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Chapter split into three(3) pages
The Reflections of a Man
It is those far off days that spring to mind when I close my eyes,
Those warm days when we all lived together as a family.
Father had managed the company back then, the workers loved him, the business continued to expand, and as a child, I looked up to him. I thought he was majestic.
My mother…she could be frightening when she scolded me, but otherwise, always wore a soft smile and was a truly warm woman.
And while we did have servants, my mother would cook everything, supporting father even behind the scenes. As a child, seeing my father and mother smiling at each other gave me a sense of pride and a sense of warmth.
And then there was my spirited, bright-eyed younger brother. It was the first time I would know someone that was younger than me. And for that reason, I swore in my heart to protect him.
We were that sort of warm family. Those were such gentle days.
The loss of them was truly unexpected.
…They say that a person will understand the true value of something once they have lost it…they were right.
The things that we enjoyed and took for granted, how hard, in fact, were they to come by. How privileged we had been.
With these recollections, I turn remorseful… and wistful.
That is how important those days were to me.
Suddenly, I open my eyes.
What enters my vision is the study.
The room that I am presently in is the president’s… in other words, the room that my father had used; had thrown himself into his work.
When I saw it long ago, there was a great deal more books and documents around, it had appeared to me as an awfully disorderly room.
Now it seemed deserted, and the sight that entered my vision was strangely lonely.
As these thoughts returned to me, I straightened my curved back against the backrest and tightened my hands into fists.
Finally, I’ve taken it back…
The loss of it all was truly sudden.
On that day…father and mother had taken a carriage to the royal capital on account of some business.
I did not think, nor could I have ever imagined as I saw them off, that they would be involved in an accident and would cease to exist.
I received the news that my father and mother had died. There was no time to grieve, and I had to make preparations for the funeral and handle other matters.
I was still very young at the time, and it was Vuld Rankam, who was the deputy head at the time, who conducted everything in my place.
“It will be fine, just leave everything to me.”
I had lost those I depended on, and in my loneliness, I appreciated those words beyond anything.
And so I did everything as he instructed.
“…There’s a little trouble at the Conglomerate. Unfortunately, they may bring the investigation to the former head, your father’s house as well. Would you mind leaving the house and live in hiding somewhere else for a time?”
And that is why. …I accepted what he said, so unquestioningly.
And so I left the house and began living in hiding in a rundown house located in a corner district of the royal capital.
“I’ll come back for you one day.”
He sent us off with those words and a scant sum of money, and there I and my brother lived for some time, in concealment.
One week…two weeks, and then a month.
By the time three months had passed, I could not help but think it strange, and I made my way to the market.
And there I would realize, for the first time, that I had been fooled.
“…I’m sorry, but who are you.”
Those were the words he blandly uttered.
“What are you saying…It is me, it is Karim. I am the son of the former head of this Conglomerate.”
“…The former head’s son, most, unfortunately, passed away along with the former head and his wife.”
“You, what are you saying…!”
I had opened my mouth to say more, but Vuld had called someone.
“This miscreant is claiming to be the former head’s son. Throw him outside.”
Is what he heartlessly said.
“Stop…! Please, don’t do this…!”
Vuld offered a pitying look as I struggled wildly.
And then he approached me as I was dragged away, and brought his lips to my ear.
“…I have dismissed everyone in this Conglomerate that knows you. No matter what you might say, it will be in vain.”
“…You were such a good child. Pure, the sort that no matter what people said, what they did, you did not know to mistrust them. I had even considered placing you at the top, to be controlled…but things have proceeded far better than I could have hoped.”
He said with a grin, and as if saying that he was through with me, signaled with a look to the men that were dragging me. Consequently, they increased their force and I was briskly thrown out of the Conglomerate building.
As I was still young, I did not know how or who to appeal to.
And that did not change as the days passed. However, in order to live, I needed to secure an income somehow.
Eventually, I was able to sustain us both, but then my brother fell ill, and we needed even more money; by then revenge had become a distant priority.
And so I’ve continued, drudgingly to this point.
Bearing an anger that could not be unleashed.
And amongst all of that, she appeared. Saying that she needed my name and my help.
“…Pardon me. The head of the Azura Conglomerate is here to see you.”
I was brought back to the present at those words, from the employee who had appeared with a knock.
“Let her in.”
The person who entered after a brief moment was the woman who had taken me up.
“I’m sure you are very busy, and I do apologize for taking your time like this.”
“Not at all. It is for you. There is no question that I’d make time for you.”
“Fufufu…you’ve become very adept with words.”
She laughed gently. In the darkness, I had thought that she was beautiful, and that impression did not change in the light.
“I came to sign the contract today. Let’s take what’s been a verbal agreement up until now and document it clearly in writing.”
“Yes. That would be preferable.”
The woman to her side handed the contract to me, which I reviewed and signed.
“Indeed. Well, then. I look forward to our partnership, starting tomorrow.”
The verbal agreement with her…in the first place, she had said that she wanted my help.
About wanting to unite my Conglomerate and Azura Conglomerate’s transport department, and to carry out shipments under my Conglomerate’s name.
“How is the job?”
“There is still so much I need to learn. In truth, the people that you sent from your place have been of great assistance.”
The aftermath of expelling everyone who had assisted Vuld was a serious shortage of laborers at the Conglomerate.
And so we had the Azura Conglomerate send us workers.
“Fufufu, I’ve heard tales from them. That you never leave anything to others, and that you have a rather covetous desire to learn.”
Somehow, I couldn’t quite agree or deny it, and I unconsciously shut my mouth.
Seeing it, she laughed once again.
“It is a good thing. Use them, along with me. Never allow others to influence you, hold on to your will and work hard on the task at hand. If you do that, I believe that even through hesitation, you will continue to work without losing yourself. That is my advice to you as your senior.”
“…then you also have moments of hesitation?”
“Why, of course. I am human just like you, and I am your senior by only a few years. Many times have I hesitated, felt regret and distress.”
It was a little surprising. Knowing her, I had thought that any hardships would be met with a fearless laugh and be overcome, just as when I first met her.
“…But. It was because I had a fixed vision, that there had to be something that I could do, even with such hands as mine.”
“…and what was that vision?”
“I met children at the orphanage, and after I had read stories to those children…I started a business of selling those stories as picture books. And the profits we gained from them were sent to the orphanage as a donation. I think it was after that when I realized. Of course, it is important to earn money, but I understood that the ‘profit’ needed for the Conglomerate was not that alone, that is my incentive. …Do you as well, have that sort of ambition or vision?”
I pondered on her words for a moment.
So, the vision that I pursue…
“There is no need to hastily decide if you do not have one now.”
She said and smiled, perhaps it was because I had not opened my mouth for a long moment.
I opened my mouth to utter my thoughts, just as they were.
“Work related to medicine, and also, I want the kind of job that will put smiles on the faces of the people from that town.”
But in truth, I do not know at all, how I am going get there. I do not know what I need to do.
Yet even still, if I managed to accomplish that….surely, I could say that everything I experienced up until now was not in vain; I believe that.
Her smile simply deepened as I spoke those words.