The knights I came across were ones actually hired by Clifford-sama who were given a search request after Rose-sama and us when we did not return.
The knights then immediately brought me back to the Winsley ducal mansion.
“Master!…….I’m truly sorry. Here I am…….but Rose-sama is still in danger……”
“No, you’ve done nothing wrong. Allen, I’m just happy you are safe. ……Is Rose all right?”
“Yes, you see Master……..”
I told Clifford-sama about everything I had seen and heard while captive in that mansion.
“…..so the auction is the day after tomorrow? ……Commander”
“We now understand who is the mastermind behind the dark auction. As such, begin the operation. We are going to help my cute Rose, El, and all the other children who have been kidnapped.”
“Allen, you’ve had to run a long way to get here and must be tired. Take a nice rest for a bit. Leave the rest to us. Allen, thank you.”
Clifford-sama said only that before leaving the room along with the man he referred to as the commander. I thought that there was more I could do, should do, but my body refused to act the way I wanted and stayed glued to the soft couch I was sitting on instead. Suddenly my eyelids started to feel heavy, and I eventually let go of my consciousness.
When I felt somebody’s gaze on me, my eyes shot open, and I saw Yumeria-sama sitting on the couch next to me with my father standing nearby.
“…!! Madam!? ……and Father too”
I was shocked to find the madam and father there, and I immediately tried getting up without thinking. Unfortunately my body still feels as if it’s made of lead making it difficult to move very well.
“Allen-kun, you’re fine as you are. Were you able to get some rest? I heard you ran all the way here from the mansion. Are you all right?”
“N-No! Forget about me! Madam, my sincerest apologies.”
“It’s okay. Rose was caught as well, but she’s still safe right? She has El-kun nearby, and come tomorrow, we shall resolve this situation once and for all. She’ll be fine.”
Until recently, I was focused on making sure no harm came to Rose-sama. After that I was desperate to get away safely to be able to call for help, so I pushed it to the back of my mind. But now that I have the Master and Madam in front of me, the realization of my own incompetence comes bubbling back up to the surface.
If I weren’t so useless, Rose-sama would never have been in this kind of danger in the first place……
“Don’t blame yourself. …..I leave the rest to you Albert.”
“Yes Madam. …..Thank you very much.”
With those words the Madam patted my head and left the room. With the Madam gone, my father who had been waiting silently behind her came next to me.
“Allen, you did well making it here.”
He stroked my head, but his words didn’t make me happy.
“……..I’m incompetent. Father……I, I couldn’t do anything. …..I left Rose-sama alone…..while I’m safe here…….”
“You’re still young. And the blame for this incident rests on my shoulders. I should’ve sent a proper escort instead of just a servant. Allen, I’m sorry……. But what you’re not understanding is that the information you’ve delivered today has helped Clifford-sama and the knights save Rose-sama tomorrow. If you have regrets now Allen, then become strong enough to protect Rose-sama as well as being her butler for the future.”
“Tomorrow we go together with Clifford-sama to pick up Rose-sama.”