Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 28: The End is Inevitable
As I trudged along the corridor, I unconsciously heaved a sigh.
Upon recalling my meeting with the Second Prince, I had become distraught, causing the head maid and Vincent to worry.
After regaining my calm, I had told both of them about today’s events.
They had both been taken aback, but had quickly shifted to carrying out the destruction of all evidence.
That was to say, discarding every single piece of written material I had ever produced.
Although Vincent had been reluctant to throw out the letters I’d written to him, I persuaded him and wrung a promise out of him in the end. Sorry, Vinnie. I’ll write you a whole heap of letters to replace them so please forgive me.
And now, on a mission to retrieve the birthday card I’d given my father today, I was headed towards my father’s office.
Even with my newfound knowledge that my father actually loves us, it was still scary, after all.
As I fretted agonizingly over it, my feet had brought me right up to my father’s office.
Positioned in front of the door was the family butler, Steward.
“What is the matter, Lady Julianna?”
“Steward, I’d like to have an audience with Father. Would that be fine?”
“Please wait a moment.”
Steward entered the office. Not even a minute later, he came back out.
“The master has granted his permission. By all means, please enter, Lady Julianna.”
At Steward’s words, my heartbeat drummed wildly.
As I thought, it’s scary… but. But! I had to face them. Father’s true thoughts.
I took a deep breath, forcing myself to calm down by at least some degree, then crossed the threshold of the door Steward was holding open.
“Please excuse me, Father.”
As I entered the office, my gaze fell upon Father and his aide Jacob.
Jacob was a man whose smile never left his face, a type I wasn’t good at dealing with.
“What business do you have?”
Father stood in front of the bookshelf, not sparing me a single glance. Nothing had changed about his bearing.
“I have something to request of Father. It’s about the birthday card I gave you today, I seem to have made a misspelling… So would you please return it? If that won’t be possible… it’s fine to just throw it away.”
Gripping the hem of my dress, trembling while speaking shakily to my scary father, I carried out my act.
And while doing so, I observed my father.
“You’re turning 10 years old, aren’t you? …yet you’re still foolish enough to make such mistakes like spelling errors. I recall saying that House Lewis has no room for incompetents.”
So he kept proper track of my age, huh?
Moreover, although my father always went on about not wanting incompetents, he hadn’t ever once said that I was incompetent, had he?
“My greatest apologies.”
“Don’t disappoint me. I’ve already thrown away the birthday card you wrote, so stop fretting over superfluous things and carry out your duties as Marquess Lewis’ daughter.”
“Disappoint”, he says… he wouldn’t be using those words if he never had any expectations of me to disappoint in the first place.
And he says I’ve disappointed him while still treating me as a marquess’ daughter… what do you know, if I really think about it, it’s such an obvious matter.
Even though he wouldn’t meet my gaze, his feet were angled in my direction… It’s said that a person’s feet represent their feelings. People tend to instinctively avoid angling their feet towards people they dislike. Of course, it could also be chalked up to mere imagination.
Even so, I would believe in my father the way I wanted to believe in him.1
Abruptly, my gaze landed on Jacob, who was next to my father.
Somehow, he looked satisfied seeing my trembling figure.
Strange… I was aware that he was constantly smiling. But why was he always all smiles? Was he hiding something beneath the smiles?
As I observed discreetly, I noticed that my father’s gaze would sometimes flick towards Jacob.
Come to think of it… whenever Jacob was around, my father never once addressed me by name.
Thinking back, when I handed him the birthday card today, Jacob had also been some distance away.
In other words, my father would be especially obvious in giving me the cold shoulder in Jacob’s presence…?
I had neither basis nor conviction.
And yet, even I was attempting to keep the maid that was House Macmillan’s spy by my side.
Who was to say that my father wasn’t doing the same thing… he was my father, after all.
I should remain vigilant and continue to observe.
“… My sin-sincerest apologies. I won’t do anything like this from now on… I’ll take my leave, then.”
I let a tear track its way down my cheek as I spoke in a teary voice.
It was outrageous for a marquess’ daughter to outwardly display emotion.
However, for the part of a sorrowful daughter denied the love of her father, it was perfect… and someday she would give up on the father who would not love her, instead falling in love with another man. As a repercussion of never receiving fatherly love, she would seek a man years apart in age… he was probably imagining some third-rate novel plot development such as that.
Without looking at my father’s reaction, I made a curtsy and left the room with my head down.
Steward, who had been in the hallway the whole time, called out worriedly to me, who had my head down and tears streaming down my face.
I quickly raised my head and, smiling, said to Steward: “Thank you for always, Steward. Please continue looking after Father.”
“—Naturally, I’m part of House Lewis, after all,” Steward replied, even as he showed some surprise.
If he had an ally like Steward around, my father would surely be alright.
Therefore I, too, had to do my best.
I made my way with brisk steps towards my personal quarters, where Vincent was waiting for me.
I awoke in the dead of night, the moon still high and bright in the sky.
Perhaps it was nervousness making me unable to sleep deeply.
I put on a gown and slipped out onto the terrace.
“It was a nostalgic dream…”
That was seven years ago, when I encountered the Second Prince going incognito. Following that I, who had thought myself born simply to serve as a tool, came to know that I had been loved through reading my mothers’ diaries. And that… I made up my mind to live as a member of House Lewis. That’s right, it had been a life-changing day of destiny for me.
Since that day of destiny, my life had evolved drastically.
In my desperate bid to become an excellent lady, I endured a strict ladies’ education.
For the sake of protecting myself, I infiltrated House Olcott’s knights’ order with Linus’ permission and acquired the art of fighting.
In order to improve my acting skills, I played the part of various characters.
And during that process I unearthed various outstanding talents that thus far had been buried. I established the Iris Merchants’ Guild and Mayra’s, and with that whittled away at Duke Macmillan’s influence within his key industries.
I utilized the maid that was House Macmillan’s spy and fed him false information.
On account of fulfilling the promise to His Majesty, as a favor, I snuffed out the assassins’ guild that had attempted to carry out the assassination contract from the empire.
At my debutante event, I established a prominent position within society in a single night and was even able to encounter the nobles’ daughters that I would go so far as to deem my comrades in society.
I really did go to great lengths to bring down House Macmillan… After all, a deadline had been predetermined.
On my twelfth birthday, I was told by Father that he would not find me a fiancé until my eighteenth birthday. That was to say, when I turned eighteen, I would be married off and no longer be a member of House Lewis.
In other words, the deadline was before I turned eighteen… Yes, I was arbitrarily interpreting my father’s words.
I didn’t know my father’s thoughts.
My father and I almost never spoke with each other, after all.
Even if we did, it would just be me one-sidedly bringing up family-related topics… even if, in the first place, I was simply acting the part of a praiseworthy daughter, I had held onto the hope that just maybe, my feelings would get through to my father, even just a little.
Among social circles, House Lewis’ parent-and-child discord was well-known.
I had made sure of it, and my father had also chosen to simply let the rumors run wild.
In short, it meant that my father wished for it to be so, and that discord could be put to use for the purpose of revenge.
Of course, all of that was again my own arbitrary speculation.
Two weeks earlier, things started to move.
I was told to become Second Prince Edward’s pawn.
And what was handed to me then, was the birthday card from all those years ago.
Even though I’d said that I wanted him to throw it away, that good-for-nothing fox of a father had preserved it.
I was surprised that a birthday card from seven years ago didn’t have a single smudge on it.
It only served to show just how much he’d treasured it.
And yet that birthday card Father had treasured so much, had been given over to Prince Edward.
I could not fathom my father’s intentions.
“Is there something going on with the church of the royal capital that has the backing of House Macmillan… or does he have some other considerations… I don’t get it at all. However… It’s because only I can do it that my father delivered me to the Second Prince as his pawn.”
As House Lewis’ pawn, I would infiltrate the church of the royal capital tomorrow, while also acting the part of the Second Prince’s pawn.
“Julianna Lewis shall stake her own life on performing the roles of two pawns. What sort of scene will we be able to see upon that stage as the curtain falls? But, yes—”
The opening act was surely right around the corner.
I mentioned that there were 3 chapters left until the end of the flashback arc, but it will actually be ending with the next chapter from Gerald’s (Julianna’s father’s) POV.
I hope to deliver it to everyone as soon as possible.