“Father! No matter how you think about it, having Brit marry Jerd is just too cruel! You know how much Jerd hates my guts!”
I heard my name being mentioned from my father’s office on the first floor—even though I was against it at first, in the end, I decided to eavesdrop near the door. The one who raised his voice just now was my older brother. Meanwhile, Jerd was the name of a knight whom my older brother had severely tortured—which resulted in the loss of his arm—due to a misunderstanding.
—… and I am to be married to such a person?
Is it really my Father’s decision, I wonder?
“I also wish for Brit’s happiness. It’s not like I want her to marry a man who truly despises you… however, it’s a direct request of the Duke of Carneus. The only way to appease that Duke is to sacrifice my precious daughter. I can’t put up with anymore foolish things happening…”
My father regretfully groaned.
Cecilia, the daughter of the Duke of Carneus, was the fiancée of the crown prince up until two months ago. Everyone fully anticipated their marriage, believing that the beautiful and intelligent Cecilia was very suited to be with the dignified Crown Prince.
Despite that, one year ago, ever since the Baron’s daughter, Doris, met with His Highness the Crown Prince, everything began to go awry.
Rumors that His Highness and Doris were intimate soon spread across the social circles. Half a year later, rumors began to swirl that Lady Cecilia, and Jerd, the Crown Prince’s escort knight, were in a close relationship. Of course, both Lady Cecilia and Jerd denied such rumors. Since Jerd’s seriousness was widely known, many people casually dismissed those rumors, saying it had no roots or leaves.
The scandals between His Highness the Crown Prince and Cecilia hadn’t disappeared—at least, not that easily. Nevertheless, on the surface, everyone acted as if nothing had happened—thus, time went by.
It was about two months ago when the fleeting calmness shattered.
His Highness the King left the kingdom to visit his allies. Escorting him was my father, the knight leader. The Duke of Carneus, who managed the national treasury, also accompanied them.
The incident happened during such circumstances.
I once had a fiancé. Bennio, the second son of the Count Nordenson, was twenty years old. He was three years older than me. He had been playmate of His Highness the Crown Prince ever since he was little, and had been a high-ranking aide of his for about three years. After marrying me, he was supposed to inherit one of the titles my father controlled, and become a viscount.
I was engaged to him ten years ago when I was seven years old. I didn’t have a burning passion for him, but there were some feelings, regardless.
Nevertheless, when my father was away, he suddenly and one-sidedly announced the end of our engagement.
“Not only are you a foolish woman, you’re also oppressive. I can’t marry such a woman. I will thereby annul our engagement.”
“By ‘oppressive’, what are you referring to? I recall no such things.”
“Excuses are what immediately come out of your mouth. Unsightly, that’s what you are.”
He didn’t even tell me the reason. In fact, it was as if he couldn’t hear any of what I was saying.
Thus, while the abandoned me was still confused, my brother had approved the cancellation of our engagement.
“Brit seems to have been oppressing Lady Doris. Certainly, the other ladies have been doing the same thing, but you’re the daughter of a knight leader. It’s your obligation to not stoop as low as those other ladies. What a shameless thing to do, more so, it happened in this house—my house! For you to oppress someone—it’s only natural for the engagement to be broken!”
My brother was usually very caring towards me.
That same older brother was currently staring at me with a stern expression like never before.
“…Lady Doris? When I haven’t even met her in person?”
She was the lady whom was rumored to be close with His Highness the Crown Prince—such was the extent of my knowledge regarding her. I had never oppressed her—not even once.
Based on my belief about what made a proper lady, I had made a remark about how, ‘a woman shouldn’t snuggle up to a man who already has a fiancée.’—but that was it. Obviously, I had never said that to the person herself.
“My point is, I have no intention of marrying you. I can’t lead a life with a woman who oppresses a helpless woman—not to mention, to come at her in large numbers!”
Bennio stared at me with cold eyes—it was as if he was staring at a mere insect.
Due to the shock that he could dismiss the ten years he had with me that easily, I couldn’t even put up a proper argument—
—I couldn’t even cry.
“I will inform Father about the annulment. Bennio doesn’t have to worry about anything. It seems that Brit still needs to be educated.”
After saying such, my brother grabbed my arm.
Then, for ten days until before my father returned home, I was placed under house arrest.
While my father was away, my brother was in charge of the house, no servant could oppose him. My mother and my younger brother were also away at the other provinces—therefore, no one could go against him, really.
Neither my fiancé, Bennio, nor my kind older brother would believe in me at all.
It felt really painful.
Recalling their cold eyes, which were directed at me, at last, I cried.
Ten years with Bennio—and also seventeen years with my brother. To me, it was such a precious time, but to them, it turned out to be something that could easily be brushed off. I couldn’t garner any trust.
I kept wondering what Doris had said to Bennio and my brother, but there was no way for me to know. It was forbidden for me to even send a letter to a friend.
There was plenty of time, but I couldn’t afford to do anything—all I could do was cry.
A big incident happened during the time I wasn’t allowed to leave my room.
To the Crown Prince, Doris accused that Jerd had assaulted her, resulting in her loss of chastity. Doris also pointed out that Cecilia, whom previously had interacted with Jerd, was the one who ordered the sexual assault. Both Cecilia and Jerd were then caught.
Of course, none of them plead guilty.
Frustrated, His Highness the Crown Prince ordered my brother to torture Jerd.
Cecilia was also brought to the site to witness the torture of Jerd. It wasn’t hard to imagine how painful it was for the gentle lady.
“Just admit that you were ordered by Cecilia. That way, I will grant you a swift death.”
My brother said so as he continued torturing Jerd in front of Cecilia.
“But! None of us can tell what Jerd is going to do to Brit afterwards!”
He believed Doris’ words without questioning a thing and imprisoned me inside my room. Despite so, it sounded like my brother was concerned about me—so now he’s worried.
Had he doubted Doris a little at that time, none of this would’ve happened.
“The Duke said that no matter how severe Brit is going to be mistreated, divorce is not allowed. He will only allow her to return to this house if she becomes a corpse. If we disagree, the budget for the order of the knights will be reduced—if that happens, protecting the kingdom will become difficult. The public may be in mass confusion, but you’re the one who personally infuriated the Duke.”
My brother was silent. He couldn’t propose a single argument.
My father was trying to sacrifice me for the sake of the knight order, and also the kingdom.
First and foremost, I was the daughter of an aristocrat.
It was already general knowledge that I would sooner or later be betrothed in a political marriage.
Jerd was tortured for a crime he didn’t commit—therefore, a sincere apology was in order.
However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t scared of being married to him.
“Jerd endured the severe punishment of protecting the integrity of Lady Cecilia, whom was accused of being his lover. Even if he hates you to the point he wants to murder you in cold-blood, I don’t think he would direct that abhorrence at Brit—since he’s a knight.”
My father seemed to trust Jerd whom was his subordinate.
“It’s me who took his hand—the knight’s proud sword-handed arm—with my sword. The one who did such a loathsome thing, lacking in chivalry, was me. Offer my head to the Duke, tell him to not proceed with this marriage arrangement.”
I heard my brother squeeze out such words.
“That offer is rejected.”
My father muttered in hopelessness.
It was only understandable for the Duke Carneus to be angry. Cecilia, whom was unfairly accused and even tortured, suffered a deep wound in her heart, and entered the monastery.
After the return of His Highness the King, the Duke, and also my father, an all-out investigation was carried out. Thus, it was revealed that every single one of Doris’ accusations were but baseless—treachery.
Despite so, Cecilia insisted she wouldn’t return to her former society for the remainder of her life.
The reason why Doris framed Jerd was because, as the crown prince’s escort knight, Jerd admonished Doris. Jerd told Doris to minimize her contact and behave modestly around the crown prince—and she didn’t like that.
Doris was no longer chaste, but still, to His Highness the Crown Prince, she lied and said that Jerd had attacked her.
It was truly miserable—not only His Highness the Crown Prince, his entire entourage—including my brother, believed her lies without a single thought.
“So, you deem upon sacrificing Brit as it is—!”
My brother screamed.
To me, no matter how high he raised his voice, he was still entirely to blame.
At this point, I just wished he would cease all that talk—all that talk; as if he was concerned about me all along.
“You’re the main force that drove this to happen. After all, it’s you who approved the annulment of her engagement without permission while using my name. In the first place, are there any prospects for a good marriage anymore now that Brit has become 17-year-old!? I have no choice but hope that Jerd, who endured such torment for the sake of Cecilia, will make Brit happy.”
For a moment, I thought of escaping to the monastery, just like Cecilia.
But doing so would incite even more wrath from Duke Carneus—to the point that it would really threaten the kingdom.
As far as I could tell, Jerd seemed to be a noble knight. No matter how much he hated my brother and the duke’s ‘permission’, I didn’t think he was the kind of person who would antagonize his wife.
Thus, I decided to get married.
***T/N: Just a short story that I picked up because it captivated my heart!!!! …So my awesome knight Jerd has to loss an arm because a hormonal boi is unable to differentiate between the truth and the lies the THOT has spoken and didn’t even bother to investigate? C’mon, man, I thought you were better than that…