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Mother or Father?
The day after my dream conversation with Domi, I woke up in a very refreshed feeling!
…Or I would be telling lies.
To be honest, no, my conversation with Domi wasn’t as refreshing as what my conversation with Nicole and Clyde was like.
It was because I was still curious about how Domi would turn out to be. Obviously, I knew that they would only be answered by time, but being a curious cat was my forte as well as my weakness.
Still, knowing that I meant something to him was already enough for now.
After that, I went to do my daily activities as usual, and that helped me take my mind off that curiosity that couldn’t be answered now, anyway. Unless I had a time machine or an ability to travel through time…
Actually, such a thing might be possible to do with some kind of high-ranked magic or grimoire, but rumours said that time traveling was very forbidden. Let alone changing the past.
When I thought of what I saw during Fenrir’s trial, I shuddered.
Could it be that if the past was changed and I was still alive as Reinst, such a future would really happen? But why? With such a simple change as my mere existence, it also affected many things in the future?
Alright, since time traveling seemed to be very dangerous, it should be off limits and should never cross my mind again.
As I was going around with my day as usual, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t thinking about my next step.
Especially when I had my cute Familiar nagging me about it.
[So, what are you gonna do next? Confront Mother or Father?]
I felt my whole body tensing when he asked me such a question.
Right, there is no way I can just invite both of them and speak as if I were a teacher in a parent-teacher conference, right?
It’s a heart-to-heart matter and I have to talk with them privately.
Between Mother and Father…
Confronting both of them would be tons harder than confronting Domi.
I had a feeling…
A feeling that even if the ideal stories all told us that there was no love as great as parents’, that parents should love their children unconditionally… I felt like that wasn’t the case with Mother and Father.
Yes, both of them.
Would I only face them to be crushed?
To be even more depressed?
“Actually, on second thoughts, could I not see them…,” I answered Fenrir with a weak voice.
[That is also an option. But experiences told me that people regret the things they hadn’t done more than the things they had done. It isn’t easy that we have such a chance too…]
As someone who’s experienced death, I know that already!
I regretted things I hadn’t tried more than the ones I had done!!
Why would someone who never died advise me on this?!
Oh, the humiliation!
“You’re right, Fen. I’ll talk with them. If I get tongue-tied, can you please help me?”
[Sigh, it can’t be helped. Alright I will. So, who first?]
I finally decided.
Between Mother and Father, I was more attached to Mother and it would be harder for me to confront her.
If I were to confront her first and had my heart broken in that confrontation, wouldn’t that make me unable to confront Father afterwards?
It’s only logical for me to pick Father first.
Besides… I was clear of his feelings towards me, his only daughter.
“Even if deep down I know, being told the cold and harsh truth directly in person seems scary…”
[How do you already know the answer?]
“Well, based on his attitude towards me when I was alive…”
[Who knows he might never show it, but he actually cares? I know that men are more awkward in showing their feelings in general. Especially in a patriarchal culture like your old family’s.]
“You sure know a lot, Grandpa Fenrir!” I jokingly said as I ruffled Fenrir’s head fur.
Fenrir dodged and said in protest.
[Please. I’m not that old. It’s just that you humans have such short lifespans…]
“Alright, alright,” I stopped bothering him as I continued, “It’s true that some men are expected to not be emotional and thus becoming unable to express his feelings… But I know my own father. Let me tell you this particular story why I deducted about his feelings to me with around 85% certainty.”
It was something I would never forget. As it was engraved deep in my memories.
Back then, I had a cousin whose status was more or less equal with me, who was always on a fiery rivalry with me because of her envy towards me.
I was born in the main household as the only daughter, meanwhile she was from a branch family.
Even if she was older than me, she was even more childish than me at that time. Very impulsive and her feelings were clear as the day.
She would try to bring troubles to me from time to time.
Unfortunately, when she came of age and I was almost of age, it escalated to a big trouble that could bring the clan down if words were to spread out even more, or if the resolution wasn’t really satisfying.
Father had to take this matter to his hands, and the best solution he could come to was to ban the girl from the clan. In other words, disown her.
“Remember Reinst, this cousin of yours is an example of our clan’s disgrace and what can happen to one,” Father said after he told me of his solution.
“Even if it’s our own member of clan, we should try to minimize the damage and let not it affect the others. Sacrificing one for the sake of many is a pretty understandable concept, right? So, learn and don’t become like her. As a duke and the head of the clan, I have to keep my duty and if you were to follow her example, there’s nothing I can really do. So, don’t give me such a trouble,” Father said again.
I could only nod.
Later, during an urgent clan meeting, Father coldly stated to his own sibling.
“Your daughter has come of age, she’s already an adult, and yet she tried to bring trouble to our clan. Harming her own cousin, and in front of some outsiders… The clan can’t afford to be ashamed for having such a malicious person. Therefore, she ought to be banned from the clan and live seclusively as a commoner.”
In front of my own relatives whose face turned terrible, I kept my straight face as I looked at the scene unfolding. My cousin’s ghastly pale face could be seen as she turned her head to look at me with a pleading look. Yet, I refused to bulge as it would only cause my own family’s ire towards me.
Being disowned from the clan and demoted into a commoner would mean doom to her. And probably to me as well, as we would lose everything we ever had in life. Our identity, our means of life…
It was devastating, and most of the past cases of nobles being demoted to commoners ended in them dying not too long after. Be it from the harshness of the commoners’ life that we lacked awareness of, or from their weakness of heart that led them to commit…
Yet, what unfolded before me, caused my eyes to widen in surprise.
“Brother, can you please spare her from such a harsh punishment? There’s no way my little girl can survive alone as a commoner…,” my uncle—the girl’s father spoke.
Father coldly stared at his own brother and said, “You dare go against me? Do you know what the other options are, and thus consequences to you rejecting this decision?”
“I…,” Uncle paused as he knelt and continued, “…I just want to keep her as my daughter.”
“I take it as you don’t mind losing lots of things just for a mere daughter like her?” Father asked again.
Uncle remained unmoving as he also hung his head down. A silent agreement.
“Very well, then. From now on, your whole family will be demoted in rank and all of you should go take care of the frontier,” Father said.
“Many thanks,” Uncle quickly cupped his hands and said.
Then, he stood and took his daughter away to prepare for their family’s move. The rest of their family members followed quickly.
As I witnessed them leaving, I saw that my cousin had her eyes teary and her face red as she took her father’s hand.
After that, I never heard anymore from them.
I was really stunned because it was totally unexpected for me.
In that instant, I envied my cousin.
At least she had such a loving family by her side, one that won’t sacrifice her for their benefits. One that would choose her over the others.
With such a loving family, why would she even envy me?
I should be the one to envy her!
From what I gathered… If I ever became a disgrace, Father wouldn’t bat an eye to sacrifice me.
I was only a ‘mere daughter’, perhaps one of the ‘convenient pawns’.
“…And that’s how it went,” I concluded my story to Fenrir.
[I see. Such a thing happened.]
“Mhm. But even so, there are some words I need to talk to and hear from Father himself,” I finally admitted.
[I’ll be here.]
‘I’ll be here.’
Just a few words that sounded trivial, but it brought strength and warmth to me.
Having someone with whom you can share things and walk through things together is really game-changing, huh?
“Mhm. I’ll be counting on you tonight, Fenrir.”