Chapter 3 – How Old Are You?
Zed tried his hardest to deny reality, but he still called for Leticia’s personal maid.
“Anna, what…what happened to her?”
The maid with the yellow-green hair studied Zed’s expression and spoke. “Well…she doesn’t recognize us,” she said carefully.
“I can see that. It’s just…I’m just asking to make sure it’s exactly what I was thinking. It’s that…right? That thing I’m thinking?”
Anna shut her two eyes tight and spoke that truth that she never wanted to admit. “Yes. It looks like she has amnesia.”
Zed’s eyes closed shut as he realized this tragic truth. He held his head with both his hands and screamed.
The whole situation became severely worse. The public had gone even further in labeling Leticia as a villainess, and suddenly she had amnesia. If she had woken up properly, she could have used her social manipulation skills to quell the rumors and return the situation to normal somehow.
Zed sat on the bed and stared at Leticia, who was still extremely guarded against him. It looked like she was still holding her neck and back straight to keep her dignity as a noble, but he spied that the tips of her fingers were shaking. She looked akin to a cat with its fur on end and hissing at him, ready to bolt if he tried to get any closer.
Time ticked by as the two gazed at each other in a stalemate.
Zed couldn’t control himself from letting out a sigh, and Leticia reacted to it by shivering again. Zed felt goosebumps rising on his skin upon seeing the uncharacteristic behavior again.
A scared Leticia. An anxious Leticia!?
She was always confident and always wore a smile on her face, so this was completely unlike her. Perhaps the equivalent analogy would be like seeing a venomous snake rubbing its head against your hand trying to look cute, which was the same awkward impression he was having.
‘That’s not the problem.’
Zed shook his head to bring his thoughts back into focus. What was done is done, and he couldn’t do anything about it. The most pressing matter now was figuring out how to solve this chaotic situation they were in. To do that, he needed to know exactly how far back her amnesia had sent her in terms of her memory. From there, he could work out a correct solution.
Leticia might have had all of her memory completely erased, but he also heard there were cases where only memories of certain people were lost.
‘And if it’s not that, there are cases where their memories are just spotty in some places.’
Zed let out a small sigh as he picked his brain to get an answer. As there was no definite scientific data about amnesia, he could only make assumptions.
He desperately wished that his skills to adapt to situations were still with him.
“Laya…” Leticia murmured cautiously.
Zed looked at her with suspicion in his eyes, and she bit her lower lip and looked as if she was summoning her courage to speak again.
“Tell Laya to come here. If you don’t, then I won’t talk.”
Laya? Zed tilted his head in confusion. That name came out of nowhere, but it was actually familiar to him. Leticia used to frequently talk about Laya in the past. Laya was a duke’s wife who completely lost her noble title and wealth, and lived as Leticia’s nanny thereafter. However, Zed heard that she had died in an incident five years before he became Leticia’s bodyguard knight.
Why was Leticia looking for a dead person?
“There’s no way she would still be here in the first place. She already died after all,” Zed said.
Unfortunately, he spoke carelessly, and Leticia’s expression turned deathly pale. Her lips wobbled, and tears welled up at the corners of her eyes and looked ready to burst. Zed looked at this change in complete confusion and shock.
‘What did I do wrong this time…?’
He inwardly made a sound of frustration. Perhaps it was too difficult for him to adapt quickly to Leticia’s varied expressions that changed moment by moment.
Zed shut his eyes tightly and tried to think from Leticia’s point of view.
Because she had woken up with lost memory, it would make sense that she was practically waking up in an environment where she was completely surrounded by strangers. If the last memory she had was of her inside a different room than the one she was currently in, or even if it was of the same room where the furniture was rearranged differently, she would think that she was in an unfamiliar place as well.
Then what would Leticia interpret this current situation as?
Zed quickly arrived at an answer.
Considering her noble status, it was a completely plausible scenario. And in that situation, the first thing she would do was to seek help from a person whom she was always with.
She must have thought, ‘If I am kidnapped, what about Laya?’
But what if someone told her that she had already died? Then how would she interpret it?
“There’s no way she would still be here in the first place. She already died (To make sure this situation is kept secret) after all.”
Ah…damn it, he ruined everything. So that was the reason why Lady Leticia often told him to think before he spoke.
Zed looked at Leticia, who was barely managing to hold back the dam of tears, and attempted to soothe her.
“No, right now, My Lady, there is a big misunderstanding.”
“Shh—Shh—Quiet! It’s a misunderstanding, a misunderstanding!”
“Hnng! Hic, hic…!“
But his efforts were in vain, as Leticia’s eyes started to draw out large tears. She was doing her best to muffle her cries, but she looked like she was close to letting it all out. If there was no one around her at all when she woke up, she would have definitely started wailing out loud.
‘Haha, what a crazy mess this is.’
Zed made a deadened expression and turned back towards the maids. He then saw that the maids also had similar expressions as his, trying to rub their eyes and seeing if this was all just a dream.
Zed looked over at Leticia again. Her straightened back had now curled up, and her frail attempt at a composed demeanor had dissolved into tears. He could only sigh deeply at the sight of the high and mighty Leticia reduced to this.
At that moment, a horrifying hypothesis went through his mind. When Laya died in the accident, Leticia was nine years old back when it happened. But since Leticia didn’t remember that fact, the memory she currently had must be even further back than when she was nine years old.
Then just how far back did her memory go?
Zed felt like a sword was lodged in his neck. He roughly grabbed Leticia’s shoulders. He normally would never have touched her this way, but his mind was too frantic to even consider that.
Whether it was due to the heavy pressure of Zed’s spirit, or due to being surprised by the sudden action he took like a true kidnapper, Leticia immediately stopped crying.
Zed’s lips trembled as he tried to speak, and he finally managed to force the words out of his throat.
“H…how old…are you now?”
Please…please don’t go too far back.
He prayed desperately as he waited for Leticia to answer. She mumbled somewhat, and finally gave an answer.
“S-Seven years old.”
Ah…it was all over.
Zed couldn’t do anything but despair.