Chapter 13 – Remembering my 108 previous lives and mysterious memories. The second of the five heroes that killed me. I still don’t know how the thread of fate is intertwined.
「…hey, don’t try to hide who you REALLY are.」
Bradd whispered into my ear.
Stop, Bradd. Don’t start prying.
Mom and Mary are watching.
The wind soft caresses my skin as the sun gleams through the trees,
Wait, is this your finger?
Hey, you idiots out there.
Women want to keep a lot of things secret.
…sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.
Anyway, hello everyone.
My name is Scarlet Ruby Noel Lingard and I’m a villain queen who’s been killed 108 times.
So, back to the story,
Bradd found out my secret.
Wait, didn’t I say that LAST chapter?
I guess I was frustrated at being denied being an actress.
「You know what’s going on, don’t you?!」
Stop staring at me. Bradd…you’re really staring at me.
「Ah, mistress, why are you covering your face?」
Mary is holding me and looking straight into my face as I try to cover it.
Mary? Can’t you see that Demon Bradd next to you?
Bradd, that wild Demon King that wears a maid outfit is right next to me!
「Don’t scream like that! I was just reading your blood flow.」
Dammit! Again? What is it with you and “blood flow”?!
Maybe you should fortune-tell with “blood flow”!
Sure! My fortune looks REALLY BAD today!
Done! Bye, everyone! See you!
Where is everyone going? To the after-party-party?
No! This is a legal business! No touching the dancers!
No invasion of privacy either!
As a representative of all infants, I demand crib with a key!
Mary! Mary! The guy caught me!
This Demon King will destroy me!
I screamed and pushed Bradd’s fingertips away and kicked at him.
Take that! The final weapon of all babies! The angry strike that makes wet nurses fret in fear!
「Sorry, Bradd, but maybe you can play with her later. She’s not in a good mood.」
Mary pulls me away from Bradd and begins to chide him.
I laughed to myself, buried in Mary’s shoulder, about how I tricked them all.
HAH! Now that’s ACTING! Brilliant! I’m a thespian!
He got close for a second and whispered, 「Remember this.」in a voice Mary couldn’t hear.
Yeah, heard it before, Lawless Crew talk. I know all about it.
Don’t mess with a former evil queen.
I looked over Mary’s shoulder and with my mom looking away, I took my little baby hand and pulled my lower eyelid down…akanbeeeeeee-by!
「Fool! If you could understand, why are you revealing it even further?!」
Bradd whispered to himself.
I went too far!
Got to do something that makes this seem normal,
Hee hee hee…
Something fit for an evil daughter…something that will allow me to laugh…
A cloak around my back that’s too thin.
Blue pulsating stars at night that do my bidding.
My night servants. Kneeling before me.
Shivering like a sinner that’s been bitten to death by a Cerberus.
An awe-inspiring kiss to the back of the hand.
All of that like the pressure I felt as the air froze around me.
「I wonder if she had to burp! I hope she doesn’t spit milk up, so let me pat her!」
Bradd bites down on his smile as he watches me get plucked up and patted on the back. I was trembling.
Stop it! I feel so intimidated!
「I was so surprised to see madam be a master of archery!」
On the other hand, I felt like a calf being led to the slaughterhouse.
Mary continues talking to mom while patting my back and my mother wipes her sweat and blushes,
「…I ran all through the mountains like they were my backyard as a child. Even though I’m the child of a baron, it’s just a name. Knew nothing about dance or etiquette. I’m the child of a hunter, so that’s all I am…funny, right?」
Seems that she wasn’t a princess behind closed doors but of the outdoors.
In other words, she wasn’t a closeted maiden, but a girl that ran through the mountains.
Really? Was my mother’s boobs small because…she needed them like that to pull a bow?
In other words, my small boobs were inherited because of that bloodline?
For the first time I was excited about it.
I guess I have something negative to say about big boobs after all.
Time to flush any pretense we had between us.
「No! It’s wonderful! You look so happy with the bow! It must be the reason your husband fell in love! That’s why he proposed, right?」
Ah…looks like Mary’s getting to excited by this conversation.
Mary, you don’t ask questions like that from the kids of aristocrats.
Well, girls love talking about love, right? I would participate too!
Get the snacks and drinks ready!
Wait! I can only suck down breast milk!
Then after that direct question,
My mother nodded, deeply and silently.
Yes, yes, yes.
「Where? Where? And how?」
Mary was bringing both cannons to bear.
She was a wet nurse that brought two big cannons with her questions about love.
Like she was double-jousting!
「…we met in front of a tree that has lived for thousands of years…」
Mother said, slowly, as she recalled their romance,
「I will love you as long as this tree has lived, with my knee stooped before you, with this kiss to your hand.」
Wow, this is like a sleepover all the sudden.
What a feeling, ho ho ho…
I loved seeing my embarrassed mother telling the story with regret, like an old cat squinting into fleeting sunlight leaving her on a porch, alone in the dark.
But scratching away…I guess my old cat has fleas.
Even so, my father is different, which is surprising.
No one ever talked about my mother.
All I remembered from my past is that my mother was dead.
All I heard about was the rich mansion of my father’s concubine.
It makes me embarrassed, as a daughter.
「He put on quite the figure, Duke. We met even before coming here. It seemed like everything shimmered in pure light. We two, as young as we were, declaring our love before that sacred tree. Like something out of a legendary picture.」
In front of the legendary tree?
I looked at Mary as she was plunging into a mood of romantic illusion.
It reminded me that Mary was in the mansion at the behest of the Duke himself.
She had definitely met him before.
But「put on quite the figure?」MY DAD?
「Shimmering?」, like, his bald head?
In my memories, my father was always hacking away with the cough, with a face as white as a spectre.
He looked like a ghost. He did have some hair back then, but it was red, sprinkled with silver.
And now with those 108 memories of past lives returning, the memories were still uncertain, as they had happened while I was still young.
Maybe because at that age I really didn’t acknowledge them as memories.
But I remember what happened from when I was five.
For five years, even recalling my father completely, the fact that he was called the “Crimson Duke” seems an exaggeration.
I heard many times from the older nobles that my father in his young age was quite handsome, but to a daughter like me, it seems all like lip service.
I guess my memories never matched the legends, so I just kept my mouth shut.
Even so, my father had yet to come back home.
Leaving behind a cute mother that was so endeared to him.
And it’s an absolute farce for you to remain at the house of that concubine of yours.
I should burn the whole place down when I get a chance.
And mama, if dad jumps out of the burning palace, you can shoot him like a rabbit with your bow!
Scarlet had yet to notice.
Her memory of the duke, and her mother’s and Mary’s memories of the duke.
There was a vast difference between the two.
And, the reason behind that difference, she would soon notice why.
At that time, the 「Crimson Duke」, or the Duke of Wilhelm, in other words, Wendell Crystal Noel Lingard wrinkled his brow as he argued with the skipper of a ship.
He was usually quite calm, but now he was beating the desk with his fist.
But the skipper still refused to allow his demands,
「On rough seas like this, I can’t sail! Don’t you understand?! There are only small ships in this harbor, and you can’t get through these seas in anything but a huge schooner! It will capsize and we’ll all sink into the seaweed! There’s no way to sail to Hydrangea!」
「This man’s wife is heavy with child in Hydrangea. He’s finished with his affairs and has now come to port. Can you do something? There will be extra money for you if so.」
The knight beside the duke implored.
Of course, the affair was a secret one, so neither could reveal their identity.
But the knight was very sympathetic to the duke.
The duke had created a very difficult problem for the crown of Hydrangea.
The request was that the duke would leave his position and succeed his wife’s father’s position, the Baron O’Brien, and spend the rest of his life in O’Brien’s territory. O’Brien’s realm was a deep, sylvan valley. This move meant that the duke was retiring from formal service of the crown, and since his wife had little experience in royal duties, he was determined to give it all up for her.
And so the crown of Hydrangea shook with this news – the prestige of the 「Crimson Duke」was known throughout the globe.
His departure from formal service to the crown was an immeasurable loss.
As a condition for his leaving the service of the crown, he was given a secret mission that was no easy matter to complete.
There was currently a tribal war that had been occurring over the last millennia in the prince’s neighboring kingdom.
The crown had expected the duke to quickly concede and return to Hydrangea, a failure.
However, the duke had accomplished his secret mission after half a year.
Then, after greeting the prince and new king of this neighboring kingdom, he impatiently rushed to his horse and made his way to the port where he would finally pass back over to Hydrangea.
「It’s not a matter of extra money! You can’t use it if you’re dead! Wait three days and the storm will pass over. If you can’t wait that long, then pass over land instead!」
「But that will take too long!」
「Burnaby, no more. I have no time to argue. Let’s take the land route by horse.」
The duke had given up, so he threw on his cloak and stepped out into the pounding rain.
「…wait. You said you want to go to Hydrangea? It will take you three days just to cross over the mountain to the path there. You can ride on our ship…if the conditions are acceptable.」
There was a young tall and gray sailor that approached him as he left the building. His face embodied one who had seen the seas.
「I’ve challenged the sea and storm for the love of a woman. If you’re a man, you have to brave death to get what you want.」
His tight face smiled in the sea gale as he thumped the muscles of his chest with his fist.
「Men of Orange!」
And his fellow sailors roared back at him.
「That’s right skipper! There’s no sea that can’t be crossed by the Orange Privateers!」
So the skipped puffed out his chest and turned back to the duke,
「Actually, we were all just about to return to Hydrangea presently.」
He heard a child’s voice. The duke’s eyes squinted and peered around.
The sailors there roared again.
They knew how dangerous the trip back would be.
And at the feet of the giant youth, came forward a small man, throwing back his hood.
It was a boy with bangs so tustled and long that the duke couldn’t see his eyes. The boy flipped back his hair.
He was too young. Maybe half the height of the tall youth’s leg. However, his calm demeanor was in no way childlike.
「Will you entrust your future to men unknown to you as us…or…」
The boy’s eyes now glimmered behind his bangs, as the boy looked to the harbor,
「Take us to the stormy sea, to my beloved wife.」
The duke did not hesitate in saying.
And without saying further, the duke bent down and shook the boy’s hand.
「As expected, Crimson Duke. Just as the legends tell. You did not look down on me for my age. I will fulfill your trust in me as I can, as it says on the coat of arms of the Orange Privateers. A storm like this will deliver you to Hydrangea immediately, especially with this tailwind.」
The boy laughed with he teeth exposed, nodding his head in agreement.
「This contract we make is my pride and life itself, as my name is Seraphy Orange. Please, remember that name.」
If Scarlet had heard that name, it is assured that she would have probably screamed and fainted.
He was one of the five heroes that had murdered her over her 108 previous lives.
One of them was this Seraphy Orange.
And in the history of these 108 lives, like Bradd, the fates of these two unrelated people would later intersect, unknown to even them.