* * *
At my grandfather’s call, I stopped stirring the brown soup.
“What’s wrong? Why aren’t you eating?”
When I raised my head, I could see my grandfather looking at me anxiously.
Oh, you noticed.
“No, it was a little hot, so I was eating slowly.”
I hid my agitation and smiled back.
“Really? Give it here. Grandpa will cool it down for you.”
Looking at my grandfather’s wrinkled hand carrying the plate, I sighed indistinctly.
It’s been three days since Roberick didn’t come.
I kicked him out somehow, but he’s not a person who would give up and step down.
……what shall I do?
It was only possible to dismiss him with my words because Roberick came out more leisurely than expected. I couldn’t think of a way to do it again if he put his status and power forward for this.
“I have to change the pot or something, it’s hot, but the ingredients are undercooked…”
While I was overwhelmed by the hopelessness of the future, and my grandfather was mumbling with his tongue at the performance of the useless pot.
There was a knock on the door from outside.
Slowly, and clearly.
The spoon fell from my hand.
There was a loud noise that hurt my ears.
…It can’t be.
I bit my cold lips and looked at the door.
Is Roberick here?
You’re really going to come regardless of whether grandpa is here or not?
My grandfather got up from his seat and opened the door.
The moment my heart was beating so hard, the gap between the opened doors revealed an unexpected face.
It was Perion.
Why are you coming out here?
Perion, who was standing like a messenger of death with his back in the dark, stared at grandfather with a firm look.
“…why are you here? You just won’t go away!”
My grandfather roared.
Considering what Perion has done so far, it was a natural reaction.
“Get out of the way!”
Nevertheless, Perion was silent, and grandfather pulled the doorknob roughly.
However, Perion’s grasp held the door that was about to be closed fiercely and blocked it.
A few days ago, a savage voice, no different from when he threw a pebble to Roberick’s head, flowed from grandfather’s throat.
There was an unusual current in the air. I bit my lips.
Why on earth have you come here? Tell us the reason before we have a real fight at hand!
“You need to have a long conversation with the Grand Duke Of Haelian.”
At that time, Perion finally opened his mouth, as if he had read my thoughts.
My grandfather, who was staring at Perion with fierce eyes, was visibly shaken.
“If you don’t listen to it, won’t you regret it?”
Perion said, looking down at grandfather through the gap in the half-closed door.
You have something to discuss about with Roberick?
I opened my eyes wide to the unexpected remark from Perion.
“…Don’t drag on and tell me what you need first, and then disappear.”
Grandfather’s answer to his words was fixed.
With a snap, grandfather withdrew and the old door blocking Perion from entering opened completely.
“…You still have strength in your arms.”
Perion murmured, wiping off the sweat that had trickled down his forehead.
The red eye, which was similar in color to Roberick’s, but sharper and murkier, turned to me.
…what the hell did you come all of a sudden to talk about?
I stared at him without hiding my vigilance.
“……it’s about that child.”
At that moment, Perion revealed why he chose to have a sudden midnight secret meeting.
“Siorn Archaitez Bastevan. I’d like to make you a proposal.”
Perion said so with a glaring expression of displeasure.
* * *
I looked down at the contents of the bag cluttered on the table, some of the metal presumably the key to a safe, and some cards of uses I was unaware of.
“So… now, your suggestion.”
“Your Excellency, run away to a place where you cannot be found.”
This was the “proposal” brought up by Perion, who suddenly visited while avoiding Roberick’s eyes.
“We will supply all the goods needed to escape. You’ve been deprived of your identity card to prohibit movement, so we’ve also prepared a camouflage ID card to replace it. I ordered one of my henchmen to escort you to your destination so you can avoid his eyes.”
“….what do you get out of doing this? Is there a way to prove all this is not mixed with the will of your owner, that Roberick Arne Haelian?”
Grandfather said, narrowing his brows deeply.
Perion glanced at me with an ice blizzard seemed to pass in his eyes before answering.
I clasped my trembing hand.
“Proof…I’ll be honest with you. I do not want your granddaughter to be recognized as the Grand Princesss of Haelian.”
Perion revealed his innermost thoughts without filtering.
“The current situation is the most harmonious. She is the one who will break all that peace.”
Perion didn’t seem to want Chastia and Allea to be shaken by my appearance – Roberick’s only biological child.
“……I don’t understand it at all, but the Grand Duke wants to accept your granddaughter as the Grand Princess.”
“What?! What qualification does he have to do that?”
Grandfather, who didn’t know that Roberick had been terribly clinging to me for the past week, cried out in a startled voice.
“……He is qualified enough. He’s her father anyway.”
I inherited the blood of the Grand Duke and the noble Princess Bastevan, no matter how much I am the child of a woman who was deprived of her title and stigmatized as a wicked woman.
And with not a single drop of the Grand Duke’s blood in her, Allea, who had unknown commoners for parents, still had that gap that couldn’t be filled.
In addition, Roberick has a firm intention to take me with him as his Grand Princess.
Perion added, with a hint of impatience.
“What do you wish for? We will try to meet the conditions as much as possible. You don’t want your granddaughter to be the Grand Princess of Haelian, do you?”
This really was his intention.
I was fed up even though I understood what Perion meant.
Do you want to protect a woman and her daughter who have already married your owner, going against your owner’s will?
It was all good for me, but both master and servant were out of their minds.
Confusion was evident in the face of my grandfather who’d received the surprising proposal.
“How can I trust you?”
There was hatred and distrust toward Perion amidst that confusion.
Perion was a person who helped the main characters both materially and mentally, and helped in the downfall of the Duke of Bastevan.
“Is it hard to decide?”
Perion looked down at grandfather with a cold, frozen face and recited.
“Then let me tell you one more thing. Grand Duke Haelian is more obsessed with that child than necessary.”
It was something I knew already.
But had he really been acting so much like a lunatic that he’d even alerted Perion?
“It was ominous he came to me in the first place talking nonsense…. but a human being who knows shame wouldn’t…”
“That’s enough, I’ll have to get a definite answer first. Will you accept this offer?”
Perion’s proposal was a clear opportunity.
If it really is Roberick’s intention to take me to the Grand Duchy, no matter what me and my grandfather do, it’d be impossible to nullify that decision.
So the only solution left for us – was to run away.
Where Roberick won’t find us.
Fleeing to another country far beyond the borders of the empire.
My grandfather was silent for a while as if he were in fierce agony.
However, my grandfather’s thoughts seemed to have reached the same ending as mine.
“I accept the offer.”
The words of consent flowed out of my grandfather’s mouth.
Let’s finish this.
* * *
‘Pick your destination as soon as possible. Don’t be late in your preparations. There’s a limit to how much we can keep his eyes off the grid.’
Perion left leaving those words.
The bag of gold coins, keys to a bank’s safe, and identification cards that he carried like were still on the table.
But what is this heavy silence for?
I sat on the sofa, shook my feet, and glanced up at my grandfather, who had been silent for a while.
…It was understandable that it was so serious.
How could it be easy to leave behind the place where he’d been living for the past 7 years and run away to some unknown faraway land with the help of the hateful Perion?
Besides, we didn’t know if we could escape safely.
It was the same reason that my heart sank heavily.
Damn it, Roberick.
Without him, there’d no reason to run away.
Just as I have lived so far, I would have led a peaceful daily life where I felt bored.
…How did you find out I existed?
I felt a mysterious spark in me that I probably should have felt earlier.
For the last seven years, he’d lived without noticing us.
What happened all of a sudden?
It was my grandfather’s voice that awoke me as I was sinking deeper and deeper into my thoughts.
I answered in a slightly raised voice in surprise.
When I looked up, my grandfather with a complicated smile was looking down at me.
“You must have heard that man and grandfather talking earlier.”
I replied hesitantly. My grandfather’s smile seemed to tremble slightly.
“You wouldn’t have fully understood. But it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to know anything. This grandfather will solve everything.”
A warm touch heavily wrapped around my shoulder.
“And… Edith, what do you think of leaving here and moving a little far away?”
I bit the flesh in my mouth.
“If you don’t like it, you may not leave. Don’t think about anything else. Just make the choice you want to make.”
My grandfather added what he thought of my hesitation.
Like a fool.
I was surrounded by a situation where I had to choose an uncertain future and got shaken by fear.
I can’t be a burden to my grandfather.
“…That’s fine. Actually, I’ve always wanted to go out of town. Anywhere is fine with you, Grandpa.”
I never want to live apart from my grandfather as the daughter of a man like Roberick.
So, I have to leave.
A painful smile formed around my grandfather’s mouth.
“You’ve grown up too early.”
Why is it that the hand that pats my back feels especially weak today?
“But…… where are we going?”
I asked carefully, looking at my grandfather’s complexion.
Is it a small country without a name?
Or…Nisha was a good choice.
It was a kingdom with hostile relations with the Rothan Empire, so it was not a bad place to run away to, even if the idea was a little difficult to achieve.
“……where my old friend stays.”
However, I tilted my head and asked back at the strange words he returned.
The smile on my grandfather’s face was colored with an emotion close to remorse than pain.
“It is separate from the interests of all kingdoms and empires…There’s nowhere more suitable for us to leave to.”
I don’t know where what he talked about was. I only blinked.
As soon as I opened my mouth to ask about it, the bell of the clock rang loudly in the dark house.
My grandfather smiled mildly.
“What time is 9 o’clock?”
I answered with a curl of my lips.
“……It’s time for a good child to go to dreamland.”
“You know it well.”
My grandfather who left his seat first reached out his hand to me.
“You will have a good dream today. Forget all your worries, and allow this grandfather to appear in your dreams.”
Grandpa best character – I love reading your comments! it’s the reason I keep translating this series, so please, do comment your thoughts hehe ^^