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Bertia 17 Years Old (6)
Translated by LynneSuzuran & Senhiro
It happened on the night of the day that former-Baroness Heronia’s punishment was decided.
Though I already had a rough guess, I still hadn’t confirmed it yet. So, in order to ascertain the truth, I asked my father to set some time aside. Then, my father and I sat opposite of each other on the sofa in my father’s study, just the two of us.
“…Would you like to drink sake?”
Before clearing people out of the room, Father took out a pair of wine glasses and a bottle of amber-colored sake called as Kiwis that he’d had the butler prepare, and offered it to me.
It hasn’t been long since I came of age to taste alcohol, and in addition I spent most of my time inside the academy which prohibited drinking alcohol, so I don’t have much experience drinking sake. However, the Kiwis that I had tasted previously was really delicious, so I accepted his offer with pleasure.
Speaking of which, when we were drinking before, Charles said that he wanted to see me get drunk and let me drink a lot, but I never got drunk in the end.
Even if I were to drink a lot of sake with a high degree of alcohol, at most, my ears and my fingertips would just become a little warmer, so I think that it’s naturally difficult for me to get drunk.
I wanted to try experiencing the high spirits from getting drunk, so it was a bit unfortunate.
Well, there will be a lot of chances for me to drink in diplomatic settings in the future, so that is actually a good thing, I guess.
“You haven’t had your graduation celebratory drink yet, right? I’ve brought out some of my best sake.”
Thinking that it would be bad to let my father who was the king pour the sake, I intended to take the bottle from my father’s hands, but my father laughed and held out a glass instead.
Surely this is the [celebratory] sake exactly as he stated before.
If that was the case, I thought that it’d be better for me to just gratefully accept the drink that he poured for me without caring about our status, so I took the glass that my father held out.
Looking at the situation, my father seemed to be in a good mood and filled my glass with the amber liquid, and before I could reach out my hand to take the bottle, he also filled his own glass.
The hand I had reached out to take the bottle to pour him sake in return lost its destination and loitered in the air, but seeing my father waved his hand as if saying, “Don’t worry about it,” I bitterly smiled and retracted my hand back to my own glass.
With a small “clink,” I clanked my glass against the one my father silently held out.
“Congratulations on your graduation. You’ve worked hard.”
“Thank you very much.”
Even though I couldn’t say I worked particularly hard, let’s just obediently accept those words here.
If it had been a long time ago, I wouldn’t have felt anything. But this time, feeling pleasant, I decided there wasn’t any need to bother putting in a trivial correction.
We enjoyed drinking the sake together in silence for a short moment.
The first person to open their mouth was my father, choosing just when the atmosphere had become relaxed.
“The matter with Lady Heronia was quite difficult, wasn’t it? With this, it was finally settled and we can take a break.”
“I was relieved that one troublesome matter had disappeared.”
“Well, we’ll become busy again from now on in preparation for the marriage.”
“It’s not something [troublesome], but something [to look forward to], so it’s fine.”
When I answered with a salaryman smile, my father—who smiled nastily at the hecticness in wedding preparation— widened his eyes in slight surprise, before muttering, “I see,” that relaxed the line of his mouth.
Looking at him, I felt that the conjecture within me had come closer to the truth.
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“…It might be late asking this now, but, Cecil, do you enjoy being together with Bertia? Does it make you happy?”
It felt like quite a grave inquiry, contrary to the light tone the questions had been asked in.
As he continued to drink from his glass, Father’s gaze in my direction seemed worried in anticipation of my answer.
“Yes, of course. There is no woman other than her who can entertain and make me happy. I think of her as someone so important that… if, for example she were to be taken away from me, I might even be able to inadvertently destroy a country because of it.”
When I answered with my true feelings while showing a face full of smiles, my father made a dumbfounded face for a moment and said, “I see,” and laughed.
“Father, may I ask a question as well?”
By the time my father’s laugher clamped down, thinking that it was a good time to bring that up, I slowly opened my mouth to move to the main question.
“You came here for that, didn’t you? What is it?”
Perhaps due to him laughing earlier, there were some tears at the corner of his eyes. As he wiped those tears, Father shifted his gaze to me.
“Father, are you aware of anything regarding the [fated girl] that I asked you about before?”
After holding the Kiwis in my mouth and feeling its peculiar sweetness and bitterness in my mouth, I asked with a relaxed tone. The hand that my father was holding his glass in shook, and the amber liquid also jolted.
“No, I don’t know anything regarding a [fated girl].”
My father replied with one eyebrow raised in a jesting expression and I hardened my gaze, conveying my conviction.
“Then, do you know something about people like me?”
“[People like you]…, huh?”
“Yes, that’s right. It’s regarding people who are like me. Is there something that you keep a secret from me?”
Our eyes met, probing at each other.
A tension-filled silence shrouded the room.
However, it did not last long.
“Where did you find out about it?”
“I didn’t find out. I only guessed from Father’s complicated expression while Heronia Inderon pressed me for answers during the graduation ceremony, and the books that were in the secret archive. It was Father’s reaction just now that convinced me.”
“…I-is that so?”
My father’s mouth twitched at my answer, but the next moment, after he heaved a deep, deep sigh, he muttered with a voice that felt as if he’d given up, “Sheesh, you really are…”
“Father, can you please tell me about it?”
“I have no choice but to do so, right? If it was possible, I actually didn’t want to tell this to my own child, but…”
“I already found her—found Bertia. That’s why, I’ll be okay no matter what you tell me. Besides, it was still something that you’d have to tell me sooner or later, even if I couldn’t find her or a similar existence to her, right?”
“Well, yes, but… Even if I can say it, there’s still a parent’s heart that doesn’t want to hear it, though…”
“At any rate, that secret must be passed on to the next generation of the royal family, right? The difference is only if it’s sooner or later, right?”
“Wouldn’t they react differently depending on if they were told when they were young and if they were told when they were older?”
“…That’s right. There may be something like that, more or less. Now then, please just tell me about.”
“…You, didn’t you just brush off my parental affection too lightly?”
“No matter what Father feels on my behalf, at this point it’s already come to my attention, so wouldn’t there be no change to having to tell me here and now?”
“That’s true, but… Aah, all right. I’ll tell you about it at once.”
“Is this what people call the rebellious phase? Nah, rather, isn’t it normal for this guy?” As he grumbled those unintelligible words, Father began to talk about one of the secrets that was passed down in the royal family.
“Perhaps it’s just as you guessed. Children with high outstanding abilities just like you would sometimes be born into the royal family. It’s said to be the effect of the blood, since the founder of this country, King Toujin, was like that.”
“The hero king, is it?”
I recalled the origin story of this country that I read when I was just a bored child.
It was an era where many tribes were scattered all over, continuously warring to expand their own territories.
In order to bring peace to that land, the eldest son of a chieftain stepped up.
That person excelled at the art of war and ingeniously managed to subdue the other tribes in no time, building a country that was the foundation of our current Alphasta Kingdom.
Then, he married his childhood friend who was the eldest daughter of an allied chieftain. It’s said that the two of them governed this country and brought peace to this land.
In short, it was a common tale of the founding of a nation.
“The hero king, huh…? That’s right. King Toujin is certainly called that. However, it’s nothing but something that was tacked on at the end.”
“Tacked on… was it?”
“The outstanding children born into the royal family all considerably lacked emotions in exchange for their abilities. They are unfamiliar with even simple emotions such as like and dislike, with no limit to their obsession with interesting things able to draw out their emotions. That’s why, they endlessly pursue what they’re interested in or the things that can draw their emotions out, and they will adhere to it once they find it. Then, because it’s hard for them to turn to other interests, they become completely absorbed in that one interest that it can be out of control. King Toujin was exactly like this. Nowadays, it’s said that [he unified the tribes in order to bring about peace], but the truth is, he simply loved wars.”
“I see. He’s a [warmonger], isn’t he?”
I suddenly recalled the story of Bard’s route that Bertia talked about before.
I might also end up like that if I was careless, huh?
“That’s right. [Warmonger], it could be said that he was exactly like that. However, King Toujin wasn’t called like that, but he was called as the [hero king]. In addition, the existence of the person who became his wife played an important role.”
From there, Father talked about the story of Queen Alnay who became King Toujin’s wife.
It was a story of the truth that had never been transmitted or widely dramatized like in the currently existing books.