The news of that obituary reached Hana-Hana a week after Yaquel went to the palace.
At first, Yaquel went out with Sajis but everyone, of course, assumed that he will be back that same day or the next day at the latest. Yaquel himself was scared that he had committed a crime unknowingly and was summoned by the royal family to the palace but the members of Hana-Hana, including Retana, know that Yaquel isn’t the kind of man who can do such a thing regardless of merit. And although they don’t know why he was summoned over, they thought that the problem would be quickly resolved and he could return soon after since Sajis, who is acquainted with His Majesty, was accompanying him.
However, the only one who came back was Sajis. Sajis explained the situation to Retana only, but since the topic was the private life of a royalty, the others were only told that Yaquel will be temporarily working for the Royal Family all of a sudden and wouldn’t be able to return for a while. At the same time, she also explained the disappearance of Reno at the same time that Yaquel left.
The shop was busy as always but the palace sent three strong men in place of Yaquel and Reno so there was enough help to make up for Yaquel’s absence. However, the members of Hana-Hana who loved Yaquel’s disposition expressed the emptiness and loneliness they felt without Yaquel, and were anticipating his return.
Then, on an afternoon when rain clouds hung over and heavy rain seemed about to fall, a carriage stopped on Hana-Hana. The one who interacted with the cold-looking man who alighted from the carriage was Retana who happened to be on the table, but that man who she assumed to be a customer mentioned Yaquel’s name saying, “Is this the Hana-Hana where Yaquel-sama was working at?” so she looked at the carriage again and was shocked to see the royal crest on it. She hurriedly took him to the lounge. Retana introduced herself and the man also briefly introduced himself.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Bang Danner, one of His Highness the Crown Prince Hylm’s retainers.”
Hearing Hylm’s name, Retana remembered Yaquel’s mission that Sajis mentioned.
“Thank you for going out of your way to visit us. So, what business might you have for coming here today?”
“Yes, then I will go straight to the point. Do you recognize this?”
What Bang took out of the paper bag was a torn and dirty tailcoat jacket. Retana recognized that jacket. That morning of Yaquel going to the palace wearing that tailcoat flickered on Retana’s mind.
“This is Yaquel’s……”
Bang sighed heavily upon hearing Retana’s words and at the same time, he wrinkled his brows.
“……As I thought, that was truly the case.”
“What is this all about?”
The fact that a piece of Yaquel’s clothes is here and in this state, it’s strange no matter how I think about it. Did he get into some kind of trouble?
Retana asked Bang while calming down her anxious heart.
“Yaquel-sama completed his mission 3 days ago and left the castle alone. But I was scolded by Hylm-sama for allowing Yaquel-sama, who has done such a meritorious deed, to leave alone so I chased after Yaquel-sama in a carriage. Thereupon, I met a family who claimed that they were attacked by a robber on the mountain road and the one who saved them was a man who has similar characteristics as Yaquel-sama. When I asked them in detail, they said that their savior got into a scuffle with the robber and fell into the river by the cliff……”
“The robber was nowhere to be found so I hired some people to search by the cliff and river while relying on their information these past few days, but we haven’t been able to find Yaquel-sama. Instead, this article of clothing was found today at the riverbed……”
“No, no way……”
Retana was too shocked to speak, she weakly sat on the floor as she was unable to stay standing.
“I’m sorry that this happened. If only I properly sent Yaquel-sama here, something like this wouldn’t have…”
Bang’s regretful and heavy voice seemed to thrust at Retana the reality that Yaquel drowned in the river and di*d.
That voice didn’t come from Retana but from Aria who came in from the forcefully opened door. It seems that Aria has been eavesdropping with the clerk, and she rashly walks towards Bang.
“That’s a lie, you’re lying! I will never believe you!”
The clerk draws closer to Bang and tries to pinion Aria from behind but Aria’s strength doesn’t weaken.
“But aren’t I right! Because Yaquel can’t be dead! It’s impossible for such a kind-hearted guy to die… he can’t be dead…… because… uwaaaaah”
Aria burst into tears on the spot and the clerk who let go of her also hung his head with a pale face.
The heavy rain that finally fell started mercilessly striking the windows, as if it’s representing the intense grief that Retana and the others.
The news of Yaquel’s death was announced after business hours and the other members of Hana-Hana grieved and moaned just like Aria.
When Guinn visited Hana Hana for the first time in five days, the store was no longer as lively as usual, and it was as quiet as a well-disciplined library in the royal capital. When he came here 5 days ago, he was told that Yaquel went to a distant place to buy something so he immediately went home, but the shop wasn’t in this state. The clerk isn’t welcoming him today, and he can’t hear the prost*tutes’ frolicking sounds. Guinn was worried that something happened in the shop so he immediately went in by himself and looked around, wondering if anybody was there. He went to the workspace where Yaquel was always at but he was nowhere tp be found, but he found Retana sitting on a wooden chair there instead, blankly looking up to the sky.
The eyes of Retana that he sees are red and swollen which shocks him, he steps up and asks her the cause of her greatly grief-stricken expression.
“What’s wrong? Did something happen?”
“Guinn-sama… ohh… Guinn-sama”
Retana asked Guinn for help as if she depended on him and told him about Yaquel being summoned by His Majesty to the palace and Sajis accompanying him there as well as about Hylm. She also told him about Bang’s visit yesterday.
Guinn plainly responded with a single ‘Is that so’ upon hearing everything. Isn’t he sad even though he favored Yaquel so much? Doesn’t he feel heart-broken? Are knights like that? Retana accusingly looked at Guinn.
…Oh, I see.
Guinn’s eyes, which Retana caught, were burning with rage. He was clenching his teeth and clenching his fists so hard so as not to break down in an unsightly manner.
Retana couldn’t comprehend a knight’s spirit, but she thought that it’s precisely because he was someone who was endowed with a spirit to not get shaken up by grief and anger that he was able to become the country’s number one hero.
“I understand the situation.”
“Will you leave this matter to me?”
“This incident is too suspicious.”
“First of all, it’s a little strange to pass by that mountain road which is a detour towards the royal capital. And even if he passed by there, it’s a road that still has pedestrian traffic. If a robber appears, it wouldn’t be strange if an information of that sighting came to me. However, such information has never arrived even once these past few days.”
If what Guinn said is true, does it mean that Yaquel can still be alive? Retana wanted to cling to the slightest possibility.
She can’t believe that Yaquel is d*ad. She can’t give up hope. No, she doesn’t want to give it up.
“Guinn-sama, I leave it in your hands.”
Retana very deeply bowed her head.
“Sure. I will find Yaquel without fail.”
Guinn showed Retana his strong determination and left Hana-Hana.
And the place where he was making his beloved horse run towards was the Yandalunia Mansion where Sajis, whom he personally finds annoyingly provoking, lives.
TN: There were so many things I wanted to insert in this chapter but held myself back. That prince really went that route. D*mn him! I almost cried when Aria burst inside the room. I’m so mad towards the CP. He better get punished for what he did.