The earl mastermind behind the dark auction, his subordinates, and all the nobles who had come here as customers were captured by Father.
The knights that Father brought with him broke open my cage and let me out.
As soon as I was released, I ran towards Father who scooped me up in his arms and held me close.
“Rose, sorry I’m late. Did you get injured? Does it hurt anywhere?”
“N-No. …….Father, y-you’re hurting me.”
“Ah, sorry. ……but it’s really good that you’re safe. Allen came and told me everything. I never once thought I’d find the criminal I was chasing all this time because he’d capture Rose…….”
“Father, is Allen safe? Ah! El! El was captured too! He might still be caged up behind the stage!”
I quickly pried myself out of Father’s grasp, leading him back to where they had gathered all the children when the auction started.
“El was the main attraction today, so he should still be there! ………El! Are you all right!?”
El, still locked inside his cage, looked my way.
“Aah, that’s good. El, Father has come to rescue us! We’re safe now.”
I immediately ran over to El’s cage, pulling open the lock and waving him out.
And then the second he was free, El threw his arms around me and buried his head in my chest.
“…….El. There’s no need to be scared anymore. Everything’s going to be fine..”
Even after I insisted to El once more that we were safe, he still shook his head and refused to let me go. So I hugged him back, doing what I could to comfort him while turning my feet towards the other children.
“Will-sama! It’s great to see you’re all right!”
The first child I saw was Will-sama who we had gotten quite close to while we were all held captive.
“I’m glad to see you safe as well…….and I’m sorry to have caused you any trouble Duke Winsley. Even more so to have allowed dangerous men to set their eyes on your daughter.”
“There’s no need to apologize. Your words are more than I deserve. ……It is a relief to see that Your Highness is safe as well. I am deeply sorry for the delayed rescue on my part.”
(Hm? Just now did I hear Father call him ‘Your Highness’? ……D-Did I just imagine it? Well I assumed he was a noble……I assumed he was just a noble. ….That’s what I thought but. …….You’re kidding right!? Someone tell me this is a lie!)
“F-Father…..perhaps this is…….”
“Hm? Aa Rose still hasn’t been introduced. I had originally intended for the two of you to meet when you turned ten, but to think you’d end up meeting like this…..”
(…..So it’s not a lie. We have a super serious noble here. ……I didn’t know. So then, this person is……)
“Rose, this is His Highness William, the first prince of this country and heir apparent.”