Duke’s Daughter 214
“War… Mother, are you sure of this?”
With Iris’s look fo dismay in front of me, my heart still felt very calm.
At the same time, I thought back on how this information had come to me.
“He-hey…it’s her turn again.”
“That woman. How long does she intend to fight?”
It was very loud.
Speaking of loud, was Iris currently in her own battlefield?
What was she doing now?
Any meeting where people were gathered by Elle and Marquis Maras, was not likely to be worth anything.
And yet I had been so spiritless enough to send her out anyway. It made me want to vomit.
I sighed as a way of calming myself, sending energy to every corner of my body.
It was quiet.
Where had all the noise from a moment ago gone…? Everything suddenly felt very tense.
At the same time, I suddenly felt lots of eyes on me.
Still, I did not care about it at all.
Every nerve in my body was already focusing on the fight.
When that happens, I feel like I can do anything…I am enveloped by such a feeling. It is better than anything.
As for the men facing me, they hesitated for a second, as if overwhelmed.
Marquis Anderson’s house, Royal Capital Villa.
I had been so worried about Iris, and could think of little else.
I had wandered around and ended up feeling very sick.
And then my husband told me to go out and move my body to relax, and so I had come out to train.
Indeed, even though it was just training, being able to fight helped me calm down.
Holding the training sword for so long made it start to seem real.
…He knew me well. It made fall for him all over again.
The referee shouted. And with that, I focused all my senses on the fight.
The more I focused the more it felt like I was sinking into the depths of the sea… Like I was in a world that was cut off from reality.
Deeper and deeper.
The deeper I sank, the quieter the world became.
My senses grew sharper. It was as if the muscles that I usually moved without thinking were now completely under my control.
I knew how they could move and their limits.
The limits of their speed.
Where the swords would come from and how quickly I could react. And what movement to use against it.
I could see time and read the future. And prepare for it.
Ah…it felt so good.
Before I knew it, everyone that had faced me was now on the ground.
It wasn’t enough to satisfy me. I felt annoyance rise up in my chest.
“…Hey, the way she moved…did you see that?”
“Damn…who is that?”
I could hear such mutterings, but I ignored them.
I basked in the feeling and walked away from the area.
“…There was something bloodcurdling about that.”
I looked up when I heard this familiar voice. And there was Shure.
Shure… He was one of Marquis Anderson’s top soldiers.
He had watched over me as I trained from a young age. And he was one of the few people who knew that I was Marquis Anderson’s daughter and also the wife of Duke Armenia.
“Kreuz talks about it recently. ‘It’s starting to return,’ he says.”
“…I participate in the training so that my body does not become dull.”
While I was serious, I was not quite as serious as I had been while a child.
“How embarrassing. I would not be surprised if he said I was slacking off.”
“No, no, no… Uh, well… He did say you went from being a monster to just having monstrous strength. But I doubt anyone would say you were slacking?”
While panicking at first, Shure eventually said what he was really thinking. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“…A monster? I do not mind that. If it gives me the strength to protect what is important to me.”
“…Do you mean the duke?”
He asked in a hushed voice. I was a little surprised by this…but I nodded honestly.
It was a top-secret that he had been attacked. However, my father knew… So it was not surprising that some of the guards might have heard.
“I have become too accustomed to peace. But you never know when that peace will be threatened.”
“…There is no point in worrying about what might happen. You were more than enough when it mattered…and the results are everything. Well, I do think it was quite a mistake, killing all of those people.”
“Yes, I am sorry about that. I was just so angry…and…”
His point hurt me.
I knew too well how much I had regretted that.
“If it were anyone but you, I would have praised you for being able to protect him! …But it was only normal for you to be able to do that. You killed the attackers in an instant. I am sure they would have talked if you had just left one or two? There is no way they wouldn’t have been afraid after watching you fight.”
“…That is true.”
“Don’t look so depressed. It just means you are that strong. I still get chills just thinking about it. Remembering the way you fought.”
Shure said with a chuckle.
I probably had the same expression right now.
As for the way that I used to fight, which he reminded me about, it was nothing like the fake fight I just did now.
I had once fought in a real battlefield.
And back then Shure fought under me.
I needed to get it back.
I could not forget it.
What I felt then. My emotions.
But if anything, I felt strengthened by his encouragement.
“Now that the matches with the army have finished, I would like to fight with Marquis Anderson’s men next, if that is alright?”
“…Huh? Oh, uh, wait a moment! Melli…I mean, Mel. You’ve been fighting all day, haven’t you? Why don’t you rest a little?”
For some reason, Shure suddenly looked frantic.
Perhaps it was just me, but it seems like the already far away soldiers of Marquis Anderson were now even farther after he shouted.
“But this was quite normal for me before…?”
I had not expected him to react like that.
After all, he would know how much I used to train.
Not only was this amount normal, but I likely trained even more back then.
“Yes, that is true…”
Shure looked around nervously. Marquis Anderson’s men seemed to back away even more.
So it wasn’t just me after all.
Well, what should I do about that…
“…Oh, Mel. You were training here after all.”
…Well, we were training at Marquis Anderson’s house, so it was no wonder.
He had been gone out on business just as I arrived, so this was the first time I was meeting him today.
“Yes. I am taking advantage of the general’s kind hospitality. …There are many strong soldiers here who trained under the general.”
I tried talking as an ordinary woman would. As ‘Mel,’ and not Lady Mellis.
“I see. I see. …I would like to have a word with you. Will you come with me?”
“Very well. Please excuse me then.”
Once I was in my father’s room, I removed the skin of ‘Mel.’
“Shouldn’t you be back at the mansion today?”
“…Even if I am there, I cannot sit easily as I am so worried about Iris. And so I was told to come here where I could move around and ease my mind a little.”
Phew… I sighed unwittingly.
“And how is Louis?”
“He’s recovered quite a lot compared to before. For a moment we were very worried.”
“Well, as long as things are better now.”
“Yes, you’re right.”
I laughed at this point that my father had made.
“And I have a report for you. The second prince, Edward and those of Marquis Maelia’s house have been apprehended.”
“I see… So Prince Alfred has finally won.”
I was so relieved that all the tension seemed to leave my body.
I guess that my mind really had been strained.
In fact, I was starting to feel dizzy now, and so I sat down in a chair.
“Hmm. He will put his energy towards stabilizing the country immediately now. Matters concerning each of the territories will have to be decided later, but there are already capable personnel working within the palace on state business. I don’t really know the details, but according to Louis, His Highness was already doing the most in terms of ruling?”
“Apparently, yes. However, Prince Edward and Marquis Maelia were quite an obstacle… He had to work from behind the scenes, where they could not bother him. And so there were times when he could not act too boldly. But now that this weight is gone, he should be able to make the most of his power.”
“…Minimizing the chaos and as quickly as possible. I very much hope that he can show what he is really worth.”
“…About that country, has anything changed?”
I asked out of curiosity. Father frowned.
“Is Louis making you ask about it?”
“Yes. Though, he didn’t tell me about it very clearly. By the way, even Iris already knows the truth.”
“Iris… It’s a bit of a problem when people are too smart.”
“Yes. I have told Dida, Ryle, and Tanya to protect that child more than ever. …And I’m sure it was people from that country that attacked the master. We cannot say for sure that Iris is not in danger either.”
“Are you sure?”
“…It’s my intuition. While their clothes were apparently those of bandits, they were very organized in the way they moved. And they fought in a similar fashion as well… As someone who has fought against people from that other country before, there was something I recognized. To that other country…no, for Prince Edward and Marquis Maelia as well…it was Prince Alfred and master who were the most inconvenient. Or perhaps even you. But I am still not sure if it was that county or Marquis Maelia that was behind it.”
“I see. Yes, I do think it would be a good thing to remind those three of that.”
“Yes. …Well, if it comes to it, I will go as well.”
I said this in a purposely calm voice, but my father’s eyes widened.
Was it really so surprising…? I was surprised by his reaction.
We stared at each other for a while, but eventually, he sighed.
“I suppose that is for the best. There is hardly anyone who can match you anyway. And you should be able to move as the situation demands during the fight. …But, Meli. Can I ask you one thing?”
“What is it?”
“Why didn’t you teach Iris and Bern how to fight?”
I laughed at the question.
“One reason was that they did not wish to. …It will not last if they do not want it. And they would not become strong in the truest sense.”
Probably…I would have been very strict if I oversaw their training.
This was because of my own strong will that had put me in the same harsh environment in the past.
As for how harsh it was…well, Shure and those of Marquis Anderson’s soldiers and Kreuz and father’s subordinates would have called it ‘insanity.’
And it was only natural to use those same standards when I moved to the position of an instructor.
“And it was also due to my own selfish desires.”
I said while searching for the right words.
I rarely talked about my past these days.
“I picked up a sword in order to get revenge. And when that wish did not come true, my next wish was for there to be no others like me created. That no more people would appear who hate after losing someone they tried to protect. And so I continued to wield this sword and soak my hands in blood. …However, my children do not know. Not about my wish to take lives or the hate. There is no need for them to know. Within their peaceful existence, there is no need for them to pick up a sword. I think it is more important for them to learn what is required of them as members of Duke Armenia’s household. And so that was why I did not make them pick up a sword.”
“…In other words, you did not want them to?”
“Hehehe…yes. However, as I just said…if they had truly wanted to learn to fight, from the bottom of their hearts, then I would have taught them.”
“Well, in the end…while their hands will not touch any blood directly, they will still have to bear the same weight in their own positions, I think.”
Father chuckled wryly at this.
“I will take my leave now. …Father, thank you for telling me of Prince Alfred and Iris’s victory.”
“Yes. Well…be careful on your way back.”