chapter 2 (part 2): 10 years later
Everyone hung their heads simultaneously at that voice.
I did not lower my head.
I have no reason to lower my head to the person who did not believe my father that day.
However, the figure who appeared at the chief seat made me stare in surprise.
ーIt’s not, that lord.
It was not the lord who denounced my father as a traitor that day.
That time, the lord was approximately in his thirties.
Nevertheless, the lord in front of my eyes was clearly young.
Moreover, that person is…
“Lift your faces!”
The warriors simultaneously raised their heads.
“Great that you came. Do you remember me?”
“Oh, I don’t remember any…You’re, yesterday…”
‘The lord’ was the man who called out to me yesterday.
If there was only one thing different it’s whether he has grown his beard.
“I’m happy that you remember me. Since I met you yesterday, I was thinking that I want to take my time in talking to you. That is why I called you out like this. We are also unable to take our time to speak here slowly. Shall the two of us proceed to the tearoom?”
One of the warriors raised his voice.
“I can’t approve of the two of you talking.”
“Why is that?”
“Please think of yourself and your identity. If anything happens, what is to be done?”
“It is fine. Furthermore, if you say something like that, won’t I be unable to get married for my whole life? If I can’t even speak with just the two of us, won’t I be unable to like get married? Well then, let’s go. Let’s go to my favorite tearoom. I don’t allow any other person to follow us.”
When the lord walked to where I was, “This way,” and he guided me to this room
I followed behind the lord and came to the tearoom.
Once the lord made me sit right at the place I entered, he himself sat opposite of me.
“I’m sorry that this is sudden. I wanted to try talking to you once. …And, before that, since we have specially came to the tearoom, let’s make some tea.”
As the lord said that, he started making the tea himself.
“I’ll get nervous if I’m being watched like that.”
The lord was embarrassed.
“Why did you call out to me?”
I finally let out.
“Hmm? …Ah, you’re referring to yesterday’s matter? I’ll also speak about that in sequence. Why don’t we drink first?”
The lord placed the prepared tea in front of me.
However, I continued to fix my gaze on it and did not bring it to my mouth.
“Haha. Don’t worry, there’s nothing like poison added in it.”
The lord spoke as if he had read my mind.
“If you like, why don’t I do some poison tasting myself?”
“…No, it’s fine. Thank you for the tea.”
I tentatively drank the tea with etiquette.
I was surprised.
Out of all the tea I have drank up till now, it was the most delicious.
No, it’s not the most.
Or more precisely, this taste…
“The one who taught me how to make that tea was your father.”
That’s right. This taste.
This taste is my father’s taste.
“Your father had been my attendant since I was young.”
“Then, you are the young…”
“Do you know about me?”
“…Because I often heard from my father”
The lord gave a smile that appeared a little desolate.
“Regarding the matter of your father, I wanted to speak with you.”
“That’s right. Will you listen to what I have to say?”
After hesitating a little, I nodded silently.
“Firstly, I am really apologetic about…your father.”
I doubted my ears.
I thought that my father would certainly only be disparaged, but I was bewildered at the unexpected apology.
That shaken feeling was probably conveyed to the lord.
The lord cast his eyes downward and continued his speech.
“Actually, since that time I also had misgivings about your father committing treason. The fact is that I did not have any evidence. It was just my intuition.
I just couldn’t believe that he would rebel, I thought that he wasn’t such a person, it was just that.
If I were to give an excuse, it would be that I was still young then.
I wasn’t able to say that he couldn’t possibly rebel.
…No, this is really an excuse.
No matter how it was, even though I should have just raised my voice that it’s impossible for him to have done it, I did not do that.
I was really cherished by him, and learned various things from him. He was my ally more than anyone else.
Despite that, when his life was in danger, I did not do anything…”
As the lord spoke up until there in one shot, he took a breath and hung his head.
“Does the lord believe in my father even now? That he did not plot treason…”
I threw out my first question.
“Ahh…actually, regarding that I have already investigated thoroughly. I’ll say it from my conclusion.
…Your father did not attempt treason at all”
I almost cried at those few words.
ーAs I thought, Father was innocent!
“But, regarding that I have one more thing I must apologise for.
The conclusion came out one year ago.
He had been set up. Back then, it seems like a member working in the rojun’s council of elders wrote a false letter using his name and hid it in his study. That letter remains even now, if we really use our eyes to compare with the words he wrote, it will become clear.
Perhaps the stuff that he wrote could not be found then and he was judged as guilty with those circumstantial evidence alone.
What I used to compare was the paper he wrote when he was teaching me about family.
Thanks to that, I was able to verify his innocence.”
The lord took out one sheet of paper from his chest pocket and presented it to me.
I accepted it and openes that paper.
Inside some picture as well as my name and my age back then were written.
“It is something he wrote for me when I wanted to know and hear about his family. I remembered that he spoke of you as if he loved you. ‘I have a daughter who is the same age as you, won’t you meet her someday,’ he said. …I was looking forward to being able to meet with his daughter.”
The lord looked at me. And then, he hung his head again.
“…What I want to apologize is that I took so much time to prove his innocence.
I really should have investigated much earlier.
But, it seems like there was a traitor who reported to my father among those who I relied on for the evidence.
I was exposed immediately, placed under house arrest and unfortunately became unable to investigate.
Two years ago, my father passed away due to his illness…, even though it was opposed, since there was no other children other than me, I followed in his footsteps. After that, I began investigating again.
There was no longer anyone who interfered.
And then, one year ago. When I could prove it, that elder who was the mastermind had already passed away…”
“I also could not sentence the person who framed him to punishment…”
I’m sorry…just because of my lack of ability, not only was your father killed under false charges, I also could not punish the one who is truly culpable…
I am really sorry…!”
The lord lowered his bend.
However, to me, that was something inconsequential.
The guy who framed my father is no longer in this world.
That is to say, I also cannot take revenge…
Up until now…for what purpose…have I…
Inside of me, I heard the sound of something making a rattling noise and crumbling.
“In that case, for what purpose have I lived till now…?”
I uttered without thinking.
“Up till now, even if it was bitter and tough, I thought my father had not plotted to rebel and was framed…I could not forgive the person who framed my father. I also could not forgive the lord and young lord who did not believe my father!
That is why, I have lived up until now! I could not forgive, hated and thought that someday I’ll find out the culprit and definitely seek revenge…! And yet, they’re already dead?
Then, for what purpose have I lived up until now!?”
“So I guess that was why you came here today without putting up any resistance… To be honest, I did not think that you would come. Because you didn’t have pleasant memories of this castle. Rather because you should feel that it’s damnable.
But, I can accept if it’s for the sake of taking revenge.
The culprit is probably here, the lord and the young lord too.
It is indeed the ideal opportunity to exact revenge.”
Ahh, what am I saying.
That I have lived for the sake of revenge, even though if I say something like that, I’ll only be guarded against by the young lord.
Even though he is the one and only living party who I had been thinking that I want to exact revenge against.
“Both the elder and my father are no longer alive.
Therefore, it is not possible to exact revenge on the both of them… That is why,
…just my head only, you probably can’t be patient towards me right”
“You said that you also could not forgive the lord and young lord who did not believe your father.
You should probably also hate me. It’s natural that I’ll be hated.
After all, since I did not do anything when his life was in danger.
The head of my father and the elder no longer exists, but my head still exists.
It’s the minimal expiation.
If you are fine with just my head, I will give it to you.”