The Grabberton Family
A few years ago, in a well-equipped manor…
“Congratulations, Madame, it is a healthy baby girl!” said a midwife, who just helped the Madame of the house giving birth for the first time.
A sound of disbelief is heard clearly.
Whoever they are, the person seems to be in utter disbelief over what they heard.
“You sure… I gave birth to a daughter?”
“Yes, and she looks lovely!” replied the midwife, full of enthusiasm.
Hearing those words, the brown-haired curly lady, full of sweats, slouched and dozed off.
No, no… It cannot be…
“Would you please hold your daughter, Dahlia-sama?”
A maid who just finished washing the blood off the newly-born individual stood by Dahlia—the lady who just went into labor—as she craddled the baby.
“Ah… yeah, sure… thanks…,” Dahlia snapped out of her thoughts and quickly craddled her daughter. She finally gazed at her first child’s face…
Usually, a mother would gaze at their first child sweetly. But, Dahlia’s gaze… was a gaze of disappointment instead.
“Why weren’t you a boy…?” she muttered. Yet, the baby didn’t understand anything as she cried…
“Congratulations on your daughter’s birth, Dahlia-san!”
A young lady with straight blonde hair congratulated the new mother in her room, a few days after she gave birth. The lady looked to be almost the same age as Dahlia. Dahlia’s green eyes met with the lady’s grey eyes. She then quickly replied to the lady’s smile, though Dahlia’s smile was only out of politeness.
“Thank you, Kania-san,” Dahlia replied.
“I am sure your child will grow up to be pretty!” said Kania as she glanced over to Dahlia’s daughter.
“Thank you very much, I hope so, too,” replied Dahlia.
“Her name… Reinst… was it?” asked Kania.
“Reinst Carnatia Grabberton,” confirmed Dahlia, “Herbert named her himself the other day when he came home from his duty.”
“Ah, what a lovely name, as expected of Herbert!” Kania praised the man who named Dahlia’s daughter.
Anyone who heard their conversation would have thought the two to be somewhat good friends. But in reality, they could never be friends. They will always be rivals.
Dahlia van Petersburg is a noble daughter that got married to Herbert Secth Grabberton, a Duke governing the Qwasigreynard city in the Western border of Riviera country. The Grabberton family was of a knight lineage that protected the border of the country since long time ago.
They were married in a political marriage in order to strengthen the Grabberton lineage. But, Dahlia was Herbert’s second wife. Herbert’s first wife was Kania Lowee, another noble with lower status than Dahlia. Based on the tradition of Grabberton family, the rightful heir of the family would be the male legal child of the current Duke.
In case of two male children born of the same Duke but to different wives, the rightful heir would fall to the one having a mother of higher status—as it was said, “nobler blood is more precious” and that typically, it was believed that nobler person had more power and talent bestowed by God.
Kania gave birth to a son some time prior to Dahlia. When Dahlia first learnt that she was pregnant, she believed that the child in her belly would be a boy—the rightful heir of the Grabberton lineage. But her child turned out to be a girl. And thus, Dahlia was devastated.
A girl in Grabberton family was seen as a precious asset to be married off with other nobles as to strengthen the bond of Grabberton family. Yes, the one to inherit most of Grabberton’s legacy would be a son. There was no way a daughter could win—except if she was the sole heir.
“At the very least…,” Dahlia murmurred.
“This child should be worthy to be a wife candidate of a high-rank noble—even someone related to the King, if possible… for you to enter the royal family… for you to be the Crown Princess… That’s right. I will make you the perfect girl one could ever hope for. Then at least… Herbert would acknowledge me and I won’t be belittled…”
Dahlia was very bitter. She could not accept the fact that she—who held a higher noble rank than Kania, would have lost against her at giving birth to an heir.
And so, Reinst was raised strictly by her mother.
She would undergo etiquette and other trainings equal to the one that the Crown Princess underwent, in hope that she will be chosen as the Crown Princess in the future. She also went through other trainings such as the essential swordsplay a Grabberton should know.
Under all the pressure given to her, Reinst did not flinch. She strived to be the best and her results were satisfactory. It was an amazing achievement for someone her age. Reinst did everything she could… so that her mother would praise her, would smile proudly at her. But never once did she receive any praise from her mother.
“She has to be better than this! She has to be perfect!!”
And at some point, Reinst realized that no matter how well she did, she would never get praised by her mother. Her mother would never smile at her even though her teachers boasted her achievements. Her father paid more attention to her half-brother, as it was her half-brother who would be the next in-line in Grabberton family. She was neglected. Not in terms of food, or other care needed. The noble family of a Duke would never fail at providing the best food and other resources available for their kin. But she lacked of love during her years of growing up.
I wonder if I were to be the kind of a girl any nobles and even the King himself wants his son to marry—will mother smile at me? Will I be any of use to mother? Will I be able to pay for the months she spent for me while I was in her womb? Will mother and father finally look at me?
Am I even worth anything?
They were the thoughts that popped out in Reinst’s mind time after time.
Unfortunately for Reinst… and fortunately for Dahlia, she finally gave birth to a son when Reinst was 9 years old. The rightful heir—the one Dahlia had wanted since a long time ago—was finally born.
“Congratulations, Mother! I am so glad that I got a little brother!” said the petite girl with amber eyes and short brown hair to Dahlia who craddled her new-born son. That son of Dahlia—Reinst’s little brother, had the same eyes and hair color to Reinst.
“Thank you, Reinst,” replied Dahlia as she gazed lovingly to her son.
At that time, Reinst could not believe what she witnessed.
Her mother—which she remembered by her strict face and bold expressions, smiled… the kind of smile Reinst never received. The kind of loving smile Reinst wanted her mother to show to her. Yet, her newly born brother had gotten it ahead of her. Without exerting any effort. Just because… he was a boy.
Her brother snatched it away from her. A love that Reinst never received. A love she so yearned for years, believing that one day she might get it, at the very least from her mother. But no, she realized at that moment that she would never receive that said love.
…I couldn’t decide my own gender, could I?
Aaa, so that’s how it goes…
No matter how much I tried, no matter how much effort I put my mind to, in the end, I would never win Mother’s love…
Then, what was my reason to be here?
Mother never needed me… she only needed brother…
I might be able to give the Grabberton family any use, were I to be married to an influential person… but I would never be the heir Mother wanted.
And so, not knowing exactly since when, Reinst fell into despair…
She would love to end her life at that moment, but no, she couldn’t. Doing so would mock people who wanted to live but couldn’t. She believed that her life, her body, should have been given to those who truly wanted to live, not to her.
And perhaps… she could be of use to her “family”. Although she is too pessimistic regarding that.
So she lived without any purpose. Believing that one day—at the very least, her body could save others by donating her cells. Even if she didn’t know when is her long awaited “time”.