It was in the garden of my mother’s parents’ house.
It is the grave of the previous “Alice,” who was born just before “I” was born into this world.
After the interrogation and the disposal of Rouge and many other things were over, my parents and I were visiting the castle of the Jaime family—my mother’s family home.
It was said that in one of the castle’s vast gardens, my mother’s and father’s child was at rest.
“So this is where…that child is located.”
Mother softly dropped to her knees in front of the grave and whispered.
From the castle, we walked through a garden full of flowers and through a grove of birch trees that were beginning to turn red with the shades of Autumn. Beyond that, on a hill with a view of the lake, at the foot of an ash tree, “Alice’s” grave was tucked away.
It was also because of me who had requested to go to this grave.
Rather, I had initiated the visit to the grave itself, because both my father and mother had tried to postpone it out of concern for me.
‘I want to go see it.’ I said.
When I remembered the expression on my parents’ faces at that time, and the tearful look on their faces afterwards, I almost laughed cried simultaneously.
“I’m sorry I didn’t come to see you sooner.”
My father followed mother’s lead. He got down on one knee in a knightly posture and spoke to that tombstone.
I stood back and quietly watched the scene.
“I feared that Eleanor would be broken by the fact that you were dead. So I went so far as to look for a substitute.”
My father muttered to ‘Alice’ as if full of regrets.
“That night, when you had taken your last breath, I handed you over to someone I could trust, and then I galloped my horse all the way to the orphanage where I forced my way in. And from then on, I’ve been lying to my wife and welcomed a new daughter as my own, so I understand if you feel hatred and resentment towards me. I’ve betrayed you by loving the daughter that I brought home as your replacement…Please…Alice….”
I listened to the words quietly, knowing that this penance was directed only for “Alice.”
My mother is next to begin her confession.
“Alice, I still remember the joy of the moment you were born, and the pain I felt when I held you in my arms and realized that you would soon die.”
My mother prayed as if she were a nun praying to God.
“Please forgive your weak mother who lost consciousness soon after giving birth and could not even take care of your death…And for not questioning my husband about your death, and for loving the new daughter you welcomed into the world. You can be as angry as you like, cursing me blaming me until you feel better.”
Then I was silent, and behind my parents, who just prayed silently. I couldn’t help but stand behind them and offer up my own prayer.
“Alice Rebecca Archelaus. I swear that I will carry on this name and protect your parents.”
I felt my parents turn around with a gasp, worriedly glancing back at me, but I kept my eyes closed and prayed to ‘Alice.’
“Whatever feelings you may have for me, I accept them. So please allow me to protect your parents, and please forgive them for staying with by my side.”
Although the air was completely still without even the slightest breeze blowing by, once I finished speaking, a single leaf fell from the ash tree and landed gently on my head.
‘It’s just a coincidence!’ I frantically tell myself, shaking my head so that the leaf will fall off.
For a moment, I was angry at myself.
For taking her place as a result, even though nothing could have been done.
But with that leaf, I couldn’t help but think that it was sent by her to comfort me!
As I shook my head and squeezed my eyes back shut, I felt something warm envelop my body.
My whole body instantly relaxed, and at once I felt at ease with this wonderful, pleasant feeling surrounding me. But just as it came, it quickly and quietly left me.
When I opened my eyes, the tears having welled as they were closed, I saw my father and mother rushing to embrace me, crying.
—End of Part 1—
T/N: I’m glad that everything was cleared up and now we can get into the fun magic fantasy world! They’re all such a cute family ❤
You can go to part 2 here. FYI, the chapters will be continuing from the chapter 13 instead of restarting at 1. That’s how the author wrote it, so I am doing the same thing even though they are separated into arcs. This pattern will continue for all of the future volumes.
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3 thoughts on “Chapter 12: Under the Ash Tree”
*Sniff* *Sniff* Damn feels
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Who left these onions over here :’)
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Those shitty onion ninjas
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