This happened right after our meeting concluded. Ergnade softened his strict expression, and beckoned for me to come over. Hm? When I tilted my head and followed him while puzzled, he leaned over and met my eyes with a deep gaze.
“……It’s only been three years, but you’ve grown so much, Viscountess Kaldia. In the past, I wouldn’t have been able to meet your line of sight unless I was crouching down.”
“Ah, is that the case? It seems like you haven’t changed all that much.”
“I’ve already finished my growth period long ago. The only thing that’s going to happen to my appearance from now on is that I’ll get older.”
His eyes were twinkling with mischief, although there were more wrinkles around his eyes than the last time I saw him. He’s beginning to resemble his father Earl Einsbark even more. More so than three years ago, the last time I saw him.
“How’s Oscar doing? I heard that he became your knight.”
“You know him? I thought that he wasn’t one of your direct subordinates.”
“He has the blood of the Terejia family. He’s not someone that I should know nothing about.”
……Well, it’s indeed as he says. Although Oscar’s grandmother was born to a different mother, she was still a half-sister of Marquis Rittergua and Earl Terejia. With such a powerful noble family like the Terejias, it would be difficult to ignore Oscar’s existence, even if he was only a distant relative.
“He’s a capable fellow. He’s similar to Earl Terejia, and quite efficient in his work.”
“He tends to get overly passionate about what he’s doing. Since you’re so overworked, it’s a good thing for you to have a subordinate like him.”
“Ah, well, yes.”
Ergnade sat down on a sofa, and motioned me towards a sofa opposite of him. If he wants me to sit, he must have something else to talk about. I obediently sat down across from him like he wanted.
“I’ll get straight to the point. Earl Terejia himself requested something of me.”
“……Does it have something to do with me?”
Earl Terejia requested something from Ergnade. I was lost for words for a moment in surprise. To my knowledge, the Einsbark family and Terejia family aren’t deeply connected, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Earl Terejia had personal connections with them. However, for Earl Terejia to directly make a request to Ergnade, I could only think that it had something to do with me.
Over the past few years, Earl Terejia’s body’s condition had deteriorated, and I faintly detected with him summoning his relative Oscar to aid me that perhaps he was also preparing to share more and more of his duties running the Kaldia domain with everyone. If he keeps overworking himself like that, I feel as if he may die within the year, and I’d actually prefer that he get some rest for himself so that I also know to prepare to find a new guardian. ……Unlike before, I’m getting increasingly worried that something may happen to him at any time.
“Yes, it mainly has to do with you. I’ll skip the details of his request. Basically, he wants to know if you would like to become my daughter.”
I couldn’t help but furrow my eyebrows and I took a good look at Ergnade which told me he was being serious.
Become his, daughter? Me, and him?
“……You’re thinking about adoption?”
“Nope. Not adoption, but legally taking on my family name. This method – it seems that you don’t know about it.”
Ergnade gave me a simple explanation, that taking on the Einsbark name wouldn’t confer any new legal responsibilities on me at all. He told me not to overthink it, this is quite simple, he said quite naturally. It’s just as if he was lending me his family name.
-I can’t comprehend. What does he get out of all this?
Is there something behind this proposal of his? But for the second generation of a major noble military family, to support a young girl from a small domain with a reputation for infamy, I could only think that they would receive unnecessary hardships.
“Hey, I already told you this isn’t such a hard thing to decide. Taking on the family name isn’t for the sake of any benefits. In ancient times, it was a way to have even closer ties to people you really liked, that you considered family. If you happen to be unsatisfied with me, feel free to say no, but if you decide you like me then just go ahead and say yes!”
“Well, don’t worry for my sake, I do gain something from this as well. Right now I’m currently under pressure from my family to have children. I’m not even married yet so it can’t be helped, and giving you my family name will give me a daughter, it’ll be good for me as well.”
It’s quite a common story, and it struck a chord with me. Ergnade’s currently twenty-seven years old right now. Now that he’s become the leader of the Jugfena knights, it’s probably expected of him to have children as well.
“I don’t think that just because you take me in, that the voices wanting you to have children will disappear……”
“Oh, but there is a way to quiet them. Then maybe I should say that I don’t mind just giving you my family name, how about I adopt you as well, eh. I think that when people hear your name, they’ll fall silent. Your name is beginning to get known as a warrior. After this incident, probably even more so.”
As I tilted my head, Ergnade added the ambiguous comment that “you’re not just any simple child, after all.”
“By the way, hasn’t my father already talked to you about taking on our family name?”
“Oh, no, not yet. You must be joking?”
“Who knows,” Ergnade just grinned like a cat as he chuckled, he was probably joking I suppose. And, without noticing, all the tension in my shoulders was finally gone. This warm, relaxing feeling, where Ergnade cared for me and always tried to relieve my tension, was just like I remembered it, without changing.
“Since Earl Terejia went to the trouble of requesting you, I have no objections.”
“I see. Well then, from now on you’ll be known as my daughter.”
“Indeed so. Then, please continue to take good care of me from now on.”
“Well, nothing much will change, really.”
After a surprisingly plain and simple discussion for such an eventful matter, on that day, I acquired an adoptive father. When I tried calling him father though, apparently I got an incredibly strange expression on my face, so I think I’ll just continue to call him Ergnade.
(TL note: Some readers with sharp eyes and rudimentary Japanese knowledge may have noticed from the LN pictures that it spoiled the fact that Eliza was named “Eliza Kaldia Einsbark” in the character pictures. Well, this is why! From now on, Eliza has a new name, Eliza Kaldia Einsbark!)