16. You and me and,
A choking sound, or rather the sound of someone losing the air in their lungs came from past the wall.
“……I thought he was human.”
The exasperated voice of Isador was heard.
The voices that were hushed spurted up at once. The noisy murmurings could be heard even inside the carriage and the arm holding me down trembled.
“We have shown you great disrespect. To think we forgot to apologise and see you off. It seems like the recent fatigue had built up, that I completely slept in. I should start thinking about my age now.”
I could hear the voice from the front. As well as the numerous clacking sounds of hooves and steel.
“Moreover, I received a report stating that my servants are inconveniencing you, so I hurried over. Truly, I am very sorry. If I sent out something like that as gifts, that will be a disgraceful blot on Laius’s reputation. Joblin-dono, I would like to be allowed to repair your carriage. It seems that there are two little servants. They really can hide anywhere. Really, I believe they snuck into your carriage since it’s the biggest and the easiest to hide in.”
Maybe the voice sounded hoarser than I remembered because the poison burnt his throat.
No, it wouldn’t have just been the throat that the poison scorched. Because, that amount of blood.
Because, night fell on the villages of Laius.
“……That, can’t, be, true.”
I couldn’t tell if the trembling voice was Wilfred’s or mine.
Because, if I’m wrong, I cannot be. And probably, for Wilfred, if I’m not wrong, he cannot be.
From the other direction of the sound of our trembling, more voices came.
“Hoh…… What might you be talking about? They are not rats, there cannot be such things. Ah, anyhow, really…… the news was that you had died.”
“It seems that only the original information was delivered, I am ashamed. Well, I can at least boast at how fast news travels.”
“Tim, come out. I don’t have time to go hunting in a land that I’m not familiar with. Sorry about not having any tricks, but at that rate you’ll be a rede guest.”
When he interrupted…… rather, ignored the other lord’s words and speaking to a person that couldn’t be seen, it was not the person in question, Wilfred, who gave up.
“My! Truly, in my carriage!? To think I had been unwittingly helping a heinous villain! Argh, damn! To think that he was hiding in my precious carriage!”
Faster than one can flip their hand, Joblin forsook Wilfred and I could hear Joblin gargantuan body distance away from the carriage. There was no time for me to think him filthy for abandoning a partner that he had been working with until just a while ago.
Wilfred did not stop reaching out. On the contrary, he reached out for the doorknob and rushed out in a posture that was like a brawler. Even so, he did not let me go so we rolled out together.
From the world where light and sound were only leaking in, we were thrust into a world flooded with them.
The roar of the rushing river. The wailing wind that would not lose to such a river. The boisterous birdsongs and the slightly startled yet somewhat serene sigh of soldiers. The feigned fuss of the people from Darich.
“Hey, Tim. Thank you for the pretty exciting gift. It must have took a lot of time, sorry about that.”
And his rather raspy voice.
Jumping off his horse after saying so, his eyes shone. Stronger than the stars in the night sky, a softer gold than the sun.
On the left side of his face, there was a trace of something like burns from his ear to his neck, possibly from the poison’s effect. He was noticeably emaciated. He had bags under his eyes, his cheeks were hollow, his voice was hoarse and his complexion was as pale as that of a dead man. Maybe he didn’t have much strength, since he was not moving much, merely resting his shoulder against the horse.
However, his eyes didn’t change. The golden shade that held life.
Behind the carriage, there were the people from Gimii, led by Isador.
In front of us, in our way was Kaid and others. Behind the armed soldiers, I could see something like a fence. The road was blocked. Looking at at that, it might not have been just a while ago that they arrived.
Right. Otherwise, they could never have come.
“…………Why, how are you alive.”
Still holding me tightly, the moan crawled across the ground.
“Why are you here, Kaid Falua!?!”
Something like the primal roar of a beast strode past the rocks and echoed in the sky. An earsplitting cry. A yell containing so much rage that the human voice almost could not be heard. A rage barely forming words.
As the thundering voice vibrated air and steel, a soldier from Laius spoke up.
“Tim…… his lordship… you really did that…?”
Tim was at the estate longer than I have been and he got friendly with most people quite well. There were many people who were close to him. He was someone like that. I could see him laughing with snacks with the soldiers. Teasing, bantering, making fun of, poking fun at, comforting and consoling.
I saw him smile like that often.
“Why…… why, Tim!?”
Even as the soldiers from Laius seemed to lament, Kaid didn’t change his expression and shrugged lightly.
“I died as you wished. I reunited with my father after a long time. However, my servants were strict. I was woken up by the head maid. Seriously, my heart was pounded. Carolina must have been doctor or something. The angel’s fists are tough, or so I commented after coming back, then I went back to dying again from the second fist that came flying.”
When Kaid entered a coughing fit, the soldiers I remember seeing clanked their armour. Kaid stopped them and let out a long breath.
“Looking back, you who was said to not harm people nor animals gave me such a passionate gift and moved Shirley for me. I was so moved that I even came here to thank you in person. ……I don’t know who you are, but aren’t you getting too ahead of yourself?”
“……You’re the adulterer. I wonder if you can tell from that, you poor aristocrat from the hicks.”
From Wilfred’s body that was trembling with rage, I could hear small bottles clang. Even when I struggled to free myself from his grip, he did not budge, a mysterious strength coming from such thin arms. Even when I dug my nails into him like before, he did let out a single groan.
From Wilfred’s words, the corners of Kaid’s mouth curled up. His eye teeth rested on his lips like fangs. With an expression too grand to be called a smile, he laughed as if he was howling.
“I see. I suppose I’ll congratulate you for not running away with your tail between your legs, loser.”
“That’s what the mongrel who bit its owner said.”
“I’ll say this now, but I only regret not being able to apologise to that person. Actually, I regret having been too tame in getting you.”
At the front were the soldiers from Laius, led by Kaid, behind there were the soldiers from Gimii, led by Gimii and in a mediocre position were the people from Darich. They didn’t back away probably because Joblin was too slow, but I could also see another reason why from the exhausted eyes that were shaking from trying to keep up with every sentence.
Even I could tell, so the two must know. A vulgar duel of words without any clear hits continued.
Slowly, Kaid stood without leaning against the horse and swept his cloak to his back as if it were a hindrance, revealing his sword belt.
“Let’s stop this here. Your strongest point, the disguise, is now off, and the person who was your last ray of hope abandoned you. ……It’s not much, but I can at least give you alcohol and listen to your complaints. So let’s stop. I can’t die for you.”
“Even if you can’t die for the princess?”
Kaid laughed softly.
“That’s a hopeless death.”
“Then die, mongrel.”
Kaid didn’t react to those words. He laughed very softly.
“However, I made her cry. I will come back however many times if I made my lady cry. For that reason, I don’t care if I’m not human anymore.”
I could hear his tongue click. So that he could escape the arrowheads, Tim grabbed me tightly every time I moved slightly. I grabbed the arm that was holding me. So that it won’t be shaken off, I gripped him tightly.
“……Let’s stop this. This won’t achieve anything. Nothing will come back, nor can we return anywhere, you know that as well, don’t you?”
“It can’t be helped. Otherwise, there was no meaning for me to be born as me.”
“You can’t know such things.”
“You didn’t even have your feet on the ground, nor swam up but sank, yet you say that…… as if you can change that now. As long as we are us, as long as this place is Laius, as long as that guy is alive, as if anything can change! It’s the same for you!”
“Yes! It can’t change! As long as I feel like this, I can’t live like everyone else! Still, I want to be able to say that I’m glad to have been born! Since I was reborn after all that, I want that! Here, in Laius, I want to be able to live and say that…… I wanted to become like that. In that mansion, was there nothing, nothing that you liked? Nothing that kept you there?”
He learned nothing after spending time with those bright and nice people. With those people who were nice enough to not ignore this ugly and depressing woman. Did he really rid himself of those memories?
Looking past me, Wilfred stared at the soldiers from Laius. He narrowed his eyes slightly. Then his lips loosened somewhat.
Then he smiled like a child having a sweet dream.
“Then, why don’t you die with me, princess.”
“It’s impossible to survive. I can only live as me. This grudge is my only reason for existing. This memory is the only thing that confirms that I am me. And, you are the only proof.”
A strength belying his soft voice held me tightly. Rather than hold me, it was as though he was he was forcing me to be a part of him. Even though I tried hardest to get away, I couldn’t even breath from the force.
“I don’t want to disappear alone.”
The strength was tremendous, but the voice was more pitiful than that of a lost child.
No matter how much he prays, no matter how much be tries to take me, we can’t be the same.
There can’t be people who are the same, yet he murmured no in a crying voice.
“Please, let me go.”
“You won’t be redeemed even if I die!’
“Yes. You’re also a pitiful girl. For me, for the wolf, for you, there aren’t good people around us. It would have been nice if there were people not like us, but better people…… like Samua.”
As he lowered his body, I was slowly dragged outside the road. The ground was barely even enough to be called a road so outside that the land turned into a place of rocks and pebbles and dust.
And from below, a rumbling noise could be heard.
“Don’t bother. Even if you jump from there, I’ll always catch you.”
There as still some distance to the cliff.
As Wilfred moved with me in tow, the circle surrounding him grew smaller and smaller. The soldiers from Laius and Gimii were on the road, readying lassos.
It was me who was in the way. I knew that, but I could hardly breath because Wilfred was too strong.
“It’s not yours.”
My neck was grabbed and I was pulled hard. Not only did the buttons go flying, I could even hear the fabric tear.
“She was mine from a long time ago.”
“…………What about it. I was promised, so I won’t fall for such taunts.”
My neck was gripped tightly once more. While stifling me, a small bottle shook in Wilfred’s hand. That, the only use for that is just for killing me, yet he was holding it dearly.
“I see. However, it doesn’t change that she’s mine!”
He swung his arm and threw the bottle towards everyone.
Everyone used their cloaks, shields, luggage, something to cover themselves.
However, that small bottle was aimed at nobody.
“Everyone, get away!”
Seeing that quicker than anyone, Kaid’s yell and the sharp scream of a horse overlapped. The small bottle shattered against a horse and burnt its skin.
The six strong horses that could pull Joblin’s carriage suddenly charged in pain and confusion, towards the soldiers from Laius. The horses and carriage that turned into a living weapon rampaged and stampeded the soldiers and other horses as if they were stepping on bugs.
“Let’s meet in the next word, wolf!”
Taking me with a swift movement, Wilfred threw me down the cliff and followed.
Not noticing that his cheek was bleeding from the shards from a carriage, he did not stop his feet. Before I could imagine the worst, Kaid jumped too.
Screams and yells came from many places as the weapon frenzied about.
Without minding those, he stretched his hand out and I too stretched my hand out unconsciously.
“Ha, hahahahaha! So it’s you next! Enjoy the warped life, wolf!”
Wilfred held his belly in laughter as he fell alone.
Together now, the two of us disappeared into the currents as well.