Ending like that, you and me.
Our house rules over vast holdings, received for our ancestor’s military achievements.
Territory received from the deeds of our ancestor. However, not all ruled benevolently, making the fief and the subjects cry. Especially, my grandfather and my father were very cruel. For their luxuries, they exploited their subjects and the affluent fief quickly grew gaunt.
Of course, the subjects were outraged. However, grandfather and father persecuted those who complained as if was the most natural thing, ruling through fear.
Our house was called heartless brutes of the worst kind.
Thus, it’s no surprise that it would come to this.
I stared vacantly at the burning mansion.
The house that had a beauty like a palace was burning down.
When I glanced down, the beautifully maintained gardens, which were taken care of the numerous gardeners that were replaced at just one mention of mother’s dislike for the colours, with sincere care…… no, with the will to not get murdered, were burning with white smoke that mixed into the pitch black smoke.
The flower I planted before, that I wished to gift to him, had not yet blossomed. It was pitiful to see a flower that would never bloom again.
Because someone like me planted it in this garden, that seed died without even having the opportunity to turn into a flower.
With my arms twisted up and my knees on the ground, in front my eyes, there were the heads of father and mother, who were calling their subjects pigs. Having locked themselves in the cellar, grandfather and grandmother will burn inside. When I hung my head, the scenery changed. However, even as I stared down, there were faces full of grudge and resentment, and I was surrounded by even more hatred.
In front of me, some soldiers came over.
Amongst them, the one wearing different armour is someone important in the rebel army…… no, the revolutionary army. The man nonchalantly wiped off blood from his cheek, blood definitely from someone I know, and spoke to the person standing next to me.
“I apologise for causing so much trouble for a long time, here and now.”
My hair that was combed neatly loosened and some strands obscured my view.
With the smoke and hair, it would have been nice if I could not see anything.
However, what I had wished did not come true.
“No, I should be apologising for the trouble I caused.”
Even as my poorly squirming heart had no normal parts, it came apart from that voice.
“Sir, you shouldn’t have had to play the part if a dog.”
“Don’t say that. There just wasn’t anyone else around the fitting age.”
“Is that so…… but Kaid-sama, it felt as though you were trying to stop our hearts. It didn’t feel like were alive.”
The man stared at the other man as his bitter feelings oozed through.
His name is Helt, a year younger than me, sixteen years of age, brown hair and beautiful golden eyes.
Mother hired him because his face was pretty. During the two years of work, he did not get displeased at any trivial work, accepting every work with a smile. Everyone liked him. Among the frequently changing employees, he was very young, and during the two years he did not anyone’s ire.
However, it’s different. I smiled thinly.
Because the man called him Kaid. I don’t even know if his age is real.
Everything I know about him is probably false.
Worrying about his short height, smiling sheepishly with a soot-stained nose from cleaning the chimney, liking animals, blushing because he received a flower from a town girl, being craven and kind to not kill a single bug, using his holiday to buy me, who could not sleep well, warm tea.
Being my lover.
While kneeling, I silently averted my gaze from Helt who was consoling the men surrounding him.
I didn’t even think of leaning against the cold stone walls of the cell, and sat down on a shoddy bed that looked as though it would collapse any moment, something which I saw for the first time in my life. How many hours passed? How many days passed? I knew that food was placed for me. However, I had counted the number of times, so I did not know.
I did not care. Counting did not mean anything.
I heard footsteps. They stopped in front of my cell.
I knew you would come. It would have been nice if I could say that.
While hanging my head down, I laughed at myself.
Helt would come. I could say that with confidence. But because I did not know where the Helt I knew was, I could not predict his actions.
Without tidying my dishevelled hair, I slowly raised my head.
It was like the night sky. Black hair and golden eyes. Even the colour was a lie? I didn’t even have the energy to deride myself.
I liked his calm and peaceful voice. I loved his kind and soft speech.
But I didn’t want to hear it, never again.
“What could it be, new lord. Are you here to mock this foolish woman who ruined herself from getting seduced by a younger man?”
“Don’t bully me too much. You had said that a lot, had you not? I am but a sheltered, foolish woman. What else do you need from this miserable woman who was ruined from giving everything to her first love that bloomed late? Mansion? Nothing. Dresses? Nothing. Jewels? Nothing. Family? Not anymore. Lover? Never was anywhere.”
“Father’s corruption? I never knew from the beginning. That’s why it took two years. Sorry I didn’t know anything, I ended up wasting your precious time, I’m sorry. How pitiful, having to play along to an old woman’s delusion, playing the part of a lover.”
From his shouting as he grasped the iron bars, I shut my mouth.
“My lady, you knew nothing. You did not do anything wrong. You were just living in the mansion. That’s all you had to say. Why didn’t you testify so. Why did you confess to sins that you did not commit. I can’t calm the people at this rate.”
“I knew that grandfather was buying paintings every week. I knew that father was buying more land yet again. I knew that grandmother was buying jewels every week. I knew that mother was buying dresses every week. I knew that the gardener was replaced, I knew that the maid was replaced, I knew that the stable was replaced. Without thinking about the meaning behind those, I led an extravagant life for seventeen years. Am I not a sinner enough?”
The lord’s house that was worse than mindless beasts. That was what the people shouted. That must be true.
As rulers, as human beings, as men, as women, as adults. No matter what, we were the worst.
But they were my family.
As a father, as a mother, as a grandfather, as a grandmother. They were neither devils nor mongrels, just normal people.
I also have responsibility for not advising them. If my extravagant life coming from their sins is not a sin, then what could it be. From the point I was born out of their sins, I am atrocious sinner.
“Moreover, even if I say that, what would happen? Are you saying that you will let me go with no charges? Are you going to say that you will return the mansion, the garden, my family, my everything? Well, isn’t that grand.”
“You’ll be living in a monastery in the mountain. You can never return to this land, but you will live.”
“So you would like me to live and drown in abuse. How cruel.”
“……I just want you to live.”
I ended up bursting in to laughter. I meant to laugh pleasantly, but it distorted into an ugly one.
His expression froze. What a funny face.
However, the funniest thing was,
“It must have been funny. Seeing a woman’s heart pound and her lips curl from just your smile. Come to think of it, the handkerchief I embroidered poorly, I never saw you using them. Did you get rid of it the day you got it? I even baked cookies I never tried before. Though you did have them. Did you feed the rest to the pigs? I even planted a flower to give to you on your birthday. It probably turned into ash by now. What a relief, to not get a flower from someone like this woman.”
He did not say anything. He lowered his head with that funny face, and when he lifted his head again, there was no emotion in it.
“To make some time to talk to you, I earnestly listened to the lectures I disliked. It was merely espionage for you…… I did well, didn’t I? I stayed up to finish my homework…… I thought that it would be alright to abandon my house if I was with you, so I even studied business. Though I wasn’t very good at it. I learned to cook, do the laundry and clean in secret. You worried for my hand full of cuts and bruises, but I wonder if you didn’t care. Or did you think that it served me right? I wonder if you were disappointed that I wasn’t hurt more. Would you have smiled if a finger was cut off?”
Aa, what a stupid and ridiculous woman.
This stupid woman whose brain was worse than a mongrel.
“So that it won’t be a source of trouble, get rid of me cleanly. Isn’t that your wish? Let me hear your praise.”
When I said such things while giggling, he swallowed something. When those tightly shut lips parted, there was no longer anything.
“………… So that is your choice.”
As I laughed in response, I was never anywhere. Like someone that parted with his past, he never looked back.
Justified condemnations were rampant.
In the midst of that, in wooden shackles, I was walking down the road. I headed to my place of judgement while hanging my head down, only raising my head when I reached there.
Were there so many people in this town?
I did have the opportunity to go out often, but when I went out shopping with parents sometimes it was an eerily quiet town. In retrospect, the townspeople were hiding to not earn unnecessary ire, to not get killed on whim.
Unlike that cold town that reeked of death, a different heat was surging.
Hatred towards me.
I was forced to kneel by a soldier. My loosened hair was pulled so that I would be facing forward.
The people were yelling with great rage deep down from their throats. However, for me, everything was jumbled up and I could not hear well.
“My store was confiscated!”
“We were disallowed from honest trade!”
“Children starved to death!”
“My husband who tried to tell the king was murdered!”
“Return the lands that were passed down for generations!”
I could only hear that from here on.
Many different crimes flooded out of the mouths of the people.
I don’t know if those are all my family’s sins, or just misfortunes upon them.
For starters, the hatter couple, your daughter that’s not returning home eloped with a travelling painter.
Even so, it’s meaningless. Even if ten or twenty sins are added, nothing changes. I had committed so much sins.
I only moved my eyes and looked at the person sitting on a slightly elevated position. Black hair and golden eyes. The only things that did not change were the eyes, but not even a sheltered and stupid girl was not clueless enough to think that.
The soft, kind light I loved was no longer there in those eyes. After my gaze met his, I opened my mouth.
I had never shouted like this before, so I was worried if it would come out well.
However, my voice was not trembling, and I could speak better than I thought.
“How dare you lowly bugs even touch me! You must squeeze out money for me. It’s an honour to be working for this beautiful and noble woman, but to be dissatisfied with that, how shameless! Who do you think let you live here! You brainless bugs live for the purpose of getting used by me! Now, kill this insolent fool and rescue me! The ugly woman there! Come here! I’ll give you the honour of being my maid. The man there! Prepare a coach! Not the pitiful ones you use! Prepare the top-quality carriage father ordered from the artisan from the capital! Also, I’m feeling peckish. Prepare a meal. I’m sure you know it’s not the pig feed you eat. Prepare a proper human’s meal.”
Stones, curses, hatred,
Sticks, amazement, joy.
“Do it quickly! I am ordering you!”
While many different objects flew, from the corner of my eyes, I could see him, the right hand of the new lord that the people truly want coming down.
Ending like this, you and me.
That which never existed, you, and me.
For the frozen heart to hurt the most, what a foolish woman.
I’m going to translate this series on Sundays, as a side project of sorts. Just twenty chapters, it’s going to be a short side project of mine. A nice bittersweet romance series. Oh, and, it’s just the first chapter that’s this dark.