~ Chapter 112: Shanteya and Keltaru (Part 2) ~
I opened my eyes to look at him.
“What do you mean?” he asked knitting his brow.
Of course you don't understand... I thought and then I began to explain “When I was ten, I was kidnapped and raped by an assassin from the Phantom Rage guild. He placed a curse on my body so that if I ever dared to return or contact my family again, they would be killed by the curse. I was then trained by them and sent out to kill for them far away on Allasn and Thorya continents until I arrived at Fellyore Academy, and Illsy saved me from that fate. It took me a lot longer to heal my heart and mind, but he was there and I had my friends and new family to help me out.” I said and took a look at Ayuseya, who was driving while keeping her eyes on the road.
Keltaru didn't say anything, he just looked at me with his knitted brow and clenched fist. Maybe he was trying to understand what I went through, but I highly doubted he could even imagine half of it.
“Then do you know what happened... after you were kidnapped?” he asked.
“No.” I shook my head. “I really couldn't either... At that time, they made me unable to speak. I had a horrible wound on my neck. They also took away my ability to conceive, but Illsy fixed all of that.” I showed them a small smile.
“I see... Well, after you were presumed dead, from what mother told me... grandmother and grandfather fell in a heavy depression. During this time, a nearby Baron family took advantage of their state of weakness and stole some of our land and spread bad rumors about our family. My father's family helped grandfather with this problem and managed to prove to the people that the rumors were false. The stolen land, however, wasn't retrieved.” he explained.
“What about the King?” I asked.
Keltaru shook his head “They made an appeal, but the King revoked it stating that it was their responsibility to protect their lands and make sure they wouldn't be invaded by anyone. As punishment for this, the King gave even more of our land to the Baron family, claiming that if we would have been in a state of war, we would have lost more than just a piece of land.”
“That sounds a bit too harsh. Is it possible the King was manipulated from behind the scenes?” asked Ayuseya without taking her eyes off the road.
“Maybe, but even if they would have had a way to prove it was so and even if they did, what could they do about it? The King's words are absolute.” Keltaru said.
“What happened next?” I asked.
“They returned to the Dowesyl Estate and managed the land that they still possessed. Not long afterwards, mother was born. Then, when she was six, an assassin attacked the estate and nearly killed grandmother. The attacker was killed by grandfather, but grandmother was in a serious state. I was told that she didn't wake up for several days and then was forced to stay in bed for a few years in order to recover. What was worse was the fact that she lost her ability to conceive.” Keltaru said.
“Did they find out who the assassin was?” I asked.
“No...” he shook his head.
“No markings on him, anything?” I asked.
“He had a lot of scars, and I remember father telling me that he had a long cut on his left arm...”
“From the shoulder to the elbow?” I asked.
“Yes. How did you know?” he asked me surprised.
“That man was one of Phantom Rage's assassins. I believe his purpose wasn't to kill mother but to poison her and steal her ability to conceive. It's one of the services offered by this group to their customers. As for how I know him, he was the one who thought me how to use the dagger.” I explained.
“You never found out whom he attacked?” Keltaru asked.
“No. Missions are kept a secret. It's an iron rule for them, but the original contract should still be in the Guild Master's office. He keeps there even those from more than 1000 years ago.” I explained.
“Maybe we should pay him a visit then?” Ayuseya suggested.
“No... That would be a foolish thing to do. Besides, I don't want to have anything to do with their group. If I ever return there, it will be to obliterate them all.” I declared in cold blood.
After a long moment of silence and thinking to himself, Keltaru said with a soft smile on his lips “Then, I guess this really makes you my aunt?”
He was finally beginning to accept it.
“Yes.” I nodded. “When the time is right, I will visit my parents again, and maybe I'll bring their grandchild along to meet them.” I said as I gently rubbed my swollen belly.
“That would be wonderful... I will tell them when I return.” he showed me a warm smile.
“This also means that the Dowesyl Family isn't a goner anymore.” Soleya said.
“What do you mean?” I asked knitting my brow.
“Well... do you know why Keltaru was sent to Teslov?” she asked.
“Ayuseya told me it was related to an old treaty before Teslov became a vassal state of Paramanium. From what I understand, every five years, the youngest child of a noble family from the Mondravia Kingdom is sent to serve as a servant for the Pleyades royal family in Teslov. In the past, they saw it as being held hostage in case Mondravia tried to rebel, but recently it's being seen as an opportunity to learn the skills one would need to support royalty and those who return are usually hired by the royal family there.” I said what I understood of this matter.
In other words, rather than a hostage situation, it was more along the lines of going to study abroad.
“Yes, that is correct. In Mondravia they choose who to go through a rotation system. That year was the Dowesyl family's turn, and since I was the only child in the family, I was the one sent to serve as Mistress Ayuseya's butler.” Keltaru explained.
“He worked very hard and if things would have proceeded normally, he would have been returned to Mondravia Kingdom three years ago.” Ayuseya said, but she didn't show any sign of guilt or remorse for how things turned out in the end.
Normally, one would be eager to point their finger at her and claim that if she never ran away from Dankyun, the fates of her servants would have turned out like this. All those who did this were nothing but ignorant fools who couldn't understand what a great woman the current Ayuseya was.
“I understand... Then what do you think happened to our family given the current situation?” I asked.
“The treaty is just a formality. The Council of Elders wouldn't use it in order to pick a fight with Mondravia, so what happened was that they continued matters as though nothing happened. In regard to Keltaru, they probably sent a report claiming that he either died or was killed for treason and requested the next child to be sent as per usual. I believe they most likely declared him missing rather than dead. If it's the latter, there's a chance the Dowesyl family would ask for the body, so they wouldn't do it, but you never know with those old geezers.” explained Ayuseya.
“Does this mean that our family is in danger of becoming fallen nobles?” I asked.
“Yes.” Ayuseya replied with a calm nod “Unless Keltaru has a younger sibling even he is not aware of.” she pointed out.
“It's possible. I've been away from home a long time.” he nodded.
“In that case, it would be best if you don't waste too much time on this continent.” I pointed out.
“No, I want to try living as an adventurer and raise my rank. If I can't even do this for a year or so, then even if I return, they won't accept me. No, I'll be the one who will be ashamed at my uselessness...” Keltaru said with a sigh.
He is a man after all. He has his own pride, and he wants to have something to show upon his return... Becoming a slave can't be considered an achievement... I thought.
“But you'll at least bring them some good news.” I placed my hand on his shoulder and showed him a gentle smile “You'll tell them you met your aunt whom they thought to be dead, and you'll also let them know that I'm expecting a child this year.” I told him.
Keltaru looked into my eyes and nodded.
I didn't know how my family was going to react, but at the very least I knew that I was going to meet them sometime in the future.
While Ayuseya drove us towards Argos, I continued to talk with Keltaru. I had him tell me about his life in Mondravia and about my parents and younger sister. I didn't know if they wanted to know about me, but just in case, I wrote a few letters for them, which I hoped Keltaru would deliver for me.
Maybe in a few years, after my children were old enough not to need me around all the time, I would pay them a visit. Of course, there was also a matter if the Illsy's Magic Academy was finished as well. I wasn't in a hurry just yet.
[Tamara's point of view]
“We're finally here, nya~!” I said as I jumped in the bed.
I hoped it was cozy like Illsy's but I almost broke a tooth in the hard straw bedding.
“Bah! This is not nice!” I complained and raised my claws up, wanting to shred it in pieces.
“Wait a second! I'm not paying for that bed!” Nanya jumped and grabbed my hand.
“B-But it's hard... nya...” I complained flattening my ears and looking at her with a sad face.
Mortals always fall for the sad kitty tricky.
“Don't worry, I have some of Illsy's in my Inner Mind. We'll exchange the hard beds for those.” she told me with a smile.
“I love you!” I jumped in her arms and gave her a smooch on the lips.
Nanya was in her human disguise right now, but it didn't really work on me. If I wanted to, I could still see her true form. The demoness was far cuter and beautiful than this fake blue-eyed blonde noble woman she was portraying. Well, it was her disguise, so I didn't mind.
That night, I went to the inn's kitchen and joined old man Argos in cooking the meal for the guests. I had fun, and he looked funny when he laughed. The big mustache on his face left me wondering a couple of times about whether or not it was just a sleeping weasel or maybe a ferret?
The following day, Nanya and I visited the market. I bought EVERYTHING I could find. We literally emptied the stalls. We had enough money and nothing rotted in Nanya's Inner Mind.
Afterwards, we headed to the slave merchants. Those nasty fellows wanted to buy me, but I hissed back and showed my claws. If they got close, I would turn them into minced meat!
Nanya bought from those guys eight new slaves. Four of them were children of slaves who never knew what it was like to be free. The other four were all adults over 20 years old, former adventurers who ended up selling themselves into slavery because of their gathered debts. I think two of them were love-struck by Nanya.
With our business done, we headed out of Nasat. I wasn't one who looked around at the architecture or who cared for the local history. All I wanted was to return to Illsy's side and eat some fish!
While Nanya was paying the fees at the gate for the two of us and the slaves, I noticed something at my feet. It was a small white paper.
This sort of thing isn't supposed to exist in this world... I thought as I noticed the rather high quality of the paper.
When I opened it, I read the following message: 'Bad kitty. You aren't supposed to be there.'
The message glowed in divine energy and sent a shiver down my spine.
You're not in the position to tell me what to do... I thought as I crumpled the paper in my hand and then erased it from existence.
“Tamara! Let's go!” Nanya called out.
“Coming, nya~!” I said with a smile as I ran after her.
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