He and the Report 2
I went over Princess Ophelia’s personality traits from my point of view – her appearance and manner of speech.
Then I gave my conclusion.
“And therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that her tastes would differ from those of an ordinary woman. For the sake of the princess’s happiness, I believe we should listen to Lidi, her close friend. Lidi has visited the princess’s room and thus understands her preferences well.”
Both the Prime Minister and my father looked convinced by my reasoning.
“I see. Using that logic, it’s certainly better to do as His Highness says.”
“Speaking of which, Lidi is very eager, so I think she’ll be happy if you talk to her.”
“… I’m sure. I can already see it.”
The Prime Minister smiled wryly. He seemed to understand his daughter’s personality well.
Ending the topic of Irvine, the Prime Minister said, “Then onto the next agenda,” and looked at Alex with a slight smile.
Having guessed from just that what the next conversation would be about, Alex grimaced. Still, he managed to compose himself somehow.
“Father… Isn’t this enough? You acknowledge Cain, don’t you?”
“Those are separate matters entirely. There’s something else I need to confirm.”
“Confirm? What else is there to confirm?”
The Prime Minister stared in astonishment at Alex who really didn’t seem to understand. Then he turned to me.
“Your Highness. The man of the Hiyuma clan who introduced himself as ‘Cain’ some time ago is entirely the same man from Sahaja called ‘Red Shinigami’ – isn’t that right?”
I could only smile wryly at his perceptiveness.
It was just too on the nose. However, it’s not like I hate that part of him.
“Yes, he is.”
“I didn’t want to say it in front of my daughter and the Queen, but no matter how you phrase it, I’m going to have an issue with my daughter’s bodyguard being an assassin from Sahaja. Of course, I don’t intend to oppose Your Highness’s approval, however, as a parent…”
“Former. Prime Minister, Cain has already left the assassination business. He’s now Lidi’s loyal subordinate.”
No, it would be more correct to call him Lidi’s devoted companion.
I approved of placing Cain at Lidi’s side not only because of his ability, but because of how loyal he was to his chosen master – Lidi.
No matter who would betray her, Cain alone will unfailingly remain as Lidi’s ally. It was something that I couldn’t understate as there’d be many times where I’d need to leave my wife alone.
“Is that so… Then one more thing. Does Lidi know? Does my daughter know that the man who serves her is a former assassin – moreover one skilled enough to earn an epithet?”
The Prime Minister asked in a firm voice. I nodded to him.
“Of course. It was with this information that Lidi and I both decided to place him at her side.”
When I declared that, the Prime Minister looked at me intently and then exhaled.
“So she knew. I understand. In that case, I have nothing more to say. He’s a person who earned the name ‘Red Shinigami’. His ability is absolute, so he’s just the right escort for my daughter, who often goes gallivanting around town.”
Apparently, I managed to convince him.
While I wondered if all fathers worry about their daughters like this, I was happy to see that Lidi was loved.
The Prime Minister then turned to his son.
Alex faltered when the Prime Minister’s gaze pierced him.
“You’re next. What do you mean, you are friends with him? You call, amongst your close companions, a former assassin? You, the heir to the distinguished ducal house Vivoir?”
Alex looked uncomfortable, but after hearing the Prime Minister’s words, his face turned serious.
He straightened himself and stared back at his father.
“Yes, indeed. Cain is my dear friend. He’s no different from Will or Glenn. I’m delighted to have become friends with him.”
The Prime Minister silently stared at Alex. The pressure was tremendous, but Alex didn’t yield.
Instead, he pressed further.
“No matter what Father says, I have no intention of backing down. Cain is my friend.”
The Prime Minister said nothing. He just looked at Alex. Perhaps his gaze was harsh, as while Alex didn’t avert his eyes, he continued on fretfully.
“That’s why, even if I’m told to stop associating with him, I–“
“Your façade is about to break, Alex. If you’re going to keep it up half-heartedly, just stop. Besides, nobody is telling you to stop associating with him.”
“Huh… You aren’t?”
Alex returned to his frivolous tone, perhaps finding it too difficult to keep up his façade after it got called out.
He looked suspicious of the Prime Minister’s true intentions.
“It’s certainly an unlikely friendship considering your respective standings. However, if you say you’re serious, I won’t stop you. Friends aren’t determined by status. I have no reason to interfere if you intend to continue to associate with him after learning everything. However, be mindful of yourself. I forbid you from using the power of our ducal house to intercede on his behalf. Do you understand?”
Alex firmly nodded to the Prime Minister.
“Understood. I swear.”
“Then it’s fine. Good grief… Why are both you and Lidi like this? Lidi tamed the former assassin of the Hiyuma clan, and you call that man a friend. Isn’t there something to calm me down before I get an ulcer…”
I felt terribly sorry for the Prime Minister as he frowned. Perhaps my father felt the same, since he looked at the Prime Minister with pity.
“I apologize for showing Your Majesty something unsightly.”
“I don’t mind, I wanted to hear about the relationship between your children and the man called Cain as well. You purposely brought it up here to show it, right?”
“What else do we have to talk about?”
“Nothing in particular right now. Wait, no, there’s one more matter I need to confirm. Alex, does anybody else know about Cain of the Hiyuma clan?”
“No idea if they know he’s a Hiyuma, but Glenn and Will know about the black-eyed Cain. Also, Freed openly introduced him as Lidi’s bodyguard in Irvine, so everybody who was with us in Irvine also knows.”
“There’s Sion too. He saw Cain with red eyes, so there’s a possibility he might’ve guessed his identity.”
Before I married Lidi, I brought him to where she and Sion were taking a walk together. It was then that Cain appeared in front of Sion.
Knowing Sion, he should be able to guess Cain’s identity after seeing his red eyes. When I mentioned it, my father and the Prime Minister nodded. While stroking his beard as per usual, my father said.
“Hm. That is to say, there’s only one person other than you who knows his true identity, hm? Then there’s no need to explicitly announce who he is. It’s enough to notify the princess’s entourage that he’s her bodyguard.”
“Is that fine?”
“Since, as we know, the princess is his chosen master, so we’re better off avoiding doing anything unnecessary. That’s all.”
My father’s words were convincing. Although Cain said that he didn’t care about his identity being known, he didn’t say a word about coming under our authority. He only obeyed Lidi, and only she should decide how to treat him.
“Indeed. It’s better that way.”
“Let’s leave the rest to the princess. We just need to know that such an experienced individual is working for the princess.”
The Prime Minister nodded to my father’s words. Then, my father looked at me.
“That’s the end of our meeting. Freed, you must be tired having just returned to our country. You have the day off today and tomorrow, so rest well.”
I wasn’t particularly fatigued, but it’s true that I wanted to take it slow for just a little while, so I gratefully accepted.
Alex’s eyes sparkled.
“Seriously? Then that must mean I’m getting time off, too! Hooray!”
“Alex, I have a personal assignment for you. If you’re free, finish that first.”
Alex’s eyes widened from the unexpected betrayal by his father.
“You’re kidding… No rest for me?”
“You can rest as much as you want once you’ve finished. I understand that you need rest too.”
“… There’s a limit to short lived joy. Old man, just one question, will the amount of work leave me any time to rest?”
“Now that depends on you.”
Alex groaned and stamped his feet.
“Invariably, the workload won’t leave me any time to myself at all!!”
The Prime Minister just laughed without answering. However, the lack of answer was itself the answer to Alex’s question.
“This is the worst!!”
While listening to Alex’s cries, I was incidentally thinking of going to look for Lidi, since I finally had time off myself.