Three months had now passed since the graduation turned festival.
Under the sunny summer sun, Milli, Alice, Claire, Sophia, and I decided to visit a small hill on the edge of Muhle.
The hill we are on is man-made and did not exist several years ago. There was a stone monument built on top and wildflowers were growing all around it.
It’s the grave of all those killed during the attack on the Grances mansion.
Visiting this place is similar to the Bon Festival tradition in Japan. (TN: The Bon Festival is a Japanese Buddhist custom that involves honouring one’s dead relatives)
It’s not a custom in this world but now that the monument is finished, we hope to start a tradition of coming here every year.
I closed my eyes and knelt before the monument.
I want to pay respects to all of the knights that died for us that day. And for my family — rather, the people that were supposed to be my family.
Blake nii-san — To be honest, I didn’t like him. He tried to do terrible things to Alice and would never accept me as his brother.
Even so, I never fully understood the position he was in. I was born and immediately became a threat to his position as heir to Father. It only made sense that he’d feel threatened and grow up to dislike me. That’s why I hoped to reconcile with him someday….
Next, Caroline-san — I hardly knew anything about her.
We weren’t related by blood and I only saw her face a few times. However, she was the main reason I was isolated for the first several years of my life. This didn’t create a great first impression.
The only selfless thing I ever saw her do was to throw herself in front of a blade to save Father. Caroline-san certainly loved Father with all of her heart. It makes sense that she’d hate the child of a mistress.
And finally, my father, Robert.
Even to this day, I wonder what my father truly thought about me. Father listened to Caroline-san’s request to isolate me, but then he treated me like a person when most avoided me…I never understood that.
But the final words I heard from Father before we fled the mansion was that he was proud of his son.
Were those his true feelings? Or did he tell me that because he knew his death was imminent?
I don’t know.
And it’s because I don’t know that there are times when I can’t help but think back to those days. I wonder what Father really thought of me….
I prayed for their souls with these feelings in my heart. After I finished praying, I backed away from the monument and went a little way down the hill.
Alice and Claire then approached the monument and began praying. As I watched them, Milli walked up to my side.
“You were praying for quite a while, weren’t you?”
“You say praying but…. What did Father think of me?”
“He loved you, Leon.”
My mother answered my question without the slightest hesitation. With that much confidence, I’d like to believe her words, but I still feel like that may not be the case.
“But Father was the one that locked me away, right?”
“Don’t you like to keep important things locked away?”
“I…I guess so.”
If I were allowed to live in the mansion I’d be constantly tormented by Blake nii-san and harassed by Caroline-san. It would be impossible for Father to protect me from them in that situation.
But it’s not like I know that’s why he locked me away. For all I know, Father just didn’t want to deal with the trouble of raising me in the mansion.
“Sorry for the wai– What’s wrong?”
Alice had finished her prayers and came up to me while scratching her head.
“It’s nothing. If everyone’s finished, should we head home?”
— In the end, there’s nothing I can do to find out how Father really felt about me. I have no choice but to accept that. With this thought in mind, our visit to the Grances family grave was finished.