“I’m s……sorry to have kept you waiting, Father! ”
Entering the room while being out of breath was the Archduke’s son…… Archduke Graf Augusto’s only son, Harley.
Archduke Augusto had made an unusual stance of getting only one wife, but thanks to his position as Archduke he was able to succeed in it.
And, this Harley was the treasure, the child he and his wife had been trying for.
And today was the presentation of Harley long-awaited second child and eldest son, Lier.
There were many things he needed to do, both as the house’s host and the event’s host, therefore it was only after a few hours of being called up by Graf that he finally managed to show up.
“You were too slow, Father.”
……Krone, whom by this time should already be sleeping, was also standing next to Archduke Augusto since the time when the separation report was received. After all, she couldn’t sleep since she had met her first love and also the woman who she had admired and held in high regard just recently.
“Ahh, I’m sorry, Krone…… Wait, shouldn’t you be already in bed?”
Alfredo then offered some tea to Harley, who was out of breath, and he received it.
“Sorry, Harley. But, can’t you let Krone listen to this today?”
“If you say so, then I guess it’s okay, Father. Then, can I ask about the flow of events? ”
He took a sip of tea to moisten his throat.
For Harley, the words of his father who had properly raised him carried a weight heavier than his mother’s.
If his father said this was okay, then he’d just obediently accept it.
“I suppose I should speak in order.”
Harley nodded to Archduke Augusto’s words.
“I didn’t hear this from the concerned party so I can’t go into details, but after the party hosted at our house today…… there was an evening party hosted by Viscount Lance?”
“I’m aware of that. They contacted me in advance and we had a meeting to arrange it in a way that the parties didn’t overlap with each other.”
“And about Earl Roundhart being an attendant to that party.”
“I knew there was the possibility of that happening, so I’m aware of that too.”
The Archduke then started to think.
Does this mean Harley knew of the circumstances from the beginning?
But if so, then he would’ve been able to convey them to the Earl, right?
“Fumu……But then, Olivia-dono asked this to a waiter: Where is my husband? ”
“This is my first time hearing this.”
“I guessed so. I heard about it, then immediately after I heard about the separation.”
“I apologize to have troubled you.”
“Don’t worry about it. After all, this was an important party for Lier.”
While saying “I appreciate it”, Harley lightly bowed his head.
“The rest is easy to infer. Maybe it was Earl or maybe it was the second wife, Alma. One of them deliberately withheld information about the evening party, furthermore, they also hid the fact that I had ordered that only one child would be participating in the party. The fact is neither of them spoke about this issue intentionally.”
“That is too…… I indeed heard that the second son was nominated to be the successor, but that’s going too far.”
“I’ve heard many stories, so I can’t really blame her for doing this…… Still.”
“Do you mean to say the separation was a result from this?”
Listening to Archduke Augusto’s reasoning, Harley was convinced.
Krone, who had been silent so far, was quietly looking at the Star Crystal she had received from Ain while sipping on a cup of tea, since she was already aware of this information.
“Certainly, a separation in an Earl’s family will be a big event for the social community. But is this really something that would make you hurry me this much, Father?”
“I will begin my explanation from here.”
Correcting his posture, he got ready to listen.
“It involves Olivia-dono’s origins.”
“Her origins? According to the stories I heard, she was the daughter of a fallen noble from another country, and she married here.”
“That’s not quite correct. It’s not easy to explain…… Since Olivia-dono’s son was supposed to be the next successor of the Roundhart family, she decided that, until the time was right and it was safe to spread the truth, she would not speak of it.”
When she heard information she didn’t know, Krone paid attention to every word her grandfather said.
“……I wonder why it was necessary to hide the name of that country, grandfather?”
“Sorry for interrupting, but I also think so, Father.”
Both his son and his granddaughter raised the same question.
But that was only normal.
This because, after being stripped of the nobility title, there was no need to purposely conceal the country.
“W-Well…… It’s not like I really care! But the nobility will surely make a huge fuss about me becoming Ain’s wife.”
Krone went ahead and spoke with a tense atmosphere, although was different from the one of Archduke Augusto.
In response, the usual smiling face of the Archduke became even bitter.
“What are you talking about, Krone? I haven’t heard anything of the likes……”
Not knowing the circumstances of Ain and Krone’s feelings, Harley asked her daughter what she meant.
“About that, I’ll explain it later, Harley. And…… I guess you’re right, Krone.”
Seeing the Archduke’s expression softening up for a moment made Krone feel slightly relieved.
“……Indeed, I don’t know if the social rank will be enough.”
Krone’s expression hardened after seeing the Archduke’s expression becoming similarly stiffer.
“Harley, Krone. You do know the rough situation of our continent, right? ”
“I don’t know much about the past. But I do know if it’s starting from the ceasefire 50 years ago.”
After the past war that ran all across the continent, all four countries were calling out for peace on the surface now, but it was quite unclear what the future would bring, is what Archduke Augusto had said.
“That much is fine. No matter where you go the culture…… And also, the technological advances have grown significantly.”
“……Yes, I think that’s the case too.”
Although he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes, Harley had properly learned history, and had a solid understanding of how blessed the environment in which he grew up had changed, unlike in the past.
“The continent that’s about two days of travel from the Port Town Roundhart…… There’s no way you don’t know about it, right? ”
The continent of which Archduke Augusto spoke of was not the continent where the Heim Kingdom was located, but a continent that lied beyond the ocean.
Unlike this one, that continent had a proper name, it was called Isthar.
“You mean Isthar? ……There’s no way I can forget about it. Even we, after having improved our power for the last 50 years after the war, wouldn’t be a match…… no, I don’t think that we could even hope to reach their feet in culture, technology or military might.”
The reason why Harley couldn’t forget about that fact was because he had gone to the continent of Isthar to study when he was a teenager.
At that time, he saw the level of its culture, the strength of its people, the sophistication if their weapons…… and the scope of its knight order.
“Isthar. There’s only one country in that continent, right? ”
Since Krone had obviously never been there, she asked her father and grandfather.
“That continent might as well be called a country. After all, there are more people who call that continent by the name of the country rather than Isthar. And the name of that country is…… Unified Nation Ishtalika.”
Isthar was a huge continent, about two to three times as large as this one.
And in that continent, there was only a single country, the Unified Nation Ishtalika.
It was built over 500 years ago by a hero, a country to rule over the continent.
At that time, there seemed to be hundreds of small countries, and all of them were unified into one single country.
“Unlike in here, there live many races. Wise monsters……the Mazoku, who are recognized as people, also live there.”
What Krone said was about Ishtalika.
Aside from elves and dwarves, in Ishtalika there were also several half-spiritual races, like the dryads.
“Seems like Krone is studying hard.”
“Thank you, grandfather.”
“So? Why did Ishtalika came out so suddenly? ”
Archduke Augusto wiped the sweat from his forehead.
Harley was surprised to see such a tense appearance from his father for the first time, and Krone, she was surprised since this was the first time she had seen her grandfather appear so human, so ‘normal’.
“The current King of Ishtalika, Silvird Von Ishtalika…… his third child, the second daughter.”
Krone didn’t seem to know what the Archduke wanted to say, but Harley understood.
Only now it started to make sense.
At the same time, sweat could be seen on Harley forehead…… his breath getting a little rougher.
“‘Former’ third place in the line to the throne…… Olivia Von Ishtalika. That is Olivia-dono’s…… Olivia-sama’s real name.”
『Indeed, I don’t know if the social rank will be enough.』
That was what Archduke Augusto, her grandfather had said before, and what Krone had taken in the completely opposite meaning. But only now she started to understand the real meaning behind those words.