Common Sense of a Duke’s Daughter 195
“Hey, Ryle. Don’t you think it’s time that you told me why we’re going to the castle today?”
“…You will know when we get there.”
Ryle answered my question with something that could not be considered an answer.
We had only just arrived in the royal capital, and now we were heading for the castle.
I decided to keep my mouth shut after that question. This was also because Ryle, who walked a foot ahead of me…was just oozing an ominous air.
I felt like I would be cut if I touched him… There was nothing of the typical young nobleman.
There was a servant who waited for us by the castle entrance, and we were led inside.
And what was waiting for us there, was Yuri. I couldn’t hide my surprise at this unexpected appearance.
“Oh, so you came, after all, Ryle. …And I see there is someone who was not called here as well.”
Her eyes shone the moment she saw Ryle.
However, she immediately switched to a sulky expression after catching sight of me.
“I don’t see why there is a problem. …If he’s here.”
“Oh, if you say so. I do not care either way.”
She said with a twisted, sardonic grin.
…So this is the woman who was supposed to be innocent and carefree. I felt a sense of vertigo. And also felt some doubt towards Ryle, who acted as if he had known all along.
“So, why did you call me?”
“Oh…you know very well. Do you really want me to say it?”
“Perhaps. After all, I am asking you because I don’t know.”
She sighed deeply but did not at all look like she was troubled.
If anything, she seemed quite happy.
“Then let me be straight with you. You must join the knights order. I will speak for you.”
“I believe that I have already said no?”
“I know you did. But this time, you must accept.”
She said confidently.
“If you enter the knights order, I will lend you my power so that you can be the head of Count Melzel’s house.”
This was very shocking.
What in the world was this woman saying…
Count Melzel…wasn’t he the new commander of the knights order?
“How do you know of my origins?”
Ryle asked her in a quiet voice.
As for me, I was confused and had no idea what was happening.
“I am now the future queen. That means I am in a position to easily acquire any information that I desire. You occasionally showed such refined behavior that I could not ignore it. And so I had you investigated. And what a surprise. To think that you were the illegitimate child of the former Count Melzel. Your poor mother had gained the affections of a man old enough to be her father. It was not even a fate she would have wished for, and yet it gained the ire of his wife, and she was killed. As a woman, I sympathize with her.”
The words were now coming out with no restraint as her mouth moved busily.
“By the looks of it, you haven’t told your friend here about your past.”
She saw my expression and laughed with a twisted smile.
“Don’t you hate him? The current Count who knows nothing. Your mother was murdered and you yourself were nearly killed. And yet that man lived in blissful ignorance. He even tried to invite you over. Don’t you want to avenge your mother? It’s unfortunate that the old Count is already dead, but you can still get revenge by directing all of that anger towards the current Count Melzel. …What do you think? Is it not a wonderful idea?”
Her eyes were filled with cruelty. There was no hesitation at all.
If anything, it seemed as if she hated Count Melzel most of all.
“Unfortunately, I have no use for that.”
But Ryle was not moved by her passion.
He just looked at her quietly.
“Wha…t, what are you saying?”
She was shocked by his answer.
“As I said, I have no need for it.”
Her face twisted with rage at this second denial.
“How can you not be angry! Isn’t that why you once wanted to join the knights order? That is what I have heard. …Could it be that you have been sweet-talked by that foolish duke’s daughter?”
She grabbed Ryle.
I could hardly believe my eyes.
But as for Ryle…he was still silently looking down at her with cold eyes.
“I have discarded the name of Count Melzel. …Of course, I never had a right to it, to begin with. I was helped by my lady once and died. And then I was reborn. And so I have no interest in Count Melzel nor any desire to enter the knights order.”
Ryle removed her hands and directed his cold stare at her as he continued.
“The reason that I came here, is because I wanted to know how you found out about my past. My manners, was it? …I will have to be more careful.”
Ryle turned on his heels as if he had suddenly lost interest.
“Wait! …Why… The past cannot be so easily forgotten. Especially hatred. It grows and grows. You know this, don’t you?”
“It cannot be forgotten. But it does not have to bind you. I have found something that is more important. I do not care about the rest.”
Ryle said and left the room.
I frantically chased after him.
Just as when we had come, we walked in silence.
Though, this time there was a heavy and oppressive air about us.
I finally called out to him
“Should I really have come with you? I don’t know if this was the best way for me to hear about your past…”
“It’s fine. I was never trying to hide it from you. I just didn’t know the right timing. …But it didn’t feel right to only know your past either…”
His expression was now void of that sharpness he had earlier. It was the same man that I knew well.
I chuckled, somewhat embarrassed. And then I slapped Ryle on the back.
Ryle laughed too.
“Still, to think that you were a noble… You do seem like one, now that I know. Have you told the princess about it?”
I said bluntly. There was no need for restraint now.
“That I am Count Melzel’s bastard child? Or that I was called by that woman today?”
“Well, both of them. Obviously.”
“I have not told her that I was called today. I do not think that she needs another matter to worry about…”
“And of course, she already knows about my past. The master made an investigation when I was first taken in… Besides, I told her when I was brought in as an act of rebellion.”
“You went against her! …Damn it, if only I could have been there to see it!”
I said and laughed loudly. Ryle only sighed.
“It’s my dark secret.”
“So, how did you do it?”
“…I said, ‘I’m Count Melzel’s son.’ And, ‘I live in the hopes of entering the knight’s order.’ I even said, ‘I have no time for you and your games.’”
“My…you really said that?”
“…Like I said. It’s my dark secret.”
“Huh…and, so how did a noble son like you fall for the princess?”
“Don’t call me that. …Because she cried. That was probably it.”
“That’s quite typical.”
“Yes, it is. But, she cried when I lashed out by telling her my past. …She apologized over her lack of power.”
“I thought she was pitying me. A five-year-old girl was lamenting her lack of power. She felt weak and wretched over not being able to help me. And so she said that I must wait. If I wanted to join the knights order, she would gain the power to make that dream come true.”
He said all of this with a faraway look in his eyes.
“…Now that I think of it, it was the first time for me. The first time someone looked at me and said they wanted to help me. My mother never actually wanted me and saw me as an enemy. And my father never had an interest.”
“It’s hard being a nobleman. …Wait, so she was already a princess back then?”
“That’s what I am saying. That’s how I was defeated. She acknowledged my existence. And then there was no part of me that wanted to join the knights order. In fact, the recommendation from our master was actually because of her.”
“Oh? I did not know that.”
“Neither did I. ‘When the time comes when he meets the measure in your eyes, please.’ She said this once we starting going to him. Master told me about it later.”
“But you did not choose to go.”
I said and slapped Ryle lightly on the shoulder again.
“Of course not. ….As if there was anything more fulfilling than protecting her. …Besides, I have a partner who I trust to have my back.”
Ryle said and slapped back in return.
…That’s not fair.
This timing, that line.
I felt a little uneasy, and turned my back to him and quickened my pace as I walked ahead.