12 Years Old: Chapter 54 - The Lie and Genuine Sympathy
First published on Ainushi
Kriz: 29 on the 29th. What better way to celebrate my birthday by releasing a chapter from my favorite shoujo novel. \o/ Have a wonderful Monday, guys~ Enjoy!
Being locked up in a room far away from the earl's son, my first mission came to a close. As I predicted, they couldn't bring themselves to do anything outrageous to a pale-faced, trembling young girl. They didn't even restrain me.
My guards were the man and woman from earlier, but rather than guarding me, they were here to comfort me.
They gave me warm tea and a jacket to wear. Completely unlike the earl's son, they were quite courteous. Well, this was really all that they could do for a girl devastated by the sexual assault she had faced.
Seated on the sofa, I held onto my knees and thighs with my head hung so low that the other two weren't able to start a conversation or fuss over me. However, I could feel their feelings of concern for me.
As I kept my head buried between my knees, I was hypothesizing the following events and frantically trying to think of ways to cope with them.
First, the goal of protecting my virtue was a success. Truthfully, I ought to have done something before he had touched me and hurt myself….. but since nothing happened, it worked out.
My next top priority is to get to Ruby. There's nothing to stop me from resisting if I had been taken alone, but I can't make a move when Ruby's being held hostage. Ruby was not just a hostage used against Father, but against me as well.
Therefore, it is imperative that I rescue my treasured Ruby. Even if I'm unable to rescue him, so long as I can remain by his side, I can handle almost anything.
The final stroke would be if I risked my life until the bitter end to protect Ruby. Father flipping out afterwards wouldn't just be a figure of speech; he would reduce them to ashes. So long as he's alive, there's a chance for us to prevail.
However, it'll be better if I avoid taking such measures with Father. Given that help is on the way, it would be troublesome to deal with should anything were to occur.
When it comes to this, I will have to break out of this current stalemate all on my own.
….. Anyway, there's no chance of me winning unless I meet up with Ruby. It would be feasible if I were to run away alone, but if I do, I would be sacrificing Ruby. That is the only thing that I want to avoid.
And once I meet up with him, depending on the circumstances, I will handle it differently. The ideal situation is that Ruby isn't beside the abbott. Then, I could go out with full force to rescue Ruby.
On the contrary, the worst case scenario would be if Father were to confront the abbott with Ruby still taken as a hostage. In this instance, I would also be his hostage. My strength isn't on par with the abbott's yet, plus there wouldn't be much room for me to strike and eliminate him. I did devise some meagre countermeasures, but whether they'll go smoothly is another thing altogether.
And even then, if I were to use all of my sorcery to destroy him without minding the harm I inflict on my surrounding….. Ruby would get mixed up in it, so I can't do that.
This is extremely difficult. The conditions to succeed were limited.
However, I won't know until I give it a go. I've caused trouble for Father by getting kidnapped this easily. I have got to do something.
Coming to a conclusion and my purpose resolved, I slowly raised my head. My eyes were sore from crying too much. I kind of knew my eyes were swollen from rubbing them briskly as well.
I sniffed and threw a glance at the guards. Was my tear-stricken face difficult to look at? The both of them had uneasy expressions on their faces. It was likely that they were the type that were easily filled with compassion.
「Where is….. Ruby? My brother, his body is weak….. I'm sure he misses me」
「….. Your brother is being held somewhere else right now. However, please be at ease. We have no intentions of harming him. Your brother is safe」
Perhaps he pitied me for the gaze I held was mingled with panic and anxiety. The man informed me with a soft voice while gently brushing the top of my head.
*fwaah* The sensation made my blood run cold.
When I came to, I had stretched out my hands to repel him.
The man's eyes widened in astonishment at my blunt rejection. I, too, was surprised…..
I didn't mean to reject him consciously. However, something made me feel unpleasant. I didn't want to be touched.
Haha….. I thought I was okay but….. I knew it, I was terrified. It's unneeded. I'm already safe and at ease! Yet at a time like this!? The repugnance, anxiety, and terror gradually intensified, chilling me to the bone.
「….. No, don't touch me..…」
A single luminescent tear spilled as I blinked my eyes. Even though I didn't intend to cry, my tears started falling one after another.
Once the first drop fell, the rest gushed out ceaselessly.
「No, stop..… Father, Mother, Gilles, Ruby……」
I want to see them. I want to return to my peace and happiness.
My world was peaceful. Why did something like this have to happen? I'm trying. I'm trying really hard but….. I don't get why I have to do all this. Return my happiness to me. I want to meet them, I want to see everyone.
The man looked extremely uncomfortable as I sobbed. He didn't touch me again, for which I was very grateful for.
「Alright. Lizbeth-jou….. do you want to meet your brother?」
Of course, I want to see him.
It is the reason why I'm upset, the reason why I had to endure that earl's son's vile advances. I will get Ruby back and we'll go to Father for his protection.
「Then I'll take you to him. Either way, you are to be under the supervision of the abbott. You'll find your brother there」
Perhaps he saw the answer in my gaze. The man gloomily nodded his head and exchanged looks with the woman. The woman bowed her head. She drew closer towards me, crouched, and peered into my countenance.
Her face that was still brimming with youthfulness had clear traces of guilt across it.
「….. I'm sorry that you're caught up in our affairs….. But we can't retreat…. 」
I bit my lips, unsure of what I should say to her as she wiped my tears away.
….. These people and I, everyone was prioritizing their own circumstances. It's natural. The pursuit of happiness is not something small for anyone.
I couldn't look at the apologetic pair in the eyes. I simply hung my head, drops of tears still dripping down my cheeks.
The room they brought me to was the room in which my beloved younger brother was.
Ruby was lying limplessly on the floor, perhaps from exhaustion. Unable to withstand it, I rushed over and hugged him. It was then that Ruby became aware of me. He sluggishly moved to look at me.
「Yes, it's me」
He was different from me; he was just worn out. There were no flesh wounds on him. For a hostage, Ruby wasn't mistreated in anyway unlike how the earl's son treated me. That alone, I'm truly grateful for.
I mean, it's only been a few hours since we were apart, but it felt like a lifetime. My sense of time was probably amiss due to my anxiety, though.
Swirling in my mind were thoughts of what would happen if he was injured or if something had happened to him….. But now, I could finally set aside those worries.
Seeing that he was safe immediately made me feel relieved, causing me to tear up again. My tears cascaded down like grains of sand.
The insides of my nose were numb and swollen whereas the inner corners of my eyes were burning hot. The overwhelming heat in my eyelids caused the hot tears to roll down on their own.
「W, what's wrong, One-chan!? Ah, you're bleeding! Does it hurt? Who did it!?」
Usually, it was rare for me to cry in front of anyone, much less Ruby, so he was in a complete panic. I have a feeling that this was probably the first time I've cried in front of him.
As I rested my chin against Ruby's shoulders whilst I sobbed, Ruby nervously rocked my body lightly.
Yet my tears wouldn't stop, so Ruby hugged me tightly and scowled at the duo that were behind me.
My brother would always smile gently, but just this once, his naked animosity was visible to all.
Compared to Gilles or Father, it was adorable, but even so, his eyebrows were raised with a threatening expression dangling on his face. Though it was clumsily done, I could sense his desire to protect me.
「I won't forgive the people who hurt you, One-chan!」
With a squeeze, Ruby gave off an open-hostile expression like a cat with its fur standing on end as his hands wrapped around my back. In order to comfort him, I rubbed his back and, as I did, I gradually settled down too.
I am grateful that Ruby was mad on my behalf, but the truth is, I inflicted those wounds upon myself…..
There was no way I could admit it; it was a secret so I kept quiet. I did plan, however, to only tell him that they weren't the people who hurt me.
「Ruby, these people led me to you」
「….. They didn't hurt you?」
「They may be companions of the person who hurt me, but they brought me here」
"Hence why I said they aren't bad people", I wiped my tears away while I used the other hand to pat his back. It helped a little as his gaze softened with feelings of gratitude. Nevertheless, he was still on guard.
….. As his sister, I'm delighted that my brother is concerned for me. I never expected that the day would come when I would be protected by Ruby….. Though there was still a long, long ways to go.
On one hand, I'm glad that my brother is becoming a man little-by-little, but it's mortifying that I'm being protected by a frail child. I should be protecting him.
Not wanting to let my brother see my deplorable state, I forcibly wiped the rest of my tears away and showed Ruby a smile. My eyelids were still burning hot, but I didn't want to worry Ruby.
「So you're finally here…..」
When I was soothing Ruby who had yet to completely erase his animosity, a hoarse, sullen voice greeted me.
That peculiarly hoarse voice sounded so familiar that I was able to distinguish the owner of it with certainty without seeing his figure. To come across this disagreeable man at such a time like this….. the worst turn of events, the most bothersome course of action I had derived will have to be taken.
Ruby also felt intimidated from behind me; his body jumped with a start and trembled.
Turning away from Ruby's back, I saw the exact opposite of a good natured old-man. A very stern elder was standing there.
That sly old fox. I don't know where he got that haughty stern look from, but it penetrated me. His pupils that were colored with same sheen of gold like Cecil-kun's flitted with visible disgust.
「Come. We'll meet your Father」
There was no way I could take those words at face value. After all, he was taking us along as his hostages.
The couple that brought me over helped us on our feet. They helped Ruby first before touching me.
….. This was where it begins. No matter what it takes, I have to escape from this man and get to a safe zone. I have caused a lot of unnecessary trouble and worry for Father, so I can't afford to make it even worse for him.
「Ruby, it's alright. This time, Onee-chan will protect you..…」
All the same, Ruby had a gloomy expression, frightened by the scowl of that old man. "Good boy, good boy," I stroked his head and consoled him whilst pretending to ignore Abbott Georg as he stared stoically at us. Concealed from the couple beside him, his eyes held hatred and resolution.
I will escape with Ruby….. absolutely.