I don’t understand what he just said.
His words echoed in my head, yet I still didn’t understand.
“In two years time Michelie will enrol at the Royal Academy. Then four years after graduating from the Academy, I will send Michelie to a monastery. This has already been decided. If you get it, then you can leave.”
After only saying that I was told to leave.
With a snap somewhere in my head I lose it.
I tried to pull myself together, gasping for air.
But I couldn’t catch my breath, it felt like I was suffocating.
The rage forming in my body rushed out of my mouth. Later on I would come to know that I had verbally abused Father between gasping for air.
Honestly, I don’t remember what I said.
All I remember was that Father’s face didn’t even flinch as I threw my worse words at him.
“Have you calmed down yet Christina.”
I manage to hold back my immediate response.
I forced my already half open mouth shut, biting off the words at the last minute.
Father surely knew that I would respond like this. That’s why he waited until I had nearly left for the Academy before he told me. He chose the short amount of time I had left with Michelie to tell me so that I couldn’t plan anything.
I exhale a little, before breathing in heavily. And then I slowly let it out.
I was calmer. I couldn’t solve this by being angry.
That’s it. I can’t resolve this by getting upset. I need to clarify the facts and then think of a way to solve this. That’s how I can proceed constructively from here. I ought to know that by now. I learnt from Mariwa that rather than being pulled around by my emotions, I needed to wield them myself.
To be conscious of my anger, to identify and manage the source of that anger. By doing that you can return to your usual calm.
Of course the anger is still there.
“Why. Michelie being sent to a monastery, why did this happen? Tell me why, Father.”
Suppressing the anger stirring in the pit of my stomach I asked Father.
One of the route of the original Christina is to be sent to a monastery as a political prisoner. In this country, the death sentence can be reduced to a life of harsh imprisonment.
There are many reasons why someone might be sent to a monastery, punishment is only one of them. It’s not that unusual for the children of nobles to enter monasteries, in order to stop a family’s inheritance been split up. Thus second and third sons, as well as spinster daughters will often be sent there, basically, it’s a support home for noble children who don’t work or marry.
To live in the monastery they vow a life of virtue, poverty, obedience, and to dedicate their lives to the monastery.
Abandoning family and possessions, they live according to the rules of the order.
If Father says she will be sent there, then it will be with a suitable donation to the order. Alternatively, she could be sent to a private monastery of the Noir family. With that in mind, Michelie won’t be treated like the original Christina was.
Becoming a nun is a respected life usually. It’s a life that will never suit me, but it’s not an unfortunate life. It’s a virtuous aspiration, and many people hope to enter a monastery.
However, I cannot forgive Father for arbitrarily closing off Michelie’s future.
“There’s nothing to talk about… as if you would understand with just that. This is because of Michelie’s birth..”
“Her birth? Then it must be because her mother was the little sister of the king.”
Father grimaced at my frank words.
“….So you knew.”
He said it bitterly, since this was information I wasn’t supposed to know, but I was defiant.
“So what if I knew?”
Even if Father thought I was suspicious, it didn’t matter. Though he glared at me, he didn’t seem flustered.
“Christina. We are not royalty.”
Of course I know that.
Nobility and royalty, though they were similar, they were completely different. Though the Noir family is a principle family of the aristocracy, it didn’t hold a candle to the responsibilities of royalty.
“That’s why I took Michelie in. It wasn’t good to keep her imprisoned as royalty. I wanted to keep an eye on the child of Her HIghness Evilia. By keeping her close I could monitor the child. With just that person’s child, her Highness Evilia will have a big impact of our world.”
“It doesn’t matter who her parents are.”
“Of course, you don’t know.”
It’s the opposite of what he said before, but it’s basically the same. I don’t know anything about the King’s little sister, so Father’s evaluation of that person should have nothing to do with it. To me the only important thing is Michelie, just here and now we’re discussing her future.
But even now Father is stuck talking about the past.
“Her Highness Evilia. That person had everyone deceived. Of course no one would suspect her, no one would sense anything, until they were already under her spell. And then before we realised, everyone was her ally. None of us even knew a thing about her. No one thought to investigate. Who her friends were, what she was thinking as she acted….we don’t even know who Michelie’s Father is.
Noble privilege and royal power are closely intertwined in a delicate balance always fought over. When Her Highness Evilia was there, that balance leaned heavily towards the royal family.
“She ensnared high society, and had tempted almost all the nobility to her side. It was only when she passed away that we realised just how frightening a situation we were in. If it had remained that way, it could have been the end of aristocratic society. She was that skilled. She was a person beloved by all and beloved by the gods. She was a person that terrifying.”
After listening to Father’s old tales, I asked the real problem with a low voice.
“Michelie inherited her skill. I feel bad for that child, but I cannot let her remain in the Noir family. Her graduation from school is the right time to end it. Even if I say she’s being sent to a monastery, it isn’t a bad life. I need you to understand that Christina.
“As if. Don’t assume a child is just like the parent. Michelie is Michelie. Quite the bull Father. Have you ever been looking at Michelie until now? Or have you just been looking at the shadow of the deceased parent. Why don’t you just look at Michelie!”
“No, It’s from looking that I know.”
Father bluntly responded.
Saying you’ve already looked, as if such a silly thing could matter to a genius like me. I was prepared to immediately refute my Father.
“Looking at you, who is so under her spell, I know for sure.”
All my words disappeared.
All the objections I had prepared, my burning anger too, it was all blown away from his words.
“More than anyone, even more than the Noir family, you put Michelie first, just looking at that I can see clearly.”
Michelie is, she’s my younger sister.
That’s why, I.
My thoughts are in pieces, I couldn’t put together a sentence, it was then that Father gently smiled at me.
“You know, even I value Michelie a lot. But I love you more than that. And….as the head of the Noir family I put this country first, even before my own daughter.”
That is undoubtedly the duty of a noble, and Father is indeed the embodiment of a high ranking aristocrat.
I tightly clench my fists. Hands in a fist, tighter and tighter, until my nails bit into my palm, I squeezed my hands.
In response to my Father’s beliefs, there was only a few words I could wring out in my pathetic state.
“Father, Have you ever thought about this…..?”
“I have thought about it. And this was the conclusion.”
This is nobility.
My Father’s cold words somehow seemed lonely.
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