It was finally time for my birthday celebration, right when my fatigue had reached its peak from preparing for it every day. Starting from today, for the next three days it’ll be hellishly busy until I can finally take a break.
“……Stop laughing constantly.”
Among the heavily exhausted mood in the air, there was one bastard who was cheerfully laughing. It was Kamil. He was holding his stomach, laughing at my outfit. It’s so annoying, I can’t stand it.
“But! ……Ha, hehehehe……”
What a terrible bastard. So annoying. His voice is infuriating, and even covering up the sound of my own thoughts. Because I’m so tired, even the small things are annoying.
But, the reason why Kamil was laughing so hard was because of the irritating outfit I had to wear. Everyone thinks that I look ridiculous so I’m in a bad mood. I wasn’t able to choose my own outfit for the celebration, it was something the earl had picked out for me.
My hair was coiled in a bun on top of my head, with casual accessories and I was in elaborate, formal knight wear and a mantle. No matter how you look at it, it’s an outfit for boys. Originally, as a respectable girl, I should have been wearing a circlet and bliaud.
“There’s no helping it. It’s the custom.”
Earl Terejia who was next to me said so in a subdued voice. The domain lord had to personally tour the domain while he or she was still a minor for the birthday celebrations. And, for the celebration, the Arxian custom for nobles is to wear formal knight attire. If he hadn’t been dead, my father probably would have been wearing this.
Up until now no young girls had ever inherited the domain lord’s position, so unfortunately I have become the first ever example. Earl Terejia still dressed me in the customary knightly formal attire…… I guess this means that my birthday celebration will be done as if I were a boy.
It’s finally time for me to get on horseback and lead the marching troops. Indeed as Mrs. Marshan had said so before, leading an army really wasn’t for women. Also, riding a horse in a dress would be disastrous.
With this taken into consideration, I really don’t see why Kamil had been laughing so hard up until now. He doesn’t think that this formal attire for boys is unfitting for me. Rather, it’s something more like it’s too fitting.
“It, it’s perfect on you…… Hehehe…… Charlie isn’t cute at all…… Hehe.”
……It’s reversed. It looked much better on me than expected. Is that really so funny? Well, there’s hardly any differences between boys and girls when they’re six years old, shouldn’t it not matter that much what they wear? I feel like I’ll never understand in my life just what is it that this guy finds funny.
Our parade that had left early in the morning passed slowly through the villages. The people were quite different from the last time I had seen them, when they were filled with eyes that had wanted to kill my father and his retainers. Although they still seemed quite poor, it was a longs ways off from the unimaginable time when they were nothing but skin and bones with empty eyes. They’ve improved thanks to the earl.
However, the number of villagers that seemed joyed at seeing me were rather limited in number, I saw quite a few people who didn’t even try to conceal how much hatred was in their eyes directed at me.
I guess they still can’t forgive the fact that I’m a Kaldia.
I didn’t let it affect the smile on my face, and continued leading the parade as I had practiced in training. No matter which village we moved on to, there was a complicated mix of feelings directed at me.
I thought back to when the earl had just constructed the barracks. Now, the soldiers’ murderous intent towards me had faded, their attitudes toward me had gradually eased up from the point of seeming to want to tear me apart with their eyes.
Much like that time, the people are taking out their hatred of my father through me. The eyes say what the mouth doesn’t, is a phrase I suddenly remembered. Everyone’s bitter expressions testified to the veracity of that phrase, as they couldn’t forgive me for being the daughter of that cruel, unforgivable domain lord.
However, at the same time, they also seemed to be at a loss for what to do, and had expectations. After all, it was unmistakeable that my guardian Earl Terejia had been the people’s savior. Therefore, the domain’s people saw not only my father in me, but also the earl. And, because two opposites overlapped, they were lost.
For the domain’s soldiers to finally look out for me, it had taken three months before they got used to me. I wonder how long it’ll be for my domain’s people.
They can’t see the work that’s being done in the domain lord’s mansion. I wonder how long it’ll take for my people to approve of me as the domain lord.
Although on the surface it appeared to be glamorous, joyful revelry, on the inside everyone was actually fully tensed up. There was nobody else who was going to relieve the tension. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have been a point to the earl’s preparing this birthday celebration. I’m a bit amazed at my own wishful thinking, but I still think it’s something worth doing.
The final village we were visiting, Cyril village, had a strange kind of tension to it as expected, just like all the other villages. No…… The atmosphere seemed to be heavier in this village, to the point where I could feel like murderous intentions were stabbing at me through the air.
Because Cyril village is the village that’s the farthest away from the area under direct control, reconstruction has been the slowest here. In other words, the benevolent influence that the earl had was very limited.
Although the villagers had made a sparse runway of flowers along the parade’s path, their expressions seemed more like they were cursing rather than celebrating, it was severely depressing. With the hostility of the villagers, I felt so tense that it gnawed away at me. To them, their hatred towards my father is not merely a thing of the past. It’s to the point where it’s like a lump lodged in their chests.
Kamil beside me was worried about me and asked how I was in a low voice, but I only shook my head slightly in reply. Even though the temperature was still chilly, I had a bad feeling about things and sweat was trickling down along my cheeks to my chin.
“I’ll report to the earl. We need to take a break after leaving this village.”
“Sorry about this.”
Even though my response was an apology, Kamil ignored my ambiguous reply and headed for the soldier ranks in the front where the earl was. I was slightly relieved that Kamil had showed some concern for me, and my breathing had improved without my realizing it from the shallow breaths I was taking earlier.
At that moment, there was a sudden commotion from the people lined up towards the right. Right when I thought something had happened and turned to look, half of my vision turned black from a shadow hurtling towards me.
Along with a dull thud, pain ran along my forehead from the shock of the impact. At dealing with something unexpected, my body swayed, and I unconsciously grabbed onto the reins.
Ah, when I remembered it was already too late. Since I had suddenly pulled on the reins, my horse neighed and stood up on its hind legs. I was being shaken about so quickly that I couldn’t see clearly, and soon, my body was midair.
My back slammed into the ground, knocking my breath out of me. I couldn’t breathe due to the impact, and along with a strong ringing in my ears, my consciousness was fading.
A large number of people were shouting something. In my blurry vision, I saw lots of metallic silver from the soldiers glittering around me.
What had happened. A rock had been thrown at me.
Who threw it. The villagers. Someone from Cyril village.
Due to a lack of oxygen, I was panting. The soldiers had drawn their swords. The strained tension from earlier had been completely cut. Both soldiers and villagers were panicking.
Don’t kill them, is what I tried saying. Since I was out of breath, my voice wouldn’t come out. I dug into the dirt with my nails out of impatience.
Don’t kill. Don’t kill anyone. If someone is killed now, a grudge shall remain. I could hear the earl’s voice repeating this many times, although it was muffled and distant.
That’s right. Don’t kill anyone. If anyone is killed here today, all the work that’s been accomplished over the past four years will be destroyed in an instant.
Did my voice come out or not. I don’t know anything else that happened, as I just kept saying don’t kill them over and over again in my mind with my consciousness fading.