Chapter 189 Two Lives
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
Viscount Hedmar and his wife, who were taken aback by the sudden appearance of Zora and Ronim-san, approached Zora while pulling Ronim-san, who turned away from them. Although Zora and Viscount Hedmar faced each other in silence, it was Viscount Hedmar who broke the silence.
”Why are you here?”
”I heard that you were going back today, so I thought I’d say what I wanted to say before you left. But before that, is there anything you want to say?”
”…No, there’s nothing to say. If you were expecting an apology, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I still don’t think it was a mistake to entrust you to Ronim, and I believe my choice was the right one.”
”Seriously! How far are you going to–“
When Ronim-san showed anger in response to the Viscount Hedma’s words, Zora stopped him with her hand.
“Yeah… that’s right, I don’t have any intention of denying my current life. I have my father, my mother, and many colleagues at work, and I think I’m happy. But, in exchange for that, there were also many difficult things. Even though I’m a dwarf, I was bullied for not being like a typical dwarf. There were also times when I cried because I found out that I wasn’t their real child. So, you know, even if I were to live as a noble, there would naturally be difficult things, but I think there would still be things that make me happy.”
”…then what will you do? Are you trying to say that we were wrong? Or have you come here to complain?”
Viscount Hedmar, who uttered cold words to his own daughter, was met with a surprisingly calm response from Zora. Normally, if Zora had been faced with such words, she might have become confrontational, but the expression on Zora’s face as she confronted Viscount Hedmar and his wife was remarkably serene.
”I don’t understand. It’s not like I don’t have any complaints, there are words of criticism floating in my head. But just like I said earlier about ‘happiness as a noble,’ there was definitely ‘happiness as a dwarf’ as well. There is happiness and unhappiness for each person. Which one is better, in the end, nobody knows. And I don’t intend to complain about the choice you made to entrust me to my father and mother for such uncertain things. So, I will tell you one thing that I feel is certain and convey it to both of you.”
Zora cuts off her words there, takes a deep breath, and looks at Viscount Hedmar and his wife with determined and straight eyes.
”There have been various things in my life, being raised as a dwarf. There were many difficult and tearful moments, but more than that, I feel happy. I don’t know which life was happier, but one thing is clear to me.”
With tears welling up in the corners of her eyes and a voice on the verge of trembling, Zora continues with a radiant smile.
”I’m glad to have been born. Thank you, Father, Mother, for giving birth to me.”
”From now on, as Zora, born as a Mire and raised as a Dwarf, I will live to the fullest.”
I could only see the backs of Viscount Hedmar and his wife, and I couldn’t tell what expression they had on their faces.
But I didn’t miss the fact that Lady Hedmar was trembling all over and that Viscount Hedmar’s hand, which was holding her shoulder, was filled with strength.
”Ronim… Zora has grown into a strong child.”
”Hmph, of course. Zora is our child after all.”
”…Yes, that’s right.”
After murmuring those words from Ronim-san, Viscount Hedmar and his wife silently boarded the carriage.
Zora and Ronim-san didn’t say anything more and quietly watched them.
”Well then, Lord Neil, we shall take our leave.”
”Huh? Ah, yes.”
”We’ll come to visit again if we have the chance.”
Viscount Hedmar gave those words and gave instructions to the coachman. The carriage carrying Viscount Hedmar and his wife passed through the main gate and left the mansion.
After seeing them off, I called out to Zora from behind.
”Was that okay?”
In the end, I did feel some kind of parental affection from them. However, they never abandoned their identity as imperial nobles. There was no reconciliation with Ronim-san, no change in their relationship, and the friendship between Zora and her parents was once again separated.
”It’s fine. I told you from the beginning, I came here to say what I wanted to say, so this is fine. Thank you more than anything for telling me about the two of them. I almost missed the chance to say it.”
Actually, I had sent Lewya to inform Zora about Viscount Hedmar and his wife leaving today last night. I didn’t think I could convince Ronim-san so quickly, so I thought it would be enough if Zora came alone. However, it was unexpected that Ronim-san came with her reluctantly.
”Phew… honestly, your meddling is becoming pathological.”
”Ahahaha… I’m sorry, but once I stick my nose into something, I can’t just leave it half-baked… Oh, right, there’s something I want to tell Ronim-san.”
”Hmm? What is it?”
”Viscount Hedmar felt a sense of friendship towards Ronim-san. But, as you mentioned, Viscount Hedmar himself said that as an imperial noble, he would prioritize his own interests over friendship. So when he realized that a reconciliation was impossible, Viscount Hedmar felt disappointed as an imperial noble, but relieved that he didn’t involve Ronim-san as a friend.”
”…I see, he said something like that.”
To be honest, I was unsure whether I should tell Ronim-san about this. I thought that instead of telling Ronim-san that Viscount Hedmar prioritizes his own interests over friendship, it would be better to make it seem like there was no friendship to begin with, so that Ronim-san wouldn’t get hurt.
”It seems that the two of us are simply incompatible now.”
”Thank you for letting me know. I apologize, but I have work to do, so I will take my leave. I have to make up for the day I took off yesterday.”
Without looking back at me, Ronim-san says this and leaves the place.
Seeing his back, I regretted telling him about Lord Hedmar’s true intentions, thinking that Ronim-san might have been hurt.
”Maybe it would have been better not to tell him.”
”That’s not true. Didn’t your father say he had work? When someone feels unwell, they take a day off work, which means they feel good when they work. Even if he looks down, it doesn’t mean he’s in a bad mood. Even if my best friend has been tainted by the imperial nobles, I’m still happy that he still has friendship with me. He’s stubborn, so he won’t admit it himself.”
”Zora, are you really okay with this?”
”You’re being persistent. I said it’s fine, didn’t I? Or do you think it would have been better for me to reconcile with those two and become a noble?”
”I didn’t say that. But based on the final moments of the couple, even if it’s not a reconciliation, I think you could have had a slightly more parent-child-like relationship.”
”Indeed, there might have been such options, but for now, this is fine. I think everyone, including myself, needs time to think. Even if we rush to repair the relationship, it will surely cause trouble later. But more importantly, it seems like I owe you again. I wonder how I should repay this debt.”
”Somehow, I feel a dangerous atmosphere in your words.”
The way she said “how should I repay it” is completely like a thank-you gesture.
”Hehe, well, wash your neck and wait. Well then, I’m going to work too. Thank you so much for today.”
After Ronim-san, Zora also leaves the mansion for work. Only me and Lucena-san remain, and with no one else around, Lucena-san, who has been silent until now, opens her mouth.
”Master Neil, I think it’s inappropriate to have such a casual attitude towards commoners.”
”Ahaha, I’m sorry, I’m not very good at behaving like a noble. I try to act appropriately when meeting someone for the first time, though.”
”Looking at Master Neil’s attitude just now, there must be plenty of people trying to take advantage of his easy-going nature. Master Neil needs to have a constant awareness of being a noble.”
”Awareness of being a noble, huh?”
With Lucena-san’s words, the words that Viscount Hedmar had thrown at me came to mind.
’You have something emotionally akin to a dwarf. You dislike the ways of imperial nobles and say that the existence of imperial nobles is a sad thing. But your position is undoubtedly that of an imperial noble. Your current way of being is in great contradiction. Don’t you have that level of awareness?’
Upon being reminded of that fact, I unconsciously looked up at the sky.
While gazing at the vast blue sky, I pondered on the contradiction that I carried within myself.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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