A representative of the Duke of Klassen at that time said. That fourth son is like an invisible man.
The aristocratic society have a very strong idea about “standing out”. Everyone, regardless of gender, would pursue the latest fashion or gather around to discuss scandals. Especially those prominent people who carry the title of a “Dukedom”. There’s no reason for them not to look at these people.
Presently, the older sons, including the eldest son who is the current Duke, led a grand life in the resplendent society. Meanwhile, the fourth son dared to choose to live in reverse. “He disappeared when I took my eyes off for a while”, is how the Eisler family, who lived on monitoring other people, described him when they lost sight of him. Even his marrying into the Foster family was not kept altogether secretly. It seems that no one, including us, considered that he will ultimately marry. No one thought that a duke’s son will marry a very ordinary commoner.
And so, he gave up his aristocratic position in order to directly listen to the voices of the citizen, which became a very useful source of information for the Duke. Through him, the Duke was able to receive some trivial conversations that do not normally reach him. His active part must have been the the reason behind the wonderful political career of the Duke of Klassen.
I came to see that fourth son—Meryl’s father the other day.
“Oh, so you are Monica-chan. I often hear stories about you from Meryl.”
Since Meryl is my dormitory roommate, I could meet him regularly even without giving him a proper notice beforehand. Uncle’s gentle green eyes and deep blue hair is the same as Meryl’s. The Foster family have a small inn and restaurant located within the territory of the Duke of Klassen.
…Oh, I see.
Although he merely greeted me, I noticed something. The well-featured shape of his face, his eyes, his nose and his mouth make him look handsome. And he always have a gentle smile. My first impression of him was that he is a “good person”. That is why I could not remember him.
For example, Gilbert Kralvane. He also has a well-featured face, but my first impression of him was “stern” and “cold”. The negative feeling that I felt from his sharp golden eyes remained in my memory.
The features of Meryl’s father, not that I’m being biased, is extremely average. He is neither fat nor thin, however he is also not muscular. In addition to his extremely average appearance is his harmless smile. Because of his neither bad nor good characteristics, he made no lasting impression to me.
I want to become like this person.
With his skill of not being not able to be remembered, as an intelligence agent, I am very envious. Well, he is doing it intentionally, though.
Ahem. Clearing my throat, I adjusted my posture. It’s just that, such is not a proper conduct of a lady.
“I am Monica Eisler. I am very pleased to meet you.”
“……Ah, perhaps is this about your family?”
Mentioning my family name, the atmosphere became a little tensed, but soon my smile returned as if nothing happened. However, I don’t know if he noticed that slight change, for a woman who looked like Meryl came towards us in a rush. That girl has the color of her hair and eyes from his father and facial features from her mother.
“We may also be involved, but the matter at hand is about Meryl-san.”
Will you listen to me? Their heads tilted sideways, along with a questioning expression. Since I came between lunch and dinner, I do not think that they are too busy with work, except making preparations. After looking at me for a while, they beamed at me then showed me inside the shop that was in the middle of preparations.
The interior of the shop was made of high-quality wood, and the hand-sewn white tablecloths have pretty embroidery. It closely resembled the warm dining table of ordinary households. It is a 20-person capacity restaurant in an ordinary town. If someone said that a duke’s son has married into this family, no one would believe it for sure.
“So this is about Meryl. Is there any problem?”
His wife prepared tea and homemade sweets and carried it to the four-seater table. When she offered me the sweets (a popular one even in the school district) she brought in haste, I gladly received it.
“I would like to check first before I discuss. Did you know that Meryl was dating a man for two years?”
The couple nodded again after exchanging a glance. Uncle faced me, his smile disappearing and frowned deeply. Fathers are really like that, huh?
“I heard that his name is Gil and that he is a very nice man. He is four years older and an academy graduate. I also heard that while he is living at the school district, he is doing a lot of work.”
Meanwhile, his wife kept on agreeing with him. Well, they have been together for so long and the two of them did not show any signs of being in the stage of ennui of their marriage. With one look, I can see that their house is ready for Meryl’s graduation and they are also starting to think about her marriage. However……
“Yes, it is him but…… His name is Gilbert Kralvane. Did you know his real name?”
Hearing that name, the couple’s expression stiffened. Ah, as I expected. Meryl, did you withhold that essential part from your parents?
“That . . . Is it, without a doubt, a family that we know?”
“Yes, that heir to the viscountcy is her boyfriend.”
Hearing my reply, Auntie hung her head and Uncle embraced her shoulders to support her. I can see that she looked perplexed but she kept her composure. As I thought, they lived in the town but aristocracy still remained everywhere.
“I am not saying this in his defense, but he did not know about the Duke and his relationship with Meryl. Rather it is the reverse. He is running around right now for the sake of marrying ‘Meryl, the commoner’. The reason why I came here today is because, yes . . . it was difficult to convince the Kralvane family.”
In order not to make it appear depressing as much as possible, I said it that way but it seems that he was able to guess it. I also did not expect that I will explain it in this manner, so I smiled bitterly.
“About what they should do, I will ultimately leave it to them (Gil and Meryl). However, if there is something I can do . . . I don’t mind meddling in their business.”
“Thank you, Monica-chan. I’m aware of that, but I have not severed my ties with my family. If they are going to take action, I am prepared for it.”
With the wrinkles that appeared on his young face as he aged, Uncle—the fourth son of the Duke of Klassen smiled back at me. Even if their current life is disrupted, if his daughter wishes for it, “I will act as a noble”, he said with a smile.
I found this out when I came to see him; that they are married as a normal commoners, but at the same time they were officially married as “nobles”. Auntie who is a commoner has a noble family as a guardian, so she and her daughter Meryl were educated with minimum etiquette of nobles.
We also had been together for six years, so I should have noticed it. Meryl’s deportment was prepared for that of commoners. Since she was always having lunch with that Kralvane-senpai, I wondered if she was only doing her best to measure up to him. I wish I had noticed that the two of them have “no sense of incompatibility”, even from the start when I disliked him. In the first place, Meryl herself believes that she is a commoner.
“I also want to talk to the present Duke (older brother) but . . . if it’s about Meryl, it may be best to talk to Father.”
“‘Father’ . . . You are referring to the retired Duke, right? I think he is absent right now.”
“Haha, as expected of the Eisler family. You really know well. My father has only one granddaughter, so he is more powerful towards the Viscount’s family than us. I think this time, he is visiting……”
I was also thinking of the same journey as him. The retired Duke is still busy with guiding feudal lords everywhere. Surely……
“……! He is passing through the Viscount of Kralvane’s territory!”
The roads are connected. He also strongly nodded at the same idea. Still, the distance from here to the Kralvane territory is neither far nor near. Given his schedule, I may not make it in time unless I head straight towards their house.
Hurriedly standing from my seat, the couple also stood up and bowed their heads towards me. Saying “thank you” to each other while shaking hands, I left the Foster family’s house and rode a horse towards the Kralvane’s territory.
And the story leads to that heavy rainy day. (Side story 12)