In my heart, I vowed to deal with the aristocrats that bullied my mother.
I also remembered the fatal race to the succession of the throne.
We would greet one another with smiles yet bargain about killing and being killed under the table – all the candidates were tough opponents.
You have to make sure that to win a race like that, you needed a mother or someone in your family that despised everyone so much that they pushed you to become an evil queen.
My mother never wanted revenge.
She was silent and shy even when Matzo mentioned her past glory.
I looked over at her and sighed.
Funny how when she held that bow against the demon dog, she looked so brave.
My mother actually got depressed after hearing those words meant to praise her, and Captain Matzo struggled to save the conversation,
「No! Why would you say unskilled?! Look at the men’s reactions. They were all very impressed by your performance at His Majesty’s coronation 12 years ago…you really are the pride of this country, right fellows?!」
He seemed to shrink in order to raise mother up.
This man, who never seemed to lose his respect for women, always would cringe at seeing them suffer or hurt. The men behind him all agreed with him in order to support their chief. This had less to do with their total devotion to him and more because they could understand the situation and wanted their chief to look good.
「Even so, I was quite surprised back then. If I may be so bold…your skill and beauty are as unparalleled as that time 12 years ago…also…」
Captain Matzo then looked a bit confused at the remains of the Duke’s residence, which had collapsed into rubble.
「…may I ask? What happened to your manor? We were asked by the Crimson Duke to protect his wife and thus came here immediately. We were told that the dangerous criminal, the trainer of those monstrous Jouhdah demon dogs were head this way to assault you…but this…」
「No need to worry. If you’re searching for them, they’re already crushed under the rubble, which we ourselves buried them under.」
Upon hearing mother’s words, Captain Matzo and his knights looked around in awe.
「Captain! Look here!」
And then, several knights that seemed to be patrols trotted up, horses side by side. Ropes were tied deftly around the chests of the horses to prevent them from choking and the ropes lead backwards to two huge beasts that were dragged, following the now standing horses. It almost looked like the horses were plowing the field with the dogs. Those were the two that Bradd had killed earlier. Both knight and horse continually looked back at the two dogs trailing them, fearful that they might pop up and attack them from behind.
The other guards shouted out about the enormous size of the demon dogs…but they looked like puppies compared to the massive Gallam, twice as big as either of them.
「These match the footprints at the gate…are these the demon dogs?」
The patrol asked Captain Matzo nervously.
「Hmmm, they look similar to the message from the Orange Company, which came with the Crimson Duke’s letter for help…」
He thought it over as he passed the message around to the men around him.
「WOUHA!?」I said, so surprised I almost jumped up.
What was that?!
The Orange Company?!
Why is their name involved in this story?
The Orange Company, in which one of the five heroes – Seraphy – that murdered me in the 108 times I lived before led, always appeared suddenly during battles in their speedy craft Blanche, supporting my enemy’s rear continuously and pestering my army.
They were demons on the sea.
There was no way to blockade them.
That damn Blanche would just sneak through our warships and escape into the fog of the sea.
And it was UNARMED…you just had to laugh…how could a ship like that defeat a raging storm…
The rebel army of the “Maiden of Salvation” wasn’t monolithic, either.
It did work properly because the Orange Company connected all of the elements with a supply line completely. If that didn’t happen, supplies and food, troop shipments, information sharing, all of this necessary to an armed force would be hindered completely.
This Orange Company, which caused endless grief to me, had a long time until it would emerge onto the future battle map of Hydrangea, I HAD THOUGHT. Because the previous leader was killed and the company spun into chaos after being hit by the Shylocks, it was currently forced to reduce itself to a much smaller scale, which was good for me…
The future chief, Seraphy, would be about six years old, so there’s no reason that they would have any contact with the great hero of Hydrangea, my father, the Crimson Duke.
「Ah! So my husband asked you protect us?!」
My mother asks, visibly confused.
Yeah, and I’m worried about the Orange Company…that’s also important.
It was also unthinkable that the Royal Guard would leave the crown and come all the way to the Duke’s residence. They were the last layer of protection for royalty. If something horrific happens, they are in charge of evacuating that family away to somewhere safe. No matter who or how much is offered, they never leave the palace. Only the king can move them…which means…
「That is correct. The Duke requested the crown send us to aid you directly. To protect you and your unborn from the phantom clutches of those Shylocks. We have traversed the land from quite far away, in order to protect you from harm thanks to the achievements of your husband…and…is this your child?」
He glanced to my mother’s stomach and then over to me with a look of confusion.
Yes! He knows that Shylock planned this! They’re screwed!
I put my baby fist up with a mental YESSSSSS and he looked at me and blinked in surprise.
Mother nodded to Matzo’s words.
「I gave birth earlier than expected. That’s my daughter, Scarlet.」
「Premature birth! Well, but, this child has grown so…with such muscle that she can raise her fist so!?」
He almost said it like a complaint, but I was so caught up in my thoughts I ignored him.
…wait, the achievements of my father? There’s no way the crown would be that kind.
Captain Matzo was simply using that as a euphemism for protecting my mother.
No politician is going to play “best friends” like that.
The Royal Guard is the symbol of the crown’s strength and authority.
If you’re just loaning ALL of your knights out, it makes you look weak.
Furthermore, messing with an attack by the Shylocks…that means you’re going head-on against them. The Shylocks have their grubby hands all over the aristocracy. I bet they were against the idea of the knights protecting the Duke.
But, the crown DID dispatch the Royal Knights.
The only reason the royals would do so is as a mitigation against a bigger risk…
Well, the Crimson Duke might have ordered it in exchange for all the unpaid achievements that he did for the crown…I pondered all the possibilities and was convinced.
That amount of money, enough to ruin the crown, would be considered paid…so the crown would be happy as ever to dispatch troops as payment.
And you can see it from both sides.
My father would break his right to his payment in order to have the troops save his wife.
My dad is really something. Even with his sullen face.
I couldn’t help myself from smiling at such a fine strategy employed by dad this early in my life.
Giving everything away to save a wife made him look like a fool to other aristocrats, but I thought it was a fine move.
「Aoho oh oh oh…」
「To hear an infant, just born, sound like she’s laughing…there’s no way!」
Oh…sorry…Matzo…I mean, Sir Valentine.
I would have greeted you with a「it’s been a long time, Valentine!」
Sorry for not sounding like an evil queen.
But I do thank you for saving me those other 108 times.
I raised a hand to him in greeting.
I wanted to greet him gracefully, ceremonially, but I can’t, being an infant.
I’m stuck here, crawling on Bradd’s stomach.
Matzo’s eyes just got bigger after looking at me closely.
「Red hair…and red eyes!」
Oh, you noticed?
You were looking at my muscles and not my face at first, right? Sorry for how I look now, but soon I’m going to be one hot-looking woman, right?
The knights were all fascinated with mother first, then surprised by the collapse of the manor, THEN shocked by the two dead demon dogs, and NOW were gazing at me, surprised…and I can see some familiar faces from my previous 108 lives!
Wow, you guys are young!
「Oauhh! Ouuh! Auuohh!」
I raised my little hand up and called out their names.
Good work! Are they paying you overtime?
They all mumbled loudly at each other…not praise, like to my mother, but more of fear?
They looked at mother with awe, as if under a spell, but now look at me, like I’m a WITCH?!
How rude…I’m the future Jewel of Hydrangea!