There’s a humming sound again. This time it’s much closer than before.
Miredei’s scream-like voice rang out.
“Someone! It’s a crook! Your Highness!!!”
A third sound of humming. It grazed my ears.
Instantly, a shiver runs down my spine.
With just a slight shift, it could have pierced my throat, or my face, or my eyes.
“Lady Elaine, come here.”
The color of the falling arrow feathers is black.
…It’s the color of the north.
“I will think about it later. Run!!”
I grab thin, lace glove-covered hands and start running.
What is this!? The danger to my life should be gone now!
Even the last time, it wasn’t so straightforward! I want to cry to myself.
I was almost poisoned, but it wasn’t in such a physical and direct attempt on my life.
I escaped to the back of the yard because I was being shot at from the building, but maybe this was a mistake.
…because, you know, this could have been done on purpose, right?
There were sounds of people chasing from behind…Suddenly, I entered a narrow opening that could barely be called a path, and sank behind a shrub.
Shhhh, I put my index finger in front of my lips.
Immediately after, the human feet that seemed to be following us passed over the bushes to the other side.
“It’s difficult to get back to the building, so let’s take the long way around and get through to the government office side.
I tell her in a hushed voice.
So you I call the rear guard and ask them to pick me up.
I’m sure His Highness Nigel will be contacted immediately.
I have a feeling I’m going to be a caged bird again for a while.
“…What the hell was that…?”
Of course, Elaine-sama isn’t used to this kind of thing, I guess. She’s breathing with her whole body. Then again, so am I.
“I don’t really understand it either.”
However, I was certain that I was being targeted.
Is it me or is it…
I glanced at the pale profile.
…Maybe the other side doesn’t need us to be intact, but rather, they think we should be dead.
“…It’s probably me.”
“I’m the one they’re after.”
“Why are they after you?”
As I was about to listen further, I heard the sound of another arrow cutting the wind behind me.
“For now, let’s talk later!”
I took Lady Elaine’s hand again and started running.
It is well known that the royal palace has an underground. But no one knows the full extent of it.
That’s because it’s too vast.
The stone passageway is dimly lit, but not entirely invisible, and if your eyes are accustomed to it, you can even proceed without a light source.
“As you may have guessed, this is the basement of the Royal Palace.”
I was targeted by an unidentified assassin, maybe more than one, so it was in the basement that I escaped with Elaine-sama.
The number of bow and arrows…The number of pursuers pouring down on us seemed to be increasing rapidly, yet our own guards were not even visible.
If it was underground, arrows wouldn’t be flying in from all over the place.
There are guards in the basement who are invisible.
Safer than anywhere else, His Majesty said to me…
I have some guesses as to what the shadow guards are, who say they will exclude all but the royalty, the four dukes, and a few who are of the blood of the four dukes, but it’s too ridiculous to say it for a moment.
But I wonder if it’s really safe for Lady Elaine, too…
I’m thankful that the arrows aren’t flying, but I don’t want anything to happen to Elaine-sama because of her being trapped in the basement.
“…I’ve been here once before.”
“Yes…It has been fifty years, but I was the ‘princess’ at the founding festival…At that time, I walked through this basement with my father.”
Lady Elaine said in a nostalgic tone.
“…As I recall, Her Highness is the ‘Princess’ this year.”
…then Lady Elaine is probably registered.
There was a prediction that Elaine-sama was probably okay because she was ‘royalty’. But if she was a ‘princess’, then it’s almost certain.
Because ‘princess’ is authenticated in some way…
“The last ‘princess.’ Her Royal Highness gives the sword to the Crown Prince, who should not even be recognized as royalty…It’s like a reenactment of a founding myth.”
A small exhale of breath.
She said it so plainly, I almost flushed for a moment.
Lady Elaine looks at me in a calm manner.
“Um, I’m the last ‘princess…’”
“Isn’t Her Royal Highness the last Elzevert?”
What? Does anyone else know that?
“Oh…Originally, this should have been a secret that only the King and the Four Dukes knew about. I only know about it because my father told me.”
Elaine-sama said calmly.
Elaine was born in Elzevert.
I unraveled the family tree in my head.
“From the perspective of Your Highness, he is a great-grandfather on the father’s side. On my mother’s side, it would be another generation…On the occasion of the founding ceremony. I was walking here with my father, and I was so depressed that I thought I had done something wrong again, so I apologized to him. Then I remember, as if it was only yesterday, that he apologized and said it wasn’t my fault.”
…Well, Lady Elaine was born to a man who entered a later marriage, so she has thin Elzevert blood in her maternal line.
Nevertheless, the second wife was also of Elzevert’s blood, so perhaps there was an expectation of…
“I was told that there was a possibility that I might be recognized as the Princess of the Key, but I was disappointed to find out that I wasn’t. It was harder back then than it is now.”
“What’s is it?”
“The time I served as ‘The Princess’ was after Elisabeth’s elopement.”
I almost screamed in a weird voice. I see, so this person was born in such a time period?
“Moreover, I guess it’s because the older brother, who inherited the Duke Elzevert’s family, lost his son and his wife in succession…I guess that’s why my father entrusted me with a few secret things. He told me to remember the right thing to do in case it wasn’t properly inherited.”
“The right thing…”
“He told me not to tell anyone. He said that if I eventually married, I must not tell my husband either…When my brother was unable to obtain a son and the direct line of Elzevert died out, he asked me to teach the next Duke of Elzevert…Fortunately, my brother took a second wife and your father was born, so it’s no longer necessary…But I have no problem telling Her Royal Highness.”
Elaine-sama laughed with a somewhat bemused expression on her face. I don’t know what she’s smiling about, but her expression is so cute that I can’t help but forget where I am right now.
I’m not sure what to do with this tense situation, but it’s very easy to forget that I’m on the run from a life-threatening enemy.
“…So you’re okay with it, Elaine-sama?”
“What is it?”
“…I’ve heard that there are guards in the basement of the royal palace that are invisible.”
“Oh…yeah, that’s right. I’m registered, and my father…at that time, he said I wouldn’t need it anymore.”
‘Fufu,’ she laughs wryly.
“It’s not that kind of situation, and yet it’s something of an adventure and I’m excited.”
The old lady who apologizes for being sorry is very cute.
I hope I can grow old like this.
Probably not for me, though.
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