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Chapter 19: Captive

“It’s been a long time, Princess Victoria. I see that you have grown more and more beautiful in the years since I last saw you.”

The man who entered the room looked at Princess Victoria with an enraptured expression.

But Princess Victoria looked at the man and frowned in disgust.

After watching her, I looked at the man again.

He was a skinny, nervous-looking man with light brown hair and yellow eyes, and he looked to be in his early twenties.

However, when I recalled the list of nobles I remembered, I didn’t recognize him at all.

Then Princess Victoria opened her mouth with a grim expression.

“…Count Strayed. Why are you here?”

“Well? Why do you think that is?”

With that, the man called Count Strayed grinned.

“As I recall, you…were exiled along with your father, Count Randick, due to my brother’s reforms!”

“Yes, that’s right. And my father, who was so depressed by his exile, fell ill in a remote village and died a short time after.”

“Then it was you who was asked to kidnap me, wasn’t it!? And I suppose you intend to avenge your dead father’s resentment with me!”

“No, no, not at all. I would never hold a grudge against you, my dear. Rather, I feel so much better now that my annoying father is gone.”

“Then why did you…”

Princess Victoria was confused about what Count Strayed was trying to say, and she was confused. And I was confused that I was being treated like air.

“I have a grudge against your brother, Prince Alexel, no, the Emperor. Not only does that man know of my feelings for Princess Victoria, but he refuses to discuss them at all, and he has tried to separate me from her! And yet, when the former emperor was still alive, my father was in power, and he was ready to make you mine. But now…that Emperor Alexel ruined all my plans and had me and my father sent to exile. How can I not hold resentment!?”

“That is you resentment! To begin with, I’ve already told you that I hate you!”

“Fufu, you don’t have to be so shy. I know how you really feel. Don’t worry, you can leave it all to me.”

“That’s why—!”

Princess Victoria stood up and glared at the Count Strayed, furrowing her brows.

However, Count Strayed became even more enraptured as he looked at such a Princess Victoria.

As I listened silently to their exchange, I completely guessed that the Earl of Strayed was a dangerous person with a stalker-like behavior.

Then, after I understood most of what they were talking about, I quickly stood up and stood in front of Princess Victoria and hid her from Count Strayed.

Then Count Strayed finally looked at me and frowned.

“…What? I would appreciate it if you would not interrupt the pleasant conversation between me and Princess Victoria.”

“Princess Victoria doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself at all, though.”

“What do you know?”

“More than you, at least.”

As I said this, I turned my cold gaze to Count Strayed. He flinched as he met my gaze and took a step back.

“Hmph! That doesn’t matter. Do you even know your position right now?”

“Uh, Kidnapped? Of course I understand. It’s just that I don’t know why I was instructed to be kidnapped as well.”

“Because you are the betrothed of Emperor Alexel, Cecilia de Heinz.”

“I’ve been aware of the reason for that, but I don’t think that kidnapping me or anyone else would be that effective, right? In the first place, Alexel chose me as his fiancée because I met certain conditions. So…I wonder if he might just look for another woman who meets similar conditions rather than choosing to help me.”

“…That’s strange. From the information I’ve gotten, I had heard that Emperor Alexel was doting on you.”

“Doting? He didn’t do that to me. The only thing he did to me was to try to take me with him wherever he wanted to go, or follow me wherever I was going, or even try to amuse me by giving me compulsory gifts. Well, I refused and let him know that it was all a nuisance though, so I managed to stop it.”

Recalling what Alexel had done to me, I involuntarily furrowed my brow.

However, seeing me like that, Count Strayed made an indescribable expression.

“……Are you unaware?”


“Fair enough. Well, I’ve already sent a letter to Emperor Alexel.”

“A letter?”

“Yes. Saying that I am using Princess Victoria and his betrothed, Miss Cecilia, as shields to demand the abdication of Emperor Alexel, and his life.”


“Count Strayed! How dare you demand such a thing from my brother! Take it back now!”

“No. My intentions remain unchanged. All that is left is for Emperor Alexel to abdicate and leave this world, and then, Princess Victoria, I will have you, as the new Emperor of the Landrick Empire!”

Count Strayed spread his arms and looked up at the empty ceiling in ecstasy. At seeing him like that, Princess Victoria and I pulled back completely.

Then the door slowly opened again, and that man with the scar on his cheek who had kidnapped us, entered through it.

“Strayed-sama, is it time to go?”

“Hmm? Oh, I understand. So, Princess Victoria, we can do this again later.”

With that, Count Strayed smiled thinly and walked out of the room with the man.

A heavy air hung in the room, where we were alone again.

I approached a completely dejected Princess Victoria and urged her to sit on the bed for now. Then I sat down next to her and didn’t say anything.

Then Princess Victoria opened her mouth and spoke.

“Well, you must have a grudge against me now for getting you involved in something like this.”


“Liar! You just have to be honest with me! I have put you, and even my brother, in harm’s way because of my careless behavior!”

“…Well, the situation isn’t very good right now…but based on Count Strayed’s behavior, I’m sure that Princess Victoria would have been in this situation in some way even if she didn’t take action. And, as Alexel’s fiancée, I probably would have been targeted as well.”


So Princess Victoria needn’t worry about it.

I smiled at Princess Victoria and gave her a smile. Then Princess Victoria looked at me and her eyes widened, and her expression immediately changed to one of surprise.

“…You are strange.”

“That again…I’m honestly tired of hearing it.”

I smiled tiredly at the usual words.

“Well, now I can see why my brother chose you.”

“Is that so?”


When I asked her back, confused, Princess Victoria laughed happily, hiding her mouth with her hand.

I wasn’t exactly suer why she was laughing, but I decided it’s okay.

“Well, maybe there is something here that can tell us where we are.”

With that, I stood up and went to the window with the bars on it, and peered out.

From there, I could see several hut-like buildings and a wall surrounding the perimeter.

I brought my face even closer to the window to check my surroundings, and I saw a corner of a large mansion. But the condition of the house was not very good. The same can be said for the hut-like buildings and walls that I saw earlier. If you look closely, you can see that the building is in tatters in some places and is in danger of collapsing even now.

“…It seems that this is a mansion somewhere that has been abandoned.”

I muttered to myself and left the window, then crossed my arms and paced around the room, pondering.

“I don’t know how long it’s been since we were kidnapped, but at least in the vicinity of the royal capital, there should not be any large mansions that were abandoned like this one. If that’s the case, we can assume that we are in a place quite far from the royal capital…I wonder if it would be difficult to get rescued immediately. However, in the situation of that Count Strayed…I’m afraid that if we stay here too long, something bad might happen. Well, there’s only one thing to do then! Let’s run away!”

I nodded widely and looked at Princess Victoria with determination. But Princess Victoria looked at me with a puzzled look on her face.

“Princess Victoria, is something wrong?”

“How can you think like that under these circumstances? We’re trapped, remember?…Aren’t you scared?”

“Well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared at all, but as expected, this is the third time I’ve been kidnapped…or maybe it’s the fourth if I include the imprisonment…so I’ve gotten used to it.”

“…What? You’ve been kidnapped three times before!? And then imprisonment!? How in the world did that happen!?”

Princess Victoria looked at me in surprise, but I could not do anything but scratch my cheeks with a troubled expression at the sight.

“Ah, as expected, it’s a complicated situation…I can’t explain it in detail.”

“Complicated situation…”

“Now! Let’s figure out a way to escape from here!”

I clapped my hands to get Princess Victoria, who was still confused, to change her mind and cut the story short.

Then I wandered around the room again, looking around for something to do.

“But…even if we could get out of that door, we wouldn’t be able to see how it’s connected to the rest of the house, and that would be too dangerous. In that case, I guess we’ll have to go through this window…”

“You can’t get out of this window, you know, because it’s got bars in it.”

“However, if we could just get rid of those bars, we could get out of a window that size.”

“I’m sure that’s true, but…”

I grabbed the bars with both hands and tried to move them to check their condition. Then, the iron grille moved, albeit slightly.

“Oh, this might work. It’s probably because it’s been abandoned for so long that it seems to have become brittle.”


“But it seems that as expected, a woman strength can’t remove it completely.

“So then it’s impossible…”

“Princess Victoria, look for something hard and long!”


“I’m sure we can get it off with it!”

“Okay, I get it.”

Princess Victoria nodded to me and hurriedly searched the room for me.

“Oh, how about this?”

With that, Princess Victoria showed me the iron bars that were the legs of the bed.

I quickly approached the bed and peeked out from underneath to check its structure, and when I realized that those legs could be removed by turning them, I grinned.

“Well done Princess Victoria! This can be used for strength. Excuse me, but could you prop up this bed for a moment?”

“Yes, I understand.”

Then I carefully removed the legs from the bed, with Princess Victoria supporting me to keep the bed from falling over.

I thanked Princess Victoria for supporting the bed, and we both slowly brought the unbalanced bed to the floor.

“Then I’ll do it. Please stay away for now, as it might pop out.”

“I understand.”

I saw that Princess Victoria had moved away from the wall, and I inserted the stick I was holding in my hand into the bars and pushed it with all my strength, using the principle of leverage.

Little by little the bars moved, and at last the iron grille came off the window.

“Yes! It’s off!”

“That’s amazing. I can’t believe you actually took it off…”

Princess Victoria approached me with a startled expression on her face. I explained with a wry smile that this was the second time I’d done this. So now we had a way to escape.

Finally, I supported Princess Victoria’s waist helped her climb over the window sill first, before climbing out the window myself.

“Alright. Let’s go.”


I smiled and held out my hand to Princess Victoria, who looked at me intently and took it in hers.

Then we escaped in the darkness of the night.


T/N: No need to worry Victoria, Cecilia is experienced in being kidnapped…

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