North x Northwest - Chapter 242
Volume 7 Chapter 242
Translators – Pru and Formidable
White fog, created by her warm breath colliding with the cold, broke into the air along with her mutterings.
‘If I were to wallow about this here, the royal guards would surely catch up to me. It will be just a matter of time…’
Lil let go of the reins.
‘It’s almost ironic how I went through so much trouble getting away, fully knowing I won’t be able to escape them anyway…’
In addition to her melancholic mood, the rain showed no signs of stopping either.
Even after some time passed, the royal guards still hadn’t found her, so Lil kept entertaining her thoughts. In order to suppress the constant lurking urge to ride her horse up to the Retiro residence, she would repeatedly tell herself what Ed had done to her.
‘But the Ed I keep seeing in my memory is the one who insists that he has been treated unfairly, making all this increasingly difficult… There’s no need for me to listen to his explanation though…. What I really need is just one reason why I shouldn’t go back… I truly don’t want to hear… or read… his explanation…’
Lil’s eyes widened.
‘I’m sure I left Ed’s letter there on purpose…’
The compulsion to give up dominated Lil as soon as she mumbled the curse word.
‘There’s no need to open it anyway. Whether I read the letter or not, or whether I understand his situation or not, nothing will change…’
Lil decided to stop thinking about Ed altogether, whether with resentment or hatred. Although she felt so weak that she wished she could somehow simply pass out and disappear, Lil shook her head violently in an attempt to erase him…
By the time Ed arrived, the Roahn guards stationed near Villa Somemei had already surrounded the mansion’s main gate.
“…Who are you? What are you doing here?..”
One of Ed’s guards managed to catch up with them and immediately yelled at the man behind the gate.
“How rude! This person!”
The guard suddenly stared at Ed with a look of dismay. Among the citizens of Rohan, there was no one who didn’t know what kind of mansion Villa Somemei was. If there was a conflict between the lord of the land and the person staying there, it automatically made it a conflict between the most powerful families. Realising this, the guard on the other side of the gate abruptly changed his attitude. What also hadn’t helped his situation was that due to the rain, he didn’t get to check the uniforms of the men behind Ed, but after taking a closer look he recognized them instantly.
The guard quickly came out of the gate and bowed his head properly. He squinted his eyes in the rain to further examine Ed, however, Ed simply announced himself, making the guard’s scrutiny pointless.
“Edgar Retiro. Go and tell the lessee.”
“What do you mean lessee? The person staying here…”
“Then who is the lessee?”
When Ed tried to enter the opened gate, another guard blocked his path and the guards waiting behind the gate simultaneously positioned their hands on the hilts of their swords.
Ed pulled the reins to restrain his horse and asked again.
“Who is it?”
“How high is his status?”
“Well, one of the highest in the Empire…”
“So you’re telling me that one of the most powerful people on the continent has come into my territory with a private army in tow? And without informing the territory’s lord of his identity no less? Even His Majesty the Emperor cannot commit such insolence. Are there any nobles who don’t know about Roahn’s right of denying entry1?”
“No, that’s not it…”
“Then what’s the problem?”
The guard confusedly blinked at the series of inquiries, and thereby belatedly asked the only right question.
“W-why are you trying to get in?”
Instead of answering, Ed checked his pocket watch.
‘It’s already past one o’clock. I’m too late…’
Even though Ed had no idea what Venua would do to Lil, it worried him nonetheless. He became even more anxious because he was unfamiliar with being afraid of something so uncertain.
With his mind currently elsewhere, Ed’s subordinate spoke up next to him.
“There was a report of a kidnapping. It was said to have been quite the ruckus.”
“What do you mean by a kidnapping report?”
“A witness confirmed the sight of six people on horseback knocking out one person and wrapping his head in a sack.”
“We don’t know anything about that…”
“I will make sure to record these words of yours. You just denied the charges during an initial interrogation, if what you said turned out to be false, know that the punishment for your crime will be heavier.”
“Huh? What charges…”
Ed, who had been squeezing out the last bit of patience he had, which hadn’t been much to begin with, cut off the guard.
“I witnessed dozens of armed men riding horses into the alleys on the way here. What do you think the charges would be for unidentified soldiers that roam my territory and may have been involved in a kidnapping?”
As Ed drove the horse again, the soldier backed away but blocked the gate. However, Ed didn’t stop and if he continued much further, the guards would definitely be trampled by his horse’s front hooves.
“Then, wait a moment…”
“As the lord and magistrate of Roahn, I’m afraid I must go in now.”
The reason why Ed had to state this so formally, despite being a person who usually didn’t care about formality or status, was simple.
‘Venua is a difficult individual to deal with. Personally, I’m not familiar with his character, but I’m aware he was able to press the Duke of Mireille, who is a close associate of the Emperor and wields great power, to this extent to force him to move. I also can’t ignore the fact that he’s a man of high status, so this may result in a major controversy over Liloa…
In fact, there would be no legal issues if Venua were to take Liloa. No one in Sesbron would consider this as a case of kidnapping. Venua isn’t only a blood relative to Liloa, but her brother, so he has the right to claim ownership over her… Legally. Even if there’s a lawsuit or court intervention, the Emperor will support Venua. Besides, if the Emperor finds out that I returned without even touching the South, he’ll be looking for every opportunity to screw me over. In addition to this all, it looks like Liloa has no intention of wearing the necklace again, so she must’ve decided to live as her original self. The problem is, she never told me anything about that, so I don’t know where or what I can start. Unless I want to risk getting in the way and cause trouble during her return process, I have to follow these tedious procedures… And the only thing I can use against Venua in this situation is an armed conflict within the territory.’
The villa’s guards opened the gate with a disgruntled gesture. Accompanied by two of his own guards, Ed sped up, clearly not caring that he had already reached the garden.
Dismounting and entering the ground hall, Ed took off his hat.
Rainwater accumulated in the brim poured down and caused the servants in the villa to clean after him. Because Ed didn’t wait for the tenant’s instructions and kept moving, the door attendant hurried in front of him.
“Sir. You have a visitor.”
From behind the door, a dull sound of something or someone rolling on the floor could be heard before it eventually calmed down again.
Nervous thoughts crossed Ed’s mind.
‘Liloa might be the one getting beat up… Although in the eyes of the general public it’s considered absurd to hit a woman, it’s not an unfounded worry at all, because in reality, violence against the opposite sex is still frequent. From Venua’s perspective, Liloa is someone who he “deserves to beat”, he probably did so when they were growing up. Of course, under normal circumstances, Liloa would’ve been able to withstand a few strikes, but her physical state has been terrible lately. Moreover, she likely lost a lot of stamina when she fought against Venua’s royal guards, and given how long it’s been since she last took her medicine, her body will start to struggle…’
Ed rushed into the inner room even before the door was opened for him. He looked around, but there was no sign of Lil’s presence. There was only Venua and other two guards.
‘Judging from the messed up face of this one guard, I guess he’s the one who had been beaten up just now.’
Venua, who was showing his back, turned to Ed after lighting a cigarette.
“So who’s this uninvited guest?”
A long stream of smoke flowed through his lips.
‘Aside from the black hair and blue eyes that are the same as Liloa’s, their eye sockets and facial profile are horrifyingly similar as well.’
The moment they faced each other, Ed was convinced that they were indeed family. The man in front of him was no other than Venua Obernyu. The regent of the principality of Obernyu.
– – – – –
- Right of denying entry: One of the rights of a lord. Not even the Emperor or his officials can enter the lord’s territory without permission or exercise judicial power within the territory.