“The man who was once a hero cursed the world, after all. It’s useless no matter how much I try to make others like me because they think that one day I might curse them too.”
After finding out this truth, I accepted being hated by others. I have absolutely no intentions to curse the world but it also can’t be helped if people think otherwise.
“Claudia…it’s not only the hero and Dark Spirit King who are to blame. The kings are also at fault here. Isn’t it also written in the myth? It’s strange for you to be hated.”
Older brother said while frowning.
“Even if that is so, it’s already a fact that everybody detests me. The Light user who saved the world would naturally be more liked than the Darkness user who tried to destroy it.
When everyone was thinking that the world would be destroyed because of the hero’s curse, a woman bringing the salvation appeared. That person was a female with golden hair and blue, sky-colored eyes and possessed the protection of Light Spirit King.
On the brink of destruction, the world was saved by this beautiful Light user and the hero’s country was renamed Laycia.
“That being said, if you are done with your business, would you mind leaving? I would like to read the rest of the book.”
As soon I tried to wrap up the conversation, my brother hastily opened his mouth.
“T-to be honest, I came to invite you out. I am planning to go on a walk outside the mansion with mother during noon…and maybe you could too, um…how about coming with us?”
“Outside the mansion…? Duchess seems to be in a quite good health recently.”
I call my parents Duke and Duchess.
After giving birth to me, who possessed the protection of Dark Spirit King, my mother’s mind and body both seemed to be exhausted. Ever since I was born, she has been spending most of the days in bed.
I haven’t seen her much after the period of breastfeeding ended but I’m glad to hear that she’s been doing fine.
“That’s right. Recently she’s been gradually regaining physical strength and the doctor said that there shouldn’t be a problem in going out for a while.”
Older brother talked happily.
Even I feel that I want to come to an understanding with my mother, but if I accompany them, she might fall ill once again. Thinking so, I decided to reject my brother’s invitation.
“I will refrain from going. You two can go and have fun.”
Older brother only left those words, exiting my room with drooping shoulders.
As if to replace him, my private maid came back with a cold towel and iced water. Her hands, trying to earnestly treat my injury, were shaking.
All maids who get assigned to me fear me so they usually don’t last for long.
Because the maids who quit their jobs are strictly forbidden from revealing that I hold the protection of Dark Spirit King, there are various speculations circulating in society, like how I’m tormenting my maids to make them leave or use them for human experiments.
It still hasn’t even been a week since this maid has been assigned to me, but at this rate, she will also quit before long.
“You can withdraw already. Just leave that towel.”
If it’s just cooling my hand, I can do it too. Thinking so, I said to my private maid.
She nodded as if relieved and hastily left the room.
Looking at that sight, I gave a deep sigh.
I wonder how many maids have quit before now? My maids change so often that I have already given up on counting them.
It’s about time I did something about this situation.
I sat back down on the chair and started to put together some ideas.
A few days later. As expected. my private maid resigned and left the mansion.
As soon as I heard the news, I headed towards the office of my father – Duke Alaudi Letsya.
After knocking and entering the office, I noticed my father and the butler, Jordan, looking at me with wide eyes.
“Claudia? now that’s rare.”
Certainly, me coming to my father’s office when I haven’t been called is a rare thing. It’s understandable that they are surprised.
“Duke, I have no need for private maids anymore.”
To say honestly, my father had a complex face with sorrow and relief mixed in it.
Even if my father found a new maid, she would get scared without a doubt and quit the job. In that case, there is no reason to forcibly have a private maid.
I want to avoid BAD END, so I’d rather my reputation not take any more hits and prevent weird rumors from spreading.
I can take care of myself and this is the best choice for everybody.
“…I see. Then I’ll leave taking care of you to Jord-”
“No, Jordan has the work that he must do.”
When I interrupted my father’s words, he asked back dubiously.
“Then, who will…”
After this, Gerald did something unusual and showed himself before the people other than me.
“It will be me, of course.”
Perhaps feeling awe after looking at Gerald’s appearance, my father’s and Jordan’s face stiffened.
Immediately after, a handsome youth with grassland-colored shoulder-length hair and golden eyes made an appearance as if to protect my father.
This is my first seeing him, but this must be Romario, Wind Spirit King who gives protection to my father.
Spirits whimsically give protection to the people whose souls fit their types. That itself isn’t very rare, but it is highly unlikely to receive protection from the Spirit King.
However, Romario is special and even before my father, he has given protection to other members of the Ducal family of Letsya several times.
It seems like he has taken a liking to the people of Letsya family.
In this world, not only the spirits but humans also have special attributes and it’s easier to form a favorable relationship with spirits who have the same attributes. Many of the Letsya family members have a wind attribute, including my brother, who also uses wind magic.
Attributes are often inherited so generally, you can only use attributes of either of the parents, but sometimes there are cases when a child has a different attribute from their parents or has multiple attributes. Also, darkness and light attributes aren’t hereditary, so they are a bit rare.
Romario seemed to be wary of Gerald, his expressions seemingly displeased.
Seeing that, Gerald suddenly started to laugh.
“Don’t be so vigilant, I won’t just eat him.
“I wonder about that.”
Romario’s voice was firm, but Gerald didn’t pay any mind to it, directing his sight towards my father.
“I will take care of Claudia. Don’t send other people anymore.”
“H-however…”, father said hesitatingly.
He must be worrying that leaving me, who doesn’t get involved with humans with spirits would increasingly isolate me from society.
However, Gerald pointed out a more realistic problem.
“You only keep sending people who bring harm to Claudia. I can’t withstand my Claudia getting hurt any more than this!”
Till now, the maids who would become my exclusive servants would faint after seeing me or get so frightened that they wouldn’t be able to do any work. It’s not uncommon for me to get injured like the other day.
And, even though I would never say it forwardly, I am certainly troubled by their attitudes. That must be what Gerald is concerned about.
It’s an unexpected development, but if this means that there won’t be any new maids, I don’t mind letting Gerald take care of me.
While I was thinking, Romario started talking with an unwilling face.
“I also agree with Gerald. Alaudiー.”
My father lowered his eyebrows and looked at Romario with a troubled face.
“Spirits won’t allow their lords to get hurt. You must be aware of that too. Everyone can feel that Gerald’s mood is only getting worse. I don’t think this situation can continue as is.”
Romario’s words must have convinced my father. He silently nodded and looked towards Gerald.
“I get it. Then, Gerald-dono, I will leave her in your hands.”
“I don’t need to be told by you.”
Leaving those words, Gerald disappeared. Romario too saw this and also vanished from sight.
“Claudia, tell me if you’ll have any problems.”
Father threw some caring words at me, but he didn’t try to meet my eyes. He’s also one of those who are afraid of me.
“I am much obliged for your concern.”
“We are a family, after all”, said my father and tiredly smiled.
“Milord, how about finding more opportunities to speak with the young miss?”
“….I don’t know what to say to her anymore. Claudia doesn’t smile in front of me. I’m not even sure if she considers me as her father, since she always only calls me『Duke』, after all.”
As if understanding her own position, my daughter distances herself from people. She only shows herself before me when necessary and mostly spends her time in her room.
I don’t think that I’m hated, but I also don’t feel that I’m liked. As a proof of that, my daughter has never smiled in front of me.
However, when I once sneaked out to check up on her out of worry, I saw that she was smiling. She must’ve been talking with the Dark Spirit King. It was a very small smile, but nevertheless, it was a face that she never showed to me.
“You must be fully aware of the reason why young miss doesn’t smile.”
“It’s because I only work and can’t spend time with her…”
“Other than that?”
“No matter what, I can’t shake off the desire to avoid the Dark Spirit King. I guess she must’ve seen through that.”
I remembered the words from the Queen from that time when I went to the castle to report the birth of my daughter.
“There is no connection between the nature of the newborn child and the fact that she has the protection of the Dark Spirit King. What kind of person she will become will depend on her surrounding people and the environment.”
I felt a piercing pain in my chest as if somebody has thrust knife in it. Even though already 6 years have passed since then, I still couldn’t accept my daughter’s existence.
“Aren’t there other reasons too?”
“You want young miss to show you her smile, right?”
“Then, what about yourself on the other hand?”
When I tilted my head without understanding the meaning of the question, a sigh leaked out from his mouth.
“I have never seen you smile before the young miss.”
Finally understanding what Jordan was trying to say, I faltered.
“You laugh naturally before madam and the young master so there shouldn’t be a reason why you can’t do it, but you always wear a sour look in front of the young miss. Why would somebody open their heart to such a person?”
He’s absolutely right. I have no words to argue with.
So what if she’s protected by the Dark Spirit King!
That’s how I always prepped myself up whenever I was with my daughter, but the body can’t be convinced so easily.
“No matter what kind of child she is, she’s me and my wife’s lovable daughter. I love both my son and my daughter the same way!”, I said in a voice lacking vigor.
Looking at me, Jordan sighed deeply once again.
Having a daughter is a joyful thing, but when I looked at her newborn self, I couldn’t feel happiness from the bottom of my heart. I hate such myself.
“I will inform you just to make sure but young miss doesn’t have anything to do with her private maids resigning one after another either. That person didn’t even reprimand her maid when a newly-brewed tea was spilled on her.”
“What? She was splashed with tea? d-did she get scalded?”
“Yes. It happened a few days ago. I have heard from the young miss that it wasn’t very serious. However, this is not the first time that something like this has happened. I can fully understand why young miss said that she didn’t need maids anymore.”
My daughter’s maids never last for long. Even when I had to hire a new maid, I had to make sure to find a person who wouldn’t reveal anything about Claudia, so the search always too much effort.
Serving as the head knight in the imperial castle, I’m quite busy so I can’t take time off just for this matter.
That’s why when my daughter told me that she didn’t need a maid anymore, frankly speaking, I felt relieved. When she looked at me with her dark eyes I felt like she could see through my weak heart and it started to feel uncomfortable, so I unconsciously ended up averting my eyes.
At the same time, it felt like she was trying to separate herself from me so I also felt slightly sad.
I am really the worst father.
“It is the duty of you, the parents, to protect young miss’ heart from the unsaid slander. The Queen told you the same too, right? If you are saying that you truly love her, I would advise reflecting on your own conduct a little more.”
What Jordan is saying is right. When it’s like this, I don’t even know who is the lord and who is the servant.
He only said those words, bowed once and left the office.
After being left alone, I took out the book about the myth of founding the country from the drawer.
The power if Dark Spirit King is unexpectedly mighty. Just by confronting Gerald a while ago, I felt pressure strong enough to make me want to shrink.
If the existence of my daughter who can use his powers becomes known, there will definitely appear people who would want to use her powers or eliminate her due to the danger that she presents.
That’s why I consulted the Royal couple and decided to hide the fact that she possessed the protection of the Dark Spirit King until she reached a certain age. It was in order to protect her.
At that time I was surely thinking about my daughter, but right now there is no safe place for her even within our house.
But there is nothing I can do about that.
If my daughter feels like it, she might even be able to destroy the world. Whenever I think about that, I can’t help but put my guard up in front of her.
I sighed while flipping the book’s pages.
Several weeks after talking with my father. I got used to living without a maid and had been passing the days comfortably. On one of such days, I visited my father’s office because I had a matter with him.
When I arrived in front of the room, I heard my father shouting “Claudia is not a spectacle!”
I stopped before the door and started to attentively listen.
My father seemed to be talking to Jordan, the butler. Apparently, an invitation to a tea party had arrived for me.
When the sons and the daughters of nobles are about 6 years old, they start to attend the tea parties, and that’s where they meet face to face with their peers.
Parents also observe the state of affairs and choose the candidates for future partners for their children and make connections with other adult nobles.
Being a noble might look glamorous at first glance, but it’s actually quite hard.
I’ve turned 6 already, so an invitation to the tea parties like that must’ve come.
Straining my ears to hear my father’s voice better, I heard the rest of the story.
In order to conceal the fact that I am under the protection of the Dark Spirit King, I haven’t met anybody other than my family. That’s why I’m called the pearl in the palm of the Letsya Ducal family.
There are bad rumors circulating because the maids resign one after another, but apparently, there are also the people who think that I might be beautiful enough to make them lose their minds.
As a result of those rumors spreading, the nobles who wanted to see me never ceased and now that I’ve passed the age 6, the invitations are flooding in.
Pearl in the palm is quite an ironical name. I smiled in self-derision.
If I really went to the tea party, the venue will change into the arena of hellish screams. I’m sorry but, but there’s no other choice but to turn down all the invitations.
I came to this decision and knocked on the door of the office.
Then my father’s voice stopped and the door opened. The one who opened it was Jordan.
“Did something happen, Claudia?”
My father asked me as I entered his office. He was trying to smile to the utmost, but as expected, his face was still twitching.
Not paying a mind to it, I stated my business.
“I have a request.”
“A r-request? You have? to me?”
This is the first time I’ve asked for something so not only my father but Jordan too is surprised.
“W-what is that request?”
“I would like you to appoint a teacher to me.”
Perhaps because my request was too unexpected, my father opened his eyes even wider and stiffened up.
In contrast, Jordan seemed to assent and had a peaceful smile on his face.
In the novel, Claudia was avoided by everybody so she didn’t even have a private tutor. Because of that, her academic knowledge was at the level of commoners or even lower.
At the time when she entered the school, she could neither read nor did she possess appropriate manners as the noble lady.
That’s why Claudia was even more isolated in high society.
That is to say, as long I am educated, I won’t be humiliated when I debut in the noble society. No matter what, my status is that of Duke’s daughter, so I might even be able to make a friend or two.
Thinking so, I did as much self-studying as I could, but as of late I’ve been feeling the limits of self-taught knowledge.
“Young Miss seems to be very keen on studying. She always shuts herself up in the library and reads difficult books.”
Looks like Jordan already knew that I had been studying secretly. As expected from the butler of the Duke, he can’t be underestimated.
“Young Miss, please allow me to help you with your studies. It seems that you have basic foundation due to self-studying so I will devise the studying plan to suit your level.”
Now it was my turn to be surprised at the unexpected offer.
“I would be happy with that but don’t you also have your work to do?”
“It’s fine, I will teach you during the interval between the works. What would you say, master?”
As Jordan said so, father pondered while furrowing his eyebrows.
“…..You’re right. Well then Jordan, I’ll leave this matter to you.”
“As you will.”
The conversation went on without a hitch. This is a good situation for me. Now that I think about it, if we hired the private tutor from outside, they would most likely resign right away like the maids. In that case, accepting Jordan’s proposal here would be the best course of the actions for me.
I turned towards Jordan and lowered my head.
“Jordan, please take good care of me.”
“Yes, of course. Please take care of me too.”
Jordan grinned. Father, who was looking at us, talked as if to interrupt us.
“By the way, Claudia, we can leave academic studies to Jordan but what about the manners?
Manners are usually taught by the mothers.
However, just like Claudia in the novel, I haven’t interacted with my mother, therefore obviously I haven’t learned manners from her. Although, since I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of other people I have been trying to remember things by secretly looking at others. It’s a so-called 『learn by watching.』
“I haven’t been taught by the Duchess, however…I think that I have a general understanding of it.
When I answered, Father gave me a doubting look. It’s understandable. Just where in the world would you find the noble lady who learned manners by stealing glances at others? Father probably couldn’t even imagine it.
“Let Isana take a look at your manners once. I will relay the circumstances to her myself.”
Isana is my mother’s name. I have heard that her health has been getting better but would she be okay even after meeting me? Although I am worried a little, I am also curious to find out if my manners are proper.
“I understand. I will leave it to you.”
Saying so, I bowed to my father and left the room.
A few days later I ended up having a meal with my mother in order to learn manners.
But as expected, Mother seems to be afraid of me. She’s sitting the opposite of me and averting her eyes, in addition, her face looks pale too.
“Your complexion seems to be bad. Are you alright?”
Mother trembled as I spoke to her.
Mother barely managed to answer. Her hand, which was extended towards the cutlery, was shivering non-stop.
“Then, l….let’s begin. Erm…f-first…”
“There is no need to teach me from the beginning. Please just look at me eating and point out if you find anything wrong.”
Mother opened her eyes wide open.
Without waiting for her answer, I silently started to eat the meal that was carried in.
While I was eating, I wasn’t stopped by Mother even once. When all the dishes were cleaned up, she opened her mouth as if impressed.
“T-that’s amazing. It was perfect to the point that I don’t think I need to teach you anything else.
I understood that it was a heartfelt compliment and felt a little happy.
After that, throughout the week she took a look at my manners in a different field other than eating but neither of them seemed to have any problems.
Since I found out that my manners were at the level acceptable in the high society, I felt relieved from the bottom of my heart.
After my mother’s manner course (though there wasn’t anything left to teach me) ended, I was summoned to my father’s office. When I entered the room thinking that it was rare for me to be summoned, I was greeted with a question.
“How’s the studying of manners going? Isana told me that it has already ended but…”
“Yes. It ended without any problems. I have been told by the Duchess that there was nothing more she could teach me.”
“Hoo, really? Hasn’t it only been one week since you started?”
Father said while surprised.
“I already had the basics down to start with so there wasn’t anything left to teach me.”
Is this all he wanted to ask? Just as I was thinking that in that case I could already leave, my father opened his mouth once again.
“Did you…talk about anything with Isana?”
“We talked about manners.”
What is he asking at this point? When I shortly with a dubious expression, Father hurriedly shook his head.
“Ah, no, I didn’t mean that….did you talk about anything besides that…?”
“I thought that I should have been careful with my words so we didn’t talk about anything in particular.”
Mother is afraid of me. If I accidentally make her feel anxious, it might affect her health, so talking to her more than necessary isn’t good. In the first place, I’m already grateful enough that he agreed to have a look at my manners.
Thinking so, I really didn’t talk unless it was necessary,
“I-I see. Certainly, private talk during the studies isn’t good. Good mindset…”
Despite saying so, my father kept looking at me with a disappointed face.
“Is there anything else?”
“Ah～, no, it’s nothing.”
Jordan looked at Father as if he wanted to say something, but father didn’t say anything more.
“I see. well then, please excuse me.”
I didn’t have anything else to say, so I left my father’s office.