Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu! Support the Translators and Editors!
Patron Shoutout to Diogo and Yoon!
Chapter 63: The Second Departure
When we rushed to the Queen’s room, we saw unconscious maids lying strewn face-down across the floor and a petrified, paling doctor. And there was one brave midwife attending to the wailing infant.
Morino was a loss for words while Vanellope covered her mouth with both hands.
Leaving the stupefied pair, I peered at the baby sleeping in the canopied crib.
“…It is a princess.”
Two large dog ears peeked out of her beautiful black hair as she thrashed about with her soft limbs, and a fluffy tail grew out of her backside.
When Nasha first laid eyes on her child after giving birth, she shrieked and fainted on the spot. The maids who were helping her deliver the baby also fainted one by one in shock. While the attending doctors were all speechless, an experienced midwife who had attended countless childbirths was somehow undaunted, and she silently continued to serve the wailing infant.
“…She’s a healthy child. It reminds me of when Julieta was born.”
The elderly midwife nodded tearfully at my words.
“Lord Anderheim…Please, bless this child. No matter what sins her parents have committed, this child is innocent.”
I feared this child would henceforth never experience its mother’s embrace.
At best she would be imprisoned, and at worst she would be killed and covered up. What the Queen had given birth to, was clearly not the King’s child…Far from it, she was not even a ‘human’ child. While it was the manifestation of the sins Nasha bore, the child was certainly innocent. I only wanted to avoid a tragedy with a bad aftertaste, if possible.
“…Be at ease.”
I dropped a gentle kiss on the sobbing baby’s forehead.
“Your birth parents may not love you, but someone else surely will. The masses may not treat you kindly, but there exists a place that will provide you peace. I, Anderheim Yucht Asbal, bless thou…Beautiful Princess. I welcome you to Palcemith, home of the ancient dragon Kharis.”
She must have felt the warmth of a person nearby.
Her tiny hands reached out and patted around my chin as I kissed her forehead.
Morino timidly approached and peeked at the baby. Touching her ruddy cheeks, red as an apple, the corners of Morino’s eyes drooped as he smiled at the soft sensation.
“…I’ll impose a gag order at once.”
“That’s good. At the same time, spread the word that the Queen’s first child was, unfortunately, ‘stillborn.’”
Switching his expression, Morino gently stroked the infant’s head once more before gallantly leaving the Queen’s room.
“His Majesty is sitting here alone. Go console him.”
King Vikram was beside the bed where Nasha lay collapsed and unconscious. His legs had given way when he saw his wife’s beastman child, and he had sat sunken on the spot ever since.
What would happen if a statesman was rendered immobile at this level? If he had to run the country in the future, there would be many more incidents where he would have to take into sight which would be far more tragic and gut-wrenching than this.
Urged by me, Vanellope walked up in front of the seated King and stared fixedly at his unfocused visage, shaking his shoulders strongly.
“Your Majesty, get a grip!”
As she bit her lips in anger, Vanellope’s palm mercilessly slapped King Vikram on the cheek. He did not even return a word.
“Get a grip!”
“I know you must be in shock! But you’re—you’re the King! You cannot come to a standstill!”
“Look at the future! Laugh it over! It is the King’s duty to smile and hold his head high, even when he is hurting and weeping in sorrow inside!”
“I’ll help too, for I am your cousin. We are the last two descendants of the Hero Palcemith in this world. I will give it my all, in my own way, so that you can remain King.”
King Vikram scrunched up his face and buried his face in his cousin’s arms sobbing quietly, though she had slapped him on the cheek just moments before.
…Vanellope’s petite figure as she rubbed his back seemed to overflow with affection and magnanimity.
If His Royal Highness Borzeff’s plan to marry his daughter Vanellope off to Crown Prince Vikram back then had succeeded, then perhaps Palcemith would be at peace now.
First thing after that, I issued a strict gag order on all those who had been present at the birth. In the unlikely event that the news reached outside ears, the whole clan of the leak would be beheaded. The sentence was so harsh, not even the children would be spared.
While Vanellope took care of the King, I got the midwife to help me bring the newborn princess to the Osweins’ house in secret.
A message from the Troupe Leader of the Abyss Ring Circus, who had already left Palcemith and was continuing his show in other nations, was waiting for me when I returned to the Oswein family’s mansion
Attached to the carrier pigeon’s leg band was a letter reporting the safe birth of the [Puppies] Jolga and I had been given, and requesting that we set a date and time for their delivery.
This was a godsend.
I used Jolga’s name and sent a reply addressed to Troupe Leader Ducali with the carrier pigeon, stating that a mixed nobleman had given birth to a beastman female and had temporarily hidden the child in the Oswein family mansion.
Commander Ducali immediately replied that he wanted to visit the Osweins.
As soon as the Troupe Leader saw my reply, he forced his deputy to take care of the entire show schedule and, after sending a carrier pigeon to the Oswein family’s residence, he jumped into a carriage and headed for the kingdom of Palcemith.
A formal announcement was made by Palcemith Castle that the Queen had given birth, but the child was unfortunately stillborn. On hearing that King Vikram was in mourning for his child, who was taken up to heaven even before its first breath, the festive mood which had settled in the celebrating city since the Dragon festival, turned somber.
Without regard for the gloomy atmosphere, a carriage drove into the capital, rode through the central street, and passed through the gates of the Oswein family’s residence without hesitation.
The small, plump, middle-aged man who stopped the carriage in front of the gates as Jolga and I waited to greet him jumped down with great vigor, still wearing the gaudily patterned frock coat.
“Knight Commander Jolga! Thank you for contacting me! Ooh? Is that Lord Anderheim?”
“Long time no see, Troupe Leader Ducali. Must be, since I was still the Prime Minister then.”
“How nostalgic…Certainly, I heard that the two of you have been pretty close lately…It truly is good fortune!”
“Sorry you had to come all the way out here, Duc. I couldn’t think of anyone but you to rely on.”
“Don’t mention it; I’m honored! And where is the little lady?”
“No need to rush. Right this way.”
Troupe Leader Ducali was restless, showing no signs of fatigue from his relentless journey in the carriage, without care for day or night. Jolga and I led him to a small room on the second floor of the mansion.
Five days had passed since Nasha gave birth, but her consciousness was yet to return. Since nobody could get the story out of Nasha, the fate of the newborn beastman was in limbo.
Ducali rushed to the side of the baby lying in the crib. On seeing the large ears and tail peeking out of the clothes of the now soundly sleeping baby, he let out a voice of admiration and was moved to tears.
“Her ears are adorable, her tail is covered in fine fur…her coat is all black and lustrous…ah, how beautiful!”
“…This is the first time I have seen a beastman cub, but is it really that rare?”
At my question, Ducali nodded vigorously.
“The gestation period for a Magical Beast Gigandi is about half a year. Most of the children born are males, and females are extremely rare and precious. In fact, this is the first time even I’ve seen one. Females are born in the form of beastmen, but all males are in the form of a beast from the beginning. The lifespan of a Gigandi is about fifty years, and it takes about ten years for a beast to become an adult. Males branch out into two groups when they are about five years old: those that grow up to become adults in the form of a beast and those that change into beastmen as they grow up. It is said that the rate of changing into a beastman is quite low, maybe one in a hundred. Gigandi Beastmen tend to have excellent fighting power and high intelligence, so many people buy puppies in anticipation of the future. Of course, even if they are not beastmen, their fighting power as Magical Beasts is very high, so the owners won’t suffer a loss.”
Explaining about the Gigandi from the beginning, it seems that Troupe Leader Ducali knew who had given birth to this beastman.
After the coup d’état, there were two days unaccounted for after Nasha had escaped from the basement of the former Asbal mansion. I didn’t know the details of what had happened during that time, but I was sure something bad had happened to her. It was probably under the direction of the Troupe Leader that she was abandoned in the back alleys of the Capital, so I think it was useless to hide it.
“Do you want to take this child, Duc?”
“What are you saying!? Is that fine!?”
At Jolga’s proposal, even Troupe Leader Ducali raised his voice with surprise.
As he had just explained, the value of female Gigandi was extremely high.
If one called dilettantes and such to bid on her, I was certain that the cited price would skyrocket.
However, neither Jolga nor I wished to sell this child.
“I can leave her in your care, but in one condition. First, you must not let her come close to this kingdom…And you must keep her happy.”
“She is a product of her parent’s sins. I won’t ask you not to use her as an entertainer, but you cannot treat her as a slave.”
“…She has your support I see. However it is best for the little princess to leave the country for her safety.”
“That’s right. If we raise her inside the kingdom, we don’t know when she will be taken advantage of. It would be convenient if she is in a circus that moves from place to place.”
Troupe Leader Ducali nodded firmly at our conditions.
“I understand…I cannot sit back and watch this beautiful and miraculous female Gigandi be abused in the future. I will take her as my own child. And raise her preciously so that she may someday become the star of the circus.”
“…I’ll be in your debt.”
Facing Jolga’s bowed head, Troupe leader Ducali stroked his beard and smiled then gently lifted the baby from the crib. The Gigandi female, with her ears and tail quivering, must have felt relief at the warmth of Troupe leader Ducali’s cherishing embrace, and drifted back to sleep with a little whimper.
“It might be meager, but this is a parting gift from us. Use it as child-rearing expenses.”
I held out a gold bar I had taken with Morino’s permission from the underground treasury in the Asbal mansion, and the key to open the [Puppy] cage that Jolga had given me.
Seeing the two items in my hands, Troupe leader Ducali once again made a troubled expression.
“Do you not need the pups I prepared for you?”
“…They are her cousins, aren’t they? I’ll renounce my rights, can you raise them together to protect this child?” Jolga spoke.
I added, “Once the situation calms down, we’ll come to see them. I apologize for using you as a guise for something, but please accept this.”
“I’ll tell His Majesty that I entrusted her to his acquaintance,” Jolga added to my words.
“Haha, that certainly isn’t a lie though. I promise to never let this child be unhappy.”
That night, Jolga and I, with the help of Prime Minister Morino and his aide Vanellope, snuck into the Queen’s room with Troupe leader Ducali and the baby born to Nasha.
We left the baby with Vanellope while we watched; let her hold the breast of Queen Nasha, who was sleeping soundly on the bed; and let the baby suckle the first and last of her mother’s milk slowly.
Once the baby had had its full and let go of the breast, nodding off to sleep, Vanellope handed her back over to Troupe Leader Ducali.
With the baby in his arms, Troupe Leader Ducali rode the carriage that had been waiting in the alleyway just outside the castle down the highway straight to the circus tent awaiting them in a foreign land.
And Queen Nasha’s only daughter never returned to the kingdom of Palcemith again.
A few days after Troupe Leader Ducali and her beastman daughter left the kingdom.
Queen Nasha regained consciousness, but her mind seemed disturbed because of the great shock.
She hugged the blonde-haired, blue-eyed doll displayed in the Queen’s room and assumed it to be the child she birthed.
“…Hey, the child is not moving one bit and not wailing at all. What happened?”
We consoled King Vikram, who blamed himself, and after some time had passed, suggested that she shift residences to the imperial villa where Peragene was staying. The public had been informed beforehand that Queen Nasha’s first child was stillborn, so it would not be suspicious if we explained that the shock had caused her to become physically and mentally unwell.
It had been exactly one year since my memories had returned to me right in this place.
During that audience, the Sacrificial Priestess Nasha had taken everything from my beloved Julieta.
The holy maiden had grown arrogant with the power she had been given and the prince’s infatuation, and had forgotten her long-cherished dreams.
Brokenhearted, Nasha rubbed her cheeks against the mute doll, as the swaying carriage with a single passenger rode off to the royal villa in the outskirts of the city.
And after today, she disappeared from history’s stage.
Hasr: If you haven’t already checked out the announcement, don’t forget to do that!
Also, if you don’t wanna cry next chapter, you can stop reading here and pick up with the sequel that probably gonna go up in a week’s time. It’s set a little after the events of this chapter.