What was really fearsome was… (Dalerant PoV)
My adorable and beloved daughter was cuddled close to the tenko, sleeping.
Her sleeping face was truly like an angel’s.
Frankly, I don’t like the fact that His Highness’ sacred beast is a male, but he’s protecting Nema so I’ll bear with it.
The nobles who were gathered for the audience were in the middle of being noisy, so I was thankful the tenko lured Nema to sleep.
As if he saying he didn’t want Nema to hear the conversation that would happen from hereon, if it were the tenko’s own decision, it could be said to be bizarre though.
Tenko were unable to speak. However, through some sort of magic, conveying their intents with their contractors was possible. They were able to understand a human’s words, and if the royalty was spoken of badly here, His Highness could be informed via the tenko. Though of course, if the tenko judged that there was a threat to His Highness, he would immediately bite them to death.
To Nema, it can be said that being at the tenko’s side was the safest place for her.
The gathered nobles eyes shined with the usefulness of the fire dragon and were hurling discussions on how they could make it benefit them.
The cabinet ministers, if I had to say either of the two, were concerned for Nema.
The Minister for Home Affairs who was pressing them to speak about the current situation more in detail, Olivier Weis.
The top of the Royal Knights Order and the Imperial Guards, General Gauche Zernan, was questioning whether there was any danger to Nema in her surroundings.
He was worrying about Nema.
The ancestors of the three ministers of Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Financial Affairs, the general, and I the Prime Minister were called『The Founding Heroes』and we were bound with strong ties. Since the first generation, we’ve associated with each other like family.
There were those here who cut into their conversation.
「We wish to shelter Nefertima-sama at our temple, but how about it?」
What is this idiot saying?
As if I’ll give my angel to that abominable place!
「Oh? So the Head Priest had a taste for young girls… No matter how cute you think my Nema is, that is just…」
Though the surroundings snickered, that guy didn’t get angry but persisted further.
「No no. Please don’t misunderstand. We’ve achieved success with our『saintess』training, so I was saying it would be acceptable for you to entrust her to us」
“Saintess training,” you said!?
You must’ve mistaken it for “brainwashing”!!
No different from kidnapping, you steal the children with strong healing powers from their families, and through the abuse you call “training” you powerfully enslave them, tailoring them into dolls that can’t speak or think. Just how are they『saintesses』?
Come to think of it, this guy was persistent with Ralph too.
「Though that girl is naive and free spirited, for that reason she loves all of creation. If we give the temple custody over her and they turn Nema into a doll, I don’t think the fire dragon nor His Highness’ sacred beast will stay silent, though?」
As if approving my words, His Highness’ sacred beast cried「gau」.
Nema will wake up, so just purr!
「With all due respect, is Nema truly your child?」
Butting in from the side was a duke like me, Feldis Lazul.
He’s an entirely disagreeable cunning old man. He coveted riches and authority, he even put his craftiness to use to grab onto the power of the royalty.
Well, no matter what conspiracies, it was leaked without reserve to His Majesty. His Majesty’s protege’s spies were too excellent, in a sense it was terrifying.
「What do you mean by that?」
「No, it’s nothing. It’s just those types of rumors have reached my ears.」
Certainly, the elder two looked like us, but Nema was different.
It would mean they were doubting my wife Cerulia of infedelity, but I didn’t doubt her in the slightest. Because there was evidence that was that infallible.
Cerulia chuckled at Duke Lazul’s words.
Well, I understand how she felt.
「Excuse me. Nefertima is without a doubt, the child the God of Creation granted Dale and I with.」
「Well, you can say whatever you please.」
Cerulia’s eyes flashed (or so they looked).
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this expression.
Though her lips were expressing a smile, her eyes were dyed with a color like she had just discovered a bug. And she wore a chilling aura on her body.
It’s a secret to the children, but when I met Cerulia, I was also looked down upon in this manner. She spit up venomous words that were unimaginable from her usual calm demeanor.
I would lose my dignity as a father, so it’s deeeeeeeeeeeefinately a secret from the kids!!
「My, you are aware that unlike you nobles who are obsessed with thoughts of sex, we’ve exchanged the『Vow of True Names』? The spirits that dwell within all creation have recognized Nefertima as our child. What other proof is greater than this?」
This happened when you informed each other of your true names which God’s power lied within when you married, pledged fidelity and bound eachother. The oath was called the『Vow of True Names』, but if you broke this and were unfaithful, you would warrant divine retribution.
You wouldn’t die, but as one who defied God, the brand of a『Depraved One』would appear on your forehead.
That was the symbol that you lost God’s divine protection, and that person would be cast away by society and scorned until death.
However, there were few men who could be satisfied with one woman, and that trend was prominent especially from within those possessing of power. For that, as a way of escape, they would make the woman who’d become their wife swear on her name alone and marry, which was something called the『Lady’s Vow』. With this, if the wife was unfaithful she’d become a depraved one, but if the husband was unfaithful, because he didn’t divulge his true name, he would be exempted. Why that sort of phenomenon happens, it still hasn’t been explained in detail to this day. From the description from a spirit user from ancient times, those who broke their oath on their true name were noticed by the spirits whether they wanted them to or not and were immediately reported to God.
Spirits lodged in all of creation, no matter if we couldn’t see them with our eyes, they existed everywhere. It was impossible to conceal yourself from them.
Perhaps for that reason, not just limited to the nobility, but infidelity even ran rampant amongst the commoners now. Again, unmarried people increased, and ending relations with cohabitation was also common, so the declining birthrate was an issue in any country.
If either of them one-sidedly swore on their true name, they weren’t accepted as spouses. If they weren’t, God wouldn’t bless them with a child.
With that as the reason, there was also a country who’s succession sturggle has become a dreadful thing. Standardly, a queen would marry in as a princess from another country, but as royalty you couldn’t let her vow a Lady’s Vow, but with a Vow of True Names you were unable to have concubines, so a queen must birth a boy. As my grandfather became a subject of the state, it was still better that my son Ralph was given the right to succeed the throne, however.
If the royal bloodline became weak, nobles who establish false charges would show up and Ralph’s wife could only be one linked to our royal family. The princess of Milma country whom His Majesty’s elder sister married to was a strong contender, though… Although, if Their Majesties would give birth to a girl, then this conversation would be quicker…
Oh no, oh no. My thoughts have gone astray.
「Are you saying I have the mark of a depraved one?」
「But it’s well known that Duke Osphe is head over heels for you. Could it be that only Duke Osphe has sworn on his true name?」
「His Majesty held witness to our pledging ceremony. Are you questioning His Majesty?」
It seems the match has been determined.
You mustn’t think you can win against Cerulia in a battle of words. You’ll gain a fear of socializing and depression, and eventually you’ll lose sight of the meaning of your own existence and be arrested by thoughts of suicide.
It’s calmed down considerably since we’ve married, but the time when Cerulia was a bachelorette was terrible.
Several nobles who must not have known about Cerulia’s fearsomeness displayed their fixation on Nema. But with Cerulia’s logic of making His Majesty and elder Suthers into her ally and using her poisonous tongue, she was able to crush those foolish nobles.
As a master and senior apprentice, the two were sweet on Cerulia.
If they wanted to resent someone, they should resent Lazul who lit a fire under her, or they themselves who didn’t know about her.