Chapter 184 Parents
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
After leaving the reception room to see Ronim-san’s condition, I hurriedly headed towards the entrance. Since I didn’t chase after him immediately, Ronim-san must have already left the mansion, but he shouldn’t have gone too far.
I thought that if I hurried, I could catch up with him soon, so I passed through the entrance and opened the front door, when I heard a loud voice in my ears.
”Oh, come on! Let me through! I have business with the master here! I don’t have time to deal with you guys!”
”We don’t have time to deal with brats like you either. You’re getting in the way of our work, so go home.”
”Who are you calling a brat!? You know, despite appearances, I’m a respectable twenty-year-old woman!”
The voice could be heard from in front of the mansion’s main gate, and when I looked in that direction, I saw two men and women arguing. One of them was Zora, and the other two were hired outsiders, considering that Zora’s father and Viscount Hedmar were coming, and they couldn’t freely enter and leave the mansion as before.
Although I had told her not to come to the mansion for a while because there were visitors, it would be faster to listen to what happened here than to think about it.
”Zora, what’s going on?”
”Ah! ‘What’s going on’ is my line! What did you do to my father?”
”…Ronim-san just left a moment ago, you have quite sharp ears.”
”Hmph! I heard that my father was suddenly called away, so I came to see what was going on. Then my father, who was very depressed, came out of the mansion, but he won’t answer me when I ask what happened… You, do you know something?”
I’m in trouble, I’ve been seen in a bad situation. I can’t explain about Viscount Hedmar to Zora, so I have no choice but to somehow deceive her here.
”As for that, it’s a delicate matter, so I can’t talk about it.”
”What’s that? Are you saying that delicate matter is something you can’t even tell your family?”
”It’s also a matter of Ronim-san’s personal feelings. So even if it’s Ronim-san’s family, I can’t casually tell them.”
”Don’t make fun of me, I know you’re trying to hide something inconvenient by saying that. It’s because of me that my father feels that way, isn’t it?”
In front of Zora, who doesn’t show any signs of backing down, I’m thinking about how to persuade her when I’m called from behind.
”I heard some noisy voices, did something happen?”
When I turned around vigorously in response to the voice I heard, there stood Viscount Hedmar and his wife. It’s clumsy, but they’re pretending not to know each other in order to settle this situation peacefully.
Zora shouldn’t know about her real parents, and if I panic here, Zora will become suspicious. It would be best to cut off the conversation by saying that there are other guests before any flaws are exposed. I take a deep breath, compose myself, and turn back towards Zora.
”I’m sorry, Zora, right now——”
Before I can continue my words, my thoughts suddenly go blank. Because when I turned around, I saw Zora’s expression frozen in surprise, and her gaze was fixed straight on Viscount Hedmar and his wife standing behind me.
”Oh, I see.”
Surprise, anger, sadness, various emotions seeped out of Zora’s small mouth, and unpleasant imaginations raced through my mind.
I involuntarily call out to Zora, and she starts running as if she’s been shot.
I throw words of restraint at Zora as she runs away, but she doesn’t stop.
”Oh, sorry, excuse me!”
I say only that and without waiting for Viscount Hedmar’s reply, I jump out of the main gate and chase after Zora.
I thought that I would easily catch up with Zora because I am much faster due to the difference in physique, but while Zora, who has a small body, easily slips through the crowd, I am hindered by the crowd and get stopped, and in the meantime, I completely lost sight of Zora in the crowd.
However, even if I lost sight of her, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have a means of tracking. While avoiding the crowd, I chase after Zora, and I come near the field.
And I find Zora crouching in the shadow of a large rock where I had previously placed my homemade altar as an offering to the spirits, and I call out to her so as not to startle her.
”…Well, you found this place easily. Even though I thought I completely lost you.”
”I did lose sight of you once. I traced your magic power to track you.”
”You remembered my magic power? …You pervert.”
”Why do I have to be insulted…? I didn’t remember your magic power. I just followed the magic power that was moving away from the scene as if escaping. It was easy to distinguish because others were walking.”
”…Hey, did Zora know?”
When I deliberately ask a vague question, Zora weakly nods her head.
”I’m not stupid either. I realized a long time ago that my father and mother weren’t my real parents. Because I’m not a dwarf, I’m a Mire.”
”When did you realize?”
”I found out about the truth about eight years ago. But I felt a sense of incongruity long before that. I was bullied by the kids I used to play with, who said, ‘You don’t look like a dwarf even though you’re a dwarf.’
At first, I didn’t understand and kept saying, ‘I am a dwarf,’ but at some point, I started to think that maybe I really was different. Because my body shape was clearly different. At first, I thought I was just thin and ate a lot, but my body didn’t grow at all, and I couldn’t help but notice.”
”So, after realizing that you are a Mire, how did you find out about your real parents?”
”I knew that my father would never talk about it, so I desperately begged my mother in secret. At first, my mother hesitated to talk, but after persuading her for a whole day, she finally gave in and told me.
My real parents are nobles, and they didn’t want to involve me in their noble life, so they entrusted me to my father and mother… They didn’t tell me their names, but there were no other Mire nobles, so I immediately figured it out.”
From Zora’s reaction when she saw Viscount Hedmar and his wife, I already had a strong suspicion, but it seems that Zora indeed knew about her real parents.
”Did you keep saying ‘I am a dwarf’ to avoid facing that reality?”
”Regarding that, it’s like a habit since I was a child. Whenever I was bullied for not looking like a dwarf, I would reply, ‘I am a dwarf,’ so it naturally became ingrained in me.
But… yes, after knowing the truth, I feel like the meaning of those words has changed within me. If I don’t keep telling myself, ‘I am a dwarf, I am a dwarf,’ it feels like everything that has defined me so far will fall apart, and I can’t stand the anxiety. I have lived as a dwarf’s child for a long time. There’s no way I can suddenly become someone other than a dwarf.”
”Is that so? I don’t think that being a dwarf is the only thing that defines Zora. Whether you are a dwarf or a Mire, it doesn’t matter whose child you are. You are Zora.”
”Stop trying to comfort me… What do you know? Suddenly, everything that has defined me is revealed to be fake, and yet I can only cling to it. What do you understand about how miserable I feel?”
Unable to control her emotions, Zora throws a tantrum like a young child, and I carefully consider the words I should say. What Zora wants is not easy empathy or comforting words. If there are any words that should be said to Zora right now…
”Do you remember when we first met, Zora? Do you remember what you said? ‘Nobles can’t be trusted, going out to play with women and leaving work to their servants.’ I was really impressed by that, and I can still vividly remember it.”
”Why are you suddenly… Of course, I remember. I was bad back then, insulting you without even knowing you.”
”I’m not saying it sarcastically. From an outsider’s perspective, I think it was a natural reaction, and now that I think about it, it’s very much like you, Zora.”
”Is it like me…?”
”Yeah, it’s very Zora-like to get all worked up and regret it later.”
”Hey, aren’t you here to comfort me!?”
”Unfortunately, I’m not good at talking to people, so I can’t come up with comforting words.”
”And instead, you come up with words of abuse. You really have no talent for this!”
Zora, who was angry and ready to retort, was amusing, so I stifled my laughter and gently placed my hand on Zora’s head, starting to stroke it.
”Hey, what’s with the sudden change?”
”It’s amazing how Zora, who was so down, is back to normal.”
”Well, that’s because you said something weird! What’s with you since earlier?”
While saying that, without trying to shake off the hand on her head, I continued to stroke it silently. After a while, Zora suddenly spoke up.
”…What if you were told that your current parents aren’t your real parents and that your real parents are somewhere else? What would you do?”
”I guess nothing would change.”
”You’re quite confident in your answer.”
”I have my own reasons.”
I have been reborn once before. It’s completely different from Zora’s situation, but in my previous life and this life, there are people I can call parents, and I feel like this life is an extension of my previous life. So, even though it’s not perfect, I can understand Zora’s feelings to some extent.
”Who gave birth to you and who raised you doesn’t really matter, right? Whether Zora chooses her birth parents or her upbringing parents?”
”It’s not like that.”
”Then maybe that’s the answer, right? No matter who Zora is, Ronim-san is still Zora’s parent. And just like that, no matter who the parents are, Zora is still Zora. Maybe even if you were born a dwarf, that wouldn’t have changed.”
”…I wonder about that. If I had been born a real dwarf, I wouldn’t have tried to convince myself that I’m a dwarf, and maybe I would have had a more straightforward personality than now.”
”So, you’re aware that your current self is not straightforward.”
”I’m sorry for not being straightforward.”
”You said it yourself.”
”It’s annoying when someone else says it.”
As Zora continued to kick at me, I avoided her kicks, and suddenly Zora stretched out her legs and leaned against a rock, releasing all her strength.
”Haa, it’s starting to feel silly that I was worrying so much.”
”I think the current you is more like Zora than when you were worrying.”
”What? Are you trying to say that I’m simple and stupid now?”
”No, I didn’t say that.”
”So, you’re saying you think that to some extent? Ahh, it’s really terrible. According to you, I’m a twisted and simple-minded person… Haha, what a horrible thing to say. If that’s what defines me, then please tell me my strengths.”
”No, I actually like that straightforward side of Zora and I think it’s a strength–Ouch! Are you seriously kicking me!?”
”Shut up, you idiot! Don’t look at me! Go away!!”
Zora, who had been playfully kicking me until now, started to kick me seriously, blushing and looking embarrassed. The gloomy atmosphere I felt from her earlier had completely disappeared. Judging that everything was fine now, I removed my hand from Zora’s head.
”Alright then, I’m going now.”
”…Are you going to see Father?”
”Yeah, I was actually going to check on Ronim-san. Where is the Sincere Dwarf working now?”
”He’s currently building a house in the residential area, but I don’t think Father is there. When he’s in a bad mood, he often says, ‘I can’t do good work in this mood!’ and doesn’t go to work, but stays in his room and drinks alone.”
”I see, then I can probably meet him at the inn. Thanks for letting me know.”
”It’s no big deal. By the way, Father is stubborn to the core. I think it’s pointless to say anything… Are you still going?”
”It’s much better than doing nothing. Besides, Lord Hedmar asked me about Ronim-san.”
Upon hearing the name of Lord Hedmar, Zora’s expression becomes complicated. It seems that Zora still hasn’t fully processed the truth about their real parents. Unsure if I should say something, I am kicked again by a sulking Zora.
”Why are you making such a gloomy face? I’m fine, so go already. Even though I haven’t found a proper answer, I won’t worry about being a dwarf or a miller anymore… I am who I am. Isn’t that what you wanted to convey?”
”…Ah, if you understand that, then I’m relieved. Just one thing, may I ask a question?”
”What is it?”
Facing the puzzled Zora, I hesitate whether I should really ask a question or not, but I gather my courage and throw the question.
”What does Zora think about Lord Hedmar?”
This issue is not just about Lord Hedmar and Ronim-san. In order to solve their problems, Zora’s existence cannot be ignored.
If Zora truly desires to reconcile with their real parents, it may be possible to persuade Ronim-san from the perspective that Zora also wants it. On the other hand, if Zora doesn’t want that, it will become an obstacle and it will be almost impossible to persuade Ronim-san.
That’s why I wanted to confirm Zora’s feelings, but Zora had a difficult expression in response to the question.
”To be honest, I haven’t sorted out my thoughts about that yet. I’ve known about their existence for a long time and I’ve thought about various things, but when it’s suddenly presented in front of me like this, I don’t even know what I want. So, could you give me a little time to think?”
”Understood. It’s a difficult problem, so take your time to think until you’re convinced within yourself. Otherwise, I don’t think Ronim-san will be convinced either.”
”Okay, then I’ll go too. I left my work behind and came here, and I have to inform everyone that Father is resting… I’m counting on you regarding Father.”
”I’ll do everything I can.”
And so, I part ways with Zora and head to the inn to check on Ronim-san.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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