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Common Sense of a Duke’s Daughter 191
Bern’s Journey 3
Suddenly, there was a rustling sound coming from the bushes.
On that instant, the guards moved in front of me and protected me.
However, nothing came out.
With his sword ready, one of the guards approached the bushes.
“… This is…!”
He quickly entered the bushes and the other guard asked about what he had seen.
“What is it?”
“A… a child! There is a child on the ground.”
As soon as I heard that, I quickly entered the bushes.
Certainly, there was a very young and skinny little girl on the ground.
Von! Let us return to Mauri’s place! Go get some water!
I carried the little girl in my arms and gave instructions to the guard that was standing behind me.
The little girl’s body was surprisingly light.
“Are you ok!?”
I called her out loudly, and the little girl weakly opened her eyes.
But her eyes weren’t focused anywhere.
I tried hard to wake her up but I didn’t receive any response from her.
She merely opened her mouth just enough to release just a soundless sigh.
“I have brought it!”
“Water! There is food, too!”
I put food in front of her mouth, but she didn’t open her mouth.
I broke down the rations I had and added some water, and I tried putting some of the resulting mash in the little girl’s mouth.
“Surprised, the guards tried to stop me… but ended up keeping silent.
The little girl faintly started swallowing.
That didn’t have any particular flavor.
Since we focus on preservation, flavor is secondary at best.
Regardless, the little girl treated it as if it was a feast and said:
And then the little girl did not say anything else.
Tears came out from the sides of her closed eyes and were ran down her cheeks.
I shook her and called her out but I did not receive any answer.
The little girl was not breathing.
Desperately, I quickly tried to follow what I had learned in the medicine classes I took in the previous territory’s academy, but I was not sure how to deal with such an unexpected situation.
Had we been there instead, if she was from that territory… If she was from that academy.
No, if this girl met the Duke of Almeria before, I think this wouldn’t have happened!
I desperately tried to do something, but even though I thought hard about it, I could not do anything.
“Lord Bern, that person is already…”
“Why!? Why does such a young girl have to lose her life like this?!”
I shouted those words at the guard.
Fierce emotions forced my tears out.
“And yet, at the same time, the people that govern this territory are so prosperous…”
My voice would no longer come out.
When I think about Earl Monroe… my blood boils with anger.
Bastard, bastard, bastard.
It is his fault that this little child was forced to be a victim.
Groaning in regret, I held the girl tight.
Don’t die, I… I want to save you.
… I did not move from that spot all through the night.
I just stayed there, holding the little girl in my arms as she grew colder to the touch.
As the morning sun began to rise, one of the guards called me out as if imploring me to leave.
Responding to their voices, I turned my gaze to them.
“We should return soon…”
“… She deserves a proper burial, at least.”
Having said that, I quietly began to move.
After silently digging a hole, I buried the girl and quietly offered a prayer.
“I work for the sake of the people. Until the day I die, I will serve the public.”
These were the words my sister once said to the officials.
I remember that.
What is a nobleman?
What is a territory? What is a country?
Turning round and round, memories of my sister’s words and behavior go around my head.
… Then, opening my eyes, I took my dagger and cut my hair on the spot.
As the guard let out his voice in astonishment, I merely stood there, watching my hair as it falls down.
This was also a burial, a manifestation of my determination.
A heart full of mourning for the girl, feelings of gratitude, and a fit of quiet anger quickly embrace me.
“Together with this girl, the past me is also dead.”
I muttered that as I turned back, leaving that place behind and heading off to the capital.
The way back was horribly quiet and fast.
Both the guards and I were just rushing ahead.
And once I returned to the capital and to our residence, I immediately head to see Father.
“… Your face has changed.”
Not only Father but also Mother swallowed her breath as she saw me.
“What did you see?”
“… I have seen the hell of this world.”
I replied to Father’s question quietly but filled with determination.
Father takes a deep breath in response to my attitude.
“… Take this and go to the Imperial Palace.”
I inclined my head n response to his words.
“Have you felt your own powerlessness? Have you thought from the bottom of your heart that you want to do something… anything at all? Do you want to change this country for that reason?”
I answered Father’s question without hesitation.
Receiving those documents from Father, I immediately left the residence that I had just returned to moments ago.