Chapter 15

 

Thank you kuroneko_chan for the kofi~!

 

***

 

When she first saw the flickering torch outside the window, she could only think that it was finally coming. She even calmed herself down again, thinking that death would finally come to her.

 

But the question was, was it better to stay quietly in the cabin and wait for them to drag her out, or would it be better to go outside and be caught. Whichever one she chooses, the result will be the same.

 

Layla remembered a picture book that was among the items sent from the baron one day. The book describes how to discern witches, and how to kill them.

 

It was hand-picked book with a particularly cruel picture by the kind Ariadne for her sister who doesn’t know how to write

 

Among them, the most prominent was a picture of a witch tied to a long pole and burned to death on piles of firewood.

 

“It will be hot.”

 

Layla muttered, as if it was someone else’s business.

 

“Will it hurt?”

 

It was an obvious thing. When she accidentally hurt her finger a little it was already painful, the pain of being burned to death was unimaginable. That was why they burned witches on the stake. 

 

Her greatest wish was to die painlessly, but she had no choice. After all, this life was more painful. Moreover, rather than a life that may last for a long time, it would be a shorter time if she were to die by the fire.

 

“Whew…”

 

Layla sighed and looked around the cabin. She thought that it was the perfect ending for her miserable and poor self to die in that shabby cabin.

 

Then, all of a sudden, Layla’ eyes caught sight of the stew that she cooked with all her heart during the day.

 

The hunt was ultimately unsuccessful. Layla couldn’t open the trap’s jaws, and it was left in the wood with a branch in its mouth. Instead, she made a beef stew with the stew meat she had bought at the market the other day.

 

Normally, if there was that much meat, she would have boiled a beef stew with just enough to leave traces of the meat, but this time it was different. She put in all the meat she had generously. She spared no potatoes or onions.

 

Although she couldn’t serve the steak, she wanted to serve the tastiest food she could.

 

“He wouldn’t be able to eat it…”

 

What a waste.

 

She cooked it with all her heart in case he would come again.

 

She boiled a full pot, just in case he would eat well.

 

Layla’s gaze shifted out at the window. The tourchlights came closer than before, and an angry crown could be seen.

 

Why was it today?

 

She resented that they couldn’t wait just one more day or wait for the man to come and taste the stew.

 

“A little bit… more…”

 

It was the moment she had been waiting for so long, but when the time came, it was Layla who wanted to put it off.

 

She slowly got up from her seat. She couldn’t understand why she was being like that.

 

When she opened the door, the people she was seeing through the window became clearer. Things like anger, fear, and will were clear in their eyes.

 

“Witch! We’re here to punish you…!”

 

“Go back.”

 

The loud cry of the man in the lead could not be concluded because of Laila’s words.

 

The words from the witch’s mouth stirred up the torches, but they didn’t go back obediently like she said.

 

“You can punish me next time, so go back.”

 

When they did not back down, Layla spoke again.

She was selling her life for a cheap price, like a shopkeeper telling them to come next time because she didn’t have anything today.

 

“W-we can’t do that!”

 

Hans, bewildered by Layla’s words, came to his senses and shouted bravely again.

 

“Why not?”

 

“The execution of the witch is a long-cherished dream of our village, so we can have a comfortable night and carefree …!”

 

“If you’ve been patient for 21 years, you can be patient for a day or two more.”

 

Because of Layla’s calm words, Hans’s words were cut off again this time.

 

“No, we can’t take it any longer.”

 

Hans, who was sharpened because of repeated interruption, adamantly refused Layla’s request.

 

“What do you mean you can’t take it any longer?”

 

Blue eyes gleamed coldly.

 

A gentle wind blew between the witch and the crowd. The witch’s stiff golden hair fluttered in the wind, and the expression on her bloodless face disappeared.

 

“What the hell have you guys been putting up with?”

 

No one answered the witch’s question as she looked at them in the eyes one by one. When her blue eyes looked at him, he faltered and took a step back without realizing it.

 

“What the hell, did I, even do to you guys?”

 

Layla’s voice slowly filled with emotions as she spoke one word at a time. 

 

“Did you even really see me prey on little children? Is there really a missing kid in your neighborhood? Has anyone died because I cursed them? Have you ever heard of a plague in town? What the hell did I do to you guys!”

 

Layla’s last words almost sounded like a cry. It was her feelings that she hadn’t spoken out for over 20 years.

 

Even though she felt lonely, she couldn’t speak. Even though she felt sad, she could not say.

 

Because no one was listening.

 

Because Layla was alone.

 

“For being alive.”

 

But… no one felt sorry for the witch’s cry.

 

She was a witch, and the fact that a witch is alive was a source of anxiety and threat to ordinary humans.

 

“Your stinky self is living among us. That’s your biggest fault.”

 

At the words of a man, Layla looked at him silently.

 

Before long, the screaming emotions had subsided like grains of sand in a glass bottle. Instead, Layla smirked.

 

“I also think so.”

 

The argument was futile. His thoughts coincided with Layla’s usual thoughts.

 

“It’s wrong for this stinky witch to be alive. But it’s not my fault, what’s wrong is that I was born this way.”

 

“Ha! Look at her sophistry,as expected from a witch. Are you trying to deceive us with such nonsense?”

 

“Think whatever you want.”

 

Layla glanced into her cabin.

 

Layla, who had always been dreaming of her death, was left with regret when the moment she had been waiting for was right in front of her eyes.

 

Stew.

 

Bioust.

 

“… Sh*t.”

 

Layla mumbled the swear word to herself.

 

“As expected, I can’t. Come back next time. You can kill me in a few days.”

 

“Hmp! You’re just trying to buy time!”

 

“Think whatever you want. Anyway, if you come back in a few days, I’ll be peaceful…”

 

“There’s no use asking the Baron for help.”

 

When Layla was about to tell them to come back in a few days and they could peacefully kill her, Hans shouted. As if trying to get her revenge on Layla, who interrupted him every time.

 

“Baron Valencia is already supporting us.”

 

“What… does that mean?”

 

“It means that Baron Valencia had given the permission to subdue witche.”

 

Layla’s face, which she thought she could no longer be pale, grew even paler. It’s white wasn’t white enough to look blue.

 

“My father… the subjugation… he gave his permission?”

 

“That’s right!”

 

“Did he say… that you… should kill me?”

 

Layla was reminded of her father, Baron Valencia, who told them to kill his own daughter. No, she was trying to remember him. But she couldn’t.

 

It’s been a long time since Layla saw her father. Not only her father, but also her mother.

 

Even when she was in the mansion, she rarely saw him, but after she was driven out to the cabin, she couldn’t see him even more. So, although they are Layla’s parents, she couldn’t recall them anymore.

 

“Let’s defeat the witch!”

 

“Let’s kill the witch!”

 

Dizzying voices hit Layla’s ears.

 

Hordes of torches approached her, who were staggering in shock that her own blood had asked to kill her.

 

Layla, who had been staggering, barely kept her balance and looked in front of her, and people were suddenly in front of her.

 

“Ack!”

 

The heat of the torch, which was held too close, hit Layla. As some of her hair could not withstand the heat and was scorched, she instantly smelled the scorching smoke of meat.

 

“As expected, she’s a witch! She’s afraid of fire!”

 

Someone shouted as they watched Layla struggle to escape the heat.

 

“Let’s burn the witch in the stake!”

 

One strong hand grabbed Layla’s arm. As if it was a signal, other hand grabbed her other arm.

 

“Put me down!”

 

When Layla shouted that out, another hand had already clasped her feet, and she was lifted too lightly into the air.

 

Even if she tried to move her captured arm, she was unable to move because of the strong men’s grip. So was her leg. Layla’s legs, which were thinner than their arms, just twitched.

 

“Let go! I said let go!”

 

She was the witch that everyone feared, they were so scared of her that they couldn’t sleep at night, but no one listened to the witch’s order. They only lifted her body, which was lighter than their pretty wife and cute daughter waiting for them at home, like a prey, and took her to the fire pit in the village’s square.

 

“Aaaaah!”

 

Suddenly, a man’s scream was heard from behind.

 

She doesn’t know if it was her luck, but her head wasn’t being grabbed, and Layla lifted her head and looked in the scream’s direction. But she couldn’t see anything because it was a dark night and she was surrounded by people.

 

It wasn’t just Laila who was startled by the man’s scream. The people who were holding her limbs, the people who were holding torches like a threat, and the people around her all stopped for a moment and turned their heads.

 

“W-what? What’s going on?”

 

Hans, the leader of this witch subjugation group, shone the torch in his hand, trying to figure out what was going on. Still seeing nothing, he finally took the torch and crossed the crowd.

 

At that moment, Hans’s eyes saw a torch that had been lit up from behind, falling to the floor.

 

“Ugh!”

 

With a groan-like scream.

 

And the fire that fell on the floor illuminated the figure of the dignified person who was crushing the person who once held the torch.

 

“…!!”

 

“W-what is he?!”

 

“Aaaaah!”

 

The people in the back staggered back.

 

“C-crazy!”

 

The same also happened to Hans.

 

***

 

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