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I sent Alice back to the guest house, as I headed towards the mansion. I have no time to waste, Blake could act at any moment.
That’s why I now stood at the entrance to my Father’s study. I confirmed that he was in the room and then stepped into the door.
“….Leon? What are you doing…”
Because I entered without knocking, Father is a little cautious of me.
“Father, I’m sorry for the sudden visit, but I just wanted to talk a little. So if you can, could you spare a little time for me?”
“……You just wanted to talk? Is it something so important you needed to suddenly visit me like this?”
“Actually earlier – -“
I tell Father everything that happened earlier leaving out no detail. After hearing my story, he lets out a sigh.
“Indeed, I understand why you needed to talk with me so suddenly, but what do you expect me to do? Surely, you don’t just want me to punish Blake?”
“No, of course not, even if you were to do something like that, it would only put me in a worse position.”
“Yes, I know you understand that Blake will come up with some story to tell Caroline, and she will believe it without a doubt. So, why did you come to me if you already understand that much?”
“I…I came here to protect someone important to me.”
“Someone important? Are you speaking about the girl, Alice?”
“She is one of them.”
At first, I wanted to protect my promise with Saya — this was the only thing that gave me a reason to live for so long.
But eight years after I was reincarnated in this world, things that I hold dear to me have increased. If I lose any of these precious things, I can never be happy.
“……You’re saying you want the power to defend everything you hold dear, do you intend to become my heir?”
“No, it’s the opposite.”
“….What do you mean?”
“My life is made more difficult because Caroline is wary of me trying to threaten Blake’s position, right? I came here to say that I am not interested in becoming the heir to the Grances family.”
“In other words, by declaring that you will not be the heir, you would like a guarantee of some sort of freedom?”
“Almost, I would like you to guarantee the safety of Alice as well. If this is something you can do, then I would like you to write up a document guaranteeing our safety.”
Actually I want Milli to come back as well and I hope that there is something I can do about Claire’s marriage. But there is no way Caroline would ever agree to any of that.
So for now, I am only able to protect Alice.
“…… Hmm…well it’s possible, but I’m surprised, I thought you were more ambitious than this.”
“Because I don’t need an elevated position to live a happy life. It is enough if I am able to stay with the people most important to me…………. Actually, I would also like it if we were able to become closer.”
I add that last little bit at the end. At that moment my father’s face was dyed with surprise.
“You…you don’t bear a grudge against me?”
“I don’t hate you….At least not entirely. I know it’s hard to believe, but I can’t bring myself to hate my family.”
“Because we are family, you forgive me?”
“I think that I would like to get to know you, if possible, and I do feel some sympathy for Caroline.”
“Fuu, is that so?”
“I’m not trying to speak to your conscience, and when it comes to Blake…… Although I can never forgive him for the way he treated Alice, I still don’t want to fight him if possible.”
“You…you have a big heart. Milli has raised you well.”
Father looks away with an emotional gaze. Somehow his appearance looked very lonely just now.
“……Can I ask you one thing?”
“What is it?”
“Father, how did you feel about Milli?”
The moment I asked, Father opened his eyes wide.
“Do you know that Milli is your mother?…No, it was just you two together for a long time, it’s only natural that you’d know.”
“No, I didn’t know about it until after Milli had already left.”
“I see….Milli was an honest person.”
I wonder if he is feeling nostalgic of the past? Father turned his eyes to look out of the window, becoming lost in thoughts of the past.
“……..You were asking what I thought of Milli.”
“Yes. What did you think of her….”
“Of course I loved her. No, I still love her.”
I am a little surprised after hearing my father’s words. I could tell by the way he was acting that he never hated Milli, but I wasn’t expecting such a straightforward answer.
“Then….why….why didn’t you stop Milli from leaving?”
“That is because I felt guilty to Carol.”
“Is that so……”
Caroline is my father’s legal wife. Milli is only a mistress. That’s why I couldn’t say anything once I was told he felt guilty to Caroline.
“……Carol and I are childhood friends, we have been friends with each other for a long time, and with that kind of relationship, it was decided that we would get married.”
“Is that so, then two people that loved each other ended up together.”
“……No, we thought of each other like siblings, we did not see each other as a man and woman. Besides, Carol had someone that she loved, but as I’m sure you know, children from a noble family have no right to choose who they marry.”
“…….A political marriage.”
“It is true that we may have been close friends and maybe even a good match with one another……But, there is no doubt that it was an unwanted marriage for both of us. But…we couldn’t refuse, we chose to live together and support each other. In fact, Carol and I really did all we could to support each other and make each other happy.”
“Until you met Milli – right?”
“Yes, I was attracted to Milli. I distanced myself from Carol. I could not bring myself to act like I loved her any longer.”
“Well, then why did you isolate Milli…?”
“I still wanted to have Milli at my side. Although I don’t love Carol, it does not change the fact that Carol is important to me, so I wanted to do whatever I could to alleviate the pain I had caused her. I’m not asking you to understand, but….”
“Is that so……”
……In the end, everyone is a victim of the rules of the nobility.
It may be impossible now, but……I would like it if someday Father, Caroline and even Blake could become closer with me.
……No, as for Blake, it is impossible for us to get along as it is. I don’t want to completely give up on him, but I feel like it is the job of the entire family to help fix his ways.
“May I ask you a question now?”
“……What is it?”
“….Did Milli hate me?”
“The entire time we were together I never knew she was my mother, but not once did I hear her say anything negative about you.”
At that time Father showed an expression of either guilt or regret. Or was it relief? The expression I saw on his face was complicated and I couldn’t tell what he was feeling.
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