Banished, 5 Days Later. ~There Is Only Value in Infamy if You Make Use of It~ chapter 1

Chapter 1 (Oneshot)

Her mother’s jewelry box was the only thing she had left.

Tonight, Lilitha’s engagement was annulled.

“You are banished!” Her fiancé ordered her to be taken out of the ballroom with nothing more than what’s on her own’s and thrown into a shabby old carriage.

The old carriage rattled and creaked noisily as it drove along the rough roads, its lamps flickering with the hazy light of dead fireflies in the depths of the night.

She had already left the royal capital and was entering a deep forest where even the light of the moon is vague and unreachable.

The tall trees swayed in the shadows like black phantoms, and through the windows she could see nothing but the wriggling ink-color darkness. Lilitha draped her shawl over her shoulders in a corner of the carriage. The distant cries of beasts and the echoing chirping of birds were so terrifying that they seemed to touch her neck with a twinge, and no matter how courageous Lilitha was, she is but only a sixteen-year-old daughter of a noble family and her heart was about to break and erode from the anxiety.

The carriage stopped with a screeching sound and smeared the damp soil of the forest on its wheels.

She had no weapon. Biting her lip, Lilitha pulled the ornament out of her hair. The hair ornament was of the hairpin type, so it had a sharp point.

The carriage stopped in the forest where there were only the eyes of beasts and birds. For Lilitha, those eyes’s only purpose was to induce fear within her.

The creaking sound of the carriage door opening was muffled by the rumbling of her heart, pounding in her ears like large waves from the ocean.

A man was standing there.

He was a young man with dark hair that seemed to drew in the whole night.

She grasped the hairpin in her sweaty hands and squeezed. The tension caused her back hair to stand on the back of her neck, and the feeling of nausea rose from the pit of her stomach.

Being exiled is a punishment where a noble loses everything: family, status, and wealth. And it is the natural order of things for a chick that has lost its protective parent bird to become food for beasts and insects.

When Lilitha reached for her bracelet, she hesitantly wondered if she should use her mother’s memento.

“Food, would you like to have some?”

The words that Lilitha had not expected to hear echoed in the darkness. The young man was smiling charmingly.

“I’m starving. I got the orders before dinner, so I wasn’t able to eat. I’m going to make some supper, would you like to join me?”

Lilitha’s mouth dropped open at the sound of a bright voice from a midsummer instead of the dark night.

“I go by Willem. I’m the exiled princess’s guard, coachman, and chef.”

“Princess?”

Lilitha muttered in reply as she sat in front of the fire that Willem had quickly and efficiently prepared. The hairpin, which she had clutched so tightly that her knuckles turned white, now rested in her lap.

A pot of soup on a flickering flame, like a luminous jewel glowing in the dark.

“Aren’t the duke’s daughter basically a princess? That’s why you are a princess. To us commoners, both the dukes and the royal family are equally above the clouds.”

Willem filled a wooden cup with freshly boiled water and handed it to Lilitha. The warmth slid down her throat as she took a sip, and the tension in her body unruffled.

“Thank you. It’s delectable. But haven’t you heard the rumours about me?”

“The rumour is that you are an arrogant, spendthrift villainess?”

“Yes, that’s right. A mean, selfish, bloodthirsty woman.”

“Hmm, that’s not true, right? I only know a little bit about princess but an arrogant noblewoman might throw away a mere cup of hot water, but she will never say thank you.”

After hearing Willem’s honest and unwavering reply, a large crack ran through Lilitha’s negative feelings that had accumulated little by little as if a piled up snow and touched her heart.

Lilitha is not only the daughter of a duke, but she is also the daughter of a witch.

The concept of magic exists in this world but there are few people who can actually use it. Men are called wizards and women are called witches, and there are fewer than thirty of them in the whole kingdom.

Lilitha’s mother asked the duke for assistance in magic research, and the duke took Lilitha’s mother as his second wife, hoping to bring witch blood into the family and give birth to a wizard or witch.

However, the born Lilitha had no magical power. Even so, the bloodline of a witch often brings forth magical powers in the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, so Lilitha was engaged to the third prince. However, the third prince readily cheated on her, and in order to justify his own affair, he denounced Lilitha as a vile woman with his unfounded rumours and gossips.

In a social world filled with deceit and falsehood, there were some sensible people who sympathized with and defended Lilitha but the ugly stories that were spread as if they were the truth are irresponsible and served only as amusement to others.

In particular, her half-sister who is of the same age as Lilitha had despised Lilitha as the daughter of the first wife for long years. Now that Lilitha is romantically involved with the Third Prince, she actively spreads malicious rumours about Lilitha. Rumours, innuendos, and ridicules. To add fuel to the fire, her half-sister who was jealous of Lilitha’s engagement to the royalty simply because she is the daughter of a witch, used her connections as the eldest daughter of a duke to pour oil on the fire and keep Lilitha’s bad name burning.

She was falsely accused, her engagement was broken off, and exiled.

“Even this decree is not legitimate, isn’t it? Only the king has the right to judge the nobles but with the third prince’s signature. It’s an absurd order but if we don’t follow the order, we will be punished, and even if we do, it’s not an official order so who knows what kind of punishment we will receive later…”

With a modest sigh, Willem continued.

“I think I’ll probably lose my head as punishment. That’s why I thought it’d be fine if I do it alone. Everyone else in my unit has children, parents, and families. I don’t have anyone. So I took on this job by myself.”

Willem smiled with a determined look on his face, and Lilitha felt that he was a kind person. She knew she could trust him.

“Willem. I’m sure you and I are both doomed to exile. So I will hire you. Will you be my escort and run away with me?”

Fortunately, Lilitha was still in her evening gown. She removed a large jeweled necklace from her neck and put it in Willem’s hand.

“You could have killed me and stripped me of my possession. Yet you gave me warm drink and soup. With this necklace, please be my guard. Let’s fake our deaths and escape from the kingdom together, shall we not?”

“Fake our death?”

“You said it yourself. It’s not an official order. The third prince will send assassins to kill us. Dead men tell no tale after all. Albeit, it’s useless. There were too many witnesses when he banished me. But he only cares about what’s convenient for himself so he’ll just kill me and pray that all will be well. He’s a reckless and ill-considered man who thinks that there is hope as long as he is not exposed, he prioritizes now rather than the bleak future.”

The sound of fire crackled.

The night sky, covered with a thick canopy of trees, glimpsed in places like a skylight framed by the trees, and tonight’s moon appeared as if peeking from the bottom of a box.

“I’m requesting you to do something very dangerous. But if going and coming back later will cost you your head, will you not give me your life? I’m sure His Majesty the King and my father, the Duke, will make a move on me because I’m have the value as a witch’s daughter. So it may be that His Majesty the King, instead of the Third Prince, that will come after me. But I don’t want to go back to the noble society that has only hurt myself.”

Willem stared at Lilitha with his strange bluish-silver eyes peeking out from under his black hair. A straightforward gaze. The eyes were as still as the surface of the water without a single ripple.

“Princess, what about your family?”

The voice was soft, but Lilitha shook her head with a look of anguish.

“I am a political tool for my father, the Duke. The first wife and my half-sister looked down on me as the daughter of an annoying witch and tormented me insidiously. My fiancé disliked me from the start, saying that a witch’s daughter is uncanny, and there were rumours about me in social circles that dishonored me, and I was alone everywhere ever since my mother died. My mother was the only one who loved me.”

“Princess, is there anywhere you would like to go?”

“No. Actually, the ocean. I’ve always wanted to see the ocean. I want to go to the sea.”

“The sea? That sounds nice.”

Willem gave a small laugh. He had already made up several escape routes in his mind.

“In fact, I’ve been thinking about taking the princess to a safe place to escape ever since you thanked me for the hot water.”

“Lilitha’s dead?”

The soldiers, who were on one knee in front of the king with their hands on their chests, reported what they had seen. They kept their eyes low so as not to look at the king’s invaluable body.

“It appears that the carriage fell off the cliff because it was recklessly driven too fast on a badly maintained road during the night. The wagon was heavily devastated and the front part of the wagon drowned into the flowing river downwards to the cliff. The soldier and his horse were swept into the river and there were no bodies. In the back of the carriage, there was a lot of blood and a few pieces of flesh. The beast had probably carried away Lady Lilitha’s body. Her long hair and a piece of her dress were caught in the wreckage of the carriage left behind.”

“What a mess. The precious witch’s bloodline is …….”

The king growled heavily. After learning the Third Prince’s folly, he immediately sent a pursuit team but the soldiers found only a wagon that had fallen down a cliff and it was so tattered that it had lost its shape.

“There is still the possibility of survival. Check the nearby villages and towns.”

The soldiers who had received the order hung down their heads reverently.

Both wizards and witches were respected and feared at the same time. They were looked upon with skepticism and fear, especially by some, and although they were not persecuted for the fear of their power, the people always felt threatened by the faces under the bowed heads.

Therefore, in order to protect themselves, physically and mentally, they entered into marriages with those who possessed magical power. Forcing people to marry by royal decree or power had led to the flight of many magic holders out of the country and had drastically reduced the number of magic holders.

Lilitha’s mother was one of the few exceptions.

The third prince was kneeling in the corner of the room with his head hanging down, begging his father-king for mercy. He stared blankly at the floor, unable to move in the face of his father’s silent anger.

“Father, please forgive me. ……”

The third prince, who had been in high spirits last night after breaking off his engagement to Lilitha, was immediately exposed and was scolded to the point of bloodlust leaked out from the king.

“What is the value in your apology? I have power and say as king, but I never knew that my son, a mere prince, had the authority to judge the nobles without my permission. I can’t even look at you. Someone, take the prince to the nobleman’s prison. Don’t let him out until he’s been dealt with.”

At the same time, Lilitha was riding a horse with pounding hooves. It was the same horse that had been pulling the carriage, the one that was supposed to have died in the river.

“I wonder if I did a good job of disguising the carriage?”

Her hair, cut short and unbecoming of a noblewoman, swayed above her shoulders.

“I hope everyone was fooled. We sprayed a lot of animal blood, and it really looked like a horrible scene. I’m hoping they’ll be allured to surmise that the reason our remains being missing were due to them being swept down the river.”

On the other horse, Willem rode alongside Lilitha.

“I’m glad I had a change of clothes in the carriage, because I had to let my soldiers’ clothes go down the river. I’m sorry that princess has to wear men’s clothes.”

“It’s fine because I am able to ride the horse easily.”

“You’re a good rider, princess.”

“I think I can do more than most noble girls. I’ve been pointed out as a witch’s daughter since I was a child, so I’ve studied and trained a lot to protect myself. I even learned how to mix potions from my mother who was a witch.”

Lilitha said as her eyes shone with a little pride.

“You can also make medicines?”

“It’s a witch’s potion.”

As Lilitha pushed her chest out like a cute kitten filled with pride, Willem desire to protect her rose again and he swore to let her escape the country safely no matter what.

That night.

“Sorry for all the camping.”

Lilitha, who had been digging a hole for the toilet and she was actually having fun digging a hole for the first time, washed her hands and shook her head as she replied to the apologizing Willem.

“What are you saying? Safety comes first. If you go into the town and get found, we will be in danger. More importantly, hey, you are going to fix the dinner, are you not? I’ll help you.”

“Can you cook, princess?”

“I do! I’ve read a lot of cookbooks. Even though I’ve been exiled, I’ve actually been preparing for my upcoming escape from home.”

She smiled and replied with a potato held in her hand while Willem leaked a bitter laugh as he taught her the basics to hold a knife.

Slash! Slash!

Sounds that should not popped out from peeling potato actually appeared. Lilitha earnestly tried her best.

“I did it!”

There, in the palm of her hand, was a square of potatoes, cut into cubes. A square of potatoes, one centimeter square in size, sat in her hand.

The nineteen year old Willem smiled like a mother and praised Lilitha’s efforts.

There were potatoes of an inch size in the soup dish for dinner which made Lilitha very happy. The next morning, Willem went to the river to fetch water to boil.

The next morning, when Willem went to the river to fetch water to make boiling water, Lilitha, who had a puppy-like affection for him, walked behind him.

“Is there a river here?”

“No, there are no big rivers around here. But it rained a few days ago, so there’s a geographic place where the water comes out of a temporary narrow stream. Oh, there it is.”

Lilitha’s eyes twinkled as she looked in the direction Willem was pointing.

“Look! There are a lot of rare medicinal herbs here that are worth a lot of money!”

She sat down on the ground and happily picked the herbs, without a trace of dignity as a duchess. ‘But that’s fine’ Willem thought.

“Ants! Willem, these ants are carrying flowers. Hey, ants, can I trade for some bread?

She pulled out a loaf of leftover breakfast bread from her pocket, which she had planned to eat as a snack, and quickly exchanged the bread for the flower.

“They are just like in the picture book! I’ve never seen a real one before.”

Lilitha laughed, her honey-colored voice melting into a squeal as she looked at the thin petals similar to that of the soft wings of a butterfly.

Bound as a witch’s daughter and restricted in her activities around the duke, Lilitha couldn’t help but have fun in the forest.

The wind was like the sigh from air.

The water was like the music of glass.

The flowers were as beautiful as light snow.

Everything she saw and heard was new to her, and everything about the world made her whimper like a young child.

It was an innocent and pitiful sight. She’s very heartrending and incredible lovable. Willem stared at Lilitha, who was sitting on the ground and squirming, without blinking.

Just then, a bird flying high in the sky came into the corner of Willem’s eye.

He raised the corner of his mouth in a grin at the bird flying toward him and drew his bow just above him. His muscle sinews were raised and taut with tension, and his large shoulder blades looked like the wings of an angel.

Veesh.

The arrow shot from the bottom of the sky, causing two birds to fall as Lilitha looked up and down.

“Delicious morning meal flew in.”

Lilitha had never shot a bow before, but she still understood that Willem’s skill was extraordinary. It was a divine display of skill.

“It’s the kind of skill that could make you the overwhelming winner in the kingdom’s martial arts tournament.”

“If a mere soldier were to win the competition, it would bring disgrace to his superiors and the nobility. A few years ago, a commoner who won the third place lost one of his arms right after the tournament. That’s why it’s better for a low-ranking soldier to have a mediocre to good arm only. Especially for someone like me who doesn’t even have a family, if you get noticed, nothing good will happen to you.”

Lilitira drooped as if a wilting flower.

“The world is cruel…….”

She was able to correctly judge what Willem was saying, as she had always been a quiet and modest girl but now she had to bear the infamy of a great villainess.

“Of course, there are positive points too. You can escape with the princess like this and have an insanely good whole roasted bird for breakfast.”

Lilitha swallowed her throat.

“……is that bird really that delicious?”

“It’s really good. It’s so rare to find that it’s probably a treat even for a king.”

She hadn’t eaten anything that tasted so good since her mother died. For Lilitha, who had been living in a duke’s house for a long time and eating only thin soup and hard bread without any ingredients like bird feed, the meal prepared by Willem was as sweet as nectar.

She immediately grew taller and prettier, like a flower that had been given plenty of water.

At the same time that Lilitha was biting into the bird and going ‘Whoa~, yummy~’, her father, the Duke, was in a rage.

“Lilitha is dead, you say! Lilitha’s mother was the best witch in the kingdom, her blood was of inestimable value!!”

Slap! The first wife was beaten mercilessly with a raised hand. Following soon, Lilitha’s half-sister’s daughter as well.

“The king has given his blessing to celebrate the marriage of you and the third prince! The third prince will become the duke’s son-in-law!”

The duke pointed at his daughter and stomped his foot dully. He glared at his wife and daughter with icy eyes.

“Hah! Son-in-law! The third prince is an incompetent, shallow and brainless fellow! The king is going to use the duke’s family to clean up the third prince’s mess for the rest of his life!”

The third prince had political value to the duke because he was royalty. Lilitha was going to be the third prince’s wife.

In addition, the half-sister was already engaged. The other side had broken off the engagement because of her infidelity and she had been charged a huge penalty for breaking off the engagement.

“The third prince is either a god of poverty or a god of plague! If this continues, my duchy will flip over!”

Willem’s bow never missed a single arrow and he was also a skilled swordsman, feeding Lilitha delicious meat every day.

“This is happiness~. Yummy~”

“So you don’t mind catching it with your hands, princess?

“I can even take a full bite on an apple now, crunching it.”

Lilitha replied cheerfully, her cheeks puffed up like a munching little squirrel.

It’s been five days since she was banished, but Lilitha is in high spirits. The ‘little bird’ that escaped from the birdcage had been fed a full meal by Willem, and had become much stronger and wild.

Willem gently narrowed the corner of his eyes.

“Here you go.”

He put a small red fruit in Lilitha’s hand as a dessert after dinner.

“This is the last of the apples. We’ve been camped out here for a while, but tomorrow, when we enter the neighboring country, why don’t we go into the town?”

“Do you think they’ll be able to track us?”

“Of course we’ll be vigilant. But I want to get some information and buy some food. Besides, the princess is so dirty now, you don’t look like a noblewoman at all.”

“What? Do I smell?”

“You don’t smell. I didn’t mean it like that, for example.”

Willem took Lilitha’s hand as if it were a precious jewel.

“The princess’s hands are no longer the hands of a beautiful, unblemished nobleman. They are now the hands of a hard-working woman.”

He stroked Lilitha’s cheek with his remaining hand.

“Your  skin has also become dull, like that of someone working under the sun, not the white skin of a nobleman. You were a duke’s daughter and yet you’ve persevered through a life of inconvenience now.”

“Well, since I’m no longer an aristrocrat, can you please stop calling me princess?”

Lilitha turns red, like a flower being dyed with colour, as she held back Willem’s hand.

“Can you call me Lilitha? Ah, If you prefer we do it with an alias, then please give me a name. I want Willem to call me by my name, not princess.”

Willem’s words made her happy. She felt her heart fluttered and despondent at times. Lilitha expressed her overflowing feelings.

“I like you, Willem. I love you. Will you marry me?”

The fire exploded with a crackle, warming the cold night air. The flames came and went like little fairies.

“……with me?”

He was so happy that he wanted to scream.

Day after day, Willem grew to love every part of Lilitha. But Lilitha, though she was banished, was still a duke’s daughter, and there was a difference in status between them.

“Because Willem is kind, very kind, very dependable. I’m, you know, quite a bargain, I can speak six languages, I can make medicine, and now I have a bracelet with space storage and 5,000 gold coins.”

She rolled up the sleeve of her dress to reveal an old bracelet on her arm.

“It’s a memento of my mother. It was my mother’s hand-me-down, and it contains many other things besides gold coins. See? It’s a bargain, isn’t it? So will you marry me?”

Lilitha was trying her best to seduce Willem. Her ears were as red as seashells, and her eyes were single-mindedly focused on Willem.

“Did we not just get acquainted 5 days ago? And I’m a commoner.”

“I’m not the duke’s daughter anymore. …… Willem has taken care of me for five days, and I want to take care of you, not just for five days, but for life. Listen, listen, our setting was that of an eloping lovers, aren’t we? Can’t we just make it real?”

The cuteness of Lilitha looking up at him with her kittenish, cloudless eyes was so cute that Willem threw his hands up in surrender.

His passionate pair of eyes and his sincerity caught Lilitilla.

“I’m not going ever to let go of you until I die, is that okay with you?”

At the same time, there were screams everywhere in the royal capital. Mostly in the residences of the nobles.

“Aaaaah!”

“This must be a lie! A lie! Lie!! Impossible!”

“Hieeeeeeee!”

“Oh, my God! I can’t take it!”

“It itches! Itchy! Itchy, itchy, itchy!”

The white moon was shining brightly in the night sky.

The area was enveloped in a brilliant silvery light, and the branches and leaves of the great tree, like the pillars of a temple, shone lustrously under the moonlight as if to congratulate the lovers who had just declared their love for each other.

“Tomorrow we will be arriving in the neighboring country never to return. Do you have any regrets?”

“The only thing I’m worried about is whether the jewelry box has been opened properly, but I’m sure someone, most likely my half-sister, has already opened the jewelry box my mother left in my room, so I have no regrets.”

“Jewelry box?”

“There’s no jewel inside, only a box full of cursed jewels.”

“It was made by my mother, and when you open it, the curse will be activated towards those who have been mean to her and me.”

Lilitha’s eyes smiled like those of a naughty kitten.

“The bottom of the box is double-bottomed, and the names of the targets are placed inside. When the lid of the box is opened, the curse will fly to the target. The targets’ head will be permanently bald, and their feet will be covered with untreatable athlete’s foot.”

“You mean the curse of baldness and athlete’s foot?”

“They’ll be bald due to the curse and even if you put a wig or a hat on the head it will slip off, and the athlete’s foot is the intense type that can’t be treated even though it doesn’t spread to others… Do you feel disillusioned now?”

“Why would I? The person I told you about that took third place in the martial arts tournament is my senior and the one who taught me how to use a sword. Would you guessed that I, although it wasn’t found out in the end, shot that nobleman with an arrow from a distance and made him lose both hands and legs. But a commoner who lost his dominant arm would have been fired from his job and his life would have immediately become difficult while a nobleman could still be taken care of by his servants even if he became bedridden.”

“It’s a society like that but don’t you think it’s unreasonable that you have to smile back after being stepped upon by others. It’s ridiculous and repulsive. You can call me cruel, but I won’t regret my revenge.”

“Yes. I’m being called a villainess by my enemy even though I didn’t do anything. Then I did what they expected, I cursed them as a villainess with a wicked act. It’s the infamy they gave me. I just used it to my advantage.”

Lilitha’s mother was a revered witch, but she was also abhorred for no reason other than being a witch.

Lilitha was no different.

In addition,she is unable to resist because she has no magical power and was only a child, and the first wife and her half-sister, for example, they had been persistently and carefully abuse her for their own convenient malice. She was abused as a witch’s daughter and disgraced as a villainess.

“My mother and I could have cursed them at any time, but we were unable to put the last straw. So I have to be grateful for the infamy they provided. I was able to leave the jewelry box without any hesitation as per what is expected of a villainess thank to those that ruined my name. They wanted me to play the part of the villainess with no blood nor tears.”

Lilitha huffed at her fingers, which had lost a bit of body heat. Willem wrapped his hands around her and shared his warmth with her.

“I’m sure they opened it to steal because they expected that there’s a gem inside but they will be the one who opened the cursed lid instead. It’s as if they signed for their own curse. But I left a selection of curses in my mother’s belongings that wouldn’t harm the good people or bother the public properly.”

“Baldness affects only the appearance, and athlete’s foot is only a matter of agony if you don’t get it.”

Willem laughed secretly, thinking that baldness tore down the pride of the nobility in all directions, especially the noblewomen, and athlete’s foot would have made them itch like hell.

“Yes. My father, the first lady, my half-sister, the third prince, and all the people who mistreated me are all shiny and crusty now.”

Lilitha laughed with pure innocence and cuteness.

“It’s important to consider the choice of curses too! Because many of the curses that my mother left behind are so gruesome that they make your hair stand on end.”

What?

Baldness and athlete’s foot are the gentler kind of curses?

Willem stared at Lilitha’s bracelet which seemed to contain many hair-raising curses.

The next day, the sixth day of the exile, Lilitha and Willem held a private wedding ceremony in a church in the neighboring country.

The only decoration used was a crown of wild flowers, but it became a lifelong treasure for Lilitha.

Author’s Note:

Thank you very much for reading.


Banished, 5 Days Later. ~There Is Only Value in Infamy if You Make Use of It~

Banished, 5 Days Later. ~There Is Only Value in Infamy if You Make Use of It~

追放, 5日後。~悪名は利用してこそ価値がある~
Score 6.4
Status: Completed Type: Author: Released: 2022 Native Language: Japanese
Short story of the duke’s second daughter being framed.

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