While the guest room in Ismalia castle was comfortable, if there was one defect, I would say that it was being able to unlock the door from the outside.
And so in the middle of the night, I heard a click, and the door that should have been locked was swung open.
But the person who came in…was not an assassin.
Though, I would have preferred it if it was an assassin. Instead, it was a woman who wore a negligee that was almost see through.
It was Jessica. She came into my room and whispered quietly.
“Lord Ashta. Tonight, I have come to receive your affection.”
–Affection. In other words, she wanted to sleep with me. What a very passionate lady. Even Jeanne wasn’t this bold. However, I was not the type to share a bed with a woman I had only just met.
I would praise her beauty with formal words and then politely ask her to leave.
However, Jessica would not listen.
“Why, Lord Ashta? I am the most beautiful woman in Ismalia.”
“I understand that. And it is for that reason that I don’t want to act rashly. We should take time to get to know each other.”
“And what better way is there for a man and woman to get to know each other?”
“Even still, things are moving too fast.”
I said. She could no longer hide her anger. She had likely had everything go according to her desire since she was young. And so anything that was different caused her to have a temper tantrum.
Besides, she probably felt as if she had done me a great honor by coming all of this way herself. And since she had not expected to be rejected, her pride was hurt.
Consumed by rage, she raised her voice.
“You are certain then, Lord Ashta? Do you know what will happen if you shame me further?”
“Are you going to stab me with the knife you are hiding?”
“I would never do something so unrefined. However, I will shout and call for help.”
She started to tear her clothes. As it was thin, it was easily torn.
“Surely you can see what would happen if I called for help in this state?”
“Indeed, I understand that. But it seems that you don’t understand that I’m not the type who is moved by threats.”
This only annoyed her even more. And so she warned me again.
“Are you sure? I will shout.”
“I won’t stop you…”
I said. And then Jessica took in a deep breath and let out a scream that cut through the air.
Of course, soldiers ran into the room. But Toshizou came with them. He looked at me with an exasperated expression.
“Ah, now this is bad. I feel sorry for you, master.”
“I don’t need sympathy. After all, you’re coming with me to the dungeon.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
He said as if suddenly remembering, and then we both laughed. We were then tied up by the guards and escorted to the underground.
After lying in the prison for some time, the Count came down to see us. He was furious.
“You. Is it true that you tarnished my daughter’s honor?”
He sounded like some kind of yakuza. But then again, most landowners were not that different from yakuza.
Since I knew that there was no point in making excuses, I agreed.
“Your daughter was just too beautiful.”
Terrible acting. Toshizou noted. And of course, he was right. However, this attitude only made the Count even more angry.
“Not only have you done me wrong, but you still act with such insolence. I will not forgive this. You can stay here and rot.”
The reason that he didn’t have me executed immediately was either because Jessica wanted me alive, or he thought that he could not kill the leader of a country so easily. I wasn’t sure which it was, but at least we were safe for now.
However, there was no telling when they would change their minds. And so I discussed the matter with Toshizou.
“Toshizou. There’s something I want to ask you.”
“What? Are you thinking of switching to men now?”
“And what if I was?”
“You can forget it.”
“Well, that wasn’t it. I want to talk about escape.”
“Now that’s more like it. So, how will you do it? There are anti-sorcery defense walls around this cell.”
“I know that. I expected it.”
“Then the sword that you purposely allowed them to confiscate must be the key.”
“You’re very perceptive. Exactly right. That sword has a will of its own, and I can call it whenever I want. However, the problem is the timing. I would like to do it when security is at its lowest.”
“Then it should be midnight. So we should sleep now, while we can. Can you sleep in a cold dungeon?”
“Easily. If anything, I’m more worried about you, since you were raised as a noble.”
“If I have one talent as a soldier, it’s that I can sleep anywhere. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a wagon or on stone flooring. I can sleep.”
“That’s quite impressive. Let’s see it then.”
I said, and then Toshizou rolled over on the floor. And I lay down, likewise. It was a contest, who could fall asleep first. Unfortunately, there was no referee.
It was not possible to say who fell asleep first.
Regardless, we woke up at about the same time.
It seemed to be around two o’clock in the night.
“We’re going to fight now, but first, nature calls.”
We took turns using the pot in the cell, and then I called the sword that would be somewhere inside of the castle.
“Come out, Living Sword!”
I said, and the living sword appeared without making a sound. It moved through the iron bars and into Toshizou’s hands.
“I don’t really like western long swords, but this is no time to complain. Let’s see if it can cut steel.”
He said, and then strapped the sword on his belt as if it was a Japanese sword. He was going to show me the art of sword drawing.
And so I observed it.
It was wonderful. The sword was unsheathed smoothly as if it was a Japanese sword in its sheath, and then the long blade moved towards the bars.
In a blur, an arc flashed in the air, and in the next second, the bars were cut down.
An escape exit had been made for us, and so we moved through the bars and out of the cell.
According to Toshizou, I had the presence of a king.
Which was a nice complement, but all we were doing was escaping in the middle of the night.