Chapter 26 – Ashley’s Feelings
“From time to time, we come across people with an abundance of Mana and the same symptoms as Ashley.”
Rosetta informed me of this after I listened to her thoughts about Ashley’s condition. It appeared that the symptoms would occur less frequently, due to her abundance of Mana.
Despite it being a problem of constitution, it was an integral part of her life, since it would occur more easily if she was linked up to her Mana.
“In other words, her tendency to get fevers and fall ill is something secondary that results from her constitution. For this reason, using Magic, medicine, and other treatments of the like won’t necessarily stop the symptoms. As for a solution, there’s honing one’s Mana Control and training one’s mind and body.”
“Then, what about continuing her treatment with my Circulation Refining?”
After I asked her, Rosetta narrowed her eyes slightly.
“I think your method is really effective. I’ve also researched ways to learn Mana Circulation, but there weren’t many records of it, and I found that I wasn’t suited for it anyways. That’s why…it’s quite surprising that you are able to use it.”
“…Then I will continue Ashley-sama’s healing like this.”
“I think that’s fine. It’s something I’ve rarely encountered.”
Rosetta might be linked to various things, such as the reason she had set her heart on Healing Magic and the original purpose of mom’s Cursed Artifact, which suppresses the traits of one’s race.
Rosetta never asked about what kind of circumstances led me to learn Mana Circulation.
Was she being considerate of mom?
This seemed to be different though. I think she wanted me to become more adept with it if it’s something only I can use.
That’s why she was certain of the potential that I’m expected to reach.
Rosetta smiled gently, but her expression quickly changed, as though she just remembered something.
“Ah, it will help me if you can stay here for a little longer.”
“You still need something?”
Talcott’s matter seemed to have been resolved, and I had also asked her what I needed to ask.
I didn’t think there was any reason to remain in this empty classroom.
“Hmm. It’s not like you guys have something to do. It’s just a standard meeting――”
“――It’s problematic, Count! This person has no relation to you and only happened to be there!”
“What are you saying? I ought to at least greet him if he took care of my good-for-nothing son, right?”
Rosetta pressed a finger to her forehead after hearing the voices from the opposite side of the corridor.
“…Even though I told you not to involve that much.”
…I see. A meeting, right. So the person himself had come to attend?
“Is it here!?”
A middle-aged man violently threw open the door of the classroom and burst in. Although he was handsome, he gave off the feeling of a crude person.
Count Morris, huh?
He looked around the room before resting his gaze on me. The dissatisfied look he was wearing changed to a smile the instant he saw me. His smile didn’t reach his eyes though.
“So, it’s you, right? I heard you stopped Talcott for me.”
Morris extended both of his hands outwards as he approached me while wearing a precarious expression.
“Lord Cardiff, he is――”
Although Rosetta tried to interject, Morris cut her off with a smile on his face.
“You sure are something. I’ll only express my gratitude to my benefactor. Stand aside.”
“Well, about that, Aah――”
“It appears you have business with me.”
I shouldn’t trouble Rosetta with my problems. Grace and Ashley stood up and stepped in front of Rosetta. Well well, he was completely shameless. He was an obnoxious fellow who was only half-shrewd.
“I see. I’m Morris Tram Cardiff, the current head of the Cardiff family.
“I’m Theodore Gartner.”
I introduced myself while following the proper etiquette.
I decided to give introductions that matched his.
“It seems Talcott was under your care. It’s really amazing considering your age. It’s also good that neither of you were injured.”
Hmm, to summarize, he liked that there were no injuries, instead of being displeased with Talcott’s behaviour and punishment.
He was pleased that both I, who suppressed Talcott uninjured, and Talcott, who was unable to injure me, were unscathed. Was he concerned with saving his dignity? Perhaps he was looking down on us because we were younger.
Rather, I think he would appear quite suspicious if he felt ashamed at this place and time.
“It was due to deciding the rules before the match.”
That was the truth.
If I had thought that powerful Magic with the intent to kill was going to be used, then I would have adopted a fighting style that could nullify them without fail.
“I see, I see. It was really splendid. You also seem to be well-versed in etiquette, this is wonderful.”
“I’m sorry for troubling you.”
“However, I don’t recall hearing of you. It’s certain that there were two heirs to the family of Count Gartner, so which side are you from?”
“Hou? You’re an illegitimate child then?”
He narrowed one of his eyes, and the edges of his mouth rose. He was donning a scornful smile.
“Oh yeah, I’ve something to ask. It’s related to another person of the Gartner House that I’ve been concerned with. I mustn’t be rude about it. I’ve thought about which of the brothers you are, so I came to express my greetings. It seems like I’ve guessed wrong.”
What did he guess wrong? Did he know of my origins…since the beginning?
I had thought that he would come to do something. In short, it meant that he was trying to provoke me and take revenge, or extract some form of profit from me. If that was the case, then he miscalculated. If he felt that he had grasped my weakness by figuring out I was an illegitimate child, then――
“Your mother is famous as a Holy Maiden…but she wasn’t a Noble, right?”
“Risa-sama’s matter is―!”
Rossetta’s voice seemed aggravated. Grace also understood this, as she knocked over her chair and stood up.
Morris paid no attention to the girls and continued speaking to me while smirking.
“Five years ago, was it? I’ve washed my hands of that problem, since I was here. It appears there was an excess of people of lowly birth that, even in my territory, died a dog’s death. It truly was a calamity.”
Lowly birth…you say? Died a dog’s death, you say?
Should a man like you even say such a thing? You’re simply a pig whose belly grew fat.
Like you have any right to talk about my mother’s way of life and the way she died!
He, he, I’ll kill――
“What do you understand about it?!”
I had initiated a technique to make the pig in front of me vanish from this world.
What cooled my mind was that angry voice.
Ashley had yelled that with such intensity that tears formed in her eyes.
Ashley’s threatening aura solidified with a surprised look…as Grace gripped her ring and Rosetta struck out in Morris’s direction.
“What do YOU understand about it?! About Risa-sama?! About us?! A lot of people were saved because she was there! And that’s not the only thing! My mother and father were avenged! Your words are insulting her! Have some shame!”
Oh, was that it? She had known about this?
So that was why she was fond of Grace as well.
“Young lady…do you understand who it is that you’re speaking to?”
“Do you yourself understand what you are saying!? As the head of the Baron Shirn family, I cannot overlook the fact that both the benefactor of this family and my parents, who were of lowly birth, were despised!”
“Baron Shirn you say…?
Although the status is lower looking at it from the count’s side, with this timing, I thought he is very clumsy to have these ‘lost points’ pile up. (TN: mark of a failure)
Morris furrowed his brows for a moment.
Feeling as though the situation was no longer favourable for him and that it would continue to deteriorate, he clicked his tongue as he left the room.
Although he didn’t let it show in his expression, it appeared he despised other noble heads adverse to him.
Even with the timing being unfavourable for him, I thought him to be quite incompetent to have allowed these missteps to pile up, as Ashley’s status was lower than his.
However, I understood it. I understood it, you know.
This situation allowed Ashley, who became furious for my mother’s sake, to save face and not be responsible for getting angry.
On the other hand…it was now certain that he was my enemy.
Without a doubt, I’ll be sure to repay him for these words.
“I-I’m sorry. Theodore-sama, I―”
Ashley covered her mouth and let out a small sob.
“There is no need for Ashley-sama to apologize.”
Blood dripped from Grace’s fingernails since she tried to forcibly remove her ring. Rosetta was also taking deep breaths as though calming her anger.
Haah. It was quite unreasonable. Perhaps one of us three would have struck that pig had Ashley’s voice reached us even a little later. Although I would have had no remorse in that case, it would have undoubtedly become troublesome.
I calmed down. In exchange for Ashley’s outburst, she said the thoughts I wanted to voice.
Only that it was conducted in a calmer manner.
If I had done things my way, the situation might have come to a close more quickly. However, what if that had put Grace or Rosetta in a tight spot as a result?
Although I judged that pig to be worthless scum, I will never allow myself to fall into a situation where he had the upper hand.
I let out a large breath.
“…Grace, your hand.”
“I-I’m very sorry. I――”
“It’s fine. I understand.”
I took Grace’s powerless, exhausted hands that were wrapped around Ashley’s shoulders, and cast Healing Magic.
Ashley had yelled that much. Under these circumstances, wasn’t Ashley the one who was the least related to my mother? It was certain that Ashley had done as much as she could.
The things my mother accomplished, and the things she risked her life to complete.
That someone besides my relatives understood how highly I thought of them, it was because there was a mature child, like Ashley, huh?
“…Thank you very much, Ashley-sama.”
Ashley shook her small head. She ended up apologizing and saying, “Sorry,” but why? Perhaps she herself didn’t know why she was apologizing.
It probably wasn’t the first time she had become truly furious like that. Ashley wasn’t even at fault.
After I wiped her cheeks with a handkerchief, she lifted her head with a surprised look, and began to cry freely.