Chapter 223


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Where a song can hurt people in more than one way....


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Episode 223. About 10 Months (100)


Diane stroked her stomach while looking up at the fireworks blooming in the night sky.


Music rang out in the square as the fireworks ended.


Diane and Philip naturally moved towards it.


As they walked with their guards through the drawbridge into the city square, a huge bonfire was lit up in its center.


Several musicians with accordions, guitars and fiddles circulated around the bonfire, performing cheerful tunes, while young girls and boys from the neighborhood danced in pairs.


The children, unable to sleep thanks to the festive atmosphere, rubbed their sleepy eyes and scurried around like squirrels. Foreigners and locals who came to enjoy the festival from far and wide, gathered at the temporary stalls next to the square and drank beer.


After a few dances, 2 terrified people came running towards Diane from the opposite side of the square, it was Kyle and Tara.


Kyle was running at full speed while shouting something, but it was hard to distinguish his words because of the ambient music and noise.


"Philip, Why is Kyle rushing over here…?"


But soon after hearing the children's song, Diane stopped talking and stared blankly into the distance.


"Diane?"


"This song…"


"Yes?"


“This is… What is this…?”


The singing voices were too faint, so Philip had not yet recognised the song. He turned his gaze towards his wife's face.


When he saw her ashen visage, his heart sank.


"Why… Why do you look like that? Diane? Diane, what's wrong?"


"This song... Can't you hear it?"


Only then did the muffled lyrics become clear.


[Oh ho, where did the mercenaries go?

To the place where the bastard child did wait.

Two big mistakes those mercenaries did make.

Oh, no, what was their first mistake?

The life of the dirty mother they did take.

Oh, no, what was their second mistake?

With his life the child escaped!

Oh ho, where did the mercenaries go?

To the place where the bastard child did wait.

The mercenaries who went there made two big mistakes.

Why was the child’s life such a mistake?

The bastard will become a tyrannical snake,

The peace of the Empire he will forsake.

Oh ho, where did the mercenaries go?

To the place where the illegitimate child did wait.

The mercenaries who went there made two big mistakes.

Oh what fools the mercenaries did make,

since all was done for money’s sake.] *


Philip felt a chill run down his neck.


"Oh, my God.... Who dares!"


"No.... They can't. This song, no way....!" Diane muttered in dismay, and with those words, she collapsed.


"Darling!"


"Diane!"


"Lady!"


Philip immediately helped his wife, while Kyle and Tara were stopped by the knights. The crowd shouted in surprise when they realized that the Countess had collapsed.


"Darling!"


"Diane! Cousin!"


Fortunately, Philip managed to give an order amidst the frenzy. The knights blocking Kyle withdrew and the crowd cleared a way to the castle.


The number of people watching the Countess being carried by the Count gradually increased until everyone in the square had stopped.


The music and songs died out. The crowd in the square was engulfed by a deep silence.


About an hour later, a rider on horseback was waiting for Reese Castle's drawbridge to come down. It was the Order of the Phoenix’s fastest messenger displaying the Deoran company flag.


***


Back in the Castle, I entered Kyle's room. In the corner, I found my luggage that had been brought from the annex.


It was probably Kyle who'd asked a servant to bring it here. I quickly changed clothes and entered the parlor outside the Countess's bedroom on the same floor.


Count Philip Reese's face was very haggard and looked as if he'd aged 10 years in the span of a moment. He repeatedly rubbed his hands, and kept going back and forth in front of the bedroom door, unable to stay still, even for a moment.


But when I entered, I was surprised I didn’t see Angela who had come in when Philip carried Diane in earlier, and was even more surprised not to see Kyle. I’d expected him to be here.


Count Philip, who saw my suspicious expression while I stood restlessly in front of the bedroom door, explained it to me.


"A messenger arrived in all haste from the Palace and Angela was sent back."


"I see. Thank you for letting me know, Count."


He went on to explain that after Kyle had heard the news, Angela had asked to stay with him in the parlor but Count Reese sent her back saying: 'I'll explain in detail tomorrow so go home and rest.'


A euphemistic dismissal.


Count Reese, who had been pacing around nervously, suddenly spoke, seemingly out of nowhere.


"Second Assistant, I want to sincerely apologize now in case I don't have the time later."


"Yes?"


I scrambled up from my chair.


"Diane and I were well-intentioned, but it didn't work out as we thought it would. We wanted to apologize to the Aide, you must’ve been hurt by our actions. You experienced a terrible situation here. It's largely because I didn't manage my vassals properly and let such a man become a knight. He will receive the most appropriate punishment. It hurts my heart to think that your first visit to Reese Castle will be filled with bad memories."


Count Reese made his very heartfelt and polite apology with utmost respect.


The tip of my nose tingled.


"I never knew the Count and Countess felt this way. I'm aware you didn't know that we were together. Even though it isn't the Count's fault, I'm more than grateful for your apology, Count Philip."


We bowed to one another, and I added a few more words.


"And I do not regret coming to Reese Castle because of that man. I also made many good memories. Besides, it’s the place where His Highness's only family lives. I hope she wakes up safely."


The Count looked at me quietly and slowly nodded his head.


"I think I can understand a little why my cousin-in-law came to think of the Second Aide the way he does. If ever the opportunity comes again, please visit us in an official capacity."


"Yes. I will. Count."


As soon as I sat down, Kyle came in with a serious face and sat down next to me.


I looked at him worriedly. He didn't take his eyes off the door but quietly grabbed my hand and released it, as to say not to worry.


I was curious, but didn't ask. Now only the Countess's health was important.


A long time passed.


"Both the mother and the child are safe."


"Haaa...."


Everyone sighed with relief.


"It was just a small hemorrhage. It seems a blood vessel from the uterus ruptured as she collapsed from the shock. Of course, it could be bleeding from various other causes, such as placenta praevia **, but it is difficult to say at this time. I think we should let her rest first while keeping an eye on it."


The doctor left and we went straight to the bedroom. As the maid finished cleaning up the room, only the four of us were left.


Philip approached Diane, who was sleeping, grabbed her hand and knelt close to the bed.


The Count then closed his eyes and prayed earnestly.


Kyle watched the scene then walked over to the Count. Once the Count finished praying, Kyle rested his hand on his shoulder.


Their silhouettes appeared so poignant and solemn in the flickering light that I found myself saying a silent prayer as well.


After some more time had passed, the Count asked in a calm voice.


"What is this? Where the hell did that song come from?"


Kyle's back went stiff.


"I'll make it right. So when my cousin wakes up, tell her not to worry."


The Count rose to face Kyle as I watched from the side.


"My wife.... If someone else said that, I wouldn't believe it. Please tell me, are you two leaving now?"


Kyle shook his head.


"I’m the one who will take action. Tara, you go back to the Capital tomorrow with Walter."


"Yes, Your Highness."


Kyle held Diane's hand which had fallen from under the blanket, stared at it for a moment, then put it back underneath. He turned around without hesitation.


"Regarding John, don't worry I will do as my cousin-in-law told me to. Diane is also very healthy.... I'm sure she'll wake up soon."


The Count followed Kyle to the door while reassuring him, since he had to leave.


"I'm not worried. It's just a shame that I can't handle the situation myself. Please tell my cousin that I'm waiting for my nephew Leo to be born."


"I will, cousin-in-law."


"I'll stay until the Lady wakes up," I said, having caught up to him.


Kyle shook his head.


"No. Don't do that. You go straight home in the morning." His voice was full of apprehension.


"Yes, Your Highness."


After briefly greeting the Count, Kyle left Diane's bedroom.


"I'll be right back."


"No. The Aide is also leaving early tomorrow, so please go get some rest now."


The Count was right. I needed to rest now so I could leave on time tomorrow. I'd been through a lot today, so much so that it felt like dinner had happened in the distant past.


"Very well. I'll pray for a swift recovery."


I politely bid him farewell and then quickly ran after Kyle.


***


Kyle quickly put on his armor and attached his sword. After tightening the laces of his boots Kyle, now prepared, looked back at me where I stood in front of the door and smiled softly.


Now I was starting to understand what that smile meant.


A smile meant to reassure me.


He strode up to me quickly, stopped and met my eyes.


"It's been a long day. Aren't you tired?"


"I'm alright, Your Highness. Are you okay?"


".... It's hard. It would be less difficult if you called me Kyle."


"Don't force yourself to hold it in. Do you want me to hug you, Kyle?"


"Before you hug me...."


A big hand held my chin.


"This first...."


He lowered his head and kissed me briefly.


"Really, every time. I'll let you off the hook for today. Come here."


I wrapped my arms around his back. He whispered quietly, "That's nice...."


Because of the height difference, my chin only reached his shoulder.


"The rumors.... They're vicious."


I replied with a nod. In fact it was more accurate to say that my chin rubbed against his shoulder.


"They’re trying to rile you up against the Empress and undermine your image as well as that of the Toulouse Family. What can you do to overcome a situation like this....?"


"How would you do it?"


___


Editor's notes -


* The credit of this song goes to Rina. I tried to spruce the MTL a bit which had no rhyme nor rythmn and Rina took my feeble attempt and made this marvelous edit. Still let it be noted that we both respected the original text, the original meaning is clearly still there.


** Placenta praevia: Typically, the placenta is attached to the top or side of the inner wall of the uterus. With placenta previa, the placenta attaches lower in the uterus. This results in some portion of the placental tissue covering the cervix. It can result in bleeding during the pregnancy or during or after delivery.


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