༺ I Don’t Know That Person (2) ༻
The pastry club room was surprisingly tidy, considering that it had been left unused during the vacation. I had expected it to be filled with dust and had even prepared to clean it.
“I heard you’ve returned to the academy. The club room has been regularly cleaned, so you can use it right away.”
As I was preparing cleaning supplies, I received a message from the Vice Principal and set them aside. To my surprise, it turned out this place hadn’t been neglected but had received consistent maintenance.
Thank you, Vice Principal. For someone who ranked second in the Academy, he had quite the ability and sense. If only the Manager Trio were half as good as him.
‘Perhaps I should recruit him.’
I considered scouting the Vice Principal for the Prosecutors’ Office for a moment. It might be a challenge to lure him away from the Academy, but I thought he would excel as the Senior Manager’s assistant.
However, after careful deliberation, I decided against it. After all, people should work in places that aligned with their talents. Even I was enduring my position in the Ministry of Finance because it suited my aptitude.
Suppressing a bitter feeling, I moved the hawthorn plant by the window. If I had known the Vice Principal would maintain the club room regularly, I wouldn’t have needed to take it with me. Still, it played the role of decorating my room while I stayed in the mansion.
Thank you, little white hawthorn.
‘Grow up healthy and strong.’
The little white hawthorn was indeed quite lovely.
Irina had given me a thoughtful gift. Moreover, considering the meaning of the flowers I had heard from Yuris, ‘forgiveness and tolerance,’ it was even more touching.
If I were in Irina’s shoes, I would never forgive myself. How could I forgive and get along with someone who humiliated and beat up my family?
I delicately touched the branches, almost as if I were petting the 3rd Manager’s head, and then turned away. I needed to start preparing for the guests who would arrive in a few hours.
I retrieved some snacks I had bought from the store and recalled the name of the guest.
She was the daughter of Sir Villar, a member of one of Armein’s most prestigious families, the County of Ganelli. She had also officially been appointed as a knight at the age of 17.
That was indeed impressive for her age. However, when compared to others her age, her skills were not extraordinary. After all, wasn’t I already fighting in the Great War back when I was also 17 years old?
‘No matter how I think about it, it seems like she volunteered.’
In any country on the continent, there was a tradition not to put close relatives on the same mission. If everyone on that mission perished, it could destroy an entire family.
And right now, the situation wasn’t so dire as to ignore that tradition, nor were her abilities overwhelming.
It was something I couldn’t understand. Why did she volunteer for this mission? And what was Armein thinking by accepting her as a volunteer?
‘Did she want a family reunion that badly?’
In a way, staying at the Imperial Academy was a peaceful mission. It involved guarding a prince, which also guaranteed future promotions. They sent his daughter here, turning Sir Villar into a ‘crane father’ in the process.
But that was only when you looked at it positively. The reality was different. They knew it too, which was why they hastily replaced personnel on a large scale.
‘Ah, I don’t know anymore.’
Well, how could I understand their circumstances no matter how much I thought about it? Let’s just think of it as Armein being moved by Perosa’s overflowing filial piety.
Unfortunately, from Villar’s perspective, it burned him.
Footsteps were heard from a distance and stopped in front of the club room. They’ve arrived.
“Executive Manager, it’s Villar.”
“Ah, please come in.”
As the door opened, I almost looked away. Sir Villar’s complexion seemed even darker than last time, and he looked broken. To think that his daughter was the one who caused him to break instead of those idiot royalties… What a pitiful situation.
Furthermore, Sir Villar’s blonde hair probably looked more disheveled for a reason other than his mood. At this rate, his hair might turn completely gray.
“Thank you for accepting my invitation on such short notice.”
I greeted Sir Villar, trying to suppress my sympathy. This meeting was not for work but purely to offer comfort, so I should welcome him warmly.
Of course, the consolation from a stoic man was as meaningless as it could get, but it should still be better than being confined in the three countries’ headquarters.
“I’m just grateful that you accepted this unreasonable request.”
“Haha, is there anything unreasonable about it?”
After chuckling at Sir Villar’s words, I shifted my gaze behind him.
To the one who was the subject of Sir Villar’s unreasonable request and the person who would be the likely culprit if he collapsed from high blood pressure.
“Who’s this, Sir Villar?”
“She’s my daughter.”
At his sighing reply, a knight with navy blue hair stepped forward and bowed.
“I’m Perosa Ganelli.”
Her greeting was stiff, and her manners were rough. She appeared ordinary and unremarkable. At least, at first glance, she didn’t seem like the heroine of the overwhelming filial piety.
‘She looks like him.’
Her rough and sturdy appearance resembled her father, while her navy blue hair was probably from her mother’s side.
“I’m Carl Krasius. Let’s get along until graduation, Dame Perosa.”
“Yes, please take care of me.”
We briefly exchanged greetings before I had them take their seats. It wouldn’t be appropriate to keep the guests standing.
As I set out the snacks I had prepared on the table, Sir Villar spoke up first.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had snacks in the club room.”
A small smile crept across my face at his words.
That was right. It had been a while indeed. Even though we’ve had tea parties in the palace and the territory, I did miss the simple mini-tea parties in the club room.
“The only difference is that these snacks aren’t homemade.”
“That’s a shame.”
However, there was no hint of regret on his face. It was probably better to have store-bought snacks than Louise’s love-it-or-hate-it cookies.
I understood. There were far too many people who couldn’t handle Louise’s creations. Sir Villar likely didn’t want to force his daughter to eat something that most people couldn’t stomach. Even though his daughter was involved in a major accident, a father would still love his child.
I casually turned my gaze towards Perosa, but her expression remained as stern as ever. Well, it was probably best not to engage in conversation.
“I’m sure you’ve had a lot on your plate, so make yourself at home.”
Let’s just stick to my original plan and focus on Sir Villar. It could be a problem if he suddenly got a meltdown and went AWOL.
Fortunately, it seemed like Sir Villar’s mental state was gradually improving.
“Father, please try this.”
Surprisingly, Perosa was the one contributing the most to his recovery.
It was ironic that the person who had dealt him a mental blow was now helping him recover, but she was his daughter after all. Even if she hadn’t reached her twenties yet, having her by his side seemed to bring some peace to his heart.
Knights usually had a stern demeanor, so having a daughter who was affectionate towards him would probably make him feel proud and find her cute.
“It would’ve been nice if it had always been like this.”
I chose to ignore Sir Villar’s muttering. It seemed that this wasn’t how Perosa usually was.
Perosa looked embarrassed in response to Villar’s words and lowered her head. Judging by her reaction, she seemed to be aware of her mistake to some extent.
Still, acknowledging her mistake earned her some bonus points in my book. Compared to the prince of her own country, she was practically a saint. That brat probably wouldn’t realize it even if I was already insulting him.
“It seems like Dame Perosa really looks up to Sir Villar.”
So, I decided to interject and praise Perosa. She raised her head slightly, catching on to my attempt to defend her.
“I never thought this child would follow her father into the Empire.”
And then she lowered her head again. I’m sorry, this isn’t working.
Once my words got stuck, I couldn’t think of anything appropriate to say. No matter how I looked at it, there was no way I could defend Perosa for coming to the Empire.
Still, I managed to squeeze out some words. It would be awkward for both of us if I stopped here.
“Young knights often have this level of determination, though it might appear somewhat strange sometimes.”
To be honest, it wasn’t just ‘somewhat’ strange; it was ‘alarmingly’ strange.
“Furthermore, it’s truly beautiful to see a knight who doesn’t become conceited after becoming a knight but continues to think of their father.”
Actually, it wasn’t beautiful at all. It was a rather terrifying sight.
“If we have such knights in our ranks, we can rest assured about Prince Rutis’s safety.”
That wasn’t reassuring at all. With Perosa around, who knows if she—
“Is that so?”
What’s with her reaction?
Perosa, who had been quietly observing us, suddenly brightened up and spoke.
Come to think of it, aside from the initial greeting, this was the first time she had spoken to me.
“Yes, that’s probably the case.”
As I nodded in agreement, Perosa’s eyes suddenly lit up.
“It’s an honor if I can be of help to Prince Rutis.”
Her tone subtly changed and her stiff expression started to show some life.
Something seemed to be going on, so I turned my gaze to Sir Villar, who was quietly sighing. Ah, was that it?
‘She had a different purpose.’
Perosa might have been motivated by her filial piety towards her father. She might have wanted to assist her father, who was toiling away in a distant place.
But from the looks of it, there was something else that drove her to come to the Empire.
‘Is she a follower?’
So she had come here to protect her beloved prince. It was just her luck that the person in charge of this mission was her father, so she came with even greater enthusiasm.
The favorable impression I had of her earlier was now in jeopardy. It seemed that she had become headstrong and stubborn after following Rutis. It would have been better if she wasn’t like that.
“You seem to admire Prince Rutis a lot.”
As soon as I said that, both pairs of eyes turned toward me simultaneously.
One of them was Sir Villar’s alarmed gaze, while Perosa’s were filled with excitement. And then, both of them fell into a near-expressionless stare, although it was pretty clear that something was amiss.
“Of course. Prince Rutis is—”
Only then did I realize that I had touched on something I shouldn’t have.
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