasts. Just roars that projected motion onto the world.
“It really isn’t that girl!?”
“Tell me! You should have the antidote!”
“Look for the perpetrator! There should be the antidote there!”
My dishevelled hair clung onto my skin, attached in a soggy state. I collapsed against the wall, crouching down as I was at my wits’ end.
Amidst the thought that was flashing with red, that word resonated.
If there’s the antidote, Kaid can live. Kaid won’t disappear. Helt won’t die. Helt won’t be dragged into the red shade.
Moles. Remember. Even if I don’t remember things in the past, I have to smash through my memories and dig it out.
Murmuring while I scratching at my face and hair, I’ll look like a lunatic to anyone. I’m fine with being a madwoman. I have asserted many times that I’m insane. Even if that its baseless madness, I don’t care. If that means Kaid won’t die, anything is alright.
Father, on the right earlobe.
Mother, on the neck.
Grandfather, on the left cheek.
Helt teases me slightly.
Grandmother, by the mouth.
Every time I try to think of the past, Helt is smiling in my memories. Stop. Don’t appear. Please, so that the you of now won’t die.
However, I couldn’t do anything. Since, most of my world had been given to me by father, I couldn’t remember much. Amidst that, my first love occupied most of those memories.
I don’t know Wil’s father. I don’t remember much about Wil either. To begin with, I didn’t meet him often.
He visited once a month, where we had tea and took a stroll in the garden.
“His lordship is calling for you.”
Saying that, he came to fetch me as I didn’t appear at the tea party.
“Come on, my princess. Please take my hand.”
I reluctantly took the hand that was stretched out.
“Shirley, you should rest a bit. Okay? It’s alright, so please, rest a bit.”
I raised my head in response to Caron’s voice which was tearing up.
When I looked to my side, the man who brought me out of the room was bending down and reaching a hand out. On his chest, I saw a strap holding a knife.
The hand he held out was bare. In his pocket, there was a glove dyed red from blood.
Glove. Moles. Glove. Moles.
I saw moles in a gap from a glove.
On Wil, and on someone else. I saw them.
Well-mannered, has attractive smile, is loved by everyone, does not make a sour face at boring work, rather even volunteering to do them.
I saw them on the boy who was like Helt.
“Tim has it.”
I rammed into the man with all my strength, taking the knife and running out like that.
There were many voices calling me. However, my feet did not stop. Even my hearing seemed to be filled with red, as if my ears were submerged in red water. The sounds were covered and did not come into my head very well.
This isn’t that day. The mansion has burned down, my family whose heads were rolling are now asleep under the graves that he made. They’re asleep with me.
Yet everything is red. Eyes, sounds, thoughts, everything was scorched red.
On my way, I crossed paths with the doctors who were heading to Kaid. They were shouting something, but I couldn’t tell what the sounds were.
Thoughts and limits, they were all bring painted red. I had never ran this long. I had never ran this fast. At the speed that I would definitely trip over after I return to my senses, I ran.
I ran back into the infirmary that I had just rushed out of. Maybe because they all went to Kaid’s side, there were no doctors nor assistants. The curtains closest to the front were still drawn shut.
The difference was that the curtains inside were pulled open, with Tim who looked pale was standing in front of an open window with a thin smile.
“That was fast. Did he die?”
“Give me the antidote.”
Seeing me take a step forth with the knife grasped tightly in my hand, Tim frowned displeasedly.
“The poison is for killing bears, so a person should die quickly.”
“Give me the antidote.”
“I would have thought it would kill wolves quickly too…… I had a lot of trouble trying to dilute the smell and taste.”
“Scary, don’t get angry. I don’t have anything like that.”
Tim, no Wilfred put on an inhumane smile. The hand that he brought to his mouth was ungloved and the sleeves were unbuttoned, maybe done so to treat him. Wilfred rubbed the moles on that, possibly subconsciously.
In that expression, there was no trace of Tim. There was not even the appearance of the Wilfred I know. However, I could tell from his speech.
How he breaths, how he takes intervals before the next words. Such small things that couldn’t be faked, things so petty that it’s just habitual.
“If it meant killing him, I didn’t care if I would die as well. So I didn’t bring anything like that from the beginning.”
“It’s true. It should have been instantaneous, but if I did have that and he lives, I’d hate that, you know? For importantly.”
His eyes narrowed and he pointed a finger from his untanned hand at me.
“You’re turning your blade against the wrong person. Even an ignorant princess should know who killed her.”
“I am not incorrect in discerning who tried to kill Kaid right now.”
“I’m disappointed in you. For the first, when I found someone like me for the first time, and that was you. Can you understand my joy then? My joy when I found the mole on your neck. I was delighted that you had the eyes that were similar to the past, yet different. Oh, you must have the same feeling as I. You must want to make that man suffer the same bitterness, I thought. Yet, look at you now. Are you just going to forgive him? Give him salvation? To the person who killed us? After getting robbed of everything from that minor noble? I have wonder if you’re sane.”
That’s what I should say to you.
That was what I thought.
I don’t care, I thought.
I don’t care, so tell me where the antidote is.
Seeing my obvious reaction to the two bottles that were brought out from his pocket, he snickered.
“Even if you look at me so yearningly eyes, these aren’t antidotes. It’s another kind of poison. It will be hard to make it lethal, but it’s convenient since it’s volatile. Even if it’s weak, there still are some after-effects. The other one isn’t poison. Just sulphuric acid.”
“……So you think I would hesitate from that.”
“It might have had some effect on you in the past, but it looks like it won’t now. However, from here you will be on my side. You will curse his wrongdoings, sneer at the owner of this estate and throw away your proof of friendship.”
With the tip of the small closed bottle, he pointed at the necklace on my chest, a scowl on his face. I wonder if he learned hypnotism in these past fifteen years. Otherwise, I cannot understand how he can say something that can’t possibly happen with such a cheerful look.
As I was about to shout that to him, a soft voice came from behind me.
Hearing the voice slightly clouded with drowsiness, I almost snapped around.
Jasmine, who had her clothes slightly unlaced, came teetering out from the curtains and opened her eyes wide.
In her eyes, there was a woman who was pointing a knife at her colleague who looked pale from poison. The woman had her hair and clothes unkempt, suspicious no matter what.
“H-Help, Jasmine-san! Shirley-san is strange!”
Seeing ‘Tim’ speak in a trembling voice and stagger and lean against the window as if he were dizzy, Jasmine screamed.
‘Wilfred’ who collapsed against the windowsill shook the glass bottle in his hand.
Which bottle was that? No, that didn’t matter. Even if weak, there’s no telling what will happen to Jasmine who is already very pale. The acid is out of question.
On that pale face made from drinking the poison himself, the white lips curled into a smile.
“To tell the truth, there’s another bottle, but my partner has it. On my signal, it will be thrown into the well………… Jasmine-san, run away, Jasmine-san……”
After telling me things in a quiet voice, he told a barefaced lie in a weak voice. He was asking for help before, but now he was telling her to run away.
I wonder if he was this kind of person. I don’t remember well. I never knew well.
Since he was my fiancé in that paradise which I knew was distorted and foul, he might have been this kind of person to begin with. Or maybe fifteen years turned him into this.
Either way, there was a ridiculous lack of possible actions for me.
I gripped the knife in reverse and grabbed the hair of the sickly ‘Tim’. While getting goosebumps from his tiny yelp, I placed the knife against his exposed neck. Then, with eyes as though they coldly staring down at subjects from the gallows, I gazed at Jasmine.
“Don’t come any closer.”
My voice wasn’t trembling.
There was the noise of many footsteps.
Isador, Caron, Samua, familiar faces all gasped at seeing me. The person who screamed, “Tim!” was the maid from the room next door. She is a kind girl who shares that she found a delicious confectionery shop.
“Shirley, what, why,”
Seeing the aways serious Samua who firmly set his hair back having his fringe down, I felt slightly relieved seeing such a figure. So he’s been released. Then, that’s nice.
Even though I think that from the bottom of my heart, what I am giving to all the exhausted people is not relief.
“I’m just sick of it all. Jasmine, you, Tim, annoying doesn’t cut it. ……Also, that man.”
Unable to hold back, I strongly pulled the hair of Wilfred who gave a thin smile. He groaned for real this time, but I didn’t feel happy at all. How nice it would have been to slash at him with this knife.
Even though it was sticky, I desperate ran my tongue in my dry mouth.
“If he’s giving me something, jewels would have been nice, but all he gives are sweets and cookies. I’m not the sort of person to sit smouldering here. I’ll go higher, become better, become rich and I’ll live the happy life everyone will envy.”
“I really hate that I didn’t get anything out of being a servant to him. It’s annoying.”
“If I couldn’t get that man, I was thinking of getting the heir-apparent, yet that man interfered in that. Even more than that, he was going to fire me. So I killed him. If I poison Tim, Samua would have been taken care of as well. You would have quieted down after losing two friends, yes?”
After turning pale like when she was unwell, Jasmine’s legs buckled. Reflexively supporting her, Samua still looked bewildered with disbelief even after seeing this much.
“Hey, head maid. I wonder if that man died already. The poison was for killing bears. He should have died. Well, it was for killing bears. Hey, Isador-sama. The man who was in our way is no longer there. Will you look at me now?
Isador was about to say something, but he closed his mouth. Then he muttered something. I can’t see from here, he must have told someone close to him what I said without any exaggerations.
I apologised in my head to Caron who looked confused. To be honest, before leaving here, I wanted to tell you at the least. I don’t blame Kaid, that it’s alright now. At the least, that there was no need to defend me and condemn Kaid.
I wanted to tell her that.
Before people could come around me, I dropped ‘Tim’ who was weakened from poison outside the window. This is the first floor so there’s no problem and the window is low so that patients can be carried in.
As I followed out, the voice that always greeted me cheerfully for a month, despite there being nothing fun for her, called me.
I tightly bit my lips and leapt over the window, then turned around.
“Shut up. Stop yelping about. Can you never talk without shouting? That’s what I hate about you. You’re noisy. Just hearing you makes me feel thirsty. Won’t someone go to the well and draw some water for me. Ah, Jasmine, you can go do that. It’d be nice if you fell in right there and became quiet.”
Even though she turned pale and her teeth were chattering, there were no tears. Yeah, you can’t cry. For some reason, it’s not possible to cry if there’s too much sadness or pain.
I slowly moved my fingers to my necklace. The chain snapped easily. The eyes that were light quickly warped.
“I’ll be leaving this too. I’ll leave it hear. Right, you can leave it to Kaid. A broken necklace. The flower fits him well.”
I made the flower lying on the frame fall away with a flick from my fingers. With the sound like shells reverberating as the end, I stepped back while having my knife drawn on ‘Tim’.
Right as I reached the last place where the light from the window could reach, I raised the corners of my lips.
“Wait, Shirley, wait!’
“Tim! Stop! Give Tim back!”
Bitter shouts struck my back.
But Wilfred and I did not look back and disappeared into the darkness.
Anyway, the gates were shut. There were no places to run away too. I was hoping that there would be arrows if we delayed, but Wilfred shifted his expression from that which was like that of a scared dog into a smug smile.
“This way, come on.”
“……Is there really, no, antidote?”
“Nope. Even if he somehow manages to live, just his bowels feeling like they’re being boiled alive won’t be all. Killing him once is not enough.”
As the knife was pressed against my back, I reluctantly ran. My sides hurt now. My throats hurt so much that I might even wonder if I’m breathing thorns.
I wonder where we’re going. Anyhow, we’re running away together. If someone had an arrow, I could signal them so that the two of us would be pierced together.
Since we’re outside, the volatile poison will flow away with the wind, and the even if the sulphuric acid is thrown only I’ll be harmed. Just one signal will be good.
In the shadow of my body I closed and opened my fist many times. It will be decided in a moment. Ah, how about whistling? I won’t be able to do anything if my arms get restrained.
Fortunately, our height is similar, so maybe a headbutt might work. If possible, I want to slug him with my fist, but it will have no point unless it works. I don’t care if my fingers break, so I wonder if it will work if I hit him with all my strength.
As I ran, my focus drifted to the shouts and lights that came from many places.
Ah, either is fine. Either is good. Whatever you want, please, either one, please stay alive.
No. We promised to meet in our next life, yet this is too fast. I didn’t want to say goodbye like this.
“Haha! A fitting end for a lord who came to power through revolution!”
Seeing him laugh in a manner too inhumane for a child, the image of red and the smell of rust came back. The way how he worried for the drop of blood on my cheek even as he vomited gushes of blood.
“……Wilfred Alcott, if, if Kaid dies I will never forgive you.”
“That’s unfair. You forgave someone who killed you and your family. Well, let’s talk about that later. After we get out of here.”
“There’s no way we can get out. All the gates are shut.”
Maybe it’s alright under normal circumstances, but there’s no way the guards would let two servants past after such event happened. Even if there’s a hostage, it’s not possible.
Even so, he smiled.
“If we can’t pass, we can just get away with someone who can get past. Ignorant princess.”
After I tried to find out the true intent of those words as I frowned, I realised.
This was the place where the carriage guests brought were. Among them, he stopped in front the carriage that was slanted and ‘for some reason’ he laid a hand on the large door. The carriage that had its horses ‘for some reason’ easily opened its mouth. Then seeing the lump of meat inside the answer was revealed.
Today was a relatively calm day.
The only trouble before dinner was that Joblin, the lord of Darich fell over and that it was hard to raise him back up.
“Now, how did it go?”
“He did get it, but he didn’t die instantly even with poison for bears. What, is he a monster or something?”
“The beastly noble survives by feeding on trash, so his stomach is strangely strong. Good work. I shall allow you to ride the carriage.”
The servant from Darich who was sitting in front of Joblin stood up and kicked the space beneath the seats. That opened up to reveal a tight space. The servant descended and took off the board inside.
It was absurd seeing Wilfred making the elegant gesture of a man escorting a noble lady.
“…………Riding out after such a commotion is equal to saying that we are the culprits.”
“But, you can’t accuse the lord of another fief without clear proof. Come one, get in quickly. Or, I wonder if the princess can’t get in unless I embrace her.”
I silently glared in response to his bare insult. Wilfred was laughing from something, while Joblin’s meat wobbled as he seemed to move his head. He might have tilted his head, but his neck is hidden in the meat.
“Since thou expressed that she was necessary, I wondered what kind of girl she may be, but is she not just a plain girl. Sullen face and no meat. It surely shall feel disgusting to hold her.”
“……Compared to you, everyone is not meaty enough.”
“Haha, what words.”
The The meat wobbled. The carriage rocked as well.
“She’s a girl without anything, but she is the only one for me in this world. No one can replace her. Like how everyone is different from me, only she can see the world I see.”
“Thou always say mysterious words. Well, ’tis fine. Get on.”
“Yes. Now, princess, come in.”
To me who was glancing at the shut door, Wilfred shrugged and opened the shelf inside the carriage. Immediately after seeing cloth in the tightly shut bottle, I turned around to run away. However, as the entrance was blocked, even though it’s a carriage wider than normal, it still was a carriage. I quickly bumped into the wall.
The manservant from Darich restrained me.
“Let me go!”
Like what I did to ‘Tim’, my hair grabbed and I was forcibly pulled up. Before I could say any more, my mouth and nose was covered with wet cloth.
“If I knew that you were this energetic, maybe I should have invited you for some horse riding? Though, I still would have hated visiting your father.”
I also hated that, yet from the cloth that reeked of medicine I quickly lost consciousness.
The word I muttered, Kaid, was also absorbed into the cloth, blocked from getting out to the world.
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