It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (110/120), enjoy~
Chapter 7 – In The Midst of Darkness
When the date changed a few hours after Ain left the chief’s mansion, at around midnight.
In the distant castle of Heim, things were extremely hectic.
It had been hectic up to now, but now it was enveloped in a strange atmosphere of furious knights and civil servants, and it was only getting more intense.
It was no wonder.
The nobles who had been missing were found one after another, and without exception, reports arrived that everything had been cut short.
In addition, just a few moments ago, a report arrived that the wife of the former head of the Roundheart family… that is, the mother of Logas, had also been decapitated by such a vicious blade.
Heim’s concentration was now unified by the desire to kill the bandit.
However, there was one person who felt uncomfortable with this sudden uproar. It was Elena.
“…..What in the world is going on?”
The assassination of a nobleman alone is a major disturbance. But this time, not only a member of the royal family but also a member of a major general’s family was assassinated.
The impact this has had is immeasurable.
The question is whether a mere bandit would be able to do such a thing. At least Elena thinks it is unlikely.
Then again, would it be Ishtalika?
“It’s impossible. That Warren-dono would never have done something like this in the dark.”
She was convinced that he would rather destroy Heim itself than do such a thing.
Suddenly, a subordinate came in with a desperate look on his face. He was out of breath, and his forehead was sweating.
Today was not a day to panic, but even so, the face of the civil servant who had arrived was covered with more tension.
“Calm down. What’s wrong?”
“I-I’m sorry! But, Logas-sama is…!”
Logas also lost his own mother.
Elena listened to him, wondering if he was losing his cool in some way.
“He has decided to dispatch an armed survey team to Rockdam and Birdland! They are leaving today at noon!”
“──Who told you that!?”
“Yes! A Kingsguard knight told me about it just a few minutes ago!”
A knight would not lie about such a thing. He would be decapitated if it was a falsehood to say that he was ordered by Logas.
Then again, Logas’ determination is serious.
“Where so many nobles had been kidnapped, the assassination of His Highness. As far as Logas-sama is concerned, the only one who would benefit from this would be none other than the countries opposing Heim.”
“Yeah, yeah! I know what you mean! But it’s too sudden!”
Although they are talking about a survey mission, in other words, they are sending an army. No matter how powerful Heim is, there is no way that the other countries would not oppose it. There is no way that they would say, “Go ahead,” if they were asked to conduct an investigation without any evidence.
The only saving grace is that they avoided Euro.
At this point, they would like to avoid a battle with Ishtalika at all costs.
“What else did they say?”
“…As I recall, they are planning to send a letter to Euro. I overheard them mentioning… whether they had any idea of what it was about.”
“It all depends on how they listen and react. … I understand. If we are to send a letter to Euro, I will do it myself. I will prepare the contents. Please tell Logas-sama that.”
In the unlikely event that it would be seen as a hostile act, Elena decided to undertake this task herself. If she had to cross over to Euro, she would have to schedule several days, but it seemed the best move to avoid irritating Ishtalika.
“Understood. Then I will go and tell them now.”
Hearing Elena’s words, the civil servant hurries out of the office.
Later, she’ll have a quick meeting with Logas, and they’ll decide on the document. Elena has one more job to do, but she is grateful that it didn’t happen in a place she had no control over.
──A fire was kept continually lit in the great hall to illuminate the deceased second prince.
Garland had a surprisingly caring side. He stayed close to the second prince until he collapsed and fainted just before noon.
And at the same time, many knights lined up outside the castle.
They had done exactly what they had said they would do, and now they were leaving Heim.
“Because of the General, the war is getting closer every second.”
Elena scoffed while lamenting the current situation.
Then, she quickly weighed in. Not one to speak too ill of her people, she recanted her current statement in her mind.
But it was tempting to say something as light as this.
The situation in her homeland, which had taken a sudden turn overnight, left her with a suspicion that is hard to describe.
Royalty and nobility are united in one goal: revenge. This may be the majority’s opinion, but Elena found it strange.
“Everything is just meshing too well together.”
The point is that Heim is being targeted too much. The crimes targeted the nobility and even the royalty. The fact that all of this is happening after the meeting with Ishtalika is a tricky one.
It was as if they were completely targeted, and there was a hidden will to further damage Heim’s patriotic feelings when they were damaged, to reap reason and provoke a war. Elena scoffed at herself for thinking this.
“I must be tired.”
She doubted her own composure, but her mind would think on its own.
──When did we make a mistake? Elena thought to herself.
Once, putting aside the assassination this time. The most recent wound was inflicted by Ishtalika.
While Elena avoided giving an excuse for war at the meeting, that doesn’t mean that Heim could have won even a single war as a country; she can’t nod her head if someone were to ask her that.
Going back further here. How did they end up having the meeting?
“All because we broke the secret agreement.”
Following the timeline. After Ain and Olivia left Heim, the next contact was at Euro, where there was a dispute involving Tigre and Grint. After that, a meeting was held, although several years had elapsed.
In all likelihood, it all began when the secret agreement was broken.
Think again here. No matter how much the second child was blessed with easily recognizable talents, would a member of a great general’s family treat the royalty of a major power with whom they had a secret agreement in the same way?
If Ain and Olivia’s personalities were in question, it would not be hard to tell. However, Ain worked diligently on his training and acquired a power that no one else in his age group could match. Even though Heim has a side of supremacy in terms of natural-born skills, the way they behaved to him at that time was still questionable.
In a different way of thinking, the Roundheart family’s problems and Heim’s problems are connected.
──Then, it must have been at the time of Grint’s birth that the Roundheart family went crazy.
Born with the Holy Knight skill, Grint was the most gifted child of a warrior family. Elena remembered that after he was born, the treatment of Ain became worse.And as a result, Ain and Olivia crossed over to Ishtalika and became similar to enemies of Heim.
Elena felt several locks being unlocked, one by one.
“It all started with the Roundheart, and Ishtalika and Heim became enemies.”
One by one, the thoughts proceed as if setting the stage.
It was all too easy, but the composition seemed to be trying to create an Ishtalika versus Heim situation.
“And the assassination attempt has triggered the dispatch of an investigation team by Logas-dono.”
It is inevitable that they will fall into a war against each country. If this happens, what happens, in the end, is likely to end in a victory for Heim.
It could be said that Heim, who had been touted as the continental supreme power, became the continental champion in both name and reality and united the continent. Then, as a result, it would be a unified nation, just like Ishtalika.
“──Is it a coincidence?”
Despite differences in the scale of their forces, by a strange coincidence, two united nations will be formed.
Whether this is a coincidence or not remains to be seen, but she does feel a connection to the story.
“Let’s think this through again.”
Here she finally returns to the assassination.
She wants to think about the assassination that would have triggered a war in Heim and the bandit who accomplished it.
“As expected, there must have been several assassins. No single assassin could kill that many people, not even Logas-dono──.”
Yes, it would be difficult, no matter how good Logas is.
At the very least, it would take someone more talented than him. But such an existence would be limited.
Elena thought it was a crazy idea, but one person came to mind.
──Someone who is even better than Logas-dono?
Her body froze as if she had been put on ice. Speaking of someone more powerful than Logas, there was one person that Elena knew of.
It was at a martial arts festival held every few years in Birdland.
There, she recalled, Logas had been defeated by the same opponents time and again.
“I think it’s crazy. Why would Edward-dono do an assassination in Heim? Oh…”
It was at this point that Elena came to her senses.
Before heading to the meeting, she had overheard something from Tigre. Shannon, Grint’s fiancée, had asked him to deliver a message. Elena had not heard who it was for, but she remembered it because she had heard it from Grint and found it interesting.
She believes it said, “Let’s get ready for a new stage.”
It was just the words of a noblewoman.
But under the current circumstances, she can’t help but be caught up in the moment. The timing and the words of this girl’s words made Elena’s heart glued to the stage.
“It must be just a coincidence.”
If the fears are unfounded, so be it. Just ask one question to resolve this doubt to the Bruno family, whether Edward came to Heim.
Then ask Lord Amour as well, and this suspicion will be cleared up.
She would only have to find out if there was a discrepancy between the two stories, and that would be the end of it.
She does not think that Lord Amour will lie. He would not have conspired with Ishtalika to cause this assassination uproar, or he would not have sent Edward without telling Ishtalika.
“No, we should not act carelessly.”
She doesn’t know what is being set up or what the purpose is, but it would be disturbing if she were correct in her predictions. At the very least, the assassin would not have missed Elena.
If so, she would at least want to get in touch with her husband as soon as possible.
Also, she wondered if she should ask for an opinion from General Logas.
“…..I couldn’t possibly reach him. ”
In all likelihood, Logas will not listen to Elena’s words. Shannon is Grint’s fiancee, and the two have a reputation for being close, partly because their ties to the Bruno family are now as strong as their awe of the royal family.
“Logas-dono should know nothing about it since they killed his mother… but.”
If Edward was the true identity of the bandit, Shannon was definitely an accomplice.
“I can’t tell Roundheart yet.”
Then who should she tell?
She also wanted to make it clear who her allies were, but there was no one she could trust other than her family ──.
“If it’s His Highness… if it’s Tigre-sama…”
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it seems that Tigre is the only one she can tell at the moment.
Tigre and Garland’s appearance yesterday never looked like an act. However, she is afraid to tell Garland right now. Because the story could be delivered to Logas right away.
On the other hand, if it is Tigre, even Elena would be able to control him if the need arises.
◇ ◇ ◇
Elena was informed by a servant that Tigre had returned to his room after Garland had collapsed, looking equally disheveled.
When she reached Tigre’s room, Elena knocked on the door several times.
“Your Highness, it’s me.”
After a few seconds, Tigre answered. It was a weak response, probably because he hadn’t gotten much sleep.
“…What do you want, Elena?”
He doesn’t even try to hide his displeasure about visiting him in his room at a time like this. When Elena sees that Tigre’s room is empty, she approaches the sofa where Tigre sits and rests.
“I have something to tell you.”
Tigre’s eyebrows furrowed at the words spoken seriously. Elena’s preamble conveyed that this was an important story.
By extension, he was convinced that it had to be about this case.
“Yes. The assassin is probably as good as, if not better than, Logas-dono.”
Hearing these words, Tigre understandably slumps his shoulders, lets out a sigh of disappointment, and looks up at the ceiling.
Without being told, he already knew what she was thinking.
“Go away now, I’m not going to sit through that nonsense──.”
“There is one more thing I would like to remind you of. Before we went to the meeting when Grint-dono was on his way to Euro. Do you remember that he was asked by Shannon-dono to go and deliver a message to a certain person?”
A moment later, Tigre’s vision was hit by a shock as if the glass were breaking.
He took a swig of the water on the table and slapped his cheek like Elena did before she came to this room.
“Let me explain my hypothesis.”
Coughing once, Elena told Tigre the hypothesis she had developed in her office from scratch.
The timing of the event was too good to be true, and Shannon mentioned the word “stage.” Elena carefully and in detail explained the materials for her hypothesis.
The conversation lasted several minutes and felt like several hours.
Tigre, who was listening to the conversation, was aware of his heart beating loudly but managed to keep his composure.
“Elena’s prediction certainly seems to make sense. Huh! I have no idea what’s going on. If what Elena says is true, then we don’t know who is our enemy and who is our friend…”
“So I have decided to take advantage of Logas-dono’s letter and send a letter to Euro.”
This by no means relying on Ishtalika. They believe that the country is neutral in this matter, and they rely on that neutrality to make sure that Lord Amour and Euro are not moving.
“It is dangerous. It is nothing but folly to go to the enemy’s stronghold.”
“We’re not the enemy yet. Besides, I know very well that it is dangerous. I will be able to conspire enough to get around in these situations, don’t worry.”
Hearing this, Tigre puts his hand over his mouth and looks thoughtful.
After several tens of seconds, he nodded several times and turned his attention to Elena.
“I understand. I’m going to Euro, too. We will use my private army and the private army of the Augusto family to escort us.”
“No. As Your Highness said earlier, it is dangerous.”
“I guess it’s only a little late for that. The danger is the same if I stay here, where my brother was killed. If there is a bandit who can accomplish an assassination without being detected, it is the same wherever I am.”
Tigre sat down, spread his legs wide, propped up on his elbows, and covered his forehead with his palms.
Greasy sweat trickled down his neck. Elena noticed his thighs trembling slightly.
“…I realized one thing when Elena pointed it out to me. I’m sorry, but I won’t change this policy.”
In a plop, he talks about what he has remembered.
“It was last night.”
“When we were in the midst of our grief. ….I remembered how my father had addressed Shannon with “Dono.” It was so natural that I never questioned it until now, apparently.”
A king of a country addresses a nobleman, a noble’s daughter in particular, with the suffix “Dono.” Furthermore, since the king is Garland, there is nothing but discomfort.
Something cold passed down their spines. They do not know what is going on or where things connect, but there is a hint of darkness that is not within the realm of the imagination.
“Hey, Elena, what the hell has happened to my Heim?”
The blood drains from his entire body, and his vision becomes blurred.
He no longer believes in his father, the king.
Tigre felt as if his homeland had become something else that he had never known, and he turned his shaky eyes to Elena in front of him and clung to her.