The sworn enemy who should be defeated did not curse or glare at me and fell down the cliff with a smile.
My outstretched hand did not reach him.
Despite how quickly I can move, was it only because of the sun that my body felt as heavy as lead
I simply watched with a stiffened bloody face, my left hand extended to empty space and my right hand gripping the fishing rod.
I look around me.
I search for the witch, no, the vampire who answered my call.
「Where are you, damn it」
Just the handkerchief remained neatly folded on top of the rock where the woman was sitting on top of earlier, drenched by the rain.
「What is this」
I knew instinctively.
She was gone.
And she was never going to appear before me again.
I threw everything away to challenge him.
I wasn’t even afraid of having the tables turned on me.
I had the determination to say I was absolutely in the right even if the whole world denied it.
Yet right now, blood is dripping from my head to my feet.
It was truly unbelievable strength.
I relied on my talent, trained to the limit every day, and even abandoned my humanity.
Still, I could not reach him.
The whole time, it never felt like a battle to the death.
The atmosphere was closer to that of a training grounds somewhere.
「Oh, it’s because he never directed any killing intent at me.」
I grab the blood-soaked sword and the used leather bag no one would think belongs to a king, and walk away.
My gait resembled a dead person or a zombie rather than a vampire.
By the time I realized it, I was at the entrance of the palace.
I don’t remember how I returned or how long it took.
I just gripped the sword and bag so tightly that my fingers turned white.
「Ara, Antonio……what is all that blood about Are you injured We better get you treated immediately!」
I remember it was my mother who found me first.
However, what I told her afterward was unclear.
I never told jokes or lied on a regular basis.
What I said must have sounded unusual coming from me.
“I killed my father”, that is.
I spoke with eyes that have transformed into those of a monster and a heart made of ice.
In my hand is the cold sword stained with my father’s blood.
Nonna-san, who always nagged about manners and dignity, wailed loudly.
Carla-san held me by the lapels, constantly asking me why.
Maria-san dropped the freshly-baked pie on the floor and curled up in a ball.
Celia-san didn’t give me the slightest look and ran off straight away.
Mel-san sobbed with Sue and Gilbard in her arms.
I tried to explain the circumstances.
I debated whether to tell them the surface reason or the real reason as to why I killed my father.
But before the words could come out, my mother placed her hand over my mouth and I fainted.
I found myself in my room in the midst of the grief and lamentation.
I don’t remember any details.
「She really used you well, human brat.」
A girl, who emerged out of nowhere, leaned against the wall.
Brynhildr――someone I’ve seen around occasionally, but never really spoken to.
「I’m not human anymore.」
I reach my hand out to push her away, but she vanishes, her presence reappearing behind me.
「No, you’re human.
You only think you’ve become a monster.」
When I turn around, her presence also vanishes.
I think to myself as I steady my breathing.
I am aware of how exceptionally outstanding I am.
By no means did I act on impulse.
I also thought of what to do after killing my father.
「The news is spreading to the city.
Nobles are convening in a hurry.
Seeing it as an opportunity, rebels are starting to make preparations.
The Federation is also taking action.」
I count how much time is needed.
That is, how much time I can stay in this room and how long I can be sentimental.
I coordinate the hourglass, put it on the desk, and take the fishing rod out of the bag.
It is a common item without any kind of decoration.
I casually hold it in my hand.
Although I’ve never fished before, I at least know how it’s supposed to be held.
The rod is slightly shorter than my height, which is typical of my age, and the handle is thick and heavy for my strength, which is not typical for my age.
It was not an item bought randomly.
Upon closer inspection, there is also a line of thread attached to it.
「What a messy knot.」
It was done by someone who is not suited for detailed work.
The person probably got annoyed and just tied a tight knot, but then thought it would make it difficult to fish with and redid it.
A metal container topples over with a clank inside the bag.
When I open it up, I see cold meatball soup inside.
There is clearly more than enough for one person.
I’m not a picky eater.
Nevertheless, I prefer some dishes more than others.
There is not a single ingredient in the soup which I don’t like.
I wonder if it was because of my actions during the conversation in the dining hall.
「How can such a letter not be suspicious Even so, that person-」
To begin with, it was a faulty plan.
If one or two others accompanied him, it would have ruined the plan.
But that person came alone.
He wanted to fish together, just the two of us.
I choke on my words.
I hit my forehead against the wall.
I thought of what would happen afterward.
What would happen to the country when the king suddenly disappears, with the nobles who would probably take advantage of the opportunity, and with the Federation which will likely make a move.
I thought of every method possible to suppress all of them and stand at the top, to protect my mother and sister.
But I never thought about how much my father thought of me or watched me.
The image of my father pleading for me to stop and play with him won’t leave my mind.
I wonder what would have happened if I dropped my sword.
Surely, he would be pleased.
He would have smiled.
Would he have lined up side-by-side with me and fished with the badly-tied fishing rods while complaining about the rain
Would he have warmed up the soup with my favorite ingredients in it and enjoyed it with me
Would he have offered to come again with a smile as we walked home with fishes hanging from our waists
I shake my head.
I’ve already done something that cannot be reversed.
By doing this, the conflict at the time I decided is over.
I gave up everything for something that was non-negotiable.
No matter the result, I said I wouldn’t regret it.
「One thing still bothers me, what if I decided to go through with it tomorrow and not today」
I would have been able to spend alone time with my father for the first time.
The father that I could not detest unless I desperately tried to.
「Damn that Lucy, she lied to me.」
I cover my eyes and wipe my face with a sleeve.
「Your humanity will die, my ass.
You’ll lose your emotions, my ass.
How come they won’t stop then」
Silently, I gaze up at the ceiling.
The sand in the hourglass has all fallen to the bottom.
I grab a vase, pour the water over my head and look in the mirror.
My eyes are cold as ice and my face is as emotionless as a rock.
This is fine.
I don’t have any more time to waste.
I can only hear crying in the corridor.
I have a duty to replace the backbone of my family and the country which I have crushed with my selfishness.
By no means can I become a pillar like my father whom everyone surrounded and laughed with.
Even my precious mother and sister will likely hate me.
Still, I want to stand tall and protect everything.
I slowly open the door to the corridor where the sobbing is coming from.
The moment I walk out, Ana comes running at me with a kitchen knife.
I roll her to the side, making sure not to hurt her, then look around.
「Y-you said you killed His Majesty……」
There is my goal.
Adolph, the commissioner of domestic affairs, and my politics teacher.
「It’s the truth.
Gather the nobles right away and hold my coronation ceremony.
Get everything ready.」
I stop the protests just as they arise.
「My father is already gone.
Putting aside the details and your feelings, is there anyone besides me who can be king」
I look in sequence from Bartolome, who is burying his head in the crying Nonna-san’s chest, to Anastasia, who is pounding her fist tearfully on the carpet after being knocked down by me.
I talk over Adolph.
「Monitor the houses of Marquess Merudo and Count Miste, and kill them immediately if they make a move.
They are definitely going to try something.
Assign the minister of justice as the central figure.
He won’t defy me.」
I shift my attention after saying that.
Leopolt, the commissioner of military affairs, and his cold mask……huh
「The Federation is sure to target us with my father gone.
Deploy a group of elite forces to the west of Elektra and deliberately set our armies in the country in disorder.
Let them attack, then when we retaliate and defeat them once, they’ll think twice.」
I look up at Leopolt, who doesn’t respond.
「Or do you need time to calm your heart」
Everyone turns their back to me.
「I’m not like my father.
I can do domestic affairs and routine duties on my own.
Don’t forget it.」
I have to admit I’m acting like an impudent brat.
But they can’t deny what I’m saying.
Because they are skilled, they know I’m right.
No one suggests anybody else.
Not the queen Nonna or the eldest son Bartolome or themselves or other influential nobles.
The country would end if anyone else is at the top.
It would be due to their lack of ability or lack of legitimacy.
「As his biological son, I stand to correct my father’s long tyrannical rule.
Write that down, Tristan.」
I tell him as he waddles in wearing his nightclothes.
「So this is how it ends……no, this is common if I look at history……but to think that person went down so simply-」
Tristan scribbles in his notebook with a shaky hand.
If you don’t write it properly, scholars in the future will have a hard time deciphering the important parts.
The one who addresses me without a glance is Sekrit.
「This is the last time I will allow you to address me as such.」
Sekrit continues, not making it clear whether she understands or not.
「What kind of face did he have in the end What did he say」
The expression which I hardened into stone crumbles.
Fortunately, she is not looking this way.
「He was smiling.
He said not to worry.」
For some reason, no convenient lie came out of my mouth.
Sounds like him.」
Sekrit turns to me, but this time I avoid her.
I take the trembling hands of the pale-faced duo and walk to the hall.
This is where I start thinking.
If I fell here and opened my eyes to find my father beside me, would I be disappointed or delighted
That kind of thing won’t happen though.