Develop 187

Chapter 187 Pouring Out One’s True Feelings

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 After extracting Ronim-san’s true feelings during the third week of Water Star, I managed to arrange a meeting with Viscount Hedmar that same night. The meeting took place in the reception room, just like yesterday. Viscount Hedmar and his wife sat on the sofa, while Lucena-san (Diana’s mother) stood behind me.

 ”I apologize for calling you at this hour.”

 ”No need to apologize. We called you at the same time last night, so there’s no need to worry. Now, about the matter at hand?”

 ”After speaking with Ronim-san, I couldn’t convince him to join us for another round of discussion.”

 ”I see… I expected as much. Even Lord Neil found it difficult to persuade Ronim.”

 In reality, Zora should still be persuading him, but it’s not good to give false hope, and I wondered if it was okay to bring up the topic of Zora with Viscount Hedmar and his wife, so I decided to keep that information hidden.

 ”He was just drinking alone, but it wasn’t as rough as I thought, and I was able to hear various things.”

 ”What kind of things did you hear?”

 As expected, there was no mention of Ronim-san’s condition.

 That “leave it to me” probably means “leave the persuasion to me” for them, and it seems that it doesn’t mean that he was worried about Ronim-san.

 Or maybe, as an imperial noble, he is just hiding his true intentions, and it was my goal this time to expose them.

 However, the other person has lived as an imperial noble for decades, so even if I say, “Let’s expose your true intentions and talk about it,” they won’t readily comply.

 So I have no choice but to probe here.

 ”I heard various things. Like the conflict between the imperial nobles and the dwarf nobles in the past, and stories about Viscount Hedmar.”

 ”It seems like you were asked to hear embarrassing stories again.”

 ”I was surprised to learn that Viscount Hedmar had such a past.”

 ”I suppose everyone has their rebellious youth. Especially someone like me, who was born a commoner, not a noble from birth.”


 ”Is something wrong?”

 ”Huh? Oh, no, it’s just that when I asked Ronim-san the same thing, he said something similar to what Viscount Hedmar just said… It seems you two are truly friends, after all.”

 ”…Those are cliché words. It’s not strange for us to say the same thing.”

 Although the response was quite indifferent, I didn’t miss the slight pause before the reply. Viscount Hedmar might have some thoughts about Ronim-san. If there’s a chance to uncover his true feelings, it would be here, so I continue to engage Viscount Hedmar in conversation.

 ”I heard that you and Ronim-san used to have frequent fights.”

 ”I was reckless back then. I would challenge opponents I had no chance against, getting beaten down but stubbornly persevering… Looking back, I was doing something foolish.”

 ”Foolish, you say? But thanks to that, you became friends with Ronim-san, didn’t you?”

 ”If that relationship is not continuing even now, then it means it was in vain. People are living in the present. Just because we were friends in the past, what does that matter? In fact, I was rejected by Ronim, who was my friend. It’s proof that the past of being friends was nothing but a waste.”

 ”Such a way of speaking…”

 ”What other way of speaking is there? Should I have used a more roundabout and noble language befitting of an imperial noble? Unfortunately, I dislike wasting time, so I try to avoid using unnecessarily indirect expressions. If I have made you uncomfortable, I apologize.”

 ”…No, it’s okay.”

 While appearing calm on the surface, I was inwardly exasperated. What does it mean to speak in a roundabout and noble way befitting of an imperial noble? That very way of speaking is the essence of an imperial noble.

 Moreover, even though I should have been the one asking the questions, I found myself being led by the other party. Feeling inadequate, I threw another question at Viscount Hedmar.

 ”Then why did Viscount Hedmar consider reconciling with Ronim-san?”

 ”I believe we discussed that last night, didn’t we?”

 ”He was the only friend you could trust, wasn’t that right? However, forgive me for being blunt, but based on what you said earlier, it doesn’t seem like you had any intention of reconciling with Ronim-san. Is Viscount Hedmar truly serious about wanting to reconcile?”

 Considering he is an imperial noble, there is a high possibility that reconciling with Ronim-san is not his true intention. But rather than trying to uncover Viscount Hedmar’s true motive right now, I wanted to know if he genuinely wanted to reconcile with Ronim-san.

 ”I was serious as of last night. However, after talking to Ronim today and hearing Neil’s report, I concluded that there is no hope for reconciliation. It would be futile to cling to a hopeless desire, wouldn’t it?”

 ”So, just because it’s futile, you’re willing to discard your feelings for Ronim-san for that reason alone?”

 ”Just because? I believe it’s a sufficient reason, but to me, one-sided friendship is nothing more than a mockery. Didn’t I say it before? I despise “futility.””


 As I calmly looked at Viscount Hedmar, who boldly declared the friendship with Ronim-san as “futile,” I felt a surge of anger rising from the depths of my stomach.

 My anger rose up in my throat, on the verge of spilling out into words. Before that, I swallowed down my anger.

 Calm down. If what Viscount Hedmar said was truly how he felt, then why did he hesitate for a brief moment when I told him Ronim-san said the same thing?

 In that instant, without a doubt some emotion stirred within Viscount Hedmar. If he really cut off his feelings for Ronim-san, he wouldn’t have had that reaction.

 What should I listen for now? To draw out the Viscount Hedmar’s true feelings, I must hear them not from the Imperial nobleman, but from my friend Nasshi.

 ”You’ve gone quiet again, I hope I didn’t say something to offend?”

 ”No, I was just lost in thought for a moment.”

 ”Oh? What were you thinking about?”

 Viscount Hedmar asked me with an air of composure. To draw out his true feelings, I must shake this composure. Bracing myself for a later lecture from Lucena-san, I decided to ask one question.

 ”Why have you become so distorted, Viscount Hedmar?”


 When I questioned Viscount Hedmar, his expression of calmness crumbled and his face froze in surprise. It’s a natural reaction to be told to your face that “you have become distorted.” The silent pressure from Lucena-san behind me was immense, but I ignored it and kept looking at Viscount Hedmar.

 ”…I’m surprised, I didn’t think you would be so direct with your words. Usually people say things like that in an indirect, unpleasant way, you know.”

 ”I didn’t mean it in an unpleasant way, this is a genuine question. Compared to the person Ronim-san described from the past, you seem like a completely different person now. If you want to convince Ronim-san, you should make the reason for that clear.”

 ”Do you still intend to convince Ronim? I’ve already given up on Ronim, my request to Lord Neil is already over.”

 ”I said, I am not doing this because Viscount Hedmar asked me to, but because it is my own decision. I don’t want to leave things unresolved with Ronim-san. Even if you can’t get back together, I want to at least find an answer that Ronim-san can accept.”

 ”Are you planning to tell Ronim, ‘Viscount Hedmar changed for these reasons, so accept it’?”

 ”…At the very least, it will help Ronim-san sort out his feelings better than just saying, ‘My friend has become an imperial noble.’”

 After showing a pensive expression upon hearing my words, Viscount Hedmar spoke quietly.

 ”Fine, but I must warn you that there isn’t any significant reason. It’s just a story of a commoner who rose up to become a half-hearted noble. It may not be a satisfying reason.”

 ”I don’t mind, please tell me.”

 Knowing something is better than knowing nothing, I asked about what happened in the past, and Viscount Hedmar began to speak solemnly.

 ”Before I became a noble, I was treated worse than a slave in the mines near Denar, thanks to the oppressive rule imposed by the previous lord. Ignoring the happiness of the people and only seeking to line his own pockets, the previous lord earned the resentment of the people and was dealt with by Grelego. It seems Grelego judged that if left alone, a rebellion would occur, resulting in unnecessary bloodshed. To spare you the details, a new lord was chosen from within Mire to replace the previous lord, and I was the one selected.”

 Normally, in such cases, someone without any territory would be appointed as the successor. However, in this case, Mire was deliberately chosen as a noble, probably because they cooperated in removing the previous lord, and being appointed as nobles was their reward.

 It is not the main point to delve into that matter, and I purposely avoided mentioning the secret deal that might have been made.

 ”I became the lord, but I couldn’t immediately free my clan. It was because of the foolish actions of my predecessor that the management of the territory had become impossible without sacrifices from the clan.

 We faced individuals who sought to profit from clueless newcomers and put on a smile while desperately resisting behind the scenes, striving to save our clan. We started new industries to avoid sacrificing our clan and worked hard to recover our exhausted territory.

 Looking back now, I was filled with the most energy during that time. I earnestly and straightforwardly devoted myself to the clan, but the result we received was not gratitude from the clan, but rather isolation.”

 ”Isolation… does that mean you were abandoned by your own kin?”

 ”It’s a little different. After somehow achieving my goal of freeing the clan, I prepared a new place and work for them and welcomed them grandly. But…”

 Viscount Hedmar, who had maintained his composure until now, lowered his head, his expression clouded with darkness.

 ”The gaze of my clan was not the same as the one directed towards our fellow clansmen. Those who feared me, the ones who sought to ingratiate themselves and taste the sweet nectar of our newfound imperial nobility. When I grasped the outstretched hand, extended to them in order to save my clan, we ceased to be fellow clansmen who shared joy and sorrow. Instead, we became feared and detested imperial nobles.”

 ”Even though you worked hard for the sake of your brethren.”

 ”But that’s just reality. In that moment, I almost forgot myself. It wasn’t that I sought gratitude, for I knew it was nothing more than self-satisfaction to save our clan. However, after sacrificing my body and soul, the result I obtained was this… I despaired and could no longer trust anyone. There’s no need to say anything more. In order to protect myself, I probed each other’s intentions, deceived one another, and before I knew it, I had completely become imperial nobles in body and spirit.”

 ”You deceive because you are deceived, you betray before you are betrayed… If it means wearing down their hearts in such a way, couldn’t you have chosen to leave the nobility behind? Your wish to liberate the clan was granted, so there should have been no need to continue being imperial nobles.”

 ”At that time, it was already too late. In order to free our clan, I deceived and betrayed many people. If I had let go of the power and suffered retaliation, I might not have been alive in this world anymore. Do you understand now? It’s nothing special. Just like others, I adapted as imperial nobles in order to survive. Ronim must already understand this without being told. It was because he understood that Ronim cut ties with me. He foresaw that I would end up like this.”

 ”Indeed, Ronim-san may have distanced himself from getting involved with imperial nobles. But the distance was towards the imperial nobles, not towards Viscount Hedmar.”

 I know Ronim-san’s true feelings. I know the true feelings that Ronim-san let slip. Because I know the conflicting desires that Ronim-san carries, I spoke the words.

 ”Ronim-san still considers you as his one and only friend. To be precise, he hopes for you to return to how you were in the past.”

 ”I guess, otherwise he wouldn’t have repeatedly provoked me like that.”

 ”If you knew that, then why–“

 ”Why did I ignore it? I’ll ask you the same, why do I need to respond to such a cheap provocation? Do you think by acting so obvious and reminiscent of the past, Ronim will be satisfied and reconcile with me?”

 ”Acting… Viscount Hedmar, do you have no feelings left for Ronim-san?”

 ”…Ah, is that your aim?”


 Caught off guard by the piercing words and gaze suddenly directed at me, my words falter.

 ”Do you think I didn’t notice that you were probing me? It was too obvious, and I noticed right away. But I didn’t know what you were searching for until now, with your question and reaction, I’m certain. You want to know my true feelings.”

 Damn it, now that my stumbled words have been seen, there’s no escaping. But I never expected to be exposed so easily, what could have caused it?

 ”…Why, did you figure it out?”

 ”You may not have been aware, but you’ve thrown me a question that delves into my true feelings twice. It could just be that you asked the same question in the flow of conversation, but if you doubt it, you’ll find commonalities with the questions you’ve thrown at me so far. It touched upon my true feelings. And seeing your reaction, my suspicion turned into certainty, nothing more.”

 In other words, those words were just a bluff. If I didn’t react, I might have been able to get away with it. While feeling keenly aware of my own immaturity in dealing with imperial nobles, I ask the question head-on, knowing that there’s no avoiding it if I’ve been found out.

 ”As you said, I want to know Viscount Hedmar’s true feelings. What do you think of Ronim-san?”

 ”Haa… Are you making fun of me? Do you really think an imperial noble would honestly reveal their true feelings? And who do you think you are? It’s true that we asked for your mediation, but I don’t recall asking for such deep involvement.”

 ”I understand very well that it’s none of my business. But once I’ve gotten involved, I can’t overlook the problem.”

 ”What’s the problem? What do you mean by ‘problem’? It’s true that I’m disappointed that I couldn’t reconcile with Ronim, but as far as that goes, it’s settled as ‘it didn’t work out.’ If you’re calling that a problem, isn’t it your arrogance?”

 In the words of Viscount Hedmar, who had been calm until now, frustration began to mix.

 ”I am not senile enough to rely on the care of a child who is protected by parents and status like you. I am not pitiful enough to be sympathized with by a child who only dreams of such naive dreams as you. And above all, I am not dull enough to reveal my true feelings to a child like you, a child of the imperial nobility.”

 Faced with the sharp words directly confronting me, I couldn’t return a single word of rebuttal. Everything Viscount Hedmar was saying was logical, while what I was saying was nothing but the idealism of a dreaming child.

 It was absolutely impossible for an imperial noble to expose their true feelings in front of another imperial noble. Even with Ronim-san, it was impossible from the start to extract the truth from Viscount Hedmar, who didn’t show his true feelings.

 ”While you are an adult, from my perspective you are still an ignorant child. I do not truly get angry at the words of a child, and I will pretend I did not hear what you said earlier. We will take our leave now.”

 Viscount Hedmar and his wife stood up from the sofa and started walking towards the door of the reception room. I had thought there was nothing more to say to them, but-

 ”Please wait!”

 I called out to the back of Viscount Hedmar, who had his hand on the doorknob.

 ”If you cannot reveal your true feelings because I am an imperial noble, then what about if I was not an imperial noble?”

 ”What do you mean?”

 Until now, I had faced Viscount Hedmar as an imperial noble. But that was the real mistake – facing each other as imperial nobles. When trying to understand the other person’s true feelings, I had not approached them with my own true feelings, but had hidden things and tried to uncover their secrets in a one-sided way.

 Only a person who reveals their own true feelings will have their true feelings revealed in return.

 Therefore, I was trying to confront Viscount Hedmar with my true feelings not as an imperial noble, but as an individual named Neil.

 ”As Viscount Hedmar said, I am a child. I am a child who has been protected by my parents and social status and has not faced much hardship. It’s only natural that Viscount Hedmar finds it irritating that I think I understand the hardships of imperial nobles. I am a child, and I cannot fully comprehend all the suffering Viscount Hedmar carries, but because I am a child, I can understand the suffering of other children.”

 ”…Are you talking about Zora?”

 ”Yes, Zora has been struggling and suffering between two races and two parents. And now, Zora is trying to find the answer. As a fellow child, I want to help Zora. Of course, I also want to help Ronim-san… Viscount Hedmar, by listening to your past and understanding your hearts, I hope I can save you as well.”

 ”…Ha, are you still saying such things even after coming here? You truly are an absolute fool. To be able to say that in front of an imperial noble, how impressive. But I see, that’s not as an imperial noble, but as your true self as a human.”

 While weaving words that seemed to mix exasperation and irritation, Viscount Hedmar slowly opened his mouth while still gripping the doorknob.

 ”…Lord Neil, we will return to our own territory by tomorrow. There is no reason to stay here anymore.”

 ”What about Ronim-san and Zora?”

 ”I have already said, it is already over regarding that matter, and I have no intention of doing anything now. However, out of respect for your recklessness that is unbecoming of an imperial noble, I will answer one of your questions sincerely before our departure. Think about what you want to ask, and it would be good to have an answer by tomorrow morning.”

 Saying so, Viscount Hedmar opened the door and left the reception room.

 Left behind, I muttered a word while gazing at the door through which Viscount Hedmar had left.

 ”Just one… to answer sincerely, huh?”

 As I recalled Viscount Hedmar’s parting words, I was suddenly struck by an indescribable chill.

 ”Master Neil”


 Dangerous, I completely forgot about Lucena-san in the heat of the moment.

 ”You understand what I want to say without me saying it, right?”


 From there, for several hours until after bedtime, I received a thorough scolding. But I did not regret confronting Viscount Hedmar honestly.

 It was because I forgot my position as an imperial noble and confronted him with my true feelings that Viscount Hedmar gave me a chance. Lucena-san warned me not to take the verbal promises of imperial nobles to heart, but if I were to doubt him at that moment, I would just be a regular imperial noble and Viscount Hedmar would surely no longer answer me honestly.

 If I believe in the other person’s sincerity, then I must also show sincerity. Without doubting Viscount Hedmar’s words, I thought about what to do with the one question I was allowed to ask.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.

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