As if I had just emerged from underwater, my five senses suddenly became clear all at once. The first thing I saw was Kamil’s pale face, then it was the blue sky behind him. At the same time, I heard a dozen people making such a commotion that I couldn’t make out anything that was being said.
My head hurts so much. It especially hurts if I move, I wonder if I have a concussion. It’s quite possible because I fell off of my horse.
“Nobody’s died, or even been injured. With the exception of you. It’s because a certain someone was moaning don’t kill them so much.”
He immediately gave me a straightforward report, probably trying to give me peace of mind. For now, it’s enough that I know this much. Kamil wiped my forehead with a wet cloth using his fingertips, and looked at me in silence. I felt as sluggish as if I had just been sprinting with all my might.
I’ve been transported without me realizing it, I seem to be lying down on a flat stretch of ground close to the river outside of Cyril village. Judging from the position of the sun, it doesn’t seem like all that much time has passed.
On top of my heart still beating like crazy, even though I had slammed into my back, I couldn’t feel any pain there. Although I had only remained conscious for several seconds after the rock hit my forehead, but leaving the village in all that chaos…… It probably took a minimum of at least ten minutes. I don’t know what happened during that time, but it seems like nothing big or shocking occurred.
As if to surround me, soldiers were resting all around me. I could hear the high pitched shrieks of children, but it was too bothersome to turn my neck.
“Ahh, Charlie is really such a blockhead.”
“What’s with that, suddenly.”
After he finished wiping down my wounds, Kamil abruptly sighed. In this incident, I wonder if there really had been something I’d done that I’d be called a blockhead.
“You’ve been clawing really hard. This is going to hurt later.”
Kamil pointed at my left hand which he had just wiped as he said so. ……Come to think of it, rather than pain, it does seem like there’s a sense of discomfort. I had probably used too much strength when I was digging into the dirt with my nails earlier. I really don’t have anything to say in response to being called a blockhead, because it was indeed a silly injury.
“I’m going to go wash this cloth. Although the soldiers will be guarding you and you won’t be alone, you definitely can’t just do as you please right now, okay?”
“……Even without you saying that, I can’t even stand up by myself right now. I’ll behave and just rest right here.”
I watched Kamil leave with the cloth, and finally let go of my breath. With my back, fingers, and forehead, the pain was gradually subsiding, and since the chaos in Cyril village had been resolved without a single injury, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
When I had fallen off my horse, in combination with their accumulated fatigue and tension, the soldiers had completely lost their direction without leadership.
If they had misused their military power and weapons, they might have affected others not connected to the person who had thrown the rock. If that had happened, the domain would have been endangered. Just because one of the villagers had thrown a rock, that would be no reason to indiscriminately attack the villagers under one’s domain.
After four years of effort by the earl, the energy and willpower that father had sapped from the people was finally returning. However, the people still had a sense of distrust for the nobility, and especially since I was a Kaldia, their hatred for me continued.
The people had survived the hellish man-made disaster wrought by my father, but it wouldn’t be strange at all if they had tried to take revenge on me and kill me, this territory is currently under a very fragile balance.
Really, it’s good that nobody was killed. – No, there might be one person that will be killed.
On the other side of the soldiers that were resting, was a child who had been endlessly screaming and trying to escape from his restraints, causing a commotion. Even for the earl, he probably couldn’t predict a child’s actions. The rash behavior of children was supposed to be suppressed by adults, but not accounting for orphans had been his failure.
By the time Kamil returned, my headache felt slightly better, and I was somehow able to sit up by myself. I stood up borrowing the strength of Kamil’s arm, and asked him to take me to the child who was crying and screaming. Although he frowned, Kamil lent me his arm without saying anything.
The one who threw the rock at me had been an orphan boy from Cyril village. The father was unknown, since the mother had gotten pregnant during “forced labor,” and the child’s mother had been so upset about it that she had committed suicide soon after giving birth.
I forced down my dizziness and nausea, and I looked straight into the child’s cloudy eyes. The child’s arms were being held down by soldiers, and he was a thin kid in poor shape. The child’s malnourished body seemed even younger than me. In his dark eyes, was unconcealable murderous intent and a desperate desire to break free from the adults.
“Did you throw the rock, simply because I’m the daughter of a Kaldia? Or did you have some other reason?”
“Why would there be any other reason!? It would have been better if you’d died as well four years ago!”
He shouted until even the voice became raspy and hoarse, sounding much lower than a child should. When I thought about how this was a legacy that my father had left me, I almost felt like laughing at the disgusting situation.
In order to stop the raging child from resisting, the soldiers had pinned his arms to the ground. Although the skinny child seemed like a withered tree branch on the ground, but there was no fear at all. How resolute.
“What, you think it’s funny? You were only a baby back then, so you think whatever your damned dad did had nothing to do with you?”
His voice traveled low along the ground. It’s almost praiseworthy how clear the malice and murderous intent are. If it weren’t for the soldiers around, the glare indicated that there was a possibility of actually acting on it.
“Is that really so?”
“While you were drinking your milk and sleeping every day, how many people do you think died?”
It should have nothing to do with me. After all, when I was two, I was being comfortably raised up by that disgusting excuse for a lord. If even that’s a crime, to the point of being hated where people think it would have been better if I had died, that’s so childish that it’s hilarious. Well, it’s as expected of a child who hasn’t even reached ten yet.
In this world, the system of extending complicity for a crime to the criminal’s family members is used. For heinous criminals, the entire family would be executed, and even babies in different households, if they were nieces or nephews, would be included. Under that logic, it is indeed strange that I’m still alive.
– But, what of it. Since I’m currently alive as an exception to the norm, I have no intentions whatsoever of committing suicide because of drowning in guilt, or allowing myself to be killed by the people in my domain.
“From the time since I was born, I know about 72 people in this domain that have died. 23 died while being sent off as ‘labor’ to other territories, 11 died of natural causes, and 6 have gone missing. What of it?”
If he really insists that the people that have died since I was born is my fault, I’ll just accept it for now.
I had first recalled my previous life’s memories a bit before I turned one. Horrible things such as murder, everything rotten known to man were the foolish ideals here, I had spent a year watching the lives of the people being spent as if they were disposable consumables.
After that is when I had found the poisonous hemlock by the edge of the pond close to the garden. The soup for the domain lord’s family had been placed in a corner of the kitchen for cooling after it was prepared, and there had only been two cooks left alive of the original seven in the kitchen, so sneaking in had been simple. The ingredients that father had collected for his own tasting, it was forbidden for the commoner cooks to even think of tasting them, and anyone caught would not be forgiven and killed.
After I had obtained the poison, because I had hesitated about using it for so long, close to 40 more people died. That might be said to be my crime, but who’s going to know?
“I’m alive. The fact that I’m alive means, I don’t want to die. Let me ask you back. Why do you think I still haven’t killed you yet?”
I released Kamil’s arm that I had been supporting myself with, and pulled out his ceremonial dagger from his waist. Even though its thin blade was decorative, it was still sharp enough to slice through a person’s skin.
In those cloudy dark eyes, I saw fear for the first time.