I Thought It Was a Common Transmigration - Chapter 120
“Killian may have feelings for that woman, and the punishment our family decides should not be swayed by such things!”
“Killian may be softer than he seems, but he’s not the kind of man to ruin a major family affair over petty feelings.”
“You’re the one who seems a bit emotional right now. Lizé is back safely, so don’t get worked up. You’re only going to irritate Killian more.”
Cliff stepped back, unable to push the argument further.
As the Riegelhoffs and their entourage knelt in the center of the execution ground, Killian entered the execution ground and approached the Duke and Cliff.
“Killian,” the Duke greeted Killian with a heavy voice.
At first glance, Killian didn’t look much better after being away for a few days.
He had dark circles under his eyes and a scruffy beard, and his cheekbones and jawline were more prominent, as if he had lost weight in the interim.
“She should be in any minute.”
Just then, one of the doors to the execution ground opened and Edith walked in, followed by the knights.
At the same moment, Killian’s shoulders tensed as he spotted her.
He couldn’t get a good look at her condition from the distance, but the way she was shaking as if she was struggling to walk, it was clear she was badly injured.
Edith must have been beaten and tortured from the moment she arrived at Wellesley’s villa, so it’s a wonder she’s standing at all.
Killian wanted to say something right away about Edith’s assault at the hands of Riegelhoff’s men, but the atmosphere in the execution ground was too heavy for him to dare.
The Duke turned to the kneeling Riegelhoffs and their entourage and said, “If it had ended with a territory war, I would not have bothered to kill you with my own hands.”
If so, the Duke would not have been given the right to execute the Riegelhoffs. It was the Emperor’s authority to deal with families involved in treason.
But they had kidnapped vulnerable women and tried to use them as hostages.
And for that very reason, the Emperor had unusually given the power of execution to House Ludwig.
“You, who claim to know the honor of nobility, cowardly kidnap women, and then complain that the dukedom has been taken away from you?”
With a snap, a sword was drawn from the Duke’s scabbard.
“I will decapitate all those who bear Riegelhoff’s name! I will send the severed heads to the palace to hang on the walls alongside those of the other traitors, and throw the bodies on the mountain to be torn apart by the beasts!”
As the thunderous order fell, the executioners on one side of the dais gripped their sharpened axes anew, and screams and cries erupted from the kneeling prisoners.
The Duke, who was looking down at it, turned his gaze to Killian and made one exception.
“However, I will leave the execution of Edith to you, Killian. For while it is true that she is guilty, she is also your wife.”
At that, Cliff called out again in a low voice, “Father!”
The Duke looked back and forth between Cliff, who looked displeased, and the cold-faced Killian.
“I think it would be disrespectful to Killian if anyone else decided what to do with Edith, but if he chooses to keep her alive, I will respect his wishes. Of course, he will have to bear the responsibility.”
The Duke stepped aside and made way for Killian.
Killian walked slowly toward Edith, his grip tightening on the hilt of his sword.
As if waiting for this moment, the knights who had brought her made her kneel on the spot.
Apparently, they believed Killian was about to decapitate her.
And Killian finally got a good look at Edith. She was dressed in the ragged clothes of a commoner, with a cheap scarf roughly wrapped around her head and face.
Only her forehead, eyes, and nose were visible, but he could tell her complexion was pale.
He called her, but she didn’t look at him.
She just stared off into space, neither crying nor smiling, her hair flowing out of her scarf to one side, revealing the white nape of her neck.
Her resolute demeanor was not that of a person on the verge of death. She’s been called vulgar and lascivious, but at this moment she is a noble lady.
“Edith. Say no. Say it’s a misunderstanding. Please say it!”
As Killian took a step closer to Edith, Lizé, who was watching from a distance, stomped her foot and urged her on again.
But Edith didn’t budge.
The sight of her expecting nothing made Killian’s heart sink.
‘Why aren’t you clinging to me?’
Edith has always been like this.
She never asked him to help her, even though he was the only one who could.
‘Am I still so unworthy that you don’t want anything from me?’
Every time he thought about it, his insides boiled over and he felt like he was going to burst.
‘I feel so miserable to see her bottling up her pain inside, unable to cry out for help, that I think I’m going to go crazy.’
“Edith! Beg for mercy! Please, Edith!”
The Duke made a rare effort to stop Lizé as she screamed Edith’s name again.
Looking at Edith, who remained unmoved, Killian spoke up.
“Every single one of those Riegelhoffs deserves to be put to death, not only for their treason, but for their heinous deeds.”
Duke Ludwig nodded in satisfaction, and Edith…… smiled faintly.
Killian’s stomach churned even more at the pale smile, which only he noticed.
So he spoke, as if to break Edith’s reticence.
“My wife’s name, by the way, has been Edith Ludwig ever since she married me. If Edith is a Riegelhoff, that’s an insult to House Ludwig, isn’t it?”
Cliff bellowed, but Killian didn’t back down.
“What’s the matter, brother? If you don’t believe me, shall I fetch the vows we made when we were married and show it to you?”
Then, this time, the Duke spoke in a heavy voice, “Can you take responsibility for your actions?”
“Why can’t I take responsibility, my father? It was you who forced this marriage on me, and now you want to take it away from me?”
Killian finally spat the words out.
His father had forced the marriage he hated so much under the pretext of ‘for the sake of the family and the Emperor,’ and the sealed marriage vows are still in the archives of the Ludwigs’ residence.
It stated that Edith Riegelhoff’s name would henceforth be Edith Ludwig.
“Why are you sitting on your knees like a sinner? Unless you mean to dishonor me and my family, stand up, Edith Ludwig.”
Only then did Edith’s gaze snap to Killian.
It was a look that said, “This can’t be happening,” and Killian almost burst out laughing.
Then, all of sudden,
“If you’re going to kill us, kill that woman too!” Count Riegelhoff screamed, still on his knees.
Shane next to him followed suit. “That’s right! If you’re going to kill all the Riegelhoffs, kill that bitch too!”
Their outburst stunned everyone on the execution ground except Killian and Edith.
Killian had vaguely realized that Edith was not a beloved daughter, but to the rest of the world, she was Count Riegelhoff’s beloved ‘foolish daughter’.
The rumor that he had abandoned Edith was true, but the sight of Count Riegelhoff lashing out like a defeated enemy was completely unexpected.
Even the other prisoners, kneeling behind Count Riegelhoff, were looking at Edith with poisonous eyes.
Only then did Duke Ludwig realize that something was amiss.
“Silence! I see you haven’t yet realized the reality of the situation. How dare the condemned prisoners voice their disagreement?”
The Duke of Ludwig, his voice loud, looked at Edith and gave an order.
“I will respect Killian’s decision. However, Edith must be questioned about the kidnapping, so keep her in the dungeon for now.”
Killian bellowed at the Duke.
‘What the hell is going on?’
I looked back and forth between the Duke and Killian, trying to make sense of the situation.
“I will leave the execution of Edith to you, Killian.”
The Duke’s line was the same as the one in the original story.
Until I was brought to my knees by the knights and Killian approached me, I thought my narrative was finally over.
Fearing my hair to get in the way of the blade and cause me pain, I quickly pulled my hair forward, exposing my neck.
I didn’t even dare to look at Killian’s face, for fear of being shaken at the sight of him.
‘If I die here, where will I wake up next? Or is this the end of it all?’
As I was thinking this and waiting for Killian to painlessly kill me in one fell swoop, Killian said something very different from the original.
“Every single one of those Riegelhoffs deserves to be put to death……”
Yes, up to that point, it was just like the original.
Now the line “Including Edith Riegelhoff, who has never been a Ludwig!” was supposed to–
“My wife’s name, by the way, has been Edith Ludwig ever since she married me.”
At first, I thought I’d misheard it, then I wondered if I’d forgotten some part of the original story.