Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Widnicol thanked me in a flustered voice, politely bowing down his head as well. For today, he replaced his usual apprentice robes for a formal attire in the color of grey without any extra ornamentation. It looked good on him, as it was probably tailored for this occasion specifically. Ahh, it was also kind of nice to see that I wasn’t the only one who was feeling slightly uncomfortable being surrounded by such magnificent people, seeing how Widnicol was even more restless than I was. Looking into each other’s eyes and understanding that fact, we couldn’t help but smile simultaneously. I guess I’m not the only one who is unaccustomed to dealing with overly dazzling things.
「Let me begin by saying that I am overjoyed to be able to see everyone’s faces again. I shall be leading today’s festivities, so please bear with me for a while.」
Unlike the other festivals and holidays, this one was an international event. So aside from the various kingdom officials, there were also delegations sent by the monarchs and rulers from all over the world in order to participate. All of them are coming here in order to congratulate the Heroes on their victory over the Demon Lord. Fortunately enough, I didn’t need to be in the spotlight, since I was only going to watch the ceremony from the nearby platform together with other relatives of the different Heroes.
It’s not that I don’t like stiff atmospheres as much as the Knights Commander, but I wasn’t all that good with them as well. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wasn’t looking forward at least a bit at seeing so many important guests up close and personal. Seeing all the beautiful dresses and accessories was making my heart race. So I only needed to bear with it for a while.
「Edi, my parents are supposed to be at the ceremony as well, so we must show them our best sides today.」
I know that this man’s usual expression tends to be often misunderstood by others, so I thought I would inform him about that fact in advance. That way it might be possible for him to at least try to look somewhat nicer so that people may think warmer of him from now on. Especially since he is one of the Heroes.
It might just be my own selfishness speaking, but I would like him to at least put in some effort so that the people might view him in a different, much warmer light than before.
Much to my surprise, his answer was “I guess I have no choice then. I’ll try to smile more, even if it’s just a little bit.” Once the other Heroes overheard it, they all laughed in a merry matter, only serving to deepen that man’s frown even further.
The national orchestra started to play a symphony. It was an unusual kind of melody that you wouldn’t be able to hear on an everyday basis, but it was beautiful and catchy. Instead of the Great Temple, the altar for the upcoming ceremony was transported to the throne room of the palace. Where all the dignitaries and emissaries from all over the world were currently gathering, enjoying a casual chit-chat while waiting for the ceremony to begin. Amongst the crowd, I was looking for a particular person.
Ahh, just when will they get here? I don’t want to stare around too much, but I was just too restless to stop myself from doing just that. You could say that I was as excited to see them as I was excited to see the figure of the Princess or that man during the ceremony. We couldn’t normally meet because of the number of responsibilities and workload on each of our shoulders, but the ceremony was something else. Even that man said it like that. And honestly, ever since I got married to that man I didn’t want to give off a feeling that I was being monopolized by him. So I was continuing to scout out the crowd further, all the while trying to fix the wrinkles of my dress with my hands.
Finally, I heard the voice of the one I wanted to meet.
Hearing that gentle voice, I turned towards it and I even failed to realize that my face brightened up in a smile in an instant. I slowly turned towards that long-awaited person, trying to look as dignified as possible.
「–––– It’s been a while, Father.」
Hearing me say those words, Father smiled brightly as well.
His formal attire was black in color but nearly as flashy as the one of that man, with his posture looking as strong as always. It was a posture of someone confident and strong, who tended to attract people towards himself. His eyes, usually gleaming with intelligence, were filled with gentle light as he was looking at me. They always reminded me of fresh flowers swaying in the Summer’s breeze.
Even though this man is not my real father, but a friend of my father’s, I’ve been treating him as such ever since I could remember. His name is Ernest Von Lancent and he is the one who took me in. Ever since childhood, I have been calling him Uncle Lancent.
「I was looking forward to seeing you today.」
「You were always such a charming and loving person, but I see you’ve become even more beautiful as of late.」
「Fufu, if you say that, Father, then it must be true. I’m glad to hear you say that.」
Holding a small conversation just like that with Father was warming my heart after such a long time.
One of the great things about Father was that he was able to hold such conversations with ease and was very natural. Those traits of his must have made him really popular with the ladies back in the day. As I said before, he treated me like his real daughter from an early age and since my mental age was much older than my body, I could really fully appreciate the kindness he showed me. Just what kind of woman would capture his heart? And what could I do to become a woman like that? Either way, that’s the ideal woman I want to become somewhere in the future.
And today, that splendid Father joined me right next to my seat, and together we kept on closely observing the closed door at the far end of the throne room. I was also wondering if he would be able to tell all the bizarre and troublesome events that I got dragged into during this past year.
「But I must say. I’m sure he doesn’t want to be here right now, but it would be nice to see him act accordingly on a day like this.」
「Yes, Father. I sure hope that Edi will rise to meet our expectations.」
Surely, only Father would be brave enough to describe that man as a child. As my cheeks blushed slightly, I giggled silently beside Father.
Eventually the sounds of the orchestra ceases and the throne room becomes silent. As the loud fanfares went off, the attendants got up from their chairs. As the two of us stood up as well, we could see the door at the back finally being opened. The orchestra started playing different melody and a round of loud applause could be heard. Then entered His Majesty the King, the Princess and the Heroes who saved the world.
All of them looked simply wonderful, walking down the red carpet that was placed on the floor and leading all the way towards the altar. The Heroes looked mighty and dignified, the Princess looked radiant in her pure-white dress and the Brave Hero was at the center of attention with his Holy Sword hanging from his waist. Then there was the Knights Commander and Widnicol was right at the end, looking way more relaxed than in the waiting room not so long ago. That man was walking right behind the Princess, and even though he was wearing all black, he was looking even more radiant than anyone else here.
If his current appearance was a shocker to me, who was seeing him on an everyday basis, then what would the people who witness him for the first time ever think? I could also feel that the eyes of everyone present were locked on them as well.
Even though I know that those are not my achievements that are being celebrated, I can’t help it but to feel proud for that man. I could also tell that the companions of that man were all a group of wonderful people. I know that his character might not be the best out there, but I could see the effort he was putting into trying to look the best he possibly could. Even though it must have been mentally tiring for him. I wonder if Father could see it as well? There was a smile on his face and he looked rather pleased.
You could feel that the prejudice against people with black hair, which was common not so long ago, was now nowhere to be seen in this room. Just then I could see that man looking towards us and when we nodded our heads towards him, I could have sworn that he seemed to be just a little bit flustered because of that. Right next to me, Father laughed and smiled warmly.
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