I’m Troubled That My Fiance’s A Villain – Prenuptial Travel Logs – Episode 04

It was very sudden.

The irregular sound of hooves came from behind.

The carriage began to shake even more as it picked up speed.

Riding on the canopied wagon*, I immediately looked outside the wagon, but because of the terrible shaking, I couldn’t recover my balance.

“What’s going o—! Kyaa!”

I asked for an explanation from the only other passenger, Lizia, but accidentally bit my tongue because of the violent shaking.

The trunks to the side that held our clothes jumped as well, and because of that, rattled on the floor of the wagon.

I could hear the mysterious sound of hooves grow louder compared to earlier. They were getting close.

“Elmenhilde-san, are you okay!?”

“Y-yes…!”

Even Lizia herself was desperately gripping onto the floor so she wouldn’t slide while worrying about me. I wanted to tell her that I was fine, but I couldn’t speak properly and only managed to give a simple reply.

There’s no doubt that the wagon we’re on right now is being chased by someone.

Pursuers? No, there’s also the possibility that it’s thieves. There’s no difference either way, both were still unpleasant.

However, there was nothing we could do inside the wagon, and as we obstinately clung to the floor, the violent shaking began to settle little by little for some reason.

But the signs of the pursuers didn’t disappear at all. Despite that, the wagon pulled to a complete stop.

What does this mean? Do we not have to run away?

The sound of my heartbeat reverberated in my ear, like an alarm, and my hand that was grasping the floor of the wagon started shaking on its own. Which was embarrassing, so I pressed both my hands around my stomach.

With her hair disheveled, Lizia asked me if I was injured. She might notice my shaking if I spoke, so I nodded and stayed in place.

Not having the spare energy to notice my lie, she quietly pushed aside the curtain at the front of the wagon, flustered, and spoke to Bernhardt who sat on the coachman’s seat.

“What’s wrong?”

“Path’s blocked.”

“How many?”

“Two in front, two in the back.”

Despite being surrounded, their whispering was calm and made me, who was frightened to death, feel like I was the only weird one.

Before long, the shaking of my hands settled, and I heard a voice that wasn’t Bernhardt’s.

“Sorry for scaring you. Might be a little rude of me, but what’s inside your wagon?”

The curtains were in the way, so it was slightly hard to hear the murmuring, and I strained my ears. It’s probably one of the assailants, but he talked in a surprisingly polite and less barbaric tone.

“N-nothing since I’m coming back from delivering ingredients to the Marquis’ estate…”

Suddenly changing from his earlier calm way of speaking, Bernhardt answered in a frail manner. Even the majestic him can perform at a time like this despite being taken aback for a moment.

If someone had told me that the voice, the coachman, wasn’t Bern but a frail, young man, even I would agree.

“The truth is that we’re looking for someone, but will you let us look through your wagon to make sure?”

Suddenly, my shoulder flinched, and my heart noticeably pounded. From behind, I could hear sounds of ‘Go, go’ despite the rain falling heavily.

There’s no doubt about it.

They’re not robbers, that man hired pursuers in order to look for me.

“Don’t let Elmenhilde go out. I’ll take care of this real quick.”

“You can’t kill them, okay?”

“…I know.”

With just a short exchange of whispers between them, they seemed to have come to a full understanding, but for me, I didn’t know what they were talking about.

The feeling of wanting to ask them what they planned on doing firmly weighed on me, and with as much as I could hear from my surroundings, I concentrated in order to gather information.

“What’s wrong? Did something inconvenient happen?”

Not getting an immediate reply, the man began to doubt, and his way of speaking echoed with blame in it.

“That’s not it…”

Bernhardt descended from the coachman’s seat, and the shaking that came with it wrapped the wagon in tension.

But even though Bernhardt said that he’ll take care of it, I wonder what he plans on doing.

…Don’t tell me he’s going to easily hand me over to them?

That thought went through my mind, and I broke into a cold sweat. That’s right, there’s no reason for them to help me. Moreover, he probably hates me. He said he was going to take care of it, but he…

I became frightened, and when I turned my gaze towards Lizia, she cautiously took out a long stick-like thing from below the luggage in order to make a sound.

“D-don’t tell me, you plan on fighting them…?”

When I unconsciously asked her that, she made a face as if to say, ‘What’re you saying?’ It’s me who wants to ask you that question.

Come to think of it, it’s awfully quiet outside.

Did he negotiate with them so they could overlook it this time? Or as I thought, he’s planning on handing me over…

My thoughts turned for the worse. But in order to stop them, I immediately stopped my thoughts.

I could hear hoarse screams, and angry voices from beyond the curtains.

“My armmmm!”

“This braaat!”

“Gyaaaaa!”

What!? What’s going on outside? Don’t tell me, Bernhardt…!?

No matter how strong he is, one person going against four — no matter the circumstances, that’s just absurd.

I knew nothing about was going on outside, so I was more worried and scared than I expected. Even just a little bit, I’d like to check up on him just to put my mind to ease. Unconsciously deciding to go outside, I stretched my hand out towards the gap between the curtains hanging over the back entrance.

“Don’t go out!”

Despite Lizia’s voice chasing after me, fear and curiosity won over. Disregarding my restraint, I stretched out my fingers, but at the moment just when I was about to touch the curtains.

“Eh?”

Suddenly, a big arm came out from the dazzling gap in between.

And then that hairy hand gripped my wrist in a vice-like grip.

“Hiii!”

My wrist was grasped with enough strength to be broken, and just like that, I was dragged outside.

Because I was dragged out of the dim inside of the wagon, my eyes became disoriented from the sun’s rays, and as I was confused, my face fell on the ground despite my balance not being off.

“Ughh.”

My hands were in pain, and gravel and pebbles pressed into my face with unpleasant sounds of sand resounding against my clenched teeth. Judging from the sting on my jaw, I might have gotten injured there.

Having fallen on the ground in this position was a first ever since I was born, and after the pain came severe humiliation.

“What…!”

I was trying to raise my upper body in order to glare at the man whose eyes I met, but it seems that wasn’t needed.

My hair was grasped from behind, and as if they were pulling up an object, they violently and forcibly got me to stand up.

A hateful, tearing sound came from my head, and I felt pain, fear, and an unknown fury arise as a scream surged within me.

The man is of a huge build, and because he pulled my head up to his shoulder height, I was made to stand on my toes. Because of that, I couldn’t even struggle as I wanted. I could no longer say anything about being disgraced.

“Nooooooo! Let me go!”

“You’re Elmenhilde, huh!”

“N-no, I’m no…!”

Firmly raising my head upwards, my breathing stopped for a moment, as if my throat was blocked. Before I knew it, tears overflowed down my tattered face.

They came here to catch me, so I wouldn’t be killed. Despite knowing that, my body paled from the coldness he was directing at me with his eyes. My fingertips turned cold, chills and fear went up my back as if a cold hand was tracing it, and when I realized it, I bawled like a kid throwing a tantrum.

“L-let me go! Let me goooooooo!!”

I frantically scratched and pulled his log-like arm with as much resistance as I could, but they had no effect on his thick clothes.

Something warm came from the man looking down on me, half-crazed, and it spread along my face wet from tears down to my chest.

“Ah… Ah…”

Blood.

Looking at him carefully, his forehead was split, gaping open, and blood overflowed and dripped from it.

My limbs shivered and trembled, and if he hadn’t been holding my hair, I would have fallen over.

Unnaturally raising my head, with my mouth agape, no words came out as if my tongue was cut off.

As that happened, something highly viscous dripped, and slipped down towards his cheek, near his nose. Nausea welled within me at the iron-like smell that was somehow mixed with the smell of blood.

It was at this time that I finally realized.

I knew nothing at all.

Up until now, I was under the impression that just myself was okay, with no basis nor definitive proof, as long as I do my best.

That’s why I knew nothing at all. Not the dangers of being exiled or the fear of having your life threatened. Nothing.

I went back to that time.

At Marquis Rietberg’s estate. Standing across from Lizia once more at the parlor, she said this in a somewhat imposing stance.

“That’s why we’ll be going together with you to the port town, Bell, Elmenhilde-san.”

I wonder what she meant by that.

Not understanding a single thing she said, I blinked multiple times.

“Lizzy…”

I was shocked and bewildered when Bernhardt, who was beside Lizia sitting across from me, called her pet name in a slightly miserable-sounding voice.

“We’ll be going to Bell either way, right?”

“But weren’t we going to do that after winter ends?”

“Let’s just change it to before winter fully comes.”

Before winter and after winter are two different things.

The winters of this country was long, with the north and south experiencing long, cold climates, and the northernmost territory, the Wehner territory, is covered in snow for half a year. Or from Bell, if they plan on going south where the tourism is growing, then that would make sense.

“Lizzy…”

Bernhardt once again embarrassingly called out to his fiancée in a miserable voice, and I couldn’t help but be surprised.

It’s because he was neither the him I knew of — the usual absentminded, expressionless one, or when he’s managing the Hidden Student Council, the difficult-to-approach one.

That’s why I couldn’t imagine him deeply loving someone.

I believed the rumors of Lizia being his temporary fiancée.

The only thing I had was power from Count Hausknecht, a descendant of the neighboring country’s Duke, and beauty and popularity. Other than those, I was boring, but they were enough to become his fiancée candidate. Besides, the Duke Brunsmeier was also a part of the Queen Faction. The possibility was high.

Bernhardt was definitely going to love me.

But even if he didn’t love me, I thought that being by his side was good enough.

I love him and dedicating myself to him from the bottom of my heart should be a much happier way of life compared to my mother’s short married life where she wore herself out from being under house arrest.

And when I was about to escape to this country, what crossed my mind weren’t my family, my friends, nor my rank. I just truly wanted to see Bernhardt. Otherwise, because I had nothing with me, I would have to demand from someone else.

With such persistent thoughts, I intruded without even a greeting, and even I was surprised that I took daring actions.

But how did it actually turn out?

Contrary to expectations, his love, tenderness — everything was directed towards her, without a gap for me to even come in through.

How… How wretched.

No, this may be karma. It’s karma for my wretchedness of wanting to steal him away from her if things had gone well, clinging to my own convenient lies without believing the rumors of their intimacy.

Something warm gathered at the corners of my eyes, and with my head hanging in shame, my vision warped slightly.

The thought of us possibly getting exiled together seems foolish right now.

What was I thinking?

When I tried to hold my tears back from spilling, I held my fresh green skirt in a tight grip.

Even though I was running away with all I had, I thought how funny it was that I was wearing my best dress and the futility of it.

“…I get it. I already said this, but my number one priority is Lizzy’s safety.”

“Yes, yes.”

It seems that I was wrapped up in my own world. When I came to, it seems that they had come to a degree of understanding.

It looks like Lizia wears the pants in their relationship. For that Bernhardt to be a yes-man… I don’t know how many times I’ve been surprised already.

“Elmenhilde-san. Are you fine with being together with us until Bell?”

Lizia asked as if she was doing a business transaction.

Of course, my answer was obvious.

“No thank you. I shall be fine on my own.”

Besides, what merit is there for her to escort me til Bell? Rather, from her point of view, she should see that I would steal her fiancé from her. Or is she cooperating with someone and plans to betray me for someone else? Even if that wasn’t the case, she’s too soft-hearted and optimistic.

Lizia aside, Bernhardt won’t be able to abandon me, seeing as I was his subordinate for a time. That’s what I would like to say, but to me, I know he’s more rational and crueler than anyone else, which I couldn’t say was a lie and is what attracted me to him.

“Really?”

Lizia looked at me as if she was looking at a child throw a tantrum.

“What is?”

Feeling that she was looking down on me, I felt slightly offended.

“How do you plan on getting to Bell, Elmenhilde-san? After hiring an escort in the nearby town, do you plan on holding on to such a temporarily hired escort? The public order of the Rietberg territory is okay, but you won’t be able to guarantee the quality of the escort, and besides, if a rumor came about of a well-dressed lady being escorted, your pursuers will find you.”

“That’s…”

“Or will you be disguising as a commoner? I don’t really want to say too much, but I think it’s impossible. That’s cause you don’t know how to ride a hackney coach.”

Even though you don’t know either.

I slipped that in there, but understanding her point, I held my tongue.

She was quite easy to win over yesterday, so I thought she was a woman that liked people, but she’s much more level-headed than I thought.

It’s as she said in the first place, I was aware that I lacked a plan after coming here, and I chewed on my lips.

“Being exiled probably isn’t as easy as you think, Elmenhilde-san.”

“…But that doesn’t mean my safety is guaranteed if I go together with you both.”

“That’s true. But Bern’s way stronger than an escort, so he’s reliable.”

Of course I know that.

Even though he was already in his second year, he boasts of being the best in horse-riding and martial arts, and brought about and lead the Hidden Student Council, said to be a club for the sake of merit. With no other person despising him aside from Prince Edwin, a lot of people respected him. And coincidentally, they also feared him.

“After leaving our place, you might get captured, or you’ll definitely get a bad aftertaste when you find a corpse. Plus you’ll be able to look at Bern’s face until Bell. Wouldn’t that be a good thing for you, Elmenhilde-san?”

Saying that, she smiled as if she’s always been older than me despite being three years younger.

Just on time, we borrowed the wagon that came to report in for the ingredients, and even securing covering the entrance with a cloth, we settled for the neighboring Roman territory for the meantime as I hid inside with Lizia.

When I asked who’ll be driving, she said that Bernhardt will. When I already thought that he was worthy of admiration, I thought that he was first-rate to do something inexcusable such as driving the wagon.

In order to confuse my pursuers, the wagon I should be on would be empty while it heads towards the Royal Capital several hours ahead of us. And we’ll assign several people, one of which will be a maid purposely wearing my dress, to go towards the town on horse.

Even if not all the pursuers head on over there, they’ll at least be dispersed throughout.

The inside of the wagon was dark, and the floor was hard. It’s accurate to say that the ride was close to being the worst.

In contrast to me who sat in the corner, having nowhere else to sit, Lizia made the circumstances better by rummaging for a blanket, spreading it out, and removing the luggage. She smiled as if she was making a secret base, having fun, and no matter how you look at it, you couldn’t see anything else from her aside from optimism.

When I thought, ‘What are you, an optimistic girl that thinks of nothing?’ it immediately brought to mind instead that the atmosphere around her seemed mature, as if she was grown up. How should I put it? It felt vague.

“Why are you so nice to me?”

My behind quickly started hurting, and I laid down the legs I had been hugging, sitting with my legs out to one side as I tried asking her.

“Nice, huh…”

Her ‘hmm’ echoed as if in self-mockery.

“I’m a coward, so I don’t want to hate anyone. Besides, if it was someone else, they’d want others to be nice to them. If you want others to be nice to you, you have to be nice to others.”

After that, she shrewdly raised one corner of her mouth in a sneer.

“Well, it looks like I’m striving for virtue.”

“Virtue…?”

“Ah, you don’t know what virtue means, huh. Uhm, good deeds?”

“That seems rude for some reason.”

“I didn’t want to tell you, Elmenhilde-san! Oh yeah, that’s right. I forgot to tell you, but I won’t go easy on you during the trip.”

“G-go easy?”

“I’ll talk back to you if you say something rude, and if you do something weird to Bern, I’ll cut up your drills.”

It would be difficult of me to be polite to Lizia, enough to cut me up, but I wonder what she means by drills.

I have no such mechanical parts anywhere on my body. Correction, I shouldn’t.

“That’s why Elmenhilde-san, you don’t have to hold back either.”

Even if I don’t, I have to be careful.

Out of respect for quarreling with her at our first meeting, I don’t know how I should act around her. Being kind is too much for me.

Ahh, seriously, what am I doing?

I unconsciously scratched the tip of my toes against the floor.

And then that suddenly happened.


*Put it as canopied wagon, but they’re talking about a conestoga wagon.

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