Advanced Chapters ― Ch67/67 ― The Heroine Ran Away! the Villainous Daughter Has to Break off Her Engagement and Tame Her Watchdog Mage

The Heroine Ran Away! the Villainous Daughter Has to Break off Her Engagement and Tame Her Watchdog Mage

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏: 𝐈’𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐞?!

[In any story, there is always a protagonist and an antagonist.]

That’s what I thought.

“At last, the time has come. . .!”

I, Viara, became the villainess through reincarnation recently.

With memories from my past life, I am a rookie villainess.

However, unfortunately, I have no intention of becoming a villain.

After all, in romance novels, isn’t it a common trope for the villains to face punishment if they do something bad?

I don’t want to experience pain or death.

Since I’ve been reincarnated, I want to live peacefully.

Currently, it’s a pleasant afternoon in the springtime.

I was relaxing in the Duke’s salon with three reports in my hand.

Having tea in a lush green salon during the afternoon is a truly elegant moment.

However, my heart, which knows my fate, is not at ease.

Because I am the villainess who appeared in a romance novel.

I am the love rival of the heroine. 

Starting from tomorrow at the school I will be entering, I have to take a brilliant first step as a villainess.

So I have to persuade the heroine as soon as possible. I have to tell her, “I’m not your enemy!!”

However. . .

“Wait. What is this?!”

What I obtained was a document called the “Academy Freshman Roster.” It’s a list of the people who will become my classmates for the next year.

As expected of a school where nobles gather, familiar names are lined up one after another.

No, no, that doesn’t matter.

I’m looking for only one person, the name of the heroine.

The gentle breeze swayed her long faint pale blue hair . Her silver eyes followed each and every name on the list. 

However, no matter how much time passed, I couldn’t find the name I was looking for.

“It can’t be true. . .Someone tell me it’s a lie. . .!”

I checked the names lined up on the paper over and over again, down to every corner.

But her name was still not there.

There’s no way that could be true. . .

There’s no way that could happen.

It can’t be true!!

My right hand trembled nervously.

With a crunching sound, I crushed the list in my hand.

I took a deep breath, filling my lungs with air, and screamed from the depths of my heart.

“Nooo!!!”

Upon hearing my scream, Cid, the escort mage , quickly rushed to my side in an instant.

“Milady!?! What’s the matter?!”

The handsome young man with black hair and crimson eyes widened his eyes, distorting his ruggedly handsome face.

Cid rudely grabbed my shoulder from behind and shook me vigorously.

“What happened?! What’s wrong?!”

Hey, stop it. I’ll get dizzy, so stop.

“Let go!!”

I shook off his hand and, with my hair in disarray,I screamed again.

“What’s going on!? The heroine’s name is not on the roster!”

Viara Emery Marcus. 16 years old.

Reincarnated into the romance novel “I Offer You a Rose-Colored Gem,”

have become the villainess. . .In a world without a heroine.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐: 𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐲 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨𝐨 𝐜𝐫𝐮𝐞𝐥?

This is an exciting and thrilling world where swords and magic exist.

In my previous life, I was obsessed with sweet and loving romance novels, and now I find myself in the setting of one. 

The story follows the classic path, with the poor Baron’s daughter, Kukrika, enters a school for noble children and eventually becomes loved by the prince and becomes the queen. 

The charm of this novel lies in the adorable protagonist, Kukrika.

Her earnest efforts bring tears to my eyes. It’s so touching. 

Despite her father’s alcoholism, she strives to acquire a skill and support herself. . . 

How many times have I thought, “I will support Kukrika!”?

Kukrika meets the arrogant prince at the school and gradually becomes close to him, to the point of being proposed to a year after graduation. 

When I realized that I had lost my life in an accident and was reincarnated into this world, I danced with overwhelming emotions. 

Yes, until I discovered my own name.

My name is Viara Emery Marcus. 

I am the daughter of Duke Marcus, a beautiful woman with soft, long, pale blue hair. 

Though it may sound self-praising, my hair shines like a jewel, glossy and beautiful. 

My eyes are silver, so beautiful that they can be compared to star sapphires, and of course, they are not colored contacts. 

I have large eyes, a straight nose, and naturally moist, red lips without any makeup. Now that I’m 16 years old, I have grown into a stunning beauty that turns heads wherever I go.

It’s a cheat in terms of appearance, typical of a rival character. 

It’s the beauty that makes people wonder if it’s a CG image, but of course, it’s only natural for a character in a novel to be beautiful.

However, my fate is a tragic one. I play the role of the villainess.

Since childhood, I have been set as the fiancée of the first prince of this country, and I am supposed to love him. 

So far, the story has been progressing mostly according to the novel, except for the fact that I don’t like the prince. This year, I am scheduled to enter the school as the prince’s fiancée. 

“I have no hope left.”

I unintentionally let out a complaint. 

In the novel, Viara loses the prince to the heroine shortly after entering the academy.

No matter how much I love him, cry and cling to him, the prince’s heart drifts away. 

No matter how consumed by jealousy I was,I bullied the heroine too much. 

What I did to trap the heroine and ruin her growing intimacy with the prince was just too cruel. 

It’s one thing to speak ill of her and exclude her from the group, but hiring a man to assault her, poisoning her, pushing her not just down the stairs but off the balcony. . . My stance was “kill the heroine as soon as you find her.”

Viara, couldn’t you have done something else. . .?

Attempted murder is definitely not acceptable. 

In the end, my evil deeds were exposed, and I was condemned. Behind the happy ending where the prince ends up with the heroine, Viara was dragged out in front of the people and executed. 

The guillotine, no way. 

Do we really need such a cruel ending?

I want to ask the author, I want to confront them. 

Or rather, Viara is completely used as a stepping stone.

More like a rival or a model villainess! 

I didn’t want to ride the rails to hell, with a goal colored by despair.

I am determined to get off this rail along the way. 

In the romance novels and isekai light novels I devoured in my previous life, there were many stories where even the villainess could find happiness. 

It will be alright. 

Even as a rookie villainess, I should be able to find happiness if I work hard!

With my memories restored, I made every effort to avoid the death flags. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑: 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐕𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝! 𝐈’𝐥𝐥 𝐒𝐮𝐞

First, I tried various methods to dissolve the engagement with the First Prince.

However, this “contract” that was made with the royal family cannot be overturned by the decision of a Duke’s daughter alone.

The power balance is like a waterfall, with the royal family at the top. 

The social hierarchy, the monarchy, they were formidable!

In the first place, this engagement itself was formed because the queen said, “My child is a bit foolish, so I need a reliable fiancé.” 

My opinion doesn’t matter.

Oh? Aren’t I quite the victim being burdened with a foolish person?

Roque-sama, who is the first prince of this country, has silky red hair and handsome brown eyes. His appearance is splendid, to say the least.

Other than that, he doesn’t really have any remarkable qualities.

When we were children, his arrogant attitude and impudent way of speaking were still cute.

[You are the one my mother has chosen, so I will reluctantly make you my bride!]

That’s what the brat said. He is the same age as me, and even now, at sixteen, his arrogant attitude hasn’t changed.

With a self-centered mindset, his academic and sword skills are decent, but unfortunately, he is arrogant and has a bad reputation with women.

It seems he likes my appearance, but he enjoys entertaining many young ladies, even though he has a fiancée.

When we meet at parties, his attitude is like, “Do you also want to join this circle? Of course, you do.” It’s truly unpleasant.

He should meet the heroine and have a change of heart, but for now, it’s quite disappointing.

Lately, he has been looking at me with lewd eyes, so I wholeheartedly refuse to marry such a prince. 

It was impossible for me to reform Prince Roque. Because there is no love.

I want to give the heroine to him as soon as possible.

I don’t mind even if the congratulatory gift is as extravagant as the Marcus Duke buying a castle.

I absolutely want a peaceful dissolution of the engagement!

With that in mind, once I entered the school, I planned to persuade the heroine from the first day and openly nurture love.

However, tragedy struck.

“Why isn’t she here?! If the heroine isn’t here, there won’t be anyone to marry the prince!”

With my pale blue hair in disarray, I was overwhelmed by despair.

What am I even without the heroine?!

I’ve become a failed villainess!

This is absurd!

If there were a Villainess Guild or something, I would file a formal complaint!

Tears flowed like heavy rain.

Let’s not worry about whether these tears are ladylike or more masculine; at this point, it doesn’t matter.

Even when I failed an exam in my past life, I didn’t cry this much.

“Uuuh. . .! No, I don’t want to marry that prince. And I don’t want to die.”

I sat on the floor and let my tears flow.

But there was someone here who would wipe away my tears.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒: 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐈’𝐦 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐈 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞

“Look, if you cry so much, your eyes will swell~.”

Cid, the guardian mage, always laughs and says that my story about my past life is just a bad dream. 

He placed his hand on my shoulder as I broke down in tears and gently comforted me. 

“Miss, I will protect you, so don’t worry. Dreams are just dreams, after all.”

Although I think of my memories of my past life as a dream, I don’t completely disbelieve them. Cid is the only person I can confide in about my worries. 

Cid is a handsome young man with sleek black hair and crimson eyes. He is 19 years old, three years older than me. 

He is hailed as the strongest mage in the Roselia Kingdom, brought to me by my doting father.

Despite hiding it under a gray robe, his muscular yet slender physique is exactly my type.

He easily surpasses 180 centimeters in height, with long legs clad in black trousers, slender arms, and a shining red earring on his right ear. . .

He is incredibly cool, even though he is not a character from a novel. 

I can’t thank Otou-sama, who brought Cid as my guardian, enough. 

“Miss, if you have the power of foresight, you can change the future.”

“Ugh. . .! Is there still time?”

“Yes.”

Cid nodded with a gentle smile. 

I’m overjoyed that he doesn’t make fun of my story and assures me that he will protect me after considering it. 

If I had known that I would become a villainess before I was reincarnated, I think I would have said, “Just run away immediately!” 

But I couldn’t. 

I vividly remembered my past life when I was around 10 years old, and by then, I was already engaged. 

Moreover, I had a loving father who adored his daughter and a gentle mother with a pleasant scent. However, both of them died in an accident when I was 12 years old. . .

Even now, I have a beautiful, intelligent, and slightly timid older brother. 

I couldn’t abandon this family, and I didn’t want to cause them trouble by running away. . . So I ended up being unable to move and came to this day.

That’s why I intended to push the prince onto the heroine. . .No, I meant to ask for a wonderful romance. 

“I can’t believe it. . .!”

The Roselia National Academy is a place where noble children must attend. Unless they get married or fall ill, even if they are poor, they borrow scholarships to attend. 

If they don’t, they won’t have good marriage prospects or job opportunities. 

“I wonder where Baron’s daughter Kukrika Larry went? It’s troublesome if she doesn’t enroll!”

I lamented in the salon. Cid, who crouched down next to me, gently said while looking at the roster. 

“Miss, if she didn’t enroll, doesn’t that mean your foresight was wrong? Or perhaps, the future changed because you worked hard.”

“Because I worked hard?”

“Yes.”

When I looked up, he smiled at me as usual. His smile makes my heart skip a beat, but it’s not the time for fluttering feelings. 

“The only things I worked hard on were not letting the family fall into ruin, studying, and training in magic. I haven’t had any contact with Baron’s daughter Kukrika Larry.” 

I recently remembered her name, and it seemed like a fog was always hanging over my head when I thought about the heroine. 

I never imagined that the moment I remembered, the heroine would go missing. 

“I guess this isn’t a world from a novel after all. . .?”

Cid came to my aid as I struggled with my thoughts. 

“I will instruct the spies to search for Baron’s daughter Kukrika Larry. Miss, please think about tomorrow’s entrance ceremony. I’m sure the uniform will suit you well.”

That’s right. 

I can’t afford to look clumsy. 

Even if my engagement is eventually broken, I must be a perfect young lady without any room for condemnation. 

Finally composed, I stood up straight and wiped away my tears. 

“It’s only natural that the uniform suits me, right?”

I looked at Cid with a dignified and authoritative attitude as usual. 

He chuckled as if enduring something and nodded. 

“Yes, of course, Miss. If you’d like, I can even help you change.”

“I don’t need that!”

I swatted away the offered hand and left the salon, returning to my room. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓: 𝐀𝐥𝐥-𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐑𝐞𝐠𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫 𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐖𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐀𝐩𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡

Today is the entrance ceremony.

Onii-sama had some trouble in his territory aso he left the capital two days ago and unfortunately, he’s not here.

However, the mansion is bustling, and I, wearing a pristine white uniform, was given a grand farewell at the entrance.

“””Miss, have a safe trip!”””

Is there any way to avoid this?

The Duke Marcus household is an esteemed noble family, but they also have a face resembling a mafia that controls the underworld.

While there are ordinary servants, most of the guards and escorts are strong men with scars on their faces and bodies.

They are composed of an All-Star team that ordinary people would never want to get close to.

“Hehe. . .Miss, please have a safe commute.”

Rosso, with a fierce face, takes out a mysterious bag from his chest and hands it to me.

“What is this?”

“It will make you feel better.”

When I opened the bag, it contained colorful candies.

Well, Rosso may be an experienced guard, but does he still think of me as a five-year-old? 

Certainly, in the past, I used to receive candies and become happy.

I’m still dissatisfied with being treated like a child.

But these candies are delicious, so I’ll accept them.

“I’m off.”

I was seen off by a row of menacing men dressed in black, and I left the house and got on the carriage with Cid.

Inside the rattling carriage, I held onto a cushion with a gloomy expression.

To be honest, I didn’t get enough sleep. I was so anxious that I could only sleep for six hours. 

“Miss, your face looks lifeless.”

“How rude. I’m barely alive.”

“By the way, can I ask you something?”

cid, sitting in front of me, looked at me hesitantly. Our eyes didn’t meet. His gaze was directed towards my bangs.

“What’s wrong with your bangs?”

“Uh, did you notice?”

“Well, with such a drastic change. . .”

My bangs, which were parted to the side until yesterday, were now cut straight across.

“I tried to make it look a little less villainous. I wanted to improve my impression.””

You know, heroines usually have bangs, right?

Having no bangs with a side part or center part makes me look more like a villainess.

Without even considering my feelings, Sid burst into laughter.

“You don’t have to worry so much. As long as you don’t do anything bad, you’ll be fine. Besides, that villainous daughter you mentioned, she must have done a lot of things, right?”

“That’s true, but. . .”

I decided to start with appearances. 

There’s no way a girl with straight bangs can be a bad person. 

“Besides, it suits you well. That uniform. White looks good on you. You don’t look like a villainess.”

“R-Really?”

I felt a little embarrassed being praised.

It feels like I’m being rolled around in the palm of his hand, but I can’t help but feel happy when Cid praises me.

“You should have worn the uniform too, Cid.”

“No, thank you. It’s a uniform that gets dirty easily.”

Cid, who has already graduated, doesn’t wear the uniform. He wears a dark gray robe with a black innerwear.

A purple brooch on the collar of the robe stood out. 

In this country, magicians have a hierarchical system, and the brooch serves as an identification of their status. The highest rank is awarded the purple spinel, which Cid is wearing, and only those who can use magic of all attributes such as fire, water, earth, wind, lightning, darkness, and holy can obtain that position.

The magician’s rank starts with the purple spinel, followed by blue, red, green, yellow, and white, making a total of six ranks. The lowest rank, white, is just enough to use magic, so some people don’t bother registering, but yellow and above are advantageous for employment, so most people register.

“If only I could use magic freely like Cid, I could have gone to the Magic Academy.”

“Miss is a bit special, you know. . .”

I have a large amount of magical power, but my special trait is that I can’t release it.

Even if I create a fireball, it’s fine as long as I keep it attached to my finger, but if I try to throw it far away, it immediately disperses and disappears.

“I wanted to have healing powers or something.”

“Like a saint? Miss as a saint. . .haha.”

How incredibly rude!

When I glared at him with a half-closed eye, Cid straightens his back and deliberately looks out the window.

I know that it’s impossible for a villainess to be a saint. But since I’ve lived a decent life, I wanted at least a cool reincarnation cheat skill. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔: 𝐎𝐣𝐨𝐮-𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐚 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐇𝐞𝐫 𝐏𝐞𝐭 𝐃𝐨𝐠

“I can only punch with my bare hands infused with magic power anyway.”

Normally, that would be more difficult, you know?”

Why do I have these street fighter skills anyway?

I’m not even a martial artist. Besides, if I were to fight against a martial artist, I would normally lose.

“Ahh, my thoughts are so gloomy. Let’s think about something more enjoyable!”

“Yes, Miss. I’m sure there will be enjoyable things at the academy.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

If Cid says so, it might be true.

I looked at him with a smile on my face.

“Oh, by the way, if it’s about you, Miss, I’ll take care of it.”

Cid always says that and smiles.

But as a purple spinel magician, he should have countless offers from countries around the world without needing to be my bodyguard. I feel guilty that he continues to serve me so faithfully just because he owes a debt to my late father.

“Hey, cid, is it okay for you to be my bodyguard? Well, it’s not every day you get to protect a noble beauty like me.”

“Yes, of course.”

You don’t sound very enthusiastic?!

I pouted and sulked, and Cid chuckled.

“I am Miss’s dog, so I will always be kept.”

“You’re saying that again.”

He’s a ridiculously handsome human-faced dog.

“Have you forgotten? Your father picked me up.”

That was when Cid was eight years old and I was five.

“Otou-sama, I want a cute dog.”

I innocently begged, never expecting my father to come back with a “dog-like boy.”

Yeah, my father’s sense was incredibly scary.

According to Otou-sama, “There was no dog that seemed suitable for Viara, so I brought back a boy who looks like a dog.” What was he thinking, going to the royal castle and bringing back a boy who looks like a dog?

I still don’t understand it.

I don’t know if cid was in the castle or if he was found along the way, and the father who brought him has already passed away.

Nevertheless, Sid still never leaves my side.

“You will always be by my side, right. . .?”

“Miss, you seem unusually timid.”

He pointed it out, and wrinkles formed between my eyebrows involuntarily.

But it can’t be helped. I say things that test him because I have an extraordinary affection for him.

Despite being the prince’s fiancée, I yearn for him, a mere bodyguard.

Whether he knows or not about my feelings, Cid smiled and said.

“Don’t worry! There’s no better-paying job where I can rest a lot, so I won’t go anywhere.”

“Even if it’s a lie, say that you’ll stay with me!”

“Yes, I’ll stay with you.”

“How lighthearted! You’re so lighthearted!!”

I don’t ask for sweet words or anything extravagant. I just want him to at least pretend to be a loyal bodyguard. 

Feeling that it’s foolish to continue worrying, I gazed absentmindedly out the window as the rain fell.

Unfortunately, the weather is gloomy, but from today, I’m heading to the battlefield. It’s an irregular situation where there are too many villainesses right from the start, but there must be a way out.

It’s okay, as long as Cid is with me, I won’t lose.

I clenched my fist tightly and whispered.

“I will definitely survive and show them. . .!”

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟕: 𝐀𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐚 𝐟𝐥𝐚𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐲’𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧.

At 9 AM.

I finally set foot on the battlefield called the academy. 

With my white fitted blazer and a slightly longer skirt, I looked like a modest nun or something. But I’ll let it slide since my pale blue hair stands out nicely.

Cid, standing by my side as my guard, caused the young ladies who saw him to let out high-pitched screams like “Kyaa!”

How can he be more noticeable than me, the villainess? What kind of bug is this?!

When I glare at Cid, he responds with a completely outward smile.

“What’s the matter?”

“Grrr. . .!”

So cool!

But now is not the time to think about that.

I quickly avert my gaze from him because I don’t want him to see my blushing cheeks.

“I should have come on a magic scooter instead of a carriage.”

“No, Miss. It’s dangerous in the city.”

It’s no wonder Cid tried to stop me.

The magical scooter that I had designed to resemble a moped floats and moves at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour.

Since the fuel efficiency is really bad, only Cid and Onii-sama can drive it, but with that, the two of us could have commuted to school together.

I should have parked it at the back entrance and sneaked in.

Because I foolishly rode a carriage and entered the school from the front, Cid ended up being seen by so many students.

Although I feel gloomy since the morning, I am the daughter of Duke Marcus.

In the school, I must behave as a model lady.

“Let’s go.”

“Yes.”

Amidst the attention, I walked confidently with my back straight. 

When I entered the classroom, I immediately saw the sight of my fiancé surrounded by the young ladies.

I want to ignore them, but I have to greet them at least.

“Miss, do your best.”

“Yes. I’ll be back.”

Cid didn’t enter the classroom and immediately left after escorting me. He will be waiting in the room designated for me within the academy.

I desperately held back a sigh and headed calmly towards Prince Roque.

Ah, it’s infuriating how he pretends not to notice me even though he’s been aware of me since earlier!

Should I just headbutt him like this? Such thoughts crossed my mind. But if I actually did that, I would be sent straight to the dungeon for disrespect.

Reluctantly, I called out to Prince Roque.

“Your Highness, it’s been a while.”

“Ah, you haven’t changed.”

The prince, wearing a pure white blazer with golden-trimmed collar, looks beautiful as always. His red hair flutters in the wind, and his appearance truly befitted royalty.

When he sees me, he greets me with an air of “We’re engaged, so we have to talk.” 

“You seem well. . .It’s an honor to be able to see you every day at the academy.”

Smooth compliments flowed effortlessly from my mouth, as befits a duke’s daughter.

“Hmph, I suppose so. If it’s occasionally, we can have lunch together.”

“Well. . .”

Yeah, absolutely not. The prince, taking my social niceties seriously, said something unusual about having lunch together. 

If you only listen to his words, he might come across as a kind prince who reaches out to his fiancée, but on both sides of him, there are young ladies with brown and blonde hair accompanying him, and unbelievably, he has his arms around their shoulders.

That’s not the attitude of someone talking to their fiancée, right?!

Those girls, even with me as his fiancée, show no intention of leaving the Prince. They’re truly fortunate individuals, even though if they continue dating the prince like this, they’ll only end up defiled and discarded.

I mean, with a prince like this becoming the next king, it’s a flag of the country’s downfall. Even though this country is a major power compared to neighboring countries, the future looks too dark with a foolish king in charge.

And besides, even if he’s a character from a romance novel, he should improve his womanizing tendencies a bit. His refreshing appearance is only skin-deep.

“That uniform suits you quite well.”

“Thank you for your kind words.”

It’s creepy how he looks at me from head to toe as if licking me.

Let’s get out of here quickly. Yes, let’s do that.

“Well then, if you’ll excuse me.”

As I turned around, I was filled with the feeling that I didn’t want to have anything to do with this insolent prince for even one more second.

The prince, who expected me to flatter him, now looks at me with a piercing gaze, feeling betrayed. But I couldn’t care less about that.

In the romance novel, he was supposed to be a “slightly promiscuous prince.” Why is it more than just “slightly” now?! I wonder what will happen to the story development where he meets the heroine and changes his ways. 

Ugh, no way, me. Marrying someone like that.

I have to find the heroine and use the power of my family to transfer her to the school.

I will live a peaceful school life as a well-behaved Duke’s daughter, without becoming a villainess.

I can still do it.

There’s still time.

However, a few days later, my plans crumbled unexpectedly. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟖: 𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐇𝐚𝐬 𝐁𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝

Three days after entering school, I hurriedly went out to the town upon receiving a report from Cid.

Dressed in a deep crimson dress and wearing a wide-brimmed hat, I probably didn’t look like a duke’s daughter.

Cid was in his usual attire, but he had taken off his amethyst spinel brooch and was wearing glasses.

Stop directly stimulating my maiden heart!

Those stylish black-framed glasses have infinite attack power!

Cid, who is too cool for me to look directly at, took me and walked briskly along the main street to a place where commoners gather, a restaurant.

Casually holding hands, my heart is pounding.

Today, I’m going to die.

But Cid, who didn’t notice the slightest bit of my nervousness, arrived near the target lunchbox shop and secretly surveyed it from an alley.

“There she is, milady. That girl over there.”

I also peek my head out from behind the wall, gripping Sid’s arm with both hands as I gaze at the bento shop.

“That girl. . .?”

A girl with beautiful blonde hair tied up with a cheap ribbon, serving customers with a lively and bright smile.

She’s here.

“There’s no mistake, it’s Baron’s daughter Kukrika Larry. . .!”

Unbelievable.

The heroine is selling bentos!!!

According to the report I received from Cid, the heroine, at the age of fifteen, married her childhood friend (a commoner mob) and together they run a bento shop. It’s true that the Baron’s larry  family had debts and didn’t live a noble lifestyle, so it’s not surprising that their daughter would work.

But!

But but!!

Why isn’t she attending the academy and instead opening a bento shop with her childhood friend!?

“Could it be that she’s also a reincarnated person?”

I knew that if she attended school, she would attract the attention of the prince. . .

It can only be seen as her way of avoiding that.

“Ouch! Miss, that hurts.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

Before I knew it, I had tightly grabbed Cid’s arm and was about to crush it.

When I quickly let go, Cid vigorously rubbed the area I had grabbed. It seemed to hurt a lot.

“Hey, can we buy lunch at that store?”

“I don’t mind.”

Saying that, Cid gave me a few copper coins.

Oops, I only had silver coins. It’s enough money to buy up all the lunches at the store.

“I’m off!”

“I’ll come too!”

Cid hurriedly chased after me as I dashed out. Once again, my hand was grabbed, and my heart skipped a beat.

“What will you do if we get lost or get kidnapped and you end up beating the culprit to death!?”

Wait a minute. Why is the assumption that I’ll beat someone to death?!

That’s a terrible thing to say.

But I’m happy to be holding hands, so let’s just ignore that part.

In a good mood, I bought lunch directly from the heroine. 

Although it’s called a bento, it’s just a box filled with side dishes and bread, made of wood. The box is not disposable, so when I come to buy again, I bring it back washed, and they put the side dishes inside.

Since it’s my first time, I bought the side dishes along with the box.

“Thank you!!”

“It looks delicious.”

“Yes! I made it!”

How cute.

The heroine had blonde hair and green eyes, and looked like a doll, so cute.

Above all, I thought her energetic and bright smile was lovely.

She has a good personality and can make bento. . .!

I’m a little jealous.

After receiving the bento, I opened it near the fountain where I could see Kukrika.

And then.

I was shocked when I saw the contents.

“This. . .is it nikujaga and tamagoyaki?!”

I’m astonished by the taste of Japanese cuisine, something I’ve never seen before in this world.

She must definitely be a reincarnated person too, Kukrika Larry

“It’s an unusual dish. Maybe it’s a foreign meal.”

Cid peeks in with a curious expression.

I stabbed the tamagoyaki with a fork and gently put it in my mouth.

“Mmm!!”

Th-this is dashimaki tamago?!

I’m screaming inside my head at the exquisite flavor of this mellow kombu dashi. It’s so delicious it’s driving me crazy.

“L-Let’s buy dried kombu on the way back.”

If I remember correctly, the famous one is the laussu-produced kelp from the northern region. It’s expensive, but the Marcus duke House can afford to buy as much as they want.

Alright, I’ll definitely buy it on the way back.

The nikujaga was also undeniably delicious. 

I thought, “Do we really need these mysterious green stems instead of green beans?” But I’m surprised that the taste of the dashi makes me feel so happy.

Cid seems to like it too, saying, “It’s delicious,” as he eats.

Ah, I wish our family’s cook could reproduce this taste. I thought of buying one more on the way back.

And now, having finished my meal, I absentmindedly gaze at Kukurika as if in a dreamlike state.

Kukrika is loved by people of all ages and works briskly.

The young man who seems to be her husband also looks kind, and you can feel that they love each other very much.

“She’s such a good girl. . .”

“Yes, she is. So, what will you do?”

Cid asked tentatively.

He must be referring to my statement about wanting to enroll Kukurika in the academy. It’s like asking, “What’s your plan?”

I slumped down and let out a sigh naturally.

“I can’t possibly ruin such happiness. But. . .I can’t settle for this!”

When I stood up, I headed back to the bento shop.

It’s unfair for her to leave this fate behind before me! Why didn’t she invite me!!

Even though we’re not friends, I got angry.

“Oh? Onee-san, what’s the matter?”

Kukrika looks at me and says with a smile.

Unaware of everything, she serves customers and doesn’t even notice that I’m a villainess. 

I tightly clenched the coins in my hand and said to Kukrika,

“Please give me ten bento boxes.”

“Thank you very much!”

Cid looked at us with a puzzled expression and received the ten bento boxes. 

I smirked and gave her a mischievous smile as I placed a silver coin in her hand. 

It’s frustrating, but this is the most significant annoyance I can inflict right now.

“Oh, customers?!”

Hehehe, she’s flustered. 

Of course, I just gave her more than ten times the amount of money.

Let her receive the favor from a wealthy person and cry in frustration!

“I don’t need any change!!”

I declared, then swiftly walked away.

The pure-hearted heroine will surely struggle with such a large payment. 

Let her receive the envy and jealousy of the villainess!

“Customers!”

While hearing Kukrika’s bewildered voice, I swore to never come here again and ran away. 

“It was delicious. . .Dashimaki tamago.”

From tomorrow onwards, I decided to send the coachman to buy it. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟗: 𝐈’𝐦 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐬

A school life without a heroine.

I have no need to play the role of a villainess, and His Highness has no intention of becoming serious either.

“You are truly a boring woman.”

Every time we meet, I receive sarcastic remarks, but I’ve become so used to it that it feels like a greeting.

Baroque, the Crown Prince, continues to commit misdeeds, not only mistreating girls but also resorting to violence against his male entourage without any hesitation.

And those complaints inevitably reach me, his fiancée.

It’s beyond annoying.

Although I can’t completely ignore it, I occasionally give him warnings, but his delusional response of “Do you want to catch my attention that badly, Viara?” leaves me at a loss.

No one could stop the prince, who became even more arrogant after entering the school.

Everyone around him is just his yes-men, and even the teachers can’t confront the one and only prince of this country.

All I can do is secretly order Cid to help when His Highness unjustly resorts to violence.

In this state, the idea of a fulfilling school life or youth seemed like an urban legend. It’s like saying, “Oh, does that really exist?”

Furthermore, His Highness is involved with various young ladies, and he has long exceeded the limit of being forgiven just because he’s handsome.

The ladies he flirts with probably see me as a “pitiful woman who isn’t loved by her fiance.” I can feel their mockery.

However, since these ladies change every month, I’ve decided not to bother with them. The prince easily gets bored.

Moreover, any young lady who treats me with a terrible attitude inevitably faces retaliation from my family. . .

Those who harassed me are no longer seen at the school.

Besides Cid, there are guards who keep an eye on me, and they report everything to Onii-sama without fail. Although I don’t mind, I wonder if they are concerned about the reputation of the Duke Marcus family.

“Hey Cid , do you know what my brother has been up to?”

I asked hesitantly, and he smiled with a distant look in his eyes.

“No, nothing. Everything is done by the young men under Ethan-sama’s orders.”

As expected, there’s no surprise there.

I should tell Onii-sama to take it easy.

Well, let’s put that aside for now.

Although I want to avoid any contact with the prince as much as possible because he’s such a disappointment, I have to accept his escort during official events.

Even if I’m given a dreadfully tacky dress (which is clearly meant to be spiteful), it’s not a problem since my brother refuses to accept it, saying, “It never arrived.”

The real problem is that His Highness tries to make a move when we are alone in the carriage.

Trying to touch a fiancee who clearly dislikes you. . . It’s just insane.

Since I don’t like being stared at, long-sleeved dresses and thick fabrics have become my signature.

And the dressmaker is delighted with it (the cost of the fabric increases, but it expands the design possibilities), so dresses of that style have been popular for about two years now.

“Miss, did you put on the ring properly today?”

“Yes, of course.”

On my left little finger, there is a defensive ring made by Cid. This ring with a purple stone was created to put His Highness to sleep.

With this ring, His Highness falls asleep within thirty seconds of getting on the carriage. Before he has a chance to lay a hand on me, before I hear the words “We have arrived,” and he’s off to dreamland.

It would be nice if Cid could ride with me, but His Highness insists that he doesn’t want a commoner like Cid to ride with us, whether it’s an escort or anything else. Since Cid understands that, he rides alongside on the horse’s back. His Highness’s guards surround us, and there is no particular conflict between Cid and them.

Come to think of it, when His Highness almost touched me for the first time, I desperately resisted and ended up falling off the carriage. Everyone sympathized with me, saying “It’s His Highness’s fault,” and they unanimously advised the king to let me off the hook.

It’s really heartwarming to have everyone on my side! (Probably because they have all been bribed by my family)

Today, as usual, I go through the motions of an escort, and I step into the carriage. 

Sitting down with my arms crossed in front of the prince, I lower myself onto the seat.

The hem of my red dress overlapped like rose petals, truly beautiful.

The scenery outside the window is dyed by the twilight. When I glance at the cavalry through the window, I catch a glimpse of Cid’s figure diagonally behind.

Incredibly cool.

I never would have thought that way before, but ever since I acknowledged my secret feelings, I find myself completely captivated by his presence.

However, my fiancé is unfortunately Roque, who is sleeping with drool dripping from his mouth. 

I gently stroked the ring on my little finger.

“I wish Cid were my fiancé.”

Things don’t always go well in this world.

While gazing absentmindedly out the window, I head towards the party venue. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟎: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐕𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐀𝐥𝐬𝐨 𝐖𝐚𝐥𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐑𝐚𝐜𝐞

When we arrived at the venue, I was escorted by His Highness, who had a prince-like smile, as we walked through a luxurious garden. For some reason, fireflies are flying around, creating a moody scene, perhaps for the sake of novelistic convenience.

Normally, at this point, engaged couples would express their love and maybe even kiss, but unfortunately, we are not an ordinary couple.

As I looked straight ahead, I tightly held the hem of my dress with my left hand.

We were about to enter combat mode.

Since His Highness was walking briskly, I followed suit.

Technically, my right hand was resting on His Highness’s arm, but that was just for appearances.

If we were to think normally, our speed wouldn’t be that of an escorting couple in dresses, but both he and I have become stubborn, and it has turned into a sort of race.

Sasasasasasa. . .

It has become a competition of who can maintain an elegant smile without breaking it and use their leg strength to advance as much as possible.

“Hahaha, you’re always so impatient!”

“Ohohohoho, I can’t keep up with Your Highness!”

The surrounding nobles perceive us, who are rushing through at an abnormal speed, as the usual pair. No one questions it, as if they think, “They’re just like that.”

By the time we finally entered the building, both His Highness and I were slightly out of breath.

His Highness is an idiot, but I think the same of myself every time.

If only I could once let my posture collapse and look up at him with tearful, helpless eyes like a delicate young lady, I’m sure I could avoid these pointless races.

But it’s no use. I don’t know why, but I find myself competing against him.

“Haa. . . haa. . . We’ve done the escort, right?”

Yes, Your Majesty told me to, so I had no choice!

“You should stick to the wall as usual.”

“Understood.”

After His Highness said that, he went to the young ladies who were waiting inside. Or should I say, he went away. 

In any case, after a while, he will surely hold hands with one of them, whether she be a mistress or not, and retreat to the VIP room or the anteroom for some lovey-dovey time.

Even if they are his concubines, those girls who have the mindset of wanting to secure that position while the prince is still in school, are they truly happy?

It’s impossible for me.

“Now I’m finally free!”

From now on, I will greet acquaintances and work on building connections.

I won’t become a wallflower. Thanks to my late father and mother’s friends who dote on me, I can dance. As long as I can enjoy delicious meals and exchange valuable information with the people from my territory, that’s all I need.

Now, I will gather a lot of information to be of use to Onii-sama today!!

“Oh my! Viara-sama, welcome!”

The host’s wife immediately approached me with a smile.

She is a fan of the crystals that can be obtained in our territory, and we always have business dealings.

“Countess Laussu! Thank you for inviting me!”

Ah, I like her.

Countess Laussu, who has been very accommodating, I love her.

Today, I’m wearing new earrings made with crystals from our territory, so she should definitely be interested.

Suppressing the temptation to see her beautiful black hair as kelp, I enthusiastically engage in conversation.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟏: 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 “𝐈𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞” 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧?

“Viara-sama, long time no see.”

Towards the end of the party.

The one who called out to me was a silver-haired, blue-eyed handsome young man.

“Noah-sama, good evening. It’s rare to see you here.”

Noah-sama, who serves as the high priest at the church, is my older brother’s classmate and a friend of mine. 

He is the third son of the Marquis family, but he was raised at the church as a child of a mistress. 

He may be a bit mentally weak, but he is a gentle person with a soft demeanor and easy to talk to. 

As a priest, he usually doesn’t attend parties, so I was surprised to see him wearing a rare navy suit today. 

“My father summoned me today.”

“Your father?”

Seeing me puzzled, Noah-sama smiled awkwardly. 

Noah-sama’s father is not someone you can call remarkable. He is a Marquis who may appear to be a good person, but he’s known for being greedy for money.

It doesn’t seem like a good thing for someone like that to summon Noah-sama, who is a child of a mistress, to a party. 

“I was told that a marriage proposal has come for me, and I was introduced to a widow who has passed the age of forty.”

It seems like he intends to sell his son for money. 

Although he may be publicly treated as a caretaker or adopted child. . .Nobles, they’re scary!!

Seeing me frown, Noah-sama laughed and said, “Don’t worry.”

“I declined it. I am dedicated to serving God.”

“I see. . .”

The church has deep connections with the royal family, so they will surely protect Noah-sama if something happens. 

Being a user of holy attribute magic is rare, and Noah-sama, who has risen to the position of high priest at a young age, is undoubtedly promising. 

Moreover, the donations gathered from the noblewomen who are interested in Noah-sama are impressive. With his mystical and innocent character, he captivates noblewomen and is the idol of the church.

However, the amount of stomach medicine he tightly holds is dangerous. 

The way he nibbles on the stomach medicine like a squirrel eating nuts is something I can’t bear to see.

-Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch

“Noah-sama! Please stop! Do it in the waiting room or in the carriage!”

I desperately tried to stop Noah-sama, who had already started eating stomach medicine.

“Ah! I just can’t calm down without this.”

Is he addicted to stomach medicine?

Being an addict and innocent are contradictory, so he’s disqualified as an idol!

I hurriedly took Noah-sama to a corner and hid his junkie-like behavior with stomach medicine.

Then, out of nowhere, a male servant approached us without making any footsteps or presence.

“Here’s some water for you.”

“Thank you. . . Wait, cid!?”

I widened my eyes in surprise, and cid placed his index finger on his lips.

Damn. . .! I’m dazzled by how cool he is.

Noah-sama drank the water I handed him and leaned against the wall with a pale face. 

Noah-sama being so weak aroused my protective instincts, but unfortunately, I didn’t know how to protect his stomach.. 

“I will ask Onii-sama if he has any good medicine.”

As I said that, Cid calmly interjects. 

“Miss, it’s already cruel to have a stomach medicine addiction, but making him even more dependent on medicine is even more cruel.”

How rude. When I give him a stern look, he averted his eyes with a wry smile. 

After resting for a while and recovering a bit, Noah-sama said he would ride the church carriage back home.

Thinking of going home as well, I headed towards the carriage with cid and Noah-sama.

At the farewell, Noah-sama took my right hand with a beautiful smile. 

“Viara-sama.”

“Yes?”

“I missed the timing, but you look very beautiful today as well. The red dress suits you well.”

Without caring about my startled reaction when he suddenly held my hand, Noah-sama gently pulled my hand closer to him. 

Even though I know it’s a greeting, it’s still unfamiliar to have my hand kissed on the back. 

-“Hm!”

His lips were about to touch the back of my hand. . . Right before that moment, Noah-sama’s head drooped down, and he collapsed onto his knees.

“Eh?!”

Seeing Noah-sama fall to the ground, my heart started pounding.

“Oh, are you tired? This is not good.”

Cid’s nonchalant voice echoes in the night sky, and just as I thought, Noah-sama is quickly carried and thrown into the church’s carriage. 

“Eh?! Oh, this ring?!”

On my left pinky finger. It was supposed to be made as a countermeasure against Prince Roque. . .?

When Cid returned, he naturally took my hand and led me to the Duke Marcus family’s carriage. 

“Hey.”

“Yes, what is it?”

“The target of this ring was just Duke Roque, right? Why Noah-sama too?”

“Men are beasts.”

Even if he says it with a stern face, I can’t accept it at all.

“Is the innocent Noah-sama a beast? You must be joking.”

“Miss, you are still a child. You just don’t understand.”

I glare at Cid’s disrespectful remark, and he averts his eyes with a composed expression. 

“When I danced with Count Gremial and Marquis Zeves earlier, even though we were in close contact, they didn’t fall asleep. What kind of criteria did you set?!”

“It’s based on my own judgment and prejudice.”

“How arbitrary!”

As I got into the carriage, Cid followed and sat down.

I stared at his face sitting in front of me, and he returned a bright smile.

“You don’t know who this ring will affect, right?”

“That’s not true. It only makes them fall asleep if they have ulterior motives.”

Then maybe Noah-sama is a malfunction. There’s no way such a pure person would have ulterior motives. 

As the carriage starts moving slowly, I suddenly come up with a thought. 

“What about Cid?”

“Yes?”

“If Cid touches me. . .will he fall asleep?”

If he has ulterior motives. 

If Cid falls asleep, it means he sees me not just as a mere protected young lady, but as a romantic interest. 

As I asked earnestly, he responded with a serious expression. 

“Miss.”

“Yes.”

“No mage falls for their own creations.”

“That’s right! I knew it! I knew it!!”

I was a fool to ask!

I glared at Cid, who chuckled, and turned my face away. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟐: 𝐈 𝐖𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐏𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐅𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐧 𝐋𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐧𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐀𝐥𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐲

The one-year school life passed without any major incidents(?).

Prince Roque continued his habit of changing noble ladies frequently, neglecting his studies. I think it’s about time he receives a serious scolding from His Majesty the King.

Now that there is no heroine, I just want the Prince to fall in love with anyone already.

Because my Duke Marcus family will fully support it.

*Sigh*. . .

“You’re sighing again.”

The moments that heal my troubled heart are the times I spend with Cid, who is always by my side. 

Even casual conversations become enjoyable when he’s around.

“Hey, if I had a purple spinel, could I use magic to change the prince’s heart?”

I know it’s an unreasonable request, but I can’t help but ask.

“Uh.”

“Magic that manipulates the mind or purifies the heart.”

If only there were something so convenient.

However, Cid’s answer was simple.

“If there were, I would have used it already.”

I see.

While I had a gloomy expression, Cid crossed his arms and tilted his head.

“Hmm, magic that involves manipulating someone’s mind is all dark magic. Both the one casting the spell and the one being affected would have to pay a considerable price. It might be possible with cursed artifacts from the occult, but the caster would die if they cast it, you know?”

“That’s troublesome.”

It seems there is no way for everyone to be happy after all.

As I make a bitter face, Cid looks at me with a gentle smile.

“It’ll be alright, I’m sure we’ll figure something out.”

“I hope so.” 

Suppressing my second and third sighs, I took out the sandwich I had gotten from the cafeteria from the basket.

“Here, today’s roast beef sandwich.”

“Miss, why am I being fed every day?”

“Oh, don’t you want it?”

“I do. I’m really hungry.”

In the courtyard, it has become a daily routine for me to enjoy lunch with Cid. 

Here, I won’t have the prince in my field of vision, and vice versa.

“Vi-sama.”

Lost in thought, Cid unusually calls my name. 

Startled, I quickly looked to my side, and his face was very close.

“Wha. . .”

Nervously, I instinctively turned my face away.

As I tightly closed my eyes, the sandwich in my hand was swiftly snatched away.

“If you’re not going to eat it, I’ll have it.”

“Huh?!”

What does he mean by taking away his master’s lunch!?

There’s still more in the basket!!

Frowning, I watched as Cid took a bite of the sandwich and closed one eye, making a pained expression.

“Huh?”

“Just as I thought. The mustard is unevenly spread here. Miss, please eat the part that looks fine.”

“Ugh!!”

My chest felt tight! He deliberately took the side with more mustard for me!!

I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I was about to collapse.

While I writhed and suffered, clutching my chest, this man who clearly didn’t understand the excitement quickly washed down the bread with tea.

What?

Your occupation is a hunter, not a bodyguard, right? Are you planning to shoot me?

And he comes up with another move. 

“Miss, aren’t you eating? Come on, it’s delicious.”

Approaching me with the sandwich in his hand, he brings it close to my mouth. . .!

He intended to capture my heart by feeding me, but it seems like I’m the one who’s being caught.

I can’t let this situation slip away!

I bite into it eagerly, and Cid smiled happily.

“Mm, delicious.”

“Isn’t it? If you don’t eat properly, your body won’t hold up~.”

The danger now is not my body but my feelings of love.

But if someone were to see us in this situation. . .

Unfortunately, I took the sandwich from his hand and continued to eat it myself.

As the prince’s fiancée, I want to avoid any suspicions of infidelity.

I just want a peaceful and amicable dissolution of the engagement.

The distance between Cid, who sits next to me, and me is still one person’s worth. It’s frustrating that we can’t get closer.

It’s closer than a normal bodyguard and a young lady, but in moments like this, I can’t help but feel the difference in our positions.

“Hey, what if I were. . .”

“Yes?”

I gaze into his crimson eyes and ask slowly.

“What if I were just an ordinary girl?”

“Miss. . .”

After thinking for a while, Cid answers with a serious expression.

“Miss, you have never been ordinary, so it’s impossible to imagine you as an ordinary  girl.”

“Huh?! Just say it, you bastard!”

“I’m already saying it.”

“Oh, you’re saying it like this?!”

. . .The surplus villainess is still living energetically today. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟑: 𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲, 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐧𝐞𝐰𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐝!

One day at the Marcus residence.

Sitting with me, having tea, is a handsome man with blond hair and silver eyes.

“Is it okay if I break off the engagement? Onii-sama would gladly fire the magic cannon at the castle for Viara’s sake.”

“Onii-sama, please refrain from saying dangerous things.”

Due to Roque-sama’s extremely insincere attitude, my brother Ethan was furious, with a vein popping on his temple.

Now that our parents are gone, we are the only siblings left. As a result, our trust and bond are deep.

“We’ll keep the magical cannon prepared, ready to fire at any time.”

The salon in the afternoon is filled with an eerily chilling atmosphere, not just a figment of my imagination.

Driven by resentment towards the mistreatment of his sister, Onii-sama’s expression has turned demonic.

“The magic cannon causes too much damage. Please make it a magic gun instead.”

“I see, Cid. Lend me all your magic power.”

“Understood.”

The Duke Marcus family boasts the strongest military power in the country. The magic cannon and magic gun developed by Onii-sama are new weapons that have not yet been reported to the royal family.

Uh-oh.

Onii-sama is planning a rebellion.

Just like Cid, there is a purple spinel brooch shining on Onii-sama’s chest, so he’s up to something.

“Please stop this already. It’s something you can’t do. . .”

Well, that’s how it is at home, my older brother is extremely shy around others, and he becomes remarkably weak when outside. Though he may seem to be glaring silently, in reality, my older brother is trembling like a newborn deer.

“I’m serious! How can I allow Viara to be treated with contempt?”

“Well then, please go directly to His Majesty the King and make your plea.”

“Ugh. . .! That’s. . .”

While the young ladies praise me saying, “he has a mysterious charm,” the truth is, I’m an incredible coward.

I can’t even assert myself with the butler, let alone make a direct appeal to the King.

“It’s alright. Prince Roque is currently most fond of the Count’s daughter Annette. I believe he will switch his attention to her.”

Over the past year, I’ve secretly struggled to find someone who can handle The Prince besides the heroine..

And although she’s far from being the heroine, I’ve found someone who captivates the attention of The Prince and has multiple suitors.

She is the Count’s daughter Annette, who looks nothing like a sixteen-year-old.

With beautiful black hair, fair skin, enchanting slanted eyes, and plump lips. Her chest protrude so much that her uniform makes you feel sorry for her, and she is known as the school’s sexiest girl.

Annette-sama is an ambitious person who doesn’t hide her desire to become the Crown Princess.

I quickly seized the opportunity when she approached me with hostility and introduced her to The Prince. In just a few days, The Prince became infatuated with her.

The two of them quickly deepened their friendship at the speed of light and were rumored to have become intimate in the Royal Palace in the castle just the other day. 

Rather than reproaching The Prince, the Queen is so tolerant that she even suggests allowing their relationship if he plans to take Annette as a mistress in the future.

I suppose she only sees me as a convenient tool to support the Prince.

However, those around me are sympathetic, and criticism towards me is surprisingly low.

To an outsider, the prince would appear as a “foolish prince who got involved with his fiancée’s friend.”

From my perspective, it’s going exactly as planned, and I have to be careful not to let my laughter slip.

“I have already instructed Annette-sama to skillfully persuade and take the position of the fiancée. I believe there will be some movement soon. Especially since His Majesty and the Queen are currently absent on a trip. . .”

They will definitely try to dissolve the engagement on their own. 

If not, I’ll be in trouble.

I thought that with this, I would finally be liberated from the prince.

“But if we want to dissolve the engagement, don’t we have to go to the church?”

In the case of nobles, they usually perform the engagement ceremony with magic. Dissolving the engagement is not as simple as tearing up a piece of paper; we have to go to the church and have the priest perform the ritual to dissolve it.

If the other party dies, it automatically dissolves, but I can’t possibly kill The Prince, so we should follow the proper procedure at the church to dissolve it.

“Shouldn’t we just kill him instead? I have a bad feeling about this.”

Cid says with a distant look in his eyes.

Onii-sama agrees as well, but if we kill The Prince, it will only lead to chaos since there is no other prince to succeed the throne.

“If  Prince Roque is gone, who will inherit the throne?” 

Currently, the prince doesn’t have any siblings.

But Onii-sama calmly sips his tea and casually says, 

“The younger brother of the king has two sons, right? They may be a bit rough around the edges since they’re in the knight order, but as long as we assemble capable subordinates for politics and governance, it should be manageable. 

It won’t be worse than Prince Roque.”

“I see.”

“Besides, who would want to serve Roque-sama with loyalty? No one, right? No one at all.”

Onii-sama passionately argues.

In any case, if that man were to ascend the throne, this country would be in trouble, so I can understand Cid’s sentiment of “let’s just kill him.”

“Miss, a letter has arrived from Roque-sama.”

But at this timing, a letter from the prince himself is delivered, summoning me personally.

The butler hands it to me, and I quickly read it, trembling with joy.

“It’s a summons from the prince! The meeting place is the church! He definitely intends to propose the dissolution of the engagement!”

Seeing me stand up from my chair and rejoice, my brother chuckles.

“I see. Then let’s prepare the documents for the dissolution of the engagement right away. Please wait for about ten minutes. We just need to fill in the date, sign it, and seal it.”

You’re well-prepared, Onii-sama!

I see, he intends to extract compensation. Onii-sama is quite shrewd in these matters.

“Miss, I will accompany you to the church as well.”

“Oh, worried? Even if you’re a mage, you can’t enter the ritual room.”

“Even so, I insist.”

The church and mages don’t get along. 

As a result, even as a bodyguard, Cid cannot enter the building.

There seems to be a power struggle between the church and mages at the heart of the country, and they generally ignore each other.

The church’s standpoint is that mages who can use dark magic are not recognized as humans, but it’s unclear why Cid, who can use both dark and holy magic, is being ignored.

Usually, when I go to the church, I go with my maid Elsa, but since Cid insists on going, I decided to have him accompany me.

“If Elsa is there, it will be fine, right?”

Elsa, a 20-year-old maid, is no ordinary girl. She may be slender, but she can use magic reasonably well and has also learned martial arts.

Moreover, she is the daughter of Cid’s Master. She won’t lose to any ordinary man.

“Well, she is Master’s beloved daughter. I trust her.”

“Oh, then what’s the worry?”

When I look into his red eyes, he quickly averted his gaze.

“I just don’t want to leave Miss to anyone other than me.”

What a killer line.

It’s impossible to remain calm after hearing that.

I felt my cheeks flush and my body heat up.

“What are you saying. . .”

I also lowered my gaze and fell into silence.

While Onii-sama directs an intense killing intent towards Cid, I am abducted by the butler and taken to the study.

“Miss.”

“What is it?”

“If you’re going out, I’ll be given an allowance, so please take me with you too.”

“Should I just take you out of the country?”

There’s no romance for a villainess, it seems. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟒: 𝐁𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐮𝐩 𝐨𝐟 𝐄𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐛𝐮𝐭?

“You’ve come, Viara.”

“Good day to you, Your Highness.”

When I arrived at the church, there stood Prince Roque, with his red hair flowing, in his usual arrogant stance.

I instructed Cid to enter if he sensed anything unusual and had him wait in front of the church.

As soon as he saw me, the prince arrogantly declared the dissolution of our engagement.

How rude, pointing at someone like that.

“I am breaking off our engagement!”

“Understood.”

“. . .Don’t you want to know the reason?”

Oops.

I was too happy and blurted out “Understood” with a bit of an air of indifference.

And today is a memorable day, so I came in a crimson dress. I came dressed to express my joy to the fullest.

I cleared my throat and decided to ask for the reason, just in case.

“Can you please tell me the reason?”

He probably wants to say it.

I should listen quietly here.

The prince snorted and declared with a triumphant face.

“It’s because I have awakened true love for Annette!!, who truly admires me from the bottom of her heart, she is more suitable for me than an uncharming woman like you!”

“Well! Congratulations. You have found true love. I suppose I should step aside then.”

Ah, I’m so moved that tears are about to come out.

My eyes were getting moist.

Since I want to spend this memorable day with a smile, I held back my tears.

“Do you have any objections?”

“I have none. Please, pursue true love. That’s what makes you, Prince Roque!”

I will support you from the bottom of my heart!

Feeling overwhelmed, I almost cried, but I cheered for the prince. 

And then, for some reason, The Prince suddenly became quiet and lowered his gaze, scratching his cheek with his finger.

“You must be frustrated that I couldn’t respond to your feelings.”

Huh? Why does it seem like I was in love with The Prince? He’s quite good at acting like a fine man. Well, he is a fine man, at least in appearance.

“Your Highness, let’s dissolve the engagement immediately!”

“Ah, yes.”

I smiled and turned my gaze to the familiar High Priest who was standing near The Prince.

“Shall we perform the ceremony here, Noah-sama?”

The silver-haired, blue-eyed High Priest is Lord Noah, an acquaintance of mine. Despite his innocent aura, he’s obsessed with antacids.

Noah-sama, who was informed today that the engagement would be dissolved, came all the way from headquarters.

“The two of you will have the ceremony over there, in the room.”

Noah-sama calmly directed his gaze towards the direction with a golden-framed door.

“Now, please bring the Holy Grail.”

As instructed, prince Roque held the silver Holy Grail in his right hand.

Then, he opened the door and entered, placing the Holy Grail on the stone table in the center.

Patan. . .

The door closed, and The Prince and I faced each other with the Holy Grail between us.

I chanted the spell that Noah-sama taught me, and immediately the Holy Grail began to glow, enveloping the room in beautiful swirling light.

“Roque Von Lauding, and Viara Emery Marcus. Under the name of God, swiftly release the contract we made.”

The Prince’s low voice echoed in the sealed room, and at that moment, something like smoke slipped out of our bodies.

It was the moment the engagement ritual was released.

“Now, finally. . .”

Sighing with relief, I felt a weight lifted off my chest as the long-standing anxiety was resolved, and I felt a profound sense of relief.

I wanted to run out of the church right away and dive into Cid’s arms.

Just because I dissolved the engagement with The Prince doesn’t mean I will be with him, but today I feel like it’s allowed.

“Your Highness, thank you for everything until now.”

I said a formal greeting, gathered the hem of my skirt, and elegantly bowed.

Truly refreshing. Today is a commemorative day!

However, The Prince slowly approached me, as if thinking about something.

“Your Highness. . .?”

Prince Roque, who stood in front of me, looked down at me intently.

To my surprise, he reached out his hand towards me and lightly grabbed a strand of my pale blue hair.

And then, in the next moment, he said something outrageous.

“It would be pitiful if it ended like this. At least let me embrace you once.”

“. . .Huh?”

What did he just say?

I thought my ears were playing tricks on me. Anyway, it gave me the creeps, so I wanted him to let go of my hair.

When I brushed his hand away, The Prince furrowed his eyebrows for a moment but quickly regained his arrogant smile.

“To think you still maintain that attitude even after being abandoned by me. But I suppose proud Viara wouldn’t cry and cling to me, right?”

“Huh?” 

“Don’t worry, I was only attracted to your appearance. Once the engagement is dissolved, there won’t be any suitable marriage proposals for you, so it would be a waste to just discard you. I am a merciful man, so I’ll allow you the privilege of being embraced by me, considering your resilience.”

The smirk on his face was so repulsive, it sent shivers down my spine.

What is he saying? Everything in front of me went dark. I deserve praise for not throwing up right now.

“Viara.”

The Prince gently places his hand on my right shoulder.

Disgust, hatred, and discomfort rushed through my entire body all at once.

“The Duke Marcus family is useful. How about becoming my mistress?I can even make ‘that dog’ you have as my subordinate.”

Snap. A sound echoed in my head.

Not only does he demand my submission, but he also plans to take away the power of my family and Cid from me.

I absolutely cannot forgive this scum.

No matter what my fate may be, I couldn’t bear to stay silent and obey after being told such things.

Along with my anger, a mass of magical power swirled within me.

“Your Grace. . .”

Crack!!

I gathered almost all of my magical power in my right hand and deliver a powerful blow to Prince Roque’s abdomen.

“Ugh!!”

Filthy drool dripped from the Duke’s mouth.

“Aghhhh!! Ahhhhh. . .!!”

Following that, a large amount of fresh blood flowed from his mouth.

Prince Roque, groaned like a beast, clutched his stomach and sank to the floor.

From my disdainful gaze looking down on him, I could only see his red hair and back. 

“Stop this nonsense, you pervert!!”

Since I enhanced my fist with magic, he must have suffered severe internal injuries. He might even have broken his spine, bypassing his internal organs.

But it’s okay. High Priest Noah-sama will heal him with magic, so he won’t die.

Probably. Yeah, probably, right?

“Seriously. . . I can’t stand being with you anymore!”

I brushed away the pale blue hair that fell on my shoulder and glanced at the crouching prince before opening the door. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟓: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐥𝐚𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐏𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐖𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐀𝐥𝐬𝐨 𝐅𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐝

I left the suffering prince behind and quickly left the ceremony hall.

I’ve done it.

I intended to break the engagement flag, but I ended up folding the prince in two. 

It was a very clean fold, I even wanted to make a statue out of it.

Still, couldn’t we have dissolved the engagement in a more graceful manner?

Well, there’s no undoing what’s been done, so let’s think about what to do from now on.

I can no longer return to peaceful days, but surprisingly, I felt refreshed.

“Miss Viara? Oh my, where is the prince?”

Noah-sama, who was outside the door, stared at me in surprise.

“I punched him! It was self-defense because he was trying to commit sexual assault! The prince collapsed inside.”

“You punched him!?”

Noah-sama rushed towards me with such force that his tied silver hair bounced.

“Let’s purify your hands!”

Treating the prince as filth!

Noah-sama took both of my hands and, somehow, cast a purification magic of the holy attribute on them.

“Noah-sama, I would like you to heal the prince to the extent that he won’t die but can’t move. I will leave the town immediately, so can I ask you to buy me some time?”

Noah-sama’s beautiful face twisted in despair at my words.

As always, Noah-sama is kind and caring, or rather, overly concerned about me. 

And he has an unstable mental state.

“Oh no. . .What a tragedy!! An attempted sexual assault occurring within the church, it’s my fault! As an apology, please accept this soul.”

Scary! Why is a third party panicking?! 

“No, it’s not necessary. The one at fault is the prince.”

“Even so! The responsibility lies with me, the high priest, I promise to be on Miss Viara’s side no matter what happens!”

“Oh, how wonderful! Then please buy me some time! I can’t stay in this country anymore, so I’ll escape to a neighboring country.”

“Eh?!”

Noah-sama, in a state of panic, trembled as he searched within his long sleeves and handed me a white gem to hold.

“This will surely be of use to you. Please keep it.”

Huh, what is this, an apology stone from another world?

I don’t really understand, but if it’s useful, I’ll accept it.

I thanked Noah-sama once again and moved away from him.

“Thank you, Noah-sama!”

“Please stay safe. . .!”

With tears in his eyes, Noah-sama entered the ceremony hall to treat Prince Roque.

I dashed through the church in an unladylike manner and charged towards Cid, who was waiting outside.

Bam!

“Cid!”

“Miss?!”

Cid’s eyes widened as he saw me running towards him.

“It’s over! I was so angry that I punched him as hard as I could!!”

I noticed that he was a bit surprised when I jumped into his chest, but he quickly embraced me.

Being enveloped in his arms made me feel incredibly happy.

“Miss?! What do you mean you punched him?! What did he do to you?!”

“What he did doesn’t matter. He said something like [Let me hold you once] so I punched him!”

“What?! That guy. . .!!” 

While hiding in the commotion, I nuzzled my cheek against Cid’s chest and then quickly lifted my face.

And then, I firmly grabbed hold of Cid, who was leaning forward as if he was about to storm into the church and beat up Prince Roque.

“No, we can’t! We have to escape quickly!”

“It’s okay, it will be over soon!”

By “over,” it means the prince’s life will be over.

No, I can’t allow that. It would be too much if he died.

Noah-sama has bought us time, so it’s not right for Cid to deliver the final blow.

“More importantly, hurry! While Noah-sama is buying us time, let’s go back home for now! We’ll escape to a neighboring country immediately!”

“Escape to a neighboring country?!”

I pushed Cid and the maid into the carriage and hurriedly returned to Duke Marcus’s mansion. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟔: 𝐈 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐲

When I returned to the mansion, the servants and young men all started arming themselves at once.

After explaining the situation to Onii-sama, it was decided that everyone from the Duke Marcus household would abandon the mansion in the capital and escape to the neighbouring territory immediately.

Of course, I am not included in that. I will embark on a journey alone from now on.

“Please think of me as no longer being associated with the Duke Marcus family.”

“Oh no. . .Viara!”

Ignoring Onii-sama’s clinging, I left the mansion with a heart-wrenching feeling.

I wore a simple dress and leather boots, and packed only what I could fit in a pouch and a Boston bag. As long as I had underwear, that was enough for changing clothes.

And I went to the kitchen to get some food.

Before parting, I handed Onii-sama a letter with my blood seal.

With this, I have become just Viara.

“Take care, Onii-sama! Please forgive your unfortunate sister.”

The Marcus family may be charged compensation to the prince, but they were originally at fault.

When the king returns from his overseas trip, it shouldn’t be that bad.

“Viara, take this.”

As I walked to the back door, Onii-sama handed me a large bag.

When I received it, it felt heavy.

“What is this?”

“It’s, it’s severance pay from our house! Just take it without saying anything!”

Onii-sama, even if you say that with tears in your eyes, it lacks persuasiveness. This is more like financial support than severance pay. 

Moreover, it has the Duke’s seal and even a letter. It’s like a check that can be used even in a foreign country, a certificate that allows me to withdraw money anytime.

“If you have something like this, you’ll be targeted by robbers.”

When I tried to return it, he forcefully pushed it back into my hands.

“At least take the money with you! I wish you would take it too, but. . .”

When he started crying first, there was no way I could cry as well. 

I entrusted the butler with my brother’s well-being and told him to contact me once the situation had cooled down, then I left the residence.

A covered carriage was already waiting at the back entrance, with a coachman sitting on it.

A bald, muscular old man, smoking a cigar, was acting as the coachman. Or rather, pretending to be the coachman. Among the young men in our household, he was a skilled guard who didn’t bother hiding his overwhelming aura of unease.

“Miss! I’ve been waiting for you!!”

“. . .Ah, thank you.”

I can’t help but feel anxious that even if I haven’t done anything wrong, I might be stopped at a checkpoint. A sense of unease lingers within me.

And in front of the carriage, Cid, with his usual expression, was standing.

“Miss, everything is ready.”

“Cid.”

He reached out his hand smoothly to help me get on the carriage.

His big hand that I love. This might be the last time I see it. . .

When I extended my left hand, he gently held my index finger, which had been injured when I made the blood seal. 

A faint light enveloped my finger, and in an instant, the wound disappeared.

“Thank you.”

I won’t wash my hand for a while. 

This is also where I bid farewell to Cid. He will take me to the port in the carriage, and from there, I will escape to the neighboring country, Fumble, by ship.

“Well then, let’s go.”

With the confidence befitting a villainess, I put on a smile.

I think I did a good job. 

I really wanted to be together forever. Meeting him ten years ago, I think I was able to avoid becoming a true villainess because Cid was there.

I wanted to dissolve the engagement peacefully because I wanted to live with Cid. 

But hitting the prince was too much, and it’s better not to be involved anymore.

It’s lonely, but it’s okay.

Cid will continue to work for the Marcus family, so I’m sure we’ll meet again someday.

I don’t know how many years later, but at that time, I want to become a woman who can live alone and be praised by Cid.

“Please take care of Onii-sama.”

I couldn’t say “I love you.” 

However, Cid, still holding my hand, said with a puzzled expression.

“Why Ethan-sama?”

“Huh?”

I wonder why, my intention didn’t come across. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟕: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐞𝐱𝐜𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐢𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧

Well, since I am employed by the Duke Marcus family, it is only natural that I protect my older brother, who is the head of the family.

We both stare at each other, wearing the same expression of “What is this person talking about?”

“But, from now on, you will serve Onii-sama, right? I am no longer in a position to employ Cid. I will just be Viara, a fallen girl.”

“A fallen girl doesn’t have that much money.”

“Oh, right.”

Indeed, that’s true. In my bag, there are coins that can buy a house, although it’s only half the amount Onii-sama intended to give me.

“Are you suggesting that I employ Cid with this money?”

If that’s the case, then maybe it’s a good idea. . .

Wait, will he come with me?

However, he smiled wryly.

“I don’t intend to take money from Miss.”

“Then what do you mean?”

He put his hand on his chin and thought seriously, then his hands gently rested on my shoulders and firmly grasped them.

“Vi-sama, I have realized something amazing.”

“What? What is it?”

The sky gradually darkens. It’s almost time to depart.

When I look up at Cid’s face, he is staring at me with a mixture of joy and confusion.

“If you’re just a fallen girl, then I might have a chance too, right!?”

“Huh?

What’s that supposed to mean!?

“I’ve decided! I’ll marry you, Miss!”

“Wait a minute!”

Despite my flustered state, Cid approached me forcefully, slid his hand under my knees, and held me in a sideways embrace.

“Kyaaa!”

I let out an unrefined scream, but Cid kicks the ground and boards the carriage.

Then he immediately signals the coachman to depart.

“Yes! Let’s go! Take off right away!”

“Yes, sir! Aniki, I will take you anywhere!”

Why ? Even though Cid is clearly younger, why is he being called Aniki by an old man?

I was seated on the cushion of the carriage, staring blankly at the coachman’s seat.

Huh.

What did Cid say???

From “There might be a chance” to declaring “I’ll marry you”?

Huh, what does that mean?

Did Cid just confess to me???

Wait, but he didn’t say he loves me, right?

Question marks started floating above my head one after another.

My heart was pounding, and I was having trouble breathing.

Cid leaned out of the coachman’s seat, looking happy and shouting, “Let’s go, let’s go!”

“Wait.”

“Yes, what is it, Miss?”

What do you mean, “What is it?” You’re the one causing confusion here.

And if it was a proposal, couldn’t it have been a bit more romantic and heart-fluttering?

“Cid!”

“Yes?”

Cid finally turns around and kneels in front of me. Sitting on the carriage bed, blushing with embarrassment, I asked him.

“Are you serious about coming with me? We don’t even know what kind of life awaits us.”

Is he in his right mind?

Proposing to a woman who is being chased out of the country.

But he casually says, 

“Yes, of course.”

“Do you understand? We’re seeking asylum in Fumble, you know?”

“Oh, no. We’re changing our destination to Nice.”

“What?!”

When did that happen? You mean we’re changing the ship we’re boarding?

“I already told Onii-sama that we’re going to Fumble!”

“It’s okay. I’ll tell him later.”

Cid pointed to the coachman and laughed.

Isn’t this considered kidnapping from Onii-sama’s perspective?

Oh, but technically, it would be treated as running away from home, right?

Wait! Could it be!

“Does this count as eloping. . .?”

It feels like a romance novel!

I can’t help but blush a little.

“Huh? No, it’s not. At least for now, no one has tried to stop us, so it’s not eloping.”

Huh? Is that so?

As I’m puzzled, Cid rummages inside his robe and takes out a note. It’s written in Onii-sama’s familiar handwriting, saying:

[Take care of my little sister!]

This must be a request to act as my bodyguard, right? It can’t mean anything else.

As I hold the note and looked at Cid, he smiled mischievously.

“I interpreted [take care of’ as ‘forever and ever.] In other words, it means permission to marry!”

“You’re taking it too far!”

Onii-sama didn’t say anything about getting married, and he didn’t even think about it, right?!

Looking at me, who was flustered and confused, Cid had a big smile on his face.

“I meant it when I said I want to marry you. . .?”

“Huh, really?”

He said it so easily! Even though it’s such an important thing, 

I never imagined we’d both have feelings for each other.

My lips tremble, and heat rushed to my face.

“Miss.”

However, Cid suddenly extends his right hand in front of me and stops me. 

In the swaying carriage, we gaze at each other.

“Cid. . .?”

“I understand! I know that Miss only sees me as a bodyguard!”

Huh? What is he talking about?

Could it be. . .Could it be. . .

My feelings didn’t get through to him at all?!

Even though I love him?

Even though I’ve been feeding him every day?!

“I will wait until Miss falls in love with me! I will cherish you!”

“Uh?!”

“To ensure that your fiancée doesn’t suspect infidelity, You haven’t had any contact with other men until now, right? So, I understand Miss’s feelings of not knowing about love!”

No, I have no idea how it turned out like this.

I have only had contact with you!

And I love you!

I understand love!

“Eeek!”

Cid, who is getting closer and closer, wraps both of my hands in his own and pleads with me at a distance that seems like he’s about to kiss me.

“From now on, we will always be together! We have plenty of time, so please fall in love with me.”

“Yes. . .!”

Please fall in love with me? What is that?!

“You’re going to give me a hard time, I think, but well, let’s figure it out together!”

“You should at least say [I won’t give you a hard time]!”

“I won’t give you a hard time.”

“You’re too late! It’s too slow!! Fine, I’ll give you a hard time! It’s my fault, so let’s face the hardships together! Oh. . .”

I felt dizzy. I screamed too much. . .!

Even though I’m not a weak-willed young lady who would faint from such things, the truth is that I used too much magic when I punched the prince.

I felt lightheaded. I couldn’t take it anymore.

“Miss?”

“Sorry, I’m going to sleep for a bit.”

Before I finished speaking, I collapsed and Cid caught me in his arms. By the time we reached the harbor, I should have recovered enough to be able to say “I love you” to Cid.

“Miss, please rest.”

His voice was gentle.

Wrapped in his warm arms, I closed my eyes.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟖: 𝐈𝐬 𝐢𝐭 𝐚 𝐒𝐢𝐞𝐠𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐕𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐋𝐚𝐝𝐲?

As the carriage stopped shaking, I became aware of the commotion outside and regained consciousness.

When I snapped my eyes open, I was startled to find Cid’s handsome face right in front of me.

“Ah!”

I had been sleeping in Cid’s arms, cradled like a child, with my legs crossed. 

The moment I woke up, my heart nearly stopped. Uh-oh, seeing a handsome face as soon as I wake up is shaving years off my life.

“Miss, good morning.”

“G-Good morning. . .”

We were apparently hidden behind wooden crates and barrels loaded onto the carriage, out of sight from the outside.

In the dim light, this close proximity made my heart race with tension and excitement, making it hard to breathe.

Unable to bear his gaze staring at me, I pushed against his chest and tried to sit alone, but he told me, “Don’t move.”

Just when I thought I had avoided the death flag related to the prince, now I was about to be killed by the guards.

But if I could die from this overwhelming excitement, then I guess I would welcome it.

This person whom I thought was a guard might be a death god who will take me to heaven.

Beep. . .

“!?”

“Well, it seems like you don’t have a fever.”

Cid pressed his cheek against my forehead as he held me close, checking my body temperature.

My face and head were boiling to the point where it felt like there would be a “bonk” sound!?

Ah, come to think of it, there was a time in the past when I fell asleep like this after hitting someone with magic for the first time.

Back then. . . who did I hit again?

I don’t remember much, but when I woke up, I was in bed, and Cid was looking down at me with a face that seemed on the verge of tears.

The innocent beautiful boy has grown into such a reliable handsome man. . .!

It seems he has managed to avoid any animation inconsistencies. I’m really glad about that.

Lost in my thoughts with a bright red face, I was startled when he whispered in my ear, “This is a bit unexpected.”

“Miss, officials and soldiers are wandering around. It’s possible that our attempt to flee the country has been exposed.”

“Eh.”

Isn’t that too fast? We returned from the church to the mansion thirty minutes ago, and it’s been only about thirty minutes since we left in the carriage.

I asked Noah-sama to buy us some time, but I wonder if Noah’s efforts to delay them didn’t go well.

Could it be the pressure from the original novel that they won’t let me escape? Is the villainess surrounded?!

“What should we do. . .!”

If we continue like this, Cid will be captured. Galius, the bald coachman who is helping us, will also be in trouble if he gets caught.

As I twitched my eyes, Cid smiled reassuringly.

“Let’s give up on the ship and travel by land.”

“Um, aren’t we going to Nice instead of Fumble?”

“That’s right. It takes six hours by ship to reach Nice, but if we continue like this, we might be subjected to inspections before boarding the ship.”

Cid easily suggested traveling by land, but it takes several times longer than by ship.

If we take a ship, it’s a straight path and takes about six hours, but if we travel by land, we have to go all the way around the “U” shape of the continent, which takes a little over four days. 

If we take a ship, we can reach there in about six hours by going straight, but if we go by land, it will take about four days and a little longer as we go around the “U” shape.

This four-day estimate is for camping, and if we stay at inns in towns, it will take five to six days.

By the way, if we go by land, we will pass through Fumble on our way to Nice.

“Hey, shouldn’t we stick to the original plan and go to Fumble? We can reach there in two days even by land, right?”

“Eh.”

What’s with the “eh”?

Originally, I intended to go to Fumble.

Because Obaa-sama (my mother’s sister) is married there, it’s not a country where I have no acquaintances. I’ve been there once when I was little, and it’s more comfortable than Nice, which has no connection or ties with me.

But Cid insists on going to Nice.

“Fumble is not a good idea. It has been a bit suspicious lately.”

“Suspicious atmosphere?”

“A new king ascended the throne three years ago, and since then, it’s been a bit more inclined towards warfare, you could say.”

I know that the king changed. However, I haven’t heard anything about the reputation of the new king yet.

“Does that mean there’s a war? That’s a bit troublesome. . .”

I just want to live in peace if possible!

“Right? Right? That’s why we should go to Nice.”

Hmm, Cid’s reaction is different from his usual self. It’s as if he doesn’t want to go to Fumble for personal reasons.

As I stared at him, he suddenly averted his gaze.

Suspicious! 

But it’s a waste of time to talk about it here. The journey is long, so I’ll ask him about it later. I wrap up the conversation.

“Anyway, it seems like taking a ship is not feasible. Since we have to pass through Fumble to go to Nice anyway, we can decide after we arrive. Let’s go by land and bypass the inspections.”

“Yes!”

Ah, such a happy face. . .!

Even though it’s going to become more dangerous from now on, why are you smiling so happily?

“I will definitely take you safely.”

“Thank you. I’m counting on you!”

I’m relieved.

I’m really glad that Cid is here.

If I were trying to escape overseas alone, I might have been at a loss by now. No, there’s no doubt about it.

Thank you, God!

I had thought that being reincarnated as the villainess was the end of my luck, but with Cid by my side, I can feel grateful for being born as Viara.

Feeling overwhelmed, I almost cried and buried my face in his robe, tightly gripping it.

“Oh? What’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing.”

Somehow, I have to get through this situation and convey my feelings to Cid.

I’ll tell him that I’ve loved him for a long, long time.

There’s no need to sit apart anymore, and we can confidently hold hands.

Because I’m just Viara now.

“Miss, as much as I would love to take advantage of this situation, let’s hurry.”

Too many words! How can you say something so embarrassing?!

“I’ll ask Galius to prepare the carriage, and we’ll travel by horse. We only need a single bag for our belongings, right?”

“Of course.”

It seems that Onii-sama has loaded various supplies for me in this carriage.

Since I can’t take them all, they will be returned to the mansion while still loaded in the carriage.

We passed through the streets a little away from the port and stopped the carriage by a secluded mountain path with few pedestrians.

I choose one of the three horses there and bid farewell to Galius before departing.

I sat sideways in front of him, leaning my back against him. I tightly wrapped my arms around his arms holding the reins, feeling an incredible sense of security.

“Miss, what should we do?”

“What?”

“You smell really good.”

“. . .”

I heard a sexual harassment remark, but I completely ignored it. Strange. Cid saying such a thing. Since I broke off the engagement today, things have been getting stranger and stranger.

“Since I can’t stand it anymore, won’t you fall in love with me soon?”

“Don’t say stupid things and let’s get going!”

When he flirts with me like this, I can’t be honest!

I had planned to say “I love you” when I woke up, but I missed the timing to say it. And why does he keep making light-hearted remarks? Does he really like me?!

As the speed gradually increased, my pale blue hair flowed in the wind through the gap in my coat’s hood.

If only a bear would appear here, I would pour all this indescribable frustration and embarrassment into my fist and strike it with all my might. . .!

Lost in my thoughts, I hear Cid’s voice from above. 

“If we run for about an hour, I think we’ll reach a place where there are no demon beasts or wolves, so hang in there until then.”

“Got it.”

Just when I thought his behavior was strange, he suddenly became serious. I’m constantly being played with by Cid.

Still, I’m genuinely happy that we can be together now.

I hope we arrive safely in Nice.

Finally, I can say goodbye to the fate of being a villainess. And to be taken away by the person I love, it’s quite a rewarding ending.

“Hehe. . .I feel like a kidnapped princess.”

Ah, my face is beaming with a smile.

But Cid remained calm.

“Miss, there is no princess who punches enemies and escapes on her own.”

“It’s just a mutter to myself!! Stop pointing out reality every time!”

Reality can be cruel, huh?

But it’s okay. This is my story as the heroine.

The villainess who can’t stop grinning during the escape with the person she loves is heading towards the border! 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟗: 𝐁𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐚 𝐉𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐓𝐰𝐨

After passing through the mountain path for about an hour, we arrived at a forest where tall coniferous trees thrived.

As we proceeded through the forest at a slightly slower pace, we arrived at a slightly open area.

“Miss, we will be camping here today.”

Cid said so and quickly got off the horse, extending his arms towards me.

I felt a flutter in my heart as his hand was offered to me as if it were a given, but I maintained composure and took his hand before leaping off the horse.

In addition to the lamp attached to the horse, Cid took out a lamp from his backpack and lit it, making the area bright enough to see clearly.

“If we’re around here, there shouldn’t be any large demon beasts or man-eating plants.”

“. . .That’s a relief!”

Man-eating plants are not allowed in romance novels. It’s too fantastical.

Of course, as long as Cid is here, I won’t suffer any injuries, but I still want him to rest a little.

Compared to me, who is just riding on the horse, Cid, who held the reins and kept watch of our surroundings while guiding the horse, I think he must be exhausted.

“Miss, could you take out the blankets? I’ll make a sleeping place over here.”

Cid pointed to the base of a large tree and walked while holding the horse’s reins.

I took out blankets and a waterproof sheet from my bag and placed them where he instructed.

“You must be tired. Your magical power seems to have recovered considerably, but just to be safe, please don’t get into any fights for two or three days.”

“Please don’t call me a violent woman as if it’s a given!?”

I am not the type of person who goes around hitting others indiscriminately. Absolutely not.

Cid laughed happily and unloaded the luggage from the horse. 

The hooting of an owl echoed, and the breeze that brushed against my cheek was pleasantly cool. It wasn’t freezing cold, but nights do get chilly.

The forest ground was damp, and the scent of fallen leaves grazed my nose.

“It’s cold. . .”

Seeing me rubbing my arms as if hugging myself, Cid brought out hot water and made a sweet drink for me.

In front of the dimly lit lamp, we leaned against the trunk of a large tree and sat down.

As I held the wooden cup handed to me with both hands, a gentle warmth spread through me.

“Miss, please be careful not to burn yourself.”

“. . .”

“Miss?”

Cid, who sat within arm’s reach, peeks into my face as I remain silent without responding.

“Hey, how long are you going to call me Miss?”

“Huh?”

As I stared into his crimson eyes, I saw myself reflected in them. If I shifted my gaze slightly, his well-shaped lips were right in front of me.

“Well, Miss? Is it not okay?”

As I lower my gaze to the cup, Cid says with a troubled expression.

“It’s not that it’s not okay, but. . .”

Although I have been manipulated by Cid, who suddenly said he would marry me or changed our destination to Nice, I want him to treat me as just Viara, not as a master and servant, at least from now on.

But how do I explain this feeling?

As I remained silent, Cid, feeling defeated, hesitated before speaking.

“Is Vi-sama okay?”

“You don’t need the sama, and you don’t have to use polite language.”

“Uh, okay.”

“Is that not okay?”

As I glanced up, Cid was unusually flustered. 

“No, that face is unfair. . .I have to call you Miss to maintain my composure. . .”

“I want you to call me Viara.”

“Ugh. . .! Endure it, endure it. You’re a man who can endure. The person in front of you is not Miss, it’s Ethan-sama. Ethan-sama. . .”

No, I’m starting to escape from reality.

In the end, he even started calling me “Ethan-sama” when he looked at me. Who’s Onii-sama, who?

My siblings and I don’t resemble each other in terms of appearance. My brother takes after our father, and I take after our mother!

I drank the warm soup and ignored Cid.

I wonder if Cid really likes me. 

Maybe he’s only sticking with me because my big brother told him, “Take care of my little sister.”

Even if I were to say “I like Cid!” here, would it be the same level of liking?

I don’t know. . .

I have no idea.

As I stared intently, Cid suddenly realized something and grasped my left hand, which held the cup.

“C, Cid. . .?!”

“Vi-sama.”

My heart skipped a beat.

As we silently gaze at each other, I can’t help but think that this might be a good atmosphere. 

Wait, wait, could it be that we’re going to kiss?!

As I nervously stare straight into his eyes, he tightens his grip on the hand holding the cup, causing my heart to race even faster. 

And yet. 

The words that come out of his mouth are heartless. 

“A bug got in. Don’t drink it anymore.” 

“Eh.”

The cup was swiftly pulled out of my hand.

An indescribable emptiness overwhelmed me.

“A bug. . .?”

“Yes, a bug.”

I’m such an idiot. . .!!

I’m such an idiot, idiot, idiot!!!!

I regret it so much that I want to smash my head against the tree behind me right now.

I can’t help but look at Cid, who is washing the cup with magic, with resentful eyes.

Covering my face with both hands, I reflected intensely, and Cid, who had returned next to me, looked at me with a puzzled expression.

“Are you sleepy?”

“Yes. I feel like I want eternal sleep.”

I say it in a sulking and careless manner, and Cid immediately raises his right hand and releases magic around us. He must have set up a barrier and blocked our presence. He prepared for me to sleep.

As expected of a mage with a purple spinel, he skillfully controls high-level magic.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Although I’m not sleepy, I’ll really go to sleep.

For now, let’s think about difficult things tomorrow.

With that thought, I leaned against the trunk of the tree and squirmed around to find a comfortable position to sleep.

Just as I thought I found a nice hollow. . .

I was pulled back firmly by an arm that slipped behind me, causing my body to tilt diagonally.

“I’m supporting you, so please sleep peacefully.”

“〇△×〇△×〇△×?!”

In a state of being held by one arm, an inaudible scream spins around in my mouth.

Resting my head on Cid’s chest, there’s no way I can sleep in this situation!

Is he planning to kill me? Is he planning to kill me?!

I want to get away, no, I don’t want to let go.

What should I do? I shouldn’t do anything.

Thank you very much!

Grateful for his kindness, I thought I would stick to him even if I couldn’t sleep. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟎: 𝐃𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐢 𝐞𝐠𝐠 𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬

The next morning, after riding the horse aiming for Fumble, I woke up in a ridiculous position.

I had fallen asleep sitting while leaning on Cid, but when I woke up, I found myself completely relaxed and slumped over his thigh. And his hand was resting on my shoulder

Even though it was my first time camping, I think it’s quite bold of me to sleep so comfortably like this. 

It must be because I’m a villainess.

Being bold is because I’m a villainess. That must be it.

As I slowly got up, Cid immediately opened his eyes wide.

I didn’t want to realize it, but he wasn’t really sleeping; it was more like he was in a meditative state, not relaxed and sound asleep like me. 

Considering his profession as a guard, it’s natural for him to be like that. But by involving him in my escape from the country, did I forever rob him of the chance to have a peaceful sleep. . .?

This is bad. I might die from overwork!

“Good morning, Vi-sama.”

“Good morning. . ., Cid, good night!”

“Huh?!”

I tried to cover him with a blanket and forcefully put him to sleep.

But there was no way I could match his strength.

“Sleep! Sleep right now! I’m keeping watch!!”

“I’m sleeping! I’m sleeping!!”

We pushed against each other with the blanket, refusing to back down.

He was surprisingly strong for someone who hasn’t been sleeping!

“Uwa.”

As I desperately pushed, Cid suddenly relaxed his strength, and I ended up jumping into his body along with the blanket.

“I’m already awake! I’m fine!”

Cid, who was holding me, tightly rolled me up with the blanket. I was on the verge of being wrapped up like a sushi roll. 

“The Duke Marcus family’s bodyguard won’t weaken so easily, so don’t worry.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. If Miss is this strong, then the bodyguard should be recognized as even stronger.”

It doesn’t quite make sense.

And he’s calling me Miss again. I quickly stood up and brushed off my skirt.

Cid folded the blanket. Even though he just woke up, his face looked dignified, and I felt a mix of excitement and jealousy.

“Hey, Cid. I feel bad for just sleeping, so let me at least make breakfast.”

“Vi-sama cooking?”

He sounds worried. . .

Well, of course! You wouldn’t think I can cook, right? I’m the daughter of the Duke, so cooking is something that the chefs do. I shouldn’t take away their job. But now, there are no chefs, so I have to do it myself.

I took a square frying pan and a thick hemp bag from my Boston bag.

“Ta-da!”

“What’s that?”

Cid blinked his eyes rapidly.

I proudly declared,

“It’s a rolled omelette set!”

Among the few belongings, this frying pan, eggs, and a bag with kelp took up most of the space.

The pure white eggs are called “fattened bird” eggs, and they are about the size of my palm. This large size is the standard in this different world!

“Rolled omelette? Is it the one that sometimes comes in the staff meal?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

After eating the bento sold by the heroine Kukrika, I have been studying rolled omelettes. 

I even taught the recipe to the chefs, and it has become a frequent menu item at the mansion.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat it anymore once I left the mansion, so I brought the whole set with me.

I asked Cid to prepare the fire and started making the dashi broth with kelp, and I cracked the eggs into a wooden bowl and whisked them.

“Now! Let’s make it!”

When I heated the frying pan, it was finally time to make the rolled omelette. 

This special frying pan doesn’t stick even without oil, and it was made by a dwarf craftsman who is knowledgeable about tools and equipment and is an acquaintance of my older brother. 

Hmm. . .It’s quite an outrageous villain to have a weapons craftsman make a frying pan. I used the skills that many warriors seek for my own selfish desires.

But I thought, “I’m sorry if I have to abandon my pride,” so I paid him extra money.

And I sent a large amount of alcohol and snacks as a token of gratitude.

I was puzzled when I received a spatula, a shotgun, a mithril knife, and other items as a thank-you gift.

While reminiscing, Cid cautiously spoke up from the side.

“Is it worth bringing a frying pan, kelp, and eggs all the way here for the preparations at the mansion that we only had thirty minutes for?”

Cid looked at me with a suspicious gaze.

His eyes were saying, “There must have been other things you could have brought.”

But for me, this was an absolute necessity, so there was no other choice.

The sound of sizzling eggs filled the air, and a gentle aroma of dashi broth wafted through the air! Since I had slept without eating properly yesterday, just the smell made my mouth water.. 

I carefully rolled the eggs with the dwarven spatula, and in no time, the dashi-maki tamago was complete.

“It’s done!”

“Vi-sama, you really made tamagoyaki.”

“How rude. I can do this much.”

Although the shape is a bit off, I think I made a delicious rolled omelette!

Cid magically washed a large leaf and used it as a substitute for a plate to serve the rolled omelette.

“It smells really good! Looks delicious!!”

I’m most happy when Cid is delighted. By the way, this is my first homemade dish. Although it’s the only thing I can make, from now on, I want to cook together with Cid and discover delicious, ordinary meals.

We poured soup into cups and enjoyed breakfast together.

“Wow! It’s delicious!! It’s even better than the one we had at the bento shop!”

“Because it’s freshly made! Freshly made rolled omelette is incredibly delicious!!”

Though we’re camping and my body is a bit sore, and my boots are slightly damp from the morning dew, not to mention our upcoming escape from the country, I feel incredibly happy right now.

“Vi-sama cooking. . .! It’s like a special occasion.”

And, the person I love is right next to me.

Just a little while ago, I couldn’t have imagined being this close, and I’m the only one witnessing that smile.

How blissful it is.

“By the way, the rolled omelette with cheese that was served at the mansion was delicious. If I can get some cheese somewhere, I want to eat that.”

“Yes! I’ll do my best to make rolled omelette with cheese!” 

Cid ate the bread he took out of the luggage and finished the rolled omelette. Then he brushed his teeth. I finally washed my face. I combed my hair and tied it up, and brushed the grass off the horse and erased any signs of our camp.

“Shall we go?”

Cid, who always gives me a bright smile, doesn’t seem to regret coming with me at all. 

I find myself smiling along with him. 

Using magic, he gently lifts me up and places me on the horse. 

“Here we go.”

Cid jumps on behind me and takes the reins. 

“I think we’ll reach the town along the border by evening. If we’re being pursued, I believe they would have started this morning, so let’s hurry a bit.”

“Yes, please.”

It’s early morning, not long after the sun rose.

Glimmers of sunlight filter through the trees of the forest. Our escape journey begins once again along the border.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟏: 𝐖𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐓𝐨𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭

On the second day of our escape, we took a break near a flowing stream. 

If we follow this stream, we should reach the town in about an hour. 

Cid used magic to catch fish for us, so we skewered them on a stick and grilled them, having a truly adventurous meal. 

“Delicious!”

When I lightly poured the soy sauce I had brought, it became fragrant and very tasty. I didn’t know what kind of fish it was, but it tasted a bit like mackerel.

“Vi-sama, the bones have been removed from this one.”

“Wow, thank you!”

Using a combination of wind magic and water magic, Cid made the grilled fish easier for me to eat. I never thought Cid had such a skill.

I hesitated to use my amethyst magic to remove the small bones from the fish, but the overwhelming convenience made me abandon any reservations.

“Cid can do anything, huh?”

“I can handle anything, whether it’s in daily life or in battle. I learned all the necessary skills at Duke Marcus’s house, and I’m particularly skilled at putting targets into a temporary state of unconsciousness.”

“That depends on the freshness of the fish. But well, you know all the necessary skills, huh? I should also work hard on household chores.”

“Fish is just an application, though.”

“What have you been doing until now. . .?”

Cid smiled and didn’t tell me any further.

Ah, there are absolutely no small bones. It’s delicious. I’m happy.

My cheeks relaxed, and the tension of being on the run disappeared.

“Magic is so convenient, isn’t it?”

Why can’t I use magic for anything other than hitting people? I wish the gods had given me at least one household skill. 

“Vi-sama, that’s not true. It’s not that magic is convenient, it’s that I am convenient.”

“Is that something to be happy about?”

I thought being called convenient like an object would be unpleasant, but Cid laughed and said, “It’s fine.”

“It’s fine. I decided to use this power for Vi-sama’s sake, and I aim to be the most convenient bodyguard in the world.”

“For my sake? Don’t you think you should do it for the sake of the world or others? Well, if you thought that way, you wouldn’t be in a dark family like the Duke Marcus’s.”

“That’s true.”

“I see.”

I admitted it. I acknowledged that it’s a dark family.

From the bonfire we made in front of us, there was a crackling sound. Cid threw a branch into the fire and smiled.

“For the sake of the world and others, isn’t that difficult to grasp? I have no interest in such abstract and uncertain things. For me, Vi-sama is everything, and It has always been that way.”

“That’s. . .”

Is it love or loyalty?

He used to tease and say, “There’s no other job that pays well and gives me plenty of time off, so I won’t go anywhere,” but now, when he says something like that, I feel a hint of conceit welling up inside me.

As I thought about what to say, keeping my head down, Cid suddenly started talking about the past.

“Vi-sama may have forgotten. . .but do you remember when we went to the town together? It was when we went to buy writing materials for Ethan-sama’s birthday.”

“Oh, now that you mention it, there might have been such a thing.”

It was the day I first concentrated my magic power on my arm and hit someone.

“On our way back from the town, we were attacked by a thug who targeted Miss.”

I vaguely started to remember.

Tall, well-built men attacked us. We were alone because we sneaked out secretly. . .

“Cid, you saved me, right?”

Cid, who was only twelve years old at the time, was already an impressive bodyguard.He carried me, in a dazed state, all the way back to the mansion. I don’t remember it clearly, but he must have looked cool.

As I indulged in nostalgia, Cid said with a distant look in his eyes.

“I was hit twice.”

“. . .Huh?”

Wait, that’s different from my memory!

“Then, Miss said, ‘What are you doing to my Cid?!’ and instantly knocked down the two men, but she also collapsed due to magic exhaustion.”

Oh no! I was altering my memories!

“Well, after that, I carried young miss back to the mansion by myself, and Ethan-sama and young miss’s parents were extremely worried and scolded me. . . I was frozen in fear.”

“I don’t remember that part. When I woke up, Cid was by my side, and seemed teary-eyed, that’s about it.”

Could it be that I was the one who was worried and teary-eyed?

Did i get scolded and cry?

The power to alter memories is frightening. I can’t trust myself the most.

“Since then, I decided that my magic talent, my hands, and my feet would all belong to Miss. Master Grat, who taught me magic, recommended me to the Magic Association from the Magic Academy, but I had no interest at all. The only thing that interested me was Miss.”

“Eh! I thought you didn’t go to the Magic Association because of our family’s sake.”

Feeling indebted to the Marcus family for raising him, I thought he didn’t want to leave our side. . .

Cid shook his head gently.

“If I went there, I wouldn’t be able to see the young miss. And besides, the salary would be halved, and the salary would be halved, and the working hours would be long.”

“Why did you mention the salary twice?”

“It’s an important matter, so I said it twice.”

“Oh, I see.”

A mysterious silence fell between us.

Bathing in the sunlight, I found solace in the sparkling reflection on the water’s surface. I escaped from reality and admired it.

“I decided for myself to be by Vi-sama’s side.”

“Cid. . .”

With genuine feelings.

If someone is spoken to with such a kind face and those words, I think even I, who’s already in love, would fall even deeper.

“Did you feel confused because I suddenly proposed yesterday? Are you doubting whether I’m serious or not?”

“I saw through you.”

“If it’s about you, I understand~”

Come to think of it, Onii-sama used to say that about Cid.

“I regret not conveying it properly. I have admired Vi-sama. It’s been that way for a long time.”

“Huh?!”

I felt my face turning bright red in an instant. 

F-finally, the time has come for me to express my feelings. . .!!

My heart was pounding so much that it felt like it was about to jump out of my mouth, And if I don’t say it now, I might never be able to say it. 

I stared back into Cid’s crimson eyes and tried to gather my focus on my trembling lips and throat to somehow squeeze out my voice. 

And yet. . .

“I love you more than anyone. So, if we can be together, I want to do various things right away.”

“Huh?!”

What does he mean by “various things”?! Is it what I think it is?!

Don’t think you can say anything and get away with it just because you’re smiling so refreshingly!

I’ll forgive you! I’ll forgive youuuu!!

“My mentor told me. When it’s time to do it or kill someone, don’t hesitate.”

“What did you learn from Master. . .?”

“Well, traveling as a pair is tougher than I expected~! I thought about attacking you multiple times last night too!”

“What’s the point of the guard attacking the target?!”

“That’s true~.”

It was a chance for me to say that I like him too!!

I felt like going wild, knocking down some trees around here, and jumping into the stream. 

“I’m leaving now!”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Cid, who finds amusement in my reaction, is so annoying. He smiles with an air of confidence, and for some reason, he looks incredibly happy, which throws me off.

Ah, geez. Let’s practice, let’s practice!

After brushing my teeth, I released my stress by shouting “Uki!” (I like you!) 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟐: 𝐌𝐲 𝐃𝐨𝐠’𝐬 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐀𝐢𝐫𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐓𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐬

At a slower pace than in the morning, we continued south along the river, and while I dozed off, we managed to cross the border.

From here on, it’s the neighboring country of Fumble. 

We’re currently in a port town called Azour. Large ships dock at the port, and it’s said to be a bustling city that serves as a haven for merchants from different lands. 

“Wow! It’s such a lively town!”

“Yes, this is a bustling town with many merchants coming and going.”

The brick-made town looks like something out of a picture book, adorable and vibrant with colorful flowers blooming.

The public safety is relatively good, and during the daytime, even women and children can walk alone. 

However, the good public safety is maintained by driving the poor out to neighboring villages and towns. If you can’t pay the tolls or stay taxes, you’ll be driven out.

The backside of this beautiful town is quite dirty. . .!

“Welcome to Azuor!”

We paid the toll at the city gate and obtained the right to temporarily stay. The bustling town even has cheerful gatekeepers. 

We planned to stay at an inn in this city tonight and pass through two more cities in one go starting tomorrow morning.

We got off our horses, holding the reins, and entered among the crowd of people. 

“Let’s buy inconspicuous clothes and change before we move on.”

The people of Fumble wear clothes in shades of blue, green, and black. Cid entered a clothing store first and bought a blue dress for me. 

Merchants and travelers from foreign lands are wearing their own country’s costumes, but we didn’t want to stand out, so we wanted to blend in as much as possible with the people of Fumble.

“It suits you well. You look like a noble lady of Fumble.”

“That won’t do. I need to look like a commoner.”

“I can’t dress Vi-sama in shabby clothes. Ethan-sama would kill me.”

Cid smiled wryly and casually touched my hair. He also bought a hairpin that goes well with the dress. 

When I looked in the mirror, a round, translucent blue stone was gently placed at the knot, giving it a somewhat ephemeral atmosphere. 

“Thank you.”

I turned around on the spot, checked my appearance, and thanked Cid. He seemed satisfied, crossing his arms, and didn’t seem to buy clothes for himself. 

While I had underwear and innerwear packed in my bag, I only had two sets of clothes, including the spare. 

But he doesn’t seem to mind. He can use purification magic, so he doesn’t need to wash them, and two sets are enough. 

“Cid, don’t you need to buy anything?”

“No. This robe can be reversed to black when turned inside out.”

A reversible one, of all things!

The robe is dark gray on the outside and black on the inside, a convenient item. 

And since he originally wears black clothes underneath the robe, there’s no problem. 

Except for the brown leather boots, Cid is dressed all in black. It’s fine because his face has a refreshing look, but if other young men dressed like this, they might not be allowed to pass. 

When we left the shop, there was still time before sunset, and there were many people on the main street. There were also many wagons, and the working men pushing the carts passed by with cheerful smiles. 

I held my bag and walked next to Cid. 

“Vi-sama, what should we do?”

“What?”

He suddenly said it with a serious face, so I became a little wary and furrowed my eyebrows. 

I wonder if he got lost on the way. When I look up, he murmurs softly.

“I’m worried because you’re too cute. Every person we pass by seems like an enemy to me.”

“What nonsense are you talking about?”

This guy. . .!

As someone who is being completely deceived, I want him to stop making my heart skip a beat! What if I have a heart attack?!

Although I’m pretending to be calm, my eyes were swimming uncontrollably.

If it were a social event, I could laugh it off and respond with a polite “Well, thank you,” but why is it that whenever Cid  is involved, I always end up responding with an ungraceful retort?

Before I lose my patience, I have to tell him I love him.

This issue is reigniting within me.

“Today, I’m wearing these clothes to conceal myself, but next time, please let me wear a proper dress.”

“A dress? But you have no plans to wear it anywhere anymore, right? You’re now a fallen noblewoman.”

Rather than a dress, I should buy everyday clothes or an apron. Depending on the lifestyle, I might need clothes for farming work. Maybe I should get some gardening gloves too.

As I stare at him in surprise, Cid shows a bright smile.

“It’s obviously for a wedding dress.”

“A wedding?!”

“Of course, I’ll wait until I have Vi-sama’s heart, but if you fall in love with me, I want to get married in an instant. Let’s start making the dress now.”

“So soon!”

What’s with that determination! Are you already thinking about marriage right after confessing?!

I think your decisiveness is admirable, but marriage is a lifelong commitment, so I think you should think about it more!

“I believe it’s better to be quick in everything.” 

“The power of the purple spinel is amazing. . .!”

Somehow, I feel like even if I don’t have a blue dress, I’ll manage somehow if I find one. Is this actually a honeymoon trip and not an escape from the country?

Wait, did I just say “I love you”?

Could it be that I said it unconsciously?

Otherwise, it’s strange for the word “marriage” to come up, right?!

As I hold my head, Cid smoothly changes the topic. 

“As for today’s plan, let’s first go to the inn. Then we’ll visit the stalls and gather information.”

A sudden change to a serious topic. He said something incredibly serious. 

Being played around by him, I weakly lower my head and just reply, “Yes.” 

“Well then.”

Cid’s large hand grasped my right hand. When I thought about being able to walk hand in hand, I felt happy and squeezed his hand tightly, causing Cid to momentarily freeze. 

“. . .Vi-sama. I was going to take care of your luggage.”

“Oh.”

The leather bag containing my changed clothes. Maybe, just maybe, Cid was trying to take it from my hand. . .

Can I jump into the sea right now?!

I quickly let go of his hand, and Cid turned his face away and chuckled. 

I feel so embarrassed I could die. 

I frowned and covered my face with both hands, and it was even more shocking that his hands smelled like horses. 

“Well, shall we go?”

Cid hung my bag on the saddle of the horse and started walking, holding the reins. 

I lightly grasped the hem of his robe and followed him, hiding behind his back. Repeating in my mind that I can’t get separated is just an excuse.

“When we arrive at the inn, should we contact Lord Ethan?”

“Oh, I forgot!”

The makeshift communication set was inside my bag. When I opened the square compact, When I open the compact square, I can have a conversation with my brother using a small amount of magic.

It only connects to Onii-sama, and although I can’t see his figure, I can hear his voice perfectly and have a conversation.

Even with my special condition of being unable to emit magic, I can use this communication set without any problems. When Onii-sama was in Duke Marcus’s territory, we communicated every night using the communication set.

If it were a conventional communication crystal, the other person’s location could be pinpointed, so this is better for me while I’m on the run.

“I wonder if Cid is angry because I didn’t contact him this morning~.”

“Why me?! Ah, but that prediction is probably correct.”

Since Onii-sama wouldn’t speak ill of me, unfortunately, I think Cid will be scolded. Let’s apologize together. It’s mostly my fault after all. . .

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟑: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐕𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐃𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐒𝐦𝐢𝐫𝐤𝐬

Since the inn was crowded, we were finally able to get a room on the third try.

It seems that now is the time when people are buying supplies for winter preparations, so many people are coming all the way from neighboring towns and villages to Azuor.

It was unavoidable that two people would have to stay in a room meant for three. It’s probably not because my desire of “not wanting to be separated” got through, most likely.

Cid tightly held the key and strained his voice, saying, “I’ll do my best. . .!!” So, I gave him a word of encouragement just in case.

“If we put up a barrier, it should be fine, right? Since we can properly stay at the inn like this, You don’t need to work hard and keep watch. Make sure you get a good rest at night, okay?”

“. . .Whether I can rest or not has nothing to do with the barrier issue.”

Why did he look at me with such a desperate expression, as if it were the end of the world?

I’m starting to wonder what kind of guard education Cid received at Duke Marcus’s house.

Since our horses are tied up in the inn’s stable, we each carried our luggage and head to the third-floor. It was refreshing to see Cid walking in front, on guard, although it’s understandable considering the situation. Now that I have become a commoner, it would be nice to walk side by side, holding hands like a normal couple.

It can’t be helped that he’s on guard, but now that I’ve become a commoner, I want to have a normal date where we walk side by side and hold hands.

I don’t want to go to glittering soirées or parties. Once everything settles down, I want to experience events where ordinary couples giggle and have fun.

Entering the room, Cid puts down his bag and opens the window. Although the room was clean, it felt damp due to being closed off. 

“This room has quite good sunlight!”

The scent of the sea entered through the window with the wind, and I took a deep breath.

Ah, it feels like a real honeymoon!

In this world, there is a culture of wedding rings, and come to think of it, the heroine was supposed to receive a ring from Prince Roque, which was designed with a rose motif.

A simple silver ring, suitable for a commoner like me, is enough. I can’t help but smile at the thought of wearing matching rings with Cid someday. . .

“Vi-sama?”

Seeing me smiling, Cid looked at me with a puzzled expression.

I didn’t want him to notice that I was already daydreaming about our married life!

I hastily returned my mouth to its original position and placed my luggage near the bed.

Glancing at Cid, he smiled mischievously and tilted his head.

“If it’s about me, you can attack me anytime, you know?”

It’s troublesome when he looks at me with such a seductive gaze.

Even though I knew it’s a joke, I felt flustered.

“Oh, if I’m going to attack, I’ll do it when I have my magic gun!”

“It’s okay, you can easily stop my breath with your bare hands. Oh, but what I meant wasn’t in that sense, I meant you can do whatever you want with this body.”

“I understand! I understand, so you don’t have to explain every time!”

“Is that so? Because it’s Vi-sama, I thought you might not understand.”

“There’s no way I wouldn’t understand?!”

Treating me like a child!

Even though I’m already acting all pouty like a child, what’s the right answer in this situation!?

This wasn’t in the school exams! It wasn’t in the etiquette books for ladies, and the instructors for territory education and history didn’t teach me!

“How cute.”

While savoring the laughter, Cid slowly closed the distance, inch by inch. 

Feeling somewhat uneasy, I instinctively steped back and ended up leaning against the wall. 

Being looked down upon directly like this made my heart race and my breath quicken, even though I hadn’t been running. I must have looked suspicious!

It seems that love can turn a person into a pervert. 

Facing each other at such a close distance, his large, bony hand slowly traced from my bangs to my ear and cheek. 

“Vi-sama.”

“Ah!”

I wanted to escape.

But his crimson eyes won’t let me. I started trembling nervously.

Ah, the more I looked at him, the more my suppressed feelings overflowed.

I was so in love that it was becoming strange.

His hand, His voice, everything was so dear to me.

However, it didn’t come out as words. Instead, I ended up gasping for breath like a suffocating fish.

I’ve never been touched like this by Cid before, so it’s natural to feel excited with every move he makes.

Seeing me flustered and bewildered, Cid chuckles.

“I won’t do anything. I want to remain a gentleman.”

I felt relieved by those words, and my tension eased.

“That was a lie, though.”

“Huh?”

In a moment of vulnerability, his face approached mine, and his soft lips gently touched my cheek.

“Huh?!”

With wide eyes, I froze, and Cid happily spoke.

“I won’t be able to control myself if you let your guard down too much, so please protect yourself to some extent, okay? Because in this case, I will become Vi-sama’s enemy.” 

“Enemy. . .?!”

Doesn’t Cid realize it after all?

That a kiss on the cheek like earlier is nothing but a reward for me.

Wait, did he just casually kiss me?!

Wow!! It’s the first time I’ve been kissed on the cheek!! It has happened with Onii-sama and my family, but never with my fiancé, the prince. . .!

Leaning against the wall, I sat on the floor, feeling weak. Unintentionally, words slipped out of my mouth.

“I’ve never been kissed before.”

I covered my left cheek with my hand, and my face crumbled with emotion.

I’m happy.

Being told by the person I love that they love me, receiving a kiss on the cheek as a bonus, I felt overwhelmed with happiness.

“Vi-sama?”

Cid knelt down to match my sitting position and peered into my face.

“Cid.”

“Yes.”

I feel like I can say it now. I have to say that I love him too. I’m even willing to give everything here.

“I. . .”

I tightly clasped my hands together, took a deep breath, and finally prepared to express my feelings in words.

Or so I thought.

――Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep –

A low vibrating sound.

The sound came from inside my bag, as if perfectly timed. It was the ringtone of an incoming call from the communication set, like a smartphone on silent mode.

“”. . .””

The two of us froze on the spot.

Even though no one was scolding us, we met eyes and felt bewildered by the situation.

Cid was the first to move, His face was slightly red. But I decideD not to point it out.

“Ethan-sama contacted us, didn’t he?”

Onii-sama, why now? 

I couldn’t say it again.

I was planning to finally confess my feelings!!

Wait, are you watching? Are you intentionally doing this to us?

I couldn’t believe that, but I can’t help but suspect that there might be a transmitter or a bug somewhere.

“Vi-sama, should I answer?”

“Ah, yes, please.”

Cid took out the communication set from the bag, and it started with Onii-sama’s furious voice, “Where the hell are you guys?!” and then he proceeded to scold us for a while.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟒: 𝐂𝐢𝐝 𝐈 𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐰

When the angry voice of Onii-sama could no longer be heard from the communication set, I pushed aside Cid who was dazed and spoke to Onii-sama.

“I’m sorry for worrying you. Yesterday was a camping trip.”

I deliberately didn’t mention that we were able to communicate this morning.

“Vi! Are you doing well? Have you encountered any troubles? Do you have enough money?”

Even though he had given me plenty of gold and silver coins, I didn’t expect him to worry about my finances.

I replied with a wry smile.

“I’m fine. Cid has been taking good care of me, so I was able to sleep peacefully during our first camping trip.”

I wanted to forget about how I ended up completely relaxed and fell asleep draped across his thigh.

“Seriously, I even contacted Aunt with a crystal because you said you were going to Fumble. I was surprised when Galius, who came back, told me you changed your destination to Nice.”

“Fumble is unstable, according to Cid.”

“That may be true, but if you go to Aunt’s place in the Calasia region near Fumble, it should be peaceful and safe, right? It’s a natural fortress surrounded by mountains on three sides.”

Huh? Is that so?

When I glanced at Cid, he looked awkwardly away, avoiding eye contact. Even though he knew Aunt’s house was safe, he still wanted to go to Nice.

“Cid~?”

I feel like I need to press him for an answer.

“Why don’t you want to go to Fumble?”

“It’s not that I don’t want to. . .Ethan-sama! Nice is safer, isn’t it?!”

Cid asked for help from my brother, who had just scolded us, as if seeking assistance. But my brother casually said something unexpected.

“Nice is indeed safe, and it’s a fair country with a parliamentary system. But Cid, don’t you want to see your family in Fumble?”

“Ethan-samaaaa!!!”

――Click!!

Oh, he hung up the communication. 

And then the communication set lit up again, and the sound resumed. The response came back incredibly fast!

――Beep. . .

However, Cid mercilessly ended the call.

At least he could have answered, he’s my Onii-sama after all.

Well, I’ll reconnect over there later.

But what does he mean that Cid has family in Fumble?

When I looked at Cid with half-closed eyes, he had a very bitter expression.

Maybe he doesn’t want to talk about it.

He must not want to talk about it since we’ve never discussed such matters before. I’ve heard that his mother is alive, but I have no idea where she is, what kind of person she is, or what life is like for Cid’s family.

“Hey, what does he mean by your family is in Fumble?”

The atmosphere changed as I asked, and Cid remained silent for a while.

Since I didn’t mind if he didn’t want to talk, I made tea and organized my belongings, waiting for him to speak whenever he felt ready.

“Vi-sama.”

“Hmm?”

When I looked up, Cid had an unusually serious expression.

I put away the communication set and sat down next to him on the bed. 

Cid was tightly clenched his fist on his knee, and when I gently touched it, it felt cold. I tried to warm it up by placing both hands over it, but he quickly turned it around and held my hands tightly.

“I have family in Fumble.”

“I see. . .”

“My mother, her remarriage partner, and a younger brother born from their relationship. However, I have never met my stepfather or my brother.”

His low voice echoed in the quiet room.

Whether he was deliberately trying to hide his emotions or not, Cid continued his words in a calm manner. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟓: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐃𝐨𝐠 𝐂𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐌𝐲 𝐇𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞

Outside the window, a beautiful sunset with shades of orange and purple spread across the sky.

From the first floor of the inn, we could hear the voices of incoming guests, gradually adding to the lively atmosphere.

It was just the two of us in the room. We sat side by side on the bed, and our intertwined hands seemed to hold onto each other as if they didn’t want to let go.

“I separated from my mother when I was four years old. We lived in a town called Welhinesta, located south from here. I don’t have many memories from that time. . .”

I had no idea that Cid was from Fumble.

He was brought by Otou-sama one day, and that was enough for me.

According to his story, the peaceful days he spent with his mother suddenly vanished when his father’s messenger appeared.

“My mother was a holy woman who could use holy attribute magic, and my father. . . I can’t really call him her husband or lover. I heard that my father unilaterally took my mother. But he had a wife and children, and he had other mistresses as well. My mother managed to escape when she saw an opportunity.”

“Um, that father you’re talking about, could it be. . .”

Someone of status to have a holy woman by his side in Fumble. And Cid, who inherited his father’s bloodline, can use magic of all attributes. I didn’t want to think about it, but there was a possibility that came to mind. . .

“The former king, Richequel.”

“?!”

The illegitimate child of the king?! 

“According to the country’s law, it is not allowed to make a commoner the concubine. It was probably the limit to secretly keep her as a mistress. And it seems there was no love between them. . .I don’t know the details, but it is a fact that my mother couldn’t bear living in the harem and escaped without anyone knowing. She realized she was pregnant with me after she escaped.”

“So, your mother raised you on her own, then?”

Cid nodded silently.

Although she became pregnant in an unwanted affair, his mother loved and raised him properly. Cid grew up under his mother’s care until he was four years old, but one day, someone came to take him away.

“At that time, the country had to send one member of the royal family as a hostage to Roselia.”

Knowing about Cid’s existence and seeing him as useful, the king forcefully took him away.

“Since then, I haven’t seen my mother at all. For a year, I learned etiquette, language, swordsmanship, and magic. Afterward, I was sent to the Kingdom of Roselia as a hostage. . .””

The Kingdom of Roselia is where children of royal and noble families from neighboring countries live. It is common for a country to send their own royal or influential noble children as hostages, but I never thought Cid was one of them. . .

“My father knew about my existence and thought he could use me as a substitute for the important heir. The current king, Henry, is the legitimate son of the queen, and although there are male children born from mistresses, the powerful nobles who support them do not allow them to be handed over. My existence was just right. When I was five years old, I was sent to the Kingdom of Roselia, and I lived in the royal castle for three years.” 

I met Cid when I was five and he was eight.

“You were in the castle until Otou-sama brought you back.”

“Yes. Since Fumble is not politically important, I was treated poorly. I couldn’t get along with the other hostage children, and at that time, I was small and often subjected to harassment. Although it was said that I had talent in magic, I couldn’t control it and became desperate. That’s when I was picked up by Simon Marcus-sama, your father.”

Otou-sama.

He really picked him up at the castle. . .

When I said, “I wanted a dog,” Otou-sama said, “I brought a dog-like boy.” I thought he was a bit strange even as a five-year-old, but my father was indeed an odd person.

“Did Otou-sama see Cid being bullied and bring him back?”

“Well, it’s difficult to explain, but it seems Simon-sama thought that if he presented me, who was dog-like, To you, He could please you.”

“Otou-samaaa!!”

I felt sorry and wanted to cry.

I’m sorry, Cid, for having such a strange father!

Cid smiled wryly and said, “It’s okay,” but that’s a bit too much.

“He begged in the carriage. He said, ‘I’m in trouble because my daughter wants a dog!’ and prostrated himself.”

“He prostrated himself?!” 

“Yes. He didn’t want to be disliked for not fulfilling the wish. So, that’s how I came from Fumble to Roselia. It has been sixteen years since I left my hometown, so there is no lingering attachment.”

“I understand that.”

Wouldn’t it be better to meet your mother? I’m sure she’s worried.

I don’t have children myself, but one of the servants said that separating a parent and child is as painful as being torn apart.

There are many parents and children that can’t live together due to various circumstances, but I think it’s incredibly sad to have a son suddenly taken away.

“It’s been sixteen years already. I’m sure my mother wouldn’t recognize me even if I met her, and about three years ago, I heard from Ethan-sama that my mother remarried and has a child. I’m somewhat curious about my younger brother, but I don’t feel the need to visit Welhinesta and meet my mother and brother.”

“Cid. . .”

The way you deliberately speak brightly about it only stirs up my heart even more. 

I want to go and meet them. I want to introduce Cid to his mother and his mother to Cid.

Ah, but can I say, “Your precious son is on the run because of me!”? I should probably bring an apology letter or something. 

However, I realized something important here. 

Being a hostage means being under the control of that country. Was it really better for him to be taken away from here?

“Hey, was it really a good idea to bring Cid, who was a hostage, back without permission?” 

Even if it’s the Duke Marcus family, bringing back a hostage entrusted to them from another country. 

“I’m fine. I won against the king in chess, and he said, ‘As long as you don’t kill me, it’s fine.'”

“What do you really think of human life?!”

“I’m a bastard. Since I’m not a legitimate successor, My value as a hostage is low. My status in Fumble is that of a commoner. But I’m grateful to be taken in by the Duke Marcus family. I learned how to protect myself, I was able to attend school, and above all, I could meet Vi-sama and pledge our future together.”

Yes, we haven’t pledged our future yet. 

It’s because I’ve been hesitating!

“Don’t worry about me. I did insist on Nice because I wanted to avoid Fumble, but I think it would be better for you to live under Mrs. Lisana, who is Obaa-sama. You might be able to live as a noble lady again.”

“I don’t want to live as a noble lady.”

I just want to be with Cid. 

I don’t need jewels or dresses or a big mansion. It’s much better to live together and support each other. 

Besides, if I rely on Obaa-sama, there’s a possibility of being forced into a political marriage. 

They won’t force me, but it’s unreasonable for me to rely on them for free.

“Cid will be with me from now on, right? So, as promised, please take responsibility and take us to Nice.”

“Vi-sama. . .Are you sure about this?” 

“Fine, whether you like it or not, it’s me who decides the destination! I’m the one running away.”

“I decided on Nice as our destination.”

“Well, even if you came up with the idea, the final decision is mine!”

Yes, I didn’t just go along with it. It’s not like I decided on Nice just because I thought, “Anywhere is fine as long as Cid is with me.”

“Anyway! Since I had no familiarity with Nice, I’ll be in trouble if Cid doesn’t support me properly!”

Cid stared at me with a dumbfounded expression as I declared that he should support me.

“What. . .did you say something?”

Although it’s far from a sweet atmosphere, I wonder if my seriousness got through?!

I didn’t say I love him, but I think my desire to be together forever got through?!

As I glared at him with an upward gaze, Cid quickly released my hand and swiftly pulled me into his arms.

“Whoa!!”

I let out a scream devoid of any sexiness.

My feminine wiles are nonexistent. I can’t disguise myself as a duke’s daughter I’ve been building up over the years.

His arm strength was so strong that I couldn’t escape even if I struggled, and he held me tightly, making it difficult to breathe.

“Vi-sama, I love you. I like you. Please only look at me.”

I’m looking! I’m looking!

I’m looking at him to the point where my eyes are about to rot, and I remember his image even behind my eyelids!

“Stop it, please let go a little! I can’t handle a sudden hug!”

I begged and pounded my fists against him, but Cid didn’t flinch. He continued to hold me tightly.

“When we arrive in Nice, let’s look for a house where we can live together. I’ll work, so Vi-sama, please just make scrambled eggs. I’ll handle the rest of the cooking. Please, don’t do anything.”

Huh? Am I being indirectly told not to cook? Is my cooking bad? Hey, is my cooking bad?

I haven’t even made anything yet.

He nuzzled his head against mine, making me feel like I was being cuddled by a dog. I could almost see his ears and tail. Maybe he really is a dog. . . I thought to myself.

“Regardless of the method, we should thank your father.”

There was no doubt in my father’s eyes.

I tamed a cute and cool, strong magician dog.

Cautiously, I wrapped my arms around his back and found it to be firmer and sturdier than I expected, like that of a man. Though he is a man. . .

As I stroked his back while saying “Good boy,” he snuggled up to me like a spoiled child.

What am I going to do with this adorable person?

“Is this hair similar to your mother’s?”

As I gently touched his hair, Cid squinted as if ticklish.

“Yes. My hair and eyes resembles my mother’s. Our physiques are probably different, but I think our appearances are quite similar.”

Adding “probably,” Cid looked somewhat lonely.

“I’m glad Cid is here and that you were born. I have to thank your mother.”

“Maybe. . . you’re right.”

We spent a long time embracing and playing around, not caring about the continuous ringing of the communication set in our bags. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟔: 𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐂𝐚𝐭𝐬 𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐀𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐁𝐞 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞

Day three of our escape abroad.

According to the information Cid gathered from the tavern and mercenaries, it seems that my pursuers have not entered Fumble yet.

While I was getting ready, Cid watered the horses and loaded our few belongings.

“Vi-sama, we will be making the horses run a lot today. Are you feeling alright?”

Completely forgetting about what happened yesterday, Cid looked down at me with a gentle smile.

But I had already changed the destination in my mind for today.

“Yes, I’m fine. Let’s head to Welhinesta right away.”

“. . .Huh?”

I grabbed onto the horse’s mane and climbed onto its back. Cid blinked his eyes and showed rare signs of agitation on his face.

“I told you there’s no need to go.”

Resting my hand on the saddle, I tell Cid with a furrowed brow.

“Oh, really? But I clearly said yesterday that I have to go and thank her.”

“Was that what you meant?! Are you really planning to go?!”

Of course. While it may be a bit of a detour since Welhinesta is inland, but it’s not in the opposite direction. The point of our journey is going to Nice anyway. It should be fine even if we’re a day or two late.

“Really?”

Looking down from atop the horse, I can see Cid’s face clearly. It’s rare to be looked up to, and I feel like I could get lost in his gaze, but I quickly turn my gaze forward.

“If we don’t go now, we might never get the chance, right?”

Cid is quite stubborn, so once he has decided to protect me, he would prioritize my safety over his own homeland.

“Don’t assume that parents and cats will be there forever.”

“What’s that saying?”

It’s a phrase that our house steward used to say.

It’s a saying for when a cat escapes from home, but as someone who has already lost both parents, I feel that if there’s a chance to meet, I should take it.

If he’s this close, It’s unacceptable for them not to meet.

Cid laughed as if giving up and agreed to go to Welhinesta, always accommodating my wishes.

“They might have already moved by now, you know~?”

“If that’s the case, Onii-sama should have told Cid that yesterday. He won’t let his target escape.”

“Target, huh.”

Yes. There are countless possibilities that even if we go, we may not be able to meet. The chances of meeting are probably lower. But even so, we won’t know unless we go and try.

“If we’re going, we’re going! It’s a picnic, and the weather is nice.”

“We’ll arrive in the evening.”

“Oh, then we need to hurry. Get on quickly.”

Ending the conversation forcefully, Cid reluctantly mounted the horse. What if he gets angry? I couldn’t bring myself to turn around.

But his hand holding the reins wrapped around me just like yesterday, and he was as gentle as always.

But instead of leaving immediately, he buried his head on my left shoulder.

“Cid?!”

I was startled, and my shoulder jerked. But Cid just rested his head there, making an affectionate sound.

“Just a little longer, like this.”

“O-Okay. . .”

He is going to meet his mother for the first time in sixteen years. Maybe he’s nervous. . . Thinking that, I suddenly had an urge to gently stroke his hair. As I tried to reach out my hand, he suddenly lifted his head.

“Oops!”

“Yes! Let’s go! Departing now!”

So fast! He recovered so fast!!

I wish we could have stayed like this a little longer. . .!

Cid lightly kicked the horse’s belly and quickly left the inn’s premises.

The sea breeze tickled my nose, And I could see many small white birds along the coastal road.

As the speed gradually increased, I realized that I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

“Isn’t this a bit too fast?! Are you using magic?!”

The wind grazing my ears was so painful, and instead of a gentle whooshing sound, It was a thunderous roar.

We’ve only just left the town, and yet we’re going at this speed without crashing into the merchants’ carriages?!

“Vi-sama said, ‘We need to hurry!'” 

“But this is rushing too much!!”

The wind blowing directly at us was so strong that I completely relied on Cid’s back. He wrapped me with his arms to keep me from falling, but my eyes were tightly shut and I could barely breathe.

“Now, let’s go on a picnic together!”

Cid said with a strangely cheerful voice.

Is this his way of being mean to me,For forcibly changing the destination and meddling in his affairs?!

He rested his chin on my shoulder and held me tightly, even more closely than necessary.

If it weren’t Cid, I would have elbowed him, but in my heart, I whispered, “Thank you.”

It’s a big mistake to think that I’ll be in a constant state of agitation. Even if my face feels hot and feels like it’s burning, I’ll show that I can enjoy this rewarding time!!

However, I wished he would speak in a softer voice near my ear. It sends shivers down my spine, and my heart feels like it’s about to burst.

“Vi-sama, I hope I can reunite with my mother, you know?”

“Huh? Of course, I do.”

“In that case, please reward me when I meet her and fulfill your expectations.””

“A reward?”

“Yes.”

“Is ten gold coins enough?”

“What a rich idea! That’s not what I meant.”

Then what does he want? What does Cid want. . .What does Cid want to eat?

“Cheese-filled rolled omelette!”

He mentioned wanting to eat it the day before yesterday. I can understand everything about Cid. Truly the power of love. Hooray for my memory!

“Well, let’s discuss it later.”

“Uh, um. Yes, that’s right. I’ll give you anything I can.”

“You said it. . .I’m looking forward to it, Vi-sama.”

What is it? Why does his voice sound slightly threatening?

It’s like he enjoys tormenting his prey. . .

Is he plotting something?

Well, it’s not like I, a fallen noble daughter, have much to offer as a reward. 

If I put a ribbon on myself and said, “I’m the reward,” I’ll probably be looked at with cold eyes. I need to think of something more appropriate. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟕: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐕𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐁𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞

We rode the horse to the southwest for two hours.

Although the speed quickly became normal, I ended up feeling exhausted unnecessarily because Cid firmly held onto me with one arm.

Just a few days ago, we maintained a moderate distance as escorts, but now he’s coming on so strongly that my feelings can’t keep up.

My heart welcomes it, but when he actually touches me, I find it difficult to breathe every time. How pathetic. . .!

Just a moment ago, when he put his hand on my waist, I couldn’t help but scream in my mind, “Eek!” I’m glad I didn’t actually say it out loud because it would have been a meaningless scream.

It was past noon when we finally arrived at the town of Welhinesta.

This town was not very big, so there were only three inns.As expected, there were also people in travel attire here, and there was only one vacant single room at the inn.

It’s not cramped, but the problem is that there’s only one bed.

Should I compromise and take a step towards him?

Nervously glancing at Cid, before I could say anything, he said, “I’ll sleep on the floor.”

“Sleeping on the floor is definitely not allowed!”

As Cid opened the window to check the escape route, I said that. But he didn’t even turn around and just smiled wryly, saying, “Don’t worry about it.”

“Well, since we were planning to camp anyway, having a roof and some protection from the wind is better than nothing. I’ll take the floor, and you can take the bed. That’s the final decision.”

“In that case. . .”

“I won’t sleep on the floor either. We’ll be moving again tomorrow. Unlike me, Vi-sama is a normal person, so please rest properly before catching a cold or feeling unwell.”

I was unable to come up with a valid counterargument and couldn’t find an opportunity to refute. 

But my mental state wasn’t strong enough to say something like, “Let’s sleep together in bed,” as if it were a romance novel. 

If we slept together, I would be too nervous to sleep until morning.

And I’ll end up sleeping on a horse. I can already see the course of falling off. 

Letting out a sigh, unable to say anything, Cid chuckled as if something was amusing.

Seeing him so happy, I furrowed my eyebrows slightly. 

“Why are you laughing so much? Did something funny happen?”

Although I said it in a sulky manner, Cid continued to laugh. 

“No, I just thought it went according to plan. You’re conscious of me to some extent, right? That’s why you didn’t say no to sleeping together in bed, right? I’m happy about that.”

“What?!”

Not just a little, but about 80% of my consciousness is occupied by thoughts of you!

The remaining 20% is for Onii-sama and rolled omelette!

Whether I deny it or affirm it, I feel like I’m digging my own grave, so I bit my lip with a bitter expression. 

If only I had the ability to retort. . .!

Seeing me like that, Cid finally stopped grinning. 

“I won’t laugh anymore, so please forgive me.”

“You’ve laughed enough!”

Since it’s highly likely that I will lose, I left some of my luggage in the room, and we headed to the town to gather information. 

Cid’s mother is Shelia-san, a former commoner and ex-saint. She is said to be forty years old this year. 

Other than being a delicate person with black hair and crimson eyes, I don’t have any other information. 

If she is still at the church as a saint, we can find her immediately. However, unfortunately, she lost that qualification when she was involved with Cid’s genetic father (I simply refused to acknowledge him as a father!) who was the former king, so she is not at the church. 

I don’t know the name of her remarriage partner or the names of the children born between them, so it seems like the only option was to diligently inquire. 

“It seems like there’s a possibility that we won’t find her.”

Cid muttered. Since I have no intention of giving up, I walked through the town with confidence. 

“It’s not such a big town, so if we ask about a family with a mother named Sheria, we’ll find her in no time!”

“I hope so.”

“It’s not your concern!”

“I don’t have much of a sense of reality. My memories from when I was four are vague,And  even coming to this town doesn’t make me feel like it’s my hometown. . .”

Perhaps Cid himself was thinking that he might remember something more. 

Seeing it as just a town he had never seen before, I smiled a bit sadly.

“After all, my hometown is already the Duke Marcus family where Vi-sama was. Well, just confirming that is good enough.”

“What are you arbitrarily concluding?”

“Did I get caught? Actually, I’m a little scared. What If my mother is found and it turns out she has completely forgot about me, it’s just. . . I don’t know.”

Scratching his head, Cid laughed, showing his confusion on his face. 

I took his left hand and squeezed it tightly. 

“Don’t worry. I don’t think Cid’s mother, who fled with us, would forget her beloved son. Sure, you might not be immediately recognizable because you’ve grown up, and she might wonder how your nutrition ended up like this and think, ‘Was my child this dog-like?'”

“Isn’t the latter half more of your own subjective opinion?”

“Anyway, no matter how she’s living now, she will be happy to see Cid return and show himself. I believe that.”

Cid listened to my plea and gave in, laughing in exasperation. His smile was gentle, and I almost said, “I love you.” But not now. The timing is different now. Once things with his mother are settled, I will definitely say “I love you.” 

I pulled his hand and walked firmly. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟖: 𝐒𝐮𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫

It was around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. As the sky began to be dyed in a beautiful twilight, we were in a district where restaurants and eateries were gathered, about a 30-minute walk from the inn.

It was the time when people would start gathering at the taverns as the night approached, so there were many other people coming and going besides us.

There was a shop said to be run by Cid’s mother in the zone with a pleasant aroma, where they sold meat pies, kebabs, and other grilled meats.

“That shop?”

“It seems so.”

We secretly peeked into the shop from behind a hiding spot.

Wait, why is it a bento shop again?!

Following the heroine, why is Cid’s mother also running a bento shop?!

“Well, it’s highly likely that the author of this novel’s actual home is a bento shop, or maybe the major shareholder of the publishing company owns a bento shop chain.”

I murmured, and Cid tilted his head curiously. I felt the length of our companionship in the fact that he didn’t ask further questions.

“Cid, do you understand?”

In the visible range of the shop, there were three women. A young girl with light brown hair, who was probably in her teens, so she seemed different in age.

The other two were around 40 years old, and there was still a possibility that one of them was Cid’s mother with black hair.

“We can’t tell from here. I thought there would be more of a shock like ‘Ah!’ or something.”

“Well, distance is a factor. It’s too far from here.”

“I was a little surprised that Vi-sama has good eyes.”

Pretending to be customers, we slowly approached the shop.

For some reason, I felt more nervous, and I tightly held Cid’s hand.

“It’s okay.” 

For some reason, I felt encouraged by him. His smiling face made me feel a little relieved as usual.

Cid, still wearing his hooded robe, led me by the hand and approached the front of the shop.

Then, our feet stopped just a few meters away.

It happened from both sides, but the trigger was undoubtedly the clear view of the woman’s face behind the counter.

“Ah. . .!”

I could tell that Cid next to me gasped. 

She had slightly long black hair with gentle waves and Her kind-looking crimson eyes.

Her way of speaking gave off the feeling of an ordinary mother, but I thought her smiling face resembled Cid.

Noticing us standing still, she gave us a friendly smile.

“Welcome! We only have pie wraps and sandwiches left. Would that be alright?”

A bright and cheerful voice.

With our arrival of as new customers, the woman who had been chatting with the previous customer waved her hand and left.

We let go of each other’s hands and approached the counter.

Cid’s mother took our order with a smile. I couldn’t sense any indication that she realized her son had come to see her.

“Well then. . .a sandwich.”

When Cid said that, she cheerfully replied, “Thank you!” I handed her the basket, and she skillfully put the sandwich in it.

“What about Miss? What would you like?”

“Huh? Oh, I’ll have. . .the same thing.”

“Which sauce would you like? We have sweet and spicy.” 

“Um, then the spicy one.”

She dipped the meat into the sauce vigorously, and the sandwich was quickly completed.

After putting two portions in the basket, Cid received it with his usual smile.

We paid the money, and with just that, the reunion between mother and son was over.

“Thank you!!”

She waved her hand with a bright smile.

Cid smiled and murmured, “Thank you.” 

He quickly turned his back and walked away, and I followed him.

I had doubts about whether this was the right thing to do, but it was impossible to have any further conversation in that situation with other customers present.

After walking for a while, Cid held my hand and smiled.

“Let’s go back to the inn.”

“Yeah. . .”

His smile looked painful, and my heart ached.

He wasn’t shedding tears or making any crying sounds, but I still felt like Cid was crying.

Because I suggested coming here. . .

I realized that my attempt to bring the two of them together only ended up hurting Cid. It choked me up.

I couldn’t say sorry.

If Cid hadn’t truly agreed with it, no matter how much I persuaded him, he wouldn’t have come.

Cid is much smarter than me, so he must have considered various things before agreeing to visit Welhinesta. So, maybe it’s different for me to say sorry.

Then what should I say?

Without any ideas coming to mind, we arrived at our room at the inn. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟗: 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐒𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐭 𝐓𝐨𝐨𝐭𝐡

I entered the room, locked the door, and placed my bag on top of my chest.

Cid placed the basket containing sandwiches on the table and sat on the bed, his gaze lowered.

Outside the window, it was getting dim, and the darkness of the night was about to fall. I turned on the lamp and placed it on the table.

The room was filled with a soft, bright light and Cid’s shadow was cast heavily on the wall.

“Cid.”

“. . .”

He sat on the bed, looking absent-minded, appearing empty devoid of any joy or sadness.

Not knowing what to do, I stood right next to Cid and hugged his head tightly.

“Your mother probably didn’t recognize you because you’ve become so cool, Cid.”

“. . .”

“Besides, She was working! she’s a diligent person. It’s a third-rate shop to stare at customers like that.”

“. . .”

“Ah, could it be that she noticed but felt jealous? Maybe because she thought I, a noble beauty, had taken her son away, she couldn’t find the right words to express herself?”

Damn it. I can’t come up with clever words! Despite studying so hard from morning till night to become the future crown princess, but it’s useless!

I wouldn’t mind erasing all the knowledge I acquired about foreign languages, cultures, histories, music, and fashion if I could just have the skill to provide comfort!

Feeling powerless, I leaned against Cid’s head, and he raised his face slightly and muttered softly.

“Vi-sama, are you comforting me?”

“No, I just expressed my thoughts. It’s not comforting.”

It’s not comforting at all. I can’t say that I comforted him.

After a moment of silence, Cid chuckled and started speaking in a slightly brighter voice.

“It’s okay. It’s probably better if she didn’t recognize me. To be honest, there was a part of me that wanted her to notice, but I believe the most important thing is for her to be happy and forget what she lost.”

“Cid. . .”

Even though she didn’t abandon her child, is it possible for her to forget? Maybe it’s just because he grew up and she couldn’t recognize him immediately.

But I’m sure she still wants to see him. . .

Unfortunately, there is no way to prove it.

Does he intend never to reveal his identity?

Is it okay to leave it like this after coming this far?

“Won’t you go see her again?”

I asked hesitantly, and Cid wrapped his left arm around my back.

“No, it’s fine. I have Vi-sama. And. . .”

“And?”

“It feels good in my heart, so I don’t want to go out anymore.”

“What?!”

Startled, I quickly moved away, and Cid smiled as usual. Then, he pleaded and clung to me.

“Let’s stay together? Just for today, forever.”

When he pleaded with those eyes, I couldn’t refuse. Of course, the answer was okay. 

His black hair swayed in the wind coming through the window, and his face, smiling weakly, made me feel a pang of sadness.

“. . .Just for today, don’t say that.”

In response to my answer, which I squeezed out with all my strength, Cid widened his eyes in surprise.

“Because I’ll always be with you.”

I stood in front of Cid, who was sitting, and firmly grasped his hand. As I squeezed his cold fingertips, he responded by gripping even tighter.

“Vi-sama.”

“What?”

“May I kiss you?”

“What the. . .?!”

I was taken aback by his shocking statement. 

Who says something like that and expects a response of “Sure, go ahead!”? I wish he would just do as he pleases without saying anything!!

In my flustered state, I quickly sought help from the sandwich on the table.

“C-Come on, let’s eat quickly! Should we get some soup or drinks from the dining hall? Or is it fine like this? Don’t you want to devour it right away?!”

Seeing me rambling, Cid let out a small sigh.

“Is it still too soon? I thought maybe we could go with the flow.”

“Stop saying stupid things and eat! Give thanks to the Sandwich God!”

I took out two sandwiches from the basket, and it was immediately clear that they looked different. 

The one I chose with spicy sauce had an orange-colored meat and seemed to be seasoned with spices.

“Cid, you made it sweet after all. That’s what I thought.”

Cid has always had a sweet tooth and a childlike palate.

As I handed him the sandwich, Cid furrowed his eyebrows for some reason.

“What’s the matter? Were there other options?”

“Huh? But they asked me when I bought it.”

Whether I wanted it sweet or spicy.

Indeed, I was asked that.

“They asked only me and not Cid?”

Perhaps. . .

We exchanged glances and fell silent. 

Then, as I checked inside the basket, I found a wooden tag under the cloth. I thought it must have been placed together with the sandwich when I put it in.

“This.”

The wooden tag had “Open for Business” carved into it. It was something that should have been placed on the shop’s counter. The rectangular tag, small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, had smeared characters on the back made of black charcoal fragments.

[Welcome back.]

The hastily written characters were recognizable as scribbles.

The reason they didn’t ask Cid about the sauce was probably because this taste was one that young Cid liked.

Cid looked at the wooden tag in astonishment. I stood beside him, tears welling up as I smiled.

“Oh, you noticed, Okaa-san.”

In those few tens of seconds, he realized that she was his mother and she secretly entrusted this message. Perhaps she refrained from revealing herself due to some circumstances on their side. .

“Haha. . ., writing on something like this. It would have been enough to say just one word.”

Cid closed his eyes and said in a tone of disbelief. He mocked himself for not realizing and felt sulky inside.

“Well, I’ll have to return it tomorrow morning.”

The shop is probably closed by now. Tomorrow morning, I’ll go back to Okaa-san’s place and this time. . .

“Anyway, we should share our impressions after eating this.”

“Yes, it’s been sixteen years since I had homemade food.”

Cid put the wooden tag in the inner pocket of his robe and started eating the sandwich. His chewing face, munching away, was that of an ordinary boy, not a reliable guard nor a cheerful mage with many inappropriate remarks. 

“It’s delicious, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it’s delicious. Very much so.”

A heartwarming atmosphere filled the room with just the two of us.

The taste of the sauce lingering in my mouth was slightly sweet. . .Huh? Sweet?

“. . .Cid.”

“Yes?”

He took a sip from a bottle of water, already finished with his meal.

“This is much sweeter than I expected. It was supposed to be the spicy sauce.”

Did I make a mistake? But the color was different from what Cid had. I shouldn’t have made a mistake.

Curious, I looked at him, and he smiled and said, 

“Mother also has a sweet tooth, I suppose. Within Mother’s perspective, it might be the spicier one.”

What’s that? Aren’t both of them sweet sauces?

After finishing the sandwiches without leaving a trace, we went downstairs to the cafeteria because we suddenly felt hungry again. We added stew and simmered dishes to our meal. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟎: 𝐋𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐌𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐄𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐔𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞

As night fell, I finished taking a quick bath in the first-floor bathroom of the inn and suddenly remembered that there was only one bed.

Cid said he would sleep on the floor, but I feel like that’s not right. 

I was troubled.

Very troubled.

Tomorrow was supposed to be the heartwarming reunion between parent and child, and it would be a problem if he had to sleep on the floor and couldn’t rest properly.

Ah, if only my maid Elsa were here, she would give me precise advice. Without the smiles of everyone who was always by my side, the loneliness gradually creeped in as the night went on after fleeing abroad. 

I thought I understood, but I realized how fortunate and loved I have been. 

Even the rough-looking young men were lively and fun when gathered in a group. I thought about it deeply. 

I don’t know how many months or years it will take, but once things settle down, I want to go see everyone. I want to say “thank you” a lot. 

For now, I just wanted to cherish Cid, who came with me. 

――Kii. . .

When I opened the door, I saw Cid preparing to sleep. 

“Oh, thank goodness. I was just about to go pick you up if you were a little later.”

He said while casting a purification spell on the blanket he brought, The rich brown blanket was incredibly soft, as if it hadn’t been on a journey at all.

He really can do anything!

I have no role at all. 

Cid spread the blanket on the floor and planned to sit on it and lean against the wall to sleep. It’s wasn’t much different from camping. 

Hmm, maybe I should forcefully bring him into the bed. . .? Oops, the choice of words is wrong!

But it’s a bit difficult to say “Let’s share the bed.” I furrowed my brow and pondered. 

“Vi-sama? What’s wrong?”

Cid, who finished organizing the luggage, asked with a puzzled face. 

Ah, that expression is cute. . .! I want to pet him. Like a dog. 

However, I had the task of persuading him. 

After placing the luggage on the floor, I gathered my courage and opened my mouth. 

“Cid.”

“Yes?”

“Would you like to lie down on the bed for a bit?”

“Huh???”

Yes, this is surely the right answer. I can’t say “Let’s sleep together” because it’s too embarrassing!

However, it seems that Cid doesn’t quite understand what I mean.

“Anyway, lie down here!”

“Huh? Oh, okay.”

Cid, while still confused, sat on the bed and laid down. 

Seeing that, I nodded and also laid down next to Cid. 

“Vi-sama?!”

Cid, tried to sit up in a hurry, but I pressed his arms down with all my strength and held him on the bed. 

“It’s okay! I won’t do anything bad! I just thought it would be nice if you could rest and get rid of your fatigue by sleeping together!!”

“Vi-sama! That’s a perverted line!!”

“How rude?! I just thought it would be good if you could sleep next to me and get rid of your fatigue. . .” 

Yes, I had no ulterior motives. 

I just purely wanted Cid to lie down and sleep next to me. 

Fortunately, the bed is slightly wider than a regular single bed. When we laid on our backs together, there was enough space for our shoulders to touch slightly. 

If we sleep on our sides, there won’t be any contact at all. 

Cid resisted for a while, but since I maintained a stance of not letting go with all my magical power, he reluctantly gave in. 

“Ugh. . .! Live on, live on, damn it.”

That’s like something you say before going into battle. 

I just want him to rest his body. 

Cid, lying on his side and holding onto the edge of the bed, was facing away from me. 

“If you sleep so close to the edge, you might fall, you know?”

“I won’t fall. I’ll support it with a barrier.”

What a waste of ability!! No, maybe it’s effective?!

Even during camping, it was difficult for the barrier to work properly while sleeping. Cid naturally uses magic, but for someone like me who can’t even learn it, it’s like entering the realm of gods. 

“In that case, goodnight!”

“. . .Goodnight.”

When I turned off the lamp, only the moonlight faintly filled the room. 

I still couldn’t sleep, so I spent my time gazing at Cid’s back. 

Although he lies on the bed, he doesn’t seem to intend to face this way. 

I wonder if his neck isn’t cold in the thin black collarless shirt. 

The blanket only covers up to his waist, and his slender yet well-toned neck is clearly visible. 

It’s probably because I grew up in the peculiar House of Duke Marcus that I find myself thinking, “Can I kill him now?” about that exposed neck.

I apologize for having such thoughts. 

“”. . .””

There was no sign that he was sleeping either. 

Perhaps he’s thinking about what would happen when he reunites with his mother tomorrow.

I’m glad I came here. 

I hope we can have conversations that fill up the time we’ve been apart. . .

I quietly approached and pressed both my hands and forehead against Cid’s back, closing my eyes. 

“Huh?!”

“I hope you can have a lot of conversations with your mother tomorrow.”

The warmth that came through his thin shirt felt pleasant. 

Sigh. . .My fingertips were gradually warming up. 

“Vi-sama, your sadism is incredible.”

Cid, still facing away, sighs mixed with exasperation. 

“Why? It’s just a little bit of body heat I stole.”

“What you’re stealing is my sanity.”

“. . .In that case, I’ll let go.”

Sensing the situation somehow, I quickly let go of his hand from behind. 

But he suddenly turned around and grabbed both of my hands. 

When I was facing his back, I was fine, but the moment he turned around and our eyes met, my heart started pounding rapidly. 

I was surprised by the closeness of our foreheads and involuntarily trembled. 

Cid stared at me with resentful eyes and tightened his grip on my hands. 

“After attacking me yourself, are you planning to run away?”

“Attack? I didn’t. . .!”

It’s a good thing it’s dim. My face, neck, and even fingertips seemed to be turning red. 

“I told you to be careful not to touch me carelessly, didn’t I?”

Oh, is he a little angry?

“When a man falls in love with a woman, there are limits to patience.”

Cid said that and let go of my hands, throwing his legs out of the bed and sitting down. It seems like we won’t be sleeping together after all. 

I also quietly sat up and asked him, facing away again. 

“Why do you like me, Cid?”

“Why. . .”

Even though I am the daughter of the main family, I have no memory of doing anything to be liked. 

Cid is a commoner and our guard, but he was popular not only among the servants but also among the Misses from other families. I can’t figure out why he would fall for someone as troublesome as me. 

“I want to know the reason. Well, it’s true that I have a cute face and a good family background, and I can make a good rolled omelette.”

“Do we really need the last one?”

Huh, we do. Isn’t it an important point?

After a moment of silence, Cid spoke up, still facing forward. 

“It’s not because of your cute face, good family background, or your skill in making rolled omelettes that I like you. For example, let’s say your face is not my type, you live in a poor neighborhood, you can’t cook anything, and you’re practically naked. . . Well, actually, that would be something to be happy about.”

“What are you talking about?”

Are you saying that now?

I glared at his back with half-closed eyes. 

“Haha. . . I apologize. It’s just my nature. It’s just that. . . I want to be with you because you need me and because you genuinely smile from your heart.”

For example, if I were to lose my ability to use magic and fall from grace, what would you do?”

If Cid were to lose everything. 

I can’t imagine it, but I can predict my initial reaction.

“I’d call you an idiot. And then, we’d figure something out together.”

In response to my answer, he stifled a laugh and said. 

“That’s what I mean. Even if everything is gone, you would forgive me. I think you would say it’s okay for me to be by your side. That’s why I like you, Vi-sama. . .Is that too vague of a reason?”

Cid’s voice is gentle. 

I suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to embrace his back. 

“Do you need something extraordinary like a tremendous trigger, words, or attitude to fall in love? For me, just being there makes me think, ‘Ah, I love you~,’ and that’s enough. Is it different for Vi-sama?”

“I. . .”

I was taken aback by the sudden question. 

“Is it impossible for you to fall for someone without something special?”

Finally turning around, Cid looked at me as if confirming something. 

“Something special. . .”

For me, the fact that Cid is there, that he himself is special. 

There was no reason beyond that. 

Because Cid is Cid, I love him. 

Perhaps we are kindred spirits. 

“”. . .””

Our gazes met, and for some reason, I couldn’t look away. I clenched my right hand in front of my chest, feeling suffocated as I muttered.

“. . .Cid.”

It was such a small voice that I couldn’t even hear it myself.

Cid didn’t say anything, just patiently waiting.

I took a deep breath again and spoke, this time with a firm voice.

“I love you. I love Cid.”

In the darkness, his red eyes widened without blinking.

My heart is pounding so intensely that it feels like it’s reaching its limit, and with a single-minded desire to escape from this suffocating feeling, I continued speaking.

“I’ve loved you for a long time. I’ve often wished that you were my fiancé. When I heard that you would come with me when I left the country, I was so happy. . .!”

“Vi-sama!”

“Cid, I’m fine as long as you’re here,” I said seriously. “Uwaaah!!”

I was speaking with a determined resolve, but he suddenly pounced on me, almost suffocating me.

“Vi-sama! Vi-sama!”

“Kyaaah! Stop it!! I’m going to die!!”

He hugged me tightly, nuzzling my cheek, as if I were truly being cherished by a dog.

He rubbed my head and shoulders, and I felt a surge of embarrassment.

“You said it well! I was wondering what would happen. . .!”

Huh?

Wait, what does this mean?

Could it be that he knew? About my feelings?

Since when???

Seeing me in a daze, Cid laughed.

“You were shouting while brushing your teeth, you know. I was wondering when you would clearly confess face-to-face, but you confessed surprisingly quickly.”

“Stop using the word ‘confess’! I put so much effort into confessing!” 

Wait a minute, did he find out when I was practicing while screaming while brushing my teeth!?

Oh no, that was such a terrible way to come out!!

Ignoring my dejected state, Cid hugged me tightly and continued to stroke me.

“My Vi-sama. . .”

What was I so worried about all this time?

I said in a tired voice.

“Yes, yes, I’m Cid’s Vi-sama.”

I want him to let go already.

I wanted to sulk because I was shocked by everything.

As I thought that, Cid suddenly loosened his grip, revealing a look of joy.

“Viara.”

“Hauah?!”

This is too much of a surprise attack.

I was so stubborn until now, and suddenly he called me by my name. . .!

I covered my face with both hands, immersed in the excitement of being called by my name for the first time.

Then, once again, this time in a gentle whisper, his voice came down.

“Viara.”

“Stop it! Don’t kill me! Something inside me will break!!”

Cid must be teasing me on purpose. An aura of smugness emanated from his entire body!

“Viara, look this way.”

“Stop it! I wanted you to call me that, but now that I hear it, my eardrums feel like they’re melting! My love is overflowing, and it’s driving me crazy!”

“Do you really like me that much? It’s troublesome, isn’t it?”

What’s with that?! He’s not troubled at all!

“Please, leave me alone! This is the most crucial time right now!!”

Even though I didn’t know what I was saying myself, I quickly escaped and covered my head with a blanket. I could hear Cid chuckling.

“Goodnight, Vi-sama.”

“. . .Good night.” 

He’s back to using honorifics again.

I’m a little dissatisfied with that, but it’s dangerous to push it further, so I’ll endure it for today.

The bed creaked, and I heard him descend to the floor.

He really won’t sleep together after all. I thought to myself that Cid is just as stubborn as I am.

Inside the blanket, I desperately tried to calm my still pounding heart with deep breaths.

How should I face Cid tomorrow?

Ah! Should I greet his mother as his “wife”!? Is it too early!?!

My mouth kept loosening.

On this day, for the first time in my life, I fell asleep with a grin on my face. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟏: 𝐖𝐞, 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐲

Morning came, and we quickly left the inn after having a simple meal.

I thought about how I would meet Cid and what kind of expression he would have, but it turned out surprisingly normal.

I was a little disappointed. . .!

I was foolish to expect him to kiss my cheeks or forehead when I woke up.

That’s right, I can’t be caught up in love right now.

Today, there will be a touching reunion, so I have to prioritize Cid’s happiness and give it my all!

Cid looked puzzled as he watched me getting pumped up.

Watch me. I’ll behave like the perfect lover!

“Now, let’s go!!”

I held the reins and led the horse as we headed to Cid’s mother’s shop.

“I apologize for troubling you with my presence.”

He’s so formal.

Even though Cid and I are destined to be together. . .

I pouted and said while looking at the distant mountains.

“I’m not such a narrow-minded woman to think that I’m being troubled. Besides, I just came for a picnic, and Cid just happened to reunite with his mother.”

“The setup is unrealistic.”

That’s right, we just haven’t done it yet. This is still a picnic. So the plans are undecided, and it’s okay to have a leisurely stroll.

After all, I said I wanted to come, so it’s not Cid’s fault.

“But is it okay? Since we finally met, shouldn’t we take our time and talk more?”

When we meet his mother, we are supposed to leave this town and head north immediately. I agreed to it at first, but is it right to brush off a reunion after sixteen years so easily?

But Cid insisted on leaving in the morning. 

His reason was that there must be pursuers after me.

“I’m satisfied already. That I could meet her. . . and that she remembered me. That’s enough. I have a family now, so as long as we know that we’re both doing well, it’s fine.”

According to Cid, it’s strange that there was no sign of pursuers after me in the previous port town. However, since this escape is caused by the prince’s misconduct, I doubt any of his subordinates are seriously chasing after us. 

When the king returns from his foreign trip, I believe he will show leniency. There may be a personal exile for me, but the Duke Marcus’s family will likely go unpunished and the matter will be settled. After all, it would be unreasonable to make enemies with us.

Even now, Onii-sama has returned to the Duke Marcus territory and is polishing magical cannons and magical guns in a mansion that looks like a giant fortress. I hope the royal family sees it as a relief that they’re not being fired at the castle.

“Until Vi-sama’s safety is guaranteed, I can’t stay here for long. As long as we’re alive, we can meet again someday, so it’s enough for now.”

Cid had a relieved expression as if a burden had been lifted.

Things don’t always go as planned, but I think his smile is the greatest reward.

We took the same route as yesterday and hurried along the path to the bento shop. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟐: 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐦𝐲 𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫

“Vi-sama, something seems strange.”

As we approached his mother’s shop, Cid suddenly stopped in his tracks and whispered that.

During a time when many people should be coming and going, not a single person was walking in our direction. 

The windows of the houses were closed, and it was so quiet that I thought the people in this commercial area had gone somewhere. I couldn’t see any human figures, only occasionally birds and crows flapping their wings.

I had a bad feeling.

“Let’s hurry!”

Cid nodded silently at my words and we hurried towards our destination, which was nearby.

We turned the corner, passed by the famous statue of a scholar that I saw yesterday, and arrived in front of his mother’s shop. My bad feeling turned out to be correct.

“Ah!”

Onlookers looked worried as they watched from a distance. We pushed through them and rushed out in front of his mothers’s  shop.

There, we saw a black-haired woman, standing firm, glaring at the five cavalrymen in front of her with a resolute attitude.

In her right hand, she held a large cooking utensil made of wood that was taller than her. I couldn’t believe she intended to fight the knights with that, but Cid’s mother stood her ground with a fierce determination.

“I told you he hasn’t returned! It’s been years since we last met, so I don’t know you!! Besides, you’re the ones who took my son away, aren’t you!?”

“We know he is here. There’s no use hiding him.”

From their conversation, I immediately understood that they were looking for Cid. 

I gasped. If things continued like this, Okaa-san would be in great danger. . .But Cid’s Okaa-san was strong.

“Where could we hide him in this small house?

Or is it something else? Do you all want my treatment? Do you know that excessive healing magic can crush bones and rot organs?”

Scary! The counterattack of the former saint was terrifying!!

The cavalrymen grimaced, clearly showing their fear.

As expected of Cid’s Okaa-san, her methods were ruthless.

However, five against one was not in her favor.

Before I could do anything, Cid jumped out in front of the soldiers.

“Mother!”

All eyes were on Cid.

With black hair and red eyes, his appearance in the midst of the turmoil instantly changed the tense atmosphere.

“Why. . .!”

Okaa-san, who had maintained a resolute attitude, widened her eyes in astonishment.

Cid glared at the man who seemed to be the leader and gathered magic power in his right hand.

“What do you want? I’m right here.”

“Cid!”

I quickly followed him and held the hem of his robe.

“It’s okay. I won’t suddenly incinerate anyone.”

No, I couldn’t feel reassured. His eyes looked deranged.

Just like during the three-day endurance training I went through with my brother in hell, he has a devilish look on his face.

“Hahaha, Vi-sama, are you lonely? Please wait a moment~ I’ll take care of the pests while we reunite.”

He’s already calling them pests.

This is bad. If he causes too much havoc, his mother won’t be able to stay here anymore! And others will be affected too. . .!

While I became pale and the blood drained from my face, Cid’s eyes sparkled and he released red flames from his right hand.

“Alright, if you don’t run away within ten seconds, you’ll be caught in a natural fire!”

“””Screams!”””

The onlookers all fled at once.

He won’t burn you guys, you know?! Even if I thought that, it was already too late.

On top of that, I expected his mother to stop him, but instead, she placed her hand on her cheek and gave advice with a troubled expression.

“No, Cid. If it’s a natural phenomenon, it should be a higher temperature blue flame. The cleanliness of the finish is important, you know?”

What kind of reasoning is that?! It’s clearly impossible for it to be a natural phenomenon!

I could see a man who seemed to be her husband peering at us sneakily from inside the house, and a boy around five years old being carried in his arms, both of them gaping in surprise.

Yeah, it’s surprising!

Even though I’m always with Cid, this situation is still surprising!

The cavalrymen trembled in fear. Horses went wild, and some riders were thrown off.

However, from behind, new soldiers appeared.

“That’s enough for now. You probably don’t want to have a battle here either, right?”

A man who seemed to be of high status, accompanied by five cavalrymen, approached with a composed expression.

He had light brown hair, green eyes, and a handsome face with a sturdy physique.

He was surrounded by knights, dressed in splendid clothes, and his expression oozed arrogance and confidence.

“Long time no see, or can I say that? I’m glad you’re still alive.”

His eyes, looking down at Cid from atop his horse, were very cold. His tone also felt clearly condescending. 

Cid shielded me with his back,shielding me from his gaze. A tense atmosphere filled the air.

“Oh my, won’t you even greet me?”

He had a faint smile on his face.

Oh well, he exaggeratedly placed his right hand on his forehead.

“I came all the way here, and my little brother is so cold.”

“Tch.”

Wait, did Cid just click his tongue?

Everyone had a surprised expression on their faces.

“. . .What business do you have coming all the way here, King Henry?” 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟑: 𝐓𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐚 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐥𝐢𝐞

Speaking of King Henry, he is the young king of the country Fumble. 

He is the first child of the former king and queen, and he is 25 years old. He is Cid’s half-brother. 

“Oh? Don’t you like our country’s sweets?”

“No, it’s not like that.”

“You seem nervous in the presence of a king like me. How adorable.”

The evil Viara in my mind muttered, “This person is creepy.”

It seems that we won’t get along well.

“”. . .””

Why am I having tea with the neighboring king?

The attendants maintain a solemn atmosphere, and the maids line up along the wall. It wasn’t a relaxing environment at all. . .

“You must be tired from your unfamiliar journey. This is just a small fortress, but we will welcome you wholeheartedly.”

“Well, thank you.”

His smile was suspicious, to say the least. But maybe I’m the same.

King Henry, who elegantly smiles before me, looks nothing like Cid.

It’s not just about hair color or eye color. Compared to Cid, who has a dog-like and friendly appearance, King Henry gives off a mysterious vibe.

His light brown hair is asymmetrical, flowing from right to left, and his nape is slightly longer.

Although he has well-defined features, there is an indescribable aura about him.

He’s undoubtedly attractive, but he gives off a villainous vibe (although I shouldn’t say that to him), and subconsciously, I feel an instinctual urge to keep my distance.

Because of King Henry’s appearance, we were forcibly taken away. 

Although we weren’t treated roughly, we were brought to a fortress near Welhinesta, and upon passing through the gate, I was guided to a guest room.

When I sent a glance to Cid, his eyes seemed to say, “It’s okay.” So I obediently followed and ended up here.

The luxurious crimson dress had elegant gold embroidery, and the necklace and earrings emitted a royal sparkle.

Even as the daughter of the wealthy Duke Marcus family in Roselia, I was surprised by his dress and accessories.

I don’t know why I was pampered and dressed up in the bath, but somehow, I find myself having tea with King Henry.

What about Cid?

What about Cid’s mother and family?

They should be inside this fortress, but I’ve been waiting for thirty minutes and they still haven’t appeared, so I was starting to get worried.

Even though King Henry knows what I’m concerned about, he deliberately doesn’t mention it.

Growing impatient, I put down the teacup and looked directly into his eyes as I asked.

“Where is Cid and his family?”

“Oh, are you curious? It’s not something you should be concerned about.”

Normally, one would be concerned.

Although I feel like showing my dissatisfaction on my face, I kept a smile plastered on.

“Since Cid is my escort, he is with me. Though he is your brother, Your Majesty.”

I don’t think he sees himself as a younger brother. This is my sarcastic remark.

Literally translated, it would be something like, “Even though we share half of our blood, you’re not treating him too badly, are you?”

King Henry chuckles. 

“Cid has received a capture request from Roselia.”

A capture request?

That should be for me, not Cid. Frowning, King Henry continues with a smile.

“They accuse him of kidnapping.”

“What?”

What does he mean?

I escaped of my own free will. Why?

I don’t understand at all.

“Ah, you must have been frightened and unable to resist until now. Rest assured, it’s over.”

“Are you serious about that?”

“No?”

What a pointless conversation.

I let out a small sigh.

“According to the information from Roselia, Cid took you hostage and forced Prince Roque to break off the engagement. And as soon as the spell was lifted, he assaulted the prince and took you away.”

The fabrication and accusation in this story are incredible!

If I were to be put on a lie detector, the machine might explode.

Unable to hold back, I burst into laughter.

I must look like a proper villainess now.

“That’s a play that no one would find interesting. It’s a boring piece.”

“Oh? Is that so? I am genuinely interested and would even like to participate if possible.”

“You’re joking.”

He told such a big lie. If he’s going to lie, he should come up with a more convincing one!

Oh, but come to think of it, it’s just like Prince Roque.

After being beaten by a woman and having his internal organs damaged, then easily fled the country. His pride must be in tatters.

However, if the entire series of events were orchestrated by the infamous purple Spinel, known as the strongest person in the country, then there might be some justification.

Well, being assaulted and having your fiancé taken away is quite a scandal, but he must have been desperate.

I’m impressed that he realized how dire his situation was. I couldn’t help but admire him.

I narrowed my silver eyes and put on a smile that was only for show.

“I apologize for causing you unnecessary worry. When I left the country, I intended to visit my aunt. It was just a whimsical journey with my escorts.”

Ohohohoho, I laughed, and King Henry also smiles.

Although his eyes don’t smile at all.

“I see. Roselia has made quite a misunderstanding.”

Oh? I thought he would easily go along with it, but it seems he won’t settle the matter so easily.

“But that would be troublesome.”

In a calm tone, the king declared.

“You were oppressed in Roselia. It was to the point where you couldn’t stay in the country. And then, you escaped to Fumble and met me, and we fell in love.”

“Huh?”

What are you talking about?

Who fell in love with whom?

“You and I pledged our future together, and you will become the queen of this country.”

“What are you talking about?”

I furrowed my brows at the unpleasant story, but King Henry continues without minding.

“And for you, I will defeat the evil country that oppressed the queen. It’s a wonderful love story, don’t you think?”

Wait a minute.

Defeat evil. . .

“Are you planning to attack Roselia?!”

What a third-rate story!

It’s ridiculous for a king to start a war for his own love affair. 

“Is Your Majesty planning to use me as an excuse for war?!”

I couldn’t help but stand up and protest. 

But the king smiled coolly, with the corners of his mouth raised. The fact that he didn’t deny it was the answer to my question.

“Since I ascended to the throne three years ago, I have been looking for opportunities countless times. You see, I desire the fertile lands of Roselia. Fumble’s lands are prone to drought and water scarcity, despite the neighboring country having so much wealth and grain.”

“However, that doesn’t mean it’s right to unjustly take them away.”

Envying or being jealous of others only leads to emptiness. 

As someone who was reincarnated as the villainess, I understood that well.

If I were just an ordinary girl. 

If I weren’t engaged to the prince. 

I would still be wondering why I was fated to burn in a tragic love.

I’ve often wished for someone to take my place. It should be someone else, not me. Each time I envied those around me, I felt a swirling of dark and ugly emotions. 

“The reason the lands of this country are barren is not because of Roselia. There should still be room for improvement without resorting to theft. Besides, even if you take the land, it won’t make Fumble as a whole prosperous. It will only leave the people exhausted and hungry from the war.”

Who receives the new land would become a source of conflict. Moreover, fundamentally, I couldn’t imagine Roselia losing.

“Hehehe, you are free to think whatever you want. But I am grateful for our encounter. It gave me the opportunity to attack Roselia. I never expected that my once discarded younger brother would bring that chance back to me. . .”

“Where is Cid?!”

“Don’t worry. As my rightful wife, you cannot oppose me. If it’s for Miss Viara, I will gladly fight against Roselia.”

“You intend to use me as a hostage?”

He is such a despicable man. He doesn’t care about his brother’s will or life. 

I glared at him, but Henry’s expression changed to a delighted smile as if he received a compliment. 

“The purple spinel will be a valuable asset in battle. It would be a waste to kill you. If it’s for you or his mother, He will unleash his power to the fullest.”

“There’s no way you can win. Even if Cid is here with us, Roselia has five Purple Spinels, including my brother. It will only end in a counterattack.”

Five was a lie. There are actually eight, but it’s disadvantageous to reveal our full strength, so I underreported it. 

“Five, you say? I have a secret weapon I have nurtured, so we should be able to manage somehow.”

“A secret weapon?”

As I tried to extract more information, Henry didn’t break his smile and stood up from his seat. 

“I can’t reveal any more to a beautiful person like you. Please stay in this fortress for a while and behave.”

“What?!”

I had expected it to some extent, but this is a bad situation. 

This is not the time to be quietly confined. 

I have to find Cid,And rescue his mother and the others, and escape from Fumble. 

“Ojou-sama, I will escort you to your room.”

A knight approached me and spoke. 

“Am I allowed to go anywhere other than my room?”

“No.”

I knew it! 

I already knew. I just asked to confirm.

Silently complying, I decided to search for an opportunity to escape.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟒: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐏𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐌𝐚𝐧 《𝐂𝐢𝐝 𝐒𝐢𝐝𝐞》

In a dim underground dungeon.

I am currently lying on the hard stone floor with handcuffs on. 

The cold chains that make a clanking sound when I move even a little are uncomfortable, but since my hands were in front of me, I could do quite a few things. 

I am the only one here right now. 

By the sudden appearance of King Henry of Fumble, Vi-sama and I were separated. 

But in a sense, this is a convenient situation. 

I can do things without her witnessing me getting my hands dirty. Surely, while I’m in this fortress, I will do things I don’t want her to see. Without a doubt. 

From the conversations of the guards and the interactions with the thief in the neighboring cell, I learned that this country intends to pick a fight with Roselia. 

They must be idiots. 

Even if they want territory, there are good countries and bad countries that they should or shouldn’t mess with. 

Even if they invade without declaring war, Fumble will be at an absolute disadvantage.

It’s not a matter of national power. 

It’s because Roselia has the Duke Marcus family. 

And they have a territory by the sea that leans towards Fumble. 

Try doing something to Vi-sama, and you’ll have magical cannons fired at the castle. Not only Henry, but none of the people here are aware of that threat. 

Well, that’s because I’ve been hiding it all along. . .

“Sigh, how troublesome.”

It’s not entirely wrong to say that I kidnapped Viara-sama, but I don’t want to be exploited. Ethan-sama would scold me!!

He may appear to be a quiet and good young man, but in the mansion, he’s a completely dangerous person. 

Because he’s timid and can’t complain face-to-face, when it comes to fighting, he plans strategies to the extreme and aims for victory with excessive force. 

And his love for his sister is immeasurable. 

If I anger such a person, I will surely be involved as well. 

“This is bad. . .”

I have to handle this secretly and urgently. 

I don’t want a magical gun shoved into my mouth. If it comes down to a fight between purple spinels, the more malicious one will win. . .

Well, I won’t lose either. 

Henry probably won’t commit the foolish act of starting a war today or tomorrow. 

I don’t think Viara-sama will be subjected to any rough treatment for a while, so for now, I’ll let my mother and the others escape and, while I’m at it, search for anything that could be a weakness for Henry and seize it.

The moderate faction’s second prince might be useful.If I can grasp his weakness and deliver it to him, he might even initiate a coup. I have no intention of being involved with Fumble for long, so I want them to do as they please. 

All I desire is Vi-sama’s peace. 

“Alright, then. . .”

I wipe the blood off my mouth with the back of my hand and sit up, leaning against the wall. 

When I was thrown into the cell, Henry came to see my face on purpose. 

[Well done for safely bringing Miss Viara here.]

For some reason, I was thanked, and when I laughed with my nose, I was struck in the face. 

[Depending on you, her fate will change. Will she become my legal wife and live elegantly in this country, or will she become a disposable pawn? Don’t forget that everything depends on your efforts.]

Making Viara-sama his legal wife.

The moment I heard that, I thought, “It’s time for a bloodbath.” 

So I told him.

[Don’t forget your own insignificance.]

He must have been quite irritated because he hit me a few times.

I was startled. 

He was so weak that I worried if i could pretend to be in pain convincingly. 

Besides, it was my first experience in life. 

Even though I was being punched by someone else, I bit my own mouth and let the blood flow. 

I thought if I didn’t shed some blood, it would affect his pride. 

I was considerate. 

[Hahaha! I want to show that pathetic face to Miss Viara!]

He said with a twisted face of madness. 

Once again, I was startled. 

I was uneasy because it might have revealed that it didn’t hurt. 

Perhaps he thought I was afraid of being tortured because I had been put in magical handcuffs. 

But unfortunately, I didn’t feel an ounce of fear. 

While Henry was laughing hysterically, my mind was filled with thoughts like, “Oh no, I bit too hard. The blood is gushing out like crazy.”. . .!

And on top of that, he committed a taboo. 

It seems like he succeeded in enslaving a demon beast. 

He kindly informed me about the surprise attack plan on Roselia. 

“Let the water-based demon beasts attack Roselia from the sea. With numerous demon beasts attacking from the sea, there will be no way to fight back.”

Unbelievable. 

If that happens. . .if that happens. . .!! 

The Laussu seaweed will disappear!!

Does Henry know how much Viara-sama has dedicated her life to creating tamagoyaki with it!?

I won’t forgive you, Henry!!

I have decided to absolutely stop the plan. 

Oh, that’s right. Now that I think about it, even the prison guards here got cocky and tried to hit me, but it was more like, “Huh? Are you petting me?” than anything.

The young men of Duke Marcus’s family attack with enough power to blow your head off if you let your guard down during training, so these guys here are completely lacking in killing intent. . .

Vi-sama’s retorts and when she hits me out of embarrassment are much more painful. 

They should try putting themselves in my shoes, pretending to be casually defeated. 

It’s incredibly difficult, you know. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟓: 𝐏𝐥𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐚𝐧 《𝐂𝐢𝐝 𝐒𝐢𝐝𝐞》

I have a lot of complaints about these handcuffs. 

Did they seriously think they could restrain me with something like this?

The hierarchy of magicians starts with the purple spinel, followed by blue, red, green, yellow, and white, totaling six ranks. However, there is a huge difference between blue sapphire and purple spinel, like heaven and earth.

If they want us to obey, they should bring restraints that can control the dark dragon. 

Even though I’m currently behaving, I can freely use magic even with these handcuffs that suppress magical power.

The mechanism is supposed to neutralize my powers by absorbing magical energy, but a little bit of energy being drained won’t affect me at all.

It’s like a normal person losing two or three strands of hair, it’s no big deal.

Henry probably hasn’t realized that these handcuffs are useless because the purple Spinels in this country aren’t following his orders.

They are probably making false reports that these handcuffs are effective. If they were to create restraints that actually work, it might pose a threat to us if we were to defy Henry in the future. 

After all, everyone values their own safety.

I waited for the faint light to disappear completely through the ventilation vent, then judged it to be the right time to act and stood up.

――*Snap*. . .

With a little bit of magic, the handcuffs immediately crumble. 

They’re so fragile. They should have had the dwarves make them properly.

“Well then, let’s go.”

I casted an illusion on this cell, making it appear as if I’m lying down and sleeping. 

The guards were just drinking and eating, so it seemed unlikely that they’d notice. 

Using wind magic, I cut a round hole in the ceiling and dug through the soil directly  above. Since this was right beneath the fortress’s backyard, escaping was easy.

What a fortress with such an easy escape design. I’m starting to worry about the enemy.

If it were Duke Marcus’s estate, they would probably explode as soon as the prison walls were broken or holes were made in the ceiling.

I infiltrated the fortress, incapacitated the soldiers, and stole their dark green military uniforms. 

I stole some alcohol from the kitchen and made the soldier drink it, then left them naked behind the dining hall. They would assume they got drunk and took their clothes off.

He was someone who had been involved with the maids, so I have no guilt.

When I put on the military uniform, it surprisingly suited me.

I wonder what Vi-sama would say if she saw me like this. Lately, she’s been getting flustered and finding my every move interesting, cute, and irresistible.

To ensure a peaceful and happy life on the run, I must crush Henry’s plans. 

First, I need to find out Vi-sama and my mother’s whereabouts from the servants and make an escape plan.

Then, I’ll explore the fortress. I should also search the library. I want to infiltrate the magicians’ research labs.

Before Henry starts a war, I’ll stir up trouble from the inside. 

I won’t let Fumble take away my princess, whom I finally obtained.

[I love Cid so much! I want to be with him forever!]

The first time I realized that I liked Miss was when I was twelve years old. 

Until then, she had been like a little sister following me around. 

When Miss was young, she sought me out, even though I had nothing to offer. She wished to be with me, despite me not being strong or smart. 

For me, who was on the verge of death every day due to training, She was my only source of healing and purpose with her carefree smile.

I always thought that I would continue living with Miss since childhood, without realizing that someday someone would take her away. 

When the engagement with Prince Roque was just arranged, Miss had not yet dreamt of becoming a notorious villainess. 

Her face, as she innocently laughed and accepted only the word “engagement” with joy, was incredibly adorable.

“I wonder if I will also become a beautiful bride~?”

Watching Miss giggling and frolicking, I thought to myself. 

――Will I be able to see her off in a wedding dress?

I have nothing else. 

She’s the only one I have, yet she’ll be taken away by someone who has everything.

I don’t want that to happen. 

Miss belongs to me. 

Since I was twelve years old, I had been training to obtain her. 

Over the years, I had been steadily accumulating power to capture Miss. 

I reached the highest rank of Purple Spinel, thanks to Ethan-sama, who understood my feelings and jokingly said, “If you want to become Viara’s husband, you must at least achieve the highest rank.”

All this power was obtained through efforts that literally made me bleed, for the sake of our future together. 

The younger guys would often say, “You’re always so laid back,” but considering how tough my master’s training was, I had no choice but to laugh. It was a situation where laughter was the only option.

When I was seventeen, I obtained the title of Purple Spinel, the highest rank of a mage. 

By assisting Ethan-sama in making magical tools and being able to create new magic, I also received regular rewards from the Mage Guild. 

I have secured a fortune that surpasses the Count families around here. 

I thought I had become a man worthy of Miss, regardless of  my status. But. . .

When I graduated from school and returned to the Duke Marcus household, Miss had taken a completely unexpected path. 

Surprisingly, she significantly increased the agricultural production in her territory and was called the goddess of abundant harvests by her subjects. 

[In my territory, I made it possible for tenant farmers to move. That way, they can work in better landlord’s lands and compete with each other fostering a spirit of competition and improvement.]

Not only in this country, but in any land, the power of landlords is second only to the lord. 

It is unthinkable for tenant farmers to choose the land they work on. 

However, Duke Marcus’s territory is an exception, where tenant farmers can choose their own landlords. 

[Anyone would prefer to work under a superior who strives to reform farmland and increase production. They would want to work under someone they feel motivated to give their best for, right?]

Ojou-sama was speaking as if she had experienced the laboring class somewhere.

Since Ethan-sama is generally not good at socializing, he entrusted more than half of his territory’s affairs to Miss, so he apparently easily approved of this policy. 

In addition, Miss had contact with both the subjects and landlords, frequently engaging with them. 

Ethan-sama is the lord and master, but Miss has significantly changed the awareness of the villagers by personally walking through the territory and showing empathy. Miss may give off a high-class impression at first, but once you talk to her, she surprisingly becomes friendly and doesn’t have much of a sense of superiority.

Her slightly absent-minded and carefree nature creates a contrast with her appearance, completely changing the impression.

[How wonderful it would be if Viara-sama became the queen of this country.]

I desperately held back the urge to go crazy every time the villagers mentioned this. For me, it was a relief to see her faintly saddened by those words.

As the cunning and sly person I am, I continued to whisper in a gentle voice, “I will take care of it, so don’t worry.”

My mentor, Grat-sama, neither affirmed nor denied my hidden feelings. He simply advised me, “To obtain something truly important, seize the opportune moment.”

And then, I was able to obtain Miss at the perfect timing. . .

In this recent escape abroad, Miss probably thinks that I got involved for my own benefit. But that’s not true.

After all, I had decided long ago that I would steal and run away with her rather than let a prince like that take her away from me.

The timing and circumstances may have changed, but the outcome remains the same.

I clearly remember when Vi-sama threw herself into my arms with a beaming smile after the breaking off of the engagement ceremony at the church. Her slender body fit snugly into my arms without any discomfort, as if she had become mine.”

When I held her, I thought that I would never let go.

After that, I calculated everything in an instant. How could I safely make her mine?

When we returned to the mansion, I immediately set the young men in motion. I ensured that even if I were absent from Duke Marcus mansion, things would continue smoothly.

Cute Vi-sama is completely unaware, but the task entrusted to me by Ethan-sama was to escort her to the port.

In the note I showed her in the carriage, it said, “Take care of my sister!” with the words “to the port” written in my mind.

Originally, it was supposed to bald head Galius, accompanying her on the journey.

Knowing Ethan-sama, he probably wanted to avoid any men taking advantage of his heartbroken sister during her escape from the country.

Galius is a devoted husband, so there was no need to worry about that. He was also skilled.

But I didn’t want to entrust Vi-sama to anyone other than myself, so I unilaterally released him from his duty and took over.

Using water magic, I erased the words [To the port] from the note.

When we talked through communication, Ethan-sama was astonished. I took it as a compliment when he said, “You’re really cunning. . .!”

As I climbed up the tower where the sea breeze blew fiercely, a pale blue moon floated in the sky.

If they were to imprison Vi-sama and Mother, this tower with no escape route facing the sea would be perfect.

Having put the guards to sleep, I secretly searched inside the tower for the figure of my beloved.

It didn’t take long for me to find Vi-sama, who had a troubled expression, in the top-floor guest room. 

“There you are. . .!”

Surely, she must be contemplating how to escape from here.

I only murmured, “I’ll take care of everything,” to her profile seen through the window, and left the place.

Ah, it should have been easier for us to escape to Nice.

There’s no point in lamenting about what has already happened.

I will do what needs to be done and safely take Viara-sama away from here.

It’ll be alright, everything will go smoothly.

In the pitch-black darkness, relying on faint lights, I ran along the fortress walls. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟔: 𝐅𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐥𝐞’𝐬 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐒𝐢𝐭𝐮𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧

I have been confined in Fumble Fortress for three days now.

Although I cannot leave the tower facing the sea, I have relatively free rein inside. 

There are two red robe mages and two knights as guards in front of my room.

As for the maids assigned to me, they come in pairs of two, alternating between six of them. 

As expected, it seems that I am seen as a “helpless young lady who can’t do anything.” 

That’s why the number of guards is minimal, and I’m not even restrained with shackles. I’m simply residing here.

Delicious meals are provided three times a day, and I am told that they will provide anything I need. It is a luxurious life of being pampered. Thanks to that, if I seriously wanted to escape, I could. 

It’s advantageous to be seen as weak, so I absolutely won’t mention that I can destroy solid rock with my bare hands. I can’t possibly say that I caused internal injuries to Prince Roque. I want to avoid unnecessary rumors. . .

Tonight’s dinner is with King Henry, whom I haven’t seen in two days, and the second prince, Dimitri-sama. 

Dimitri-sama is said to belong to the knight order, and this fortress is supposedly under his jurisdiction. 

Unlike King Henry, he has a good reputation even among commoners, according to the maids. 

Although I can’t take the reputation of a royal at face value, I want to know what he thinks about his older brother, King Henry, who is planning to invade Roselia. 

Perhaps he might become an ally, I can’t help but have such faint hopes. 

“Dimitri-sama, is he the first consort’s son?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

The previous king, Richequel, who was Cid’s father, passed away three years ago. 

The empress, who is King Henry’s mother, is the legitimate consort. Dimitri-sama’s mother, the first consort, is the mother of the second prince. 

There were also five to six secondary wives and countless concubines, but now that the late king has passed away, only the Empress and the first consort wife hold power.

It’s a sad fate to reach the pinnacle of glory while one’s husband is alive, only to decline after their passing.

“How old is he? I want to know what kind of person he is before dinner.”

When I asked that, the maids happily told me. Apparently, he is very popular and well-liked. 

“He is dignified and strong. He is twenty-three years old and still doesn’t have a queen. Unlike King Henry, who has seven side consorts, he doesn’t have any women by his side, which is also wonderful. . .!”

“The king has seven side consorts?!”

“Yes. if Viara-sama were to become the legitimate consort of Fumble, I apologize, but you would need to prepare yourself to a certain extent.”

“Oh, I see. Roselia practices monogamy, after all.”

But it’s okay. I will never become the legitimate consort. 

I can’t tell the maids, but even if there were no side consorts, I didn’t want to marry a foolish king like King Henry. 

After finally escaping from Prince Roque, why do I have to become the legitimate consort of a foolish king from a neighboring country? I will escape to the ends of the earth!

While chatting, I was being dressed up more and more for dinner. 

Ah, my head felt heavy. . .!

I wonder just how many jewels are on this tiara.

It’s so dazzling that it hurts my eyes.

“It suits you very well.”

“Thank you.”

A pale cream-colored dress with silver accessories.

I never expected that I would wear such a luxurious dress even after fleeing the country.

And Cid, whom I wanted to show it to, Was not by my side.

I hope he hasn’t been treated badly. I wondered if he was eating and drinking properly.

Henry said that I have value because I am purple, so I won’t be killed. And knowing Cid, he’s probably taking it easy.

I have to find Cid’s whereabouts somehow and escape together with him.

“Now, Viara-sama, lshall we go”

“Yes.”

Unaware of the terrifying plans of their own king, and unaware that I am not just a helpless young lady, my heart ached a little as I saw the maids caring for me so devotedly.

But I’m sorry.

I don’t intend to stay in Fumble.

Gripping the fan tightly, I headed towards the battlefield called  dinner. . 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟕: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐕𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐇𝐚𝐬 𝐃𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐲

“Well, well, Miss Viara. Your beauty is reminiscent of the moon goddess.”

“Thank you.”

King Henry approached me with a demeanor as if he wanted to tame a pet. Despite his nonchalant attitude, he maintained a smile throughout, making it hard to believe that he was plotting a war. 

However, I could see his dark desires lurking in his eyes, so there was no way I could be tamed!

Who would be swayed by someone trying to start a war using me as an excuse? 

The dinner proceeded smoothly, and I indulged in the food and drinks without hesitation. 

I was repeatedly offered wine, but I firmly declined as I didn’t want to be in a hazy state of mind. Seeing me on high alert, the king chuckled.

Prince Dimitri is having a meal with us, but he only answers when asked and didn’t actively engage in conversation. 

It’s not that he’s unfriendly. But I feel like he’s also trying to figure me out. That’s the impression I got. 

Is he wary of a takeover of the country or something?

Does he think I will manipulate the the king behind the scene once I become the official consort? Such troublesome tasks are strictly forbidden in my life.

“I will take you to the capital city the day after tomorrow.”

“To the capital city?”

Upon hearing the sudden announcement, the jelly dessert almost gets stuck in my throat. 

The capital of Fumble is located about two days west from here.

It means I’ll be further away from Nice and Roselia. It will hinder my escape plan, so I must find a way to flee by tomorrow.

“What if I want to stay here?” 

I ask tentatively.

“I will take Cid with me, but if that’s alright with you, it’s no problem.”

Taking a hostage is cowardly. 

If Cid is taken away, I have no choice but to go with him. Even if we can’t meet, we can’t be separated. 

If we part now, we may never see each other again. . .I absolutely don’t want that.

“Understood. I will head to the capital city.”

“You’re obedient, and it makes me happy, Viara.”

As he holds my hand, a shiver runs through my entire body. 

Goosebumps appear on my arms and legs. I can’t bear being touched or called by name. 

Unable to hide my disgust, I furrow my eyebrows. 

However, Henry gently releases my hand with a satisfied expression and stands up.

“I have preparations to attend to, so I’ll take my leave. Dimitri, please escort her to her room.”

“Understood.”

Under the table, I vigorously wipe my hands with a napkin. I don’t make eye contact and don’t bid farewell. 

Even though I’m expressing such disgust with my attitude, my mental fortitude must be too strong. 

Royalty is scary. 

Only Dimitri-sama and I remain at the dinner table. Both of us have finished eating, and an awkward silence descends. 

Could it be that he’s waiting for me to say, “I’ll go back to my room”?

In Roselia, a man would time it and speak up, but I wonder how it is in Fumble. 

I glance at Dimitri-sama sitting diagonally across from me, and our eyes meet perfectly. 

With his short black hair and noble eyes, he’s a handsome man different from the king. He resembles Cid more. 

Just because he resembles him doesn’t mean he’s a good person, but I feel a slight sense of familiarity. 

Without averting my gaze, I put on a forced smile. 

In response, Dimitri-sama continues to stare at me and opens his mouth. 

“About my brother. . .”

“Yes?”

“My brother intends to extract information from me by having me talk to Miss Viara. He’s waiting for you to beg him to make you his queen and save Cid.”

“Extract information. . .? So if I hear something from Dimitri-sama, it will lead to a situation where I have to beg for Cid’s rescue?”

I had a bad feeling. 

A chill ran through my body, and my hands started trembling slightly. 

“What did you do to Cid?”

A voice, unbelievably low, escaped my lips. 

Dimitri-sama stood up straight and approached me, placing his hand on the backrest. 

“It’s not safe here. Let’s talk while walking.”

I complied and slowly stood up, leaving the room. 

Dimitri-sama said he didn’t need an escort and walked with me alone within the fortress. When there were no people around, he explained in a low voice. 

“Cid is currently locked up in the underground dungeon. But don’t worry, he hasn’t been subjected to torture or anything.””

“The underground dungeon. . .”

Even though he is their half-brother, how could they do something like that to him?

Just the thought of him suffering on the cold floor sent shivers down my spine. 

However, Dimitri-sama delivered even more shocking words. 

“That underground dungeon will be flooded with seawater during high tide tomorrow.” 

“What?!”

The fortress’s underground dungeon is right by the sea. During high tide, seawater flows into the underground, completely submerging it. It seems they use it as a method of executing prisoners. And tomorrow happens to be the day of high tide. 

My heart started pounding, and I tightly clenched my hands in front of my chest. 

“He will die if seawater floods in! Is King Henry planning to abandon Cid?!”

Why? Didn’t Henry say that Cid is just a pawn and won’t be killed?

Did he change his mind?

But losing the purple spinel would be too great a loss. 

What is Henry thinking. . .

“I can’t believe it.”

Henry is informing Cid about this. 

And he deliberately told me as well. 

If I were to go and save Cid myself, we would both be captured as soon as we leave the dungeon. Even if Cid is strong, it’s nearly impossible for him to protect me and escape from the fortress.In that case, he would have no choice but to ask me to save him by participating in the war.

On the other hand, if I don’t go to save him knowing that the dungeon will be flooded, Cid will think he has been abandoned. At least, that’s what the king intends to make him believe. 

“How despicable.”

The quickest way to save Cid is for me to ask the king, “Please save Cid because I will become your queen.” But I absolutely don’t want to do that. 

Dimitri-sama calmly spoke as he watched me grit my teeth.

“I am just a messenger. I cannot go against it because, like you, I am being held hostage.”

“Hostage. . .?” 

“Carinare, the third concubine of King Henry, she was my fiancée.”

According to Dimitri-sama, the king forcibly took Carinare-sama, who was originally supposed to be his brother’s fiancée, as his concubine.

“My brother is a cunning person. He noticed our feelings for each other and made Carinare his concubine to hold me hostage. The life of a concubine can be ended easily by the king’s word.”

“That’s terrible. . .”

I can’t forgive that. I absolutely don’t want to lose to such a cowardly person!

“. . .I see.”

“Huh?”

“Should I take revenge for this grudge!!”

I raised my face while radiating murderous intent, gripping the fan.

“I will destroy the dungeon right now!! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure no one dies!”

“Wait a minute?! The conversation isn’t over yet.”

As I tried to run off without even knowing where the dungeon was, Dimitri-sama grabbed my arm.

“Let go! If we destroy the entire fortress, won’t we find Cid? Where are the support pillars?! If we break them, even a sturdy stone fortress will crumble, right?!”

– Snap

Oh, my fan broke.

Seeing that, Dimitri-sama’s face contorted.

“Calm down!”

“Let go!”

If you’re going to stop me, you’re my enemy!!

“Stop!”

I infused magic into my arm and threw Dimitri-sama up into the air.

– Thud!

He landed on his back, grimacing in pain.

“I’m sorry! But I can’t live without Cid!” 

Before he finished speaking, I dashed towards the building by the sea. I pretended not to hear Dimitri-sama muttering, “You can live even if you’re alone. . .”

I absolutely can’t forgive him! Henry!!

As long as I’m here, I won’t let Cid die!

Passing by surprised soldiers and servants, I continued running without caring. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟖: 𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐄𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞

I punched and knocked out two soldiers I encountered along the way and arrived at a building with an underground dungeon.

It was a pitch-black stone tower, and I believed Cid was somewhere in the underground dungeon.

If not, I’ll just have to keep searching. Anyway, I planned to destroy this tower and thoroughly check the cells.

“One, two, three, hiyah!”

――BOOOOM!!

I infused magic power into my right fist and forcefully punched a hole in the wall.

Then, as I descended the stairs there, I saw a group of unsavory individuals who were captured.

The iron bars were covered in blood and dirt, and the air was damp and filled with a strong odor.

“Pardon the intrusion.”

I courteously curtsied, and the prisoners looked at me in astonishment.

I’m sorry for disturbing your peace, everyone.

The prisoners were frightened because my right hand was enveloped in flickering flames. But these were magical flames, not real fire, so they didn’t emit any heat.

“If you value your lives, keep this a secret. . .”

I put my finger to my lips, and they repeatedly shook their heads up and down.

Well, considering how I just caused such a commotion, it’s probably impossible to keep it a secret.

Now, where is Cid?

I looked around all the cells, but he wasn’t there.

I heard the footsteps of the jailer running, so I hid and waited for them to pass.

“What?! Is it a prisoner escape?!”

“Count the number of prisoners! Check the cells!!”

Oh, it seems like they think there was an escape.

Well, that’s understandable. Normally, people don’t willingly enter prison.

“Cid? Where are you?”

Having reached the deepest part of the basement, I struggled in the unexpectedly spacious prison. 

The sound of pursuers’ footsteps only increased, and I began to realize that it was quite bad.

And then, as I ran with the sound of my heels clacking, I encountered a burly jailer.

――BAM!

“Eek. . .!”

The impact of the collision made me hit the wall, and when I opened my eyes slightly, I was being glared at by a tremendously menacing jailer.

Wait, this person seems more like a criminal?!

“Who are you?”

Uh-oh. I’ve been caught.

Should I defeat him?

But unless it’s a surprise attack, I won’t be able to land a hit. While my strength can be enhanced with magic power, my physical abilities are that of an ordinary girl.

Can I win against this burly person who’s about two meters tall. . .?

My vision swims in agitation.

I have to escape.

But it seems like he won’t let me go that easily.

“Eek!”

He grabbed my arm and pressed my body against the wall.

“Stay still! How did you get in here?”

Um, through the wall. I can’t exactly say I broke in, can I?

The arm twisted against my back hurts.

As I tightly closed my eyes and grimaced, a familiar voice echoed in the underground dungeon.

“Don’t touch the lady.”

“Huh?”

――THUD!!

With a dull sound, the arm that was holding me suddenly let go.

The man who had captured me was sent flying into the wall by Cid’s kick. He was already unconscious.

“Cid!”

“What are you doing, Miss! Ah, are you okay?! Are you hurt anywhere?!”

“I’m fine! I’m sorry!”

I jumped into Cid’s arms with all my strength. He wrapped his arm around my neck and held me firmly. His hand on my back gently supported me. 

“This is unacceptable. Engaging in such destructive activities! What if something happened. . .! And what is Dimitri-sama doing?!”

“Huh? That guy? I threw him.”

“You threw him?!”

“Well. . .”

As I explained with an upward glance, Cid glared at me with half-closed eyes.

He came running because he was worried, and yet he reacts like this?!

“I couldn’t forgive him, so. . .”

“Well. . .”

Letting out a deep sigh, Cid scratched his head with his right hand.

“Dimitri-sama is on our side. I negotiated with him.”

“Huh?!”

“Anyway, let’s get out of here. I’ll cover up everything.”

Cid’s actions from that point were swift.

He held me sideways, created a hole in the ceiling, and we climbed out to the surface. Then he sealed the hole and ran to the back of the tower.

I was just being carried and couldn’t do anything but freeze in place.

My light blue hair swayed in the sea breeze, and tears welled up at the familiar scent of Cid, whom I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Ah, I’m glad he’s alive.

We meet again.

While I was immersed in my emotions, Cid quickly sealed the destroyed wall with magic and used illusion magic to guide the approaching soldiers toward the forest.

“The prisoners have escaped!”

“Chase them! Chase them!”

It seems like they’re going to pretend that there was a prison break.

Oh, it looks like some of them actually did escape.

Cid created multiple holes in another wall, making it appear as if they had escaped from there as well.

His methods were brilliant, and I almost asked, “Have you done something like this before?” but I decided not to ask for now. 

“Now, let’s go to Dimitri-sama’s room.”

“Dimitri-sama’s?!”

“Yes. It’s a safe zone.”

While still holding me sideways, Cid increased his speed and ran.

Along the roof and railing, we swiftly ascended to the fourth floor.

I was so impressed by how agile he was.  

Finally, he set me down on the balcony, and swept the hem of my dress with his hand while casting a purification spell.

Could it be that the smell of the dungeon clung to me. . .?

I glanced at Cid, and he smiled at me.

“That dress suits you.”

“Huh? Oh. . .”

Before I could respond, he took my right hand and kissed the back of it.

“Ah!”

He then held my hand and smoothly guided me into the room, without saying a word. 

Here is Dimitri-sama’s private room. 

Earlier, Dimitri-sama, who I had thrown, was inside the room as if we had an appointment. 

He sat on the sofa and greeted me with a bitter expression. 

“I’m sorry about earlier.” 

“Ahahaha. . . I apologize for that.”

Well, I did throw him. It’s understandable that he’s a little unhappy. 

“I apologize for that. I let my emotions get the better of me.”

“I’ll accept your apology. We don’t have much time, so let’s get to the point. . .please sit.” 

We were urged by Dimitri-sama to sit on the long chair facing of him. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟗: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠

Dimitri seemed to have decided to put aside the shock of being thrown by me and quickly switched gears.

“Well, let me give you an update. Carinare-sama has been safely protected and is staying at the Harman Marquis’s residence.”

“Oh, thank goodness.”

Huh?

Carinare-sama is Henry’s concubine, right? She’s Dimitri-sama’s love interest.

And speaking of the Harman Marquis’s residence, that’s where my Aunty got married.

Seeing my surprised expression, Cid chuckled.

“I proposed the negotiation. I thought Dimitri-sama might be dissatisfied with Henry, I heard that he opposes the war too, so I said, [Carinare-sama will be protected at the Marcus family’s residence, so would you please protect Viara-sama]?'”

“Hmph. . .Instead of protecting, I was thrown away.”

Ah, Dimitri’s gaze became distant.

Don’t remember that. Please forget about it. That’s what I wanted to say.

I laughed elegantly and tried to brush it off.

“I have used illusion magic on the dungeons, so they haven’t realized that I’m not there yet. Yesterday morning, I headed towards the capital and sneaked into the castle disguised as Dimitri-sama’s new attendant.”

“It’s impressive that you didn’t get caught.”

“I had Dimitri-sama write me an introduction letter. Then I explained the situation to Carinare-sama, secretly left the castle, and the two of us rode horses to the Harman Marquis’s residence for protection.” 

“Did you meet my Aunty?”

“Yes, she was doing well. She seemed a little dissatisfied that Vi-sama wasn’t there, but she smiled and saw us off. Oh, look, there are so many bombs.”

Cid flipped open the inside of his coat. There were rows of gray round-shaped bombs-like objects.

What is Aunty planning to make Cid do?!

“So, does that mean you’re supposed to destroy this fortress?”

I sighed in exasperation. But it seems that was not the purpose of these items.

“No, if Vi-sama were to be taken by Henry, it means they should apologize by blowing themselves up.”

“. . .Get rid of those dangerous things quickly.”

Ah, Dimitri-sama looked disgusted.

“Um, anyway, Dimitri-sama, if Carinare-sama, the hostage, is safe, will you cooperate with us in escaping?”

“Ah, yes, that’s right. Besides, this country is not suitable for a war with Roselia. With its long north-south territory, there’s a high possibility that we won’t be able to transport supplies if the war drags on. If a third country seizes control of the mountain-side route, we will quickly be defeated. Roselia has a close relationship with Nice, so if we attack Roselia, Nice might intervene.”

Is Henry planning to end the war quickly?

And he mentioned something that caught my attention.

“The king mentioned having a trump card.”

When I mentioned that, Cid’s face turned bitter as if he knew everything. 

“He plans to control water-based demon beasts and unleash them on Roselia’s coastal territory. Henry has been researching how to manipulate demon beast cores and make them subservient.”

“Subservient? Can you forcibly do that?”

Dimitri-sama answered my question.

“In theory, it’s possible. I don’t know the details, but it seems to have some effect on water-based demon beasts. The rest hasn’t been realized yet, but my brother must have thought that if he could control demon beasts and attack Roselia, he could win.”

Such outrageous actions!

To make demon beasts attack, the amount of damage it would cause. . .

Many innocent people would be affected, and there would be many casualties.

Just the thought of it sends shivers down my spine, and I curl up, hugging myself tightly.

Cid gently wrapped his arm around my back.

When I looked up at him, he peeked into my face as if checking my complexion.

“We need to inform Onii-sama quickly. . .”

“Yes, I’ve already contacted him.”

Thank goodness. Onii-sama will surely come up with a plan.

“I’ll protect the kelp too.”

“Eh, the one from Laussu?”

“Yes.”

As expected of Cid, he doesn’t miss anything.

I’m a bit concerned that the people and the kelp are being grouped together, but if they can both be protected, then I suppose it’s fine.

“Oh, is Cid’s mother still trapped in the fortress?”

We need to find a way to free her.

I appealed to him, but a plan has already been set in motion.

“My mother has already been released. She said to give her regards to Vi-sama.”

“She’s safe! That’s great. . .!”

Cid’s eyes soften for a moment.

“Early this afternoon, they left the country by ship. They should be arriving at the Duke Marcus’s mansion soon.”

I feel relieved. Now Cid’s worries will be gone.

Although our emotional reunion took this form, as long as they are being sheltered in Duke Marcus’s mansion,it will be safe, and I will be able to see Cid again.

“What should I do now? I want to be of help to Cid.”

I clinged to his sleeve, desperately seeking his support.

But Cid gently wrapped his hand around mine and shook his head.

“Vi-sama, please stay quietly in your room. I’m going to the research facility of the mages who are under Henry’s influence. The demon beasts are not at fault, but I will take care of everything.”

“But I want to go too.”

“No, you can’t.”

Before I could say that I want to go together, he strongly refused.

Cid solemnly declared.

“It would be cruel to beat them to death.”

“Who said anything about fighting?”

It’s obvious that I’ll be accompanying him, right?!

I don’t want to be separated from Cid anymore.

“Joking aside, the time limit is until my mother notices the decoy. I’ll be back by noon tomorrow, so please stay here until I come to pick you up.”

Saying that, he immediately stood up and headed towards the balcony. I also stood up and followed him. 

“Dimitri-sama, please handle the arrangements with the feudal lords. Also, I’m curious about how we were discovered by Henry. It’s strange that they were able to pinpoint our location so accurately. Please look into that as well.”

“Ah, leave it to me. I will keep my promise as a knight.”

They don’t seem like brothers at all, but they seem to trust each other.

Dimitri-sama is indeed as reputed, a straightforward person.

“Also, please take care of Viara-sama. She is my one and only lifeline.”

Cid wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me closer.

With his sudden closeness, my heart fluttered.

Dimitri-sama nodded and said, “Understood.”

“Cid, be careful, okay?”

I said, as he was about to leave. Although I didn’t say it out loud, my gaze clinged to him, pleading for his safe return.

“Vi-sama, I’ll be back soon. Take care.”

He kissedmy forehead in a natural gesture, causing me to close my eyes in surprise. Seeing my evident agitation, Cid smiles mischievously.

After letting go of my hand, he jumped onto the balcony railing and gracefully leapt down to the floor below.

“Take care. . .!”

Without looking back, I waved my hand gently to Cid wh was running .

In the darkness, I kept watching his figure as he moved further away.

Dimitri-sama, who is facing me, asked softly.

“Was that child happy? Going to Roselia.”

His voice carried a tinge of loneliness.

When I turned around, I held back my aqua hair dancing in the wind with my left hand and smiled gracefully. 

“Of course, isn’t it obvious? He was with me. The happiest person in the world.”

Dimitri-sama’s eyes widen for a moment, then he smiled.

“I see. That’s good.”

It must have been fate.

Cid coming to our house, falling in love with me.

I thought I had been defying my fate as a villainess, but it was different.

I had been walking the path of happiness with Cid. That’s all.

So I’m sure we can always be together in the future.

“Please come back soon.”

Cid’s figure was nowhere to be seen.

Dimitri-sama, who brought me back inside because it was getting cold, escorted me to my room as promised. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝟎: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐏𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐃𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐑𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞

The next morning, there was a commotion inside the fortress.

It was because there had been an escape. 

It seems that Cid had let several people who seemed to be wrongfully accused escape, and the soldiers of the fortress were busy searching for the escapees and repairing the area around the prison. 

I was not allowed to leave my room and was effectively confined. However, the maids took turns coming in and informed me of the situation, so it wasn’t a problem. 

Cid should be finishing everything soon and coming to pick me up. 

I chose a navy blue dress that was easy to move in and waited for that moment while looking out at the sea from the window. 

I wonder where he will come from. Maybe the window after all?

There is also the possibility that Dimitri-sama will guide me and take me outside the fortress. 

I want to see him soon. 

When we met in the underground dungeon, I hugged him in the heat of the moment, but he was surprisingly sturdy. I blush when I remember it. 

Oh, I shouldn’t have such frivolous thoughts. 

I have to tighten my focus and be ready to move at any time. 

I slapped my cheeks with both hands to psych myself up. 

After ten o’clock in the morning, as I couldn’t wait for my beloved to return, I started wandering around and heard voices from outside the door. 

“Please wait! Even if you are His Majesty. . .!”

It seems someone is trying to storm into this room. Well, I can pretty much guess who it is. 

“Quiet! Everyone, step back!”

“Brother!”

From outside the door, I hear Dimitri-sama and the maids trying to stop them. 

――Bang!

The door opens roughly, and Henry appears with an aura of anger all over his body. 

“Oh? What’s the matter, Your Majesty?”

When I say that with an expression as if he knows nothing, Henry’s face relaxes slightly. 

“So, you didn’t escape. Wise choice.”

“Escape?”

He must have received a report that Cid’s mother and the others had escaped. 

So he came to check if I was still here. How overly concerned. 

“Brother, it’s good that you have confirmed Miss Viara’s safety. It’s not appropriate to barge into a lady’s room like this.”

“Dimitri, you step back too.”

It seems Henry intends to stay here. 

Dimitri-sama clenched his fist. 

If they have a fight here and Dimitri-sama is suspected, Cid will lose an ally. 

I conveyed to him with my eyes, “It’s okay,” and asked him to leave the room quietly. 

He will probably be waiting in the corridor. He seems to have rushed here out of breath, he is really considerate. 

“Please, shall I make tea?”

With just the two of us in the room, and no need for small talk, I offer Henry a seat.

Although I said I will make tea, it’s just pouring what the maid prepared into a cup. 

I smiled and held the teapot, but for some reason, Henry came to me instead of sitting in the chair. 

“Your Majesty?”

Feeling a little scared, I took a step back. 

Henry stood right in front of me, silently looking down at me. 

“Um. . .?”

“Do you think you can escape?”

It was a question thrown at me. But it was not really a question, it felt more like a statement that I won’t be allowed to escape. 

“What are you talking about? Your Majesty, you’re acting strange.”

With a vague smile, he tightly gripped my right wrist. 

“Let go!”

“I can’t let this opportunity slip away. . .! I even killed my own father, Fumble and Roselia are mine!”

“Huh?!”

What does he mean by killing his own father?!

Three years ago, the former king died of illness, didn’t he?

Surprised, I asked Henry. 

“I am the one worthy of being the king. I’m not a weak man like Dimitri! A king must be ready to stand upon a pile of corpses!”

“Why Dimitri-sama. . .? Could it be that the former king intended to pass the throne to Dimitri-sama?!”

It’s possible. Dimitri-sama would make a wise king. At least, much better than this man.

“I am the king. The opportunity is on my side! You falling into my hands means that God is telling me to obtain Roselia.”

That’s ridiculous.

I didn’t fall into his hands. It’s more accurate to say I was abducted.

“I don’t think God would support those who want to start a war.”

I glared at Henry, but he seemed to have gone mad.

“I won’t let you escape. You will be mine and I will seek revenge for my homeland.”

“I don’t desire revenge.”

I considered punching him and running away. Such thoughts crossed my mind.

But in my normal state, I would be overpowered, and I was forcefully pushed down onto the sofa.

“My mother disappeared. Cid is probably running away by now. You are pitiful. You lost your position as the prince’s fiancée, your guards have escaped, and you are being used by me. I will give you a little mercy and make you the queen and mother of the country.”

“Ah!”

I realized that his rough hands were forcefully tearing at the seams of my dress. 

“Are you planning to attack me here?!”

Anger makes my whole body heat up. 

Henry gave a hideous smile and looked down at me. 

“Your angry face is beautiful. You are a gift from Cid, so you better serve me well. For a dog that has been taken in by another country, he has done a good job.”

“That’s impossible. . .!”

I have reached my limit with this heartless man. 

I won’t allow him to insult Cid like that!

“Don’t mess with me!!”

――Thud!

“Ugh. . .!”

I enveloped my right arm with magic and released it towards Henry’s side aiming for his ribs. 

The sound of my fist striking his ribs echoed, causing his body to sway.

“You have no right to call Cid a dog!! Just die already!!”

“Gaha. . .!”

Henry, who had fallen off the sofa, collapsed on his back.

Still unable to calm my anger, I mercilessly struck his stomach with all my might.

“Ughh!!”

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝟏: 𝐈 𝐚𝐦 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟-𝐬𝐮𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭

“Alright, this should keep him down for a while.”

I stepped on the fallen Henry and held the hem of my dress with both hands as I ran towards the door.

Using this power on the prince of my own country was expected, but using it on the king of the neighboring country was unexpected.

If I were the heroine, I could just wait for the hero to come and save me, but as a villainess, I have to be self-sufficient around here. . .

As I put on a self-deprecating smile and reach for the door, someone appeared from the other side.

――Click!

“What’s wrong! I heard a loud noise. . .?!”

Dimitri-sama jumped in and looked startled when he saw the fallen Henry.

“You’re late?! Dimitri-sama!”

“S-Sorry. I was planning to burst in within five minutes.”

Ah, that was a wise decision.

I just couldn’t hold out for that long. I’m sorry.

“‘ll have the guards take care of him,” Dimitri says, having figured out what happened. 

Looking at Henry who was unconscious , Dimitri-sama sighed and said.

“I’m sorry for what my brother has done.”

“Yes. Oh, and it seems that Henry killed the former king himself. He confessed to it earlier.”

“―?!”

Dimitri-sama quickly made a judgment from that information.

He orders the guards to take the king to the underground dungeon, the one that doesn’t sink in the sea, of course.

They planned to interrogate him and question him about the murder of the former king.

However, they wanted to keep him asleep for a while until Cid and I could escape, so they had the red mage cast sleep magic on him repeatedly.

I was waiting for Cid’s return in Dimitri-sama’s room, just like last night. 

“My brother had close ties with the church. Over the past five years or so, his ideology gradually leaned towards the church, and he began to neglect the mages. Reports have come in that your whereabouts were revealed through a tip from the church.”

“The church, huh.”

I wonder where they found out. 

I haven’t visited the church, but could I have been seen in the town?

But even so, the timing was too perfect.

It’s as if I was being tracked by GPS or something.

Of course, there’s no such thing in this world.

“Will you tell Cid about this?” Dimitri ask.

“I understand. But, Dimitri-sama, what will you do from now on?”

I asked Dimitri-sama, who was busy signing documents and writing letters. 

Henry won’t be able to continue as king.

Planning a futile battle after killing the former king. And using demon beasts for such atrocities.

It seems like burying Henry and his dark history is the only option.

“. . .”

Dimitri-sama pressed his fingers between his eyes and wore a stern expression.

He seems to still be contemplating when asked about his plans.

There was no answer to my question.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝟐: 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐧, 𝐊𝐢𝐝𝐧𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐝 𝐁𝐲 𝐚 𝐃𝐨𝐠

As it approached noon, I thought to myself, “It’s about time.” Then, I heard an explosion from the distance, and the fortress shook slightly.

It must have been Cid blowing up the mage research institute. That’s what it felt like.

When I went out onto the balcony, I could see smoke rising from a building along the coast.

“The enslavement of demon beasts will now be completely forgotten, won’t it?”

“Yeah.”

Dimitri-sama nodded quietly. His expression was stiff as if he took his brother’s actions seriously.

And in less than ten minutes, Cid arrived at our balcony. He effortlessly climbed over the railing and stood in front of me.

“Vi-sama, I have come to pick you up~.”

“Cid!”

I jumped into his arms with enthusiasm.

“Welcome back! Since you were late, I crushed Henry’s side and put him in the dungeon.”

I thought I might have skipped a bit too much, but Cid understood and smiled wryly.

“Well, I somehow figured it out myself. It’s scary how well I understand. I’m just glad you’re safe. . .my Vi-sama.”

It felt nice to be embraced.

However, I knew we couldn’t stay like this for long.

Cid gently let go of me and looked at me.

“Shall we go?”

“Yes.”

Naturally, Cid picked me up sideways, which made me flustered.

“Wait, are we going like this?!”

The hem of my dress fluttered in the wind. I should have changed into something more comfortable to move in, but it was too late now.

“It’s easier than being carried like luggage, isn’t it?” 

That’s true, but. . .

It’s embarrassing and makes it hard to breathe, so it was also quite dangerous.

“Oh, Dimitri-sama. Here.”

Cid took out two letters from his pocket.

They were slightly faded and had the royal seal on them.

Dimitri-sama, who looked at the contents as soon as he received them, widened his eyes in surprise.

“These will serve as evidence of the former king’s assassination. I leave the rest to you.”

“Where did you find these?”

“When I went to the castle to abduct Carinare-sama, I searched Henry’s private room and found them in a hidden chamber.”

He really did break into the place illegally?!

Well, it’s fine. We found evidence of a crime.

It must be complicated for Dimitri-sama, but I want him to do his best as a member of the Fumble royal family.

Dimitri-sama put the letters inside his coat and said with a wry smile, 

“You’re truly outstanding. Do you have any intention of serving in Fumble?”

Cid smiled and immediately made a decision.

“No, I don’t.”

He held me tighter in his arms.

“I only have this person. I don’t need anyone else.”

“I see. I’ve lost a valuable younger brother. That’s what I truly regret.”

It was a casual remark, but Dimitri-sama did indeed refer to Cid as his younger brother.

While Henry saw everyone, except himself, as pawns, Dimitri-sama considered Cid, whom he had never spent time with, as his younger brother. For some reason, it warmed my heart. 

I’m glad there are decent people in Fumble. . .!

Cid seemed a little surprised too, as I noticed a momentary pause in his movements.

But he quickly smiled and jumped onto the balcony railing.

“Well then, goodbye. We probably won’t meet again.”

“Yeah.”

As I turned back to Dimitri-sama, Cid gave him a mischievous smile.

“Take care, dear brother.”

Caught off guard, Dimitri-sama weakly replied, “Yeah,” in a powerless voice.

Cid, carrying me, unhesitatingly jumped off the balcony, skillfully kicking off the wall and landing on the ground.

“Is this okay?”

Although I didn’t think Cid had any ambitions, there might have been a path for him to live as a member of the royal family. I briefly thought about it.

“Yes. Henry’s plans have all been crushed, and Mother has been safely taken to Duke Marcus’s mansion. Vi-sama is mine. There won’t be any greater achievements than this, right?”

“True.”

We smiled at each other and tightened our grip on each other’s arms.

I placed my hand on Cid’s neck and realized that this was where I truly belonged.

“. . .You’re surprisingly straightforward, Vi-sama.”

“Once in a while.”

I had wondered what would happen if we couldn’t see each other anymore.

Now, I realized how much I treasured these moments. Though I didn’t say it out loud, I believe Cid could sense how worried I had been.

Cid continued to run while holding me, and we entered the forest. 

There, Ret, the horse that had traveled with us from Roselia, was waiting. I happily stroked Ret’s face to reunite with him.

“Oh. . .Ret, were you doing well?”

This adorable creature rubbed its forehead against my hand, expressing its joy.

“Cid, you also retrieved this for me.”

He had also cleverly retrieved my belongings, and inside my bag was the precious frying pan for making tamagoyaki.

And somehow, there were more books.

“What’s this?”

A thick, slightly worn-out book. I didn’t have this before.

“I stole it from the forbidden library in Fumble Castle! It might contain ancient teleportation magic.”

“Really? That’s amazing!”

It sounded like a fairy tale, but if it was Cid, he might be able to do it.

He packed the books into a bag and secured it to the horse so they wouldn’t fall off.

Standing next to the horse, I waited for Cid to announce our departure.

“It’s really over, isn’t it. . .”

Just when I thought I was finally free from Fumble, I couldn’t stop my cheeks from loosening.

Cid, who was gazing at my cheerful expression, suddenly became serious and extended his right hand.

“Viara.”

The atmosphere suddenly changed, and I felt a jolt.

Cid rarely spoke with such a serious tone before. It was a rare occurrence.

“Now I am completely just Cid.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

His crimson eyes conveyed a strong determination. 

“I have nothing but myself. No title, no position, no wealth. . . Everything i had, everything that should have been mine, I have none of it. Yet, I want you.”

My heart raced, and I felt breathless.

I desperately held back the tears that were about to overflow.

“Will you continue to live with me from now on?”

I covered my mouth with my left hand and nodded repeatedly.

Then, I placed my right hand on top of his hand.

“With Cid. . .I’ll be with you forever.”

Tears welled up and blurred my vision as Cid embraced me. 

We stayed like that until my breathing calmed down.

“By the way, Vi-sama, do you remember?”

“What?”

Cid brought up the promise we made before.

“You said you would give me a reward if I could reunite with Mother safely.”

I moved away from him slightly and looked up at his face.

“Huh? Oh, yeah, I remember. Ten gold coins.”

“That’s not it!”

What was it again?

In the end, it seemed like the conversation ended with something like “Let’s discuss it.”

“What do you want? For now, my assets are just some gold coins and a tamagoyaki frying pan.”

If you want this legendary frying pan (?) I can give it to you. But I might ask to borrow it occasionally.

As I tilted my head, thinking about such things, Cid said with a gentle smile, 

“What I want is this.”

Before I could even blink, our lips touched.

“Huh?!”

Surprised, I quickly jumped back, and our first kiss ended in an instant.

“Oh, you ran away.” 

Cid, looking dissatisfied, closed the distance between us again.

“I heard that I can have anything I want, right?”

“Well, that’s. . .”

Maybe I did say that. As I averted my gaze, struggling with my pounding heart, Cid gently placed his hand on my cheek and firmly pressed his lips against mine this time.

My whole body felt like it was in turmoil, pounding and painful.

He gently sucked on my lips as if savoring them, and then he closed his eyes and stroked my head, which was obediently following his lead.

When our lips finally parted, I couldn’t help but think I wanted a little more. . . but I couldn’t say it out loud.

“Is this the reward?”

“Yes.”

Wait, is this really okay?

Who gives a kiss as a reward? What kind of princess am I? Such an event doesn’t exist in the dictionary of a villainess.

I was dumbfounded for a while, but gradually, I became embarrassed and started to panic.

Cid’s gaze was too sweet to bear.

Who is this person? Was he always like this?

“For me, it’s one of the things I wanted most in this world.”

He’s being humble. . .ahhhh!

“Well, if that’s the case, I can give you as much. . .”

“Oh, really. . .as much?”

“Huh?!”

Realizing too late that it was a careless remark, I panicked.

When a man is told he can have as much as he wants, it’s only natural for him to think, “I’ll gladly take it”. . . Unfortunately, we don’t have time for that right now.”

“That’s right.”

“Let’s leave Fumble as soon as possible.”

Saying that, Cid reluctantly brought his lips close to my eyes and smiled mischievously.

He effortlessly lifted me up and placed me on the horse’s back. Then, he jumped on himself and sat beside me, supporting me with one arm while holding the reins.

“Off we go!” 

The horse started running briskly, full of energy after spending a leisurely time at the fortress for the past four days.

The sea breeze gently brushed against my cheeks, creating a pleasant sensation.

Leaning against Cid, he leaned forward and rested his cheek against my head. 

It was so close that my face grew hot, but in this position, he couldn’t see my face.

“Cid. . .um. . .”

“Yes?”

What should I say? Despite the situation not being resolved, I felt overwhelmingly happy.

As I thought I couldn’t express this feeling, Cid spoke up first.

“You gained a little weight during your confinement, didn’t you? You feel softer to the touch, and it’s very pleasant.”

“Don’t ruin the moment with such comments!”

We resumed our journey together. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝟑: 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐅𝐥𝐚𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐇𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬?

The day after we left the Fumble fortress, we were riding our horses towards Nice.

We were going to stay in a small town and confirm something.

“Hey, is this really the cause?”

In my hand, I held a white gemstone. It was the otherworldly version of an apology stone that Noah-sama had given me when our engagement was dissolved at the church.

I’ve been keeping it in my bag, but according to Cid, it seems that this stone is somehow informing the church officials of our whereabouts.

“I was careless. I never thought Noah-sama would know Vi-sama’s location.”

Cid, holding the reins, glanced at the apology stone and looked frustrated. It seemed like he was convinced about something.

“But why would Noah-sama do such a thing? Even though he’s an innocent character addicted to stomach medicine, why would he do something like that?”

“What’s with his character that’s neither pure nor impure?”

When I hit Prince Roque and broke off the engagement, Noah-sama showed concern for me.

Since childhood, he has always been like a kind older brother to me, and I have never felt any malice, enmity, or ulterior motives from him.

And at that time, Noah-sama said.

[No matter what happens, I promise to be Miss Viara’s ally!]

Would someone like that track me down and sell me out to Fumble?

“Even though he said he’s on my side. . .”

I wanted to believe it, but I couldn’t. 

I couldn’t hide my confusion. 

“I’m the only one who needs to be on Vi-sama’s side~. It’s dangerous to have a man with such unreadable expressions.”

It seems that Cid has always had an aversion to Noah-sama.

Although he didn’t show it, it seems that way.

“I can feel a small amount of holy attribute magic power from that gemstone.If we communicate through crystals, we can know each other’s locations. Perhaps that gemstone is a raw crystal. . .”

It wasn’t just a beautiful gemstone.

“It was Noah who informed Henry of our whereabouts and had us captured, right?”

“What does Noah-sama gain from doing such a thing?”

“For now, nothing. We should have thrown away that gemstone when we left the country.”

It seems like he’s implying that it’s his fault for not realizing it. . .

Even though it’s not Cid’s fault.

“I brought it just in case, but should I throw it away immediately if it’s such a dangerous thing?”

“No, let me make use of it. I want to know Noah’s intentions. And I want to know why I’m being labeled as the one who kidnapped Vi-sama.”

“Well, technically you did kidnap me.”

“That’s right~! But it was a consensual abduction,so outsiders have no right to complain.”

Cid, still holding the reins, intentionally narrowed the space between his arms and enveloped me tightly in his embrace.

The warmth was too blissful, and I squinted my eyes.

“I hope this doesn’t become a flag.”

It’s true that it can be scary when happiness overwhelms you. 

I didn’t want to let go anymore. The feeling welled up within me.

By the way, why did Noah-sama give me this gemstone?

I earnestly hope that it was just his kindness to know my whereabouts and help me because he has always been kind to me.

However, considering how conveniently Henry arrived at Cid’s mother’s place, Cid’s speculation seems likely to be true.

What is Noah-sama’s purpose in doing such a thing?

To monitor me? Even if he monitors me, it won’t make any difference.

What does he want to do with me?

Surely he doesn’t want to start a war or anything like that, right?

“. . .Is Noah-sama an enemy?”

My pale blue hair swayed in the wind and stuck to my cheeks. I brushed it away and leaned my face against Cid’s chest.

“For me, any man who targets Vi-sama is an enemy, no matter what kind of feelings I have.”

The horse galloped on top of a small hill, passing through the fields of wheat and reaching the entrance of the town.

“We will donate this gemstone to the church in the town of Soreal. If our prediction is correct, they will come here.”

Soreal is not a town on the way to Nice. It’s slightly to the west and not a place we would casually stop by.

If Cid’s prediction is correct, someone will come here to capture us.

“Cid, are you okay with this? Doing something like using yourself as bait.”

According to Henry, there is an order to capture Cid instead of me. 

Since I am considered kidnapped by Cid, if they capture us, it will be a problem for him, not me.

Cid, who got off the horse, supported me and gently put me down on the ground.

“It’s okay. We won’t fight directly, and even if we do, i won’t lose.”

“I think so too, but. . .”

We just need to donate the gemstone to the church today and wait for someone to come from tomorrow onwards. We just need to hide and observe, so it won’t turn into a battle.

But even so, it doesn’t mean there is no danger. . .

We get off the horse and walked to the center of the town, searching for an inn for the night.

There were several small inns, and I chose one where many women were coming and going.

We gave water to the tied-up horse and fed it the grass and vegetables we bought along the way.

Cid used magic to wash the horse’s body, and I brushed it.The task made us look like a married couple. . .!. . .!

While happily taking care of the horse, I noticed that Cid was looking at me with gentle eyes.

“. . .What is it?”

I unintentionally adopt a reproachful tone, seeing him grinning by himself.

But he showed an exceptionally sweet smile and casually said,

“I’m happy.”

My heart jumped at those words.

“You’re such a smooth talker.”

“Did you say something?”

Leaning against the horse’s body, I drooped my head.

I also thought I was very happy, so I’m glad that he felt the same way. But I can’t say it.

How can Cid say it so casually?! 

It frustrates me that I can’t be straightforward. There’s nothing to lose, and I should just voice what I think.

I glanced at him, and he quickly gathered the surrounding grass with magic and started cleaning up.

I want to see him completely flustered.

I secretly made up my mind. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝟒: 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐟 𝐏𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐞

The city of Soreal was very quiet and peaceful. With a predominantly middle-class population, there was not much disparity in wealth, and people’s temperaments seemed calm.

Since dresses attract attention, I pleaded with the dining hall staff and rented a room before going outside to change clothes.

As soon as I got a room at the inn, I immediately went to the church and donated the apology stone.

“Is it alright to donate something so valuable?”

The kind-looking priest confirmed multiple times.

“Yes, it’s something I no longer need.”

Cid hid the purple brooch and disguised himself as a traveler. The relationship between the church and the mages was not good, so it was strictly forbidden to reveal his identity.

Ugh. . .It’s the glasses after all.

My maiden heart fluttered, and the excitement pierced through so much that it became riddled with holes.

“I’m scared. Glasses are scary.”

“Vi-sama, what kind of phobia is that?”

It would be nice if he could wear glasses with a stern gaze. I want him to draw unattractive eyes, so I won’t get fluttery.

Ah, I covered my face with my hand so that Cid wouldn’t come into view, but my fingers naturally opened, and I could see through the gap.

Being too suspicious, Cid became worried if I was feeling unwell.

After leaving the church, we immediately returned to the inn.

“I wonder if we can catch something with that.”

Cid muttered, still facing forward.

“Probably. When the church receives a donation of a certain amount of assets or items, they always contact headquarters. It will take about two days for the information to be shared, but if there are spies following us, they will definitely show up to confirm the facts.” 

The priest to whom I entrusted the jewel earlier was a very kind-looking old man, and he probably wouldn’t embezzle it.

As Cid said, they would inform headquarters about the gemstone donation.

“Well then, shall we take it easy today? You must be tired from being imprisoned in the fortress.”

He took off his glasses and put them in his inner pocket, then took my hand and started walking.

I feel like Cid, who was always running around, even during our time at the fortress and when we went to the capital, must be more exhausted. . .

As I stared at his profile, without even asking anything, he replied, “I’m fine.”

On the way back to the inn, there were still many problems piled up and nothing had been resolved, but I felt the most joy in being able to walk side by side with him like this. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝟓: 𝐀 𝐝𝐨𝐠’𝐬 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐦𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝

After returning to the inn, we decided to have a meal and then lock ourselves in our room.

Cid took a short nap and then started reading the magic book he had borrowed without permission from Fumble’s royal castle.

I leisurely soaked in the bath to rest my body while Cid dried my hair for me.

He took my long hair in his hands and narrowed his eyes.

“I’ve always wanted to touch it like this. I envied Elsa.”

“It’s strange for you to envy a maid, Cid.”

I never thought he would think such a thing since we had always maintained a certain distance as guards. . .

After fixing my hair, we decided to communicate with Onii-sama.

Onii-sama, who received the call, seemed very happy to hear from me. 

With a lively voice that seemed to be blooming flowers, I thought maybe I should call him every day if he was this happy.

It seems that brother had heard about us being at Fumble’s fortress through the communication.

“Ah, I’m glad is you are  doing well Viara ! I was about to launch a full-scale attack from the sea.”

“Oh, Onii-sama. The magic cannon won’t reach, will it?”

“Heh, just in case, I stayed up all night for the past three days to extend the range. Don’t worry, I can bombard Fumble from here right away!”

It’s definitely not okay.

Please don’t do such a dangerous thing.

“I’m here, so there’s no need to bombard fumble.”

What about my sister’s safety?!

As I pouted, Onii-sama’s loud laughter echoed from the communication device.

“Ahahaha, Cid is here too, isn’t he?”

“Huh?”

When I looked at Cid next to me, he was blushing and covering his cheeks with both hands, saying “Kyaa.”

What’s that? Do you think he’s cute?

He’s cute, right?!

“If Cid is here, then it’s okay, right? will everything really be fine?”

When I asked Onii-sama, he replied, “Of course.”

Wait, does that mean he can deflect the magic cannon?

“. . .”

“What’s wrong, Vi-sama?”

His smile was clear and bright. There was nothing more to ask.

And then, Onii-sama declared at his own pace.

“Leave the annihilation of Fumble’s castle and fortresses to me!”

“There’s no way I can leave it to you, brother?”

Even though he’s not good at making eye contact with people, how did he become skilled at battles and weapon improvements? What kind of skill distribution is that?

Oh God, the design flaw is terrible.

“Jokes aside, is everything the same over there?”

My brother, at the main residence of the  Duke Marcus’s, was waiting for communication from the royal family regarding my broken engagement and Cid’s arrangements. Once the message arrives, he plans to take countermeasures. However, there has been no word from the other side.

“It’s strangely the same. I thought the troops would come right away, but there was still no notification. They seem to know that i am not in the Duke Marcus’s mansion.”

“I see.”

If it were the short-tempered Prince Roque, he would probably send troops to the Duke Marcus’s mansion. 

Cid and I exchanged glances and thought that this situation was indeed strange.

“Is everyone at the mansion doing well?”

“Everyone is doing well. The young men were feeling down without Viara, so I sent them to the snowy mountains for training.”

“What are you doing, Onii-sama?”

The snowy mountains in Duke Marcus’s territory are famous for their harsh cold weather all year round. I wonder if everyone is still alive. 

We were amazed that they were sent there even though there was no need for it at the moment.

“Well, His Majesty and the Queen will return tomorrow. I sent a letter, so the arrangements for Cid will probably be canceled.”

“That’s right. It’s all about me and His Highness, so it has nothing to do with Cid. It’s enough for me to be pursued. . .Well, I don’t intend to get caught.”

“Ahahaha! Viara can think of it as a trip. Eventually, come back to Duke Marcus’s territory and live here.”

I can’t do that. But since Onii-sama is serious about it, I just laughed it off for now.

“My precious Vi, take care of yourself. Don’t push yourself and let Cid handle the troublesome things!”

Onii-sama said he would continue to observe the situation on the other side and then ended the communication. 

Or rather, Cid laughed and said, “I’ll contact you again!” and abruptly ended the call without waiting for a response. From behind Onii-sama, I could hear the voice of his subordinate shouting, “We still have documents over here!” 

It seems they are busy with preparations in case they have to counter the Roselia Army. I apologized in my mind for causing them trouble. 

Cid quickly tidied up the communication set and sat in front of the writing desk in the room. 

It seems like he wants to continue reading the magic book. 

“What’s wrong?”

“Oh, it’s nothing~.”

What is it? There was a slightly sulky aura coming from Cid’s back.

I sat on the bed and spoke towards his back.

“Is it because I said it has nothing to do with you, Cid?”

“. . .You aid it has nothing to do with me.”

Is he acting like a child?!

Because what happened at the annulment ceremony is my responsibility. Cid did nothing wrong, he was just waiting outside the church.

“I just stated the fact, it’s not something for you to sulk about.”

“I know. But. . .”

Cid, who was facing the desk, turned around slightly to look at me.

“I am a part of you.”

“!”

Beyond being a pet, he’s already making slave-like statements. . .?

Having an attractive mage as an item is such a luxurious possesion.

“”. . .””

Cid immediately turned back to the desk, giving off an atmosphere that he wanted to end this conversation. He seemed to be aware that it wasn’t very mature of him.

However, what’s scary is that I accepted it and even felt happy about it. I’ve already immersed myself in the affection Cid gives me and I couldn’t live alone anymore. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝟔: 𝐖𝐡𝐨 𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐔𝐥𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐆𝐞𝐭 𝐄𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐧

“Is it interesting?”

Cid, with his gaze fixed on the thick book, held a pen in his right hand and was transcribing something.

“I can’t say it’s interesting yet. The characters are a bit different from modern ones, so I haven’t deciphered them.”

“Deciphering? Is it such an old book?”

“Yes. It has illustrations in between instead of text, and there are encrypted long words that might be spells. . .”

It seemed difficult.

I stood up and peered at the book next to him, but the characters lined up were completely incomprehensible to me.

“I thought if I could replicate teleportation magic, I could travel to various places with Vi-sama.”

“Seems impossible?”

That’s a shame. I didn’t necessarily want to travel, but it seemed fun to explore the world with Cid and see different things.

“It seems impossible for the person who activates the magic to teleport. There is information of how  a mage would serve as the source of magical power, and there are methods written about unilaterally sending objects and people. Also, the person who wrote this seems to have a rather sloppy personality. There are places where words are omitted and the handwriting is messy.”

To be told that the handwriting is messy by Cid, who was always scolded by Onii-sama for his handwriting, it must be quite a level.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at his explanation.

“How much progress have you made in deciphering it?”

“I’ve only deciphered about one-fifth so far, I suppose.”

It seems like quite a long task.

I tried not to disturb him and prepared to return to bed.

“Vi-sama.”

“Hmm?”

When I was called and turned halfway, his hand, which had stood up from the chair, rested on my shoulder. 

His lips, which suddenly touched mine, were unexpectedly soft, and my thoughts came to a halt.

“Are you lonely because I’m always reading books?”

If he teasingly says something like that with a mischievous smile, I can’t honestly say that I’m lonely. In the first place, I don’t feel lonely. Just watching his back alone can entertain me for hours.

“I’m not lonely! I have. . .I have. . .things I need to do!”

Yes, I have things I need to do.

I have to research about kelp and consider whether it can be cultivated in the future.

“Because I might start a bento shop, I have to study kelp cultivation.”

“A bento shop?! Kelp?!”

Whether it’s the heroine or Cid’s mother, they seem to have such a connection to a bento shop, so I started to think that I should start a tamagoyaki bento shop.

“Well, because I’m no longer a noble.”

Currently, I have a large amount of money handed over by Onii-sama.

But I can’t burden Cid with troubles.

“I will work and hire Cid.”

“No, no, no, it’s strange if we get married.”

Well, in the values of this world, that’s probably true. But I can’t help it because I can’t get rid of the mentality of being an employer.

“What are you saying? I can’t live like a red kelp rotting away at the bottom of the sea, being protected and supported! “

“Becoming a kelp with offspring would also bring happiness, I’m sure.”

I was suddenly filled with love for kelp by Cid’s cheerful words. 

“What do you know about kelp with offspring?! They are fish eggs! They sacrifice their own bodies as vessels!”

“Please don’t refer to kelp with offspring as a sacrificial offering. It’s symbiosis, you know, symbiosis.”

“Symbiosis, in the end, humans will eat them, right?! Don’t worry, I won’t abandon Cid!”

“Wait, are there people who eat them? Also, am I also on the kelp side? Well, my hair is black.”

That’s not the issue.

Wait, what are we even talking about?

Startled, I tried to calm myself down and regain my composure.

“For now, I’ll make some tea. Would you prefer soup?”

When I asked, Cid said he would go, but I shook my head.

If he doesn’t decipher the book of teleportation magic soon, we won’t have time to spend together. . .That thought crossed my mind.

It seems that deep down, I am lonely.

“Then, please.”

“Ugh. . .!”

Cid showed a composed expression as if he saw through everything. I was overwhelmed by a tremendous sense of defeat.

When his face approached and made a smacking sound on my cheek, it made me flustered and confused.

When I pushed his chest with both hands to keep him away, he narrowed his eyes even more and his smile deepened.

Doesn’t this man know what it means to be considerate? He’s too good at poking at my embarrassment.

I know that glaring at him with teary eyes won’t have any effect, so I quickly turned my back and left the room.

“Sigh. . .I have to find a way to gain the upper hand.” 

Lately, I feel like I’ve been pushed around by Cid and teased too easily.

While making tea, I’ll think about countermeasures. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝟕: 𝐀𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲 𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐧𝐞, 𝐅𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐥

Two days later, as we were keeping watch in front of the church, a young man in a black priest’s robe arrived.

While Noah-sama and the people from the church headquarters wore light-colored clothes like white or cream, but black is the color of the branch members and lower-ranking church members.

Peeking inside through the window, I saw the man receiving a white gemstone from the elderly priest.

It was what we had donated.

“That man was also a priest, right?”

I asked Cid, who was peeking into the church next to me, and he hesitated, saying, “Hmm.””

“I don’t sense any holy attribute magic from him. And his way of walking is different.”

“His way of walking?”

“Priests, to put it simply, are not combat-oriented, so they don’t have much physical strength and have a physique similar to ordinary people. But that man has a trained way of walking, or. . .”

“You mean he’s a government official or a soldier?”

“Probably.”

After the man left, we followed him.

Indeed, as Cid said, his cautious walking posture, well-proportioned muscles, and steady head position didn’t seem like those of an ordinary person.

After tailing him for a while, the man had lunch at a cafeteria and then rode a large horse that he had left at an inn on the outskirts of town, and left the city.

“That’s a military horse, right? A priest can’t ride such a big horse.”

“Yes. And that saddle shape is Roselia’s.”

The horse the man rode was about one size larger than the horse we brought, Lito.

The saddle was made entirely of leather, with a deep curve where the seat touches. Since Roselia has a terrain of mountains and hills, this shape is often used as it provides better support for the body when the terrain is steep.

But the saddle we often see in Fumble is a smooth and flat type that fits snugly on the horse’s back.

“Does this mean the church is connected to the military?”

“I think so. If you’re a priest, you won’t be suspected when traveling between countries.”

Saying that, Cid took my hand and led me back to our lodging.

“Aren’t we going to pursue him?”

“No. There’s no benefit in chasing him. By giving up that gem, they won’t be able to accurately determine our whereabouts. Let’s leave this city while we can.”

I nodded, and Cid glanced at me sideways and smiled reassuringly.

“Now, as our final goal is to go to Nice. . .let’s go to Mrs. Lisana’s place first. She was angry and told me to bring Vi-sama.”

Recently, Cid had evacuated Carinare-sama, who is Dimitri-sama’s love interest, to my aunty’s place. Apparently, he was told to bring me along.

“If I were Noah, I would think Vi-sama left the gem here and is in Fumble, and escaped to Duke Marcus’s territory by sea. So even if we make a detour to Mrs. Lisana’s place, I don’t think the pursuers will come immediately.”

“Oh, that’s a relief! I wanted to see aunty.”

Aunty lives with her husband, Marquis Harman.

Their two sons are attending a boarding school, so they only return to the mansion during vacations.

The eldest son is seventeen, and the second son is fifteen. Aunty said they both resemble Marquis Harman and have intellectual prowess.

“I’m sure she’s eagerly waiting.”

Cid’s smiled seemed bitter as if he had been urged many times.

As soon as we arrived at the lodging, we packed our few belongings and left the city immediately.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝟖: 𝐄𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬

The Calasia region, a natural fortress surrounded by mountains.

With a slightly cold climate all year round, it is a beautiful place with mountains reminiscent of the Alps. 

Within Fumble, this is the most peaceful area, and it is home to the vast territory ruled by Marquis Harman, who is the husband of my mother’s sister, Aunt Lisanna. 

After a day of camping, we arrived and were greeted by Aunty and her husband, David Marquis Harman, in the large mansion made of red bricks. 

“Aunty!”

“Oh my, Viara! You’ve grown so much. . .!”

She tightly embraced me at the entrance, and I felt relieved by her warmth. The servants also watched us with warm eyes, and Aunty and I had a touching reunion as if we were mother and child. 

Her hair, the same pale blue as mine, was neatly tied up, and her black eyes were sharp and gave off a strong and beautiful impression. At first glance, she seemed cold, but she was actually a loving and reliable older sister figure. 

“Oh, how are you doing? Traveling with that unhelpful man must have tired you out.”

While confirming by patting my cheeks and shoulders, Aunty said such things. 

“Hehe, I’m fine. Cid is very kind and takes good care of me.”

I smiled and said that, and I heard Cid laugh and say, “That’s right, that’s right,” from behind. 

“Well, that’s good. . .Well, Cid is still better than that rotten Roque, isn’t he?”

“Huh? Aunty, what do you mean by that?”

I wonder if Aunty knows that Cid is no longer just my bodyguard but also my lover. 

I hesitated to clearly say it because I was worried about how she would react, but Aunty’s expression seemed resigned, and she smiled slightly. 

“I heard it when Cid came the other day. He said, ‘I couldn’t let this opportunity slip away, so I proposed to Miss.’ It’s really annoying, isn’t it? Poor Ethan. His cherished little sister being taken away by such a frivolous man.”

With her right hand on her cheek, Aunty made a troubled pose, and I chuckled. I was relieved because I knew that if she really hated it, she wouldn’t let him into the mansion. 

“But. . .he replenished three years’ worth of magical power for the heating system in the mansion, so I’ll forgive him.”

The bribery was complete. 

I glanced at Cid, and he proudly raised his thumb. 

He must have used a lot of magical power, going back and forth to the fortress and even destroying the research institute.

I’m not just concerned, I’m worried about Cid’s well-being. He looks healthy, but. . .

Aunty happily took my arm and said, 

“My dear Viara, I have prepared a room for you! I hastily made some clothes, but I haven’t made enough yet. However, I’ve prepared enough to ensure your comfort.”

“What?! You made them, but I. . .”

I won’t be staying here for long. I was about to say that, but Aunty interrupted me forcefully. 

“Don’t hesitate! Please tell me anything, my dear niece. You can be selfish, throw a tantrum, anything you want. I’ll allow it.”

“No, I won’t throw a tantrum.”

My aunt seems to have developed a “cute niece” syndrome.

It’s not good for her upbringing. Her husband, David-sama, is also watched us with a wry smile. 

David-sama, with his black hair and glasses, seemed very gentle and quiet. 

I greeted him belatedly with a “Thank you,” and he smiled and showed his welcome. 

There’s something about him that exudes the aura of a good person. 

He seems to be under the thumb of Aunt Lisana. 

“Well, shall we go to your room? Take a bath and have a meal.”

She pulled my arm forcefully, and I was led towards the stairs. 

As I glanced at Cid, he smiled and waved, saying, “Take care.” 

“It’s okay. His room is next to yours. Don’t worry, we will treat you as a guest.”

“Thank you.”

I could tell from Aunty’s voice that she actually liked Cid. 

Carinare-sama, whom Cid evacuated, seems to be living in a nearby cottage and will stay hidden here until Dimitri-sama completely seizes power from Henry.

I’ll go greet her later. With that thought in mind, I headed to my room. 

❂❂❂❂❂❂

That night, I was exhausted and leaned my back against the sofa in the guest room. 

The costumes prepared by aunty were more than I expected, and I was made to change like a dress-up doll, saying, “Just try them on for now!” 

Currently, I’m wearing a dress that Aunt Lisana liked the most, a white one with pink decorations.

“You must have been very happy for Miss to come and visit.”

“Yes. . .”

By my side, Cid said, “I’ll take care of the rest,” and sent the maid away. He then brewed a cup of tea for me.

Steam rose from the cup. 

“Thank you.”

When I took a sip, it had the sweetness of honey and the scent of apples. The apple tea that Cid occasionally brews for me is sweet and soothing. 

Cid watched me drink tea with a pleased expression. Feeling a bit uncomfortable, I placed the cup back on the saucer. 

“Hey, how long are you going to stand there?”

Taken aback by my question, he looked puzzled. 

“Oh, um. . .I can’t seem to let go of the bodyguard feeling when I’m here.”

“Didn’t aunty say that we should welcome You as a guest? Besides, we. . .we. . .”

“We?”

We’re lovers. I couldn’t say that because it felt awkward. 

Seeing me freeze with my mouth open, Cid’s red eyes trembled with joy. 

“Viara? Tell me the rest?”

“Ah!”

And with that sweet voice again. . .!

I averted my gaze from Cid, who was standing, and mustered up my voice while trembling. 

“We’re. . . like soulmates, friends who have fled the country!”

My sense of words is terrible.

Feeling even more exhausted, I covered my face with both hands and slumped down.

As I reflected, the seat of the sofa creaked, and Cid sat down next to me.

“I understand your feelings, Miss. It seems I was the only one who thought we were lovers~ How disappointing.”

With an artificial gesture, he placed his hand on his chest, making an expression as if he were hurt. It was irritating.

A rebellious spirit welled up within me.

“Someone calling me Miss made me think we weren’t lovers.”

“Ah.”

In front of aunty and the others, he would probably slip and call me what he used to. 

I know that the habit hasn’t gone away, and I won’t say anything about it now, but when I glanced at him with a reproachful look, Cid looked guilty.

Seeing that face, I felt relieved and closed my eyes, leaning against him.

“I’m glad we finally have some time alone.”

If I don’t look at his face, I can say this much.

Leaning my body against him, he wrapped his arm around me and gently stroked my hair.

“Viara.”

Since we left Roselia , this may be the first time my heart has been so calm and at ease. 

We stayed close in silence for a while, indulging in a moment of happiness.

I want to fall asleep like this.

That’s what I thought, but I have to change into a dress and let my hair down.

As I gently sat up, Cid, sensing that I was about to leave, caught hold of me.

He embraced me while sitting, and a mischievous smile escaped his lips.

“You won’t let me go, will you?” 

He brought his lips close to my forehead and temples and smiled in response to me.

“Yes, I would like a little more time.”

“I can’t help it.”

“Thank you.”

When I looked up, his face, with cheeks relaxed in happiness, approached me.

To prevent my heart from fluttering, I desperately controlled my feelings and accepted his kiss.

“Mmm. . .?!”

Since it’s not the first time we’ve kissed, I thought I would be calm. . .but I was wrong.

Cid put his large hand in my hair at the back of my head, sealing our lips together so I couldn’t escape. He knew I would try to run away if he kissed deeply.

“Mmm~!!”

I had heard about it in stories, but when I actually experienced it, I became flustered and wanted to escape.

As I struggled, seeking help, he entwined his tongue even more, seemingly enjoying it. It was troublesome.

Feeling dizzy and losing strength, Cid finally released my lips.

“Vi-sama, are you okay?”

He supported me as I almost fell backward, looking a little flustered.

Whose fault is it that it turned out like this. . .?!

I sent a resentful gaze and silent condemnation, but if he responded with a melting smile, I wouldn’t complain.

“Shall we sleep together like this?”

“Huh?! There’s no way we’re going to sleep together!”

I quickly pulled my hand that was being held and hurriedly stood up.

As I tidied my hair with a comb, I heard a chuckle from behind.

“. . .What?”

When I turned around to confront him, Cid, who covered his mouth with his fist, narrowed his eyes and stood up.

“No, it’s just that you’re so adorable.” 

I intuitively realized that the cuteness he referred to was not the kind of cuteness I desired.

“I’m going to change and go to sleep, so Cid, go back to your room! Besides, you must be more tired than me, right? You should go to bed early!”

I tried to come up with a reason to drive Cid out, but he tried to obey me.

He gave me a gentle smile and said, “Good night,” then left through the door.

With a click and the sound of the door closing, I was left alone in the room.

“. . .”

The space fell silent.

I had been with Cid all this time, so suddenly being alone made me feel lonely.

No, this won’t do. With a mind that can’t be independent like this, it’s absolutely no good!

To shake off the loneliness, I moved briskly, changed from my dress into pajamas, and quickly laid down on the bed in the bedroom. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝟗: 𝐂𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐥𝐲, 𝐝𝐨𝐠𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐦

It has been five days since I started living in Aunty’s mansion.

Cid has hit it off with Marquis David and is busy deciphering the grimoires.

Marquis, who was originally a civil servant, is a magic enthusiast himself and holds the title of Red Laverite, a mage. It seems that his otaku blood stirs when it comes to reviving ancient teleportation magic.

The two of them stayed up late in their rooms, so aunty and I were amazed.

As for me, I had to seriously think about my future life, so I had been learning to cook in the kitchen to open a bento shop.

It was only the third day, but I had learned one thing.

Cooking is difficult.

Not only is it challenging to make it delicious, but when opening a shop, it becomes necessary to make the same thing in large quantities with the same taste. I realized how difficult it is to stabilize the taste.

“Viara, how about just investing in the bento shop and focusing on coming up with cooking ideas?”

Aunty said that with a smile, feeling sorry for me.

“Well, if I have to cook and handle the procurement myself, and even get into kelp cultivation, I would need more than one body.”

“. . .How about starting the kelp cultivation after the shop starts to do well?”

Aunty was amazed at my attempt to do everything at once.

“Cid is here, so talk it over with him. . .but he’s currently obsessed with the grimoires, so it’s impossible at the moment.”

“Yes.”

We were eating cake in the dining hall. However, Marquis David, who came to take a break in the dining hall, fell asleep with his head on the table. 

“He becomes like this when he gets absorbed in something. It’s troublesome.”

“Is it a common occurrence?”

“Sometimes.”

He must be a true research type. Marquis David, who forgets to eat and sleep when he is engrossed in something, apparently doesn’t even wake up when the servants deliberately try to wake him.

“I’m sure he’s happy that Cid is here. My children are not the type to be so absorbed in grimoires.”

Aunty, who put her shawl on her sleeping husband, had a gentle expression despite being amazed. I couldn’t help but smile, thinking that being a couple is nice.

“Hey, Viara.”

“Yes.”

Aunty suddenly looked at me and smiled.

“If you and Cid are fine with it, I want you to stay here forever. We can hire Cid, and you can do whatever you want, whether it’s running a shop or kelp cultivation.”

I was taken aback by the unexpected offer.

“There’s no reason why you have to go to Nice, right? Please think about it together.”

“Aunty. . .”

“With Cid here, it’s very reassuring to have him as a heater, I mean, as a bodyguard.”

She said heater!

She doesn’t want him as a fighting force, but as a heat source!

“Well, think about it.”

Aunty laughed it off with an “Ohohohoho” and dragged her husband back to their room.

I can’t help but feel that even the servants’ eyes are filled with expectations like “heating. . .heating. . .” 

I often hear that dogs are warm and can be used as a substitute for heating, but I never expected Cid to be treated as a heating device.

With mixed feelings, I returned to my room. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟎: 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐩𝐨𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐝

Night fell, and I headed to Cid’s room with a tea set. Well, it’s not really heading anywhere since his room is right next to mine.

– Knock, knock.

“. . .”

– Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock.

“. . .”

He must be engrossed in his grimoire.

Making that judgment, I opened the door without permission and entered his room.

As expected, he didn’t notice me entering and was sitting at his desk with his back turned towards me.

He couldn’t be more defenseless.

I placed the tea set on the table and stealthily approached him from behind.

“Who’s there?”

“Huh?!”

I pressed hard on the pressure point on the back of his neck which causes intense pain. It’s Onii-sama’s secret technique, a one-hit kill move.

Reacting to the pressure point, Cid stood up reflexively and casted a healing spell on the back of his neck. It must have been quite painful.

“That’s terrible! You’re just reading books without noticing me! I’m hurt!”

Seeing me pretending to cry, Cid half-smiled.

“But I’m the one who got hurt!? Ethan-sama really taught you this dangerous technique.”

“Correct. Now, let’s have some tea. If you keep reading books all the time, your body will get messed up.”

Standing in front of the tea set, I removed the cloth cover that was keeping the pot warm, and a sweet aroma gently wafted up. Today, I brewed apple tea.

Since it was supervised by the maid, I can trust the taste. As I was about to pour it into a cup, Cid silently stood up and silently embraced me from behind.

“Hey. . .?! It’s spilling!” 

“Don’t worry~ Vi-sama, you can handle it.”

He chuckled and kissed my nape on purpose to unsettle me.

Then he buried his face in my hair and took a deep breath while rubbing his cheek against it.

“Ah~ I’m healed by Vi-sama’s scent.”

That’s quite a sexual harassment remark.

I remained frozen, holding the pot in my right hand, unable to move a muscle.

“No, let go.”

“No, I don’t feel the need to.”

“I’m making tea?! There’s nothing but necessity!!”

“Really?”

His wrapped arm tightened even more.

He doesn’t seem to have any intention of letting go.

My heart was pounding, and Cid must definitely feel it too.

The hand holding the pot started trembling uncontrollably.

The room fell silent.

I felt his warmth and weight.

His breath against my ear was so soothing and regular――

Huh?

“. . .Cid?”

No response.

I thought so, but when I cautiously turn my face to the side, his eyelids were completely closed.

He’s sleeping.

He was sleeping while standing!

“Hey!”

I quickly put the pot back on the table.

Infusing my arm with magic, I peel him off and this time he just went limp and leaned his entire body onto me.

“Ughhh!!”

I carried him on my back and dragged him to the bedroom.

I thought about giving him a princess carry, but our height difference doesn’t allow for it.

I threw him onto the bed, and it was clear that he was fast asleep lying on his back.

He must have been reading his grimoire until he got so sleepy. 

I couldn’t even say anything out of exasperation.

“What’s going on, really.”

As I looked at his peacefully sleeping face, I couldn’t help but find myself thinking he’s a little cute, which disgusted me. 

Even when I poked his cheek with my finger, he didn’t wake up. He’s too cute. . .!

His mouth was slightly open. 

“Cid~?”

I tried lifting his bangs, stroking his cheek, tracing his eyebrows with my finger. I could play with him endlessly!

He rolled onto his back and scratched his stomach with his left hand, even that gesture was cute in an old man-like way. I thought it was quite poisonous to find this appearance cute.

And his abs were visible through the gap in his flipped-up shirt. 

Horseback riding really works the abs, huh?

Even though I was just sitting sideways, my stomach had become quite toned since leaving Roselia.

When I poked Cid’s stomach with my index finger, I was surprised by how hard it was.

“Mmm.”

Cid scratched his stomach again, and then rolled over and lied face down.

“Sigh. . .”

I could watch him for hours. He’s so cute.

I lied down on the bed as well and enjoyed watching Cid.

I gently held his limp hand and snuggled up to him, savoring the happiness. 

It made me incredibly happy when he unconsciously squeezed my hand back.

“I came here to talk, whether we’re going to Nice or staying here.”

I guess I can talk to him about it  tomorrow.

I covered Cid and myself with a blanket and dimed the lamp to the lowest setting, then fell asleep just like that. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟏: 𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝐇𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐃𝐨𝐠

As I dozed off in the pleasant warmth, I realized that a deep voice was calling me.

“Vi-sama.”

“Huh?!”

Upon hearing that familiar voice, I snapped my eyelids open.

“Are you awake?”

Resting my elbows on the bed, I propped my head up with my hand and looked at Cid, who was lying next to me, smiling.

Is this what they call “sleeping together”? I was too surprised to say anything.

“Don’t you have any sense of caution, my princess?”

“Huh?”

Seeing Cid grinning, I remembered that I had carried him to the bed and ended up sleeping next to him.

My drowsy mind fully awakened.

“Huh? Huh? Ah. . .”

“It’s still midnight. Probably about four hours have passed since I fell asleep.”

“Four hours?! And Cid has fully recovered in just that amount of time?!”

Why is he revived?! Isn’t he lacking sleep?

“Because I had a sound sleep.”

Is that the issue?

Could it be that this is one of the natural cheat skills called [Short Sleeper]. . .?!

Having less sleep is fine, a unique constitution! I’m envious!!

As I blinked, Cid smiled and lightly kissed my cheek.

Tickled, I shrunk my neck and closed my eyes.

Even in the dim room, I could feel his intense gaze on me.

This is bad.

A young man and woman of marriageable age being friendly on the same bed. . .This is definitely dangerous!!

Instinctively sensing danger, I tried to escape from the bed, pretending to be casual and feeling a breeze.

But of course, there was no way my escape would be allowed in front of the predator.

“Don’t run away, Viara.”

It’s unfair to whisper in my ear like that.

“Huh. . .!”

He even slipped his hand into my nightdress, which was also unfair.

“Hey. . .!”

This is getting really bad.

His hand was gently caressing the places that should never be touched, with a slow touch.

I tried to hold his hand and stop him somehow, but I couldn’t muster any strength.

“Mmm. . .!”

Being overwhelmed by an unfamiliar kiss, my breathing became erratic.

Finally released from his lips, I looked at him with teary eyes, and Cid briefly showed a startled expression.

But he immediately put on a mischievous smile again.

“Hit me and run away. Can you escape?”

It’s unfair to leave the choice up to me.

Moreover, he told me not to run away earlier, and now he says it’s okay to run away.

―Which one is it?

Because he showed a slightly lonely face, I couldn’t push him away.

“If things continue like this, I will have my way with you, you know?”

Cid, who was halfway on top of me, traced my throat and collarbone with his lips.

Seeing that he didn’t completely restrain me, it seems like he really intends to let me go.

“Will you still like me if I run away?”

“I won’t dislike you.”

He smiled at me when as I said something so childish.

“Really?”

“Yes, really. I will still love you even if you run away to the ends of the earth. In fact, I would want to chase after you.”

“. . .Is that your hobby?”

“To some extent.”

I see.

“Perhaps my ancestors were hunting dogs.”

“Is it instinct to chase?”

“Yes, it is. But I only want to chase after Vi-sama.”

Even though he looked at me with puppy eyes, I didn’t understand why he wanted to chase after me.

“You’re just joking. . .”

I was so nervous that I could hardly breathe.

When I glared at him with resentment, he gave a wry smile.

Then, he gently took my left hand and placed it on the center of his chest.

“I’m nervous too.”

The sound of his heart beating fast was the greatest proof.

“I’ve been agonizing, agonizing, agonizing, agonizing for so long.”

His pained voice tightened my chest. But at the same time, it filled me with joy.

“I love you. Can I hold you?”

To ask me so directly at this moment.

This is the most heart-pounding moment so far. My heart might break.

But I can’t run away, and I don’t want to. I have to brace myself. . .!

I’m sorry, Onii-sama!

Viara will attack Cid!

I made up my mind.

I held his cheeks with both hands and kissed him on my own.

“Huh?!”

It was a momentary touch that I couldn’t even call a kiss, but Cid’s red eyes widened in surprise.

“. . .Because it’s my first time, I don’t know what to do.”

I said in a weak voice, and Cid recoiled as if he had been struck.

He covered his face with both hands and started rolling around on the bed.

What?! Why is he rolling around?! 

“Ahh~!! I told you it’s okay to run away~! Why are you like this. . .Haa, too cute. . .”

Having escaped, I sat up on the bed, dumbfounded.

“What’s that? What does it mean?”

Telling me I could run away, asking if it’s okay to hold me, and when I finally initiated the kiss, this is what happens. . .!

What’s going on? Does he not realize how much courage I mustered?

Driven by anger, I threw a pillow at Cid. It made a soft thud and the pillow hit the floor.

“I’ve decided! Don’t touch me until we get married!!”

“What?! Vi-sama?!”

Sulking, I covered myself with a 

blanket and curled up.

Cid approached me gently and cautiously called out to me.

“Vi-sama, are you serious?”

“I am.”

“No, I don’t want to. I will definitely touch you.”

“What?! How can you declare that in this situation?”

Surprised, my anger dissipated.

In this situation, the natural flow would be to not touch each other for a while.

“If there’s a chance, I want to touch you, kiss you, and even smell you, so please allow me.”

“You’re shamelessly revealing your perverted side?!”

As I emerged from the blanket, Cid said calmly.

“Earlier, I was joking. . . Well, more than 70% of it was serious, but I realized it would be bad today and summoned all my self-control. It would be troublesome if Viara couldn’t get up.”

Can’t get up, huh.

Suddenly faced with a realistic situation, I strangely found myself agreeing.

Cid hugged me tightly with the blanket and gently stroked me. 

“Besides, I’ve decided that receiving everything from Viara will be my reward for later.”

“Reward for later?”

What does he plan to do this time? When I glanced at him, he returned a soft smile.

“I will try to reproduce the teleportation magic. I’ll do my best to make it happen as soon as possible.”

How many months or years will it take?

Perhaps by then, all the turmoil surrounding my broken engagement will be resolved.

Wrapped in warmth, I vaguely thought about such things as I fell asleep.

“I’ll wait patiently.”

“Yes, please wait.”

As I closed my eyes, drowsiness once again overtook me.

In the not-so-distant future, I will probably start a new life with Cid. That’s the kind of premonition I had as I fell asleep. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟐: 𝐒𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐔𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞

We arrived at Aunty’s mansion, and already six days have passed.

Whether we go to Nice or not depends on how the Roselia royal family responds to the Duke Marcus family.

When His Majesty returns from his trip, my treatment should be determined. And the arrest order for Cid should also be revoked.

In short, we were currently observing the situation.

Cid was engrossed in deciphering the grimoire, neglecting his meals and sleep. It seemed like he prefers magic books over basic necessities.

Even though it was already evening, he didn’t come out of his room. I headed towards Cid’s room with a tray carrying stew, bread, and a cup of tea.

Personally, I can’t help but think that it would be nice to live near Aunty the longer I stay here. However, considering Cid’s background and the abilities of the purple spinel, my hesitation outweighed the desire.

If a war were to break out between Fumble and Roselia in the future, David-ojiisama, who holds the position of a Marquis, and my cousin would fight for the sake of this country.

But at a time like that, it wouldn’t be right for us, who have been under the care of the Marquis’s family, to do nothing.

It would mean fighting against Onii-sama, who carries the Duke family in Roselia. . .

In the current situation where Henry is likely to be removed from the throne, Dimitri-sama would lead the country of Fumble, so the possibility of a war between the two countries is low. However, this is based on the current situation.

Since Nice is a commercially prosperous parliamentary country, they would most likely want to avoid war. 

They know that it is more profitable to stimulate the economy rather than plunder it.

Now I understand why Cid suggested going to Nice.

As long as Henry is the king, there is high possibility of a clash between Fumble and Roselia. Cid anticipated that I would be caught in a dilemma if I stayed at Aunty’s mansion.

Although I intended to escape and abandon my homeland, I have people I want to protect, such as Onii-sama, the people of the Duke Marcus family, and the citizens. I am reminded once again that I am not free just because I am not the head of the family.

I have to carefully consider what I want to do from now on. . .

While thinking that, I opened the door to his room. 

I didn’t knock. 

For the past few days, there has been no answer even when I knock, so I decided to just open the door myself. 

Cid is usually absorbed in reading magical books at his desk or lying down sleeping. 

“Cid. . .”

I held the tray with one hand and push the door. 

I called out, but his usual back was not at the desk. 

Where could he have gone?

I looked around and saw that the bedroom door was open, and I could hear voices coming from inside.

[. . .so, that’s why. . .]

It’s Onii-sama’s voice.

It seems like he was communicating in the bedroom.

I placed the tray with the meal on the table and headed towards the bedroom.

When I peeked inside, Cid was sitting with his legs crossed on the bed. 

As I took a step inside to call out to him, I was stunned by the conversation I accidentally overheard.

[Since it’s Elsa, I don’t think we need to worry, but don’t tell Viara.]

The timing was perfect.

I inadvertently heard Onii-sama’s words clearly, “Don’t tell Viara.” 

Cid, who was sitting on the bed with his legs crossed, noticed that I had entered and quickly turned around.

“Vi-sama?! Is that beef stew?”

He seemed to have smelled the food.

No, no, that’s not the point right now. I ignore the meal I brought for the time being.

“What happened to Elsa, Onii-sama?”

I rushed to Cid’s side and jump onto the bed, speaking into the square communication device.

[Viara?! You damn Cid!, Didn’t you tell me that no one was in the bedroom?! You better not have laid a finger on my precious sister, you bastard?!]

“Onii-sama, that doesn’t matter right now. Please explain the situation!”

After being angry for a while, Onii-sama reluctantly opened up when I pressed him assertively.

[Elsa has been missing for two days.]

Elsa is my maid.

She should be back in Duke Marcus territory with Onii-sama and the others now.

According to Onii-sama, Elsa suddenly disappeared two days ago.

[After finishing her work at the mansion two days ago, Elsa didn’t return to her room. There are no signs of a struggle inside or at her workplace. It’s as if she suddenly vanished.]

It was like some kind of abduction. 

“Is it a kidnapping? Or is there a possibility that she left voluntarily?”

She’s not the type to leave without saying anything. Even so, I’m worried because it’s not peaceful enough for a twenty-year-old woman to go somewhere alone at night.

[If it’s a kidnapping, there would definitely be traces. It’s more likely that she left voluntarily, but we don’t know if it was truly her own will or if she was lured away under a threat.]

Elsa is the daughter of Cid’s mentor.

She may not be as powerful as a purple spinel, but she has enough strength to use magic and fight.

Even if someone were to threaten her, taking her hostage would be impossible since her only family is her father, Master Grat. Her father is too strong. He is a close aide to His Majesty the King an he returned to this country just a few days ago after accompanying him on the trip.

“Elsa wouldn’t leave without saying anything to Miss or Ethan-sama.”

Cid also seems to have no idea why Elsa disappeared. From his furrowed brows, I could vaguely sense that he thought she might have gotten involved in some trouble.

[I didn’t want to worry you Viara, so I was planning not to tell you, but since you asked, there’s no helping it. If by any chance Elsa goes there, let me know.]

[I understand. Well, I don’t think that will happen.]

[Ah. Only Rosso, Galius, and I know that you’re in Fumble now.]

Silence filled the room.

Onii-sama said, “It’s okay, we will definitely find her,” and ended the communication. 

“. . .”

Cid wrapped both of his hands around my hand as I sit next to him and gently stroked it with his fingers, comforting me.

“You don’t have to worry about Elsa, Vi-sama. Ethan-sama will search for her.”

Considering my feelings, he reassured me in a gentle voice. I also squeezed his hand back and showed a faint smile.

“Yes. . .She’ll be fine, right? Elsa is strong.”

“Yes. If it comes to hand-to-hand combat, I would definitely lose.”

That much?!

If she can fight that well without any weapons, the possibility of her being forcefully abducted seems low.

“Besides, Master Grat dotes on Elsa. It’s ridiculous for anyone to lay a hand on his daughter. He’s too powerful. He is a close aide to His Majesty the King, and he returned to this country just a few days ago.”

“Yeah. . .”

One after another, factors that assured me that Elsa will be okay were mentioned precisely because they knew her well. However, the uneasiness that sprouted in my heart didn’t disappear.

“It’s late now, and there’s nothing we can do. Vi-sama, please rest well and prepare for tomorrow. If there are any developments, let’s give our best starting from tomorrow!”

Cid said that to dispel the unpleasant atmosphere and took my hand, leaving the bedroom.

He found the meal on the table and started eating happily.

I sat next to him and absentmindedly watched him munching on the bread. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟑: 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐧’𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭

After finishing our meal, Cid escorted me to my room (even though it was right next door), and by midnight, I finally got into bed.

However, whether I could sleep or not was a different matter. . .I could only think about Elsa, who had disappeared.

Elsa, with her cool impression and brown hair tied up in a bun, always listened to my concerns. Even though i was engaged to the prince, she was the only one I could consult about my growing feelings for Cid.

[If it comes to it, you should just knock Cid out with a finishing move and take him away!] 

[Ethan-sama asked me for stomach medicine, should I also put an aphrodisiac in Cid’s drink? It takes courage for a woman, you know.]

[After all, the prince is just a red ruby. Our young men can bury him somewhere with no problem.]

. . .Looking back, she didn’t give me any useful advice. 

But she’s someone I love, like an older sister. In fact, the young men even called her “sis.”

When we last parted, she said this while holding a magic gun. 

[Hehe. . .I wanted to see how many shots I could fire in a row.]

Ah, the more I think about it, the more I feel that Elsa is safe.

After all, there’s no way the servants of the Duke Marcus family would be attacked by just any ruffians.

“It’ll be fine, right?”

Since there was no use thinking about it, I listed all the reasons in my head why Elsa would be safe.

And then, feeling thirsty, I slipped out of bed and headed to the dining hall.

――Click. . .

However, before I could open the door, I heard the sound of someone leaving Cid’s room next door.

In the dim hallway, I could hear the quiet sound of footsteps. It was the sound of one person.

When I opened the door, I saw Cid’s figure as I expected. 

However, he was wearing a dark gray robe and dressed as if he was going out, descending from the hallway to the lower floor.

Where is he going at this late hour?

Curious, I quickly put on a shawl and followed him. 

❂❂❂❂❂❂

A pitch-black backyard.

The small luminescent stones along the mansion’s walls provided just enough light to walk.

Cid smoothly walked through the darkness as if taking a stroll.

I followed him quietly, suppressing my magic to the maximum. Since we used to play hide-and-seek, I was good at concealing my presence.

After walking for a while, I saw a man standing in front of a wall made of bricks from the Marquis mansion. I couldn’t make out his face even when I squinted.

But Cid walked towards the person without hesitation and stopped about two meters away.

“It’s been a while.”

Cid bowed respectfully, placing his right hand in front of his chest. There was only one person I knew of whom he would show such an attitude.

“Oh, it’s sudden, but I’m glad you noticed.”

A deep, husky voice spoke.

It was, Grat Roberta Cid’s mentor and the leader of the magicians

He was wearing a black robe over his travel attire, with thick pants and leather boots. Like Cid, he had a purple spinel brooch shining on his chest.

His short-cropped hair was the same brown as Elsa’s. He looked like a sturdy knight, but he was undoubtedly a mage.

Why would Master Grat be here. . .

Hiding against the wall, I peered at the two of them.

After Cid straightened his posture, he calmly smiled and spoke.

“I can sense your magical power, Master. It startles me when I feel it approaching.”

“You say that a lot. You’re still emitting a combative magic power.”

“Well, thanks. By the way, how did you know it was me?”

“I thought it would be you. Even if it’s you, you must have some information about Viara-sama and her aunt. It’s a shame that my prediction turned out to be correct.”

It was an ordinary conversation between two familiar individuals. However, there was a faint tension in the air.

“Why did Master come all the way here? Is it about Elsa?”

My heart skipped a beat at Cid’s words.

Master Grat replied without changing his expression.

“I’ve been delayed in various matters since returning from my trip. His Majesty and the Queen are like puppets. They seem to be completely under someone’s control. The order to capture you is still in effect.”

“Oh, really? But that prince doesn’t have that kind of power, does he?”

“Yeah, he’s just a puppet. . .Well, that’s a story for another time. We need to bring you and Viara-sama back to Roselia Castle, or Elsa’s life will be in danger. It wouldn’t be wise for us to fight each other here, right? Will you come together with me?”

Although their conversation seemed casual, Master Grat looked at Cid as if he was trying to persuade him. There was a sense of tension because they both knew that if they were to fight here, neither of them would come out unscathed.

“”. . .””

The master and disciple stared at each other, silently measuring each other’s emotions.

I held my breath and watched their interaction.

In the darkness, it seemed like only the sound of my heartbeat echoed loudly. 

I tightly gripped my hands in front of my chest, but my patience was reaching its limit.

I can’t just hide here while Elsa might be killed.

Just when I was about to burst out, Cid casually said in his usual light tone.

“Hmm, isn’t it odd that it’s Elsa alone in exchange for the two of us?”

“What?”

“Well, normally hostage exchanges are one-on-one, right? It feels weird if the numbers aren’t the same.”

“Cid, are you saying that at a time like this?”

“I am! Master taught me to think carefully before negotiating, you know?”

“Ah, i did. I’ve never regretted not teaching you more than I do now.”

“That’s right~ Oh, I understand. I’ll go to the castle. But Vi-sama can’t. It would be like human trafficking, and I don’t do that.”

“Human trafficking?!”

Master Grat was dumbfounded and speechless.

Wait, did Cid just say he’ll go to the castle alone? Leaving me behind?

A shock akin to being hit in the head overwhelms me.

Unbelievable. Leaving me behind and returning to Roselia alone. It’s like infiltrating enemy territory, and on top of that, Elsa is being held hostage, so I have no idea what might happen.

“Cid! What are you saying?!”

I stepped forward in front of the two of them.

Master Grat looked surprised, but Cid turned back to me without changing his expression.

From his attitude, I realized that he had noticed I was hiding.

“What do you mean? I won’t allow you to go alone!”

Seeing me scold him with heavy breaths, Cid crossed his arms and showed a troubled expression, saying, “Hmm.” Then Master Grat tried to persuade Cid again.

“I want Viara-sama to accompany us to ensure Elsa’s safety.”

“I don’t want to.”

“I won’t let anything happen to Viara-sama. I will protect her.”

“Eh.”

It was a reasonable proposal as a father.

But Cid, like a child, blatantly voiced his dislike, uncrossed his arms, and pulled me into his chest.

“Huh?!”

What is he doing in front of Master?!

We can’t be doing this when the conversation isn’t settled yet.

Surprised, I froze in his arms.

“Cid? Um, we need to talk. . .mmm?!”

As I tried to discuss our future plans, my lips were sealed midway. His arm around my back tightened, squeezing me.

“My Viara. . .”

Cid, who has embraced me with his weight, buried his face in my pale blue hair and whispered softly in my ear.

“Please forgive me.”

“Huh?”

He quickly withdrew and placed his index finger on my forehead.

A warm magical power gently entered my forehead, and as he muttered something, a strong drowsiness overwhelmed me.

“What. . .?!”

Frowning, I desperately shook my head to shake off the drowsiness. 

But I could no longer keep my eyes open, and my body started to feel hot. 

“Vi-sama.”

Sweat began to trickle down slowly.

I immediately realized that I had been put under a sleep spell. Despite that, I desperately resisted and opened my eyes again, only to see Cid’s face smiling gently as usual. 

“Please wait for me. I will definitely come back.”

“Sh. . .”

Multiple magic circles appeared around me.

“Hey! Cid, what the. . .!”

Master Grat shouted. 

There was an Intense drowsiness and a bright light. When I closed my eyes due to the brightness, I found myself unable to stand and i knelt down on the spot. 

I felt a sudden sensation of floating. The wind swirled around my feet, and I feel my body gently lift off the ground.

The temperature and scent of the air surrounding me changed.

――Whoosh. . .

As I collapsed onto the ground, I should have felt my body sinking into the cold earth.

However, what I felt on my shoulders, fingers, and cheeks was a long pile of soft carpet. 

“Viara?!”

I heard Onii-sama’s voice. He seemed quite anxious. 

I faintly opened my eyes and saw a reddish-brown carpet and black leather. 

Clearly, I am indoors, and it’s comfortably warm.

“Viara!? Where did you come from. . .Cid, right?!”

The person lifting my body was undoubtedly Onii-sama. 

This was the main residence in Duke Marcus’s territory. It’s Onii-sama’s room. 

In my fading consciousness, I realized that I was sent here by teleportation magic. 

“Pull yourself together! Rosso, call a doctor!”

Hustling footsteps echo around.

The strength of the arms embracing me was very strong, and even though we weren’t far apart, Onii-sama’s scent felt nostalgic. 

Behind my closed eyelids, I saw  Cid’s face smiling as usual. The last words he said lingered in my ears. 

[Please wait for me. I will definitely come back]

Did he reproduce teleportation magic for this? To let me escape if necessary?

Wasn’t it to prevent me from being captured while he wasn’t by my side, knowing that I was following him? 

As long as I’m by his side, he can teleport me to Onii-sama. 

“Cid. . .”

Unable to resist the drowsiness, I fell into a deep sleep. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟒: 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐈 𝐰𝐨𝐤𝐞 𝐮𝐩

I can hear the chirping of birds, lively and energetic.

The beautiful sounds of harps, flutes, and organs reached my consciousness, and I slowly opened my eyes.

It’s a refreshing. . .no, too refreshing morning.

Unbelievable.

Feeling a bad premonition, I looked towards the source of the sound, and there I saw Onii-sama, looking pale and worn out (although he somehow looks more handsome), and a group of strong men playing musical instruments.

I cleared my throat and strained my voice from my scratchy throat.

“What is going on. . .?!”

I don’t remember ever having such a grand morning performance.

When I called out, Onii-sama’s eyes widen, and the young men stopped playing and drop their instruments.

“Viaraaaa!!”

“””Miss!!”””

Onii-sama embraced me, and I felt like I was about to pass out. Dr. Vivian, my attending physician, stopped him, and finally, peace was restored.

“Viara-sama, I’m glad you woke up~. I wonder when Cid-chan blended recovery magic with sleep magic.”

Dr. Vivian wriggled her sexy body in a tight black dress and smiled sweetly.

“Huh?! Cid!!”

I quickly looked around, and indeed, this was my room in the Duke Marcus mansion.

Cid is not here.

“Yeah, he seems fine~. Cid-chan casted a powerful magic on you, so you slept for two nights.”

“Two nights?!”

I was transported here by teleportation magic and fell asleep right away. 

“Onii-sama, where is Cid?!”

I grabbed Onii-sama’s collar in excitement.

“Ugh! Cid went. . .to the capital. . .”

“The capital?! He went to Roselia’s castle?!”

I let go of Onii-sama in a hurry.

“Cough. . .! Ah, yes, that’s right. Cid returned to Roselia by ship the morning before yesterday and has been at the royal castle since then. I had a conversation with him through the communication set  right after he boarded the ship, so there’s no mistake.”

“You talked?!”

He wasn’t restrained when he boarded the ship. Could it be that Grat-sama came alone to bring Cid and me back. . .?

According to Onii-sama, Cid is already in the castle, so communication is not possible.

“Grat-sama said that His Majesty and the Queen’s behavior was strange. . .What on earth is happening in the castle?”

I want to go and meet Cid right away.

He told me to wait, but I couldn’t just sit still and wait obediently.

“Viara, you don’t have to worry. Trust Cid and wait. Duke Marcus’s family has taken care of things here and there.”

My older brother, who had just been unreliable moments ago, suddenly became resolute and serious. He had the demeanor of a true head of the Marcus family.

It seems he has no intention of telling me anything.

“Did Cid tell you something? Like, ‘Keep quiet about this to Viara’?”

Seeing my stern expression, Onii-sama smiled sadly. 

“When a man is in love, he can do anything to protect the woman he loves. That’s just how men are. So Viara, just wait without thinking too much.”

When he casually placed his hand on my shoulder, I suddenly felt furious.

“Don’t act like you know everything. It’s not like onii- sama has ever fallen in love. Rather than a teapot, he’s more like a boiling pot of royal milk tea.”

“onii- sama  has had two or three loves, give or take a few, rounding it up to a hundred.”

“But he’s been rejected a lot.”

What is he talking about when he hasn’t even had his first love yet?

All the men standing behind me had the same expression.

“Ethan-sama, you’re too kind. . .”

“I don’t want to hear that from you guys.”

Onii-sama is the young head of the family, he has money, and his appearance is flawless. He’s a very, very popular man. Unfortunately, he’s a coward and can’t talk to women.

Unable to withstand our gaze, Onii-sama cleared his throat and changed the subject.

“Anyway! I have a lot of things to do, so I’ll go back to my miscellaneous tasks now! Viara, take your time to rest. You must be tired from your journey.”

I was frustrated that I was left behind by Cid, but I’m not that tired.

Thanks to the sleep magic blend of recovery spells, I was full of energy.

However, since I slept for two nights, my body was stiff as a board.

“Understood. I’ll have a meal first and regain my spirit.”

But that doesn’t mean I’ll be obedient.

“I love you, my adorable Vi.” 

Onii-sama patted my head, then told  Dr. Vivian to take care of me and left the room.

“. . .Ethan-sama, if it were me, I would be your companion anytime. Hehe.”

Saying that, Dr. Vivian exuded a seductive aura. She should be my late mother’s classmate and around 43 years old.

There’s no way my older brother would have the ability to pursue a relationship with someone like a pinnacle of eroticism. Besides, as his sister, I want him to experience a wholesome and bright first love.

As I looked at her with half-closed eyes, Dr. Vivian turned to me and gave me a bewitching smile.

“Well then, Viara-sama. Let’s eat lots of delicious food!”

“Yes.”

Knowing Cid, I don’t think he went to the capital just to become a hostage. He must be plotting something.

Anyway, I need to prepare myself for what lies ahead and make sure my body is in top condition.

I got out of bed and chased away the young men, then immediately had a maid bring me a change of clothes and switch into my usual mode. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟓: 𝐖𝐚𝐬 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐝

Three days later, I was at the circuit field in Duke Marcus’s territory with bald head Galius.

Here, in addition to weapons like magic and guns, there were also magic scooters and magic jet ski’s.

“It’s been a while, so I’m worried if I can ride properly.”

――Kyuuiiiin. . .

Wearing a simple dress with pants modified from riding attire, I rode the magic scooter and infused magic from the handle. Ah, I slightly disliked the feeling. It’s creepy how the magic is being drawn from my palm.

Cid said, “You’ll get used to it,” but I’d rather avoid it if possible.

“Hey, how long does it take to get to the capital on this?”

“. . .About two hours, I suppose.”

Galius answered with a slightly furrowed brow.

He probably guessed what I was planning and couldn’t agree with it.

“Two hours, huh? But I don’t want to keep losing magic the whole time.”

“If you have larger crystal stones, you can put them in the tank.”

He pointed to the seat I was sitting on.

The crystal stone condensed with magic played a role similar to coal or gasoline. 

When you open the saddle, there is an insertion point, and if you put the crystal stone there, it automatically sucks up magic power. But. . .

“Large crystal stones are only found in the mountains.” 

“Yes. You’d want them to be palm-sized. Generally, with Cid’s skills, he could fly to the capital non-stop at a speed of around 80 kilometers per hour. But with Miss, I imagine it would be around 50 kilometers per hour.”

Is it really that different?! 

Once again, I realized the abnormality of the purple spinel.

To help Cid, I absolutely need the magic scooter, but I can’t fully utilize its performance. What should I do about this?

As I crossed my arms and thought seriously, Galius hesitantly asked in a low voice.

“Miss. . .um. . .”

“What?”

“If you were to become pregnant, you wouldn’t be able to ride the magic scooter.”

“What?”

For a moment, I didn’t understand what he was saying.

But I quickly realized what Galius was worried about and hurriedly denied it.

“What are you talking about! There’s no way I could be pregnant, right?!”

“Eh!? Is that so!? W-wait, didn’t Cid’s. . . um, his hands. . .?”

“Don’t say that so bluntly! Please!”

Galius had mistakenly believed that something had happened between me and Cid during our escape.

No, we were on the verge of it.

I thought it would be fine even if it happened.

Wait, could it be that Onii-sama and everyone else also misunderstood. . .?!

“This is. . .a serious situation!”

Seeing me holding my head and writhing in embarrassment, Galius laughed.

“Oh, but if that’s the case, I can ride this with peace of mind. That’s good, that’s good.”

“Wait, were you also worried about that?, Not that you didn’t want me to ride the magic scooter to the capital?”

“Huh? Yes, of course. Miss will go even if I try to stop her, right?”

I see. It’s not that he wanted to stop me from going, but he would have  if I was pregnant.

Galius smiled as I looked dumbfounded.

“It’s okay! We’ll get on anywhere for Miss’s sake!”

“Well, that’s reassuring!”

I smiled along with him, but the problem still wasn’t solved.

“Should we somehow get the crystal stones or leave here right away and take our time. . .?”

We pondered. However, a savior appeared here.

“Miss!!”

“Everyone! Are you all doing well?!”

Running in commotion, it was the young men from our household, the strong ones who were forced by Onii-sama to undergo training in the snowy mountains.

They heard that I was here and came to see me as soon as they returned.

“Miss, you look great! That’s such a relief. . . Gah!”

Don’t cry. You were probably in more danger of losing your life than me.

“Ahh, Miss! Cid is an idiot! Miss will always be Miss!”

Huh, so they still think that something happened between me and Cid?

I’m too lazy to deny it, so let’s leave it as it is.

As I looked dumbfounded, the squad leader, Herman, reached out his hand in front of me. In the bag he held, there was something heavy.

“We wanted to give this to Miss as a present.”

“Huh, is this by any chance. . .”

What was there was a giant crystal stone. And there were fifteen of them.

“When we dug a hole to keep warm in the mountains, we happened to find them. We thought they were beautiful, so we wanted to give them to Miss.”

Overwhelmed with emotion, I tightly held Herman’s hand.

“Thank you!! This is incredibly convenient!”

“Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch!”

Oops, I accidentally released magic while squeezing his hand.

I quickly let go and looked at Galius.

“With these, we can go to the capital immediately, right?!”

He nodded with a big smile.

“Also, to correct something, the original purpose of their trip to the mountains was to mine these crystal stones. Ethan-sama said, ‘If it comes to a battle, they’ll bombard with magic cannons relentlessly!’ So they went to gather the crystal stones as a power source for that.”

“Is onii-sama. . . planning to turn the capital into a wasteland?”

It wasn’t just for my convenience.

It was a manifestation of Onii-sama’s dark side.

“Well, it’s fine! I’ll make good use of the crystal stones!”

Alright, now I can go and help Cid anytime.

I happily returned to the mansion.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟔: 𝐈 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐚𝐝 𝐧𝐞𝐰𝐬, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐢𝐭?

“Onii-sama! Viara is heading to the capital. . .Wait, what happened? What’s with that expression?”

As soon as I returned to the mansion, I rushed into the study and was surprised to see Onii-sama, who had dark circles under his eyes. 

He looked more exhausted than I was when I woke up.

“Viara. . .”

“Is there anything bad?” 

In his hand were several letters with the royal seal stamped prominently on them. 

Reports were also scattered on the desk, and Onii-sama seemed weary from looking at them. 

“Well, there’s good news and bad news, but which do you want to hear first?” 

What kind of choice is that? 

It’s an impossible dilemma. 

“Just tell me everything at once.” 

If you’re going to do it, do it all at once. My heart has reached the point of resignation. It’s just bad news anyway, and I’ll act to destroy everything that comes my way.

Sighing, Onii-sama looked troubled.

“Noah has taken over the Strand Marquis family. His two older brothers were imprisoned for gambling and illegal slave trading, and his father retired and secluded himself. It seems he resigned as the chief priest and became the head of the Strand Marquis.”

“Noah-sama?!”

I was worried about the amount of antacids he was taking. I was shocked to hear that such a thing had happened.

“Onii-sama, didn’t you know?”

“I had some idea. But Noah and I usually talk about magic tools and good ingredients for antacids. . .We don’t really talk about family matters.” 

“That’s right. You’re just pure friends.”

Onii-sama also uses a lot of antacids.

It seems that their friendship is not befitting of nobles, so it seems I found out about it after the fact.

“The problem is, Noah wants to marry you, Viara.”

“What?!”

I snatched the letter from Noah, which my brother had received, and indeed, it was written there that he hopes for a marriage with Viara Marcus. And there was even the King’s signature.

“What does this mean. . .? I’m just a fallen noble daughter.”

“Viara, right now you are considered a powerless young lady who has been taken away by Cid.”

I see.

The arrest warrant for Cid is still in effect, so I need to resolve that quickly, or the lie will become the truth. No matter how much I deny it, people won’t keep their mouths shut.

“In that case, I’ll go and save Cid right away! If I plead with them, they will understand the truth, right?”

“I can’t let my precious sister be put in harm’s way! Besides. . .this is the bigger problem.”

He showed me another letter, and I was speechless.

――Magician Cid will be executed in three days.

It was the first time I felt dizzy with anger. 

The reason is the date on the letter.

Calculating the sent date and the “three days later,” it meant tomorrow morning.

“Only twelve hours left. . .?! Why?!”

I slammed the letter on the desk and immediately tried to leave the room. But Onii-sama grabbed my arm tightly. 

“Wait! I’ll go! I don’t want to believe it, but Noah is pulling the strings behind the scenes. He manipulated the church as he pleased and made Prince Roque his puppet to gain control of the royal family. If Cid disappears, Viara will be within his reach.”

Why me?

I have no memories of being approached as a romantic interest.

“I don’t understand the meaning.”

“Just appearing together doesn’t mean it’s a romantic relationship.”

“Stop pretending to know everything.”

“I had a hunch that Noah had feelings for you . . .But you’ve always been engaged to Prince Roque. Besides, Noah is a commoner and a former priest, so he can’t marry a duke’s daughter due to too many complications.”

Even a priest can marry if they are a commoner. Marriages with nobles are not recognized from the perspective of power concentration and corruption.

However, if Noah-sama resigns as a priest and inherits the Marquis family, it’s a different story.

“I don’t know when he started planning all this, but it seems that it was a miscalculation for Cid to abduct you immediately after the engagement was broken. That’s why he gave advice to Prince Roque and issued the order to capture Cid. If Cid disappears, Viara will be within reach for him.”

“Then, did he also kidnap Elsa? And is he manipulating His Majesty and the Queen? It’s all Noah-sama?”

Onii-sama nodded with a bitter expression.

“Why would he go to such lengths. . .?”

I was skeptical, but Onii-sama seemed to be convinced. 

He gently released his hand from my arm and placed his left hand on the desk, wearing a troubled expression.

The sunlight shining through the window made his beautiful golden hair sparkle.

“The darkness in the hearts of gloomy people like us. . .runs deep.”

“Why are you trying to act cool?”

I was annoyed by his attempt to be a little cool. 

Onii-sama turned towards me and gave instructions Rosso who was waiting .

“As a friend, I want to stop Noah. I’m heading to the capital right away. Rosso, issue the order for the first unit to deploy.”

“Understood.”

Of course, I was also fully determined to go.

As I was about to prepare immediately and head towards the door, Onii-sama stopped me.

“Viara, you can’t. Wait here.”

“What?!”

“We have our own plan here. Viara, just wait. Cid also wants that.”

It all started with the cancellation of my engagement, so why am I being left behind?

I grew frustrated with Onii-sama, who didn’t tell me anything.

“I’ll go on my own!”

――Bang!

I lifted my dress skirt and stormed out of the room. 

There, Onii-sama’s fully armed subordinates were lined up.

“Miss, sorry about this.”

“We were told to keep Miss locked up and not to let her leave the mansion under any circumstances.”

“Please don’t kill me.”

Why is there someone already begging for their life? 

Facing a weak duke’s daughter like myself, there were twenty strong men standing in my way.

“Get out of my way!”

I glared at them with bulging veins, but Rosso approached me from behind and restrained me.

“Let go of me!”

“Ojou-sama, please wait quietly. We will bring Cid back.”

“No! I’m going too!”

I shouted throughout the mansion, but I was restrained by Rosso and pushed back into the room. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟕: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐕𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐇𝐚𝐬 𝐒𝐧𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐝

I, who was restrained by Rosso, had my magic sealed. 

I have been reduced to just a cute girl. 

“Poor Ojou-sama. . .”

“She must be too shocked to leave her bedroom. She hasn’t had a meal yet, and she might be crying.”

I could hear the maids whispering in front of the door. 

Onii-sama had already left the mansion and was probably heading to the capital by now. 

Overwhelmed by the shock, I ended up lying in bed. . .

But I wasn’t alone.

――Crunch, crunch, crunch. . .

“Mmm, delicious. I’m glad I kept some Calorie Hate~.”

I sat on the bed, munching on a stick-shaped portable snack called Calorie Hates (tamagoyaki flavor). I was filled with determination to escape as soon as I found an opportunity.

Galius will surely help me. 

I am currently checking the map for the route to the capital. 

The sunrise is at 5:30 in the morning. Even if I can get there in two hours, I want to leave here by midnight with plenty of time. 

There are four and a half hours left until the departure limit. 

I have to find a way to outsmart the guards. 

As a last resort, I could dilute a dangerous potion and drink it, then have Dr. Vivian come and help me escape.

With a clear image of the route to the capital in my head, I changed into a dress with many drapes on purpose, creating an atmosphere that suggested I was resigned to staying home.

“This should do.”

It was the red dress that Cid had complimented. It had a black lace and a vibrant, large Dahlia flower motif, giving it a noble atmosphere.

After changing, I tied my hair up to make it easier to move. 

――Knock, knock. 

As I quietly prepared my belongings, I heard a knocking sound on the door. 

“Ojou-sama, how are you feeling?”

“I’m fine.”

I replied, and an unexpected visitor appeared. 

Led by the maids, Cid’s mother, Shelia, her current husband, and a cute boy enter. 

“Oh. . ., good evening.”

“Excuse us. I’m Cid’s mother, Shelia. This is my husband, Allen, and our son, Seldi.”

Cid’s mother’s family had taken refuge in Duke Marcus’s territory. 

But at Onii-sama’s arrangement, they should be staying in a mansion somewhere else, not here. . .

Why are they here?

Cid’s mother explained my question. 

“Ethan Marcus-sama asked me to persuade Viara-ojousama. He requested that we wait here together for Cid’s return.'”

Onii-sama. How sneaky. 

He involved Cid’s mother so that I couldn’t escape. 

However, Cid’s mother smiled at me. 

“Oh, please don’t misunderstand. I didn’t come here to stop Viara-sama.”

“Huh?”

My voice harmonized with her husband and Seldi-kun’s. 

Cid’s mother approached us and firmly held both of my hands. 

“I want to go with you too! Please, let me help save Cid.”

“Oh, Okaa-sama?! Wait, you want to come with us?”

“Shelia?! What are you. . .?!”

Yeah, her husband was surprised too. They didn’t discuss it. 

They just decided on their own, as expected of a parent and child. 

While holding her hand tightly, I asked Okaa-san. 

“It’s dangerous, you know?! I’ll go and come back, so please wait here, Okaa-sama.”

“I can’t wait!”

Okaa-san desperately tried to follow. Her eyes were determined. 

“Sixteen years ago, I let go of Cid. . .! I want to make up for all the hardships I caused that child! Please!”

It has been such a long time, enough for a child to become an adult. 

Still, she is Cid’s mother. 

Her unwavering love came through. 

But what does Cid think? 

He wouldn’t want his mother to be in danger. 

Seeing through my hesitation, Okaa-san desperately pleaded with me. 

“After finally being able to meet, I couldn’t have a leisurely conversation or embrace. . .! I can’t abandon Cid here again! I can use healing magic, so I’m sure I can be of help! Please take me with you!”

“Okaa-sama. . .”

I couldn’t refuse. 

I squeezed her hand tightly and nodded silently. 

However, Allen-san, who was standing behind, trembled and tried to stop us. 

“What are you saying! Ethan-sama is heading there too, so isn’t it unnecessary for you to go?”

“You. . .”

“Please, don’t go! Are you going to leave me and this child behind. . ., abandon us?! Don’t you care about our family the most?! You are my wife, please don’t go!”

The room fell silent. 

Seldi-kun looked back and forth between his parents, looking flustered. 

I understood Allen-san’s concern for his wife’s safety. 

He’s just an ordinary person, so he’s probably not used to dangerous situations. 

Even I, might not want her to go if I were in his position. 

I understood his feelings. 

But right now, I’m worried about Cid, so I can’t pay attention to Allen-san. 

“You, aren’t you Okaa-sama’s husband? Even if it’s just a formality, you might become my Otou-sama, so please don’t say such petty things?! It’s okay to have two important things! Cid, Onii-sama, and everyone in the family are all important to me! I don’t want to choose just one.”

“Uh, um.”

Allen-san’s face twitched

But I didn’t keep my mouth shut.

“As a parent, can’t you understand the feeling of prioritizing your child? Saying something like, [I’ll protect this child, so go and come back safely]’!!”

“Yes, yes!”

Allen-san straightened his back. 

I apologized for intimidating him, but as a  Duke’s daughter, I pushed forward with the haughty attitude I had cultivated. 

“I’ll go quickly and come back quickly, so wait here!, Okaa-sama, if we ride the magic scooter together, we can go and help Cid!!”

“Yes! Thank you!!”

Just as the conversation was wrapping up, there was a light knock on the window from outside. 

In the darkness, Galius was looking at me and smiling. 

“Oh, our ride has arrived.”

It was earlier than expected. 

That means everything is ready. 

I descended from the window to the garden with Okaa-san, and Galius cut off the shackles that were sealing my magic power. 

I ran through the darkness with the five guards who were waiting. 

We passed through the estate grounds and skillfully bypassed the barrier with the guidance of the gatekeeper, and there was a magic scooter prepared in the back alley. 

Cid’s Okaa-san got on behind Galius. 

“Alright, we’re ready.”

The crystal stones have already been thrown in. 

Now, all that’s left is to speed through with determination while being drained of a little magic power. 

“Miss, how long has it been since you drove outside the practice circuit?”

Zold, a 16-year-old youth, asked while wearing a helmet. The sword he carried on his back was a high-quality dwarf-made weapon And he also had a magic gun at his waist. He was a skilled guard despite his young age. 

“How long has it been. . .”

I sat on the magic scooter and checked the power. 

“I’m a complete novice driver! I’ve never left the mansion!”

“What?!”

Technically, I passed the test that Onii-sama set as a standard, so I have a license. 

But I’ve never gone on a long trip, and it was always my position to ride behind Cid. 

“If we go at 50 kilometers per hour now, we’ll make it in time, so it’s fine! I pray that we won’t collide with wild boars in the darkness!”

“Miss, if anything happens to you, Cid-san will kill us! Please don’t ride in the front!”

――Vroom. . .

“Alright! Let’s go!”

Imitating Cid from the past, I declared our departure loudly. 

The lights of the five magic scooters illuminated the darkness, and we kicked up dust as we set off. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟖: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐚𝐧 𝐖𝐡𝐨 𝐢𝐬 𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐥𝐲 𝐄𝐱𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐭𝐞𝐝

A clear sky without a single cloud.

The clear blue color quickly dyed the white morning sky. 

In the central square of the royal capital where people gathered. 

Today, a certain magician’s public execution would take place here. 

If I remember correctly, in the original story, I was executed in the rain. 

For some reason, my beloved inherited such an unnecessary fate. 

With a guillotine polished to an exaggerated extent. 

When I heard about it, I thought, “Huh, a guillotine (laughs).” But when I saw the instrument of death set before me, I gulped nervously in the solemn atmosphere. 

The sound of drums resounded. The vibrations in the air informed us that the execution was about to begin. 

To prevent myself from being consumed by my inner cowardice, I deliberately put on the mask of a haughty young lady. 

“Well, as always, you have a face that underestimates life. How foolish.”

The person sitting arrogantly in the royal seat is someone I punched just a month ago. Nevertheless, he seemed so distant now.

Crossing his legs and resting his arms on the armrest, Prince Roque wore a satisfied smile, He truly was a picturesque man when he remained silent. 

The king and the queen sitting beside him seemed to be looking ahead, but their empty eyes showed no reflection. 

In reality, it feels like they are being manipulated. 

Surely, somewhere in the square, Onii-sama, the young men, and the knights and magicians of our relatives are lurking. I have come here without knowing anything about their plans, intending to help Cid on my own. 

“Miss, Cid-san is coming.”

Zold, who was  hiding with me in the shadows, whispered softly in my ear. 

“Cid. . .!”

When I raised the hood that covered my eyes a little to look at the execution stand, there Cid, who had changed greatly and restrained was brought in by knights.

His left eyelid was swollen, and his temples, forehead, and mouth were cut and scabbed.

It’s been, what, two to three months since I’ve seen someone with such severe injuries? 

Unfortunately, our young men often got into this state during training, so I didn’t flinch at seeing such horrible injuries.

Although I felt a heavy feeling in my chest, I pushed such sentimentality away and waited for the time of the rescue.

Cid climbed the stairs to the execution stand.

On the way, he suddenly stopped and looked towards Prince Roque with a smirk. 

“Oh, as always. That attitude.”

Cid directed a smile that belittled him. 

Zold happily remarked, and Galius standing behind me suppressed his laughter. 

Even when captured, Cid remained Cid. He was not mentally broken at all. On the contrary, he mocked and disdained the prince of the country. 

Prince Roque frowned visibly, revealing his frustration. 

He stood up from his luxurious chair and approached Cid on the execution platform. 

“It’s time to make a move.”

“Hey.”

We pushed through the crowd and moved. Of course, our destination was the execution platform. 

The gathered crowd showed an abnormal excitement, as if they have come to see a spectacle. It felt like they had been drugged in some way. It was unpleasant. 

Prince Roque climbed onto the execution platform and grabbed Cid’s hair while forcing him to kneel. 

“Why is a man like you wearing a purple spinel. . .! The gift of talent is more suitable for me, a member of the royal family.”

Cid looked up at the prince with a half-smile. His genuinely mocking face further provoked Prince Roque. 

“Don’t tell me you actually think you can defeat me, a prince who has been manipulated and conveniently used by having your memories altered.” you’re being exploited.”

“You. . .! If it weren’t for you. . .! You would have taken away my Viara!!”

Prince Roque seems to have forgotten that I punched him. 

The executioner standing by without saying a word, still wearing his helmet, silently observed the two. 

Master Grat, who was witnessing the execution of his disciple, remained motionless. 

However, his expression didn’t give off an atmosphere of abandoning his disciple for his daughter’s sake; rather, it seemed like he was suppressing his killing intent. 

Well, I will do as I please, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else does. 

I sent a glance to Zold and Galius, both of whom were holding magic guns a little distance away. I took off my robe and stretced as part of my warm-up. 

“Miss, good luck.”

Their words made me smile unintentionally . 

“I never thought there would come a day when I would be sent off like this!”

Following Cid’s lead, I smiled mischievously and lightly kicked the ground, gathering magic power in my legs. 

I flew up to about the height of a person’s head and, as soon as I landed on Galius’s arm, I was thrown with great force. 

This was a game we often played in my territory it was  called “Human Magic Cannon.”

The target is Prince Roque. 

Flying from behind Cid, I charged towards my former fiancé on the execution platform. 

――Boom, boom, boom!!

The roar of the Magic Cannon resounded through the square. 

As the surprised prince turned his attention away from Cid and lifted his head. 

I kicked him hard in the face with my right foot. 

The shell fired by Galius must have had quite a bit of momentum. 

“My lord, how do you doo!”

――Thunk. . .!

The heel of my boot dug into the prince’s face. 

“Guaaahhh!!”

The prince fell backward onto the execution platform, his teeth was broken and his handsome was face ruined. 

“Vi-sama?!”

Cid’s voice, filled with astonishment, pierced my back as I quickly descended to the ground. 

“Oh, Cid. You seem lively, which is good to see. So, who is the one being publicly executed?” I casually asked.

I was able to land so gracefully because Zold used magic to help me. If I were alone, I would have crashed on the other side of the execution platform due to excessive momentum. 

Fluttering my skirt with many drapes, I turned around and met the gaze of his crimson eyes. 

“Well, just now, someone performed a public execution on Prince Roque.”

“Oh no! I didn’t notice!”

I pretend to be surprised, and Cid looked at me with a bewildered expression. 

Everyone was taken aback and fell silent, but soon the guards and magicians began to move, and the square descended into chaotic turmoil. 

A battle between the Duke Marcus family’s subordinates and the soldiers of the national army broke out around the execution platform.

However, our people used magical tools, so the soldiers were being bound with ropes and rolled around like worms.

“Well, shall we go back?”

I took a step closer to Cid and grabbed the restraint device around his neck with my hand. Because of this magical collar, Cid could not use magic.

*Snap*. . .

With magic power wrapped around my finger, I destroyed the collar.

“Ah!”

Although there shouldn’t be any pain, I didn’t miss the moment when Cid flinched.

“Hey, why are you scared?”

“I thought you were going to crush my neck!”

“Huh?!”

Even though his face had turned blue and black with bruises, Cid’s remark provoked me to retort as usual.

“You really are a talkative person!! I don’t think I can understand you Cid.”

Once the collar was removed, he could remove the handcuffs and leg irons himself. Cid quickly destroyed the restraints with his own hands and became agile.

“Hahaha. I feel the same way. It’s unexpected to see you barging in like this.”

Cid, who stood up, looked down at me with a smile on his face.

“But, I like Vi-sama.”

His words were sincere. I sent him a challenging gaze looking up at the tall figure before me.

“What a coincidence. I like you too.That’s why I came to rescue you like this.”

There were many things I wanted to say, like how worried I was or why he left me behind. Nevertheless, for now, I am grateful that Cid is alive. 

“I’m sorry for acting on my own.”

Because I felt like tears would start flowing if I let my guard down, I hugged him to cover it up.

“You’re such an idiot. There must have been a better way. . .?! To get hurt like this.”

“I’m sorry.”

I couldn’t help but think, “What are we doing while everyone else was fighting?” But I nestled into Cid’s chest, with tears in my eyes.

His hand that gently caressed my back was surprisingly gentle, despite his battered and bloodied appearance. . . .

Hm?

When I suddenly lifted my face, Cid smiled apologetically.

“Well, I might have gone a bit too far.”

Then, white smoke slowly rised from his face and body, and the wounds and blood that looked so painful disappeared in the blink of an eye.

“This is Master Grat’s illusion. I didn’t intend to deceive even Vi-sama. . .Were you worried?”

“What?!”

Completely unharmed!

His face was flawless !! 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟗: 𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐞

What?! Were you tortured or something?!

Cid gently stroked my head as I widened my eyes and stuttered, planting kisses on my cheeks and forehead.

“What is illusion magic?! Master Grat, what did you do to Cid. . .?!”

“Yes, it’s all part of the plan. The executioner over there is also a member of the Marcus family~.”

One after another, I was kissed in front of the public, and I desperately tried to escape. It felt more like a public execution for me.

However, Cid, who is grinning happily, tightly embraced me and refused to let go.

“Ah~ Vi-sama. Ha. . .My Viara.”

“This is not the time for this! What about Elsa?! What about Noah-sama?!”

“Elsa should be rescued soon, don’t you think~?”

“Let go of me already!”

As I swing my hands and struggled, I heard a loud rumbling sound.

“Cid!! What are you doing to my precious Viara! I’ll make you disappear, you worthless dog!!”

“Onii-sama!”

Onii-sama, who was controlling the magic scooter, flew onto the execution platform.

――Thud!

“Oh no!!”

Oh, the scooter fell on His Highness. 

Because Onii-sama jumped off. . .

The magic scooter weighed about 100 kilograms, condolences to His Highness.

Onii-sama, who walked briskly, took me back from Cid’s arms.

“What are you doing to my sister before her marriage! Viara will never have anything to do with a promiscuous man like you!”

As I am embraced by Onii-sama, I firmly held onto his coat.

Seeing that, Cid furrowed his brow and lamented.

“Vi-sama! It’s an act of mutual consent, right?! It’s because we love each other that we touch each other, right?!”

When I turn my head and ignore him, Onii-sama deliberately stroked my head.

“Vi-sama is already mine~.”

“I don’t care! You’re fired, fired!”

“Oh, I don’t want that.”

Seeing Cid throwing a tantrum like a child, I couldn’t help but chuckle.

At that moment, Master Grat slowly approached us and intervened.

“Enough of that. I’ve already set up a barrier throughout the square, so the church people can’t escape. Besides, the commander will be arriving soon. The plans are messed up, but restrain that idiot over there.”

Yes, I’m the one who messed up the plans! I’m sorry!!

Upon Master Grat’s words, Galius from our side restrained Prince Roque. He was unconscious, so he couldn’t move anymore.

“Hey, Cid. Who is the commander?”

“He is the son of the royal prince.”

Cid smiled and pulled me closer. Onii-sama, who took advantage of the opportunity, looked frustrated but was led away by Rosso for the aftermath.

“The rest will be taken care of by the knights who came on board here. The church people will be captured, and Roque, who was manipulated by them, will be disinherited. The legitimate son of the royal prince will ascend the throne soon.”

It was all part of Cid and their plan. 

While we were in Fumble, it seems that Onii-sama secretly persuaded the royal prince and others. 

Onii-sama was working!

Even though he’s timid, he managed to negotiate with them, saying, “Help me as a symbol of usurping the throne.”

Impressed by that, Cid took my hand and jumped off the execution platform.

“Vi-sama, let’s get out of the square for now. I have to capture Noah.”

However, at that moment, a woman on a magical scooter appeared.

When she took off her full-face helmet, her brown hair gracefully fluttered in the wind.

“Ojou-sama!”

“Elsa!”

I immediately ran over and embraced her.

“I’m glad you’re safe!”

“Thank you! Ethan-sama helped me escape just now.”

Elsa, who was imprisoned by the church, was being controlled by mental magic. Onii-sama rescued her, and Cid’s mother released her mind with holy attribute magic.

“Um, why is my mother. . .?”

By the way, Cid’s mother was now full of energy. She was knocking enemy soldiers away with a giant spatula, and Cid was dumbfounded by her appearance.

“Does there need to be a reason to save my son? Right, Elsa?”

“Yes, that’s right, Ojou-sama.”

As the two of them chuckled, a large number of soldiers arrived from the front.

Leading the vanguard was a gallant knight in armor.

It’s the eldest son of the royal prince, Granbalm-sama.

He approached me on his horse and squinted his eyes as he spoke. 

“Well, well, you’re as beautiful as ever, Duke Marcus’s daughter, Viara. .”

I bowed politely.

“I heard of your distinguished achievements. You still have that mischievous side as well.”

His smile seemed teasing.

“Well, I’m just here to welcome our escort.”

I casually dodged the question with a smile, knowing that I won’t be pressed further.

“If you were willing, I wanted you to become my queen and support the country. . .But with such a fierce watchdog by your side, that won’t happen, will it?”

It’s a wonderful invitation to become the queen of such a dignified new king.

But it was too far-fetched for me.

“Hehe. . .I am free. I choose my own partner.”

“I see, that’s a shame.”

He glanced at Cid and spoke to him in a friendly manner.

“I’ll take care of the rest. Cid, don’t go too far in pursuing Noah.”

“Understood.”

“Alright? I won’t allow you to die before the deal is complete.”

With those words, Granbalm-sama rode off with his attendants and knights.

I looked at Cid standing next to me and sighed mixed with relief.

“What deal is he talking about?”

“Well, it’s a lot of things.”

There seems to be a lot that I haven’t been told yet. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝟎: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐁𝐨𝐬𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐨𝐲𝐚𝐥 𝐃𝐨𝐠

We headed towards the church where Noah-sama would likely be.

I clung onto Cid’s back on the magic scooter as we rode through the town at a slow speed.

Onii-sama, who was riding alongside us, His main purpose being to personally stop his best friend’s rampage, while Cid had the righteous justification of “capturing Noah is my job.”

Although they didn’t look pleased about taking me along, they insisted on coming with me because they didn’t want to leave me behind. If Noah-sama caused all this for my sake, it would be too sad.

“You’re quite fast, aren’t you? We were just in the square a moment ago.”

Cid, who was driving the magic scooter, chuckled lightly.

“Could it be that it’s because of me that the plan went awry. . .?”

I had a bad feeling since we had set up so much in the square.

As I expected, it seems that Noah-sama managed to escape because of me, causing my older brother to give a wry smile.

“Noah had an extraordinary animosity towards Cid, so I thought I would definitely witness the moment he would be beheaded. We had him surrounded as a lookout, but he managed to escape in the confusion caused by Viara’s intrusion.”

“I’m so sorry!!”

I clung onto Cid’s back and felt intense remorse.

I couldn’t just stand by and watch because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to Cid.

“No, I should have explained properly and brought Viara with me. Or I should have explained and asked her to wait. It’s my fault for skipping the dialogue, and I’m the one who should be reflecting.”

“Onii-sama, you’re so kind!! I love you!!”

I squealed with delight, and Cid chuckled and shook his body slightly.

“I was glad that Vi-sama came. I was captivated by your coolness. And when you flew in, I caught a glimpse of your thigh, and it was strangely alluring.”

――Screech.

“Hahaha. . .!!”

“If you say anything more, I’ll break your ribs!”

I punched him in the side as he was driving, almost causing us to crash into a house.

Perhaps the timing was a bit off.

“Well, I was complimenting you.”

“Where?!”

I glared at him with half-closed eyes, thinking that it was a mistake to come to his aid. But Cid quickly recovered and increased the speed.

“The church is just ahead. I don’t want Viara to meet Noah, but do you absolutely have to go?”

“We’ve come this far, we can’t just wait.”

“If you agree, I can teleport us there.”

Ah, I see. So that’s an option.

I shook my head slightly.

“No, I want to stay by Cid’s side.”

I couldn’t bear to be left behind anymore.

I gripped his waist tighter, and his left-hand rested on top of mine.

His slightly rough and large hand gently strokes mine.

“Then please don’t ever let go. And also. . .I won’t hold back against Noah, so be prepared.”

His voice suddenly became serious, causing me to startle.

I pressed my cheek against his back and murmured, “I understand.”

❂❂❂❂❂❂

Upon arriving at the church, a sinister black mist hung over the white palace-like building.

“This is incredible.”

Onii-sama immediately dispelled it with magic.

There seemed to be no priests or servants, and it was eerily quiet, as if it were midnight.

“What a final boss vibe.”

I couldn’t help but mutter, and Cid tightly held my hand.

“The final boss, huh? The last strong enemy,” 

“Yes, exactly.”

“Well, doesn’t it look cool? Just don’t fall for Noah more than you do for me, okay?” 

“Oh, that won’t happen.”

As I easily denied it, Cid smiled satisfactorily.

“When you witness this dark atmosphere and ambiance, you won’t want to come to the church ever again.”

It became like a den of evil.

When I expressed my feelings, Cid laughed with a troubled expression.

“That would be a problem~ We’re having the wedding ceremony at the church, you know? I’m alive to see Vi-sama in her bride attire.”

“Oh. . .?!”

Although it was too early, my cheeks relaxed.

“You’re cute.”

When I looked up, there’s someone with an even wider grin than me.

My brother confidently continued forward alone, pushing deeper into the church.

Onii-sama is boldly advancing alone.

Cid followed behind me, as if protecting me.

“What is that black mist?”

“It’s a dense miasma. The price of the contract. . .”

“A contract?”

As we open the large door and enter, we discover a hidden door leading downstairs at the back of the chapel. It’s something we wouldn’t notice under normal circumstances, but the door is slightly ajar, and black mist is emanating from it, giving it away.

Onii-sama dispelled the mist just like outside, and we descended the stairs.

“Noah, despite being a priest, has obtained the power of dark magic that affects the mind. With that power, he is manipulating His Majesty, the Queen, and other church members.”

I had never heard of a priest using dark magic.

And the church claims that “mages are impure because they use dark magic,” so it contradicts that a priest would become like that.

Noah-sama, who had incorporated something that should have been abhorred, must have intended to take over the country by manipulating the royal family. . .

“The church is also a place where cursed divine tools and magical artifacts are sealed with holy power. Although it is thought of as just a place to pray to God, the purpose of sealing was stronger when it was first built. Of course, this is kept secret, so ordinary people don’t know. If Vi-sama had become the Princess, she would have been informed after the marriage.”

How does Cid know such confidential information?

When I directed my questioning gaze at him, he said that he had been taught by Master Grat a few years ago.

“Noah must have taken advantage of a vulnerability in his heart and fallen victim to the curse of the divine artifact. We don’t know how much of his will remains, but he. . . there’s no turning back for him. I don’t know what the contract with the divine artifact entails, but if we destroy it, Noah will die.”

Noah-sama, will die.

Cid’s voice was unwavering, and I could feel from his back that Onii-sama also agreed.

“There’s no way to save him, right?”

“The dense black mist overflowing here is evidence that Noah’s mind and body have reached their limit. Even if we can seal the cursed divine tools again, Noah’s body won’t last long.”

Onii-sama didn’t say a word and continued straight ahead into the underground.

His face, illuminated by the light, was expressionless, making it even more painful to look at.

“Why did Noah-sama go to such lengths. . .”

“We believe that he took advantage of his unrequited love for you.”

I felt strength in the hand I was holding.

“It’s my fault. . .? No, that’s not it.”

“Wow, you denied it quickly. Though you’re not wrong, you deny it quickly.”

Well, it can’t be helped since it’s the truth.

Noah-sama and I were not particularly close, except for occasional visits to my house to meet Onii-sama or when he went to the church or orphanage. 

We see each other once or twice a month, but we rarely have the chance to be alone together. I honestly don’t understand why he would develop such complicated feelings for me, as there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it. 

“I can never belong to Noah-sama.”

I understand the frustration of an unrequited love that feels within reach but remains out of grasp, as I have experienced it with Cid. However, using that as a reason to involve many people and manipulate the royal family is simply wrong. 

If I were the heroine, would I be impressed by someone’s love for me and think, “I want to help them”? 

Of course, I want Noah-sama to return to his kind self, and I don’t want him to die.

But. . .if I think about it too deeply, my heart feels like it’s going to burst, so I decided not to think about it.

“I can only protect my family, Cid, and the people within my sight. I can’t help but think that Noah-sama is pitiful or apologize for my sake. Do you think I’m a terrible woman?”

I can’t live if Cid looks down on me.

As I anxiously stared at him, he turned around after descending the final staircase and leaned towards me.

Then, he suddenly smiled and brought his face closer to mine, which was two steps below.

“It’s surprising that you don’t trust me that much.”

Our soft lips met, and I was astonished.

“I don’t care about the public’s opinion. But if Vi-sama becomes a terrible woman, I will become an even worse man.”

“Even if it means selling your soul to the devil?”

I casually said that, and Cid’s smile deepened.

“Yes. When the time comes to sell my soul to the devil, please invite me. I will accompany you no matter where.”

“Hehe. . .You’re so obedient.”

“Yes. I’m your dog, after all.”

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝟏: 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞’𝐬 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐬𝐤 𝐲𝐨𝐮

When I opened the heavy door that led underground, there was a bright hall illuminated by chandeliers.

Even though it was the basement of a church, the ceiling was over five meters high, and the spaciousness took my breath away.

“Is there something you all need, gathered here?”

At the far end of the hall was a stage.

On that stage, Noah-sama sat comfortably on a luxurious chair.

“Noah, your appearance. . .”

His straight silver hair was tied up as usual, and he was dressed in a black priest’s robe.

However, on his cheeks, neck, and his white hand peeking out from his sleeves, there were intertwining crimson-black patterns, resembling ominous tattoos.

“The contract mark, huh.”

Cid frowned.

“It’s unfortunate that we meet again, Cid-san.”

Noah-sama faintly smiled, holding a staff adorned with a jewel in his right hand. At a glance, it was clear that it was a cursed divine tool.

“Noah-sama. . .!”

I couldn’t take my eyes off the bizarre sight in front of me.

Because. . .

He was piling up stomach medicine on the Holy Grail and munching on it like nuts!!

“Why are you treating stomach medicine like snacks?!”

Of course, I’m curious about the cursed contract mark and the divine tool too! But piling up stomach medicine on the Holy Grail and munching on it was also quite concerning!

I don’t know where to start anymore.

As I was taken aback, Onii-sama, who was one step ahead of us, clenched his fist and spoke with a trembling voice.

“Noah. . .! I have something to ask you.”

He must want to know why his close friend caused such a situation. Onii-sama probably didn’t want to see the appearance of his friend who had changed so much.

I couldn’t see his expression from here, so I worriedly squeezed my left hand in front of my chest.

“Ethan.”

When Onii-sama looked at him, I felt like Noah-sama’s expression momentarily faltered.

However. . .Onii-sama shouted in a more dignified voice.

“Whose company is that stomach medicine from?!”

There?!

Is that the first thing you want to ask?!

Cid pulled me towards him and I almost collapsed.

Noah-sama looked straight into Onii-sama’s eyes and spoke in a low voice.

“It’s a prototype from the Gadget Company.”

Ah, he’s answered.

“We promised to share the new one together!!”

Well, I don’t really care. Making promises about stomach medicine in this situation.

I cautiously interrupted their conversation.

“Um, Noah-sama. Are you feeling alright? And why is there such a space in the basement of the church?”

His complexion was pale, and he was originally delicate, but he seemed even thinner. He didn’t look very well.

Noah-sama chuckled in response to my question.

“You’re still so kind, Viara-sama. I’m fine. Thanks to the divine instrument, my health is good.”

“Even though you’re abusing stomach medicine?”

“This is already part of my daily life.”

I see.

I won’t pursue this any further. I remained silent.

“This place, you see, is where cursed divine instruments and illegal slave trading took place.”

Noah-sama’s words changed the atmosphere between us.

“The Strand Marquis family was involved in such things behind the scenes. They let me into the church to turn a blind eye to their secret dealings. . .They were all scum.”

Noah-sama gripped his staff and narrowed his eyes with a pleased expression. His smile was too beautiful, and somehow terrifying.

“Oh, you don’t have to worry anymore. I made them pay with their lives. I should have done this sooner. Then, you wouldn’t have been taken away by that man.”

“!”

He shot a cold gaze at Cid. Cid, who was being stared at, remained calm, but my spine shivered with fear.

“Why did Noah-sama give me the apology stone, no, I mean, the gem that reveals location?”

Because of that, I almost got captured by King Henry at Fumble.

I doubted whether the intention was for battle, and Noah-sama calmly explained to me.

“It was because I wanted to be of use to you. There was no ulterior motive.”

“Then why did you tell King Henry our location?”

Prince Dimitri mentioned that he obtained information from the church.

“I wanted Viara-sama to come back, so I thought I should secure her. I never thought King Henry would be so foolish. I wanted to retrieve you and get rid of Cid-san.”

He’s gone mad.

His wild eyes continued to glare at Cid.

“Viara-sama is mine. . .I won’t let anyone have her. . .”

A sinister black mist emanated from Noah-sama’s body.

“Wait! Noah!”

“Ethan. My final wish is to disappear with the one I love. This world is too cruel, and it would be better if the country were destroyed. . .You understand, right?”

His eyes was filled with madness.

Before I could prepare myself, Cid set up barriers around us.

“To end this country and pass through the gates of the underworld with Viara-sama. That is my final wish. Please don’t interfere.”

“Noah, there are times when I also want to abandon this country and be free. Dealing with people is troublesome, His Majesty acts high and mighty, the Prime Minister and Vice Prime Minister are scary, and the Knight Commander is the same. . .There are even times when I think about killing them all with just a glance if I attend a social gathering.”

Onii-sama’s darkness runs deep.

Even Cid was nodding and agreeing. Could it be that all three of them have already fallen into darkness?

I’m the only one in this space  panicking.

“But there are also important things. Viara, the people in the mansion, and you are important too.” 

“Onii-sama. . .”

“Please, don’t take away my only friend. Noah, please abandon that divine artifact on your own. . .!”

Onii-sama’s persuasion caused hesitation to appear on Noah-sama’s face.

However, the cursed mist surging from within him showed no signs of subsiding.

“Ethan. . ., guu. . .ahhh!”

Noah-sama tightly gripped his staff and bent forward in pain. It was evident that his magic was being released from the contract mark, and he was nearing his limit.

It’s too late. It’s already beyond the point of persuasion; Noah-sama’s life force is too weak.

“Noah-sama!”

As I tried to rush over, Cid stopped me with his hand.

“I will destroy the divine artifact. Is that alright, Ethan-sama?”

“. . .Please.”

As soon as Onii-sama gave permission, Cid moved.

He leapt high and approached the stage in just two steps, throwing a ball of flames created from his palm towards the divine artifact Noah-sama was holding.

However, it was easily repelled by a barrier.

“Wow, seriously?”

Cid somersaulted in the air and landed right next to Noah-sama.

“Hahaha.”

Noah-sama coughed up blood and fell to his knees.

But in the next moment, He opened his eyes wide and pointed his staff at Cid. 

“If it weren’t for you! If it weren’t for you, Viara-sama would. . .!”

A black mist released from the staff attacks Cid.

“Where are you aiming? Aim more accurately.”

As Cid easily dodged, Noah-sama’s frustration grew.

However, it was clear that his life would end like this.

Occasionally, when Cid narrowed his eyes in sorrow, it seemed like he pitied Noah-sama, whose life was being drained away.

“Noah-sama! Please stop!”

Unconsciously, when I tried to approach, Noah-sama aimed his staff at me, defenseless.

“Viara!”

“Vi-sama!!”

The black mist changed shape like an arrow and approached me.

“Huh?!”

As I instinctively tried to protect myself by crossing my arms, two square barriers suddenly burst with a sharp sound in front of me.

“Ah. . .”

It was a barrier that Cid had created to protect me. Surprise and relief washed over me simultaneously.

I had forgotten that I had zero defense. If Cid hadn’t protected me like that, I would have undoubtedly died instantly.

However, the one who seemed more surprised than me was Noah-sama.

“Viara-sama. . .? What have I. . .?!”

He was shocked by his attempt to kill me.

Perhaps the attack was not Noah-sama’s intention.

“Aaaah!!”

Noah-sama screamed as if he had gone mad, and a large amount of black mist was released.

And all of that mist was absorbed into the crystal on the divine staff.

――Thud. . .

Noah-sama, who collapsed on the spot, has a pale face and was unconscious.

“Noah!!”

Onii-sama rushed over and lifted his body, and he coughed up a large amount of blood again. The divine staff, which had slipped from his hand, floated in the air and began to gather the mist that was floating around.

“Step back!”

Cid stood in front of us and immediately deployed a defensive magic.

The divine staff moved on its own as if collecting the mist, creating a very eerie scene. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝟐: 𝐔𝐧𝐩𝐨𝐩𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫 𝐃𝐨𝐠𝐠𝐢𝐞

I rushed towards Noah-sama, who was being held by Onii-sama, and wiped the blood from his mouth with a handkerchief.

“Noah-sama. . .!”

His breathing was shallow, and he seemed so weak that he could fade away at any moment.

“Noah! Pull yourself together!”

When Onii-sama shouted, he faintly opened his eyes. His expression was vacant, and it seemed like he couldn’t see anymore.

“I have caused you trouble. . .I apologize.”

As the mist cleared, the person before me was the gentle Noah-sama that I knew well. Drops of tears fell onto the back of my hand, and I realized that I was crying.

“Noah-sama. . .why.”

Could I have done something before it came to this? Regret flooded over me now.

But contrary to my tearful state, Noah-sama suddenly showed a calm smile.

“I simply wanted you so much. . . You and Viara-sama, you were rare beings who treated me kindly despite knowing about my father’s reputation.”

From the beginning, he must have been looked down upon.

Being the child of a mistress, with a father who dealt in slave trading. Living must have been very suffocating.

While crying, I held Noah-sama’s hand with both of mine.

“I was so hungry for pure affection to be directed towards me, to the point where I took Viara-sama’s polite word’s of [glad to meet you] seriously. I was foolish, lamenting over not being able to obtain it even though I didn’t have the courage to express my feelings.”

“Noah-sama, I. . .”

Just as I was about to unintentionally say “I’m sorry,” he tightly squeezed the hand I was holding.

“Please don’t apologize. In fact, I. . .wished that I could die together with you.”

Noah-sama had a soft smile on his face with his eyes closed. His expression was very peaceful.

“I just wanted to be with you. Even though I lost myself to the curse and became a burden, I was about to hurt you with my selfishness. I. . .will be grateful to Cid-san, just for now. . .even though I dislike him.”

“Huh?”

Did I mishear? As I was about to listen carefully, even Onii-sama agreed.

“As expected of a best friend. We have similar tastes. I’ve also been disliking Cid lately.”

“Onii-sama?!”

Is that because Cid took the liberty to go to Nice with me?!

As I compared the two with exasperation, I heard Cid’s voice from behind.

“Hey! Isn’t that something you shouldn’t say when someone is desperately suppressing the curse of the divine artifact?!”

Ah, I didn’t notice, but Cid was desperately holding back the black mist that was approaching us. While we were talking, he had been creating a magical shield with both hands in front of him, protecting us from the mist.

“Onii-sama! Help Cid!”

“If it’s Viara’s request, I have no choice.”

Onii-sama gently laid Noah-sama on the floor and started helping Cid in dismantling the mist. 

It seemed like they were easily dispelling it, but in reality, it was quite a burden, as sweat was dripping from Cid’s forehead.

“It’s tough without being a priest, huh?”

Cid muttered softly, and Onii-sama chuckled.

“It can’t be helped since the priest was cursed.”

Ah, it’s frustrating that there’s nothing I can do.

And to make matters worse, Noah-sama started to suffer again and pushed my hand away.

“Noah-sama?!”

“Stay away. . .! If we stay like this, I’ll drag you down, cough. . .!”

What does he mean by “drag you down”?!

I tried to stroke Noah-sama’s back as he coughed up blood, but I could see black mist surging from his body.

“Kyaaa!”

A pitch-black mist enveloped Noah-sama and me. It wrapped around us like a cocoon, and in an instant, everything disappeared from sight. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝟑: 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐇𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲 𝐄𝐧𝐝?

“What is this place. . .?”

When I opened my eyes, I was in complete darkness.

There was no one around.

I blinked my eyes, but I still couldn’t see anything in the darkness.

Was I asleep?

What time is it now? Why am I in such a pitch-black place?

. . .Me?

Who am I, exactly?

Wait, what about my job? What about school? How have I been living all this time?

My head feels fuzzy.

But there is no discomfort, and the silence is strangely comforting.

“Well, whatever.”

There is nothing inconvenient, neither cold nor hot. I can just stay here.

I closed my eyes and spent the empty time sitting.

It felt like I’ve been having a long dream until now.

Sadness, joy, it feels like there were many waves in my heart.

I forgot.

“Well, it’s fine. There are so many things I don’t understand.”

Now, I just want to spend my time quietly here.

As I was thinking that, I heard a sound of someone knocking on the wall and a voice.

[. . .La! Ara!!]

I want them to leave me alone.

I’m already tired.

However, I knew that someone was trying to come to me without hesitation.

――Mekimeki. . .!

I heard the sound of something breaking.

It sounded like forcefully prying or peeling something hard.

A faint light began to reach the back of my eyelids, and I frowned.

I want them to leave me alone already.

I don’t like it.

The hassle, losing something, running away.

. . .Running away?

What was I running away from?

A question suddenly arose in the depths of my heart. 

Wait, am I forgetting something important?

[. . .La! Please do it for me?!]

A strong voice of a man.

I probably know this voice.

“Cid.”

That’s right.

Why did I forget?

The person I love the most in the world.

Longing for, suffering for, finally being able to get close to the person I love.

“Cid!”

[Viara!]

When I opened my eyes, there was a small hole right in front of me. It made a cracking sound as a wall-like structure crumbled away.

Am I trapped?

Huh, what is this, it’s scary!!

As soon as I realized it, a strong light shone in and I squinted my eyes.

―Baki. . .

“Kyaaa!!”

A person’s hand?!

Suddenly, a person’s hand came in through the hole in the wall. 

And it was covered in blood.

“This is a horror show!!!”

At that moment, the wall collapsed all at once.

It crumbled like sand, disappearing without a trace.

“Ah. . .”

In front of me, Cid was there, with his bloodied arm extended towards me.

As we looked at each other, we sat down on the floor.

Unable to move due to astonishment, the hand that wasn’t covered in blood tightly embraced me.

“Viara. . .I’m glad.”

Cid buried his face in my hair and let his right arm hung down limply.

His voice was so poignant that I held my breath.

“Cid. . .? What happened to your arm?”

I tried to recall the vague memories. I remembered Noah-sama coughing up blood and being enveloped in black mist.

Seeing that my thoughts were scattered, Cid whispered in my ear. 

“The black mist released by Noah turned into a cocoon and enveloped you Vi-sama. . .I destroyed it.”

“What!?”

“?! That’s why. . .! We need to get you treated quickly!!”

I panicked and tried to wriggle free, but Cid wouldn’t let go of me.

“I couldn’t control it properly, so I ended up damaging my own arm too.”

“You did that?!”

Cid weakly laughed and his words were choked with pain.

“I couldn’t control it properly and ended up destroying my own arm.”

Oh no! What a tragic situation!

“I’m sorry Cid. . . I can’t believe I was thinking about staying there and sleeping while you ended up like this. . .”

Tears naturally overflowed from my eyes.

I’m such a terrible person. I was being crushed by regrets.

“But you came back.”

“That’s because Cid saved me. . .”

“I just opened it. If Vi-sama’s consciousness had been swallowed by the curse, even if you were released, you wouldn’t have awakened.”

Looking up at Cid with teary eyes, our faces were so close that our noses touched.

“I heard Cid’s voice. I couldn’t hear it clearly, but it reminded me of Cid.” 

As i said that, he looked back at me with a very gentle gaze.

“I’m glad.”

“What did I say?”

“. . .”

Huh, he’s not answering anything.

Cid, who embraced me again, relaxed and entrusted his body to me.

“Cid?”

“. . .”

Seems like he’s remaining silent.

As I gently stroked his unexpectedly pleasant black hair, I felt his tense energy dissipate, and the atmosphere became gentle.

Then, there was a sharp sound of footsteps.

“What do you mean by ‘[We’ll be together forever, right?]?’ I haven’t given you permission for your marriage yet.”

“Onii-sama?!”

Onii-sama, who had become tattered but not as much as Cid, stood beside us.

On his back, he carried the unconscious Noah-sama.

“Really. . .To shamelessly say something like ‘[I’ll give you my life and magic, so come back]’. Well, you were quite a sight in your half-crazed state.”

“Ethan-sama, you have a bad personality.”

Was he saying such things?

“Oh, and you also said ‘[I love you the most in the world]’.”

“Die, you despicable head of the family.”

I’m starting to feel more embarrassed than the prince himself.

Onii-sama sighed and readjusted Noah-sama.

“Cid, I’ll call your mother. Wait a moment.”

“Yes.”

“Can’t you give a proper response?”

Onii-sama, with a look of exasperation, headed towards the exit with a slow pace. 

He left after saying, “Don’t touch Viara.”

“”. . .””

The room fell silent.

If you look closely, you can see shattered sacred staffs and scattered ceiling bricks that have fallen and broken into pieces.

I gently moved away from Cid and checked the condition of my right arm.

“Oh my. . .”

My right arm was completely black, and the bleeding was severe. It was a gruesome sight that would make anyone faint.

Since it looked painful to touch, there was nothing I could do.

I had no choice but to ask cid’s Okaa-san to use healing magic on me.

“You can’t use healing magic yourself?”

Cid had healed my wounds before. When I asked why he wasn’t doing it now, he awkwardly smiled.

“Actually, I can only heal with my dominant hand.”

“Eh?!”

I didn’t know. 

Cid says, “I’ve never told anyone myself because it makes me vulnerable.” 

“Ethan-sama knows and only a few of our guys know.” 

“I see. . .” 

“I couldn’t bring myself to tell Vi-sama. I’ve been like this since the age when I wanted to appear cool.”

Wanted to appear cool, huh?.

For me, it’s still the coolest thing ever.

I snuggled my face against his shoulder.

“Thank you for helping me.”

As I gazed at my painful arm, I murmured.

Cid clenched his teeth and smiled at me, trying not to worry me.

“Did you fall in love with me all over again?”

“Yes. In fact, I’m so head over heels for you that my bones are melting and I’m worried about osteoporosis.”

Rather than falling in love again, I’ve been in love with him for a long time. But I can’t say it. 

“What’s this ‘kokkoshoo-shoo’? Is it like salt and pepper? A menu at a bento shop?”

I definitely don’t need such a menu.

But still, my arm was in a sorry state.

I must find a way to get it healed.

“Cid. . .”

“Yes.”

“I’ve never regretted not being able to use recovery magic as much as I do today.”

I felt like my stubbornness and reliance on my Strong Style had put Cid through a lot of pain.

If I were a saint, I could have healed him right away.

Even though my tears had just dried, Cid, seeing my face on the verge of crying again, showed his usual carefree smile.

“Is that so? I’ve never been more grateful to have two arms than I am today.”

Cid tightly embraced me with his left arm. As he stroked my head, I naturally closed my eyes.

“Since my left arm can move, I can still hug you, Vi-sama. So please don’t cry.”

“Ugh. . .”

Looking up at Cid with a tear-streaked face, he gently pressed his lips against my cheek.

He buried his face in my long hair and pressed his eyelids against my neck.

It felt like he was savoring our feelings up until now and conveying them to me.

I hugged Cid back, and a strained voice squeezed out near my ear.

“Ah, it’s finally over.”

“It’s over, huh?”

I murmured absentmindedly as well.

There will probably be various aftermaths, but I think Onii-sama will handle them well.

The order to capture Cid has been revoked, and I. . .what will happen to me???

Oh, will I be exiled from the country? 

But if Prince Roque is disinherited, I might be able to escape without any consequences?

Wait, then I’ll still be Duke’s daughter.

Can I marry Cid?

A slight uneasiness welled up in my chest.

However, Cid asked me with a happy expression.

“When should we have the wedding?”

But can we even get married?

I wonder if Onii-sama will allow it.

“Well, if Viara can convince him through tears, it might work out.”

“Yes, leave that to me.”

Yeah, it’ll be fine.

It should be less difficult than breaking off the engagement with Prince Roque.

Above all, if we were to be torn apart now, it feels like we would cause a riot because we love each other so much.

And by “we,” of course, I mean Cid.

“Ouch. . .”

Finally, the pain became unbearable, and Cid frowned.

“Are you okay? You’re not okay, right?!”

I wanted to switch places with him.

But I didn’t know any magic like that.

It must be so painful right now that it’s difficult to stay conscious.

Seeing me fretting, Cid spoke with a serious expression.

“Vi-sama, I’ll divert your attention because your arm hurts too much.”

“Huh? Uh, okay.”

Before I could finish my response, our lips met.

Using only his left arm, Cid firmly pressed me down so I couldn’t escape.

“Mmm. . .! Wait. . .!”

“It’s impossible.”

If it might worsen the injury, I can’t even resist properly.

He pushed me down onto my back, and my back hit the floor.

Is this helping to distract from the pain?!

We exchanged kisses repeatedly, to the point where I could barely breathe.

And it continued until Onii-sama came back and kicked Cid away. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝟒: 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐄𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐒𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐥𝐲. . .𝐎𝐫 𝐒𝐨 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭.

One night.

I was buried under a pile of documents at Duke Marcus’ residence in the royal capital.

“I have no. . .freedom!!”

Finally, I reached my limit and complained as I collapsed onto the desk, but no one came to take over my work, and the situation remained the same.

This is Onii-sama’s study. It has already been three months since the major incident(?) that shook the royal capital occurred.

“Why did it turn out like this?! We were supposed to break off the engagement and be free. . .!”

I ruffled my hair in frustration and shouted from the bottom of my heart.

Viara Emery Marcus.

In the end, I returned to this residence.

After that, Cid, who was seriously injured, had his right arm healed by his mother, and we were interrogated.

About a week after being welcomed as guests in the royal palace, we were informed that Noah-sama had passed away.

Although he would normally be judged as a great criminal, the incident could not be made public, so his death was officially announced as a result of  natural causes.

With the cursed artifact broken, the members of the royal family and the church were freed from being manipulated.

Noah-sama’s body was buried in a part of our family’s cemetery. Although he was not a blood relative, I didn’t want to put him in the grave of the Marquis family that caused him suffering.

My older brother, in front of the grave, was creating a tower of stomach medicine instead of macarons and praying tearfully. He earnestly wished to be born in a loving family next time. . .

My engagement with Prince Roque was peacefully(?) dissolved, there was no exile, and a peaceful resolution was reached without being blamed for hitting anyone.

Prince Roque was put under house arrest and later exiled to a place away from the royal capital, while Prince Granbalm, the eldest son ascended to the throne as the new king.

I received a personal apology from His Majesty and the Queen.

The Prime Minister even proposed, “Please become Granbalm-sama’s official consort.” But I politely declined because I no longer wanted to be involved with the royal family.

Besides, I have someone I love dearly. I told them, “I had no intention of being with anyone other than Cid,” but they were persistent. . .

Cid managed to prevent a situation where he almost burned down the castle along with the Prime Minister.

There were various things, but since the new king ascended, things have been going according to Onii-sama’s plan.

So why am I in this state at the residence? It’s because Onii-sama is being heavily relied upon as an aide to Granbalm-sama and is too busy to come back to the castle.

The responsibility of the Duke Marcus family has fallen on me. . .

No.

That’s not what I wanted. . .!!

“If only I had gone straight to Nice and married Cid over there without looking back.”

No matter how much I lament, no one will come to help me.

Reluctantly, I picked up the pen again and focused on my work.

After a while of working diligently, I heard a knock. 

I responded, and Cid entered with a tea set in hand.

“How is it? How’s the progress?”

Dressed in black formal attire and a blue robe, he has become the image of a nobleman, although not as much as Onii-sama. He was busy, and we didn’t have much time together. 

Today, I was able to see his face for the first time in three days.

“The more progress we make, the more new things come. I want to burn all these documents.”

Saying that with tears in my eyes, he started preparing tea with a smile.

“Ethan-sama is busy with national affairs. The fate of the Duke Marcus family rests on you Vi-sama.”

“Don’t say that! I just wanted to help a little! Being so devoted to managing the territory is too restrictive!”

Because Cid came to help, my emotions became unstable, and I stood up from my chair and hugged him.

After putting the tea utensils back on the tray, he gently embraced me and stroked my back.

“The situation in the castle will soon settle down, and it’s just a matter of waiting until Ethan-sama returns.”

“He’s not coming back. And even if he does, he might have fallen into darkness and be useless.”

“How about we just leave everything behind and run away together?”

“That might be a good idea.”

As I looked up at his face and said that, it seemed like he was serious. His eyes were saying, “I’ll be with you anytime.”

“What about the Mage Association if we run away?”

“Hmm? We’ll figure something out, even without me. Besides, the chaos is starting to settle down.” 

Due to a deal with the newly crowned King Granbalm-sama, Cid was pulled into the Mage Association. For these past three months, he has been working hard to bridge the gap between the mages and the church.

His position is none other than the vice chairman.

Even Master Grat, who said he would retire, was forcefully pulled by Cid and became the chairman.

“To go from being my bodyguard to the vice chairman of the Mage Association, that’s quite a promotion.”

He smiled and said that, and Cid made a visibly displeased face.

“I would have preferred to decline. It’s hard for my peace of mind. . .”

He himself declared that he would return to being my bodyguard after a three-year contract.

Is that really okay?

“Oh, I wish I could marry Vi-sama soon. . .! I want to make a vow to Vi-sama wearing a bridal gown in the church. [In sickness and in health, I will love you for eternity.]”

“You’ve been sick twice, haven’t you?”

Is the Mage Association really that tough?

When I looked at him with pity, he looked at me with a passionate gaze.

“It’s hard for me not to be by your side, Vi-sama

“. . .!!” 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝟓: 𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐢𝐥𝐞 𝐦𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐲

Suddenly feeling embarrassed, I lowered my head.

“Sigh. . .Speaking of which, the Mage Association and the nobles are really troublesome.”

It was a heartfelt voice. I truly believed that he would quit in three years.

Cid released his hand from my body and poured warm tea from the pot he brought.

The sweet aroma of apple tea filled the room, and we enjoyed a brief moment of rest.

“Even though I’m a noble now, it’s still troublesome.”

Sipping the warm tea, I chuckled.

“I’m still not used to it. The noble society and the long names.”

He sat next to me and we drank tea together.

“Cid Roberta Count Harman-sama?”

“I almost bit my tongue.”

Cid was adopted into Master Grat’s Viscount Roberta family, and later, he entered into a foster relationship with my Aunty’s Marquis Harman family.

“When did you start thinking about this plan?”

Since I couldn’t become a commoner, I had to marry a noble. Moreover, if I could become a member of the Duke Marcus family, the hurdle would be quite high.

However, Cid easily cleared the problem.

It was typical of Cid to propose to Master Grat to adopt him and help Elsa. After teleporting me away, he immediately reworked the entire plan and negotiated.

“When Master came to the Marquis Harman residence, I thought about the plan to disinherit Prince Roque, so Vi-sama’s status would remain as Duke’s daughter. I thought it would be quickest for me to become a noble to get married.”

Becoming a foster child and then getting married is a common strategy used by young ladies who have had a forbidden love or daughters of merchant families, but in Cid’s case, he went through two foster adoptions to hide his origins.

Because he wanted to keep his connection to the royal bloodline of Fumble a secret.

Although Dimitri-sama had ascended to the throne and was in control of everything now, we don’t know what will happen in the future, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. . .That’s what Onii-sama arranged for us.

At that time, Granbalm-sama said, “It wouldn’t be appropriate for Miss Viara to marry without a title.” and, with mysterious consideration, gave Cid the title of Count.

It may also be to avoid being underestimated in the Mage Association, but Cid himself was the most perplexed.

“I just wanted to marry Vi-sama, but I’ve changed a lot in just a few months. Is everything going according to plan or not. . .”

Cid leaned back against the backrest of the sofa and looked up at the ceiling.

I held his hand and intertwined our fingers.

“You’re officially engaged now, so in half a year, we’ll be married, right? Your name will change again, and you’ll become Cid Harman Marcus-sama.” 

“I intended to abduct Miss, but I ended up being brought into the Marcus family.”

“Well done. I’ll praise you.”

As we leaned against each other, I noticed the purple brooch on his chest.

I casually touched it and remembered the incident.

“Is your right arm not hurting anymore?”

I heard that even after using recovery magic, the numbness didn’t go away for a while because he pushed himself too hard. Dr. Vivian secretly leaked personal information to me, but Cid never mentioned it to me.

“It’s already healed. Really.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Liar.”

Even if it hurts, he will never tell me. He’s stubborn.

As I stared at him, Cid smiled softly and said,

“Would you like to test it?”

He leaned closer, and I instinctively moved away. Even though we plan to get married, I still wasn’t used to this closeness.

“For example. . .with a complicated dress like this, I can undo it with just my right hand.”

“Huh?”

He hooked his right index finger on the ribbon that tied the waist of the dress and smiled.

I knew he was teasing me, but my face instantly turned bright red.

“I haven’t received my reward yet.”

“What?! A reward? But I thought that would take years. . .”

“Oh?”

As my body gradually slumped, my back completely touched the seat of the sofa. Cid, who was leaning over, laughed happily.

“It’s just a joke. I wouldn’t do that here.” 

I was lured into smiling by his cheerful laughter. 

. . .Huh?

Not here?

I blinked my eyes rapidly. 

Cid, who had a mischievous smile on his face, gently placed his lips on my forehead. 

“Is work over for today. . .?”

Ah, I feel like I shouldn’t answer this question. Once I answer, it feels like my chastity is in danger.

As I continued to remain silent, there was a knock on the door.

――Knock, knock.

“Tsk!”

“You don’t have to roll your eyes so blatantly.”

Both Onii-sama and Cid seemed to have fallen into darkness due to the busyness of the past three months.

Cid, who stood up straight, moved away from me and stood in front of the sofa.

I also sat up and allowed entry into the room.

“Excuse me.”

The one who entered was Elsa dressed in a maid’s outfit.

Her brown hair was neatly tied up in a bun.

“Ojou-sama, I apologize for interrupting your work.”

“You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”

Cid muttered under his breath, and Elsa stared at him with a puzzled expression.

“Why would I purposely interrupt?”

“. . .”

Cid didn’t answer and looked into the distance.

“Geez, what a weak-minded man. If it were me, I would have already pushed Ojou-sama down.”

“Um, Elsa-san? Please don’t instigate Cid like that.”

Whose side is she on?

As I glared at her with half-closed eyes, Elsa said with a smile on her face.

“I was taught by my father not to hesitate when it comes to doing it or killing. That’s why.”

“I’ve heard that somewhere before!”

That’s not something a father should teach his daughter!

“But, Cid. The atmosphere is important in everything. It’s unthinkable to try to seduce Ojou-sama in Ethan-sama’s gloomy study. You should sincerely ask Ojou-sama  in the appropriate place.”

“But I don’t want to ask her!”

Cid nodded with an “I see” expression.

No, no, no, why is my maid so willingly offering up my chastity?

I had a headache.

I pressed my temple with my hand and furrowed my brow.

“Are you okay? Is there something troubling you?”

“?! Whose fault is it. . .?”

Both of them said the same thing, and I couldn’t help but feel exasperated.

“Never mind. So, Elsa, what do you need?”

“Oh, right.”

Elsa, who stepped forward, handed me a box she was holding.

“This has arrived for you.”

“Oh, it arrived just in time!”

It was a black box with a blue ribbon.

Elsa handed it to me and quietly left the room.

Alone in the room with Cid once again, I offered it to him.

“What’s this?”

“Open it and see.”

I untied the ribbon and opened the box, revealing two silver cufflinks inside.

It was Cid’s birthday present.

“Vi-sama, this.”

“I’m glad it arrived on time! Tomorrow is Cid’s birthday, right?”

Until now, I had always given him sweets for his birthday. I had never given him anything that would last.

Of course, the reverse was true as well. I had never received anything lasting from Cid, who was just a bodyguard.

Seeing Cid’s surprised expression, I felt happy.

“From now on, I can give you something that will last. I’m not sure if our tastes match, but I’ll be happy if you can use it.”

Cid took the cufflinks out of the box and carefully examined them with a smile on his face.

“Thank you. . .! I’ll treasure them. I’ll keep them safe.”

“Don’t just keep them stored away.”

I thought it was like a dog burying something important in a hole, but I didn’t say it out loud. Cid, who was gazing at the present with a blossoming smile, looked like an innocent boy.

“This is the first time I’ve received such a happy gift.”

Cid put the present back in the box and put it in the pocket of his robe, then hugged me tightly.

“I don’t have to hold back my feelings anymore, right? I’ve gone from just being a bodyguard to being your fiancé. . .”

He murmured as if confirming that, so I wrapped my arms around his back and hugged him back.

Being in his warm embrace was the most comforting thing.

“We’ll be together forever from now on. Be prepared because you can’t escape.”

I finally felt liberated from the fate of being a villainess.

“Viara.”

His arms loosened, and when I looked up, Cid’s face had turned into a teary smile.

My heart skipped a beat, and the feeling of “Ah, I love him” welled up inside me.

“My room or Viara’s room, which one should we go to?”

“It’s only two choices.”

Cid narrowed his eyes and tilted his head.

“Wait, I’m not good at making decisions.”

“That can’t be helped.”

His large hand rested on my cheek, and I gently closed my eyes.

However, the world was unforgiving.

――Knock, knock. 

“Miss!!! “

“Eeek?!”

At the same time as my shoulders jerked, Galius burst into the room. 

“I have something urgent to confirm from Ethan-sama!!”

“Eek!”

He had a large number of books and reports.

I looked at it over Cid’s shoulder and screamed in despair. 

“I can’t take it anymore! Please, just exile me from this country!!” 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝟔: 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐄𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐬 【𝟏】

My wedding with Cid would take place in a small church located in Duke Marcus’s territory.

The attendees will be Onii-sama, our young men, Cid’s family, and my aunt’s family.

In addition, Master Grat and Elsa will also be attending.

Even though it’s the wedding of the Duke’s daughter, we decided to keep it modest because Cid didn’t like extravagant things.

Besides, at the evening debut party, important figures of the country, including King Granbalm, will be present. So, I wanted the ceremony to have a small and warm atmosphere.

Onii-sama had been crying since last night, and I ended up crying as well, feeling like I was marrying someone far away.

[What? You’re going to live separately?]

Aunty asked with a puzzled expression, which was still fresh in my memory.

Why did Onii-sama, Cid, and I cry so much when we will continue living in the same mansion? 

―As the morning dawned, only questions remained.

“Ojou-sama, you look absolutely beautiful.”

“Yes, indeed! It’s all thanks to everyone.”

The bridal gown was a custom-made pure white dress for this day.

It was a simple A-line design, but adorned with plenty of jewels and rhinestones, sparkling brightly.

My long hair was carefully braided and adorned with flower decorations, covered by a veil.

Since morning, I underwent fitting and hair styling, expecting to wait for Cid in the dressing room. . . or so I thought.

As soon as I was ready, I headed to Cid’s dressing room. I wondered if he’d be surprised.

Elsa, leading the way, knocked on the door. 

―Knock, knock.

“Yes.”

Cid’s voice was slightly low.

He probably took a short nap after getting ready.

Although we couldn’t meet last night due to tradition, he had been extremely busy these past few days and must have had very little sleep.

I hope he had a good rest last night.

“Excuse me.”

Elsa called out and opened the door, gesturing for me to enter.

I quietly entered the room, leaving only my footsteps. 

It was a spacious room surrounded by pure white walls.

On the desk, there were many congratulatory letters.

There were piles of letters with the emblem of the Mage Association. . .Could it be that they even gave him work on a day like this?!

With my back to the door, I approached Cid, who was sitting on the sofa.

He was wearing a glossy silver robe. It was a color that complemented his shiny black hair.

“Elsa? Is Viara ready?”

Cid spoke while looking at the letters in his hand. But Elsa wasn’t here.

“Elsa, deliver this to Ethan-sama. . .”

He turned around and froze when he saw me, stopping his movement.

He gasped and his eyes widened.

“Hehe, surprised? I wanted to show it to you first, so I came here before the priest came to greet us.”

“. . .”

No response.

He didn’t even seem to be breathing.

Worried, I tilted my head like a cat.

“Cid? Are you so stunned that you can’t even speak?”

I grabbed the hem of my skirt and curtsied with a raised gaze.

“Viara. . .Wow, amazing.” 

Cid covered his mouth with his hand, revealing his excitement. It was a reaction I had never seen before, and his face had a faint blush.

I blushed too, unexpectedly overwhelmed by his joy.

Although we had known each other since we were five years old, seeing each other in wedding attire made our hearts race with excitement, unable to take our eyes off each other.

“Viara, you look absolutely beautiful.”

“Oh, thank you. Cid, you look wonderful too.”

He crossed over the back of the sofa and stood in front of me.

He kissed my cheek and placed his hands on my shoulders with strength.

“Shall we go home right away?”

“I’m not going home.”

The seriousness in his eyes surprised me.

His gaze was intense, even though the ceremony was about to begin.

After the ceremony, there will be a reception party.

I rejected his suggestion with a smile.

In response, Cid’s shoulders slumped, and he hugged me gently.

“Sigh. . .I have to wait until tonight.”

“Wait, what!?”

Finally, the day had come.

He was not good at waiting, and I made him wait for quite a while. I had no choice but to brace myself.

As I closed my eyes and focused my mind, the door was knocked and Elsa entered.

“Ojou-sama, the priest is here. The ceremony will begin shortly.”

“Thank you.”

I smiled and prepared to head to the ceremony. However, Cid gently grabbed my wrist.

“Viara.”

“Hmm?”

He took out a simple silver ring. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that he had the same one on his left middle finger.

“I can finally give this to you.”

“This. . .”

The ring had a small bird and ivy pattern, symbolizing peace. 

It smoothly fit into my left ring finger, as if the size had been measured without me noticing.

“It’s beautiful.”

“I’ve been meaning to give it to you someday. The engagement ring ended up having a flashy design because Ethan-sama insisted on making a big impression.”

Indeed, it was quite something. 

It had a price tag that could buy a house, and it was adorned with a huge gemstone carved into the shape of a dahlia flower. . .

Moreover, when you put it on the ring finger, it covered the neighboring fingers. I couldn’t go out wearing something like that.

“I’m happy. Thank you.”

I raised my left hand to eye level and looked at it intently.

I had always wanted matching rings, but I never expected to receive something that perfectly matched my wishes.

Cid, satisfied with my joy, smiled with a content expression.

“I love you, Viara.”

He said it without any hint of embarrassment, looking just as happy as I was.

He kissed my forehead, and I closed my eyes with a smile.

But the ceremony was about to begin.

“Um, are you ready?”

“Yes.”

The priest, who was brought by Elsa, spoke with a smile.

But it was only me who felt awkward about being seen affectionately with each other.

“I’m not ready yet. Could you wait a bit longer so that we can immerse ourselves in our own world?”

“You can say that at a time like this?!”

After that, we successfully carried out the wedding ceremony and were finally recognized as a married couple.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝟕: 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐄𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐬 【𝟐】

The ceremony proceeded smoothly, and in the evening, a grand unveiling party was held.

At the banquet, delicious dishes and drinks from various countries were served, and His Majesty the King and the Prime Minister were very pleased.

Onii-sama suppressed his shyness to the extreme and continued to greet people with lifeless eyes.

The young lady, who had her eyes on such a timid gentleman, wanted to somehow make Onii-sama fall in love with her.

The young ladies at the party were casting passionate glances at my timid brother. I wanted them to somehow make him fall in love. Even though Cid married into the family, the heir to the Marcus Duke territory was my brother and his child after all. . .!

“Viara-sama, congratulations!”

“Well, thank you!”

The daughters of influential landowners came to offer their congratulations.

For them, this was also a matchmaking event. With minimal greetings, I introduced them to our young men, knights of the kingdom, and the young members of the Mage Association, turning into a matchmaker despite being the bride.

When the greetings were over, I went to the terrace to find Cid, who was nowhere to be seen

Where did he go, leaving the bride behind?

Slightly tipsy, I took a deep breath, enjoying the pleasant night breeze.

Countless stars filled the sky.

Today, the ceremony was truly a wonderful memory.

As I gazed absentmindedly at the night sky, I heard Cid’s voice from the darkness outside the terrace.

“Viara.”

When I turned to look, he was there, dressed in a blue robe and travel attire.

He was wearing a black formal suit just a moment ago, when did he. . .

Standing in the garden, he spoke to me through the terrace railing.

“Let’s run away together.”

“Run away?!”

He extended his hand smoothly. 

I was about to take his hand, but hesitated for a moment.

Is it okay to run away?

Even though the unveiling party was about to end, can the main couple just disappear?

Seeing through my thoughts, Cid smiled.

“I have informed His Majesty and everyone. Besides, I have arranged for Ethan-sama to be returned to us for two weeks starting tomorrow, so let’s burden him with work.”

Everything was perfectly prepared!

So, all of that busyness until just before the ceremony was for this?!

It seems everything went according to plan.

If that’s the case, there’s no reason not to take his hand.

I easily climbed over the terrace railing and jumped into his arms while still in my dress.

“Now, let’s go.”

“Yes.”

As we smiled at each other, we held hands and ran away from the venue.

“This time, it’s like a princess being abducted.”

Me in a dress and him in travel attire.

It might look like an elopement. I playfully murmured that, and Cid looked surprised and said,

“Viara, there’s no princess who climbs over the fence by herself.”

“Oh, come on, just ignore that part!”

Cid chuckled and took off his robe, draping it over my shoulders.

I loved moments like this. . .!

Wrapped in his scent and the warmth of the robe, I felt so happy that I could collapse.

“Shall we go?”

“Yes.”

Cid’s hand was so big that it completely enveloped mine. It was a bit rough, but it was the most comforting hand for me.

As we held hands and ran, we were looked at curiously by passing guards.

The main couple of today were  running towards the back gate, So it was natural to be curious. 

“The carriage is waiting at the back. Let’s go to the port.”

“The port?”

“Yes. Our destination is Nice. I haven’t told Ethan-sama, so I want to board the ship before he finds us.”

Onii-sama will surely be angry.

But I hope he sees it as our honeymoon.

“Take care.”

“Sure thing! Aniki, Miss, have a safe trip.”

Cid waved his hand to Zold, who had been waiting, and we passed through the gate.

“Well then, shall we escape before the pursuers from Ethan-sama arrive?”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

Sitting in the coachman’s seat of the carriage was none other than Galius, with his bald head as usual. 

He raised his thumb and smiled at us. 

Although it was a carriage with the Duke Marcus family’s crest, not a hooded carriage, I remembered that time and smiled. 

“Off we go!”

Cid’s cheerful voice echoed.

As we sat side by side in the carriage, Galius slowly drove the carriage out, timing it perfectly. 

Through the window, I could see the night road flowing by. The villagers had lined the road with numerous lamps to celebrate our wedding.

The dim orange light seemed to guide us to a happy married life.

Filled with hope for the future, I found a bag at my feet and became even more cheerful.

This bag was a set for fleeing the country.

Of course, a frying pan was included. It’s funny that Cid prepared this as well, and my lips naturally curled up.

“Hehe.”

“What’s the matter?”

Cid leaned in as I laughed to myself and stroked his head.

“I thought it was a redo of our escape from the country. You really understood that I wanted to run away.”

“If you shouted so much about wanting to escape, it’s understandable.”

Did I really shout that much?

“I’m glad I have a quick-witted husband.”

I couldn’t help but say that he was my husband! I looked at Cid, curious about his reaction. 

But there he was, with a silly smile on his face.

“I want to be the one who fulfills your wishes, no matter what they may be. Even if it’s any wish.”

“!”

As he embraced my shoulder and nuzzled against it, I couldn’t take it anymore. He gently kissed my left hand from which the ring had been taken, and my body grew warm.

“I love everything about you, from every strand of hair to your fingertips. Your voice, words, thoughts, everything.”

“Well, that’s quite a deep love. I knew it.”

“The quality is even higher than the weight, you know?”

His breath against my ear made my heart skip a beat.

Cid, who chuckled, looked at me with a sweet atmosphere surrounding him.

“I. . .I’m glad to be ‘Viara’.”

I have lost count of how many times I wondered why I wasn’t the heroine.

But now, looking back at how I ended up with Cid, I can accept myself.

“Thank you for choosing me.”

Cid gently wiped away the tears that welled up in my eyes. As I closed my eyes, his lips met mine with tenderness.

His arms wrapped around my shoulders, pulling me close as if enveloping something precious. It made me happy. 

After taking our time for a slow kiss, Cid looked mischievously at my, blushing cheeks.

“Please take care of the stray dog you picked up until the end, okay?”

“Of course, that’s my intention.”

The boy who suddenly came to our house one day grew into an incredibly loyal dog.

Because he can be a mad dog, I can’t let him roam freely.

I lovingly stroke Cid’s black hair as he looked at me with eyes that melted my heart.

When I surprised him with a kiss instead of giving a response, his expression became unusually astonished.

“Hey, Cid. Where to, Nice? Kyaa!”

As I tried to ask about our future, he suddenly lifted me onto his lap, and a scream escaped my lips.

“What’s with the suddenness?!”

“I love you! Please never leave me again! Should I make a collar for you? I can ask the dwarves.”

“I don’t need that! Why are you saying such scary things!! I don’t have that kind of interest!”

Cid held me tightly, pressing his head against mine, and happily called my name.

“Viara. . .Viara. . .”

Ah, I could see a tail that shouldn’t be there.

I could see it wagging happily!

Is it going to be okay like this?

I was becoming anxious because I was too happy.

I remained silent for a while, but eventually, I gave in and embraced his head. As I gently stroked him, Cid narrowed his eyes in contentment.

“You’re such a hopeless child.”

“Thanks to you.”

I pressed my cheek against his head and gently closed my eyes, basking in the feeling of happiness.

Just by being close to each other, it was so warm.

Indeed, he’s my dog.

I’m sure I’m the one who got caught.

If I’m loved this much, there’s no way to escape.

The villainess who was abandoned by the heroine ended up being tamed by an overly affectionate dog. 

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝟖: 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐑𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐒𝐒

[You see, I am a villainess.]

[. . .?]

Viara, 10 years old, Cid, 13 years old.

After being bedridden with a high fever for three days, Viara secretly whispered to Cid.

(Although the fever should have subsided by now)

Seeing Viara suddenly say something strange, Cid smiled but was also puzzled.

Viara had a fever when she was playing magic with Cid.

When Cid returned to the mansion after training, Viara ran to the entrance and begged, “I want to see the snow.”

Upon hearing that Viara’s etiquette instructor was from a region with heavy snowfall, she became curious about the cold snow that fell from the sky.

Although Cid was exhausted from his magic training, he couldn’t refuse when Viara looked at him with sparkling eyes and said, “Next time.”

With the determination to fulfill Viara’s wish, he used magic even though it was a strain.

As a result, an unexpectedly large amount of snow was generated like an avalanche, burying Viara and Cid. They were quickly rescued by the young men, but Viara suffered from a high fever and suffered on the bed for three days.

Finally, when she woke up, Cid  couldn’t understand when she said she was a “villainess.”

[Miss, let’s have a meal and take medicine first, and then we can talk.]

[You don’t believe me, do you?!]

Seeing Cid’s reaction, Viara’s eyes welled up with tears.

[No, it’s not that I don’t believe you, but there are more pressing matters at hand.] 

[Well, that may be true, but. . .! I want you to listen to me now.]

Unable to resist Viara’s earnest plea, Cid eventually agreed to listen to her.

[In my past life, I was a girl from a country called Japan. . .no, from a different world.]

It was an absurd tale, but Cid silently listened without interrupting or uttering words like “this is a world from a novel.”

Although internally he found himself in a strange situation where Viara was suddenly labelling herself as a “villainess”. . . he understood that Viara was desperately trying to convey something important.

(Is it possible that Miss had foreseen the future that would unfold. . .? Regardless of the truth of her past life, if it unfolds as she says, I must deal with it)

While listening to the story, Cid pondered in his mind.

But when the conversation turned to the fate of the villainess, he finally spoke up.

[I will be executed in the end! By guillotine!]

[Why would they use such an outdated execution method like a guillotine?]

[I don’t know about that. But in the novel, that’s how it goes! The villainess Viara was executed by guillotine!]

[Hmm. . .]

It was unheard of to execute the daughter of the Duke’s family. First of all, there was no way the Duke Marcus family would allow such a thing.

Although Cid calmly advised her, Viara was frightened at the thought that she might be executed in the future. Seeing her like that, he couldn’t say words like “It’s just a bad dream.”

[Miss, have you consulted with Duke-sama or Ethan-sama?] 

[No way. . .They would think I’m crazy!]

[It’s okay. You’ve been quite strange before.]

[Hey?! How rude!]

Even though he glared at her, the sight of the weakened 10-year-old girl didn’t scare him at all.

(She told me even though she didn’t want to tell her family.)

A slight sense of superiority welled up in Cid’s heart.

He felt that he had to protect this child. It came naturally to him.

[Miss, at what age are you supposed to be executed? If you encounter that so-called heroine at Roselia Academy, you should have until you’re sixteen or seventeen, right?]

In response to Cid’s question, Viara nodded silently.

[It’s okay. We’ll figure something out before then.]

[Really? Can we really do something?]

[Yes. Let’s do our best.]

With a firm declaration, Viara finally calmed down and smiled.

[Well then, let’s have a meal brought in. I’ll call the maids.]

[Okay, please.]

Cid left the bedside and went out into the hallway to call the maids. He also needed to call a doctor and prepare the medicine, so he hurriedly left the room.

Upon hearing the news that Viara had woken up, the people in the mansion quickly made preparations. Warm soup was brought in, and she was changed into fresh clothes and examined by a doctor.

Viara’s parents were overjoyed at their daughter’s recovery, and Ethan had been by Viara’s side since he returned from the academy.

[Viara, is there anything you want? Onii-sama will prepare anything for you.]

[I want some time alone.] 

[Uh. . .]

[It’s been five hours already. Seriously, Onii-sama, go back to your room!]

Although Ethan drooped his shoulders, he quietly left the room so as not to burden Viara.

[Hey, why is Cid still here?]

In response to that question, Cid tilted his head cutely and answered.

[I am Miss’s bodyguard, servant, and dog. So, it’s only natural for me to be by her side.]

[. . .That’s not fair.]

Ethan glared at Cid in front of the door and was forcibly expelled by Viara, who said, “See you tomorrow.”

Seeing the three of them, the maids giggled.

Viara told the maids to step back and only Cid remained in the bedroom.

[Miss, are you really okay now?]

[You worry too much.]

[Well, it’s because of my failure. . .I’m sorry.]

Cid suddenly apologized humbly. Viara laughed and said, 

[That’s funny! Cid is apologizing.]

[Well, yeah.]

[But thanks to Cid, I remembered my past life. If I hadn’t known anything, I might have become a villainess.]

[. . .]

[So, this is for the best.]

Saying that, Viara smiled and seemed to forcefully suppress her anxious feelings.

Cid immediately approached her and held her hand tightly with both hands as he spoke. 

[I will become stronger. So that nothing like burying Miss in the snow happens again, and even if something like being a ‘villainess’ were to happen, I will be able to help Miss.]

(No one knows what the future holds. But if I have the power, I should be able to help Miss)

Viara smiled happily at Cid’s words.

[Promise?]

[Yes. I promise.]

Viara laid down on the bed and soon fell asleep, still not fully recovered.

Sitting on the chair by the bedside, Cid watched his master’s peaceful sleeping face and organized what he needed to do.

(Anyway, I need to organize the information. . .I’ll have someone write down the future Miss saw and eliminate each possibility one by one)

Starting from tomorrow, he would become busy with training again.

While Viara was bedridden, Cid had been by her side, and his tasks had piled up. But now, he felt even more motivated, knowing that his own strength might save this child’s life in the future.

[Miss, it’s okay.]

Telling the sleeping master that, Cid quietly stood up and left the bedroom. 

❂❂❂❂❂❂

Seven years have passed since then.

Finally, they managed to break off the engagement and overcome their class differences to have a wedding ceremony.

The future that they couldn’t have imagined when they arrived as hostages from a neighboring country has now become a reality.

“Viara.”

“Hmm. . .What is it?”

Their honeymoon was two weeks long. They escaped from the unveiling party and are currently on the run, leaving everything to Ethan.

When Cid woke up in the morning, Viara was right next to him.

He gently combed through his wife’s long hair with his fingers and called her name, hearing a small response.

“Is it already morning. . .?”

The sun was already high in the sky. However, Cid held Viara tightly, not letting her realize it.

“Let’s oversleep today. It’s our honeymoon, after all.”

“Sounds good. . .”

Viara let out a yawn and quickly fell back asleep.

Cid was looking forward to going sightseeing, but he thought they could do that the next day.

“It’s really over, isn’t it?”

Without speaking to anyone, Cid muttered to himself.

He repeatedly confirmed that the most important person was in his arms.

Viara herself, who had been tossed around by the fate of a villainess, had already adapted to this happy reality, but Cid couldn’t let go of his guard, thinking that there might still be something else.

“I will make you happy.”

Whispering that, Cid kissed Viara’s forehead, and she squirmed ticklishly. This ordinary everyday life was incredibly precious.

Cid closed his eyes, thinking of taking another nap with Viara.

However, at that moment, The faint sound of the communication device started coming from the luggage in the closet.

――Beep. . .Beep. . .Beep. . .

“. . .”

(It must be Ethan-sama.)

It was their honeymoon, just the two of them. He had expected some interference, but to receive a call on the second day was quite frustrating.

Cid sat up and reached his right hand towards the closet.

Then, skillfully, he froze only the communication device, cutting off any further contact.

“That should do it.”

He would deal with the consequences later.

Cid made up his mind and fell back asleep next to Viara. 

―𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕰𝖓𝖉―


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