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Chapter 20 Who?
I handed over the requested translation documents to Mr. Bernard and made sandwiches for lunch. Nonna was polishing cups at the table.
Nonna seems to like this kind of monotonous work. Nonna spoke to me.
“Vicky, are you good friends with the bearded old man?”
“I wonder if we’re good friends. We just became friends. Nonna wants to make friends too?”
“No. I don’t need friends. I rather practice.”
I lowered my voice and spoke to Nonna.
“Do you want to practice jumping from high places?”
“I want to try!”
Nonna suddenly came to life.
“Nonna is cute, so it’s better to be strong.”
“Yeah. Extremely cute. Cute girls will be in danger if they’re weak.”
I previously infiltrated a human trafficking ring.
All the kidnapped girls kept underground until they were sold had beautiful faces. Noble children who are always guarded are not targeted. They target good-looking commoner girls.
Returning home from work that day. It was about to get dark.
The two of us practiced climbing the stone wall of an empty house near our house. About as high as my shoulder. It’s a rough stone wall, so it’s perfect for practice.
“Jump, put your hands up, and push up the wall with the tips of your fingers and toes, like this!”
I show an example and nimbly leap on the wall. Nonna’s eyes widened. I jumped off the wall and let Nonna do it. I helped her by holding her waist.
“Put strength not only in your arms but also in the back of your stomach.”
She was able to do it quite satisfactorily but she couldn’t climb the wall in a single leap. Well, that’s how it is when you learn something new.
“If you practice every day, you’ll get better at it. Once you get used to it, you’ll be able to climb much higher walls, which will make it easier to escape.”
“Thank you. It’s more fun when you can do something compared to when you’re helpless, right?”
After practicing jumping on the wall many times, I whispered to Nonna.
“Nonna, can you go home first? There’s a suspicious person here, so I have to warn them from coming here again.”
“Well, I don’t know for now. Run as fast as you can and lock the door. Can you do that?”
Nonna nodded her head and I tapped her back. She ran with all her might. Just as I taught her, she never looked back. At Mrs. Yorana’s mansion, there are two men who look like they have good skills, so it’s safe for now once she enters the premises.
I called out to a nearby thicket.
“What do you want?”
A young black-haired man appeared from the thicket. A scarf covered his features below his eyes.
“What, you notice?”
The guy wasn’t a professional. He didn’t have the atmosphere of a person accustomed to killing.
Picking up a suitable fallen branch, I jumped onto the wall, and without taking my eyes off my opponent, I grabbed the branch with both hands and struck it with my knee. It shook flexibly. Okay, it’s not strong, but it seemed like it could be used once.
“Who are you?”
“I want to talk. Come down.”
“No. Go away or I’ll attack.”
“Don’t be like that. I just want to talk to you.”
The man raised his hands in surrender, but did not leave.
The man walked up and jumped on top of the wall.
There was no reason to wait until the guy did something. The moment the man climbed onto the wall, I held up the branch and stepped in. The man stepped back quickly on the wall to gain some space. I guess he’s quite skilled.
“I really just came to talk to you, but this works fine too, you can attack me if you wish, I…”
Before he finished speaking, I swung the branch down diagonally, and immediately slash it up diagonally from below, aiming at the man’s face. The man dodged the branch and lost his balance. Practice is needed to get used to fighting in high places.
I struck the man on his right flank, the spot where he was losing his balance. The branch broke, but it probably cracked his ribs. The man landed smoothly off the wall, but the pain seemed to contort his face.
I jumped down next to the man, pretended to hit his face with my fist, kicked the right side of the man I just hit with a branch with my left foot, and slammed his solar plexus with my right foot in succession. The man groaned as he staggered backward. He probably would have grabbed my arm if I really punched him in the face. My attacks are fast, but the downside is that they are light.
“Since you approached me with a knife, you wouldn’t have any complaints if I use a knife too, right?”
I noticed the knife in the man’s pocket when I faced him. I took out the folded knife from the holder hidden at my waist and shook it sideways, fixing the blade with a click.
“Wait! I truly don’t have any malicious intent. I’m sorry. I didn’t think you were this strong! The knife is for self-defense. I had no intention of using it on you!”
“I don’t believe you. I’ll show you what happens when you approach me with a knife.”
“I’m sorry! I was at fault!”
“Leave quickly. Next time, I’ll break the bones in both your hands and feet.”
When I warned him with my knees bent and knife ready, the man ran away.
Who was he?
He seemed reasonably skilled, but he wasn’t used to actual combat.
It’s troublesome that our address is known.
I have to keep an eye on Nonna. And check our luggage in case we have to leave the country.
That night, I sat on the floor in preparation for an attack and slept leaning against my bed.
The next day. Bernard Fischer House.
I contacted the Second Knight Order and asked the Commander to drop by. It was lunch break, so I asked Mr. Bernard to talk with Nonna about his childhood games.
“Victoria, what did you want to talk about?”
“Yesterday, a strange man came near my house. I warned him many times to leave, but he ignored me and came closer. He had quite a large knife concealed so I thoroughly beat him up with a tree branch. I had practiced swordsmanship for a little while. I was tailed as well recently, so I think I should still leave the capital. I wanted to tell Commander, my guarantor, in advance.”
Commander’s eyes wavered slightly.
“Yesterday huh? Victoria, I’m so glad you weren’t hurt. What did the man look like?”
“Black hair, blue eyes, well-proportioned face, age in his twenties, height about 180, slender. He hid his face with a scarf.”
“I wonder if he was wearing a wig…”
“Huh? Is it someone you know?”
“Yesterday, His Highness the Second Prince went out incognito. It seemed that he didn’t bring a single escort. And when he came back, he had two broken ribs. The First Knight Order guys were furious thinking he was attacked.”
…… Oh my God.
“His Highness claimed he just fell.”
“Is that so.”
He was the prince?
Even if I’m a woman, if it wasn’t me, he would have been killed and buried without question. Did he know how much danger he was in … I guess not.
“I am also teaching His Highness the sword. His Highness Cedric is reasonably strong.”
Commander stared at me. I also stared back at Commander. He averted his gaze first.
“Commander, are you going to arrest me?”
Depending on his answer, I’ll take Nonna and disappear soon after this. But before that, what should I do with the Commander in front of me? What should I do with a big man with strong arms who is also a great benefactor and guarantor to me?
“I have no intention of arresting you. I will tell His Highness to stop approaching you in such a rough manner. But I believe you’ll still feel uneasy so do you wish to move to my family’s place? There are many people there day and night, and my brother is in a position where he can protest more strongly against the royal family than I can.”
“Please let me think about it.”
The Commander silently nodded and left.
I gave that reply to the Commander, but I had no intention of going to his family house. I didn’t want to involve the Commander’s family in my problems.
In such an emergency, the faces of Mr. Bernard and Mrs. Yorana come to mind. The pain in my chest made me want to cry when I thought about leaving this country and cutting ties with those people. I was sure it would be lonely not to be able to see the Commander again.
Before I knew it, I was entwined with emotion.
On the way home with Nonna, I stopped by the [Letters and Parcels Collection Office] in the South Ward. The reply to the letter I sent to another country the day after the evening party had finally arrived at the office.
It was from someone who I contracted privately before, and they were unknown to the Special Forces.
The contents of the letter seem ordinary. Season’s greetings, recent reports such as children’s growth. I picked up the letter and read it according to the rules I concealed in the request letter I sent out.
‘Woman, Now, Unknown, Official, Ash, Out, Country’
‘The real Victoria is still missing and officially left Ashbury’
(Then I don’t have to run away yet, do I?)
Yes, let’s do another check. Just in case, I decided to make another request. I went home and wrote a letter. At first glance, my letter would look like an ordinary letter.
After writing the letter, I put the advance payment sewn into a doll in a small box with the letter.