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Common Sense of a Duke’s Daughter
Chapter 89: Okaa-sama’s Past
*Okaa-sama means “Mother”. This chapter is a dialogue between Iris and Mellice Armelia.
Oto-sama means “Father”. That is Louis Armelia. Also, this chapter heavily references to the prequel of this novel, “Common Sense of a Warrior”.
I sipped my tea elegantly in the salon.
Normally, I would gaze at the decorative flowers, and calm my mind at their beauty…. But today, I couldn’t stay composed.
“Ah, Iris-chan, what happened? What’s with the long face?”
Mother appeared with her luminous and gentle voice.
“You, over there, I want the same drink as Iris-chan.”
Mother sat down next to me after instructing the servant.
“Taking a break?”
“….. Mm, I’m just a little tired.”
“You can’t bet your life on your work. Ugh, you’re just like your father.”
Okaa-sama’s “fufufu” chuckling was beautiful, as always.
Even the lifting of her teacup to her lips was charming. Even though she was my mother, I felt taken aback.
“Really, only because you’re tired? Do you have anything else on your mind?”
Hearing Mother’s words, I tensed up in surprise.
Is someone like me really that readable?
“…. Iris-chan, do you want to take a walk outside? If you’re shut indoors all day, your thoughts will focus on all the bad things.”
As she spoke, Mother snatched my hand, pulled me up, and started walking.
Although she had a slender appearance, Mother was unexpectedly strong. She dragged me along her steps.
I looked back, and the servants seemed confused and frantic. They didn’t know how to respond to her actions.
….. So I was dragged on for a few more minutes.
Somehow, I got on a horse cart, and we wobbled forward for ten or so minutes.
We climbed up a long, daunting set of cobblestone stairs.
Finally, I stood on top of a high tower overlooking the Royal City.
“…. So pretty….”
I sighed in appreciation of the view.
We were close to the floating clouds, and warm sunlight enveloped my body.
Under the sun’s brilliance, the Royal City looked even more alluring than usual.
“Mm, indeed, Iris-chan.”
“Okaa-sama, this is….”
“This place, is the watchtower for the Royal City Guard. Right now, it should be under the army’s custody.”
“….. We were actually allowed in?”
Simply put, this was the military’s property. Even as aristocrats, I was surprised that we could enter even as citizens.
“With your grandfather’s name, it was easy.”
For Mother to talk about things like this so carelessly was really something to be respected about her.
“…. When I was a child, I would come here if something happened to me. So I’m naturally familiar with the guards.”
Mother smiled gently.
“…. Okaa-sama, what would bother you back then?”
“Hehehe…. Like, when I got into an argument with my father, or when I lost in combat against him.”
Mother looked very cheerful as she spoke.
“Also, I would come here when one of my dreams fell apart.”
“Okaa-sama’s, dreams? ….. Okaa-sama, what kind….”
Mother’s dreams… I couldn’t imagine at all.
This person, dubbed the “Flower of Society”, is praised with honor and awe nationwide.
I felt that no matter what she wanted, she would definitely get it.
I couldn’t imagine a single dream that Mother would have given up.
“Back then, I wanted to serve in the military.”
My pupils dilated as I heard the startling answer.
“…. In the military?”
“Mm…. I trained in combat from a young age. That was because my mother’s life was taken away by bandits.”
As I listened to this completely unknown story, I was taken back again.
“My father’s grief back then was really something. The person who won many victories, and maintained the security of his kingdom…. He would have never thought that he would be powerless to protect his wife, and even less that her life was taken by the citizens he protected.”
My chest hurts.
A glorious warrior…. The savior on the battlefield.
My praised and respected grandfather, wasn’t able to shield my grandmother from harm….
And, she was killed by a citizen of this kingdom….
“So after my mother passed away…. I started to study combat. My father didn’t stop me. I didn’t learn manners and everything the other aristocrat girls learned, but was just like any meat-headed boy.”
I didn’t know how to respond to this new knowledge.
This conversation with my mother has really shocked me today.
Because, this was the Okaa-sama?
To think that the mother who is labeled as the textbook aristocratic wife, never learned etiquette or courtesies when she was young.
“…. Was it because of my father’s teachings, or because I indeed did have innate talent, as my father claimed? Forget about the other kids at my age, I never even lost to the adults older than my father. In my memory, he was the only one I lost to.”
Mother smiled as she talked, but my mouth didn’t curve the slightest.
“…. I didn’t know when, but I decided to become a soldier, and protect the country just as my father did.”
“…. However, the people who took Grandmother’s life were still this nation’s citizens. Why would….”
“Indeed…. Just as you said, I hated the bandits who murdered my mother, and didn’t understand why my father would still keep protecting the country even after her death. Hatred, or just the desire to learn to protect myself? To be honest, I don’t even know the reason why I trained in combat to this day.”
A shadow fell behind my mother’s smile.
Under the sunlight, I somehow felt that Mother’s grin was fraudulent.
“So, that’s probably why I became like this…. When Father finally caught the bandits who were involved in that murder case, for a period of time, my heart felt extremely empty. Why was I studying in combat? I lost my ambition…. At that time, I came here a lot to brood. Why did I seek this knowledge of battle? I ruminated, and then some more…. Thanks to the dazzling panorama right here, I cleaned up my emotions.”
“See….” Mother pointed to the amazing sight.
There were seas of people, as well as beautiful streets and avenues.
“In each of these buildings, there are individual people…. Because they’re “living”, they laugh, cry, and have their own everyday lives. I thought…. What beauty this is, how precious this is!”
“Yes, there are those who become bandits and the like, but there are also many helpless citizens. To prevent something like my family’s tragedy to fall upon someone else, to prevent people from weeping in sorrow, to preserve the spectacle in front of us right now, I would want to protect all of this even if it were to soak my hands in fresh blood.”
An abrupt jolt of understanding streaked through my heart.
“…. Then, you’ve kept that mindset ever since childhood…?”
“Maybe it was because I lost my important mother, and didn’t want to lose anybody else, that I had such a determined resolution.”
“But, reality is cruel. As for why, it’s because the military restricts women from recruitment. A man who lost to me in a duel reminded me of that, and I crashed into that iron wall. My dreams shattered to bits.”
Those men were really…. Cowardly. I knew that it was all in the past, but I still felt a twinge of fury.
If I feel this way only as a third-party, how did my mother feel back then?
“Haven’t you thought of becoming a knight?”
The knight’s position was open to some women.
That was so female members of the royal family would be protected.
“I didn’t study combat to protect the royal family. And, to put bluntly, female knights are only a decoration.”
It was true. I nodded.
Female knights didn’t require a lot of skill. They were kept far away from battle, since if a woman were to appear on the front line, she would immediately be targeted as a weakness.
“…. And at that time, I came here again. But I was really hopeless at that time, since my newfound goal faded to mist once again.”
Her desire of revenge had disappeared, and her dream had died.
…. After listening to Mother’s past, I amended my thoughts about her indomitability.
“Then, I met your old man here.”
“Mm. Back then, his father was still the Prime Minister. He found this place also, and started coming regularly.”
…. I suddenly thought, is this tower’s security really alright?
Well, as long as there’s nobody unfamiliar…. Right?
“I was crying right next to him, but your old man didn’t take notice of me, he just kept staring at the view. It’s embarrassing to think of it now, but I opened a can of whoop-ass on him since he was intruding the only place I liked to be at.” *
*I know it’s unprofessional, but “opening a can of whoop-ass” sounds cooler.
Mother started to blush, still flustered by her first meeting with my father.
“But, your old man educated me.”
“Yep. ‘If you’re going to give up now, that means your dream only amounted to this much, after all.’”.
To throw such rock-solid words upon a crying lady did sound like Oto-sama’s style.
And for Okaa-sama to talk about that memory so cheerfully, was her living up to her reputation.
“He asked me: ‘Why, did you train yourself in the art of combat? To gain honor within the army? Or to protect citizens? If it’s because the first one, then cry all you want. But if it’s the latter, then is there really a reason to bawl?’ He said to me.”
“….. If it’s the latter, then is there really a reason to bawl?”
“Yes, indeed. Your old man probably meant to say, ‘You’ve been treating your methods and goals as the same.’”
So that’s how it is, I understand now.
“Your old man told me this, “If protecting is your goal, then you’ve only lost one method, there are many more than you could possibly count that can hold up the people’s lives. I myself do not wish to achieve that through warfare, but rather politics…. But even though I say that, I still have some ways to go to get to my father’s level.’ I felt a huge shock after hearing those words…. And I felt reborn. After that, I started dating your father, and gained a great amount of respect for him. I fell into the river of love alongside your father, and eventually married…. Then, I walked into another battlefield.”
“Yes, indeed. Sociality is a completely different arena.”
As she spoke, Mother smiled lightly, and looked very proud…. Her figure was absolutely stunning.
Then, I started to laugh.
It’s an arena, indeed.
“…. Okaa-sama, I’m very grateful to you for bringing me here today. Can I…. stay here for a while longer?”
“Mm, of course.”