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Father Daughter Reunion
If the main quest of Riviera country right now is to stop the quarrelling Naraka empire and Cielle kingdom, then what we are currently doing would be categorized as the side quest.
The side quest is figuring out what to do with the suspicious or special refugee from Naraka.
The question is, will this side quest actually be beneficial towards the completion of the main quest?
Since the person appearing in the side quest is the former general of Naraka empire, perhaps he will have some kind of use…?
If that can help bring the peace back, then I pray that it will be the case.
I was just trying to organize the events happening in my brain as I sat in a room in Capicastle together with Alt-nii, my parents, the king, the queen, Luca, and Yuzuru. Basically, the reporting family (my Hartmann family), the royal family, and lastly, the representative of the clan who first encountered the refugee and took him to the castle.
Apparently, Alt-nii was allowed to be in because this all wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for him and his relationship with Celeste.
Then, me… I didn’t know why they let me in, but perhaps because Celeste also knew me, and Luca was also attending?
Or maybe because they already knew my curiosity couldn’t be held back, they let me join?
Or was it because I was already an adult and they let me so I could start to learn bit by bit, to help Alt-nii in the future?
Whichever it was, I was glad I could be here right now.
Not too long after, Celeste finally arrived, bringing an adult man and woman.
The adult man was a bearded tall and buffy human with black hair and black eyes. His facial features looked like he was a gentle man.
Meanwhile, the adult woman was evidently an elf with a blonde high ponytailed hair and yellow eyes. Her yellow eyes were similar to Celeste’s, although Celeste’s eyes were more radiant. Her bearing was graceful, just like a noble’s. Contrary to the man’s gentle-looking features, the woman had a strict facial feature.
Looking at the three of them standing side by side like this, no wonder people would think that they were a pair of parents and daughter.
“Greetings, your Majesty and her Highness. Thank you for granting my insolent request,” Celeste greeted the king and the queen as she curtseyed.
Following her, her mother and ‘father’ also greeted the king and the queen, as well as the rest of us.
“It’s as they said. You have a very good understanding of noble etiquette. You have the quality of a high noble… Is it because of the former great general’s influence or this fallen elf noble mother?” The king praised.
“Your Majesty knows how to jest,” Celeste didn’t dare to receive or refuse the praise.
Then, the ‘small family of three’ introduced themselves.
The daughter, Celeste.
Father or pretend-father, Pedro the merchant.
The mother, Fideline Verniret.
“How did you two meet and become a family unit?” Queen Shaula didn’t beat around the bush and asked.
“Allow me to answer, your Highness,” Fideline curtseyed before she began explaining.
“When Celeste was younger, something happened that required us to take the best action that we could think of at that moment: running away to Riviera. As a matter of fact, we indeed used some underhanded method to assimilate our identities safely in Riviera, but it was by no means to inflict harm. We solely did what we had to in order to survive. Pedro is a merchant that came to visited our hometown from time to time, and we were accidentally acquainted there. I sought for his help at that time, and that was how we started pretending as a family.”
“I see,” Queen Shaula looked satisfied hearing Fideline’s answer that didn’t try to conceal anything… except for that ‘something’.
“With how strict and hostile the Naraka empire towards the elves… I guess you two hadn’t lived in Naraka empire prior to coming here?” King Titus asked as he looked at Fideline with sharp eyes.
“…Yes. We came from Cielle,” Fideline seemed to be telling the truth.
I tried putting the pieces of information together.
The former great general and Fideline somehow met and had a relationship before separating and Fideline had been raising Celeste alone in her home country. But when her relationship with the enemy country’s general was found, she had to bring Celeste with her to run away.
It seemed to make sense, I guess?
The questioning didn’t continue as King Titus decided it’d be best for us to move to the room where the former great general of Naraka was in, and to let the father and daughter reunite.
As we walked, King Titus said, “I have talked with Nagare, the former great general several times. He had said that he had been missing his wife and child. It’s good that you can really reunite with this.”
“Father said that? …I’m glad,” Celeste answered as she looked glad, her anticipation to meet her long-lost father was clear in her eyes.
Hmm… so the real father, the former great general is called Nagare? And he was actually aware of Celeste’s existence…
Hmhmm, yes, my brain is too tired to try to guess their history.
Let time tell, then.
“Are you willing to tell us the whole truth later? And if you or your family can help with negotiating peace with the other two countries, it’d be much appreciated,” King Titus most likely had suspected that there were still secrets about Celeste’s family situation, so he asked as well as expressing his intention.
“Yes, of course. You have my words, your Majesty,” Celeste nodded firmly.
We were walking towards the most secluded section of the castle.
After walking down the long hall, the king stopped in front of a door.
“He is inside,” King Titus turned around and said to Celeste and Fideline.
Then, he turned around again and opened the lock as well as the door.
When we went inside the room, at a first glance, it looked like a normal guest room in the castle. However, we could clearly see a barrier bordering the room.
Well, at least I’m glad he isn’t actually imprisoned in some kind of a prison… Being imprisoned in a guest room is still better, I think.
There was another door at the other side of the barrier, one that I believed to connect this guest room with the guest’s bedroom.
“Nagare, you have a guest,” Yuzuru, who was silently observing and following just like me, Alt-nii, and Luca, was the one who stepped forward and called out to the former great general.
A low voice with menacing air could be heard from inside the door before it was opened.
The man standing in front of us was even taller and buffier than the pretend father. His appearance was indeed typical of a military man. Strict, tall, muscular, and menacing. He was wearing the Oni race’s traditional outfit—a simple indoor kimono.
What caught my attention was his long black hair that was put together in a ponytail as well as his lemon yellow eyes—identical with Celeste’s!
All in all, if Celeste was a boy, I could picture her growing up to be like this man.
The man’s yellow eyes widened in surprise as he looked at Celeste, Fideline, and Pedro who were standing in front of him.
Uh-oh, he isn’t misunderstanding that his wife got together with another man, is he?
“F-Father!!” Celeste’s voice shook as she called out to the man in front of her. She quickly approached her father, and at the same time, Nagare also approached Celeste.
However, the barrier was still on, so they couldn’t actually touch each other and could only touch the barrier as they looked at each other.
“Chiyo! You’ve grown up…,” Nagare’s earlier menacing and low voice was still low, but it had less of a menacing tone in it, replaced with gentleness.
“I’ve missed you!” Celeste said with a smile, and some tears actually dropped from her eyes by this time.
“Me too,” Nagare said.
Then, he seemed to have finally noticed the people standing next to Celeste—Fideline and Pedro.
His eyes that looked at Pedro showed a hint of unsureness as well as unfamiliarity. I guess he wasn’t acquainted with Pedro at all.
Next, his eyes showed that he recognized Fideline. But instead of being moved like he did when he saw Celeste, his eyes didn’t seem to be really moved.
“You are…,” Nagare said as he still looked at Fideline.
“Long time no see,” Fideline also didn’t show a hint of being moved as she saluted Nagare.
“Why are you here with Chiyo?” Nagare suddenly realized something and asked Fideline.
“It’s a long story…,” Fideline muttered.
“Ah. It seems like Celeste also lied about her mother,” I unconsciously mumbled before turning around to look at Alt-nii with concern.
“Yeah, figured it out,” Alt-nii didn’t look as dejected as he was before when Celeste revealed that Nagare was her father. Perhaps he had long guessed that even Celeste’s mother that he knew wasn’t actually her biological mother.
Then… Who is Celeste’s mother and where is she now?
“If you two are here, then is Oriel also here? Can I see her?” Nagare suddenly asked, with a hint of expectation and longing in his voice.
So, the mother’s name is Oriel…
I nodded in understanding when I saw Luca who was next to me, showed a rare surprised expression on his face.
“Why do you look like that, Luca?” I asked in curiosity.
Luca seemed to have gone back to his senses after hearing my question. He only shook his head and said, “It’s nothing. It is perhaps a coincidence.”
“You know someone by the name Oriel?” I asked.
“Yeah, but it’s most likely a different Oriel,” Luca added.
“Hmm… Though it’s an uncommon name, I don’t think it’s a really unique name,” I agreed with Luca’s opinion.
“Mother isn’t here…,” Celeste said with a very sad voice, her face that was brimming with happiness from earlier was now gone, replaced with a sadness.
“What? Where is she, then? When can I see her?” Nagare asked.
“Nagare-sama, I think you must’ve heard what had happened to Oriel-sama,” Fideline interjected.
She’s addressing Celeste’s parents with ‘-sama’…?!
“I heard about it… Isn’t it because she went into hiding with Chiyo?” Nagare asked, genuinely looking confused.
“…That…,” Fideline was tongue tied.
“Father, even we don’t know where Mother is… What we know is the same as what others know. Several years ago, Mother really disappeared without a trace until now,” Celeste said.
“What?! T-this can’t be…!!” Nagare looked very surprised as well as distraught.
“…Oriel, disappearance without a trace, several years ago, whereabouts unknown until now…,” Luca had one hand covering his mouth as he mumbled in contemplation.
The king and the queen were looking at each other before the king nodded.
Queen Shaula slowly approached Celeste and asked, “Apologies for interrupting your conversation and reunion, but we have a question… Is the Oriel you’re talking about…”
Judging by the looks of it, it seemed that the Oriel person that Luca had known and thought of was indeed the same Oriel as the one that Celeste had mentioned.
But even the king and the queen seemed to be impatient in verifying this Oriel’s identity, which meant that… Celeste’s mother must be someone extraordinary?
“Is it Oriel Kallistrate la Ciela?”
When Queen Shaula’s words fell, I frowned.
The name sounded so grand, where have I heard of it before…?
King Titus then spoke, revealing the identity of this Oriel that caused my eyes to widen in surprise.
“Oriel Kallistrate la Ciela, the former crown princess of Cielle kingdom who had suddenly disappeared a few years ago?”