The Mystery of the Pursuers
After that, I was able to walk on my own and return to where Madam Beatrice was waiting. She had apparently heard what had happened and rushed to assure me.
“Don’t worry, I promise to protect you as long as you stay near me!”
She banged a fist to her chest, it was beautiful and a little awe-inspiring.
“Well, it should be a lot safer with mother here. But I don’t think there should be much problem as long you do not leave the castle.”
Alan had also come after hearing the news.
But, wait a moment.
The way Alan put it, it almost sounds like the Margravine was a knight whose duty it was to protect me. Madam Beatrice was a former queen. Since when had she started to be treated like an officer?
“I wish that I was strong like you Madam… How old were you when you learned to handle a sword?”
I wanted to distract myself from other issues, and so I asked her about one of the mysteries of the Margrave Everal house. Alan, who remained standing by the door of his mother’s room, replied for her.
“About that, mother and father…”
“Wait now, Alan. That is supposed to be a secret!”
Suddenly Madam Beatrice had stood from the sofa and was walking towards Alan to stop him. She grabbed Alan by the collar and said in a low voice.
“Didn’t I tell you to keep your mouth shut!”
“But everyone in the castle already knows.”
“I don’t know, were you even trying to keep it secret?”
I looked at this exchange wistfully.
A couple that cared for each other. A parent and child that were bound with love; how I envied them all.
I had not really been blessed with a family in this life. Oh, well. I did have a family in my past life.
In the corner, I consoled myself with thoughts like, ‘my father and mother from my previous life were infatuated with each other too.’
After a while, having finishing her banter with Alan, Madam Beatrice returned to face me with a serious expression.
“Even so, how could they just attack without provocation? Regardless if they are just trying to bring an escaped daughter home, there is a proper approach to doing things. As it is, they have all but made an enemy of the Margrave.”
“Will you not protest?”
Madam Beatrice shook her head at Alan’s question.
“Even if we tried, the charges would not be significant. If anything, they could take advantage of the time we would be wasting. After all, Kiara is not the adopted daughter of a Count when she is here, she is a commoner who works as a maid. Likely, the knights who attacked her would receive little more than a slap on the wrist for attacking a commoner. And we would not be able to complain. Quite the opposite. In fact, they could, in turn, claim that Kiara was at fault and use that as an excuse to take her away. Adopted daughter or not, these are the lowlifes who tried to force her into a marriage with the use of sleep medicine.”
It was exactly as Madam Beatrice said.
And to be honest, Count Patorishiel had almost never treated me as if I was his daughter. It was only when he determined that it was legally necessary. Normally I was just treated as a special servant who happened to be allowed to wear fancy clothes and eat the same food as he.
And all of it was so that he could use me as a pawn. And now the dog that he had so raised had fled against his wishes. He would surely chastise me if I were caught.
Every time that I remembered this, I would be even more grateful that I was allowed to stay here in Margrave Everal’s house.
“Well then, perhaps they knew that Kiara was being sheltered here and disguised as a commoner, so they opted for the easiest method. An ambush. Had they tried to take her away as a daughter of nobility, you could protest as her protector. In that case, it would not be easy for the Count to take her by force.”
Madam Beatrice tilted her head to the side as she listened to Alan’s speculations.
“Indeed… I think that is probably it. But there is something that bothers me about it. You think that they attempted to attack and kidnap her because they didn’t want to get involved with the Margrave?”
It would be quite late into the night when they would arrest someone who could answer that question.
I was just starting to prepare for bed when I heard the knock on my door.
It was Wentworth who had come to see me. The young knight with black hair and a face rather lacking in expression, said that the Margrave had called for me and proceeded to escort me to him.
Having no further explanation, I assumed that he must have wanted to hear of the days events. And so I just wrapped a shawl around the blue dress that I had not yet changed out of and left the room.
But then I was led outside of the castle, or more accurately, just within the the walls that surrounded the castle.
The inner side of the walls that surrounded the castle had facilities such as a large garden, a playing field with bare dirt for the horses to run in, and lodging for those who were employed at the castle.
While it was now spring, the night winds were still cold. I could not help but shiver under the shawl that I had brought.
Why on earth had he taken me out of the castle?
A feeling of unease came over me, which must have been sensed by Wentworth, because he started to explain.
“We found someone who had come looking for you. The ones followed you from the school.”
“What…you found someone?”
Count Patorishiel was undeniably the culprit of this last attack, and they had found one of his men. I was somewhat relieved to find that this was the reason for bringing me out here, I had not been able to guess at anything.
And so I followed Wentworth, much more calmly now. We shortly arrived at a passage that led underground. I was told to descend the steps.
I did as I was told. My uncertainty started to return as I wondered where we were headed.
“Sir Wentworth, where are we?”
I asked him.
“This is the dungeon where we lock up the prisoners. Margrave Vain and Prince Reginald are already inside.”
Apparently Margrave Vain was already here. And Reggie as well, I calmed down once again upon hearing this. I could at least believe that Reggie would not allow me to come to harm should something happen.
Even so, why in the dungeon?
Was it to avoid being overheard? Or did they wish to show me Count Patorishiel’s man whom they had apprehended?”
There was still a question mark in my mind as I continued forward, I couldn’t help but notice that my heart was racing. Perhaps I was scared to walk through the night with only the light of Wentworth’s candle and the candle stands on the walls to guide us.
But even when we finally reached the other two, the thumping of my heart did not stop.