She continues her words, full of smiles. My shoulders can’t help but shake with a start.
‘So that’s what happened.’ I can’t find any words to say. Although I’d somehow been able to guess that with all the events leading up to this, but guessing it in your heart really is different from the person themselves clearly telling you about it.
I finally realize that the innocent light in Lunamerie’s eyes is filled with killing intent. Like a child about to kill a bug for fun, that innocent murderous look is much more terrifying than simply wanting to kill out of hatred.
「Sir Celves won’t disobey me. It’s always been like that since we met, and it’s always going to be like that. Because my family ranks higher than the Ronein family, moreover, he’s the third son and it’s been decided that he’s going to enter my family as my husband. So even though he’s been taken into the knights’ custody, he won’t reveal my name or my involvement in any of this. He would never do something that would destroy both of our families’ reputations.」
Lunamerie speaks of it like it’s just some idle gossip, but her words are actually far too much. If what she’s saying is right, I feel even more sorry for Sir Celves.
My face pale, I don’t say anything. In contrast to me, the girl in front of me keeps talking like she’s singing a song. Just like a heroine in a play. A beautiful maiden, singing, the faint light from the window above as her spotlight. Smiling without even realizing just what cruel things she’s saying.
「Besides, it seemed like he didn’t like Sir Edi very much, not because of social status or anything. They somehow just didn’t get along. So it was just the perfect opportunity to kill you. I told Sir Celves your name and did all the preparation. The rest is history…」
Then, Lunamerie sighs again, this time sounding really disappointed.
「In the end, the curse was a failure, and you managed to survive despite your serious wounds. You’re really so obstinate.」
My lips move as if to say something, but in the end they close without saying anything. Lunamerie looks really amazed at how idiotic I look. It’s so strange, I can’t bear it. How can she say these terrifying, cruel things with that smile so innocent that it looks like she couldn’t even harm any living thing, let alone kill one? I don’t understand it, and my spine grows cold.
Even if I try to move back I can’t, still lying on the stone floor. All that does is make my pain grow worse and makes the situation worse too.
「Lady Filmina, are you alright? Those wounds still haven’t healed, right?」
She doesn’t say that like she’s shamelessly lying, she says that like she’s genuinely asking out of worry. It really is far too wicked. I can’t do anything but bite my lips and endure the pain. In front of me, Lunamerie sits without worrying about her high-quality dress getting dirty, gently caressing my cheek anxiously.
「Sir Celves has been so cruel, hasn’t he? It would’ve been more merciful to kill you instantly.」
「—! What… are you… saying… when you’re the one that… ordered him… to cast a curse…?」
「It’s just like I said. I chose a rather roundabout way to do it, if I do say so myself. It was just so no one could figure out who did it, but if I knew this was how it’d turn out, I would’ve used my shadows from the beginning.」
Nodding deeply to my words, Lunamerie stood up without her clothes even rustling.
「So that’s why I’m going to stop all these slow, dull things.」
Standing up with her refined gestures, Lunamerie once again looks down at me, tilting her head slightly.
「Hey, Lady Filmina. Do you know what this place is?」
I have no way of knowing that. I just know this isn’t the White Lily Court, and that this is definitely a jail cell of some sort – there’s no other information I could possibly get. Not even waiting for my response, Lunamerie speaks:
「This is one of the villas the Valentine family has all over our kingdom. This is a tower where people of the family that have committed crimes are sealed in. It’s wasteful to use such a thing for the likes of you, so please think of this as an honor.」
The words she speaks are endlessly disturbing, but the way she says them is so contradicting, utterly gentle and lovely. She’s cheerful as if she’s conversing at a tea party, and that’s why this situation is so strange.
「It was so difficult bringing you here. I received a report from my shadows that Sir Celves had failed. After that, all there was to do was wait until you were alone in the White Lily Court, until Sir Edi got up from his seat, and then the shadows brought you here. Thanks to Sir Edi’s magic rampage earlier, the castle’s magic-restricting architecture was in disarray, so I had them aim for the gaps in it using teleportation magic.」
‘His magic rampage’ are words I just can’t ignore. 「What the hell is that? I didn’t hear about that,」 the slightly calm part of me says in my head. But this isn’t the time to fuss over that.
「E-even so, Edi and everyone will realize right away and……」
「Don’t call him 『Edi』!」
I reflexively tremble at her sudden harsh voice. Lunamerie blinks her big eyes, pursing her lips as if ashamed.
「Ah, I’m sorry. But isn’t that impolite? Didn’t the Adina family teach you the proper manners of how to treat the gentleman who will become my husband… the future head of the Valentine family?」
‘If so, then the title of Governer of Magical Books really is just for decoration, isn’t it?’ Lunamerie continues in amazement.
「Let’s return to the topic. It’s alright, there’s no way Sir Edi and the others will realize it.」
「What… do you mean?」
「I left a substitute corpse. With its face and body all properly changed with magic. I’m sure at about this time, they’ll have decided your condition took a sudden change and died abruptly in the White Lily Court.」
So they’ve prepared up to that point… That shocking truth, so unthinkable coming out of Lunamerie’s sweetly smiling mouth. ‘Just how did they get that corpse?’ That’s such a scary question, I can’t even ask her about it.
「Well now, you aren’t anxious anymore about how things will go, right? So please relax. After you die, I’ll make sure to comfort Sir Edi.」
Along with her words, several people wearing deep hoods enter from the door behind her. They wear masks, which hides their facial features, and cloaks to hide their bodies. I can’t tell their gender or their age.
That’s why this time for sure, my spine grows cold with fear. I twist my body away, trying to somehow escape, almost fainting at the pain that rips through my body. If I didn’t have these wounds, at least I could have…… No, even if these wounds weren’t there, I can’t get out of this situation with my strength. But despite that, I still can’t just give up.
「I really should have entrusted this to my shadows from the beginning. I’m sorry, Lady Filmina. I pointlessly prolonged your suffering.」
My vision is blurred by the instinctive tears from the pain. I look up at Lunamerie to see her lovely, innocent smile, really just the same as when I first met her.
「But this is the end.」
Cutting through the gap between me and Lunamerie, one of the shadows surrounding me takes a step forward. In its hand is a knife that it must have pulled out from somewhere. Even though it’s rather small, it would be easy for that knife to take a human being’s life. I can tell how sharp it is even without touching it, and my body shakes.
This can’t be. No. I can’t die in a place like this. I can’t die and leave that hopeless man behind. No matter who wants me dead, I can never allow that, at least. And yet.
My lips tremble. Facing me, the shining silver knife is swung downwards. I reflexively close my eyes and shout out that one and only name.
「Save me, Edi!」