What it means to be a noble.

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In no time at all, the day of our departure had come and we were on the road toward House François’ family villa.
Father, myself, Misha, and Rei sat in a carriage pulled by three horses along the coarse country roads.
While my father was reluctant to let Rei and Misha tag along, I convinced him saying that we’re all going to the same place.
I sat in the front of the carriage with Rei while my father and Misha sat in the back.
Perhaps from parental love or in an attempt to draw the line between nobles and commoners, my father insisted I sat next to him.
We clashed over this, but in the end I forced my way.

“And that was when I said it.
‘What you’re saying is but a pipe dream.
The kingdom’s government could not go on without us nobles.’”

My father very eloquently spoke on and on.
Perhaps as expected from a politician, his words certainly held a certain weight.
However, I’d appreciate it if he stopped repeating the same worn out tales.

I’m already more than intimately acquainted with those events.
Just how many times do you think you’ve brought that story up?”
“Mn? Is that so? Well then, how about another one? This is something that happened around the time when Claire was born―”

With that my father began recounting another one of his escapades, but this too was another story that he had told just moments ago.
Rei and Misha had already realized that, but they could not interrupt my father.
The difference in their social status was far too different.
As his daughter, I certainly could stop him, but as a modest young lady, it would be improper for me to constantly interrupt my father.

My father was primarily sharing his past escapades where he had played a key role.
He was the Finance Minister, in other words, he was responsible for the kingdom’s treasury.
The other ministries within the kingdom were by no means insignificant, but having control over the flow of money of course resulted in having a large influence over the kingdom’s general affairs.
Even if one of the kingdom’s many politicians thought of a law or a policy, it had virtually no chance to pass without my father’s cooperation.
As a result, he had been involved in all of the laws and policies that passed, and had reason to see them as his own accomplishments.
His involvement was undeniable fact, so this was not what I took issue with.


You’re still young… and a woman, so perhaps you do not yet understand, but politics is not something that can be driven solely by ideals.”

My father directed the conversation toward me.
I felt irritated when he mentioned that it was not something a woman would be able to understand.
While it was true that it was primarily the men who operated our kingdom’s politics, us women had our own perspective to contribute.
If women did obtain the right to participate in politics, I was sure that capable female politicians would also surface.

That said, it was not as though I could actually voice those thoughts here.
Seeking help, I turned to face Rei.

“Dor-sama! What was Claire-sama like when she was younger?”

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“Ah, but of course she was an absolute angel! There was literally no one on this earth as cute as she was!”

When I did, Rei brought up something that father would likely be eager to talk about and successfully changed the topic.
To think that she had the kingdom’s Finance Minister, a seasoned politician, on the palm of her hand… My Rei, really, just how capable she was!

While I was moved by what Rei had accomplished, Misha called out to her.

“Really, it’s impressive that you can talk to Dor-sama like that…”
“What’s so impressive about it? I mean he is my future father-in-law, you know?”
“Really, it’s impressive that you can make that joke right in front of Dor-sama…”

The dumbfounded look Misha gave in response to Rei’s bold statement showed clear fatigue.
Unlike me, she had lost her nobility, so I was sure that she felt pressure from my father’s very presence.
As a commoner, perhaps just sitting next to him already felt discourteous, and exchanging words would be unthinkable.

“Well, I only permit such idle chatter because Claire has.
If it wasn’t for her, we would not even be riding the same carriage right now.”
“I am deeply thankful for both your kindness, and Claire-sama’s kindness, your Excellency.”

When Rei humbled her manner of speech, father gave a satisfied nod.
That was indeed the correct posture to take as a commoner, but for some reason I found it disagreeable.

“But Claire, you’ve really opened up quite a bit to this commoner, haven’t you? Even though you seemed to hate her so much at first, just what may have brought this about?”
“… I don’t particularly believe that I have opened up.”

This was the truth.
Though I personally felt that I wanted to close the gap between us, I can’t really claim that any of my attempts had succeeded.
Ever since what had happened with the love scales, there were no new developments between us.

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“Do you really believe that? Claire, you are too gentle-hearted for a noble.
You must take careful consideration upon who you cast your compassion on.”

My father took a condescending tone like a father does toward a troublesome daughter.
I could understand my father was speaking from a place of affection… It was because I understood that, that though I myself had mixed feelings, I nodded without speaking back.

“Or else you’ll end up suffering the same mistake… Yes, just like with those damned treacherous Orsos.”

Or that was my intention… Until my father brought up that name.

“Even though I granted my favor and propped them up for so many years, it was that damn whore wasn’t it.
To form liaison with the Empire and oppose our Kingdom, even punishment by death would have been lukewarm!”

My father’s face as he cursed how soft the king was held absolutely no hesitation.
He was serious―speaking from the bottom of his heart.
I desperately suppressed the plethora of words that came to mind, trying to swallow them back with my every fiber.

I understood what my father was saying from a logical perspective.
Under normal circumstances, what my father was saying would be correct, the crime Lene committed was so grave that even the death penalty wouldn’t be enough.
No matter her circumstance, Lene and her family had done something that could not be forgiven.
However, to me, Lene was so precious, irreplaceable, so much so that none of that mattered to me.

And so, that’s why I held back.
No matter what hateful things my father may say, I intended to maintain my silence.

“On top of that, that woman fancied a relationship with her own brother.
Just leaving that wretch by Claire’s side stains Claire’s rep―”
“That’s enough!”

The countless scornful words thrown at Lene had finally brought me to my limits.
I raised my voice and interrupted my father.
My father looked at me in surprise.
Next to me, Rei buried her head in her hands.

“Claire… I’m understanding of your kindness, but there’s no reason to defend someone like―”
“Father, I ask for your silence.
Even if you may be my father, I won’t forgive you if you degrade Lene any further.”

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Unable to contain my anger when my father tried to continue his assault on Lene, I lashed out.
Overpowered by my aggressiveness, my father momentarily held his tongue and I continued.

“It is true that what Lene has done isn’t something that can be forgiven.
It is just as you say.
However, she was acting under duress and bore her own pains…”

The suffering she experienced as a result of falling for her own brother was hers and hers alone.
Even I could not fathom what she may have gone through.
It was simply egotistical for someone to talk about her suffering as if they knew it all.

“Lene has received her punishment.
There’s no need for any more than that.
To me, even now… She remains very precious.”

Lene betrayed me.
She chose Lambert over me.
Even so.
Even then, she remained my precious servant――No, more than that, she was something like a sister to me.

And yet―

“Claire, your way of thinking is inappropriate as a noble.
Correct your way of thinking.”

My father spoke in a cold voice.

“Nobles are meant to rule over others.
Compassion is but a means to that end, there is no room for you to wallow in your sentimentality.”
“I am not wallowing in―!”
“Then answer me, just what do you gain by offering compassion to a servant who’s betrayed you? If the other nobles were to hear what you said just now, what would come of it?”

I tripped over my own words.
This was no longer a conversation.
I had let my emotions get the better of me and spoken out, but my father spoke following the logical principles that a noble must.
Those two things were, at least most of the time, mutually exclusive, and at the end of the day it was clear which I should be acting upon.

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“Claire, it is my prayer that you will not disappoint me.”
“Your response?”
“… I understand.”

I just barely managed to form a response.
I felt as though I was tearing myself apart in regret, but there was nothing that I could say.
After all, I was a noble.
The only thing that had allowed me to live as I had until now was my status as nobility.
And yet, to only cast that aside when it was convenient for me was far too irresponsible.

My father was correct.
I knew that I was in the wrong.
My head drooped and I faced downward.

It was then―


I fleetingly sent my glance toward Rei.
Within a blindspot that my father wouldn’t see, she was holding my hand..
The gentleness and the warmth that I felt from it nearly brought me to tears.
I firmly reciprocated, squeezing her hand which gently enveloped mine.

I wasn’t able to put anything into words… But for us, right now, even without words… It had certainly been conveyed.

Translator Note: It’s really touching how this chapter parallels with and answers what Rei was thinking in her version of the chapter ;~;

Also I know he can’t show it because Dor is still putting up that front, but deep down I think he’s actually be proud of Claire for being able to think this way…!

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