“But why do the Duke and Marquis live separately?”
I asked Sophie while we walked along the narrow path, asking him what I had been wondering about all along.
It’s not like the Duke’s and the Marquis’ residences are far apart, and if Marquis Bright were to inherit the title and become a duke in the future, he’d have to live at the Duke’s residence anyway, so why bother?
“Oh, well, I’ve heard from the others that it’s because of the former Marchioness, Viscountess Sabrina, your mother.”
“Yes. I’ve heard that even after they were married, the Marchioness had an ongoing conflict with the Duke. How should I say this, it’s a high-stakes conflict? No, a low-bent conflict, in this case, anyways they had disagreements, so it’s a conflict!”
“They’re both knights, and I’ve heard that they always growled and fought every time they saw each other in the training hall, so much so that the young Marquis had to build a different training hall just for her, and then a whole new mansion. That’s… True love, yes.”
To build a whole new mansion for his beloved wife, that’s true love indeed.
Why did they divorce then? Was it really just because my mother was depressed?
No matter how much I thought about it, Marquis Bright still seemed to like my mother.
His eyes would get wistful whenever he talked about her, and it was obvious from the fact that he hadn’t remarried until now.
At his age, the pressure to remarry must have been on for a number of reasons, including the issue with heirs.
But he had still managed to remain single for well over a decade. It was as if he was honoring my mother.
It is clear that mother loved him too, if not as much as the Marquis.
The proof was simple.
She, who by nature could not remain in one place most of the time, married the Marquis of Bright and lived as a marchioness for several years, and that choice led to her postpartum depression.
At first, I was just tired of the Marquis of Bright, who suddenly appeared out of nowhere and tried to act as my guardian, saying,
“I’m your father!”
But now I’ve changed my mind a little.
I can’t think of the Marquis of Bright as a real ‘Father’ yet, but that doesn’t mean that I resent him.
To me right now, Marquis Bright is just a father figure, and that’s it.
Why don’t I resent the Marquis?
The first reason is that I don’t care enough about him to resent him, and the second reason is that he’s not the only one responsible for their divorce and what happened afterward.
The Marquis was certainly at fault for failing to protect my mother in the battlefield of Imperial social life.
But was he the only one at fault?
No, he wasn’t.
He certainly made various efforts in his own way.
Of course, so did my mother.
It’s hard to believe that someone who is usually strong enough not to catch a single cold could fall victim to postpartum depression.
However, sometimes life is not solved only by love and effort.
The two eventually split up without overcoming the difficulties facing them.
‘After Wendy left the divorce papers, I visited Sabrina’s estate from time to time, visited her while she was wandering around as a mercenary, and persuaded her, but I couldn’t change her mind in the end.’
If everything the Marquis of Bright said was true, it was a commendable act for him to try and reconcile with my mother.
Anyway, as a husband of a woman, and as a father of two, he was trying to fulfill his responsibilities.
On the contrary, mother was the one who failed to fulfill her responsibility fully.
She left the young me alone and wandered the continent as a mercenary.
Even if she was suffering from postpartum depression, it did not mean that she could be excused from everything she did.
Perhaps if mother had not shirked away from her duties as a mother, after she felt better, then things would have been different.
In the end, from my perspective, she and the Marquis were fifty-two hundred times the same.
In some ways, I thought my mother was worse, but maybe Archie had a different opinion.
‘The last time we met was when you were six years old.’
The Marquis said that he visited the Sabrina estate once or twice a year until I was six years old, but I remembered nothing of it.
It was because I lost my childhood memory due to an accident, and a head trauma when I was eight.
Perhaps the butler and nanny have hidden the existence of the Bright family from me, from then on.
Since I lost my memory of the Bright family, they probably thought that it was a perfect opportunity since the Marquis stopped coming anyways.
Would things have been different from now if he hadn’t given up and kept coming to see me?
But for some reason he stopped visiting the estate.
That’s how my connection with the Bright family was severed completely.
If my parents have not divorced each other, then wouldn’t Archie and I have grown up in the capital together?
What if I didn’t have an accident when I was eight and had a full memory?
I shook my head to clear the thoughts that were flooding it.
It was meaningless to worry about something that had already happened.
“We’re almost there, miss! This is where the Duke is!”
I stopped thinking, and we finally managed to leave the path, and went into a large garden.
Sophie and I walked across the garden toward the duke’s mansion.
As I approached the mansion, I saw a familiar face.
“… Miss Iris?”
As I recognized the other person, the other person also recognized me.
Edwina, who was just leaving the mansion, and was being accompanied by the duke’s butler, stopped and smiled at me.
I approached her briskly.
It was the first time I met her since the end of the first selection test.
“What are you doing here? I didn’t expect to see you here.”
“I stopped by, due to some Knights business, and my grandfather also ordered me to do something separately…”
“Your Excellency, the Marquis of Axion did?”
Edwina smiled instead of answering.
Did something happen to the border?
My curiosity was raised, but I didn’t pry more because I couldn’t bother the person who visited on official business.
“Then are you going back to the palace now?”
“Yes, I should.”
“It would be nice to have a cup of tea… Next time.”
I couldn’t hide my disappointment even though I knew it wouldn’t be polite for me to hold on to a person while they’re on duty.
I hesitated, and wanted to see if she felt the same way.
“How have you been?”
“I’ve been well. What about Sir Edwina?”
“Me, too. I couldn’t contact you because I was busy recently. I’m sorry.”
“Oh, no. I know Sir Edwina is busy.”
We exchanged each other’s names and became friends during the first test, but my interaction with her was limited to a few letters.
We were both busy with work and didn’t have much time to meet each other.
In fact, we wouldn’t have met separately even if we had time.
After all, I was currently a candidate for the Imperial Knights, and She was a member of it.
If people knew that we were acquainted, it would be against equity.
There would be a whole cartload of people who would protest if they were to find out that we had a connection.
“Your debutante ball is coming up soon, how are your preparations going?”
“I’m already overwhelmed. I didn’t know choosing a dress would be this tiring.”
“Haha, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. I couldn’t decide on a dress until the day before the debutante ball myself.”
“Yeah, well, maybe I’ll see you at the Debutante Ball next time.”
“Oh, is Sir Edwina attending the ball?”
“Not as a guest, but for work. I’m going to attend as the Crown Prince’s escort.”
I thought I would be bored throughout the debutante ball because I didn’t know anyone in the capital.
Attending as the crown prince’s escort would mean that I wouldn’t be able to share a conversation with her, but it was still a world of difference between having someone I knew around rather than not.
“Oh, right. My grandfather will also be attending this ball.”
“…….! Your Excellency, Marquis Axion?”
“Yes, my younger brother became someone’s Cavalier, she will have her own debutante this time as well. I’ll take the opportunity to introduce you to my grandfather and brother.”
Oh, my God, I can’t believe I can finally see Lord Axion!
What a windfall!
I’m suddenly looking forward to the debutante ball.
“Then I think I should get going. I can’t delay any longer…”
“Oh, go ahead. I’ve been holding you back without realizing it.”
“No, you’re not. It was nice talking to you after a long time.”
Yesterday’s enemy becomes today’s comrade, and today’s comrade can become tomorrow’s enemy.
When we first met, I didn’t think I’d get along well with Edwina, but you really don’t know about people.
Having received an unexpected harvest, I waved my goodbye to Edwina, who was mounting the horse with a bumbling face.
“Welcome, Miss Iris.”
As Edwina finally rode away, the Duke’s butler, who had been waiting in the rear with Sophie, approached in a polite manner and bowed.
“My apologies for the late greeting. I am Mr. Whitten, the Duke’s butler.”
“Pleased to meet you.”
“Please make yourself at home.”
Whitten smiled politely, and without delay he led me to where the Duke of Bright was.
“His Highness the Duke is in his office. He’s on the second floor.”
I left Sophie on the first floor and followed Whitten up the stairs.
Whitten stopped in front of a door bearing the Bright family’s crest.
He then raised his hand and knocked.
“Lady Iris is here, master—”
“Let her in.”
Before he could even finish his sentence, the Duke of Bright’s voice came from inside, and he stepped aside to open the door.
“Please come in.”
I thanked Whitten and stepped inside to find the Duke talking to an aide.
The Duke of Bright’s face suddenly lit up.
I lowered my eyes, and pretended not to notice his affectionate gaze.
Ever since he officially apologized and taught me sword skills, I have been calling him grandfather out of courtesy, but there are still so many mountains to cross for me to truly consider him as family.
If you like this translation, click this 👇🏻: for advanced chapters or click the button at lower-left corner of the screen and maybe 👉🏻👈🏻 support me. 🥺