Chapter 118: At the end of the memories
When we returned to Mistome-shi’s home, Mistome-shi greeted us with a friendly smile.
“I made some tea. Please have a drink and put up with this elderly lady’s memories once more.”
The horror fog floating beside Mistome-shi seemed to have done some exercises as I felt that its bloated satiated condition had subsided a little. Although it was just a mass of fog.
We picked up the cups placed on the table.
Upon doing so, the surrounding scenery transformed into that of a luxurious and gorgeous palace hall. The nobles from 50 years ago were having friendly chats and enjoying the party, albeit with slightly anxious expressions.
Misufia and Leonor faced one another once again. However, unlike before, Leonor was not composed. The corner of her mouth occasionally contorted with convulsions and her hands were busy opening and closing her fan.
“Mrs. Earl Geyserik.”
“Ara, you can call me Onee-san like before.”
Misufia laughed. There was a look of complacency on her face.
Their appearances were a stark contrast.
“Mrs. Earl Geyserik. You are certainly a great noble with the greatest territory and military power in the Kingdom of Veronia at the moment. However, you are only an upstart after all, the royal family’s blood does not flow within Geyserik. My Pietro has royal family blood in him. I will have the last laugh … !”
“You always only cared about such things, Leonor.”
Misufia looked down and raised her head again.
Leonor gave a short scream.
In front of her was not the lovely smile of Princess Misufia but the ferocious smile of Pirate Misufia.
“If it is blood, I have it flowing in me too.”
Misufia placed her hand on her heart and asserted.
Misufia gazed out the window. A huge black iron ship stood in the harbor of the capital of Veronia. It was the flagship of Pirate Conqueror Geyserik which he stole from the Demon Lord, Wendy Dart. A peerless ship that no other Avalon Continent ship could beat.
Due to its overwhelming power, the Kingdom of Veronia obtained the strongest naval force on the continent.
Then, the landscape changed and turned unusual.
The capital of Veronia was surrounded by flames. Geyserik was laughing.
“The scene of his usurpation?”
Mistome-shi nodded when I asked.
“That is right. I tried to negotiate but father refused to recognize Geyserik as king. Even though he did as he was told by Duke of Oslo in the past. He probably thought that I was the other party so I would not use force …”
Pirates kicked down the door to the throne.
“Misufia! Are you crazy!”
Misufia, standing next to Geyserik, took her father, the King of Veronia’s shouting with a quiet look.
“Father, the country has to become strong. By letting corrupt nobles who indulge in their personal desires like the Duke of Oslo do as they please, we have lost the majority of our territory from consecutive defeats and we could not save the villages attacked by the Goblin King … Despite the situation, is there value in the royal family members fighting for the purpose of clinging on to power built on sand?”
“Then what do you want me to do! I am only a king in name and the only things I received were poor military who couldn’t even defeat thieves and nobles who embezzle the national treasure! What could I do in such a situation!”
“Doing nothing is the sin! How will the king save the citizens who rely on the royal family if the king laments on incompetence!?”
The King of Veronia was overwhelmed by Misufia’s denunciation and hung his head.
“Then, do you know what you must do?”
The King of Veronia looked at Geyserik as the next generation King of Veronia.
“Geyserik. Unlike me, you possess strength, wisdom, and courage.”
” …… ”
“I only have one thing to tell you … do not have mercy.”
“If you leave even one person from the royal family, there will be people who will surely raise a flag due to blood and bare fangs to the new royal family. Mercy is not required to succeed a king. Mercy will be met with revenge, tolerance met with blood. A king is such an existence.”
The King of Veronia drew his sword and placed it at his own throat.
“Geyserik, do you truly hold the divine protection of 『Emperor』?”
“Yes, I do.”
“In that case, this was inevitable. So enviable. Do you know my divine protection?”
“No I don’t, Misufia said that she didn’t know either.”
“Because it was not spread. Only a small number of individuals know. My divine protection is 『Herbalist』. Unsuited for life as King from the very beginning … I did not want to become a king but instead, I wanted to spend my life selling medicine in a small shop.”
The King of Veronia laughed sorrowfully and thrust the sword into his throat with his eyes closed.
His entourage screamed. Geyserik closed his eyes for a moment to show his respect to the dead king and following the dead king’s instructions, mercilessly eradicated the survivors.
Geyserik sat on the throne. Beside him was Misufia.
There was a flourish of trumpets.
Even though they were puzzled, the citizens were excited about the appearance of a strong king who they have been waiting for.
The nobles who rebelled have been suppressed and their heads were replaced by Geyserik’s subordinates and allies.
Ririnrara was an Earl now. Many of Geyserik’s deputy officials were now nobles with a peerage. Duke Clark who created the Holy Clark Duchy attacked with the pretense of requests from many escaped nobles but Geyserik’s restructured Veronian army crushed them. They proceeded to advance into the Clark territory and was able to fulfill their long-standing desire to recover lost territory. The kingdom’s people cheered for the strength of the new king.
Everything was going well.
Geyserik and Misufia seemed intimate as well and there were smiles on their faces.
Geyserik brushed aside the intervention from the Kingdom of Avalonia, destroyed the galleass fleet from the Kingdom of Franberg and tied a ceasefire agreement on favorable terms.
The Kingdom of Veronia, which had fallen to the level of a city-state, had returned to become a powerful kingdom once more.
“It was a bloody usurpation but I was happy … ”
The scene changed and Misufia and Leonor were facing one another for the third time.
The location seemed to be some kind of a monastery?
It was a hallway without any decorations.
Leonor was not in her usual luxurious dress but common religious clothing.
But Misufia was more eye-catching. Underneath her loose dress was a swollen belly.
“Queen consort-sama, it is about time.”
Leonor had survived the royal family cleansing.
“Yes, the doctor said it will be around the end of next month or the month after that.”
“His Majesty would be relieved if you give birth to an heir. You have a huge responsibility. Don’t you rather be like me, able to go anywhere I wish and take care of myself in the imperial court?”
“Ara, are you worried about me? But I am fine. I can move about with carriages and the doctor told me it would be good to move my body a little as well.”
“It is good to hear that.”
“What about you? Have you accustomed to living in the monastery?”
Leonor gave a gentle smile.
“Yes, it is quiet and calm and I don’t have to worry that the position I stand on could crumble at any moment. All the members are orderly and living together by combining our respective divine protections.”
“Living together by combining divine protections?”
“My divine protection is the common 『Fighter』. So I perform weaving and unloading as well as occasionally copy manuscripts.”
Leonor no longer had the pride she previously had in her expression. At least, not on the surface.
” … If you wish, I could transfer you to a monastery with less labor.”
“It’s okay, I like this place. Furthermore, I can meet queen mother-sama like this.”
“I see. I understand, sorry for asking something weird.”
“Onee-sama. I am satisfied with my peaceful and happy life. But the royal palace is a dangerous place. And His Majesty’s ambition is strong. I worry if His Majesty’s love for Onee-sama will disappear someday.”
“That will never happen.”
“Is that so? At any rate, do not let your guard down … If not, I will lose even the smile I obtained from living like this as a nun.”
Leonor said and lowered her head as she left the room.
“Leonor offered the neck of Pietro, her husband, and opted to pull out from the royal palace to live as a nun to have her life spared.”
Even the Pirate Misufia could not bear to kill her younger sister who pleaded for her life.
“They were royals who survived the pandemonium of the royal family. So it was natural that they could display that much force of personality.”
The princess of the Principality of Logavia, Lit, nodded to my words and sighed.
“But I was bad at it. I wanted to live a simpler life.”
I hugged Lit when she said that.
“I like it better when I can always be with and touch the person I love like this.”
“What about in public?”
I held Lit’s body but the Adventurer’s Guild Executive Garadin and Bishop Cien were bewildered by the unhero-like appearance of Hero Lit.
“That’s right. I was happy just to be by Geyserik’s side … but Geyserik was an 『Emperor』. I had to make Geyserik king. If not, he would no longer need me.”
The scene changed.
A bright world was often crushed by darkness.
This was a reproduction of Mistome-shi’s memories. The world that was shown was greatly affected by her emotions at that time.
In a candlelit room, a doctor desperately hit the baby’s butt to make it cry.
However, the baby was still with no movements.
Misufia laid on the bed and looked at the baby as if praying.
It was clear what happened.
Misufia’s first child was stillborn.
Lit was confused.
“Was Prince Sarius born after that?”
Mistome-shi was silent. Her expression took a drastic change from her previous humble attitude.
The scene changed once more. It changed one after the other.
“Two stillborns in a row … with this, the heir…”
“A pirate of doubtful origins became a king so perhaps God Demis was angered? Divine protection of 『Emperor』? That’s obviously nonsense.”
“It seems that she is pregnant with her third but if that doesn’t work out as well …”
Misufia was driven to a corner and finally could only close her ears with both hands.
Leonor was there, once again in a dress.
“I have become His Majesty’s concubine.”
“Eh, ah …”
“Do not be mistaken, His Majesty’s love has not changed. But …”
Leonor softly whispered into Misufia’s ear.
“With you, His Majesty will lose the dream his divine protection yearns for.”
Including myself, the expression of those watching Mistome-shi’s memories darkened.
It was similar to reading a story knowing that it would lead to a bad ending. However, unlike a novel, stopping Mistome-shi’s memories that were being displayed now was not a choice.
Misufia was pregnant with her third child.
Eventually, the born baby … did not cry.
The birth of a child was a strange scene.
If the baby cries, the mother would smile. But if the baby doesn’t cry, the parents would cry instead.
Lit turned her eyes away from the scene and placed her forehead on my back.
Ruti snuggled to my side and crinkled her eyebrows.
“I never knew the reason why. At that time, there were many stillbirths so perhaps there was a disease being spread. But, it was blamed on Geyserik. That Demis-sama was angry with Geyserik.”
“Kings are people with authority decided by the people. Who the king was shouldn’t matter to God.”
“Citizens would be uneasy if they do not know the reason for their misfortune. So Geyserik needed an heir as soon as possible.”
However, Misufia’s third child did not cry either. The fact that she was the reason for Geyserik’s predicament and her fear that her younger sister would snatch away her beloved, Misufia fell into despair.
At that moment … the High-Elf Ririnrara appeared.
She had one newborn in her arms.
“Misufia. Geyserik has his back to the wall.”
“Ririnrara, that child?”
“It’s your child, Misufia.”
“Wha-what are you saying?”
“This child’s mother died today. He is the child of somebody you do not know.”
“Do-don’t joke around! To make that child my …”
“I am not joking. As I said, Geyserik has his back to the wall.”
Misufia was silent and Ririnrara looked at the child sleeping in her arms.
“Everything will be fine if you give birth to another child and make that child inherit the throne for some reason or another. Even Geyserik will not wait any longer than that. He will abandon you, even if it is you.”
“Geyserik … will abandon me?”
Misufia had a look of terror.
The time shown in the illusion continued to pass.
Prince Sarius was growing up. King Geyserik doted on his son.
And behind them, queen mother Misufia curled up, torn with an expression of anguish.
“I betrayed him. And I have continued to betray him even now.”
The memories reflected in the illusion made by the horror fog was not a reproduction of the actual scene but the feelings of Misufia at that time.
A happy father and son. Words from her surroundings. Her child whose birth was erased.
To be honest, it was hard to watch.
Seeing our expressions, Mistome-shi closed her eyes and bowed.
“I’m sorry for showing something unpleasant. But you guys will not understand if I showed this from the start, right? It became a long story but … this is the end.”
Behind the smile of the queen mother, behind the face of the happy mother, Misufia became more haggard little-by-little.
Eventually, she lost the strength to stand and sat while, Leonor, the younger sister of Misufia, appeared.
In her arms was a small baby.
Misufia’s eyes were dark and clouded. There no longer was the feature of the wise princess.
“I have sired His Majesty’s son as well.”
“So Onee-sama should be happy too … it should be tiring, continuing to lie to your loved one all the time.”
“Why … do you …”
Misufia no longer had the vigor to confront Leonor.
She only feared the monster with ambition in front of her.
“I know everything that happens in the royal palace, Onee-sama. Otherwise, I would not be able to survive.”
“What … do you want?”
“Maybe I should speak to His Majesty soon. I would like to see His Majesty despair for the betrayal by his loved one and his hatred for Onee-sama.”
“Please, anything but that … I will do anything you say.”
Leonor tenderly embraced the sitting Misufia.
“Onee-sama saved my life. So I will give mercy just once.”
“Misufia. Discard that name. You are no longer the queen mother or royalty. Just an 『Arch Mage』 who lives in a remote land far from Veronia. You may do anything you wish as long as you do not obstruct me.”
Leonor’s face distorted in hatred. The hatred she held in her heart all this time surfaced.
“You can even enter a monastery and continue to envy my happiness.”
A snap was heard and the illusion disappeared.
Mistome-shi placed her hand on her forehead and sat on the chair looking fatigued.
Bishop Cien and Horror Fog caringly attended to her closely.
“That is the end.”
Mistome-shi said with a trembling voice.
“Leonor became the legal wife with me gone. Leonor’s son received the first inheritance right. Sarius, that child’s position as crown prince and inheritance right was snatched away in one fell swoop. But Geyserik did not establish the divorce between him and me. If I am found and return to Veronia, that child’s inheritance right will return to first. As long as Geyserik does not oppose it.”
“So that is why Prince Sarius is looking for you.”
“But if I return, Leonor will reveal the secret of that child. Me at that time did not have the willpower to investigate if she truly held evidence but … that will lead to true ruin for that child. As well as for Ririnrara who made every effort as his guardian.”
That was why Ririnrara wished to kill off Mistome-shi before she made contact with Prince Sarius.
Ririnrara might even have sent people to check on Mistome-shi on a regular basis.
“I know that I am … a terrible mother and a selfish wife. I won’t complain even if Demis-sama sends me to hell. But I am only afraid of being hated by that person. I do not know if that person loves me, or that person’s divine protection loves me for the throne … I am just afraid of being discarded.”
So that was the flipside of this case.
The life of a grandmother, the future of a kingdom, and the cause and effect was being settled at the remote border Zoltan.
(But there were still places where I did not understand.)
Tise lightly nodded, as if understanding the doubts in my heart.
“We have collected all the cards for negotiation. All that is left is to directly ask Ririnrara about the secret.”
Tise said with a clear goal in mind but Ruti’s red eyes were downcast as she grieved for the latter half of Mistome-shi’s life.