Author: alyalia

“He entered the academy with excellent skills, beating all my classmates.”

 

“If Hailey admits it, he must have good swordsmanship skills.”

 

Charelize rarely showed interest in the story of Grand Duke Innovestin.

 

“I spared with him once, very briefly.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Of course, I won, but strangely, I felt like he was just observing my movements through the match,” spoke Hailey in earnest.

 

“There was no way he was doing something like that when you had a reputation, are you mistaken?”

 

“However, he was relaxing at that time. It was honestly amazing.”

 

“He was relaxing… while fighting you?”

 

Charelize, surprised to hear that she had sparred with Grand Duke Innovestin, asked back.

 

“At that time, only a few professors were able to defeat me with a sword, so there was a lot of talk for a while.”

 

“So, how did it go?”

 

Even Martin, who was listening quietly next to her, seemed curious.

 

“After that, I didn’t know news about him, but what I heard from a friend I met last time when we were visiting for the scholarship project…”

 

“What did you hear?”

 

“They said his personality had completely changed over the years.”

 

“His personality changed?”

 

“Yes. He didn’t have a friendly personality to begin with, but he acted like someone who had lost his emotions.”

 

“How did such a person become Professor Hail’s disciple?”

 

Charelize made a curious expression as she remembered Professor Hail.

 

“Come to think of it, isn’t Professor Hail, the professor in charge of the Swordsmanship Faculty?”

 

“Professor Hail, who made a name for himself as the legend in Political Science Faculty?”

 

Hailey replied to Martin, who asked while tilting her head. “What kind of relationship did they have…”

 

“Well, since we met Grand Duke Innovestin today, wouldn’t we find the answer?”

 

Charelize and Grand Duke Innvoestin didn’t have any conversation so far. She just saw his face from after, which made Charelize curious.

 

Just like that, they finished talking about him.

 

“Ah! I got a letter from my father yesterday.”

 

“Did something happen?”

 

Did they have some good news?

 

“It’s not a big deal, but my father told me that he took a dog abandoned by the roadside and hid it without consulting my mother.”

 

“Oh my.”

 

“So, my mother was very upset with him.”

 

Martin clapped her hands, bringing up Viscount Rael, who was scolded by her mother and eventually shed tears.

 

“Once nanny gets angry, she seldom lets it go.”

 

After that, Charelize put both her hands on her waist. She smiled, imagining the angry-looking nanny, who kept scolding without taking a breath.

 

“Yes. He wrote only complaints about it from the beginning to the end.”

 

“Was it in the snowy cold winter? Anyway, around that time, I got scolded by the nanny for the first time, and she made me sit in a chair for five minutes?”

 

At Charelize’s words, Martin asked with a surprised look on her face, “Does Your Highness mean thinking chair?”

 

“Maybe?”

 

Soon after, she continued with a deep sight. “When I was young… I sat there more than I did on my desk chair.”

 

“Is that so?”

 

“So, while pretending it was a mistake, I spilled the juice there on purpose. But someone brought it back from somewhere…”

 

“Is that why you haven’t even looked at orange juice for a while?”

 

Hailey laughed in sympathy with Martin. Martin eagerly wiped the tears that didn’t flow down with her sleeve.

 

“I asked my father to use a shovel to make her walk staff. However I finally gave up rebelling… when she told me to make it myself out of wood.”

 

“That’s right. You had an expression as if losing the whole world.”

 

“By the way, for Your Highness to be scolded. I don’t think my mother ever told me about it.”

 

“…Nanny must be very upset with me.”

 

Charelize recalled the only time she had been scolded by her nanny.

 

“Princess, what are you… doing there now?”

 

“How many people will be sad about it if I fall from here?”

 

“Please… Please come down, Princess.”

 

“…”

 

“Really… be prepared. I will never look at you again if you don’t come down!”

 

“…Nanny, where are you coming up with your injured leg?”

 

“Princess is more precious than a single leg like this! Come over here.”

 

That day, she was scolded to the point of tears, and she had a fever at night, so she ate soup her nanny made. And her nanny said that she considered Charelize as her own daughter, which was as precious as Martin.

 

Her nanny hugged her so tightly that Charelize’s whole body felt crushed. She was the first person Charelize opened up to after Lona left.

 

Charelize wanted to leave it as a story only between the two of them, so she didn’t say anything more. Before she knew it, her carriage began to roll slowly and then stopped.

 

“We have to do an inspection for a moment.”

 

“Please open the window.”

 

At the Imperial Palace’s entrance, the knights requested an inspection.

 

“The carriage has the pattern of Duke’s family… but what kind of treatment is this!”

 

“What’s going on?”

 

“Greetings to the little Duchess of Marsetta.”

 

“I apologize. His Majesty has ordered a tightening of security today…”

 

Leaving behind Martin, who got angry at them for being ridiculous.

 

“I have confirmed Lady Kabe and Lady Rael.”

 

“Can we go now?”

 

“Yes. You may depart.”

 

Charelize opened the window and asked the imperial knights. After getting off the carriage, they arrived at the huge door of the Erharak Hall, where the succession ceremony for Grand Duke Innovestin was being held.

 

“I have a place to go for a while, so go ahead.”

 

“I understand, Your Highness.”

 

“Yes. See you later.”

 

Charelize told Hailye and Martin to go inside first. She then headed to the Florence Palace, where the imperial family’s tombs were located.

 

“May Goddess Resina’s blessing reach you, little Duchess of Marsetta.”

 

“What brings you here, Your Highness?”

 

Not long after, knights guarding the Florence Palace recognized Charelize and bowed their heads.

 

“May you be protected too. I’m here to say hello to the previous emperor.”

 

“Ah, I see. Please go in.”

 

“May you always be at peace under the goddess’s protection.”

 

The knights cleared the way and opened the door. After entering, Charelize immediately moved her steps to the tomb where the previous emperor was asleep. He reached the tomb to honor his countless achievements. Then she took the letter out of the box and placed it on top.

 

“…I apologize for coming too late.”

 

Her mother didn’t want to come near the Florence Palace. Only once did she come here, holding her mother’s hand.

 

When her mother said she wanted to spend time alone for a while, Charelize didn’t enter and waited for her at the front. After a while, she saw her mother come out with red eyes after crying. Charelize could still clearly see her mother’s bright as she tried not to cry.

 

“I brought a letter from my mother.”

 

Charelize took out the letter she had brought and began to read it slowly.

 

To His Majesty the Emperor. No, Father.

 

Today… I’m just saying hello as my father’s little daughter, Rina, not a princess who has to keep all manners. You would have scolded me for not keeping my etiquette, right? Please just let it go for today. Really, it’s been a while since I called you father.

 

Until now, I’ve been living by keeping father’s words well. Still, I’ve never broken one before. But I’m sure Father will turn a blind eye to it.

 

Father. I think I will be able to meet you soon. I’m going to die soon. Actually, I knew it. That I’m going to die. I am so happy to finally meet my father and sister… Strangely enough, tears keep coming out from me.

 

Is it because I have such a precious child while my father and sister are away? Her name is Charelize. Do you remember? I named it because I remembered the flower I saw on my last trip with my sister.

 

She is a child I love so much that it is not wasted even if I sacrifice my whole life. I’m full of regrets because there are so many things I couldn’t do with her, so she must be really lonely.

 

If I die, that child will really be alone. To be honest… I don’t want to die yet. Just a little… I want to see a little bit more. Put down all her worries and smile comfortably. Meeting someone she loves and getting married. And… until she becomes happy. In fact, I tried to suppress my greed as much as possible because I was afraid that child would find out.

 

Today, that child came to visit me. It’s been a long time since she came here to show me an embroidered handkerchief. Did she mention it was the work of Madame Lientil?

 

That day, she didn’t come here just to show me her handkerchief. As soon as I saw it, I knew immediately that it was the reason she created it because she wanted to meet me. I barely held back my laughter.

 

My daughter is good at everything… but her embroidery skills are poor. Still, for her making it and showing it to me… making me hate myself. I think it’s because she thinks of me as her fatal weakness. I’m already an ugly mother who can’t do anything for her, and I’m sorry that I have become her weakness.

 

Father, you said that. Unlike my sister, who is good at everything, I… I’m really bad with my hands. By the way, remember when you told me that is fine? Even if I don’t have any dexterity… Because this father will always be there for me. You told me you would do it for me. So I don’t have to do it. Do I look pretty when I smile? So, you asked me to smile and not cry.

 

That’s what you said, Father. However, I’m not okay at all right now. I can’t laugh at all. I can’t even stand by that child’s side. So… I can’t tell you that I’m okay. I can’t walk with you…

 

For the rest of my life, let alone help her get up. All I do is just brush her off and shake it off. I’ve never told her it’s okay if she can’t do it. Today… the child came to see me. That baby. It made me suddenly miss you…

 

When she was young, she didn’t complain even if she wanted to see me. She was clumsy and awkward with me when she grew up, so I deliberately avoided her, but she was still kind. However, I have to go soon… in that situation, in an opportunity that I will never have again, I… I just said that her behavior was against etiquette, and I hated it.

 

She must be hating me when she heard it, right? I want her to know that I said it with affection… No… Actually, I hope she won’t know. Just remember me as a selfish, ugly mother. Rather than a poor and always missing mother. Rather than a mother who holds her child’s ankle even when she dies. For me, that’s fine, Father. I… I can die again and again for my daughter. If only I could make my daughter happy.

 

Now that I have a daughter, I can understand Father’s feelings. I used to hate Father, who couldn’t wait for me any longer. You married me to the Duke and left me the very next day. I just wanted you to wait a little longer.

 

I thought like that. I found out too late that you wanted to protect me. At that time, he had empty eyes… just like he wanted me to disappear immediately. So I reluctantly agreed… I guess I shouldn’t have done that.  He said he would break up our marriage. It’s as if Father already knows everything.

 

I remember all the awful things. It made me feel sorry for my daughter. Father, I want my daughter to be happy. So I want to see her smiling. Like when I was young… with a bright smile.

 

In my next life, I hope to be born as a daughter of my father and be the mother of my daughter. At that time… I’m really… confident that I’ll do a good job.

 

Really… I really want to be a real mother. Hugging when you’re having a hard time and walking together. A mother who can spend a typical day together like others raises her fallen daughter and holds her hand.

 

– Father’s little daughter, Rina.

 

The person who entered with a smile said she wanted to be alone; why did she cry so much? At the time, Charelize was so young that she didnt know why her mothers eyes were red. When she came of age and looked at the world similarly, she could finally understand the meaning of those tears.

 

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