The Second Story – Ruined Lives Are No Concern of Mine
He wanted to go and leave her just like that. She was the Agnes Le Verges who he just could not stomach.
But even so, she had requested help from “Sir Knight” Bernard.
Assisting the weak, honoring courtesy, defeating evil.
To Bernard, who had the spirit of chivalry ingrained in his body, ignoring a voice seeking help was impossible.
Upon asking, he discovered that Agnes was in the middle of being troubled by a certain nobleman.
The voice of a man that was slowly coming closer and closer.
Agnes, with an expression marked with fear, had requested Bernard’s assistance.
“Kitty~ are you here?”
As Agnes started to catch her breath, Bernard grabbed her slender hand and began to run.
The garden he had patrolled time and time again as a bodyguard was a place that he was experienced with.
Before the garden became like a labyrinth, there was a refuge-like arbor. He thought that to be safe, they had to run until they made it there.
However, a situation beyond expectations occurred before them.
The woman wearing a dress and high-heels could not run.
Within a moment, the distance between the man and them had narrowed and in front of them was the perimeter.
They ran into the man at the corner, and Bernard thought his heart would burst.
“Kit~ty, wait you’re not!!”
The man’s sweet smile instantly turned into a serious look, displaying an expression of pure revulsion.
And then he immediately discovered the figure of Agnes.
“K-Kitty, you were in this kind of place, huh.”
He smiled at Agnes, who was avoiding Bernard with her hand, but the young lady in question was casting her eyes down while in tears.
“Let’s slowly go back. It’s time for the pastries to be cooked.”
While the man extended his hand to invite her back to the plaza, Agnes hid behind Bernard as if he were a shield.
She was refusing in such an easy to understand fashion, why was he forcefully drawing close, Bernard could not believe it.
As there was no progress, he forced his way through.
“Oi, can’t you see that she doesn’t like it.”
“You have nothing to do with it, right? Moreover, she’s just being bashful right now.”
The moment those words came out, Agnes’ grip on Bernard’s coat tightened.
She obviously hated this situation.
Bernard had recollections of this guy. Ernesto Barthelemon. The second son of the Marquis family, he was an imperial guard of the prince who was hosting today’s tea party.
“Is it okay to neglect your duties and chase the tail of a woman.”
“What are you saying?”
At Bernard’s rash remark, the atmosphere of the place turned sour. Even though it wasn’t good until now, either.
“Anyway, release Kitty at once!”
As Ernesto determinedly started taking big strides to come closer, Bernard stuck out his foot.
He was splendidly caught in the surprise attack of the stuck out leg. With a loud rumbling, the atrocious figure went tumbling down right then and there.
In that moment, Bernard, hoisting Agnes up like luggage, sprinted from that place with all his might.
He knew that Ernesto was coming to pursue him with a loud bellow, but in the meandering garden, he could not catch up.
Upon arriving at the arbor, he let Agnes down.
“…I think it’s better if you don’t return to where we just were.”
Because she was yet unable to regain her composure, she placed her hand on her chest and her eyes were glistening with tears.
Behind the arbor, there was a small gardener’s shed. To go back, she would have to request help from the old couple.
Conveying the message that, because he was on duty, he could not remain there any longer, he left that place.
When he turned his head to look at the person who had called him back, he saw Agnes narrowing her eyes, looking at Bernard with a grim face.
Thinking that he was being looked at with those eyes yet again, his irritation grew.
Nevertheless, while he had on his knight’s clothes, he could not allow his personal feelings to take hold.
Once again, telling her to rely on the gardener couple if she was in trouble, he quickly marched away from that place.
This was his second meeting with Agnes Le Verges.
The third time was once again one year after this story.
To raise his social status, instead of attending evening parties, Bernard had taken on the duty of an assembly hall guard.
His colleague, Djibril, was stunned that he never took the opportunity to let loose.
“Hey Bernard, do you not wanna get married?”
It was not that he had no interest.
However, if he were to get married, he did not believe that it would be with a noble’s daughter.
Thus, he thought that attending evening parties was a pointless endeavor.
The place Bernard was entrusted with was a garden of the night.
The duty that nobody wanted to be stuck with was the simple task of escorting the excited men and women back.
Bernard, killing his emotions, blocked the paths of the people assigned to each other.
At that place, there was yet another reunion.
When he went to a check on some vegetation that made a rustling noise, he ran into the figure of Agnes Le Verges.
Agnes made a surprised face.
Bernard guessed that she had an appointment with someone there.
“Are you, possibly-”
“This area is off-limits. Return to the assembly hall.”
“It’s useless. I won’t listen to any excuses.”
Before her marriage, a woman was not to meet with anyone who was not her partner or fiancee.
He drove a stupefied Agnes back to the assembly hall.
While he heard a voice behind him that was confusedly trying to smooth things over, he left that place posthaste.
In the following year, he did not meet Agnes. However, whenever he heard gossip from Djibril, his stomach felt full.
Such as that she fell in love with the second prince at first sight, that she married the duke’s eldest son, all of the stories were without a doubt invariably brilliant.
Bernard took the news that she was still fastidious with marriage partners even though she had become of marriageable age stupefied.
“You know, it’s gonna get pretty bad if you don’t get married sometime soon?”
For this country’s great nobles, the marriageable age of a noble’s daughter was from fifteen to eighteen years of age.
Because Agnes was eighteen years of age, this year was absolutely the last year she could marry – was the rumor that somebody had said.
However, even after several months had passed, no news of talks of her marriage surfaced.
Bernard, who had turned twenty, had his habitual attitude towards duty and the fruits of his labor recognized, and he had been entrusted with the role of the lieutenant of a platoon.
Due to his considerable raise in wages, he was considering giving the servants of his estate a monetary reward when he was caught up in a convening.
It was late at night. It happened during his night shift.
While he was wondering why he was summoned so suddenly, he heard a discussion about finding an assistant for the execution of a certain noble.
When he asked his superior officer, Lazare Serie, what the heck was going on, he was told something astonishing.
For multiple years, the prime minister, Sherard Le Verges, had submitted false political fund balance reports. It had been established that his expenditures amounted to unreal costs.
As a matter of course, not only was the prime minister forced to resign, but the historied great noble family of La Verges had also fallen into ruin.
It was said that from now on, all of the assets inside their estate would be seized.
At the location were an enforcement officer who was giving directions and ten knights.
The estate was devoid of people, and without delay, the operation willingly proceeded.
It took around three hours to withdraw.
Staring at the bright horizon at dawn, Lazare spoke as he took a look at the situation.
“It’s a shame. Their daughter, too.”
Because she had not quickly married, she had lost her remaining marriage prospects. He muttered that this situation was heartrending.
A month had passed since that day.
People were still spreading the seeds of the rumor surrounding the scandal of the prime minister and major event of the fall of the house of Le Verges.
When Djibril, who had been assigned to a different squad, met Bernard in the mess hall, he offered this subject.
“Man, things got pretty crazy.”
“I’ve heard enough about it.”
Even with that said, they still came to talk about it. Their discussion shifted into one about Agnes.
“I hear that since she has no relatives, she’s living in an inn.”
That everyday, she came and went, dropping off provisions for her father in prison, and how he went on and on about the situation inside.
While listening to a surprisingly talkative Djibril, Bernard went deep into thought as he dipped his cut bread into his soup.
“Sure is awful, that even though there were that many people around her, nobody’s saving her.”
That was something that couldn’t be helped. Nobody would think about even associating with a house that had come to ruin due to a scandal. Bernard listened to Djibril’s story as if it were somebody else’s business.
“I wonder what Miss Agnes will do.”
“Wouldn’t it be fine if you took her in as your wife?”
“That’s a bit…”
It was such a situation that even Djibril, who was that engrossed with Agnes, had suddenly cooled down with his interest in her.
Thinking that it was a tough world, he drank up his soup.