Chapter 51 Messenger from the Royal Castle
I returned to the inn’s dining room and said my farewells as I handed in my resignation.
“I apologize for the sudden news. Here are the sweaters for you and your husband. You don’t need to pay me. Please take it.”
“Thank you. Did something good happen? You look a lot brighter. It’s a pity that Maria is quitting, but if it’s something that will make you happy, that’s for the best. Then, here’s a farewell gift.”
Saying so, she handed me a little more money than the price of the sweater.
“God will be kind to those who work earnestly. Good luck.”
“Thank you. Thank you for your kindness.”
Nonna was picking up shells on the beach.
“Mommy! I found a beautiful shell!”
“Thank you for waiting. Oh, such beautiful shells. We’ll have to treasure them.”
Jeffrey said we would leave by ship, but we made a detour and went through the checkpoints, and headed for Cadiz.
Nonna and I ended up living with Jeffrey in Cadiz. It seemed that Jeff hadn’t told his brother or Lord Cedric about me yet.
“If Lord Cedric tells the castle about you, it might spell trouble. It would be best if we could live the life of your dreams, to live simply and raise sheeps.”
Jeffrey said, but I wondered if it would be that easy. Jeffrey was likely sent to Lord Cedric’s territory because of his personality and ability. If they find out that if I’m involved with Jeffrey again…
My life is now intertwined with Jeff’s.
I tried thinking of ways but I couldn’t come up with a solution.
However, ten days later, a man came to our little house with a surprising message. The man who came from the royal castle on a fast horse only called himself Mike. Nonna and I were listening in the kitchen across the door from the living room.
Jeff’s voice was stiff when he heard Mike’s story.
“Wasn’t I just sent here eight months ago under the direction of the Prime Minister?”
“The prime minister was persuaded by my boss. Are you aware of the wonders of the country of Shen’s medicine? Our country just buys up whatever those ships bring, but if you’re there, we have the power to purchase the medicine we want to work on ..”
I wonder if the foreign burn medicine that Lady Eva was talking about before was from Shen. And who is Mike’s boss?
“Why me? There must be any number of qualified civil servants.”
“Well, let me be frank with you. This arrangement is for Lord Asher, and Miss Victoria as well.”
In the kitchen, Nonna and I listened to the conversation while hiding our presence, and I held my breath.
“If the two of you are here together, there’s no guarantee that something dangerous won’t happen. My immediate superior thinks that Miss Victoria should disappear completely for a few years until things cool down.”
Jeffrey’s voice dropped even lower.
“They were keeping an eye on me, weren’t they?”
“This is to ensure your safety. If Lord Asher wants to live with Miss Victoria, the best way is to go to Shen. Please consider staying there to negotiate, secure, and ship the medicine we need. The Ashbury Kingdom, Miss Victoria, and Lord Asher, everyone will be happy. Don’t you think so too?”
At the end, he raised his volume and clearly spoke to the kitchen.
I called out and entered the living room.
“Miss Victoria, I’m sorry for the short notice. Shen’s ship will soon enter the port and leave the port, and we have to make it onto that ship in time. The next ship will be in a year. Miss Victoria, we announced that you passed away. In the unlikely event that an acquaintance of Haggle sees you in this duchy, it would be a problem.”
“That’s… you’re right.”
Mike nodded at my reply.
“Therefore, I would like you two to go to Shen, and Lord Asher to study medicine and make arrangements for export.”
“Anna, what do you want?”
“I think it’s a great deal. If the three of us are together, there’s nothing to complain about. Mike, we can bring Nonna along with us, right?”
“The travel and lodgings of the three of you will be covered by the national budget.”
“By the national budget?”
“Yes. The Asher family offered to bear all the expenses related to Mr. Jeffrey, but when the Minister of Home Affairs heard about it, he said, ‘The Asher family will hold all of our valuable knowledge and connections with the country of Shen.’ and was concerned.”
Jeffrey still couldn’t believe he had been put under surveillance and was sullen, but he agreed, saying, “If Anna is okay with it.” Mike smiled and took out a lot of documents from his bag.
“Victoria, no, it’s Anna. This is Anna’s new ID card, this is your marriage report, and this is your child’s document. Because the government will pay for your expenses, we had to establish that she is adopted by you. Since we didn’t know your real name, the name portion is blank. Please fill it in yourself. You’re able to, right? I don’t have the time to go back and forth between the royal capital and here anymore, so please.”
I thought, ‘Ah, they already knew all about me.’ It was as if they were telling me ‘You can fill it in yourself. After all, you forge such documents many times.’ when they didn’t print my name and Nonna’s name unlike usual procedure.
“Yes. Okay. Should I write Anna Dale?”
“No, you’re joining as a member of Lord Asher’s family, so please write Anna Asher. A ship from Shen is scheduled to enter the port in about two or three weeks. Please be sure to board that ship. You will return in roughly five years. I will pick up the documents at ten o’clock tomorrow.”
Mike spoke and left.
“Anna, are you okay with this?”
“It’s a ridiculously good offer. We can go to a country that we would never be able to go by ourselves, and both Nonna and you won’t be in danger. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Right? When I looked up at Jeff’s face, Jeff burst into laughter.
“When I met you on the beach, you looked terribly depressed. I was worried that you were mentally and physically exhausted, but you seem to be fine.”
I see. Did I look like I wasn’t feeling well to people? I thought I was acting cheerful.
“To be honest, I’ve been feeling lonely every day, and I’ve thought many times about returning to the Haggle Special Forces. But I couldn’t take Nonna there so I didn’t do it.”
Jeff let out a sigh.
“Even though you didn’t know about the assassination order, were you really thinking about that? I’m really glad you stopped yourself.”
“I think I was at my wit’s end. If I just think about it a little, I realize that I might be killed to set an example.”
“Thanks to Nonna, you’re safe.”
Nonna slowly came in from the kitchen. Jeff walked over to Nonna and hugged her before lifting her high up. Nonna retained her blank expression for a while, as if she was saying (Yes, yes, do whatever you like), but eventually she seemed to have lost control and burst out laughing.
“Nonna, will you be my daughter?”
“Jeff will be my dad?”
“Yes. Anna is my wife and Nonna’s mother.”
Nonna answered immediately.
After carefully reading the documents handed to me, I learned that I was portrayed as a commoner born and raised in Cadiz, and that I would be married to Jeff after being adopted by the Baron.
I wondered who knows Anna is Victoria? I have to confirm that with Mike tomorrow.
That night, I spent most of the night writing my name and Nonna’s name on many public documents. I kicked Jeff out because I couldn’t help but get distracted when he peered over my shoulder with curiosity.
After all, it takes a lot of concentration to write letters so that they look exactly like they were printed.
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