The season for social gatherings was finally nearing its end, it’s about time for the nobles to hire any staff they need from the capital and return to their domains.
After they return to their domains, the harvest season begins. As for us, since the refugees brought us pumpkins this year, and the egg-laying chickens we bought two years ago have been maintaining a steady production, the food available after this year’s harvest should be slightly grander than before.
Thanks to the women that survived the era of my father’s rule, we didn’t lose some of the traditional ways to make some egg dishes. To me, that’s a great relief. We’ve already lost some traditional recipes for meat and fish dishes due to a lack of supplies during that time. ……Thinking about it in reverse, I was able to take advantage of my family’s status when I was young, and a few recipes were preserved by us. As for killing my family, I have to believe that I did the right thing. However, I can’t deny that adding hemlock into that pot of soup that day was only an impulsive action at the time, due to me being tired of the situation I was in.
That’s why, I always have to check to ensure I’m doing the right thing. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to remain mentally resilient and keep my spirit going. I won’t allow myself to abandon the role of domain lord just because my heart falters.
“-Oi, oi, are you listening?”
I was startled as someone tapped me on my shoulder, and I looked up to see Ratoka with a bewildered look on his face. I had been too lost in thinking about my own emotional baggage to notice my surroundings, so I blinked once to return myself to normal.
“……Are you not feeling well?”
“No, I just wasn’t paying attention because I was thinking about something.”
At seeing the look on that child’s face in front of me, I couldn’t help but laugh a little. Seeing me doing so, Ratoka furrowed his eyebrows slightly.
“Get it together. What if you get assassinated, what would happen to me?”
“I doubt that I would be assassinated here in the royal capital at least.”
“Hnn…… But, you never know who might be planning something!”
As for me, I don’t intend to go picking any fights, but until I’m able to fully rebuild my domain and make it into an iron defense as part of our country’s border, I suppose there will naturally be some danger. What’s more, there are also those that are angry at me simply because I received some of the country’s national defense budget.
In any case, I took another good look at Ratoka.
“……What is it?”
“Would you really be troubled if I died, I was wondering. One year ago, you were so energetic in saying that you’d kill me.”
“Y…… You! Is there no limit to how evil you can be!?”
With a sound of shock, Ratoka gave me a look of disgust. With the straight way he expresses his emotions, what a hot-blooded shonen protagonist he is. Also, I felt a sense of relief that I didn’t feel any killing intent from him anymore.
“My bad, it was a bit much for a joke.”
“Honestly. ……Ah, that’s right. To change the topic, I received a letter from the temple.”
Ratoka brought out a letter for me, and upon closer inspection, it was sealed with a seal that I’ve never seen before. It’s different from the church’s seal which I’m familiar with, it was shaped in the form of the letter F instead – and only one person came to my mind, it had to be from that Chief Priest Faris.
When I checked the other side just to make sure, it was clearly addressed to Eliza Kaldia. It seems that there’s no mistake.
“Ratoka. Bring me a letter opener.”
A letter has arrived for me from a priest which I have no particular close relationship with. I sat down in a chair and wondered just what was in the letter, as I sat there staring at it as if it would help me see through it.
I rapped on Ratoka’s back when his shoulder drooped in fatigue as he gawked at the extravagant white temple adjacent to the royal palace.
“……That hurt you know!?”
When I put an end to his sulking with a sharp glare, I heard chuckling and guffawing sounds from Claudia who was a few steps behind me dressed in maid attire, as well as Gunther who was also acting as my bodyguard today.
I almost always take Ratoka and Claudia everywhere with me wherever I go these days, but I wonder just why Chief Priest Faris specifically invited the three of them by name to come along with me.
“Why was it these three people……”
I muttered that to myself as I stepped into the dazzling marble temple. That priest especially had no reason to know about Ratoka. Just when and where did the priest learn about it, I wonder if Earl Terejia had informed Faris since they seem to be good friends.
“It’s said that Chief Priest Faris has the god’s own eyes.”
Maybe she heard me muttering to myself, Claudia started chatting about all the information she’s heard in town as she’s much more caught up on local gossip than I am, on that priest I know nothing about.
“It seems that Faris-dono’s mother was from the Melloart royal family, while she herself was the daughter of a duke. There’s also a rumor that she used to be Earl Terejia’s fiancee, but that’s from a really long time ago.”
Faris is the daughter of a duke, and what’s more she used to be engaged to Earl Terejia when they were both much younger? That means that she’s probably within ten years of age to Earl Terejia. So she’s around seventy, give or take……?
“Yes, she has a rather strange background. You usually don’t see someone of such high status entering the church.”
“The degree to which it’s said her god’s eyes can see things, it’s impossible to do by the natural laws of the world. Maybe the church unexpectedly does actually have some sort of divine power.”
Since I was the only one among us who had ever met Chief Priest Faris directly before, Ratoka and Claudia felt no sort of shock at all at the approximate real age of the priest we were about to meet.
Ratoka aside, if even Claudia doesn’t understand Chief Priest Faris’s “god’s eyes,” this priest might really have some sort of mysterious power that I don’t comprehend. ……Well, there’re very few monks and priests that interact very often within noble social circles, so maybe even a lot of them actually have some sort of divine powers.
– But anyway, god’s eyes, eh.
I remembered back to my birthday celebration when I was six years old, to the scales that balanced my good and evil deeds that Chief Priest Faris prepared for me. Even though absolutely nobody should have known about it, my deepest secret was exposed. The other two people there at that time, Kamil and Earl Terejia, also shouldn’t have known about it.
Even on the verge of death, Kamil didn’t seem to have known that I was the one who ended up inadvertently framing his father.
As for the Earl, I wonder if maybe he knew everything. When I think back on it, that parchment with the list of people that died which appeared on the scale could only have been prepared by him. Neither of us have ever discussed it, but I can infer from it that he must have been informed of the ceremony’s contents beforehand.
The remainder of the walk to the specified location inside the temple was done in silence. Although I do feel nervous about what Faris is going to say to me, about having my weakness in her grasp, strangely I didn’t feel the same sense of fear that I did last year.