Chapter 44.1 – The Journey’s End, The Journey’s Beginning
Translator’s Note: Chapter 44 was split in 3 parts by the author on the raws, hence why it will be split in three parts here too.
As soon as we finished the meeting, before the Earl left for the empire, I decided to have a talk with him.
On the stone pavement leading to the main gate of the Louivas house, we walked side by side.
Just a small while ago, we had been troubled by the sweltering heat, but now the autumn breeze was spreading a gentle cool weather throughout this residence… The seasons of this world truly are way too abrupt. I remember back when dad suggested I went to Malgaroid two years ago, it was quite surprising to see the change from autumn to winter, as the concert of insects suddenly stopped being held as soon as the season changed.
I thought of those things as I walked next to the Earl… But eventually, he broke the silence, “It may already be spring by the time we meet up on the Empire… I’ll do my best to finish all preparations to welcome the princess.” He muttered.
He’ll be in charge on spreading the rumors for us in advance. About the plan of the emperor to overthrow the corrupt aristocrats, about how my father was faking a betrayal, and about how the Mystic-Eyed Doll Princess Altirea will appear and reproduce the history of 600 years ago… It is a heavy duty.
The Early was supposed to only decide if he wanted to be my vassal once he graduated from the knight academy, which should only happen four years from now… And yet, in these desperate times, I now ordered him to carry out such important duty for my sake.
I don’t want to leave things ambiguous anymore. The Earl seems to be fine with it, but I’m not okay with this.
Eventually, we reached the main gate of the Louivas house. The crows that were resting on top of the gate quietly flew away as we approached.
“I have something to tell you.” I said.
The Earl was tall. Even if I stood on the tip of my toes and stretched my arms, I wouldn’t be able to reach his face… Two years ago, I couldn’t contain my fear of such tall person.
But it’s different now.
I proudly looked up, staring directly at the Earl’s eyes.
–At my subordinate’s eyes.
“You don’t have to kneel, just listen.
“You said I was a reincarnation of Rastiyu Stable. Do you still think so?” I asked him.
“Yes… Or rather, I’m completely convinced of it. Today, you were fierce and pretty, princess. It felt as if you had returned to the same self as you were a thousand years ago.” The Earl told me.
–I want you to see me as Altirea Wisp instead of as princess Rastiyu.
I would have rejected him like that before… However, I cannot stick to such sentimental feelings of a young girl. This world isn’t sweet enough to allow it.
If I don’t push forward with a strong will, I’ll only be at someone else’s mercy.
That’s why I’ll say it. An affirmation and a negation. To accept, and to break up.
“Christophe du Vergennes, I’ll acknowledge you as my vassal and accept you as my knight.
“Don’t move. Don’t lower your head. Don’t make me repeat myself. You just need to listen.
“I’ll allow you to continue living your dream of the late princess Rastiyu.
“But I won’t go along with it. Do what you wish to do.
“If you ever become disillusioned, it’s fine to leave without saying anything.” I told him.
I’m aware that I was putting myself in a bad position, but… I’m convinced that the Earl will not leave. For he’ll keep on reviving that memory of his exchange between princess Rastiyu and the Earl. That memory that is not mine.
–I’m no doll that is locked on a tower and is waiting for help. If you wish to be a hero, then follow your lady’s wishes.
–And perhaps then, your dreams of a princess may live through me.
Was this… An illusion? Or was I actually princess Rastiyu indeed?
I do not know, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I live my own life.
“Is it good enough for you?” I asked him.
To my question, the Earl who has been seeking her deceased for a thousand years… With a tearful expression filled with laughter… He seemed like a wanderer who found a permanent residence.
“–As my princess commands.” Was said.
That is good enough.