|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
I dabbed on some sarcastic remarks, but Luke only raised his eyebrows with a doubtful look on his face.
“How do I say it… It almost feels like she doesn’t look at me whenever we meet, and even if I try to talk to her, her responses are always faint… No, she seems hardly interested in anything outside her own little world.”
“Isn’t it simply because she is nervous?”
“Hm~~m, she doesn’t look nervous at all, you see? And she doesn’t look like she is having a presence of mind either, it’s just hard to put my finger on it… Calling her an introvert isn’t quite right either.”
Seeing Luke was having a hard time, I decided I should ask him about how they met instead. Well, it is a matter concerning ‘Syltianna’ after all, I’m interested to know more.
The first time they met was at the banquet to welcome Frontier Count Aulanthia. Luke greeted the princess, to which she only replied with a “huh.” That, of course, made her father, their chamberlain, and their whole entourage panic, and they immediately smoothed it over with “She must be nervous meeting sir Luke,” or “It has to be the exhaustion from the long trip,” etc. Luke bought those excuses at first, but Syltianna’s attitude didn’t change even at the party that followed.
Whenever Luke complimented her on her dress or accessories for diplomacy’s sake, she would simply respond with a curt “I see,” or “Thank you,” before her attendants interjected themselves into the conversation and in turn complimented him back with heavily honeyed words. The star of the party, instead, was just being lost in her own little world.
At first Luke thought Syltianna hated him, but upon further observation, he learned that Syltianna acted that way regardless of who she was dealing with. She would respond minimally if someone talked to her, but she was never the one to bring up a topic… Luke concluded that Syltianna wasn’t pretending, this was just who she was.
“…I didn’t want to believe it, but perhaps there is some truth to the rumors about her.”
Dim-witted, dullard, stupid, foolish — I had no idea which rumors had reached his ears, but when I saw the look on Luke’s face as he shrugged his shoulders, I could feel an ache in my heart.
Those slurs really should have been addressed to me. And yet, here I am with another name and another face, smearing my sins on a stranger who assumed the name I left behind. I’m the worst.
“What’s the matter, Jill? You look pale.”
Luke’s attentiveness sure can be troublesome at times like this.
“No, it’s nothing. I just hate myself for gossiping about Syltianna like this… forgive me. I know I was the one who brought up the topic, and yet…”
Hearing my excuse, Luke’s eyes opened wide with a start.
“You’re… right. How rude I have been. I am talking about the rumors of my potential partner behind her back, and I am even griping about it to a girl I’m close with. As a gentleman, I can’t stoop any lower.”
Oh wait, I am a girl, aren’t I? It’s been a while since I was conscious of it, but listening to Luke made me realize it once again. Basically, I was being that woman who, getting asked by a guy how to turn down a girl’s confession, badmouths that girl to feel good about herself.
…yeah, looking at it objectively, it does make one’s blood raise.
“Yeah, I need to meet her in person again and express my honest feelings so that we can settle it properly.”
Well, I support you if you want to tell her that, but aren’t there a lot more issues that you need to address before that? Persuading Mr. Eilmer, maybe, or perhaps the domestic turmoil you’ll cause… Before I could make the comment, however, Mr. Royce the steward, who had been standing still behind me the whole time, gently looked at me.
“Young Lady. Boys have times when they would sprint ahead toward an uncertain future in the passion of youth. Even I used to be like that myself…” he added, a nostalgic and somewhat regretful look reflected in his eyes.
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I sighed before I moistened my mouth with the tea and changed the subject.
“Come to think of it, Luke. You haven’t met my familiar Vier. Should I introduce you to her?”
“Aah, I heard of her from my father. She’s a Sirius, he said! By all means, please let me say hello.”
Seeing Luke’s eyes lit up, a smile crept on my cheeks before I knew it.
“Then, she should be in my bedroom… Although truth to be told, I only finished settling down and was freshly guided through the mansion by Mr. Royce myself, but let me show you my room.” I stood up, about to lead Luke around, but I noticed his cheeks flushed. “What’s the matter?”
“Ah, no, bedroom… is it?”
“Yes. It’s on the third floor.”
By the way, it was a corner room located on the third floor of the building with only one small window. It would be hard to escape from there should anything happen, but it’s not like anything would happen anyway.
Within the walls of Graviol Palace, there exists a facility called the “Unopened Gate” or “Corridor of the Supreme Heaven.” It was a place that was always kept hidden and locked, not even the emperor was allowed to use it. After the death of Emperor Gianluca about a week ago, this place was opened for the first time in a long time, and it saw a visitor.
White. Other than its sheer magnificence, that was the only word he could describe it as. That was the impression Eilmer had when he stepped into this place for the first time.
The pillars and walls were all made of marble. The arched ceiling was decorated with intricate golden ornaments, and even though the room has been closed for so many years, there was not a speck of dust or dirt. What was there was a red carpet that was pushing back the soles of his feet with elasticity, as if the whole thing was woven by hand.
The members of the imperial family were all speechless in front of such a gorgeous space as if they were in a palace of toys, but there was one exception —an elderly woman who was considered a legend, hailed as both the founding empress and the mother of the nation— it was Oliana, an empress from two generations past, still wearing her white vestments and crown, who looked down the corridor, murmured “you have arrived already, I see,” then silently kneeled on the marble floor.
The people around her hurriedly followed after her example, similarly dropping to their knees. Oliana alone, who was positioned at the forefront of the group, lightly lifted her head and watched — as the Unopened Gate slowly opened.
When she saw the head of the group of beings emerging from beyond, the previous empress, Oliana Eineas Mirn Graviol, the only one whose status allowed her to raise a voice, called out with a hint of nostalgia.
“I am truly honored that you have come to attend the funeral of my grandson, Your Majesty the God Emperor.”
In response to her greetings, a voice as clear as a silver bell with a soft yet impenetrable elegance passed through the quiet corridor, a hint of smile accompanying it.
“Long time no see… At times like this, should I say I offer my condolences?”
Everyone who heard that clear voice was left astonished, their widely opened eyes still staring at the ground.
—is the owner of such a clear, young voice, Her Majesty the God Emperor?
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Eilmer found himself struggling to keep his eyes down instead of laying them on the godly being.
It was said that only a handful of emperors and gods had seen her bare face in the past few years (and anyone who dared to do so without permit would be dealt with), the one who ruled the entire continent single-handedly, Her Majesty the God Emperor of the Cardinal Rose Superempire.
She was described as an immortal and eternal princess, thus Eilmer vaguely imagined her to be in her twenties, and yet she sounded almost like she was in her early teens… not so different from his own son, Luke!!
The word Princess then suddenly reminded him of a certain girl that was connected through various interlinked events.
Princess Syltianna, daughter of Frontier Count Aulanthia, with whom Eilmer was currently negotiating an engagement for his son, was not what showed up in his mind. In fact, it was the little girl the Grand Empress Oliana, who had named herself Regina and was happily chatting with the God Emperor, to whom she had taught magic.
The fact that the Grand Founder was here meant that the girl must be somewhere in the imperial city as well. If so, then perhaps the thread of fate had connected her with his son… that might be a treat.
In the secrecy of his own thoughts, Eilmer chuckled.