As Aria watched the light shining under the door, she thought to herself.
What shall she do? Should she believe what they said?
She pushed aside that notion with a shake of her head.
(We are knights. We owe our loyalty to the kingdom. To believe the words of a traitor would be like casting that loyalty aside. But… I want to believe Princess Yua.)
If it wasn’t for Yua’s words, she would have completely ignored whatever it was that Veena said.
Should she keep her fangs bared at the traitor, or keep them behind her lips for the princess? She really didn’t know what to do.
Conflicted, an argument breaks out in her mind.
‘Veena is an enemy of the kingdom and the people! We have to kill her at all costs!’
‘Did you not see how happy Princess Yua was?! If we killed Veena she would be thrown into despair. To even think of doing such a thing would be like betraying the King and late Queen.’
‘Princess Yua is still young and naïve. Is it not the duty of knights like us to lead her down the right path?’
“Young and naïve is fine! There’s no need for her to be tainted by this ugly world!”
“You’re too soft! Far too soft!”
Whilst the debate raged on in her brain, a soft voice from behind her jolted her out of it.
“Captain Aria. What is the plan?”
Even if they ask, there’s not much she can do if she can’t move.
“Well, the right opportunity hasn’t come yet. For now, we have to wait.”
Her subordinate nodded reluctantly as she whispered that. Instead of being dissatisfied with the order, it seems to be a case of anxiety, which is understandable. Their Captain had been defeated handily, and the Vice-Captain who was stronger than all of them had defected over to Veena’s side.
It would be strange not to be anxious in this kind of situation.
(For the sake of the country, I definitely need to bring Yua back home… I just need some more time to think.)
She fell back into her thoughts as she lay bound.
“Mother, I just arrived in the city of Takrath. I’m currently at Onee-sama’s house.”
A hushed voice echoes in the bathroom, only barely louder than the drops of water falling from the ceiling onto the tiles below.
It was Leena’s voice.
Leena’s long, glossy black hair was bundled up under a towel and she had immersed in the hot water all the way up to her chin, resting on the edge of the bath.
“No, I haven’t handed it over yet.”
If you looked at her without knowing anything, you’d think she was talking to herself and wonder if she was alright in the head. But, she’s sane. She hasn’t lost her mind yet.
It’s just that she can hear a voice that others can’t.
“Mother, you’re saying I should just do it? I don’t want to do that. Onee-sama would hate me.”
The voice that only she can hear belongs to her mother.
“No, I will still give it to her for you, but if Onee-sama hates me for it please speak up for me afterwards…”
Leena says reluctantly. Her shoulders drooped dejectedly.
“Ha… You’re really selfish sometimes, mother.”
Leena sighed as she looked at the ceiling, watching the water drops stuck to it slowly succumb to gravity.
“What should I do with Captain Aria? For the success of our ‘plan’, wouldn’t it be best to have her removed?”
One of the drops of water fell into the bathtub and disappeared.
“Not yet? I think it’s about time we move on to the next stage though…”
In the place where the drop of water fell, Leena scooped up some of the water in her hand.
“You’re as cautious as ever.”
Leena laughed as the water slipped through her fingers.
“Well, if mother is ordering me not to move yet, I’ll wait.”
Leena stood up, showing her naked body.
Stepping out of the bath, water dripped down her body as her skin was exposed to the warm air, she left the bathroom.
The drops of water from the ceiling snaked their way down Leena’s back.
(Even if it’s fun to dance in mother’s palm, sometimes I’d like to hold my own performance.)
Leena thought to herself as she wiped the moisture on her body with a fresh towel.
(So long as it doesn’t interfere with mother’s plan, it would be fun to try something new.)
After she finished drying herself, she threw the damp towel into a basket and changed into a set of pajamas that were laid out.
(Fufu, it would be nice if Onee-sama was my dance partner.)
As she did up the buttons on the pajamas, Leena smiled. A smile of an innocent young girl.
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