Chapter 12 part 3 is finally here!
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Bertia 17 Years Old (2)
Translated by LynneSuzuran & Senhiro
“I haven’t received any report on Lady Bertia doing such unjust things. Because of her status as my fiancée, she’s in a state where she’s constantly under the public eye all day. Logically speaking, it’s impossible for her to move stealthily. Incidentally, in the period of time when there are comparatively fewer eyes on her starting from yesterday evening, she was spending time together with me, and after the dinner, I sent her off to her room as she wasn’t feeling well. Thereafter, she was still in her room when the get-well flowers were delivered. When I informed the housemaster and asked sincerely to look after her, the housemaster seemed worried and frequently checked in on Bertia’s condition. From what she told me, Lady Bertia hadn’t taken a single step out of her room and seemed to be resting.”
“T-that, she asked someone else to…”
“If she had gone and asked someone else to do it, we don’t know who she could have asked, right? We will investigate that matter, so could you tell us who carried out the deeds in her stead? Since it’s something concerning Bertia’s honor, I will thoroughly investigate it and carry out appropriate punishment.”
“I-I still don’t know who it is…”
“Then it won’t get us anywhere. How will you explain your accusation of her bullying others? Where’s the evidence?”
“There were other people who suffered the same treatment as me! Everyone, now’s your chance!!”
Baroness Heronia’s gaze darted around her surroundings and extended both of her arms as she said, “Now!!” as if she was requesting for her comrades to follow her, but the assembly hall was completely silent with no reaction from anyone.
“There seems to be no one, though?”
“There’s no way that’s true! Everyone has always talked to me about a lot of things. Now, everyone, there’s no need for you to restrain yourself! Why don’t we use this opportunity to let His Highness hear about the bitterness you have tasted so far? His Highness will surely listen to each and every story, so…”
She turned her gaze towards the assembly hall and appealed with her utmost effort, but nobody stepped forward.
That’s a given.
If one were to assist her here in censuring the woman who’d be married to the crown prince two years later, it would have a great impact on their own position from here on.
Unless there’s something greatly wrong, nobody would be willing to cooperate in such a thing, and because it’s Bertia we’re talking about, she wouldn’t have done anything that could make her be hated to such an extent.
Several people individually turned their sight towards Baroness Heronia, and since there were some noble women who averted their eyes suddenly as if they were being uneasy, Baroness Heronia thought that those women would surely cooperate with her, but the reality was disappointing.
Judging from the situation, it was likely that they were fellow noble ladies involved in idle talk discussing about their complaints towards Bertia or that they were only accompanying Baroness Heronia’s idle complaints, something along those lines.
However, they are not foolish enough to waste their own future just because of [commonplace chatter].
That’s why, no matter how much Baroness Heronia requested, there won’t be any of her so-called comrades to show up.
“W-why?! Everyone, you had to experience such bitter situations every time…”
Baroness Heronia’s sight loitered around as she was bewildered, trying to find someone who was willing to help her. But, as a matter of course, no matter how long she waited, that kind of person would never appear.
“Ojou-san, then there was no [objection] coming from you at all… would it be all right to consider it like that?”
I gently pulled Bertia closer to me by the waist as she was standing next to me while muttering with her small voice, “A, a, d-downfall,” as she was still in the midst of her confusion. Then, I dropped my lips to her head, tilted my head and showed my smile which contained the meaning of, “Just give it up.”
“N-no, not yet!! I was thinking to present this report that was made inside my circle, but…”
She quietly crouched down and put her hand in her own dress’ skirt to take out an envelope which was quite thick.
…Baroness Heronia, the inside of your skirt isn’t a proper place to put something, okay?
Even though the lady’s dresses don’t have any place to store things away, but to put something in that kind of place, then turning over your skirt in front of other people to take things out of there, there is no conduct more shameful.
Look, the people around us also got surprised twice now, see?
“Your Highness, please take a look at this…”
I was troubled on whether I should receive it or not the instant I looked at the envelope presented to me.
Naturally, my reason for being troubled was, [Now, what would others think if I were to touch something that was just taken out from under her skirt.]
If it was something that was taken out from the skirts of my own lover or fiancée is one thing, but in any case one would be against touching something that was retrieved from a complete stranger’s skirt.
Well, even if I were to receive it, I wouldn’t go down the stage or to call Baroness Heronia up to personally receive it.
After staring at the thing presented to me while thinking that we’d get nowhere like this, my gaze incidentally landed on Zeno and I issued instructions to him.
Perhaps he had already predicted that things would end up like this, as before I even noticed, Zeno had already moved to my side from the wall, where the servants were waiting. He quickly took the envelope from Baroness Heronia’s hand and presented the stack of papers inside the envelope to me.
When I flipped through the stack of papers and scanned its content, just as I expected, it was the written report of a thorough investigation on Marquis Noches.
Since I have received intel beforehand about how Baroness Heronia hired someone to investigate Marquis Noches, it wasn’t something particularly surprising.
Despite being flustered, perhaps since she was worried about the content of the stack of papers that Baroness Heronia submitted, Bertia peered at the report that I held in my hands as she gulped a little, “Hii!”
Looking at how her complexion worsened even further, I removed the stack of papers from within her field of vision and gave instructions to Zeno so he could bring the report to my father.
Then, Bertia silently hung her head down and began to mutter, “As I thought, the compelling force…”. In order to reassure her, I brushed her hair and softly whispered to her ear, “It’s all right.”
She has always wanted things to turn out this way.
However, as expected, to part with something that she had until now, even if she had expected it, it’s still scary, right?
Bertia who was within my arms tried her best to behave herself resolutely to the end, but she was slightly shivering as she clung to and grasped my clothes tightly.
…for her to be this frightened, how pitiful.
So I thought.
However, at the same time that I sensed how she actually didn’t want this kind of future, I felt a little bit pleased.
I wonder, since when had my personality degenerated like this?
“That’s what I have investigated independently. As you can see, it is the proof of Marquis Noches’ crime!! For the daughter of a criminal to be Your Highness’ wife… to be the future queen, it can’t be tolerated!!”
“Fu~n, then you want to punish Marquis Noches and break off my engagement with Lady Bertia?”
At the edge of my vision, I saw how my father and Marquis Noches narrowed their eyes as they scanned the stack of papers they received from Zeno.
There was ridicule in my father’s eyes and anger in Marquis Noches’, but since they had positions where they’d ran the country for many years, their expressions didn’t change.
In contrast to that, many students, parents, and teachers who were present in the assembly hall seemed to be unable to conceal their bewilderment at the prosecution towards one of the country’s authorities.
Everyone’s sight was directed towards Bertia and me, my father and Marquis Noches, and then Baroness Heronia.
“Hey, you. I think that the document just now was certainly well-examined and could serve as evidence of undeniable crime.”
I smiled and caressed Bertia’s head gently as if I was trying to console her as I announced that, and a triumphal smile floated on Baroness Heronia’s face.
The moment I saw it, something within myself experienced a sudden drop in temperature, reaching below the freezing point.
Perhaps Bertia who was next to me noticed my change, as her body and face stiffened while she stared fixedly at my face with a fearful expression.
I circled my arm around her waist as she tried to take a step backward in fear and told her with a small voice so that she wouldn’t run away me, “I’m not mad at you.” However, her stiffened body didn’t relax at all.
“…However, this is not the evidence of Marquis Noches’ crime at all. Instead, this is the proof of crimes done by Viscount Conservatier, Earl Conmorno, and Baron Sagil, right?”
In reaction to my statement, Earl Conmorno and Baron Sagil who were present in this assembly hall as guardians, and then their daughters and sons leaped up in surprise.
Simultaneously, the people near them moved away in a fluster, as if they were afraid of being involved as well.
By the time they noticed, their surroundings neatly formed a circle with nobody standing near them.
Father, who was overlooking this situation, made an indiscreet signal with his eyes and they were soon restrained by the knights who were present in this assembly hall as security, so that they couldn’t escape.
“That’s right. It’s the evidence of their crimes, and also… there’s evidence of their connections to Marquis Noches submitted.”
Baroness Heronia turned her provocative gaze towards Bertia and Marquis Noches.
Bertia gazed at Marquis Noches and Baroness Heronia alternately with an expression that seemed like she was about to cry. Meanwhile, Marquis Noches smiled and turned his cold gaze towards Baroness Heronia.
He still hadn’t uttered anything to her, but that wasn’t because he can’t refute anything, it was none other than because he wanted to leave the matter to me.
His gaze that occasionally fell onto me contained hints that urged me like this, “Your Highness, my beloved daughter looks so pitiful, so please end this farce immediately.”
“Hey, isn’t it too much to declare a person as a criminal just because he has some connection to criminals?”
“That is… However, Kulgan-sama surely knows of Marquis Noches’ crimes!! After all, he has always been tormented by Marquis Noches who was his relative.”
Baroness Heronia hesitated for a moment, but then she stared at Kulgan, who was near me, as if trying to say, “Now is the time, go and say your resentment for years!!” as she put her power into her gaze and nodded.
The surrounding gazes were directed to Kulgan, and Kulgan, who was suddenly brought into the matter, furrowed his brows until deep wrinkles were carved.
“…I have never uttered any single word to you about that, and I have never thought of it at all. My relationship with Marquis Noches is quite satisfactory, though?”
Towards Kulgan, who said it straight out indifferently, Baroness Heronia’s eyes widened.
“I-it can’t be!! You have always talked to me about various things…”
“I have always ignored the discomfort I experienced when you talked about your speculations of Marquis Noches of your own accord, but I don’t recall ever having affirmed it even once. Of course, I also don’t recall telling you about Marquis Noches’ crimes. In the first place, I have been helping Marquis Noches with his work, but in regards to Marquis’ crimes, I wasn’t aware of anything like that, so there’s no way I could tell you about it.”
Towards Kulgan’s complete denial, Baroness Heronia’s complexion changed.
“Don’t lie!! You should have been tormented by Marquis Noches for many years!!”
“I’m telling you, there is no such thing. Please stop all of this at once.”
Kulgan declared that bluntly with an expression that revealed his discomfort and as there was no need for him to say anything more, he averted his gaze away from Baroness Heronia.
…As expected, did she misunderstand everything?