Chapter 22: Husband and Father

“His Highness and Her Royal Highness, I am extremely pleased with your good will.”

“It’s not that great…but the Duke has come all the way down here at this time of year, so I should at least show my face.”

I don’t think it’s my imagination that there’s something disturbing going on.

The audience was in the living room where His Highness met his guests in private. The use of the word “private” is wrong…I’m sure it’s smaller than the room where I greeted His Majesty on his return the other day, but it’s still a hall.

The high ceiling and the wide hall are filled with an air that makes me feel nervous and want to escape.

Lilia, I never knew that the Duke and His Highness were on bad terms with each other.

Inadvertently, I goof off to Lilia in my mind.

No, maybe she just didn’t say it because it’s too obvious a fact for Lilia.

I pretend to cover my mouth with a lace fan and let out a small sigh.

The chair, decorated with carvings and jewels, is still too big for me, with three cushions in it. It’s nice to sit on, but not very comfortable.

“Until earlier, Luthia and I were just enjoying our morning tea together.”

His Highness crossed his legs as if to say that he was interrupted.

This is so impressive that I don’t like it. If it weren’t for that refreshing yet casually pompous version of the prince, I might have fawned over it.

I sigh behind the fan again.

However, the Duke is no less so, easily passing through His Highness’ sarcasm-overloaded words and turning to me with a smile.

He looks much better than when we parted at Elzevert.

“I heard that Your Highness liked the sweets during her stay in our house.”


What, could it be that my brother told him?

I don’t suppose he came all the way over here for that?

Wow, you work so fast, brother.

It’s only been about ten days, right? I think he might have used a fast horse or something just to tell this story.

I might have done something wrong.

“I appreciate the thought and have brought a craftsman with me so that Her Highness can eat it whenever she likes.”


I didn’t really understand what he said. Why would you bring a craftsman with you? Do you mean to make it on the spot or something?

“That’s impressive…Good for you, Luthia.”

“…Uh, yes.”

His Highness was smiling so I couldn’t help but nod my head.

It must be a good thing to say that I’m happy, but I don’t understand the meaning.

“With that in mind, I would like to revive the kitchen in His Imperial Highness’ Palace.”

“……That’s a tall tale to tell.”

“I’m sure Your Highness would have no objection to this…”

“It’s certainly quite a lot.”

Let’s not talk about this in that roundabout way.

Why the kitchen? What the hell are you talking about?

“But the question is, can we select each and every one of the construction people?”

“I will take care of that myself. I will never do anything to endanger Her Highness.”

“I know that Luthia is irreplaceable to Elzevert…and I don’t doubt your words…but Luthia was targeted at your residence.”

“With all due respect, Your Highness, it is also due to the inadequacy of the guards. Until now, we have not been allowed to approach the princess’s side. Even in our own castle, we would be remiss if we didn’t have a bodyguard close by.”

“I still don’t intend to forgive you now.”

I’m sorry. I’m not following the conversation at all.

What the hell are these people talking about?

I have no idea.

“With all due respect, Your Highness, there is no need for Your Highness to forgive us. We are aware that whether or not to forgive is entirely up to Your Highness’ will.”

His Highness twists his mouth into a sarcastic smile at the Duke, who smiles quietly with a condescendingly polite tone.

“Yes, that’s right. Luthia, how do you like this?”

“…I have no idea about it.”

I’m kind of mildly pissed off.

What are you two talking about, leaving me alone!?

If it’s an unrelated story, that’s fine. But it’s a story that seems to be very relevant to me.

The Duke is looking at me with a somewhat surprised expression, but I didn’t pay attention to it and let it pass. It’s because I had more important things to do than to consider the Duke’s inner psychology.

“Isn’t this about giving me sweets? Why did that turn into a story about a craftsman, and then a story about the kitchen, and then the other day?”

“The Duke will give you a craftsman who can make the pastries you want. If you only get the craftsman, he won’t be able to make the sweets you want, so he will build a new kitchen and offer it to you.”

His Highness says it simply.

Why do you look so nonchalant, Your Highness?

“I said that I would like to eat sweets again, but I didn’t say that I wanted a craftsman or a kitchen.”

I don’t remember begging for anything like that at all. Not at all.

“What’s the matter?”

“Is there something that’s bothering you?”

His Highness and the Duke ask me curiously.

No, these people…

No, I can’t give up.

I’m not crazy…probably.

That’s not what it should mean when you say you want to eat sweets again.

“…Could it be that wanting to eat sweets means to please give me that artisan?”

If that’s the case, then I’m sorry for what I’ve done.


“It’s not like that.”

They simply denied it once and for all.

“Then why are we talking about this?”

The two men answered in the surrounding.

“What’s the problem with a human from Elzevert becoming yours?”

“It’s only natural that a member of our family should be in the service of Her Highness.”

Wow, they have the same look on their faces.

Is it the same kind of dislikes that makes them not get along? Maybe.

“That’s why I wanted to eat sweets and didn’t say I wanted the craftsman!”

How could this happen just because I wanted to eat sweets again?

“…Is it possible that Her Royal Highness still doesn’t believe in the sincerity of our family?”

Wow…so that’s what it turns to. Oh no, this storyline…

The Duke forms an expression of resignation with his eyes down. I know it’s a pose, I know it’s a pose. I know it, but I can’t just easily dismiss it as just a pose.

“Sincerity. I didn’t expect those words to come out of your mouth…”

His Highness says so mockingly as he chuckles.

Your Highness…you look like a terribly evil person when you do that. No, it’s too cheap to call it an evil person…As an atmosphere, it’s more like demon king, yeah.

Everyone will retreat, I’m sure.

“At the very least, I want to be more sincere to Her Highness than anyone else…I heard that Her Royal Highness has been interested in making sweets lately, and that she has had many inconveniences, and I wanted to do all I could to help her.”

So you’re dedicating your artisan and the kitchen?

I don’t know what the head of a great nobleman is thinking.

I don’t know, but I don’t think I should get caught in the middle here.

“But if Your Highness can’t trust the pastry maker that we provide, it can’t be helped. This is also the fault of the vassal…”

“That’s not what I meant.”

It’s not a matter of believing or not believing. You’re missing the point.

“Your Highness…”

“You can’t talk like that to Luthia, who has no memory, Lord Toko.”

His Highness quietly opens his mouth just as the Duke is about to say something.

There is a cold smile on his mouth.

Ugh, he looks like he’s in a bad mood…

Sadly…I don’t think His Highness said that just to help me at all.

If I don’t cover for the Duke in the right place…

Earlier, he seemed to be in a mood that was a bit sarcastic to the Duke, but now he’s in a genuinely bad mood, although I don’t know why.

“Luthia doesn’t have any memories to use as a basis for judgment. I don’t want you to take advantage of that and imitate it as a good thing.”

“That wasn’t my intention.”

“…Then why do you choose ‘now?’ Did you think that your actions would be forgiven if she had no memory of them? Put your hand on your chest and think about what you have done to Luthia.”

I didn’t know what had touched His Highness’s anger…but he was definitely angry, even if he was quiet.

The fact that he was calm without being enraged reminded of the depths of his anger.

“Don’t you remember? Do you remember the night Luthia was born, when you said, ‘What daughter?’ When your three-year-old daughter wanted to see her father on her sick bed, and you refused to do so because that woman’s birth was coming up? What happened when Mrs. Marlene died and Luthia was left alone?…You may forget, and Luthia may forget, but I will not forget.”

“Your Highness…”

I began to worry about His Highness. It seemed to me that those words of blame for the Duke were hurting His Highness.

Sincerity…you said that when you married Efinia.”

He said this coldly.

Efinia…That’s the name of my mother, who died when she was seventeen years old.

“…Your Highness, it’s okay.”


With a surprised look, His Highness…and the Duke look at me.

I gently touch His Highness’ arm on the elbow of the chair next to me, and smile at him.

“I would be delighted to have the sweets from that time if they were here now. It was so delicious…I would like to have some with Your Highness.”

I think good food tastes even better when eaten with someone you care abouut.

“Do you forgive him?”

“It’s not that I forgive or don’t forgive…Your Highness, I do not remember. I know that the Duke is my father because I have been told that he is my father…but I don’t really feel it.”

I don’t know him.

I did know him, but I have forgotten it.

“Forgetting, they say, is even worse than death…”

Someone once said that true death does not come by physical death, but when one is forgotten from the memory of every person.

“As long as there is a memory, the person lives on in his or her mind…That’s what memory is all about. I lost it. I suppose that means I died once back then.

His Highness stares at me intently.

Oh, I see…

I felt like I knew what I was talking about.

“When I heard my mother’s story, I almost cried. I thought that my mother’s memory would not be able to live on if I forgave the Duke. But I didn’t have to think that way. Because I don’t remember…”

There was a line in someone’s poem that said it’s more pathetic to be forgotten than to die.

It is indeed true.

“Your Highness, the Duke and I are related by blood. It is said that we are parent and child, and I do not doubt that…But if I ever call the Duke “Father” in the future, it is just a way of calling him. There is no love to call my family there…we can never be a family again.”

I have no memory of being his child.

Can you understand how terrible that is for the Duke?


“I forgot His Highness then, too, but I’ve made a lot of new memories with His Highness…albeit for a very short period of time.

‘Am I wrong?’ I tilt my head lightly as if to say so

“No, it’s not different.”

“I think His Highness and I are family because of those memories…of our precious time together. I think that just because we are related by blood doesn’t mean we are family.”

Maya lost her family early on, but she was never alone.

She had many acquaintances, and she had friends. She didn’t just have flaky relationships with them, but she had built a proper human relationships with them, I think.

There were times when I had felt lonely, but it wasn’t the loneliness of being without anyone, it was the loneliness of having lost someone, the loneliness of remembering them.

Because I know that my dad and mom loved Maya…

So I can see now that in a sense, I was not really alone, even though I was, in a sense, a lifelong lonely person.

“Unfortunately, the Duke and I will no longer be spending any time together in the form of ‘family.’ I don’t remember the Duke who was my father, and now my family is His Highness now…I am very sorry for that to the Duke.

I’m sorry. As long as I am me, he has no way to get his daughter back again.

The Duke of Elzevert looks straight at me.

I take it straight.

Strangely enough, my mind was quiet.

“Even if you could remember, you wouldn’t even have the memories to forget.”

His Highness announces in a sullen tone of voice…

Are you still in a bad mood after all this?

I think that he can’t be helped and it makes me feel strange.

What is this state of mind that I find so cute?

“I don’t know that. It was lost in that winter lake…Now that I am here, I have no other particular intentions for the Duke now…so I’m all for it now…I am pleased with the Duke’s favor.”

“…Your Highness.”

Now, I know I’m being a bit sly.

With this reasoning, the Duke must continue to show me favor in the future.

“Please do as Your Highness pleases on this one.”

I don’t know all the details, so I’ll leave it to you, I told him.

I don’t want to take it personally. But I have a feeling that it won’t happen. Maybe there is some kind of agenda in those two, and it seems to be for reasons I don’t care about.

No, I’d be happy to get a kitchen, and I’d also welcome a skilled craftsman.

But…I know I’ve said this a million times, but all I wanted was some sweets!

…Next time, I’ll be careful of what I say.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one word of wanting a snack would develop into something like this.

Where in the world did I go wrong?

I need someone to tell me.



The Duke and His Highness exchanged sarcasm again, and in the end, it was decided that the kitchen would be renovated rather than newly built.

If it was just a renovation of a room that was previously a kitchen, it wouldn’t be too big of a deal, and the number of artisans would be small. The artisans were carefully selected by the Duke, and it was settled that they would stay in the servants’ quarters in His Highness’ palace during the work period and finish in as short a time as possible.

They’re going to increase the number of guards in the meantime. I wondered what they were going to do with more guards, but I didn’t tell them because it would complicate things.

As for the artisans, after reconfirming their intentions once again, it was decided that they would work for me if they wanted to.

Working at my palace means that my daily life will be under intense scrutiny. I have to be prepared for that.

His Highness was finally convinced that the Duke would take responsibility for himself if anything happened to me.



I was a bit mentally exhausted.

Once again, I thought that my mother’s case casts deep shadows, even when I don’t know it.

One of these days, I’d like to hear from someone properly…preferably someone who isn’t from the Royal Court or Elzevert.


I was surprised to find that my name was called.

“…Are you angry?”


It was His Highness who was angry, wasn’t it? He gave a small nod of his head.

“I…I’m not angry.”

Such a lie.

“But you were in a bad mood.”

“That’s because…I hate that man.”

“……Is that it?”


Well, that’s okay, then.

“……I was a little angry.”

His Highness looks at me intently.

“Because you two are so close.”

I looked at him with a big smile on my face.

“…We’re not close.”

“They say the more you fight, the closer you are to each other, Your Highness.”

“Not close!”

“You don’t have to hide it.”

“I’m not hiding anything!”

Oh, that’s unusual. His Highness is getting flustered.

“I was jealous of your conversations which I don’t understand.”

“There is nothing for you to be jealous of. There never has been, and there never will be!!”

His Highness declares with great force.

“I’ll leave that to you.”

His Highness utters no more words.

His Highness is going to lose his temper if I push him too hard. In that case, I knew it would be absolutely horrible, so I smiled even more, and said,

“Once we get the new kitchen, we can have breakfast together as much as possible.”

I guess we’ll start with breakfast. By the way, I’ve decided to provide breakfast for him! If His Highness’ side prepares it, we might have those rations again.

I don’t want to be the one to have a conversation with His Highness such as, “Today’s breakfast is the Northern Division’s rations,” or “The Southern rations are sweetly seasoned jerky,” or something like that.

His Highness seemed to want to say a lot of things, but he only had one word to say.


I was very happy with what I got today.


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