e around the two of them.
“……excuse me for my impertinence.”
C.38: A Shame
The Christand estate――parlour.
The rain-soaked Kreschenta had bathed, changed and is now seated here.
Bogan and Selene sat across from her while Bery stood at Kreschenta’s side.
“……you doubt me?”“No……absolutely not, your highness.”
Bogan shook his head.
The king had been assasinated.
The princess had gone into hiding, then showed up here.
The natural course of action is to shelter her and Bogan does not believe there is any other option.
Without any prior information at all, Gildanstein would appear to be the usurper.
It is completely reasonable to assume that he took the king’s life to take the throne by force.
Kreschenta would be the poor princess caught up in that.
Appointed by the king as his heir, putting her young life at risk――then she showed up here alone.
Her expression looks sad and she seems uneasy.Kreschenta looked just like a normal, terrified child.
Take her in and take down the ursurper.It is natural to think like this, but――
‘Be very careful.
Kreschenta is merciless if you get in its way.
Whether you believe me or not, remember what I said……do not be fooled by appearances.’
Gildanstein’s words replayed in the back of his mind.
In terms of good or bad, Gildanstein would be bad.
Bogan believes that he could even be called evil.
But they had fought together on the battlefield.
Bogan knows him.
Gildanstein is extremely pragmatic, he hates useless things and is undoubtedly a good judge of character.
At the very least, he would not say that as a joke.
This is why Bogan is still unable to figure out Kreschenta.
Bery also seemed to be lost in thought and uneasy since Kreschenta’s arrival.
“But I do have a question, why did your highness come to me? Your highness should have other――”
“Because I believed this to be the most suitable choice.
I guess you would not know unless I reveal it……it is because of Krische-sama――because of onee-sama.”
Selene, who had been sitting quietly beside Bogan, spoke up in a confused tone and Kreschenta smiled in reply.Everyone but Krische is in this room, she had been left in her room.
“Yes, we are actually sisters.
I spoke to Argan-sama about this with onee-sama the other day.
I requested that she kept this to herself at that time though.”
Kreschenta’s gaze turned to Bery.Bery’s eyes wandered a little as she nodded.
“……my apologies.”“No……it’s fine.
That can’t be helped.”
Bogan shook his head.
This is a topic that cannot be carelessly spoken of.
Bogan would also obey if royalty told him to keep something to himself.
“In the royal family, a baby that does not cry is considered a cursed child…… onee-sama was confined and raised in a certain tower on royal land for a few years after her birth, then brought outside and killed――officially.
I was surprised when I saw her on the balcony that day.
Of course I have never met her……but our faces are very similar and she was staring at that tower.”
Not a lie but not the complete truth.Kreschenta’s natural tone made even Bery, who knew the truth, almost believe her.
“The servant with me at the time recognised her at a glance.
Apparently, she was formerly in charge of caring for onee-sama…… she was also the person that told me about onee-sama.
I went to meet her that day because I was elated.”
Kreschenta lowered her eyes sadly.
“I should not have done that……margrave, did oji-sama (T/N: Uncle) perhaps tell you about cursed children?”
“I was also almost killed for not crying when I was born.
Of course, because I was seen as a cursed child.
It seemed to have been a misunderstanding and I was raised as the princess but……”
“This is just my imagination”, she mentioned before continuing.
“Naturally, Oji-sama would remember what happened back then.
Including where onee-sama was to be killed.
Our faces are alike……he might have realised onee-sama is the cursed child from back then because I carelessly went to meet onee-sama.”
The way she lowered her eyes was both beautiful and pitiful.She has not taken a single sip of her tea.
“……Oji-sama must have feared Christand joining my side and, did this, this――this terrible thing.”
Bogan fell into thought, as did Selene.
Bogan trusts Gildanstein.
But Kreschenta sounds convincing.
Bogan had noticed Gildanstein’s strange reaction for an instant when he saw Krische.
He has also felt that Kreschenta and Krische’s appearances are similar and now that he sees her at such a close distance, it is undoubtedly true that they are sisters.
There are no holes in her explanation.
Krsiche is the lost princess and Kreschenta was in the same position as Krische, a cursed child.
If the two joined forces, it is natural to assume that Christand would join the princess’ side.
At least, from Gildanstein’s point of view.
Gildanstein has effectively taken control of the capital.
As justification for himself to take the crown, he would probably declare that Kreschenta was born curse.
That is why she assassinated the king.
And also that the reason why Christand would shelter the princess is because of the other cursed child, Krische.
In which case, Bogan would have no choice but to take to the sword to protect Krische, to protect his daughter.
No matter who is right, Bogan is in a position where he has to shelter Kreschenta.
The situation is too perfect and he has been caught up in it.
Regardless of Bogan’s own thoughts, Bogan is forced to act.
Bogan placed a hand on his chin and lowered his eyes as these thoughts ran though his mind.
Selene is aware of Gildanstein’s infamy and found her father’s hesitation strange as she examined Kreschenta.The more she looked, the more similar Kreschenta looks to Krische.
The royal family’s cursed child, Selene can understand why Krische would be called that.
It makes sense if Krische did not cry when she was a baby and Selene is more aware than anyone else that Krische is not normal.
Selene will not deny that Krische is abnormal.
But she still loves Krische on top of that, so she is not that surprised by the truth Kreschenta revealed.
But there is something else that bothered her.
――Is Kreschenta the same?
Krische, the cursed child’s abnormality is obvious and distinct.
But Kreschenta is different.
She appears young but seems like a proper princess.
Compared to Krische, Kreschenta is too perfect.
Kreschenta noticed Selene’s gaze and tilted her head.
“Selene-sama, is something the matter?”“No……just, Krische and your highness are very alike.”
Their features are very similar.
Since they are sisters, that is natural.
No, but it is not just that――
That makes me happy.
It is curious, Kreschenta, Krische, we were raised separately yet we are the same――our names both came from the moon.”
Hearing that, Selene felt something click.
“Selene-sama is the same too.
It feels like destiny.”
“Names related to the moon are quite common but……that is true.
And your highness is quite knowledgeable.”
“Krische is an old word from the north that is rarely used.”
Selene means full moon and Kreschenta refers to the crescent moon.
These words are from the old western common language and are relatively common names for nobles.
The name Selene is a wish for a life full of happiness and the name Kreschenta is praise for her beauty.
But the word Krische, meaning ‘incomplete moon’, is apparently from an old barbarian language and is not commonly known.Even Selene who is well-studied, did not know the origins of that name until Krische told her.
The village’s original settlers probably spoke that language.
It is clearly a strange word to include in the education of the royal family that conquered those barbarians.
Of course there is the possibility that Kreschenta happened to see that word in some book.
But it is still curious and Selene instinctively felt that this was not the case.
――Despite being twelve years old, this princess has extensive knowledge and great intelligence.Just like Krische.
“It is similar so I happened to learn it when looking up the origins of my own name.
My memory is quite good.”
And Kreschenta’s eyes, directed at Selene as she spoke proved the point.
Those eyes are extremely similar to those that Krische occasionally shows.
Inhuman――eyes that simply observe.
They quickly turned away, back to Bogan.
“That is the only reason I came here…… I was just an ornament and do not know much about actual politics.
That is why……aside from the margrave, who loves onee-sama and treats her like your own daughter, I did not have anywhere else to go.”“……I understand now.
Either way, now that I know of your circumstances, I have no choice but to make a stand to protect Krische.
I do think of her as my own daughter……just like Selene.”
No matter what Kreschenta is, that is his only possible conclusion.
He has already been dragged into the quagmire――right into the very middle of it.
Selene also noticed that Kreschenta is not normal but did not object to his decision.
Selene had also come to the same conclusion as Bogan.
“……I will be causing trouble for the margrave.
But I promise that I will repay this debt――I swear on the name of Kreschenta Farna Viera Alberan”“……it is an honour.”
After the talk, Kreschenta went to Krische’s room, accompanied by Bery.Kreschenta snuggled up to Krische and looked anxiously at her, who is already dressed in a negligee and ready to go to bed.
“Onee-sama, are you angry?”
“……Krische said Kreschenta can come to the estate but Krische did not say it is okay to drag us into a war.”
“But onee-sama did not say it is not okay either.”
Krische frowned and glared at Kreschenta, making her desperately shake her head.
Please forgive me.
I knew that onee-sama would be angry.”
“Because……it is not all bad.
If I obtain the throne, the Christands will be secured for life and onee-sama can also relax.
The margrave can move to the capital as the head of the nobles and general of the army.
Even Selene-sama and Argan-sama, onee-sama’s important people will be in the safest place.”
Krische closed her eyes as she calmly calculated the potential gains.In the long run, it is certainly not bad.
“I am also doing this for onee-sama.
In the previous war, if not for the margrave and onee-sama, we would have lost all the southeast territories.
There is a limit to what I, or onee-sama can do.
If we lose land and troops, we will eventually lose peace.
Stabilising this country and having onee-sama at the center of it would be the safest.”
“That……that might be true but”
“Onee-sama is a lot stronger than me.
I have never wielded a sword and never studied war.
I am a cursed child, I had to be careful to not draw suspicion by showing interest in strange things……but instead, I can see things from a wider perspective and in the long run better than onee-sama.”
Krische looked into Kreschenta’s eyes and thought for a moment, then embraced her.
Krische will not be angry anymore about this.
But next time please say it beforehand.
Krische does not like this kind of things.”“Of course.
I will not do it again.”
Kreschenta breathed a sigh of relief and leaned her head on Krische’s chest.
“……er, your highness.”
“Kreschenta is fine.
You can’t call me that in public anyway.”
“Yes, Kreschenta-sama……er, where is Nora-sama?”
“I did not kill her.”
Kreschenta lifted her head a little as she said that.Her expression was blank, unreadable.
“I escaped with Nora and we were together for part of the way.
Since we travelled in a disguised carriage, there was also other soldiers.”
“Which means, you were attacked?”
“Yes, that is part of it……well, that is how we were separated from the soldiers, but the day before I arrived, she asked me to let her die.”
“Let her die……?”
“I had taken quite a liking to her.
When I was a baby and was almost killed because I did not cry, Nora was the one that desperately hit me and shouted at me to teach me to cry……it seems she has always regretted abandoning onee-sama in the forest.”
She spoke with vacant eyes, leaning back into Krische.
“Apparently she also could not endure the fact that I killed otou-sama(T/N: father)……I do not really understand why she died.
She said that once she is sure that I can reach this estate, she wanted to die and atone for her sins.”
“……I do not know about onee-sama, but I have used various means to kill those in my way since I was young.
If not, I would be killed.
But back then I was poor at it and there were times when it was precarious……at those times, Nora helped me.”
She spoke in a nostalgic way, but also seemed confused.
“This time was the same right? I have always explained to Nora why I do it.
Nora always understood, but this time”
Bery could not endure it and lowered her eyes.
Nora had a guilty conscience, but did it for Kreschenta.
If Krische was like Kreschenta――Bery might also have done the same.
“……Nora-sama must have loved Kreschenta-sama.”
“Then why did she die? If she loved me, then doesn’t it make more sense to live for me? There is no meaning in saying please find happiness then dying, so she should have done that.”
“She must have always had a guilty conscience.
She did it for Kreschenta-sama, but she still felt guilty, so she did that before arriving at this estate.”
“You haven’t even spoken properly with Nora……yet you speak as if you understand her.”
Because I served by Krische-sama’s side.”
Bery closed her eyes and calmed her breathing.
It may be rude, but if she does not say this, things will not change.
Nora must have hoped that her death would have that effect――that is what Bery believes.
“For Kreschenta-sama, there was no choice.
It was necessary.
Even now, I believe Kreschenta-sama does not think of it as a sin.
But in Kreschenta-sama’s place, Nora-sama took on that sin as her own and atoned with her death……including Kreschenta-sama’s share.”
“People get angry if the person they love is insulted.
They feel sad if that person is scorned and are happy when that person is praised.
Similarly, when the person you love commits a sin, it is painful.
It might not have affected Kreschenta-sama, but, it must have been painful for Nora-sama.”
Bery knelt in front of Kreschenta and gently touched her shoulder.
“Because I feel that way about Krische-sama, I can understand.
Krische-sama is a kind person.
But like Kreschenta-sama, her way of thinking is different from normal.
Like Kreschenta-sama, she might also unknowingly sin.”“Bery……?”
Bery smiled wryly as she patted Krische’s head.
“No matter what sins Krische-sama commits, I will always love Krische-sama.
But still, it is very painful when a person I love commits a sin, even unknowingly, so I have taught Krische-sama various things to avoid that……I just want Krische to live happily without committing any sins.”
She then turned to Kreschenta.
“But if that cannot be avoided, then it is my responsibility for failing to guide her properly, so I will atone for that sin in her place.
The same as Nora-sama.”
She loved Kreschenta-sama and took on all of Kreschenta-sama’s sins as her own.
I believe that she hoped that from now on, Kreschenta-sama can find happiness without committing any more sins.
She will take responsibility for all the sins of the past.”
Kreschenta lowered her eyes as she thought, then pouted.She frowned as she looked back up at Bery.
“You say the same things as Nora.
You two really are selfish.
Worrying about things that I don’t care about.”
“Humans are selfish creatures, Kreschenta-sama.
People do what they believe is good.
Even this time, Kreschenta-sama believes it would be good for Krische-sama and caused this……conflict, right?”
Kreschenta clung to Krische, as if escaping from Bery’s words but Krische pinched her cheek.
“Bery is Krische’s teacher, so you have to listen to her.”
Krische can understand what Bery is saying.
Because Krische loves Bery, it is unpleasant and Krische does not like it when Bery is made light of.
This is empathy……er, hm? Seems different……”
“Y, yes……that is different but, fufu……thank you.”
Bery smiled awkwardly then turned to Kreschenta again.
“Excuse me for my rudeness, but Kreschenta-sama appears to be poor at understanding other people’s feelings, like Krische-sama.
Kreschenta-sama judges based only on how people act right?”
“……what else is there to judge from?”
“Just like how Kreschenta-sama thinks about Krische-sama, there is a deeper part.
Kreschenta-sama said that Kreschenta-sama can understand Krische-sama the best.
If Kreschenta-sama can understand Krische-sama, then I believe Kreschenta-sama can also understand other people.”
Kreschenta thought for a while, then sighed.
“It is a waste of time.
Everyone other than onee-sama are idiots.
What’s the point of doing that?”“Because including me, the world is full of those idiots that Kreschenta-sama speaks of.”
Bery smiled as she answered.
“In order to conduct yourselves well in this world, would it not be better for Kreschenta-sama to learn how to perceive and understand how those idiots feel?”
“……I understand the logic.
But why explain all that to me?”
“Because Kreschenta-sama wishes to stay with Krische-sama…… as I said, I love Krische-sama.”
Bery then leaned right over Kreschenta’s head and kissed Krische.Kreschenta’s eyes opened wide in surprise and she froze.
Krische was surprised that Bery did that right in front of Kreeschenta but still smiled happily.
“I am willing to risk my life for Krische-sama……to put it in a way easy for Kreschenta-sama to understand, I do not care about Kreschenta-sama.
To me, whether Krische-sama is happy is most important.
If Kreschenta-sama makes my beloved Krische-sama unhappy, then Kreschenta-sama would be a hinderance.”“……you’ve said it.”
Kreschenta’s smile widened as she glared at Bery.Bery felt like a frog glared at by a snake, but still returned the look with a smile.
“No looking at Bery like that.”“Unyu……”
Krische squished Kreschenta’s cheeks between her hands.
“Wh, what are you doing……”
“That is Krische’s line.
Krische already said that Krische will kill Kreschenta if Kreschenta lays a hand on Bery.”
“Uuu……I just glared at her.”
Bery laughed softly, then spoke, her eyes wandering a little in embarrassment.
“It is a little, er…… embarrassing to say this but.
Krische-sama loves me too.
It is mutual…… I have no power.
But I can ask Krische-sama this question.
If I were to hate Kreschenta-sama and we cannot reconcile no matter what, would Krische-sama choose me or Kreschenta-sama?”
An immediate answer.
Kreschenta stared at Krische, stunned.Krsiche tilted her head.
“After all, Bery taught Krische a lot of things, pats Krische’s head, kisses Krische, sleeps with Krische……does a lot of things that makes Krische happy.
Krische owes her more than can ever be repayed.”
“I, I can understand onee-sama the best! And even I could……”
“Bery also properly understands what kind of person Krische is and does her best to understand Krische.
Rather then just understanding each other, it is more important to work to understand each other, that creates the best relationships.”
Bery smiled happily and nodded.
“I might not be able to understand Krische-sama as well as Kreschenta-sama……but, I believe I will be able to make Krische-sama the happiest.
That is why I taught Krische-sama various things, so that she can find happiness in this world full of those the idiots Kreschenta-sama speaks of.”
“……even I could――”
“――and if Kreschenta-sama wants to be together with Krische-sama to seek happiness, I would also like to teach Kreschenta-sama many things such that Kreschenta-sama can find the same happiness as Krische-sama…… no, not that I want to.
This is my duty.”
Since Krische-sama is finding happiness is this world full of idiots, I also have to do my best to help Kreschenta-sama find happiness in a world full of idiots.”
Kreschenta glared at Bery in dissatisfaction, but Bery just patted her head.Kreschenta immediately tried to brush her hand away but was stopped by Krische and could only be patted.
“It is okay for Kreschenta-sama to sincerely wish to kill me from the bottom of your heart.
But Krische-sama will protect me.
If Kreschenta-sama wants to kill me, the best shortcut would be to make Krische-sama love you a lot more than me……so until then, I will fulfill my duty.”
“……ah, Kreschenta, no poison either.
If Bery’s condition suddenly worsens for unknown reasons, Krische will treat it as Kreschenta’s doing.”
Bery had not thought of that.
Bery felt some cold sweat roll down the back of her neck and let out a breath.
“That is all I want to say for now.
Please forgive my rudeness.”
“……if this was the palace, Argan-sama would have lost your head.”
“This is our estate.”
Bery smiled and gently pressed a finger to Kreschenta’s lips.
Kreschenta could not resist because Krische still held her hands and could only glare back in embrassment.
Bery smiled again, then stripped off her apron dress and took her negligee from a shelf.
“……it is already late, let us rest for today.
Would Kreschenta-sama like to change too? Krische-sama’s old one should fit.”“Fine.”
Kreschenta seemed to have accepted things for now.
Bery removed Kreschenta’s clothes and helped her change, then got dressed herself.Then she and Krische led Kreschenta to the bed.
“Er, Argan-sama too……?”
“E, err, yes……I usually sleep with Krische-sama.”
“……you said you love her and, er, ki, kissed, do you and onee-sama, er――”
“Th, there is nothing like what you imagine.”
“……it is really suspicious when you deny it so desperately.”
“There is nothing suspicious.”
Bery got them both in bed before getting in herself.The bed is quite large and fit the three of them easily.
“Ah……”“We just hug like this, and sleep.
Krische-sama likes this and so do I.
Is it not the same for Kreschenta-sama?”
Bery embraced Krische and Kreschenta together, with them facing each other.Kreschenta hesitated a little, then relaxed back into Bery.
“……it is, not bad.
It is warm.”
“Fufu, Kreschenta-sama is not honest like Krische-sama.
How about Krische-sama?”
“Kreschenta’s chest is flat so that side is nicer.”
Bery laughed softly and patted Kreschenta’s head.
“From today, would Kreschenta-sama like to sleep together like this everyday? This way you should be able sleep soundly.”
“……I would rather sleep alone with onee-sama.
I cannot sleep soundly with the fear that Argan-sama will do something weird.”
“I, I will not……”
Bery sighed, then embraced them tighter.
Please stop saying strange things and rest.
At the very least, you can relax more than when you had to fear for your life.”“Well……I will leave it at that.”
Soon, they heard Krische’s sleeping breaths and Kreschenta stroked Krische’s head in exasperation.Bery stroked Kreschenta’s head in turn and whispered to her.
“……I believe Nora-sama also wanted to treat Kreschenta-sama like this and let Kreschenta-sama relax.
I believe she helped Kreschenta-sama because she wanted to resolve Kreschenta-sama’s anxiety.
So that Kreschenta-sama can relax and rest.”
“It is the truth that she loved Kreschenta-sama and did so much for Kreschenta-sama that her guilty conscience made her choose death.
That might be stupid.
But……I would like Kreschenta-sama to remember that Nora-sama did love Kreschenta-sama.”
Kreschenta gently patted Krische as she replied quietly.
“……you say good night then say all that, do you want me to sleep or do you want to talk?”
“Fufu, my apologies.”
“I learn fast.
And I do feel that……it is a shame.”
Bery felt Kreschenta’s body relax as she said that.Bery’s eyes widened, then breathed a sigh of relief and tightened her embrace around the two of them.
“……excuse me for my impertinence.”
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