Chapter 81: Despair
—Once I come back from war……let us get married.
He promised me.
He said he would definitely come back.
For Wilhelm-sama to die in battle was such a lie. It was nothing but a lie.
Because he promised—!
My body moved before I knew it.
Lilia had said the Order made a triumphal return a while ago. Surely, she was mistaken. If the Order was returning, they should definitely be led by Wilhelm-sama.
There should not be anything like dying in battle.
Because Wilhelm-sama was the strongest in Flarekista.
I rushed to the manor’s door and went outside. I was in my indoor clothes, but that did not matter.
Anyway…anyway, I must see Wilhelm-sama as soon as possible.
A triumphal return should mean the war ended in victory. Then, there was no need to think about it. Because it was generally impossible to win the war while Wilhelm-sama, their commander, died in battle.
He should have kept his promise.
That promise to marry me—.
「Ojou-sama! Please wait! 」
Natalia seemed to be closely following behind me.
But, I am sorry. I could not stop.
I had been waiting and waiting for Wilhelm-sama’s return.
I ran and ran towards the Order’s garrison. A huge crowd of spectators was around, probably there to greet the knights on their triumphal return. At any rate, I ran and squeezed through that crowd. Only at this moment was I glad to be small.
Waaaah~ cheers accompanied the triumphant return of the Order—and at the lead…
Wilhelm-sama was…not there.
The one leading was Vice-captain Victor. Following behind were those present in my lecture, like Battalion Commanders Alexander and Gazette, and Officer Kruger. Even the medical knight Julius was there.
Only the one who should have led the group—Wilhelm-sama, was not there.
I…did not understand.
Why was Wilhelm-sama, the knight captain, not leading the group?
「O-Ojou-sama! Sigh……thank goodness」
「He is…not there……」
He was not there.
Vice-captain Victor passed by in front of me. I could see the faces of everyone on horseback, but the infantrymen were hidden by the crowd.
It was unlikely for Wilhelm-sama, the knight captain, to not be mounted on a horse. In other words, he was always in a position where I could see.
And yet, he was not there.
「Wilhelm-sama is……not there……」
「C-Calm down, please……」
「He is not there! He is not anywhere! 」
Why is that?
Why is that, Wilhelm-sama?!
Because of my loud voice, everyone around me looked at me.
But I did not care.
Vice-captain Victor raised his head at the sound of my voice. Our eyes met. What kind of expression did I have right then?
Towards that kind of me…
Vice-captain Victor lowered his gaze in apology.
I could not believe it.
I did not want to believe it.
I thought it was a complete lie.
I believed it was a complete lie.
Why is it, Vice-captain Victor?
Despite coming home victorious, you are that low-spirited?
「But! Wilhelm-sama is not anywhere! Where are you! Wilhelm-samaa! 」
「O-Ojou-sama! Not too loud……! 」
I desperately called.
But no voice answered.
I could not see his big body, his white hair, and his beard.
Neither here nor there, Wilhelm-sama was nowhere in sight—.
「Oi, Carol! 」
「You, what a loud voice you got! 」
So it was not Wilhelm-sama.
It was Zack who was there. It seemed Zack was able to come back alive.
My elder brother was behind him, too. Thank goodness, he made it back.
「Zack! Elder brother! What about Wilhelm-sama?! Where is Wilhelm-sama?! 」
It was as though they were being asked a question which was hard to answer.
Why were they looking so reluctant?
They could tell me.
Did he fall a bit behind their triumphal procession?
Did he have something to do, and so could not be here?
Was he actually leading from the rear?
It was all right to tell me—.
「The captain……died in battle」
「A lie! 」
「It’s not a lie! Carol! Calm down! 」
「Such a thing! Is a complete lie! 」
「Aah, jeez! Come over this way for now! We’re standing out too much here! 」
Zack pulled the back of my collar and got us out of the crowd.
I was brought like that to an alley with my brother and Natalia.
Along the way though, people threw questioning looks as they watched me clamoring.
「Carol……have you calmed down a little? 」
I sat down on the ground with a plop.
I stared and stared at the figures of the knights of the Order on their return. The triumphal procession concluded with the end of their line.
Even then, Wilhelm-sama was not there.
「Why…why is that……」
「The captain died in battle. That is all I have heard」
「I do not know. The vice-captain and the battalion commanders might know, but that is all we have heard」
Wilhelm-sama…died in battle.
Even though I believed it was a complete lie.
Even though I believed he would definitely come back.
I waited and waited.
I just kept waiting for him to come back.
I knew; it was the truth.
My tears spilled out, and it did not stop.
How…how could you die in battle, Wilhelm-sama?
Did you not want to marry me?
Did you not promise me you would definitely come back—?!
「Wilhelm-samaaa!! Aaaaah! 」
My brother and Zack, who had mournful expressions, did not stop me from crying.
They just watched my overflowing tears, my wailing, and my cries of sorrow.
Wilhelm-sama would never come back—.
I…Carol Ambrose, sixteen years old…
…saw my world lose its colors.