Flame Kingdom – 20.2


“… Fuuuh.”

“Thank you for your hard work, Erika-sama.”

“Thank you, Emily.”

After she went back to her office room, I served some tea for her. Despite looking tired, Erika-sama drinks the tea while having a smile on her face.

“As expected, that was really tiring…”

“Please don’t overdo yourself…”

Erika-sama, who smiled a little while ago now dropped her head…

“Still… With this, we could improve the wheat price a lot…”

In response to her words, I nodded my head.

Terra relies nearly all of its wheat consumption on import from Baden territory. Although that was an apparent fate for land where crops could not grow, the prices were something that the seller decided… Especially when the seller held monopoly…

“… I guess it was all thanks to Maria.”

“Truly…”

It was Maria who told them that the price of wheat was unreasonably high compared to the market price due to pressure from Baden.

“… The way Erika-sama turned the table around, that was splendid…”

“I do not think that is true… I think anyone could do that if the opportunity arises…”

“Erika-sama is too humble…”

One day, Maria offered to sell wheat half the price of the current price by saying ‘why not buy wheat from us, I will sell them half the price now…’
However, doubting Maria, Erika-sama replied to Maria with ‘I will think about it’ and decided to sent letter to Earl Baden, and told him she didn’t want to buy wheat from him anymore, she had thought worst-case scenario, she could just purchase wheat from Maria. Although it was a sudden decision, it was indeed keen insight.

“Since there is no one to sell to, we could use the advantage of being a buyer. That’s why it was not a really amazing thing…”

Having said that, she began to drink her tea once more… While looking through the document in her hand.

“Now then, we still have a lot of work you know? Emily, about the next case— Huh? What’s wrong?”

Erika-sama looked at me with a puzzled expression. To think she said ‘what’s wrong?’, that was my line…

“… What happened?”

“About what?”

“About the recent Erika-sama…”

Unlike the other foolish feudal lords, Erika-sama had been working harder than anyone since she had become the Duke of Terra. However…

“What do you mean by that?”

“It is as if something has driven Erika-sama to work harder… Doing it like that will only harm Erika-sama health… Please take care of yourself a bit more?”

“Is that so? I myself didn’t think like that—…”

“Lies…”

I’ve been serving Erika-sama since the time she was born. There was no way for me to not notice the change in Erika-sama behavior…

“Lies, you said… Emily…”

“I’m worried, Erika-sama…”

Certainly, Kota had achieved unimaginable development for Terra. However, that didn’t mean Erika-sama value was lower…

” The Duke of Terra is you, Erika-sama. If Erika-sama continues to work like this, one day, you would break your body…”

The Duke, this territory ‘face’ was only Erika-sama alone…

“… The Duke of Terra, eh?”

Saying that Erika-sama looked at me with a slightly sad expression. Erika-sama?, I called to her in confusion…

“Really… I was nothing more than a Duke in name only…”

“To say that—…”

I was about to say something but then stopped…

“I want to catch up, you know?”

“…Want to catch up?”

“With Kota…”

After saying his name, she sighed…

“… It’s very frustrating, you know?”

“… I guess I can understand…”

Even if she looked like this, it might be rude for me to say that, but it was indeed Erika-sama nature that she hates losing… Regardless who she was against, she hates the thought that she loses to someone… But, even so, that was part of her likable personality…

“He, Kota… The Demon Lord is always walking one step or two steps ahead of me… He is walking in the world I cannot see, the world I do not know, and the world I cannot even think about…”

While at the same time, doing all of that, alone. She said…

“… I’m frustrated, I’m sad… Because this is Rondo De Terra, it is my territory, you know? However, everything is decided and depends on things that I do not know… Won’t you feel frustrated if you’re on my place?”

“…”

“That’s why… I do not want to lose…”

After saying that, she laughed…

“… I’m sorry, Emily. That’s all, was just my excuse…”

“Excuse?”

“That’s right. It is true that I do not want to lose… But then… Deep down, I just want to be acknowledged by Kota…”

“… Wanted to be acknowledged, is it?”

‘That’s right,’ she nodded…

“I want to stand, next to that person… I don’t want to be protected all the time, and stand behind him. I also want to fight on the front…

No, I guess… Who is more superior between us, it is not essential… I just want us to line up next to each other…”

Saying that she smiled…

“…However, even now, I still could not see that I’ve caught up with him… Even now, I just sit in this place a place that Kota had made for me… I don’t want it like that you know? I don’t want to end up as someone with ‘no use’… I don’t want him to think of me as an unnecessary person… That’s why I won’t stop… I have to keep walking…”

‘No matter how long it takes, even if I could not catch up with him, I will keep walking,’ she said…

“… I have no time to spare to take care of myself… Even if people speak ill of me like I am a fiend or demon, I will still keep moving forward… Even if I have to walk smeared with the mud, or looking unsightly, I don’t care…”

“… I don’t think that are words that a noble should say, though?”

“I guess so… But, I’m fine with that. When walking toward a certain goal, anyone would not mind getting smeared with dirt…”

… Even though I was a woman, looking at her saying that, I was fascinated…

“That’s why I will definitely catch up with Kota. And one day, I want him to say to me, ‘I am glad that you were there’ or ‘I am counting on you’….”

Looking at her smile, if there were a man right now, he would definitely fell in love with her…

“… Do you yearn for Kota-sama?”

“… Hah?”

When saying that, the ‘woman’ part inside of me ache a little…

“W-What are you saying, Emily! As I said, toward Kota, I don’t have that kind of—…”

“I’m serious, Erika-sama…”

“Even if you said that! I just, that’s right. I just feel curious about him!”

Where did the majestic figure she had just a while ago had gone to… Erika-sama was pouting with her cheek dyed in red. Fumu…

“… Are you sure? This is about Erika-sama companion, you know? It will be a very important matter for the Duke household…”

“Well… I guess there’s that…”

“If that is indeed the case, then the quality of Erika-sama partner would decide the future of this Terra, see? It might be bad for me to say this, but… I’m worried that you might get taken by some stupid second or third son from somewhere…”

“…”

“Therefore, I’m not exaggerating when I said that the matter about Erika-sama companion is one of the most important matters that would decide the future of Terra…”

“… That is definitely exaggeration…”

Erika-sama then sighed, it was the biggest sigh today…

“… About that… I-I’m not entirely sure yet…”

“… Why?”

“Emm…When you look at K-Kota, there is the time when you think ‘ah, he’s cool’… right?”

“Indeed…”

“But, but! Emm… S-Since we’ve been living together with K-Kota… G-Getting married with him or giving b-birth to his child, I can’t really imagine that! y-you, see…”

Saying those words while fumbling, Erika-sama cheeks were dyed in red… I meant no disrespect, but let me say it… Are you a little maiden?!…

“… I see…”

“A-Anyway! Emm, it is not like I don’t want to live together with him forever! I-If I have to say it, I-I would be happy if we could stay together f-forever… Emm about that…”

… Let me say it once more… Are you a little maiden from somewhere?! Or are you actually a child?

“… I think for someone who is already past 20 years old, that kind of thought is a bit…”

“I-I cannot help it okay?! A-After all, I-I’ve never fallen in l-love before…”

True to that, she was the second line to the throne, and Erika-sama was usually the one who receives love, start from the current Queen, the previous King, and Queens… During the time she was still a princess, there was fear that some people might use her for some agenda, and since the time she was handed the rank of Duke, the invitation for the social party had decreased a lot… When that all was put into consideration, it could not be helped that she was terrible at dealing with the thing called love…

“… Well, it is okay to learn that little by little…”

“… Oho, some big words coming from you, isn’t it?”

“I am a maid, but in the end, I am older than Erika-sama after all…”

If it was just some fleeting love, I did have some experience. Well… I don’t have the experience of the ‘real’ one, but I cannot deny that I was a young woman with a lot of superficial knowledge about sex…

“… Then, what about Emily?”

“About what?”

“About Kota, of course…”

“I guess I was only at the level of ‘curiosity’?”

“Ugh! That is unfair! I told you everything, and you dodged my question!”

Stare, Erika-sama continue to glare at me. Erika-sama? I don’t think that kind of expression was befitting for a noble, you know?

“A-Anyway! T-This is important…”

“Why is that?”

“U-Umm, yeah… For example, w-what if, what if Emily also l-love Kota?”

“… Ah…”

Meaning she was worried that some love-hate drama might happen between us, was it?

“Please don’t worry Erika-sama…”

prick

“What do you meant?”

PrickPrick*…

“If Erika-sama truly in love with Kota-sama, then, of course, I would back down…”

PrickPrick*Prick, the pain in my chest gradually grew bigger…

“… Are you seriously saying that?”

“For the sake of Terra development, we do not need the unnecessary love-hate drama…”

To begin with, Erika-sama and I have a different position… Kota-sama as well, there was no way for him to choose someone like me who was only a maid.

“I will tell you my standpoint, Emily… After all, you as well, you love him, don’t you?”

“… Yes, that is right…”

No need for denial. A woman would always be attracted to a strong man. In the case of Kota-sama, he was someone that people even called him the Demon Lord…

“… I… I want to be with Kota-sama…”

I would surely be happy, being held in his arms.

I am sure that it would be lovely when I woke up, finding him next to me.

The scenery I saw beside him… I am sure it would be an incredible scenery…

“… I do love him.”

But… I could still pull out…

My love had yet to fully bloomed… Now was the chance for me to let this love to bloom or rot…

… If that was the case, then let it rot…

It was outrageous for me to chase the man that my beloved lord also loved… I should just immediately throw this feeling away and forget about it. If now, I could still do it…

“…”

“…”

“… Please don’t go around and give up on your own like that?”

Then a moment of silence…

“… Erika-sama?”

“I understand your thought… Thank you, but let me return it, Emily…”

“… What?”

“I love Kota. Imagining you standing beside him, smiling with him… I felt pain in my chest, I felt like I was being crushed… Surely, that is because I love that man, Kota Matsushiro…”

Wanted to be recognized.

Wanted to be needed by him.

Wanted to give everything to him.

Wanted to see him smile only to herself.

“… That is why Emily. I don’t need Kota that you give to me. I will win his heart by my own effort…”

… That was why, Emily…

“You should pursue him as much as you like as well… I won’t complain nor bear any grudge toward you. No matter how much you love Kota…”

I did care all of that…

“… Is that so?”

“Yes…”

This little love of mine, were you saying that it should be allowed to bloom?

“Well, then… I will be serious?”

“Sure… That is precisely what makes Emily Notesfilt, you. Still, don’t misunderstand me, alright?”

I didn’t have any intention to lose either, she said…

“… I will return those words to you, Erika-sama…”

“…Very good.”

The two met each other gaze and smiled. Very well then Erika-sama. I will really steal Kota-sama’s heart.

“… I am the one who will smile by his side.”

… Indeed. That future would be the most wonderful.

“I wonder about that, Emily. Do you have enough handkerchiefs to wipe your tears? Shall I bought you some?”

“… I will return those words to you, Erika-sama…”

Erika-sama, I admire you. My loyalty toward you would never change. Though that was the case…

“… I won’t lose…”

“… Me neither.”

Though that was the case, I didn’t have any intention to give up my love.