12 Years Old: Chapter 52 – A sneak attack under the cover of the night
First published on Ainushi
And so, an unusual event occurred the night I took Cecil-kun in.
Under the pretext as my ‘guest’, I sheltered Cecil-kun in my house. In actuality, it was to protect him. Well, we did loan him the guest room. Oh, Ruby was also incredibly overwhelmed and got emotionally attached to Cecil-kun. Cecil-kun’s perplexed look was so adorable that I took note of it.
It was then that the unusual event happened. A figure that I was clearly acquainted with visited me after I had tucked myself in and fallen asleep.
As I was still in the light sleep phase, I woke up when I felt someone touch and then shake me. I didn’t fall asleep easily that night because I was worried about Father.
「….. Nngh ..…」
The soft texture of the bed that should have been on my back vanished. In its place, I felt two solid things holding my back. It felt as though someone’s hands were holding me. Feeling that sensation, I opened my heavy eyelids absentmindedly.
In my room, the only light I had came from a lamp on the side table. Even so, it was sufficient to light up the dark surroundings around my bed. I left it on when I slept, so it was slightly dazzling when I woke up.
I rubbed my eyelids with the back of my palm, and when I tried to ascertain what the feeling behind my back was….. I realized that there was a sharp metal placed at the nape of my neck. I had experienced this before, but I had believed that this would never happen again.
「Don’t make a noise. If you do, I’ll kill you」
And so, as I feared, that very predictable line reached my ears.
Instantly, I understood that something that was to be expected occurred. Perhaps it was because I was thinking about Father’s situation before I slept.
As for what, it was the likelihood that I would be taken as a hostage.
Based on what I heard from Cecil-kun, the rebel army was at a disadvantage. No matter how much the head of the Magic Institution instigated, there weren’t many that participated in the rebellion. Obviously, no one who harbored any dissatisfaction towards the current situation would partake in such schemes.
The way I see it, for His Majesty to be called a benevolent king isn’t out of place as he was upfront about his political measures and absorbed in the reformation of the country. The castle attendants were also well treated. The political measures that were set in stone were in consideration of the commoners.
Even if there were issues with other countries, he didn’t stop treating them amicably, and there were hardly any countries he was ostensibly hostile towards. Our country was truly a peaceful country.
Those who harbored animosity towards His Majesty were the people amongst the nobles, the privileged upper class who strongly discriminated against others. They were the ones that monopolized resources when war broke out and sought to profit from it. If they were victorious, they would obtain everything and their business would boom. But to the extent of consuming their own country?
Honestly, if they wanted a war, they could just go about it single-handedly.
As I stayed silent without kicking up a fuss, the man who came to abduct me bound my wrists. Well, there was a knife by my neck, so it would be a pain in the neck to resist. If my carotid artery was sliced, I wouldn’t be able to easily heal it.
I casually looked up at the man and felt that I had seen his face somewhere before….. Immediately, I felt shivers up my spine…..
He had a bandana covering his mouth, but I had previously seen him before. In fact, it was a face that I thought I would never have to see again. Though it was supposedly hidden, I saw his lips curl into a smug smile.
「It’s been a while, Lizbeth-jou」
「….. So you’re participating in the rebellion as well」
The expression on the once-defeated son of Earl Emmenthal slackened. Although he didn’t respond, his change in expression alone was enough to confirm it.
Of course, he had his reasons for joining the rebel army. After the duel with me, his household fell into ruin.
The duel was partly to blame. However, it was due to his recklessness in spending money in the first place.
From this, he lost a duel — as the heir of the family — to a little girl, and furthermore, with the sudden scandal of his collusion with the kidnapping organization….. Well, it was the start of the road to ruin. I dare say he deserved half of it, but it was pointless to even say that to him. It would just stir him into a frenzy.
「How did you manage to sneak into my room? There were guards」
「There’s a shortage of them, and besides, I have an associate outside」
Father, who had left to quell the rebellion, had taken a number of patrol units with him. Those men were extremely talented people, proficient in both swordsmanship and magic.
But that had dire consequences.
「….. My apologies, but I’ll be taking you as my hostage. As long as you don’t resist, I won’t take your life. Though….. there are other lives that I can take」
I felt a terrible chill. No! That’s sickening. I could imagine what would happen if I leave, making me feel all the more disgusted.
Although he claimed that I was a hostage, it didn’t necessarily mean I had to be taken in unharmed. Even if I was in a poor state, it would still be acceptable. However, if I’m taken by this man, he would rid me of my arms and limbs.
As I trembled in disgust from the places where he was touching me, the earl’s son lowered the bandana covering his mouth and slithered his tongue up the nape of my neck. His sticky saliva, his hot stuffy breath, his tongue swiping against my skin — all of it was revolting.
Instinctively, I was against it. It was not that I was feeling apathetic or that I loathed him, what I was most disgusted and uncomfortable with was the feeling of my skin being traced. If he didn’t have a knife in his hand, I would have frozen him with all of my sorcery, but it would be dangerous if I put up a fight right now, so I didn’t do anything.
No! This is gross! Save me, Father, Gil!
「Haha ….. Like I thought, without your magic, you’re just an ordinary girl」
Was he was holding a grudge against me, or was he was simply obsessed with me? Most likely it was both.
The earl’s son had a satisfied smirk on his face as my body trembled continuously. He carried me over his shoulder and placed his foot on the opened window sill.
My room was on the second floor, so the height wouldn’t be a problem for him if he used wind sorcery to cushion the jump. This looked like it was his entry point when he intruded. There were two people outside, almost indistinguishable in the dark.
Currently, he didn’t have a knife at the base of my neck, so if I was going to resist, it had to be now.
「…… Hey, don’t resist. Unless you want something to happen to your brother」
「I grabbed him earlier. Look!」
Looking closely, on the shoulder of the man hidden under the covers of the night was a small child with flaming red hair.
It wasn’t just me alone, they took Ruby too….. certainly as another hostage. It wouldn’t be effective towards Father if they didn’t make this move.
「….. Don’t do anything to Ruby ..…」
「I’ll think about it if you come with us obediently」
With a broad grin mixed with a sense of superiority and lust for conquest, the earl’s son spoke as he fondled my butt. He was a repulsive man, but I couldn’t afford to resist him. If I went against him, then Ruby would…
「Oops, looks like the troublemaker has arrived!」
With my eyes tightly closed, a familiar voice reached my ears. Nonetheless, the impatience packed to the hilt of his voice was laid bare; just hearing it was enough to induce my tears.
Still bound on his shoulder, I tried as much as possible to twist my body to look around. Gilles was standing in front of the exit while breathing heavily and glaring at the earl’s son. He was in his night robes, but there were cuts and burn marks on the fabric. They must have attacked him to try and detain him. His rough breathing must have been the result of the ambush.
「I can’t do that. Uh-oh! If you strike me with sorcery, I’ll use her as a shield. Is that how you want to play this out?」
As he held onto me over his shoulders with one hand, the earl’s son thrust his knife to the nape of my neck. Gilles’ expression froze. Only his eyes narrowed with a murderous impulse gleaming from within.
「I also have her brother outside. Do you understand what will happen if you interfere?」
….. “That’s underhanded”, I muttered under my breath.
If you say such things, Gilles would definitely not be able to interfere. He loathes it when I’m injured. If my life was at risk, he would try to avoid that from happening.
Ah, you see! Just blood trickling out was enough to make him bite his lips. Hatred was dwelling in his eyes as he scowled at the earl’s son. I knew nothing could be done, so it was not Gilles’ fault, and yet…..
「….. Now then, since you understand what will happen if you interfere, you will let me go. I’ll be taking your precious ojou-sama along with me」
Putting on airs, the earl’s son’s lips curled into a vulgar smile.
Gilles became expressionless. That look on his face was something beyond fury. If the earl’s son didn’t have a hostage, Gilles would have torn this man apart. I had forgotten to remove my ring before I went to bed, so I felt Gilles’ dark emotions being transmitted through it.
Confident that he wouldn’t lay a hand on him, the corners of the earl’s son’s lips lifted as he snorted. After which, he jumped out of the window with me in his arms.
Personally, his wind sorcery wasn’t accurately executed, but it was fine since it was only from the second floor. Although the earl’s son’s posture was broken as he landed, he rushed over to his associate.
Sleeping… no, unconscious over his associate’s shoulder was Ruby. The anger deep inside me flared; my magical powers welled up as well, but I frantically suppressed them….. Now wasn’t the time. My chances of winning had yet to be determined.
『….. Gilles, I’ll be waiting for you. I’ll hold on as best as I can』
Pulled into the enveloping darkness, I placed my thoughts into the ring.