Chapter 11 – The quiet before the storm, I was shocked by my mother’s appearance. And then evil bore its fangs.
Again, under a dark shrub that no one ventures to on the corner of the duke’s mansion.
Inside of a small opening there.
The four enthusiastic ghosts are chatting about a secret story.
「Well, that strong boy of the Lawless Crew isss some child! He quickly defeated those assassinsss of the concubine and sent them tumbling over themselvesss! What an event!」the tallish ghost said gleefully.
「Hee hee hee, even though he looks as a girl. Well, when he grows up, he’ll be a stern looking and handsome mannn. I know it to be truuue.」the thin female ghost laughed.
「Nooo! I’d like him to stay the same cute boy!」the fattish ghost said unhappily.
「There is no halting of life. He will growww. He will change. That’s why every moment becomes an irreplaceable memory.」said the warrior ghost.
「Only rubes and ones with no understanding of value try to take a person’s life without care.」
He said, squinting up at the sky.
「Those assassins aren’t going awayyy. A storm is coming. Can the little wolf scare them away aloneee?」
The ghost of the thin woman laughed.
「Alone?! Even a man like you didn’t noticee? I guess there’s some things only women can know, just me. You men know nothing.」
The thin female ghost proudly looked at the ghosts gathered around her.
「There is another person in this mansion that can be counted onnn.」
The proud soldier then furrowed his brow and said, 「The infant child? I feel she is a strong force, but she is simply too young.」
The thin female ghost smirked, saying,「I know. That’s why you’re missing the true person I’m talkinggg about.」
She turned her smiling face to the mansion and looked upon it.
「Hee hee, so you’ve come back to your sensesss thanks to that young boy. Good. Now you have worth. Don’t hold back. Social circles? Courtesy? The duty of a woman? Let the pigs gobble that up. Regain those 10 lost years. A woman is enough to weep while fighting. Use your will and your strength to beat those evil and scheming fools into the ground!」
The way she said it was intense, but in the caring manner of a loving sister.
The ghosts looked upon this strangely angry female ghost with wonder.
The sound of the wood broke forth with the scream of a flying arrow.
After hearing the sound, the fat ghost covered his nose and with a jolted voice said,
「Wahahhh? Why does that person have a bow?」
The sounds of fired arrows and hit targets continued.
The warrior opened his eyes after momentary quiet and growled,
「A matchless warrior. Yes. With a wonderful armm. I apologize for never knowing.」
The female ghost nodded towards him in satisfaction and twitched her nose, then saying to him,
「Hee hee hee, you’ve noticed. I’ve known her strength ever since I’ve came to this mansion.」
「You think a woman is just to be protected? No, she is here to protect her own in thisss mansion. Your big moment has arrived. You finally can become the true parent for this child. Don’t betray my expectationssss. Hee hee hee.」
Whup! Fwip! Thud! Whomp! Whup! Thwim! Thud! Whap!
The sound of a bow letting go and its messenger hitting a wooden target.
The sound of strings screaming after being tensioned followed by the sound of something being struck.
As I was strolled through my garden being held by Mary, I listened to these mysterious sounds in succession. We walked along a small pond. I could hear someone shooting a bow behind a wall around the mansion, beyond the pond. It was a continuous fwip, then scream of string, then a thud, a rhythm. There was only one shooter and whoever it was hit the target every time.
Yet I couldn’t see the person.
Who in the duke’s mansion has such skill?
I thought there were only old men…sorry, I mean former heroes of the previous age.
I looked at Mary and tried to urge her to show me who it was.
I nodded my little chin in the direction.
It was important after all.
Now that this mansion has been attacked by thugs, we need as many allies as we can find.
Bradd is quite strong, but he’s only one person. If multiple people attacked at once, he might not be able to deal with them.
「I know, mistress.」
She smiled at me.
Ooh! You understand! We’re soulmates!
That’s a wet nurse for you! Half of my body was formed from the milk of her breasts, after all!
The other half is my absolute will to live this life removed from all trouble.
「It sounds like the knockings of the woodpecker, Scarlet. You want to go and find it with your Mary?」
I felt a new kind of disappointment for this maid of mine that thought she was searching after some red-headed woodpecker.
Geez, I guess Mary IS an airhead.
None of those sounds are from a woodpecker pecking into a tree.
And so I reached out to her face to try to dissuade her of it – she looked around quickly and then said,
「Yes, mistress! I love you as well!」
And then she rubbed her cheek against mine.
Thanks, I guess.
This was a bit weird for a baby with the memory of adulthood. Embarrassing, in fact. I blushed.
「Ah, mistress! Your face is red! Did you pee?」
Damn it! No! Don’t smell me!
Well, hello everyone.
I am Scarlet Ruby Noel Hydrangea, who is redoing her 109th life…and I’m not a queen yet, so my last name is Lingard…and I’m in the middle of some shameful production right now. Yuk.
I’ve been covered in breast milk from head to toe, but yet to be baptized.
Looks like this lifetime is starting out to be a total disappointment. Guess I’m bearing my original sin.
Even though I’m not recognized as a believer by the church.
And there’s no way I’m getting into heaven with my record.
Someone better take me to church soon.
No priest has pronounced my name.
Just a nameless little baby.
Everyone is expecting my father to come home any day now, but he never arrives.
And there’s no way that concubine’s family isn’t checking every letter. If you send a messenger, he’ll be chased away, bought off, or…well, that’s a scary thought.
Things have been strangely silent for the past few days…someone’s got to be planning something rotten against me.
「Hmm hmm hmm」
Mary hummed as we listened to the bow.
I gave up trying to get her over to the wall to check and just looked over the pond while thinking to myself.
I really wanted to see the archer, though…
The pond was covered in dark waters, murky.
Anyone would get a negative vibe from it.
It’s not only just murky, but there’s a lot of algae and plants like ivy in it.
When the season changes, small edible fruits emerge from the floating leaves.
There’s a little boat on the shore that occasionally bobbles in the slow winds that is used for collection of the fruit.
Also, someone left a towel by the shore. We tell all the servants to TAKE THEIR TRASH HOME.
Anyway, as a kid in my previous life, I was threatened by the gardener not to go in the pond,
「Mistress, the plants in this pond are quite harmful. You can’t enter it because your legs will become entangled. Once a large dog drowned attempting to swim there…and some nights you can see…」
Then he looked at me with wide eyes and said excitedly,
「…the dead dog emerges and GAWWWWL! He tries to DRAG YOU INTO THE POND AS A NEW SACRIFICE!!」
…well, at that time, I screamed loudly.
From that day, whenever I approached the pond my heart would beat heavily.
Now that I think of it, the old man was just thinking of some creative story to keep me away from the pond.
Now, even as a little baby, the idea of the pond doesn’t scare me.
At ease, I found myself smiling.
「Mistress? What is it?」
Mary gazed at my face, confused.
No ghost is just going to casually wander around the grounds of my mansion.
If they exist, they should go ahead and show themselves before this evil queen.
Maybe I’ll keep you as a pet. O ho ho ho~
「Ahh wahh wahh wahh」
Ah! A baby can’t laugh like a human!
This baby body pisses me off!
Then, in the pond, the surface began to bubble.
The surface of the pond rose into a black-colored mix of water and vine.
Something rose and screamed from the pond!
I was so sure of myself, but now I was about to scream!
A ghost!? I’m SORRY! Don’t trouble yourself showing yourself to ME!
Please don’t be angry! Return to the pond!
I don’t allow pets!
「Damn this pond! Cough! Cough! Damn!」
I saw it was Bradd coughing while struggling with the vines.
What?! What the hell are you doing?! Taking a bath?
Don’t scare me like that! I thought my heart would stop!
…I’m glad I have a diaper.
Please don’t tell anyone.
Bradd swims to the shore and breathes heavily.
As I expected, he didn’t have his maid suit on, but just shorts and a bare chest.
Please do not dress vulgarly before the queen next time.
Consider your appearance’s effect on a young lady such as I.
But after seeing him like this now, he sure is a young boy.
When he dresses up like a girl, though, he sure looks like one.
「These vines tie your legs up and drown you. Good thing I can swim well.」
He said with a smile, huffing a bit and toweling himself off.
It wasn’t trash, just Bradd’s towel after all.
「Seems that this pond is an impossible place for attackers to hide themselves or their weapons.」
I guess he was just checking the safety of the house and the garden.