The Wolf Lord's Lady

Chapter 18: You, me, and the world’s rule
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Chapter 18: You, me, and the world’s rule

“Is anyone here—-!?”

Maybe it’s so that they won’t lose out to the muddy waters, or maybe it’s the volume of his feelings. Their feelings.

As the barks and the reverberating loud voices come to my ears, I push Kaid away, not expecting to hear signs of people so sudden. Kaid looks at me who openly runs away, with a face that won’t say anything.

Have I hurt him? Have I shown him that I want to treat everything until now as nothing, that I hated him after all?

I don’t think like that at all. It’s just, a little, a bit, startling, there’s no way I could hate him.

Then, I properly receive the punishment for recklessly hurting Kaid, who has only been thinking about my interest: My chest hurts from moving so sudden. My heart hurts, but my chest also hurts. It hurts so much that I can’t breathe in or out.

Kaid panics and supports me, who’s crouching and groaning. I’ve hurt him, but he’s so kind. Groaning, I clutch to Kaid’s clothes.

“I r-really love you.”

“………..What are you saying in this situation?”

“Because, I pushed you away just now……”

“…………I’m going to act conceited, I didn’t feel hated so much that I was despaired from that. If anything, what you said just now is more shocking.”

“Ah?”

Kaid, supporting me with one hand and covers his face with another hand, groans.

“Hello! Is there anyone here—!?”

The voice that roars for the second time echoes with a tinge of sobs. Kaid makes a deep, deep sigh, then lifts his face up in a flash.

“There are two here! But, Tim was washed away! Keep looking with haste!”

“My lord!? My lord! …….Aah, you’re alive!!”

The voice of a youth goes through a whole range of emotions. Shock, doubt, delight, delight, delight. Then, his voice is raised to another direction from us, faint as if being damped by the muddy stream in front of me.

“The lord is alive and well—!”

The cheer I’m hearing now sounds wet with tears, so much that the youth’s voice can’t begin to compare.

Their triumphant voice rises up, with gross sobbing that doesn’t lose to the muddy waters.

The cheers also don’t lose out to the down pouring sobs from the sky, until Kaid raises his voice.

“I get it, so keep looking for Tim! It’s a race until the border of Darich’s territory, go!”

That’s right. Wilfred can only be searched within Laius’ territory. Beyond them, it’s no longer under Laius’ authority. It becomes the issue of Darich, of Joblin. How vexing.

Kaid’s authority exceeds another fief’s lord’s in Laius. In Darich, Joblin has the higher authority. It has to be that way. If there’s a lord of that fief, flaunting his authority as the lord of another fief is heavily inexcusable. It’s so extreme that the territory might suffer a military occupation, were it to happen.

Kaid can only search within Laius’ domains. After that, once it’s out of his jurisdiction, he can’t proceed to lay his hands or have his way with it.

Hopefully, Wilfred can be found. At least, I hope he’s alright.

I have no idea whether surviving this will become his salvation or not, but I think so. Even if it’s more cruel for him that way…… I still think so.

“Hah-! Should we dump it together, then?!”

“Yeaaah!”

“I’ll do it too!”

Why are they saying “then”, I wonder with my head slightly tilted, and a stone, fastened into a rope, was thrown before me. Kaid, who receives the rope that’s securely attached to something on the other end, strongly tugged the rope several times to test it.

“What is that rope for?”

“This is a hollow area when the water volume is low. When the water level is high, no once can enter this area from above. That’s why, we fasten our bodies with this and get pulled up from above.”

“U……”

“I will lessen my lady’s burden as much as possible. …….Before that, I apologize as of late, but, would you please come here?”

Holding my chest as if it will creak just from breathing, I imagine myself being fastened to the rope while being pulled out. Just imagining it feels painful, truly. It seems that the pain shows up on my face, as Kaid’s face turns apologetic.

I need to be pulled up anyway, so it’s not my place to complain, and he has told me that he’ll make it as less painful as possible. The moment I start to calm down, I tilt my head at the wrinkled garment that was given to me.

It’s wet, naturally, but still dried than the clothes we both wear. It can be seen from the wrinkles, actually. Perhaps I feel too numb, but that coat isn’t that cold. We’re already drenched, so it won’t be anything different, I think. Or, will I be wrapped in thick clothes until the rope doesn’t dig painfully to me? Then I finally understand.

Concluding by myself, I receive the coat that can’t be said to be light at all. The water has been squeezed out as much as possible, but it’s still really heavy. My father’s coat was also heavy, and my grandfather’s coat was probably the same. A nobleman’s coat is heavy. I don’t know about Wilfred’s coat.

Privately, I think I like the coat of the majority of the commoners who live in the street, donning light coats. However, the texture of this one is definitely better. I guess I really am a selfish person.

Kaid looks at me, who spreads the coat that I received, with a complicated look in his eyes.

“Kaid?”

“Ha…… No, nothing…… Does your neck hurt?”

“Neck?”

That’s right, Wilfred did something to it, I believe. My eyes look down upon the tattered clothes that he violated until it exposed my neck and chest. It hung low on my chest, while the neck part is already hopeless, of course.

When I look at Kaid, demanding for explanation, he made a stubborn look that won’t say anything, nothing at all. It’s not the face that “won’t say anything” because he doesn’t know how to explain it. It’s an expression that holds a lot more anger and sorrow than chaotic thoughts. However, it seems to be directed beyond me, because I will feel even more chaotic for sure. It’s that kind of his “won’t say anything” face.

“The teeth mark,”

“……The teeth mark. Aah, the teeth mark…… That’s right!”

I instantly tilt my neck, recalling the source. Now that I recall it, I was bitten by Wilfred. It’s not strange that he left a mark; it was really painful. Afterwards, things happened one after another, so I completely forgot about it.

I’m pressing closer to Kaid with vigor. Kaid looks taken aback, a little. In introspect, it feels indeed improper, so I kill the momentum and go back to my previous spot, but as I thought, I have been a little more enthusiastic.

Because it was my first, you know? After I could properly feel my emotions, I do feel excited for my first time.

“Listen to me, Kaid!”

“Yes?”

“You know, I did it for the first time, I brawled in a scuffle for the first time!”

“…………yes?”

“Now, and back then, I never did it, ever, but I properly got into a brawl, you see. Compared to my first time in a fight, Wil was stronger, but I properly scratched him and let my kicks fly.”

Before, without any siblings, nor peers close to my age.

This time around, as an orphan, there were peers, but with whom I didn’t build a connection.

I’ve messed around before, of course, but I never got into a fight. My first fight, a big fight where I scuffled and grappled. I think my first experience was a huge success. Isn’t it something that I could boast about?

“Wil was soon beaten in the face. That’s why, I think I properly returned the things he did to me. If I work hard, even I can fight. I admired a warrior in the book I read a long time ago, so much that I played pretend with a broom, you know? I was berated for acting improperly, it was quickly confiscated from me, but I really admired them back then.”

Both my hands balled into fists, I laugh as if saying, how’s that.

I thought Kaid would be surprised for me, but he doesn’t move an inch, covering his face with one hand. By what I could see from the gaps, his eyebrows turned into a deep wrathful frown.

“That bastard……”

With the word that seems to spit out his annoyance, he unwraps my fists one by one. He grasps both of my hands once again, his shoulders falling down to the sides.

“……So I was hopeless, after all.”

“No, my lady, you are admirable. It’s just, that man is,”

“Wil is?”

“Under any kinds of circumstances, don’t forget that he harassed you if you gave him the opportunity to. The fact that you showed the willpower to rebel against him is really worth admiring, so I was thinking what I could give to you as a reward. If I meet him again, I’ll hit him until there’s no trace of his original form. I’ll hit him a hundredfold of how he hit you, my lady.”

“…………Six hundred times, is a little too-”

“…………So he hit you six times? I understand. I’ll kick him instead.”

“That’s also a bit…… I wonder what should I do.”

I tried to imagine Wilfred being kicked six hundred times, but it was difficult. I could only imagine both sides being out of breath.

“I’ll return the hitting part to him by myself, so, if it’s alright, I’ll be happy if you teach me how to throw a punch.”

“I’ll prepare Wilfred until there’s no trace of his original form first.”

“…………I think there’s something wrong with that.”

Kaid sinks into silence taciturnly, starting to tie the rope to me silently instead. After tying the bottom and the legs, he’s leaving the rest of me and says “Pardon me” as the only warning before holding me in his arms. Because my position is changed, my chest is back in pain and my breath stops, but I’m enduring it.

“My lady, how painful is your chest? If I lift both of your arms, will it be all right?”

“Wait, a bit……. It hurts, but I’m fine. What should I do?”

“Please wrap your arms around my neck, and fix your body in place. I’m sure it will lessen your pain.”

“I understand………… P-pardon me.”

“……My lady. I beg you, so please forgive me at least for now, if I’m loosening up or putting my strength in strange places.”

“Which one is it?”

“Either one. We’re going. The shock will arrive soon, so please don’t ever let go.”

While holding me up in his arms, he enters the water while choosing the spot along the wall. In comparison, the water stream feels calmer.

Kaid tugs on the rope and inhales several times. I know it because my chest is pressed against him. It’s very embarrassing, somehow.

“Pull!”

“Yes! He—y, pull over—!”

I only remember up to that point. To be accurate, I can only keep my consciousness up to that point.

The rope, as a tool being constructed for the sake of speed to pull us out, was pulled by horse and soldiers. After we climb out, there’s only one word that I remember in dazzling clarity.

That it’s definitely not just “a little shocking”.

After we got pulled up, a lot of people were rushing over excitedly. The great joy conveyed by their eyes, voices, arms, was also directed towards me.

I’m glad, I’m really glad to be alive, I’m really glad to be okay.

Let alone being unable to do anything, I’ve even spread the calamity to their precious lord, telling those things to those kind people. Even among them, there are people who wouldn’t accept those words. We, were there.

I shake off the glimpse of thought.

Wrong. This isn’t that kind of place to think like that. Let’s focus on showing them honestly about how happy I am. I want to be able to think that it’s okay to be happy. Let’s receive honestly those feelings in me. Because I’ve decided to stop thinking that I must go and take the gloomy path.

“Kaid! My lad…………”

“My lad?”

Isidore who parts the crowded people to arrive here quickly presses his mouth close. One of the soldiers repeats him in confusion. Isidore, who becomes the center of attention, flaps his mouth open and close more than once, then finally decides to open his mouth as if he wants to say something.

“M-my lamb……”

“Your lamb!?”

He must be unable to withstand it, to raise his voice to the Gimmi army.

“……Do I look like it?”

“Look, like it?”

“Ah no, Isidore-sama even slipped, so I must look like one.”

“Ah, maybe, you do. I didn’t know he ever has any lamb, though.”

“I didn’t either. Oh, right.”

I’m comparing myself and the imaginary lamb. Well, in the past, I was also someone who knew nothing but books, so I couldn’t blame his excuse.

Isidore clears his throat once, rising his eyebrow, as I remove my hand from Kaid’s shoulder, whose arms had been wrapped around me.

“You’re always reckless.”

“If I stick to the impossible, it probably will turn out right.”

“As if, you idiot! ……You too, my lady, at least you’re safe, above all.”

When I hear those words that he whispered, I respond with a smile.

However, soon I must retract it. Splitting, for the sake of passing through Isidore, the crowd has been dispersed without being noticed, parted once more. I realized who could have come to part the crowd wider than before, even if I didn’t want to.

I whisper to Kaid’s ear.

“Let me down.”

“It’s impossible without cutting the rope, and I’ll refuse anyway.”

Between those mutual whispers, I secure my nail to the knot. However, the weight of two people has strained the rope and made the knot way too secure. If I untie this, the knot will be worn out, probably. I can only give up on the idea of removing myself.

While doing so, exactly as expected, the other party shows up, without a happy face at all.

It’s like waving a completely thick lump of meat all over, without putting it down.

“Oh no, no…… Do not do the impossible. But, all I could say is as one would expect from the strength of your fortune, that you can neatly come back to life. Or should I say, as one would expect from Laius’ lord, huh?”

“To receive such words from Darich’s lord, what an honor. However, are you all right? Our acquaintance is to be married, if I’m not mistaken. I wish to extend my congratulations as well.”

“Ho, ho, ho…… To receive Laius’ lord’s congratulatory address, it is the greatest delight. Now, then, for the sake of passing it to them, I need to excuse myself from here. As long as Laius’ Wolf is going strong, even Darich will not be touched. Everyone, you must rejoice. Isidore-sama, I wish for your well being as well.”

“You as well, Joblin-sama.”

The two lords and one lord’s representative lightly bow their respects to their surrounding soldiers, who receive the deeper bows from the servants and retainers.

Laius’ soldiers, Gimmi’s soldiers, no one touch a single hair of Darich’ hands.

This is Laius’ territory, but it still doesn’t matter. If there’s no clear evidence against another lord, he can’t be put into trial. If one wants to punish the lord of another fief, one must ask for an audience with the king, taking all of the sound proofs available. Then, one must abide by the rules. At most, a lord is the ruler of a fief. The ruler of a kingdom is the king. Without the king’s approval, another lord will not be able to be put on trial. If he does, it will nurture the rebellious spirit towards the king. Anyone who bypasses the process will be deemed as breaking the king’s authority.

Within that short moment, it was unthinkable to gather the proofs and present it to the king.

That’s why, there’s no option but to let Joblin go back home from this place. There’s no reason to stop a homesick lord. Even though everyone in this place knew what that man actually did.

The eye that is smashed by the meat is looking at me. Is he thinking of how to make use of me? Is he planning to use me for his own gains?

While being held by Kaid, my feet aren’t even on the ground, I understand that I don’t even look appropriate, but I pull my chin and cast my eyes downwards.

“It’s regretful that I cannot attend the wedding.”

There’s no one here who’d criticize the rudeness of a single maid, speaking to the lord of another fief without any prior permission. Not even Joblin himself.

“Ho, ho……. What, it’s just about styling your black hair, though.”

Joblin, who declares in nonchalant tone, can’t act nonchalant when the meat is dangling before him no matter how it looks like, squinting his eyes as he looks at Kaid.

“Your choice, the next generation of ‘Treasured Flower of Laius’ will be scrutinized by the whole kingdom. Plucking a woman whose origin is unknown to anyone, it is in your best interest to protect it carefully.”

“I am greatly obliged to heed your warning. I’ll let the soldiers escort you until the fief’s border. I wish you’ll extort caution, were an unforeseen accident happens.”

Only the muddy stream is visible, swirling into a vortex in menace, raging right to our ears.

In that kind of circumstance, only the hidden meaning of the words will swirl into a vortex of a human, stowing away the rage inside the body.

This, is a farce.

Anyone knows this, a farce that anyone wants to end, but no one is willing to step down before the other, from the stage.

This kind of stage will end only when someone destroys something. And then, the culprit who destroys this stage, will be hailed throughout the history as the victor.

That thing, from a long time ago, is something that exists from the first time human came into being.

Because that is the rule of the world.

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