Chapter 76: Resignation and a Place of Obstinacy
Her kingdom was withering before her eyes.
Once in a day, Eldith looked down on Ghazalia’s Hanging Gardens from the only available window in the Tower. She gritted her teeth, and gazed with cursing eyes. Her chest was filled with hatred as well.
She couldn’t do anything. She understood that very well. She had no choice but to decay inside of this Tower. She just wanted to die. Eldith thought that if she ended her life early, she could have a much better life after death.
However, Eldith knew that she couldn’t end her life just yet. She knew that surviving would be the best way to hurt the man who had imprisoned her here. So, she had to live another day. She gave up on everything and spent an empty life each day while trying to live on. Yes, all in order to save her spirit, which would eventually collapse.
It didn’t change the fact that the imprisoned man was an adventurer named Lugis.
Eldith only treated his injuries. She didn’t care if a human died or lived. Nevertheless, it would be troublesome if he were to die right in front of her eyes. Because, where would she dump his body?
Besides, the purpose of his imprisonment was quite clear.
If he belonged to the Heraldic Order, then that meant that he teamed up with their Great Saint. That Order and that woman were unmistakable enemies of Ghazalia. The fact that he was imprisoned in the Tower meant that he was probably an important person. However, Eldith didn’t think so from the looks of it.
She believed that Lugis was put on this Tower on purpose. If he died here, Eldith would take the blame. On the contrary, if he survived here, things would turn to gossip and eventually turn to a crime. “I see; a man and a woman together.” Eldith thought. “I wonder if that guy wants me to get my hands dirty.”
Apparently, the palace seemed very impatient. Perhaps, they expected her to go nuts in the Tower; however, she decided she wouldn’t take hard measures. Unexpectedly, Eldith’s eyes narrowed. Eldith had been living here for quite some time now. She had a life without any entertainment and without changes in routine.
Still, her spirit didn’t break yet. She didn’t succumb even if she felt that her guts were eroding and degrading each day.
But, Eldith was not willing to take any of the slightest provocation that would incite the revolt of her own supporters. No matter what, she had to do absolutely nothing. She gave up thinking about her life. To seek better solutions. To seek salvation. All she had to do was survive and hate herself.
However, the presence of a cellmate was not that bad for Eldith, even though she had some rage wandering in her mind.
Lugis’ language was crude. He probably didn’t come from nobility. He wasn’t very good at having a close relationship with others. That’s why his way of talking lacked finesse and, sounded reckless and rude.
However, he seemed very skilled with his intellect as an adventurer. The story he told Eldith was interesting as well. It sounded like fairy tales.
The story about a Knight who destroyed large monsters with a single slash.
The story of a Sorceress who exercised powerful magic beyond reasoning.
The story of a Hero who shined like the sun.
All of these stories were unbelievable stories, but his narrative was so good that they seemed real. Unexpectedly, Eldith felt drawn into those stories. These interesting conversations were added to Eldith’s daily routine. However, these conversations were more than just mere stories. They were a way to kill time. To be entertained.
Eldith knew that Lugis spoke with her more openly because of the treatment.
She prepared the medicine once again today. The remedy comprised of healing drops that elves received from the grace of earth. She rubbed the herbs on his injuries to prevent the pus from overtaking the serious wounds. He wouldn’t die with this way.
Eldith took another bottle from her closet with her tiny fingers and added it to his medicine. She did this every single day.
Why was she so devoted to this young adventurer? “No, I’m not”, she thought. “This isn’t kindness. At best, it’s pity.”
Or maybe, it’s a different sort of kindness. She probably felt some sympathy for him because she felt the smell of resignation from him as well. Somehow, she could feel that he gave up many things in his heart. He probably had to let go of many important things. Likewise, she felt the same way. She had empathy because both had “unhealed wounds”.
But, it was okay. It was okay to feel like that. Just give up, break your soul and die. Eldith knew very well that she’s been in a position to change everything. She struggled to alter the course of her life and of everyone around her, but nothing happened at all. Every effort was in vain. For nothing. She failed every time she tried to reach for a different path. Perhaps, it was the same with Lugis.
Her father was murdered, and the position of Fin was taken away by force. She could only live on with hatred. Hatred about the whole world, the whole system, and about herself. She thought that it would be better for her to rot in jail.
“I got swallowed up by the muddy flow of history. Every prospect and hope disappeared without sparkling. Just like that. Forever”.
Eldith sharpened her lips and went to bed.
“…I didn’t want Your Highness to suffer like this…”
Then, for some reason, a person called Eldith “Your Highness”, but in the wrong direction. She noticed that someone spoke to Lugis thinking that he was the princess, since he wrapped himself in linen and couldn’t get out.
The world kept moving. I realized that it made no difference in the human world and in the elf world.
「Please, forgive my incompetence. I couldn’t help Your Highness with my lack of power.」
I took a small peek at this figure, and I noticed that this elf was the female elf whom I met before in the palace. She was the unmistakable commander of the elf soldiers. This female elf was now kneeling in front of Eldith and begging for forgiveness. Actually, she was in front of me, but didn’t realize that she mistook me for the princess.
Was this female elf on Eldith’s side or did she serve her once? I didn’t know which one was correct. But, there was no doubt that this female elf had a deep sense of loyalty towards Eldith. It seemed that her hidden allegiance came sincerely. I could feel that very well.
「Valianne, stop talking to the fake princess lying over there. And, stop with that type of talk. You know that neither he nor I can get out of here. If we try to escape from here, they’ll cut our necks to separate us from our torso.」
Those words contained some sort of resignation in them. To me they felt odd. Those words didn’t match the Eldith I knew before. The one I was acquaintance with knocked down everything that stood against her. Every enemy, every obstacle, every wall.
I could see an obvious difference now. I was sure that she had some circumstances that I couldn’t understand, nor did I need to know about them.
Ah, however. Even so. Those words, somehow, disturbed the emotions that were kept locked inside of my belly.
「Hey, hey. Don’t decide everything on your own, Eldith. I’ve never said anything nor did I pose as a fake princess.」
I tried to move my body to sit on my bed. I still moved slowly, but I felt much better than before. I shrugged my shoulders then.
I felt a chill when I spoke. The female elf, Valianne, who seemed to treat me as if I were the princess, turned her sharp eyes on to me. I’ve seen that eye color before. It was the color of hatred towards human beings. She looked quite upset, as she looked down on me because I showed some rudeness towards her princess. Well, I was a lowly human after all.
Eldith was still Eldith. However, upon hearing my reply, she blinked her blue eyes mysteriously.
Why would she care? Eldith and I weren’t in that sort of relationship. We were just confined in here for a while. That’s why I spoke informally.
That’s why I threw those words at the princess since she spoke unreasonably to her female knight who apparently swore loyalty to her. Then, I noticed that she slowly wet her lips.
「How absurd. You speak as if you were the victim here. I clearly saw that you were enjoying that moment under the linen of your bed.」
I felt a murky emotion trembling inside of my chest. I still felt fear of Eldith in the depths of my heart. Sometimes, I felt that my breath was greatly disturbed.
「Either way. I just hope that you can let me go to another place. I don’t want to be your cellmate. It’s enough. I don’t want to repeat what I’ve been through. It seems that your people threw my life in some businesses that doesn’t concern me.」
That was right. First, it was that Saint woman, and now the elf princess. It seemed that my life got involved in their affairs. It seemed convenient for them to have me as a “side dish”. But, I had my purpose. I had my own will. I was neither a puppet nor a random piece that could be used for their convenience.
I was the one who decided about everything at the end. No one else. My decisions could meet a terrible result, or even an idiotic one, but it would be all my choice.
Talented people shaped the muddy flow of history. I knew that very well. There’s no way that I would create that flow. I wasn’t a talented person, nor a relevant one. No hero. I was a nobody. That’s why I should at least decide my fate with my own will. Then, I tightened my fist out of nowhere.
Was it because of my sudden words? Was it because I was immersed on my own feelings?
While thinking about it, I was a bit late to notice the change in the princess’ complexion.
「Ehh, I see. So, you have given up huh.」
Eldith’s voice echoed in the room when she replied to my words. Surprisingly, it felt like a shock to me.
I thought that it was Valianne’s voice, the commander female elf. I thought that she was the one who spoke those words to Eldith. After all, she was the woman whose loyalty was unquestionable. I felt that she wanted a different course for Eldith. A path of salvation. It was apparent that she tried to convince Eldith to take a different resolution from some time now.
In addition, Eldith was someone who didn’t care for me. Nothing I said could shake her emotions. My words were meaningless to her.
Or so I thought.
「Okay. Then, you should try that…Valianne. 」
Eldith’s icy voice reached my ears in an ominous way. It felt extremely cold. Yes, it felt as if the room temperature dropped in order to resonate with her voice. My lips quivered as if I were scared. Not only me, but also Valianne.
Valianne kneeled upon hearing Eldith’s command.
「I should’ve dismissed the case you were referring to, but let’s move on with this. Apparently, this man, Lugis, is desperate to die.」
Her voice was colder and more severe than before. I felt her blue eyes staring fixedly at me. That unsettling color disturbed me greatly. It resembled those of insects, but much and much bigger. I felt that her eyes were devouring me.
This was the first time that I saw Eldith like this.
Hmmm…It seems that this past Eldith is more emotional than the other girls…What are you going to do, Lugis?
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!