Chapter 1 - Part 1
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An old conversation brushed past their minds.
“By the way, whose birthday is it? Is it a hidden girlfriend?”
“What? A girlfriend! Let’s say it’s a very precious friend.”
“More… than us?”
“It can’t be… Well, maybe it is. We’ve known each other since we were very young. But you don’t have to be upset. Oscar, you’re a precious friend to me.”
Lelia quickly read their expressions.
The blade of the sword, which seemed ready to cut her throat at any moment, fell away slowly. The silver-haired man had a confused expression on his face.
When she came up with an excuse, Lelia said it straight away without thinking it through.
[Editor: Lelia seems to have issues thinking things through…]
“Were you Brother Leo’s friends? I was very close to Brother Leo. That’s why I heard a lot of stories about all of you.”
Griffith glared at Lelia again with bitter eyes. He looked like he would never believe it.
“Then what about the fountain pen? Why do you have it?” Romeo asked.
It was heartbreaking to have to lie again to her friends, but it couldn’t be helped.
[For now, I need to live.]
“Leo… My brother gave it to me before he died. That and a rabbit doll too.”
At Lelia’s words, Griffith, Romeo, and the silver haired man’s expressions became subdued.
That was when.
Kalix moved from his concealed spot in the corner, and walked up to her. He narrowed his eyes and stared at Lelia.
Lelia kept a straight face while she stared at Kalix’s eyes.
[It happened after all.]
In the original story, Kalix lost his eyes in a battle with the light dragon. It was the same this time.
As Lelia mumbled his name a little, the look on their faces showed surprise.
“How do you know my name?”
[That is because…]
Lelia made excuses while holding back her tears.
“Leo… My brother told me… About his friends. After returning from the temple, he talked about you all every day.”
Lelia didn’t actually tell anyone the truth. However, if she had someone to talk to, she would have happily forced them to talk about her time at the temple with her friends.
She was someone who lived their whole life with the memories of that time.
Lelia looked slowly into their faces as she called out their names.
“Kalix, Romeo, Griffith, and…”
“Well, Oscar… it’s you, right?”
Lelia asked cautiously.
The silver-haired man glared at her without an answer and hurried out of the room.
Lelia shrugged at the rattling of the old door.
Griffith mumbled derisively at Lelia.
“You may have heard our names anywhere. Everyone knows our names now.”
“Why on earth did Leo mention your name in his letter?” Romeo asked suspiciously.
Lelia quickly made an excuse.
“…To take good care of me, I guess?”
[Actually I believed in you two, Griffith and Romeo.]
“Brother Leo said he always celebrated my birthday with his friends when he was in the temple. That’s how much he cared about me…”
Lelia’s words were credible enough. Romeo and Griffith’s wrinkled brows twitched a little.
Only the five friends knew the fact that they celebrate their birthdays together every year.
If Leo hadn’t told them, they wouldn’t have understood.
Lelia glanced at Kalix.
[I don’t think his eyesight has completely deteriorated yet.]
Kalix opened his eyes slowly and winced. He seemed to be having a hard time because of the sudden pain in his eyes.
“How can we believe what you say? Tell me, why on earth did he die? Who killed him? why? Where is the criminal now?”
Kalix barely pushed through the pain, asking his questions with great effort. Lelia slowly traced her memory. She had to tell the truth as much as she could.
She recalled belatedly what she had heard from her grandfather and uncle.
“Earl Hetter had a grudge against Emperor Lydios, so he poisoned Brother Leo. When Emperor Lydios found out about it, he brutally killed Earl Hetter. Shortly thereafter, a revolt broke out.”
Kalix covered his face with his hands in pain.
Seeing him in pain made Lelia’s heartache.
“I still can’t believe you.” Romeo said, with a cold smile that didn’t reach his eyes.
Lelia rolled her thoughts around again.
[What should I say to make them believe me?]
“… Brother Leo told me everything he had done while at the temple. That he was almost killed by a wolf in the mountains, learned to swim together with everyone, and you all called him Captain.”
Their firmly established doubts began to crack.
Oscar, who was sitting outside the door, was also listening.
“… Did he tell you what happened on the mountain?” Kalix asked.
“… Yes, The person who sent the wolf was also the Emperor of Ascard. He decided to keep that fact a secret.”
The day a wolf appeared on the mountain and she almost died.
What happened that day was a secret only the five of them knew.
“Why did Leo tell you that?”
“… Because I was very close with Brother Leo, and we were each other’s precious relatives.”
Of course it was a lie.
Whenever the real Leo saw Lelia, he would rush to kick her.
But the lie had the desired effect.
They seem to believe Lelia to some extent.
“Then, by sending your name, did he really mean for us to take good care of you?”
Griffith still looked suspicious.
Lelia nodded her head shakily.
“… What if you found out about Leo’s secret and killed him?”
“Earl Hetter… Aren’t you just lying to us? We haven’t been able to find any names all this time.”
Lelia sighed deeply.
“Only some senior aristocrats know about Earl Hetter. Everything that happened when Lydios was emperor was implicitly silenced, so everyone would have avoided saying anything.”
What Lelia said was true. Even after arriving in Auraria, the four of them could not accurately dig up what happened at that time.
Additionally, Emperor Perseus killed all of Lydios’ people without mercy during that time.
It’s safe to say that very few people now know the full details of what happened at that time.
“ So… What is the probability that Emperor Perseus was the mastermind behind Leo’s death?” Griffith asked.
“… Zero. Earl Hetter was not a member of Emperor Perseus’ faction. His actions were because of a grudge he had against the former Emperor Lydios.”
Everything Lelia said was true.
It was a story she heard from her grandfather’s mouth.
Were they persuaded by Lelia’s words?
After some thought, the ropes that had been holding her hands and feet were set loose.
Lelia was then asked dozens of questions, she answered them one after another. Knowledge of stories that only five people would have known, doubts gradually began to fade from their faces.
Oscar and Griffith were still suspicious of her though.
Lelia even showed the fountain pen she had in her pocket.
“If I had killed Brother Leo, there would have been no need to treasure these things…?”
[Editor: Killers often keep trophies Lelia… this wasn’t the best argument. -__-]
Griffith didn’t say anything.
What she showed was not enough, so she went back to her quarters and showed them her rabbit doll and the letters.
The items, with memories of her friends, were well maintained. So much so that you can see at a glance how carefully she cared for these things.
They saw things that were better cared for than their own, and any remaining doubts were erased.
There was still cold suspicion in Oscar’s eyes.
Lelia was able to finally eat her brunch as she had originally planned, five hours after leaving her room.
In a small brunch shop in an alley.
Large men were sitting inside the shop with a cute interior.
If it wasn’t enough, everyone was wearing a sword. One of them was even wearing a huge sword on his back.
The store owner was giving them nervous glances, wondering if they might do something.
“Leo was a really nice guy…”
Lelia stuffed bread into her mouth as she listened to another compliment about herself.
It was quite enjoyable. It was also nice to meet her friends, but she couldn’t stand waiting to eat anymore, she was too hungry. Maybe because she was starving so much as a child, Lelia found it most difficult to bear her hunger.
Among the five of them, Lelia was the only one who worked hard with her fork. The four men were sitting with gloomy faces.
“It sounds like your life was miserable, too.” Said Kalix as he looked at Lelia, and she just nodded her head.
With the flood of questions from her friends earlier, Lelia told a story about herself.
It wasn’t about Emperor Perseus, it was just why she fled the city as a child.
“After Brother Leo died… a rebellion broke out while I was still grieving over his death. Emperor Perseus hated me, and so did the princes. I ran away because I was afraid that they would marry me off to an old noble.”
When the four heard that, they swore at Cedric and Damien for a bit.
By the time Lelia finished eating. Kalix, who had been agonizing over something, opened his mouth.
“All right, you’re precious enough for him to say your name as his final words. It must mean I was meant to protect you.”
When Lelia looked around for a moment, Kalix nodded to his friends as if they all agreed.
Romeo, Griffith and Oscar nodded back.
Kalix said, patting a big hand on her shoulder. Her shoulder felt like it would collapse because his hand was so heavy.
“Leo’s sister is our sister, we’ll allow you to call us brother.”
Lelia’s jaw clenched, while her eyebrows twitched.
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