[Bad Maids] 3 – On the way to Ortega
The wind was howling.
In the last days of winter, snowstorms always came to the mountains along with the intense cold.
Then, after a few days had passed, they would disappear with the beginning of spring as if it had all been a lie.
After all the preparations had been completed, Carus and his men gathered at the entrance of the road, ready to leave.
As soon as Yulia appeared, all of their eyes poured out to her at once.
It was a look filled with sympathy for the crazy woman.
There was no other heroine with a more tragic love story.
Would there be such an uncomfortable and pitiful existence as a woman who had been abandoned by her lover and gone crazy?
Somehow, she wanted to laugh.
The woman who had loved the heir of the Marquis of Marjoram more than her own life had completely disappeared when her first life ended.
But as she kept coming back to the same moment, she had no way to prove that she didn’t love him anymore.
“Hey, do you know how to ride a horse?”
Bavaslov led Yulia to where his horse was.
“Why do we have to leave in the middle of night? We could have left at dawn…”
The two herbalists in charge of guiding them spoke with voices full of complaints.
They couldn’t refuse the request of the knights because they were scared of them and could only lament their fate, as useless as it was.
Yulia approached them.
After taking off her gloves, she removed the ring that was on her ring finger and handed it to the herbalists.
It was an act that didn’t contain any ounce of lingering attachment.
“Wh… What is this?”
We’ve already received gold coins from the knights.
Don’t… don’t worry.”
Although they had refused, their eyes were filled with regret at the sight of the ring.
What Yulia was presenting to them was a ring that looked awfully expensive.
“Guide us to an unknown road.
A mountain road that can’t be seen from the main road.
We have to be able to see down from the top and on the contrary, we can’t be seen from the bottom.”
“After we leave, even if someone asks, tell them you know nothing.
It’s better if we have already left the mountains.”
As soon as she laid her conditions, the faces of the herbalists were painted with fear.
Because it was not just any normal suspicious request.
However, the gem in front of them was more important than a distant fear.
After exchanging a few glances between themselves, they took the ring Yulia handed them and put it in their pocket.
“We will dig up some herbs on the way as well, I guess.”
Yulia nodded and mounted Bavaslov’s horse first.
For a female commoner who wouldn’t have had the chance to learn horse riding, it was a swift movement.
Carus was observing Yulia as usual.
His eyes scanned her attire and gloves and finally, lingered on the ring given to the herbalists.
Then, he ordered their departure in a cold voice.
Romanticists sometimes referred to the mountain range that separated the Kingdom of Ortega and the Empire of Baikan as Titania.
The limit between winter and spring.
Between the center of the continent and the south.
Although the mountains were ruthless, they also resembled the lovely fairy Titania.
It was early in the morning.
Led by the veteran herbalists, Carus and the knights, who had spent the entire night climbing the mountain, looked at the rising sun in the distance and laughed as if dumbfounded.
The blizzard which had been raging fiercely disappeared without a trace.
The blue sky and bright sunlight were pouring through the thick clouds.
The limit between winter and spring, there couldn’t have been a more suitable expression.
“The snow really stopped!”
Bavaslov glanced at Yulia, who was leaning in his arms on the horse, with a stupefied expression.
Everything she said had come true.
It was when they approached the place where the colony of Silver Aspen trees was located.
The party which was following the herbalists headed to a much higher side road than the original path.
Carefully advancing with a steep cliff on the right, they discovered a troop of unidentified rangers down the cliff.
The scout silently pointed down.
Between the Silver Aspen trees covered in snow, disguised rangers had lowered their bodies and were waiting, crossbows in hands, ready to shoot.
“What a relief.
We would have been hit hard had we encountered them.”
Their side had less than thirty men whereas there were about a hundred men on the enemy side.
No matter how outstanding Carus’s knights were, it would have been difficult to prepare for a surprise attack in that kind of place.
Carus looked over Yulia with an intense gaze.
It was the same thing the second time around.
When they were not far from the traveller’s village, they checked their surroundings and noticed suspicious men inspecting each passing person.
“You may leave now.”
Carus sent away the herbalists who were in charge of guiding them.
As they had nearly gotten out of the mountains, they weren’t needed anymore.
“Wake up the woman.”
“What? But, she finally managed to fall asleep…”
While they were going down the mountain road, Yulia had fainted a few times.
Yulia’s fever was so bad that Bavaslov had to remove his gloves and put his hand, that had turned cold, on Yulia’s forehead in order to cool her down.
However, the commander Carus, who couldn’t be more cruel, ordered to wake up Yulia who had barely fallen asleep.
“Let her sleep a little more.
At this rate, she will die.”
“I told you to wake her up.”
It seemed that Carus had no intention of going easy on her.
Bavaslov looked down at Yulia with anxious eyes.
At that moment, Yulia, who they thought was asleep, slowly opened her eyes and looked at Carus with a pale face.
“You told me there would be two attacks, right? The first one at the location of the Silver Aspen trees and the second one at the entrance of the traveller’s village.”
“I will give you a chance to come clean.
“I am not a spy.”
Yulia already knew what kind of question Carus was going to ask.
“I am even less a parasite attached to the Empire in order to sell off the Kingdom of Ortega.”
How could she prove it? She had already told him about how she had died and come back to life eight times.
Carus had made the choice not to believe her.
Should she predict the future?
“In one week, spring rain will come.
There will be one short rain shower during the day, then it will pour all night.
After the rain has stopped, the Youth Liberation Army will make their first public demonstration in front of the palace of Ortega.”
Yulia’s words were mixed with sighs.
It was because she already knew how they would look at her if she said that.
“Are you a… a witch?”
Bavaslov’s shoulders flinched as he asked.
He was worried that he had been riding a horse with a witch.
In the middle of the knights’ whispers, Carus was the only one who remained calm.
After slowly pondering over her words, he asked again.
“Did you learn to read the weather? Let’s just say it’s because this region is near the sea… But the Liberation Army.
I did hear there was a trivial movement of unrest.”
“You are free to believe me or not.”
‘Of course, whatever comes next will be your responsibility.’
Carus understood the meaning behind her words and let out a sharp laugh.
“Then, answer this as well.”
“Who ordered those men to attack us?”
The whispering knights stopped and looked at Yulia.
Yulia’s open lips flinched.
It was due to the threatening atmosphere of the knights that they couldn’t hide even if they tried.
Carus Lankea was difficult to read.
She had no way of knowing whether he found this situation interesting or whether he was suppressing his anger.
“If I tell you, will you believe me?”
Carus’s face contorted.
“If you promise to believe me, I can answer anything you want.
But… I think you already know the answer.”
That time, the eyes of the knights left Yulia and settled on Carus.
The biggest knight of the group called out to him.
There was an overflowing thirst for blood in his sunken eyes.
How could they dare attack the knights of the imperial army? His stance looked like he was ready to cut off the head of the enemy right away.
Carus was still staring at Yulia.
“It must be the Empress Denevra.”
He spoke the name of the imperial family’s member he didn’t get along with.
The expressions of the knights showed that they already knew it.
A string of curses, which contained their anger and contempt, flowed out.
Yulia was looking at the scene, undisturbed.
Carus called out her name.
It was the first time he called her by her first name and not her full name.
Startled, Yulia’s pupils dilated a little.
“You will be coming with us for the time being.”
“Yes… I understand.”
“Pull yourself together.
So that my men won’t have to clean up your corpse.”
“I will keep that in mind.”
Carus didn’t wait for Yulia’s answer and turned around.
As soon as he departed, the rest of the knights followed him on their horses.
‘Haa…’ Yulia exhaled a sigh.
“Hey… You’re not a witch, right? Should I call you a fairy instead? I am really scared of those things, you see.”
Bavaslov’s voice sounded like a lullaby in Yulia’s ears.
She nodded with a smile on her face and fell asleep again.
On the way to the capital, the party ended up spending the night on a hill alongside a small river.
Yulia, whose fever had subsided after two days, was diligently going around looking for branches.
Her chocolate hair fluttered about in the wind.
“Isn’t it too much to make a sick person work like that? We are not this cold-hearted.”
Bavaslov recommended that Yulia go fish in the river instead.
Because it was work that could be done while sitting still.
However, the hunting and fishing had already been done by the other knights, so Yulia ended up sitting near the campfire and keeping the flames burning.
“Wouldn’t it be better to get a carriage? If we could take the load off the horses, they would be less tired.”
“If we meet a merchant, let’s get one.
An empty carriage would be even better.”
While listening to Carus and Bavaslov’s conversation, Yulia was reflecting on her future plans.
In Yulia’s past lives, Carus’s men ended up dying in the attacks.
He was the sole survivor.
The furious Carus, who was initially headed to Ortega, turned around and went back to the Empire in order to avenge his subordinates.
Then, after exactly one year, Carus formed a new order of knights and went to Ortega again.
‘It’s one year earlier than in the past.
Carus will surely follow the order of the Emperor.’
The Emperor had told Carus and his men to go to Ortega in order to investigate the reason why the southern fleet was struggling against the pirates.
In order to do that, they needed information about Ortega, where the fleet was stationed.
These knights who were born in the Empire and had never set a foot in Ortega wouldn’t know what kind of people the southern nobles were.
‘I will sell him information and he will provide me with power.’
It will become a beneficial relationship.
It was fine even if he was cautious and suspected her.
She just had to prove that she could be helpful to him.
What would be good? Hundreds of pieces of information were running through her head.
After living several times, the events that took place during that period in time were the clearest.
Among them, there were many things related to the Kingdom of Baikan as well.
If I fail now, I can just start over again.’
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