Magi Craft Meister - Volume 8 - Chapter 8
08-08 The Escape
Turning back time a little, to the night before Elsa and Mine disappeared. In one of the rooms of the hotel in provincial city Ikasanaato.
After returning to her own room Elsa wept without making a sound.
She knew Marquis Aizen. Because his grounds neighbored her family’s and because he had also been her father’s superior officer, he visited at times.
He had no hair on his head and a plump figure. It was said that before he retired from military service he had a toned body, but Elsa couldn’t imagine it.
Previously when Beana was proposed to by Earl Kuzuma, Beana had asked Elsa how she felt about marriage with Jin.
Elsa remembered thinking at that time that while she did like Jin, marrying and living together with him was unimaginable.
“But that man is…”
She hated him. She hated being around him. She would hate being married to someone like that even more. Just being looked at by him gave her the chills. Elsa could do nothing but bite her lip and cry.
However, being born a daughter to a noble’s house, she had to obey her father’s orders. Not to mention that in the case of a marriage proposal beneficial to the house, everyone must’ve rejoiced. With the exception of just one person, Elsa herself.
At that moment, there was a knock on the door.
Elsa did not respond, the door softly opened, and Mine entered.
Despite Elsa not responding,
“You don’t have to say it. You most certainly hate this marriage with the Marquis, right?”
Mine said. Elsa reflexively looked at Mine’s face.
“I understand. Because you’re the young lady that I’ve watched over since you were a baby.”
Mine smiled kindly, and tenderly hugged Elsa’s head.
In the end Elsa became unable to hold back her emotions and called Mine’s name. Simultaneously she began to cry a second time and,
For a while Elsa stayed like that crying into Mine’s chest.
When Mine estimated that Elsa had calmed down a little, she spoke.
“Young lady, you have two paths available to you. One path is to stay as a noblewoman and marry the Marquis. The other one is to throw away your status as a noble and earn the freedom to decide for yourself.”
“Freedom, to decide, for myself?”
That stirred Elsa and she raised her head.
“Yes. Common people like me assuredly have less rules than nobles. That way there are also hardships, but it’s the difference between hardships pushed onto you and hardships you yourself chose. There’s no telling which one would be the best no matter what, but don’t you think that it’s as well to choose your own hardship?”
＊ ＊ ＊
Mine’s tempting took time.
The truth was that while waiting for the day when they would arrive in this town that was near her birthplace, Mine had secretly made many preparations. To run away with Elsa.
However, if Elsa were to sneak away of her own volition, Mine would gladly say there was no greater fortune she could wish for.
Using sophistry, using schemes, Mine was trying to make Elsa receptive for the idea.
＊ ＊ ＊
“Freedom, to decide, for myself.”
Once more Elsa repeated it.
“You may not meet Reinhardt-sama again. Because he’s a noble. But Jin-sama is a commoner. Maybe in one or two years if things calm down you could meet him.”
Mine added. You could call it clever. She skillfully provoked Elsa’s feelings of worry, or no, feelings of something like pining towards Jin.
“If it’s Jin-kun, then surely…”
Were she to meet with Jin, just Jin by himself could maybe arrange her to meet Reinhardt. Elsa held a hope like like that.
Then before she knew it, she nodded to Mine.
Elsa said only that, then Mine hugged her once again and,
“Young lady! So you’ve firmly made up your mind. Mine will protect young lady even if costs me my life.”
She said and gently brushed Elsa’s back.
＊ ＊ ＊
That night, the two vanished.
They put on commoners’ clothing Mine had surreptiously prepared and snuck out of the back door.
No one at all was expecting Elsa to run away, and so there weren’t anything like lookouts keeping watch.
There were soldiers guarding the place, but it’s not like they were there all the time, instead they only made periodical patrols and because of that it hadn’t been difficult to run away while they were gone.
They left behind all accessories that would immediately reveal that she was a noble, bulky objects, and everything unnecessary. The dagger and the ring included.
Because she had taken the ring off, by the time they noticed it they were no longer in a situation where they could go back to get it. However, the truth was that Mine who knew about the items she had received from Jin had purposefully done that.
(But, just this is.)
Elsa had secretly hid the brooch she had got from Jin as a birthday present in her breast pocket.
Mine led Elsa who had wanted to take the dagger too by the hand, and Elsa walked into the night with some reluctance.
The only ones who saw them were Pansy and Lily of the SP. But as it did not involve Jin, just like that without doing anything they watched the two leave.
＊ ＊ ＊
Mine who had saved most of her pay as a nanny for this day had told Elsa to not worry about money right now, so she ran with nearly nothing but the clothes she wore.
Mine’s parents’ home was in the town of Sasad next to Ikasanaato. They were relatively affluent merchants, but as they’d likely be the first ones searched she had no intention of relying on them.
In the dark, they went to the place of ‘Mr. Handy’ whom Mine had fired. She had already made contact with him for the journey out, in that sense things were going as planned.
“Hey there, welcome. So, she that young lady ye mentioned?
“That’s right. I brought her out today. Please proceed as planned.”
“Got it, got it.”
Mine who had originally intended to run off with Elsa from Ikasanaato already had escape plans prepared.
“Well, there’s not enough time left tonight. Wontcha stay here ’til tomorrow night? What, they ain’t finding ye here, no way, so relax.”
Mr. Handy said and guided Elsa and Mine to a room with beds. It was a room that could be reliably locked from the inside. The two were mentally tired and so they immediately fell asleep.
The next day they waited until dusk to act. The hours were long. When the two got out of Mr. Handy’s hideout they looked exhausted.
First, they rode horses northeast.
Other than going through Ikasanaato, there were other ways to get into Celuroa Kingdom. Although most of those ways were illegal.
There was a narrow path through the mountains between Celuroa Kingdom and Egelia Kingdom, people from underground businesses went back and forth on that path, and now Elsa and Mine rode horses through that path.
The path only as wide as the tracks on it meandered through the mountains. The ridgelines marked the border, and here and there were stakes in the ground marking the boundary. These stakes were Magi Tools that would sound an alarm if a human passed between two stakes.
For that reason their manufacturing method was a secret. Well, if Jin saw them he could probably quickly analyze their entire structure.
“Let’s-a stay here for the night.”
Near the border there was a small hut. It was a location ‘Mr. Handy’ used in times like these.
Mine and Elsa were tired from riding horses in the midnight darkness, and so as told they wrapped themselves in blankets handed to them.
“…It’s not tasty.”
“Young lady, please endure for just a bit longer.”
The two satisfied their hunger with bread and soup Mr. Handy had prepared. The taste was of course irrelevant, so Elsa accidentally voiced her dissatisfaction.
This day’s plan was to pass through the border opened by ‘Mr. Through’ into the vicinity of Celuroa Kingdom, and wait for the night in a hut that commanded a view of River Torres from up high.
The person called ‘Mr. Through’ was a middle-aged magus who could using the help of a Magi Tool erect a sort of a tunnel between the stakes in a place wide enough for it.
Going through that tunnel, Elsa and Mine were able to peacefully pass the border without the stakes sounding an alarm.
“Now, next is descending the mountain to the river, where with the help of ‘Mr. Ferry’ ye’ll cross over to Celuroa Kingdom’s subcentral district where ye simply can’t be found by pursuers, I hope.”
Mr. Handy who came with them said so to the two, then guided them to hut up high that from which River Torres could be viewed.
“Wontcha wait here patiently ’til the night.”
Mr. Handy said and went out. Left behind, Elsa and Mine exchanged glances.
“Young lady, just a little longer. Once we cross the river, there’s no need to be afraid of pursuers any longer. Let’s rent a house where we two can live together.”
Mine affectionately hugged Elsa who seemed to be worn out from the journey. Elsa fell asleep just like that. Mine looked at Elsa’s sleeping face and,
“My darling child. I’ll protect you no matter what it takes.”
She said and gently combed Elsa’s hair that reached her forehead with her fingers.
The outside gradually darkened, and before long the awaited night came.
“Come on, let’s-a-go.”
Mr. Handy said, and opened the hut’s door. It was already pitch black outside.
“Watch yer step.”
He said, but even so with just the moonlight it was fairly difficult. After falling over multiple times Elsa and Mine got down to the riverbed.
There there was a single boat.
“That’s ‘Mr. Ferry’.”
The figure on board bowed their head a bit.
“Thank you for your trouble.”
Mine said to Mr. Handy and gave him a pouch of gold coins.
“Hehe, well then, be well.”
After confirming the contents of the pouch Mr. Handy forced a smile and disappeared into the night.
“Young lady, come now.”
Mine led Elsa by the hand to the boat to board it. It was a small boat which five people could board.
First Elsa got on the boat. Mr. Ferry lent a hand, and Elsa safely got on board.
Then Mine got on board, and immediately the boat departed from the shore and began heading towards the opposite shore. Mr. Ferry moved the boat with an object similar to an ‘oar’.
“Now you need just wait until we arrive at the other shore.”
Mine let out a large sigh, gently put her hand around Elsa’s shoulder, and said.
This world’s moon is small. Nevertheless, in the moonlight the river’s surface glittered with countless of reflections like silver sand. Elsa was absentmindedly gazing at it.
The boat slowly kept on crossing the river.