IN ANOTHER FUTURE―HUGO(2)
Translated by: Miss Ruby
Edited by: ShadowDog
The clean-up of the Count of Matin, a supposed ‘small fry’ was moving at a snail’s pace. The traitor’s third son who was attending school at the Academy had luckily escaped to another country and the traitor’s wife had still not been found for three days. Thanks to this, the lives of the traitors was extended by several days and because leaving them at the count’s residence while monitoring them was a waste of manpower, they were all taken to prison.
On the fourth day, Hugo got a report from Dean stating that he had found a device that led to a secret area.
“Have you gone in?”
“I have not checked inside as you ordered, my lord.”
As a day passed, then two, then three, Hugo became curious about the woman who had hidden herself so deeply. She had definitely not left the mansion. Currently, security in the capital was water-tight and anyone suspicious would definitely standout. Since she had no one helping her, a noblewoman who had lived an easy life, would not be able to hide without leaving any trace. Therefore, Hugo figured that there was a secret location in the mansion and that she was hiding there. He told his subordinates that if such a place was found, they should immediately report it to him instead of combing through it.
He took only a few knights with him and went to the deserted house of Count of Matin. As Hugo watched Dean manipulated the device to reveal the darkness behind, his red eyes narrowed slightly. A knight lit his torch, cutting through the darkness.
Hugo looked around with interest. The expertly-made secret area was impressive. After descending for a while, they reached a chamber with dimly lit walls. Upon finding the shadow of a person lying in the corner, Hugo’s footsteps came to a stop.
He stopped his knights behind him, grabbed a torch and approached the shadow. There was no movement from the woman who was lying down, with her body curled up. Hugo lifted the torch higher to illuminate the surroundings. The temporary bed that the woman lay on was made of several layers of blankets and the surrounding leather sacks were filled with dry food. He also saw a bundle of clothes.
‘I suppose it’s a prepared shelter.’
The Count of Matin’s family did not know about the existence of this place. It was clear that the woman had prepared all of this by herself. It wasn’t possible that she knew about the Count’s household extermination beforehand. So why? Hugo’s red eyes gazed down at the soundly sleeping figure of the woman.
The woman’s struggle was intriguing. Hugo couldn’t understand the woman’s passion for life. This was boring and tedious world. If the woman had a child then he could see why, but both the maid that served her and the doctor in charge of her treatments said that she was infertile.
[She is definitely infertile. Even if she were not infertile, her husband has been incapable of having children for a few years now.]
Without even being asked, the doctor spoke about Count Matin’s sexual dysfunction. It was as if the doctor thought that proving the Countess’ infertility would save the Countess’ life. It was never a good thing to get involved with someone who had been caught up in a plot of treason, but the doctor looked to be more worried about the Countess’ situation than being afraid.
It felt like a contradiction for a woman who was supported by the people around her to have found a route to escape alone, abandoning her husband and children, even if the children weren’t actually her own. Was the life of a woman who chose the lifelong status of a fugitive worth being so obsessed about?
Hugo searched through his memories, checking to see if he remembered a woman called the Countess of Matin. He had a good memory, but he couldn’t remember people he didn’t have an impression of, or simply passed by without talking to. He had no memory of the Countess of Matin.
Hugo turned away from the woman.
When their lord began to climb up the stairs without saying anything, the knights followed silently as well. After they had fully exited the secret space, Hugo ordered:
“You have not seen anything today.”
The knight simply accepted without asking questions.
“Get a female body, put some noble clothes on it and throw it in the woods. The hair color should at least be similar.”
Hugo felt somewhat merciful and decided to save a member of the traitor’s family, giving her a chance to escape. It was on a whim, but he, himself, didn’t know why. Since she wanted to live so much, why not let her try. A noblewoman that had enjoyed a nice and easy life; how long could she endure? There was some cynicism mixed within.
“However, don’t slack on tracking down that damn third son.”
He could allow an infertile, childless, traitor woman to live, but a child was impossible. His usual belief was to never leave an ember behind.
The next day, all members of the Count Matin household were executed.
* * *
About a month later, Hugo attended an event where the king intimidated the nobles, calling it a party as a pretext, then sometime after midnight, he was on his way home. As he was passing by a noble’s mansion, he saw a shadow through the window and suddenly got curious.
‘That woman. She must have escaped, right?’
He had his carriage change directions to the Count of Matin’s residence. The Count’s residence was now a bleak sight and it only got gloomier as the day grew darker. Hugo manipulated the device, opening up the secret space and headed down. Sensing the presence of several people, the small creatures scuttling around quickly scattered in the dark. When he lit the torch and looked around, there was no person in sight, only rats.
Although he had already guessed that she would be gone, Hugo felt empty for some reason. He slowly looked around and found traces showing that someone had been here until just a few days ago.
‘She stayed in this place for over a month?’
He admired her extreme patience and tenacity. He didn’t expect such attributes from a Countess who was formerly a Princess. He couldn’t help but wonder what in the world had given her so much sustainment. Was it simply just the wish to live?
“There should be a passage out of here. Find it.”
The knights scoured the surroundings, then they manipulated a device and found a dark passage. Hugo and his knights walked along the narrow path of the tunnel for quite some time. When they finally got to the other side, one of his knights said that they were at a public cemetery at the outskirts of the capital.
The light in the sky was dim. As it was a cemetery, the area was completely void of people, not even shadows could be found. Hugo stared at the morning sun which was shining light on the graveyard.
“Do we track?” (?)
“…No need.” (Hugo)
This was the result of his useless curiosity. Hugo decided to stop here in doing things that were unlike himself. No matter how the woman lived after this, it was a matter that had left his hands.
His carriage was at the Count’s residence. Rather than waiting for one of his knights to bring a vehicle for him to ride, he decided to use the passage and go back. Hugo turned around, about to go into the passage entrance, but then he halted and bent down. He cleared away a pile of rubble and a small wooden jewelry box, usually used by noblewomen, was revealed underneath. He took off the cover and chuckled. The rings and necklaces heaped inside the box didn’t seem like very expensive items.
‘Must be an escape fund. So she hid all her trinkets here instead of carrying it on her body. Clever judgement.’
As he was about to cover it again, Hugo’s gaze fell on his left chest collar. There was brooch pinned to the collar of his tailcoat. It was in the shape of a lion’s head exquisitely crafted from silver and had two small red jewels embedded on it. It was an ornament that represented the lord of the Ducal House of Taran.
Hugo tore off the brooch from his chest. It was more valuable than several of the rings in the jewelry box. He threw it into the box without any hesitation, covered up the box, put it back where it originally was and even piled up the stones like before.
Hugo stayed squatting like that for a very short while. He shook off his thoughts, feeling strange and rose to his feet. Then he unhesitatingly began to walk into the dark tunnel. His knights immediately followed after him. Their figures quickly disappeared into the darkness.
Three years later, Hugo received a report that Bruno Matin, the third son of the traitor was caught and executed on the spot. The third son of Count Matin, who had been evading the tracking unit with his sudden appearance and disappearances was a hot topic in the social circle for a considerable amount of time, but as time passed, people’s attention turned elsewhere. And so, Bruno Matin’s death was quietly buried.
*If you want to re-read Lucia’s version of these events, it is in chapter 91 [Part 1 & 2]