Chapter 19: Diana’s older sister Ilsa
Leon was at a loss for words at Ilsa’s sudden appearance.
“Onee-sama! Why are you here. . .!”
“Oh, why? I evacuated from Eisenstadt to escape the war. Leaving only my father-in-law and husband in the country, I came with the Ishtar Trading Company staff and relatives. We’re enjoying a brief pastoral life in a village closer to Latgip. I got a little bored, so I had the coachman bring me here.”
As she spoke, Ilsa got off the carriage. Even in the evacuation area, her beautiful crimson hair was elegantly tied up, with loose strands gently fluttering around her lace collar. With that captivating beauty that could enchant any man, she smiled enchantingly.
“Oh, Diana, you look lovely in that rustic dress! I was worried about you. I heard that Latgip has mostly burned down.”
“Well, um. . .”
“But it seems you’re safe! How are Otoo-sama and Okaa-sama?!”
Diana bit her lip and looked down. Seeing that, Leon stepped forward.
“It’s difficult to say. . .Aurel-sama and Camilla-sama were caught in the crossfire.”
Ilsa looked at the two of them in shock.
“What?! . . .that can’t be true.”
“I managed to save only Diana-sama.”
“. . .Oh, you’re the gardener, aren’t you?”
Ilsa looked suspiciously at Leon. He seemed to sense something from her gaze.
“――I. . .apologize.”
“. . .It’s unavoidable in times of war. . .It would be cruel to take it out on you.”
Leon bowed his head. Diana gently leaned against him, feeling dejected.
“Anyway, Diana, I’m glad you’re safe. You were helped by that gardener, right?”
“Yes. I’ve been staying here until the war settles down.”
“Well, we must thank him properly.”
As she said that, Ilsa took out five gold coins and handed them to Leon.
Leon received the coins in astonishment.
“Here, this is a token of gratitude for saving my sister. Well then, Gardener-san, goodbye.”
And she placed her hand on Diana’s back. Diana hurriedly shook her head.
“No. . .I’m not going.”
“What are you doing, Diana? It’s dangerous to stay in this mountain hut. There are wild animals in the mountains, and besides――.”
Ilsa glanced at Leon.
“You’re still unmarried, right? Being in a place like this will tarnish your reputation.”
Diana was pushed by Ilsa and forced into the carriage. Diana shouted to Leon.
Leon, with a determined gaze, silently stared at Diana.
Diana’s eyes widened.
Leon gently averted his gaze as if parting ways.
“. . .Leon.”
He turned his face towards the hut and muttered.
“. . .Ojou-sama, take care of yourself.”
“That’s. . .”
“Please be happy.”
The conversation from earlier echoed in Diana’s mind.
――I don’t think Diana can be happy in a place like this..
Leon made that choice. Diana’s mind went blank.
“What are you doing? Let’s get out of here quickly, Diana.”
Leon left, and the door of the cabin closed.
Diana’s path was cut off.
Pushed by Ilsa, Diana got into the carriage.
Illuminated by the setting sun, the carriage started running towards Latgip.
As the road grew darker, Diana’s heart was gradually consumed by darkness.
(Leon. . .)
The hand that placed the flower crown, the hand that embraced her.
(Why. . .)
With the gold coins still in his grasp, they suddenly disappeared.
Considering his personality, it would have been difficult for him to break the master-servant relationship. It was impossible for his serious nature to do something like taking Diana away from her only relative.
Trying to console herself with that thought, she couldn’t escape from despair.
Ilsa was dozing off next to her, still in her urban attire.
Diana suddenly looked at her own arm. It had tanned without her noticing.
That was the only thing that felt strangely realistic; the rest felt like a dream.
Leon, who kissed her while being blessed by the villagers, was no longer by her side.
In the face of sudden events, Diana couldn’t even shed tears.