Settling the Affairs of an Atrocious Noble - 23
Settling the Affairs of an Atrocious Noble
I fixed my disheveled clothes, made the war criminal climbing up the sheets take about five steps back, and sat back down on the bed.
There was still a sense of uncertainty in the air, but I ignored it as best as I could, and asked Craig.
“So? What are you going to do now?”
There were a lot of things that I was concerned about, but I decided to ask that first. There was no way Craig would’ve come here without a plan.
“For the time being, you will accompany me to Lord Sieghardt’s place. Once we meet up with him, we’ll be placed under temporary protective custody.”
“Custody… How did your master even allow that?”
I’m pretty sure I gave him the worst possible impression when we first met.
“He was reluctant to do so. The Princess Lion… Lady Natasha, and the others, were very much against it.”
“It was just the right response.”
It was just expected. In the novel, Sieg was a compassionate man, but it was for that reason he would never forgive absolute evil. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any story of rewarding good and punishing evil.
“It’s just that, after the incident at the Pieira River, Lord Seighardt has taken refuge under the Kisch family. He was wondering why you had released Elmer Kisch, unharmed, with no strings attached, and that you had not responded to the rebellion at all…. So, he agreed to the terms of bringing you there, alone. They will decide after hearing the story in person.”
“The story, huh…”
If I could go to the side of the protagonist of my favorite novel, it would be exciting in its own way; but the thought of being surrounded by enemies on all sides made me feel heavy-hearted. Going to the headquarters of justice with my body, which was a mass of evil, would fill me with a different kind of tension than standing off against Eberhardt.
Well, I wouldn’t mind it, since it would be just me, suffering the consequences of my actions. But, there was yet another problem.
“Hmm—… I know you must’ve had a hard time putting the story together that far, but… I’m afraid I have to reject your plan.”
He probably didn’t expect me to refuse, as I somehow felt signs of him being perplexed.
“I’ve got an envoy from Eberhardt coming for me. Uhh… Come to think of it, how long have I been asleep?”
“I’m not sure, but it was only yesterday that I parted with you.”
“It’s tomorrow, then. I’m definitely going to have to deal with that envoy. After all, Eberhardt already knew that I’m… ah—Heinreid’s impostor? Or so… And, he was just giving me the last bit of free time out of consideration. I have no idea how many people will be coming to pick me up, but if I’m not here when they arrive, he will take his anger out on my people.”
The conversation that took place the other day was just between me and Eberhardt, so it was just understandable that Craig didn’t know about this information.
Craig frowned grimly as he imagined the matter of “taking out his anger”.
“…Is that for certain?”
“He said it directly to me. Do you think that man would jest about it?”
He did not object.
Well, Eberhardt would definitely carry out what he said he would do.
After confirming that he had been silent for a while, I came up with an idea.
“So, for me… I think the best strategy would be… to have you go back to Sieg alone now, and attack the palace while Eberhardt is preoccupied with me.”
“I refuse. Your chances of surviving after being taken to the palace are too low.”
That was a quick answer.
“I don’t think anyone would condemn you for sacrificing a gray, near-black existence for a greater cause.”
“It’s not possible.”
What a stubborn bastard… This isn’t going to work. If I try to pass any more opinions, I’ll be dragged off to Sieg and the others, no questions asked. I can’t let that happen.
“Fine.” I sighed, and offered an alternative.
“Alright. Then, there’s only one option left. …I’ll bring the envoys coming tomorrow into this mansion, and hold them all.”
However, Craig frowned upon hearing this one as well.
“Why should we wait for them to come here? We could engage them on the spot once we encounter them.”
“No. Once we cross paths, there’s no way to get back. And, I told you I have no idea how many people would be coming. It would be safer to intercept them in an advantageous position, than to cross swords with them in an open space right after encountering them.”
“I will protect you, no matter how many or wherever they are.”
Those were very reassuring words. Well, he was strong, after all. When I woke up as myself, I even made him fight Sieg, but he had power and skills.
However, that was not the point.
“…I… don’t want to give orders to kill people, as much as possible.”
I wondered how I could have said that. It only felt hypocritical when I said it with this form.
But Craig, you think I’m different from Heinreid, don’t you?
Then, these words… You can’t ignore them, can you?
“Well, your survival is more important to me than those on the other side. I’m not saying we don’t have to completely avoid killing, but I don’t want to sacrifice any more innocent people. You have to understand.”
I stared straight at him, trying to tell him that I wasn’t pulling any more strings, and waited to see what he would do.
I had already offered a compromise, so he must do the same.
Craig looked displeased, but when he saw me, he lowered his eyes as if he had given up.
“…I will do it.”
I sighed in relief once I heard those words. I was glad. This way, there would be no casualties.
Relieved, I decided to give him one more order while he was still listening.
“Okay. So, that’s it. I’m going to lie down and rest until morning. Good night. Get out.”
When I pointed to the exit, ordering him to leave, Craig stared at me, wide-eyed and in shock.
“What? Are you going to sleep?”
“I am. I was at my physical limit, and was sleeping in the first place. You woke me up while I was in the middle of sleeping, so I’m still tired. You haven’t slept either, so why don’t you at least take a nap or something, while there’s still time?”
When I said that with an effortless tone, his shoulders dropped in exasperation.
“There’s not a shred of tension in you.”
“Compared to confronting Eberhardt, that is. And, you’re here with me now.”
“…Are you angry?”
“How did you come up with that… Well, you don’t have to sleep, as long as it won’t affect you tomorrow. But either way, get out of here. It’s hard to sleep while being in the same room with someone who said those things.”
I pointed to the exit again, as if giving a dog a command.
There’s no point in complaining. Reflect on your current behavior up till now.
I glared up at him, and Craig shook his head lightly, as if to say, “Good grief.”
“Understood. …However, please do not even think about running away. I’ll immediately know once you leave the room, or escape through the window. So, once that happens…”
Before I could say anything, the arm that was pointing at the door was grabbed and pulled forward. I hit Craig in the chest just as I was about to fall, and his other arm had pulled my hair back, biting the nape of my neck as hard as he could.
I heard an unpleasant sound and screamed.
The man, who was disrespectful to his superior, even though it was temporary and no longer in effect, whispered as he removed his lips from where I had been bitten.
…You’re already a devilish threat.
What the heck… Justice had been completely distorted. Could this, perhaps, be due to me bullying him too much? It was just as if the constant exposure to adversity had awakened some strange fetish out of rebellion…
I felt a strange sense of guilt, but all I could do was nod my head in agreement.