Chapter 50: The fate of the witch 〈Yserra〉
In the depths of my sinking consciousness, I remember.
Queen Leticia was always loved in the end.
Yes, having become the queen by various means, I have decided to clean up the mess that Princess Leticia has made.
If I did that, both nobles and commoners would have an endless fondness for me. That was what I thought, but…
“Queen Yserra seems to be quite a spendthrift. I mean, what’s wrong with this country?”
“She even made a rude mistake to the King of Kiria the other day. In that sense, Queen Leticia was magnificent in that respect.”
“Comparing them, Queen Yserra’s manners are a little lacking.”
“Now that I think about it, Queen Leticia had a beautiful demeanor. She had a mysterious nobility.”
“Her personality wasn’t bad either. If only she didn’t go too far…”
As I walk through the corridors of the palace, all I can hear are whispers behind my back and people saying, “Queen Leticia was better.”
What the hell…!
That woman even sent a maid into exile, didn’t she? So I felt sorry for her and called her back!
I desperately held back the urge to click my tongue and returned to my room. There, the maid in question, Luna Pascual, greeted my return with a bow.
A girl with fluffy red hair, who looks good in a modest dress with a small floral pattern. Her face appears carefree, but I’ve never seen her laugh in front of me.
“Luna, I’m going to change now. Please bring out a replacement dress.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
I put on the dinner dress Luna brought out and had her fix my hairstyle as well.
Then, the comb got caught in my hair and a high-pitched sound echoed through the room as it fell to the floor.
“I’m, I’m so sorry!”
Luna hastily picked up the comb and bowed her head. This girl is a bit clumsy, isn’t she?
“I apologize…! I’ll prepare a replacement comb right away!”
“It’s fine, just use that comb. Unlike the late queen, I don’t get upset over small things.”
That’s right; I don’t get angry over trivial matters. I’m well aware of the reputation my behavior brings.
See? Aren’t you lucky to have a kind master?
But when I smiled kindly at her, Luna, who appeared in the mirror, briefly stared in surprise before quickly tightening her lips and saying something unbelievable.
“The former queen was… a very kind person.”
I let out an awkward and flustered voice.
What is this? Am I being talked back to?
“That was really my fault. The former queen was always kind to me… but because I made a terrible mistake, she became distraught at that moment… I was living comfortably in the place of exile, without realizing that the fact that the maid was exiled had spread and turned into a bad rumor.”
Luna seemed to tighten her lips. Perhaps she was trying to hold back her emotions as she tightly clenched the comb in her hand.
“I became the cause of lowering the former queen’s reputation. I wish I could have helped her before this happened…!”
What is this all about?
Why couldn’t I completely ruin that woman’s reputation?
Does this mean that I am not fit to be the queen?
This is outrageous. Princess Leticia did something so absurd, she’s not fit to be a queen.
I could have done a much better job.
Why do I have to listen to this kind of talk…!
I woke up in a rage.
As I sat up in bed, I noticed the presence of adults surrounding me.
“Looks like you’re awake.”
The woman with a lavender-colored hair, who seemed to be in her early twenties, gave me a seductive smile.
I’ve never seen her before. I don’t know the old man next to her either, but I recognize the other two on the opposite side.
“Oh, you woke up at the perfect time.”
It’s His Majesty Octavio Vasco Holguin!
He looks like Prince Agustin but much older.
Is this a joke? Why are they here? No, wait… where am I?
“Don’t move, witch. I’ll strangle you.”
As I tried to say something and move, Hugo Cervantes, the captain of the Dragon Knights who I recognized, glared at me with eyes that could kill a tiger.
H-how scary…! What’s scary is not only this person, but also his son!
“It’s okay, Hugo. Don’t frighten her too much, or we won’t be able to have a conversation.”
“You are too soft, brother. Even though this girl is a child, she’s a witch and a political criminal who brainwashed Prince Agustin. It’ll be too late if something really happens.”
Ah… I see. So they already know.
If that’s the case, there must be a magic barrier set up in this room. I think it’s like a dormitory room, but I’m not sure where it is in the Academy.
“Your Majesty. I humbly request permission to speak.”
The white-haired old man standing next to the witch said quietly. I sent a careful glance to try to find out his identity, but my efforts were in vain, depending on His Majesty’s response.
“Count Bellis. Permission granted.”
Count Bellis…! He’s Alondra Bellis’s grandfather, an authority in magic research!
“Were you Baron Echeverria’s daughter? What was your reason for interfering with my granddaughter?”
The anger emanating from the old man was heavier than I imagined.
I swallowed my saliva and started to speak carefully.
“I heard that Prince Agustin is engaged, and I felt sad and jealous…”
It was a lie. I wasn’t jealous or anything; I just wanted to use her.
And I didn’t need to confess that I used witch magic to make Agustin-sama reveal the name of his fiancée candidate.
“Is there no other motive?”
“N-No, there isn’t. I’m truly sorry. I was just confused.”
I looked at Count Bellis with teary eyes, but unfortunately, his expression didn’t soften.
…Damn it. Maybe this is the first time my acting didn’t work.
“Well then, Baron Echeverria’s daughter. There’s something else I must ask you.”
The King looked down at me with his cold eyes.
His voice was used to making people obey. I always had the impression that he was a kind person, but today, I couldn’t sense even a hint of warmth.
“I received a report from a certain source that you were under investigation. According to the investigation, before you were taken in by the Echeverria family, you were often seen meeting with a certain woman. I want you to tell me everything about who that woman is.”
Could it be that he’s worried about my mentor?
My mentor is a really kind person. She always said that you shouldn’t use witchcraft on anyone other than yourself. I pretended to follow the rules without showing my true nature, but she was someone who believed until the end that I was a good kid.
In a life where no one cared about me, she was the only one who treated me selflessly.
Why is he asking about my mentor?
“She’s just a neighbor who was kind to me.”
“What were you doing when you met her?”
“We cooked together and chatted… it was nothing special.”
“Candalaria, what do you think?”
The one whose name His Majesty called was the woman with the purplish-blue hair who had smiled at me first.
I don’t know her name. Who is she to be asked for her opinion in this situation?
Perhaps sensing my doubts, Candelaria suddenly turned and smiled at me.
“I am the witch Candelaria. I was specially called here because of the incident you caused.”
Her blue eyes narrowed, emitting an indescribable allure.
…Is this person really in her twenties? Well, she looks young, but there’s something about her presence that exudes an inexplicable sense of dignity and composure.
“Your Majesty, this girl is lying. Her response to Dr. Bellis earlier, as well as her ability to handle witchcraft to this extent, require a teacher. Most likely, she’s protecting a grateful master.”
Count Bellis let out a sigh, looking somewhat bothered by Candelaria’s cheerful and musical tone of voice. It seems they are acquaintances.
“But it’s a shame, isn’t it?”
Candelaria said with a chilling smile.
“That’s right, bad witch. You were being used.”
“There is no greater fool than someone who teaches witchcraft to those who are so humanly immature. If there were such a person, they would be nothing but a bad witch who desires nothing but chaos in the human world.”
What is she talking about?
Was my master using me? No, that can’t be.
Because my master was always kind to me. And she was a witch like me, struggling with the same difficulties in life.
“As evidence, the woman’s whereabouts are unknown. You were abandoned and it’s so pitiful, isn’t it?”
That’s why I believed her. I, who thought that humans were only using each other, believed in my master because she was a fellow witch.
“There are dangerous elements who hate people for no reason. That witch probably sensed your ambitions… Well then, Your Highness, I have a proposal for you.”
“What is it?”
“She will be executed if she continues like this. But since she is a valuable source of information for bad witches, it would be a waste to kill her. So, could you let me take her in?”
I lifted my face with great force at the unexpected proposal.
I was thinking about how to survive the death penalty, but this is an unprecedented lifeline.
However, Marquis Cervantes, who had been silent and observing the situation, raised his voice in anger.
“You’re asking for quite an exceptional measure. By what authority do you dare to propose such a thing, Special Researcher Candalaria?”
“It’s not a matter of authority. I merely made a proposal, Your Excellency. It’s an unprecedented situation where a member of the royal family has been brainwashed. If she were to be prosecuted for a formal crime, our country would be exposed not only to our citizens but also to other countries as vulnerable to witch attacks.”
Candalaria spoke in a singing tone. Because her words hit the nail on the head, no one objected.
Indeed, if this matter were to become public, the country would lose trust in every aspect. In the worst case, there might even be a possibility of war if someone takes advantage of this vulnerability.
It’s not like I wanted it to go that far.
“So, we will just say that this incident was caused by the witch’s magic going out of control. I will take responsibility for her from now on. Through interrogation, we will extract information and use her as a subject for personality correction experiments until she becomes a true human.”
Wait, what did you just say?
Interrogation, correction, experiment? You didn’t say that, did you?! Hey!
Ignoring me, His Majesty let out a sigh that seemed to indicate he had given up.
“…It’s a shameful situation. Even if it’s to avoid the country’s confusion, it’s regrettable that we have to make such backroom deals.”
“Let’s accept Candelaria’s proposal. I have to give a sermon to my eldest son, so I will leave the rest to you.”
The three men, with determined expressions, stood up without hesitation. His Highness left the room first, followed by Duke Cervantes.
Count Bellis, who remained behind, let out a sigh of disbelief.
“I can’t believe such a proposal was made. Can you really handle it?”
“It’s not a problem to deal with one or two witches who aren’t very skilled. Dr. Bellis must be very angry to see his smart and lovely granddaughter involved in this. Please leave it to me.”
Dr. Bellis seemed hesitant, but he gave me a quick glance at the end.
What was that sympathetic look for…?
“Well, it’s finally quiet now that we’re alone.”
Candelaria relaxed in the armchair next to the bed.
This can’t be true. What’s going to happen to me?
I have a bad feeling about being interrogated by witches. Maybe it would be better if I were dead.
I jerked my face with a squeaking sound and finally managed to focus on the beautiful smile of the witch. I probably had the most pathetic expression ever at that moment.
In contrast, Candelaria showed a wonderful smile.
“Don’t worry, Yserra, I’ll take good care of you so you don’t die.”
No, I don’t want that. I’m going to keep living strongly from now on.
I absolutely refuse to be used by anyone. I should use everything I have to aim higher——
Indigo eyes glowed black.
I screamed in fear as a supple hand reached out to me, but my voice was blocked by the barrier, and no one heard me.