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Common Sense of a Duke’s Daughter 209
“…By the way, Your Highness. How is it that Bern is with you?”
I changed the subject as a way of switching my own emotional state.
“It was Louis’s doing. Apparently, something very shocking had happened to him… He said that if it meant changing the situation of the country, he would do anything. That’s what he said when appearing before me. He was much changed since last I saw him.”
“I too was very surprised about that. When I saw him at the meeting, he was completely different from the man I knew, on the outside and the inside as well. But especially the inside… I wonder what could have caused him to have such a firm resolve.”
“It bothered me as well, and so I asked him. He told me, ‘I have seen hell’… Well, the nobleman’s land, whose name he told me, does seem quite close to hell.”
“Still, he himself is a nobleman… Well, perhaps it is because he is a nobleman that he hates other nobles. Including himself, of course. These feeling motivated him, and he has done very well ever since he started working for me. He was almost entirely responsible for the idea of creating a governing system after the kingdom gained direct control, and he used not only my men, but those of House Armenia to gather information in order to aid in the conviction. He compared all of the evidence and checked the facts without rest… He worked so hard that I could not imagine when he was sleeping, if at all. Thanks to that, things were quite easy for me.”
“I see. I cannot be any happier, hearing that he has been of use to you, Your Highness.”
In spite of staying at the mansion in the royal capital, I had not met with Bern at all.
I myself had been very busy…and now I knew that he had been busy as well.
As he was related to House Armenia, his growth was something very pleasing to us.
“No, it is I who should be thanking you for sending him to us. Things have settled, but not ended completely just yet. The lands have large scars that remain. There are many things that need to be done.”
“…Of course. This country has lost so many things.”
He looked troubled as he laughed.
“We did our best. We did everything that we could. …But still, I feel like I can hear the shouting of people that I have never even talked to. It is stuck to my ears. Even though I know that what was lost can never be retrieved.”
If this was a game, I would bemoan that I got the bad ending and just reset it.
But this was reality.
There was no miracle that let you do everything from the start.
I wasn’t god, and so this desire to save everything almost felt like a flagrant type of self-importance.
I had no intention of regretting my actions.
I wouldn’t run away or abandon my place.
Still, even now, I would wonder if there wasn’t more that I could have done. Such thoughts would sometimes enter my head.
“…The results are everything. Even if you mean well and do everything in your power, it doesn’t change the fact that there are people you couldn’t save.”
“…Yes, you are right.”
“But you should not feel the weight of that. You did everything you could. If anyone should be blamed or take responsibility, it is I, the one who will eventually be king.”
When he said this, it was as if he had swallowed all his sadness and anger… His expression was filled with that kind of resolve.
The way he talked reminded me of how he used to be.
Without thinking, I almost called him by his name.
He laughed bitterly and stopped me.
As if forbidding me from getting any closer