It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (107/119), enjoy~
Chapter 5 – Heim And Assassination
At the same time that Ain arrived at Sith Mill, Krone was still in town.
She enjoyed a cup of tea from her room in the Auguste Trading Company building, looking out the window at dusk.
Unusually for her, she was hugging her knees on a chair.
On her lap, she draped the jacket that Ain had left behind.
“…I wonder what he’s doing now.”
While she was thinking about Ain. There was a knock on the door, and Krone answered it by saying, “Come in.”
It was Graff who appeared.
“Excellent work as always.”
“I’m flattered by the compliment.”
“I like your handwriting, too. It’s even better than before.”
“I’ve been practicing so that no one will say I don’t like your handwriting.”
She mentioned her previous meeting with Heim. In response to Tigre’s criticism, she has been trying to grow in her own way.
She didn’t feel bad if she thought she had made a difference.
“Is your work finished, Grandfather?”
“Yes, just a few moments ago.”
Graff sat down in the chair beside Krone shortly after his answer.
“It smells good.”
“I’ve been learning how to brew tea with Beria-san lately.”
“As I recall… she was the servant Her Highness called grandmother.”
“Yes. Just like Warren-sama, she has been in the service of Ishtalika for a long time.”
“You have a good teacher. May I have a cup of tea with you?”
Krone readily agreed to prepare a cup of tea, and Graff immediately tasted it.
He remembered his granddaughter’s handwriting.
“It was about the time our letters arrived.”
He couldn’t remember when, but he acknowledged the letter to Heim. He recalled that he had sent it via Euro.
“Yes, it may have reached Augusto’s mansion by now.”
“It’s Harley we’re talking about. He’s going to make a fuss anyway.”
“Fufu, that’s my father’s style.”
The two looked at each other and laughed, thinking of their distant family.
“And then your mother will rebuke him, but she will be kind enough to say that she understands how he feels.”
“Yeah, I don’t know how many times I’ve seen that scene.”
As the sky began to be covered by nightfall. The two thoughts blossomed into such a prediction.
──In fact, a situation not much different was about to unfold at the Augusto mansion.
Today, Elena finished her work in good time, and unusually, she was on her way back to the mansion just as the sun was setting.
When the door opened, she was met by the sight of her husband, who was delighted beyond his years.
“A letter from Krone has arrived! I finally got a letter from Krone that she wrote herself!”
He held the letter in one hand and hugged Elena with a little jump.
She understood how he felt.
It’s been a long time since she’s sent any letters, and it was written by her daughter. From Harley’s point of view, it was the only way to contact her, unlike Elena, who had met her face to face the other day.
So it wasn’t hard to understand.
“I understand how you feel, but don’t get too excited; you’re a grown man!”
She wanted to be a part of the joy, but it was too intense for Elena on her way home from work.
First, she left her bag with the servant.
She pulled her husband’s hand tightly and went to her office in the mansion.
(Ever since Father-in-law retired, I feel like he’s getting restless.)
“Elena, what’s wrong?”
“I felt that you were getting restless. I think it would be better if you were to be retrained by father-in-law when the opportunity arises.”
“…Can you give me a break?”
How long has she been on her backside? The only way to answer that question is, from the beginning.
But the chemistry was great.
Harley, Graff’s son, had excelled and was well-liked by many people, but in a bad way, he lacked the forcefulness of a nobleman.
On the other hand, Elena was overly competitive, but they were able to build a relationship that complemented each other.
The couple has a reputation for getting along well in social circles, and Elena often heard about it.
──Elena dragged Harley to the office and opened the door.
“Here, let us see it inside.”
“O-oh! Right! Actually, I haven’t read it yet either! Look at it; I haven’t even opened the seal yet!”
Her cheeks relaxed at her husband’s small concern, and she turned her attention to the letter he was holding.
It would be good to sit on the sofa. It’s not like there’s any work to be done, so they could sit down and enjoy reading it.
She called her husband over to the sofa, sat down, and put her hand on the seal of the letter. The envelope looked quite ordinary, and the paper inside was rather cheap.
“I hope we didn’t make her feel uncomfortable.”
“But it’s very thoughtful. If it was too fancy, they might have inspected it.”
They were both trying to keep their composure, but their hearts urged them to read the letter.
Elena’s hands were less active than usual. She seemed to be moving restlessly as she took out the paper and opened it.
Both of their eyes were glued to the letter.
After a few minutes of reading through the contents, her husband Harley spoke first.
“You’re really a great man, Father. He must have wanted to make things easier for Krone. And maybe he had the right environment. But whenever I hear about his success in Ishtalika, I always think of my father as a formidable man.”
He had heard about his father’s success in Ishtalika several times before, but he was still amazed.
“It makes my head hurt, though, doesn’t it?”
“I’m the same way. Since your father’s disappearance, Heim’s once-proud commercial activities have simply stagnated.”
In the past, the absence of the man who was known as the ruler of land transportation had no small impact.
Because of such a man, success has been achieved in Ishtalika.
“This country was too small for both father-in-law and Krone.”
“It’s still the largest country on this continent, though.”
They continued to read the letter. They never read the letter more than once, but they read the same words over and over again.
What else was written in the letter was about the little things that happened in their daily lives and Krone’s life in the castle. What she was doing as Ain’s assistant was written as much as it was safe to tell the two of them. From the midpoint on, it’s also about her feelings for him.
From the point of view of her parents, who knew the young Krone, the change in her is amusing.
At the end of the letter, she wrote.
“I hope that one day we can have dinner together as a family again.”
“Yes… I hope we can all have dinner together again someday.”
“That’s right. I’d like to meet Krone’s loved ones, too, even though I don’t know how many years it will be.”
“Do you think you’ll ever meet him?”
“I don’t think so. He’s the crown prince.”
“Maybe you’d like to wander around the city with me? Maybe he can recommend a place to stay.”
They laughed about what had happened in the port city of Magna and looked forward to the future.
Now that the letter was over. Elena let her voice trail off as she stretched her back, remembering that she was tired from work.
“Hmm…! If it had been nothing, I could have gone to bed in a good mood.”
“I’m worried about the incident, too. However, I’m also concerned about His Highness the Third Prince.”
“Even though we are worried, this is more important right now.”
Tigre von Heim, the third prince of the Kingdom of Heim. He was currently spending his days in a state of apathy, if not stupefaction.
After the meeting with Ishtalika, he had become quiet, like a different person.
Every day, he gazed out the window from his room in the royal castle. It had already been more than a month, but there was no sign of recovery.
Many people were worried about him. This was because he was a strong candidate for the future King of Heim, and his reputation in the castle was much better than Ishtalika thought.
Of course, Elena, Krone’s mother, was one of them.
But she had no time to think about him now.
“The kidnapping is a much bigger problem.”
This was because of the word “kidnapping” that she had just mentioned.
“Before I left the castle, I received a report of an eighth victim.”
“Eight victims…? What is their rank?”
Elena dug into her pockets and handed Harley a report.
“It’s a ridiculous story of kidnappings of all ranks of the nobility. It is unparalleled in the history of Heim.”
“The castle said it was probably part of a faction war, but this is too much.”
When he looked at the report, he saw that the legitimate son of a certain nobleman had been kidnapped. In the first place, the kidnapping of a nobleman is a big matter, even if only one is kidnapped. But there had been eight of them in recent days, one after the other.
“Some of the nobles say it’s because of Ishtalika.”
“It’s easy to imagine that this means nothing to them. I hope they put those rumors to rest as soon as possible.”
“I have been doing my best to put out the fires, but doubts only breed new doubts.”
“That’s just nonsense… We’ve barely avoided a war.”
Nevertheless, it is understandable why rumors are circulating. It has not been many months since the conflict with Ishtalika was settled.
──Knock, knock, knock!
Suddenly, there was a forceful knock on the door. The two looked at each other suspiciously.
Harley was the first to go to the door, and as soon as it opened, a private soldier of the Augusto family stepped briskly into the room.
“I beg your pardon! You two should hurry to the castle!”
“W-what’s going on all of a sudden?”
The private soldier catches his breath and speaks with a grim expression.
“──H-His Highness the Second Prince, is…!
The next time they heard the words from the knight, their minds went blank.
◇ ◇ ◇
Elena walked into the audience hall of the royal castle, the pride of Heim, which had always honored the champions of the continent. Her husband, Harley, was also at the castle, but he quickly realized what was going on and left Elena to do what she had to do.
Elena was rendered speechless by the sight she witnessed.
The marble floor was carpeted with rich gold threads, and the place was lit up with lights. In the center of the audience hall, the royal family’s pride and joy, a single coffin, as lavish as the opulence around it, represents the wealth of Heim.
That coffin is the reason why she was left speechless.
“Ohhhh…! Why! Why did my child have to end up like this…?”
It was Garland who leaned against the coffin and broke down crying. The coffin that he held contained a body that was missing some parts. However, as a member of the royal family, the corpse was dressed in luxurious and gorgeous clothing, and the missing parts were replaced by carved wooden bodies.
On the other side of Garland, Tigre shed tears as well.
And a few steps away, the first prince, Layfon, stands. Even Layfon, as expected, has lost some of his gruffness today, and his eyes are wet with tears.
It couldn’t be helped. This was because the body in the coffin belonged to his younger brother, the second prince.
Just as the royal family was in the midst of their grief, the person Garland had been waiting for arrived.
“Your Majesty! Logas-sama has arrived!”
Although the Kingsguard knight said it disrespectfully, no one paid any attention to it. Rather, Garland found hope even in his weeping face and stood up with a tottering, ungainly movement.
“Logas! Oh, Logas!”
When he heard Garland’s cries, Logas came running next to him, regardless of the presence of the other nobles.
“…I apologize for my lateness, Your Majesty.”
“Oooooh… A-at least you came…!”
Garland greeted Logas and pushed him towards the coffin of the second prince. It seems that Logas was more tired than ever, but with Garland’s encouragement, he kneeled in front of the coffin with a look of extreme sadness on his face.
He peered through the glass window of the coffin, closed his eyes, and pressed his lips together tightly.
“How could someone have taken the life of someone like you, Your Highness…!”
“Yeah, that’s right! Why was my child’s life taken? Why? Why is this happening?”
“With all due respect, Your Majesty. I heard that His Highness was in his room. What in the world were the guards doing?”
“How should I know? They were all killed without exception!”
When Logas heard this, he couldn’t understand.
If the assassins who entered the castle targeted the royal family’s lives, why didn’t they target the king? He also didn’t understand why it was the second prince. Normally, they should have targeted the first prince or the third prince, Tigre, who is the most prominent candidate to be the next king.
It is possible that they targeted the second prince out of a personal grudge.
However, this is unlikely. The second prince was not a man with strong centripetal force, but he was also not a man who would make enemies.
Then again, assassination by another prince would be a different story.
In fact, the other two princes were not even opposed to Tigre becoming the next king. There is no reason to assassinate him.
There was one more thing that bothered him.
The ability of the assassins to enter the castle, carry out the assassination, and even take the knight’s life before fleeing.
“Was it Ishtalika? Did Ishtalika kill my child?”
Yes, Logas suspected this too. But still, it didn’t make sense.
“Your Majesty, I don’t think it was Ishtalika. If it were, they would not have chosen assassination but would have waged war directly on our Heim.”
“Then who is it? Who’s after us?”
“…I have no idea.”
But he knew what he has to do.
“We’re already on the lookout for the killer. Please give us a few moments to find him.”
“Logas… you’re the most reliable person I’ve ever met…”
“It’s a great honor. …But I must make a decision.”
Garland put so much pressure on Logas’ hands that his nails dug into his skin. Then, he said the following words with a look of hatred that he had never shown before.
“If it was another country, what would be our response to them?”
The answer was obvious. Even though Logas knew the answer, he dared to ask Garland.
“It’s obvious! We’ll just destroy the whole country! They must suffer the same fate as my family!”
“You are right. We, Heim, must hunt down the assassins and expose their heads to the world.”
“──Yes, that’s right…!”
“Your Majesty. Now is the time for me to take charge. I will search the entire continent and find the assassin, no matter what it takes.”
“Ah, Logas! I leave everything in your hands! I entrust you with the entire command of the army. So please… avenge my child’s death, avenge my family’s death!”
With the king’s words, the army’s command was handed over to General Logas.
“Leave it to me. Marquis Bruno has already made an effort to help me. We’ll try to find the assassins as soon as possible!”
“It’s a good thing that Shannon-dono and the others are also working on this. ──I’m counting on you!”
Garland finally gave Logas a strong pat on the shoulder and expressed his gratitude with sincere eyes.