Chapter 90: The Beginning of a Noble Girl
My first impression was that he was a nasty fellow.
「Today is Miss Fitis’ tenth birthday. 」
「We expect a bright future for you as the daughter of the Coral House. 」
My family was a fairly well-known aristocratic family, and I was born as their heir. In this era, heirs were those who inherited the leading position regardless of whether they were male or female.
That’s why I learned the proper behavior and dignity as an heiress.
I was a naive girl who didn’t know anything other than that and had never achieved anything on my own.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but now that I remembered those times, I was bored and depressed.
I just walked the path that was prepared for me from the time I was born, and I wondered if it was okay for me to live a life that would be admired just because I was a noble.
My father firmly believed in that foundation.
All he cared was the title of nobility he was born with, and he saw no value in anything other than having me inherit his family line.
The role that my father expected me to do was to make a blood relationship by becoming engaged with someone from a royal family.
In other words, it was to secure a position in the aristocratic society, and for that reason, he used my birthday party to invite certain royals.
「This is the royal family of Alburs. We have been waiting for you. 」
At that time, it was a group of imperial aristocrats from Alburs, which was still a small country.
The sons who were considered to be the next Emperor’s candidates were gathered in my party, and there were several young men and children of the same age as me.
「Duke Coral, I’ve heard of your successes in the last few years. Recently, there have been more and more brave men rising up due to the Hero System, but in this world, the position which we were born with is everything, and we nobles are the future. In order to prosper for eternity, I would like you to lend me your power.」
「I know what you mean. However, in order for our Coral family to build a deeper relationship with the Alburs Empire…」
「Yes, and that’s also part of our consideration. That’s why I brought my son to ask the hand your daughter like this. 」
I didn’t quite understand it at the time, but a slightly older boy, who was standing next to me while his father was talking with my parents, opened his mouth.
「Oh, I see. Are you Miss Fitis, the heiress of the Coral family? 」
When I remembered it, I felt annoyed since his gaze looked like his was judging me.
Even more annoying were the remarks he made after that.
「It seems you have a good social status. Since you were born as the daughter of an aristocratic family, you didn’t have any hardships growing up, and here you are, celebrating your birthday with a party full of luxury. I wonder how much of the citizens’ blood tax has been paid for this useless party of yours.」
Even now, I could still remember how the atmosphere in the room froze as even people who seemed to be his parents opened their mouths in amazement.
I spoke back without thinking.
「Wha…What are you saying all of a sudden! Disrespectful! There’s no reason for you to say such abusive things on my birthday!」
「Well, I certainly don’t blame you. You were just lucky… Unfortunately, you were born as a noble’s daughter. It wastes all the talent that should be honed by hard work. I just thought it looks deplorable. 」
What was this guy talking about?
Was he unhappy to have been born into a noble family? I just wanted to yell at him and insult him. But I pinched my mouth because I was in public.
「I’m here today to get engaged to you. Unfortunately, I, as the future emperor, have no intention of concluding an engagement with you. There is no talent without any hard work, and that power is not polished. You just have the decoration from the aristocracy of the old age. I don’t need that kind of thing. In the future, only human beings who can shine with their own power will be the jewels that are needed. Right now I can’t find any value in you. Simply put, I am disappointed in you. 」
This was the first time since I’ve met someone who was disappointed in me.
What an arrogant and cocky guy he was.
From now on, no matter what happened, I decided to make this guy my enemy.
But at the same time, I made a vow.
I was not going to be a woman who was looked down on by such a person as him. So I shouted loudly.
「There’s no reason for you to be disappointed! I’ll use my own strength to obtain the title and position that I deserve! Just wait and watch! I’ll do it! And I’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with someone whom I deserve and doesn’t compare me to a piece of trash! I will not be someone who’ll look down on people like you! When I become someone worthy of my title, I’ll return the words you just said!」
When I said those words, I thought, “I messed up” upon hearing the noisy voices around me, but at the same time, I was terribly refreshed. It seemed that the gloomy feeling that I had been hiding in my heart until then had disappeared.
Looking at me like that, the boy smiled for the first time and said while looking down on me as usual.
「Then, at the most, it’s about polishing yourself. If you become worthy of being the fiancée of an emperor in the future, I’ll welcome you. 」
「I refuse!! 」
Even now, when I thought about it, it just made me angry, and I definitely didn’t want to get along with that man.
Yet, there was one thing I was grateful to that man for.
If it hadn’t been for that guy’s rudeness, I would have lived a miserable life just by walking on the path I was born with.
As a result, through my encounter with him, I obtained the title of Gourmet Hero through my own strength and experience, a title that was more powerful than the title I was born with as a noble.
That was the story of my unpleasant encounter with him.
I snuggled up to the window and looked at the sky.
It was cloudy like yesterday. Still, I made a wish to that sky.
At the very least, I hoped that Lord Kyou and the others were safe.
「You don’t seem to have an appetite as usual, Fitis. 」
When I heard that voice, the door opened, and from behind it appeared the Emperor Hero Rostam.
He muttered as he looked at the nearly untouched food on the table.
「…That bad food is not even worth eating. I’m the Gourmet Hero, I’m picky about food. 」
Above all, compared to the monsters raised by Lord Kyou, the difference was like between heaven and earth.
I noticed that my sense of taste had evolved more than before. On the contrary, it was a bit regrettable that I couldn’t eat bad things anymore.
「I see. I’m sorry about that. As expected, there is nothing in our country that can match the ingredients of that Cultivation Hero.」
Did he read it in my heart?
I decided to ignore him by not replying.
「A full-scale confrontation with the Demon King’s army will soon begin. Our army has already formed a position in front of the Demon King’s Castle, and we will wait for tomorrow’s order to launch an all-out attack at once. If the Demon King’s army disappears from this continent, we humans will be able to live with a peace of mind. I will be able to hunt monsters more freely than before. 」
「Is that so? 」
I wondered if it was going to be annihilated.
When I was thinking, a smile appeared on the Emperor’s lips as if he had read that too.
「Even so, tomorrow’s decisive battle will probably not be a battle at the Demon King’s Castle, but a fierce battle at this Imperial Castle. 」
What was this guy talking about?
I turned to Rostam, and there was a boy’s smile filled with anticipation, as if he had found something interesting, which was rare for him.
「As expected of Kyou, he’s the one who’s going straight to me without giving up. His temperament is truly that of a hero. That’s why it won’t make sense if I don’t face him with all my might. 」
「…Is Lord Kyou safe? 」
Rostam quietly nodded at my question.
「He is fine. And maybe he’ll be here tomorrow to settle things with me. I want to settle things with him as well. 」
「… Lord Kyou will? 」
Was he coming to save me? Was it also for Lily’s sake, or was it to defeat this Emperor?
No, it was probably all of them. Lord Kyou was the one who had finally embraced all of that unreasonableness and was finally able to get rid of his uneasiness.
Looking at my smile, Rostam also smiled happily.
「Don’t worry, Fitis. No matter what the outcome of tomorrow’s battle is, you’ll be free once that’s done. When that time arrives, you can leave this castle, go to Kyou, and do whatever you want. 」
When Rostam tried to leave after saying that, I was taken aback and stopped him.
「Wa…Wait a second. Wasn’t that your goal? To make me yours? …Even so, if you use your powers, you can do whatever you want… 」
Rostam replied to my question as if it was obvious.
「What are you talking about? It’s wrong to take what I want by force. Above all, I should have said it long ago. If you were a woman suitable for me, then I would be engaged to you. However, you’re “unsuitable for me” given the circumstances. 」
After saying that remark, Rostam tried to leave through the door.
I realized the true meaning of his statement, but at that time, I asked another question that caught my attention.
「Wait. Break off the engagement…is your brother aware of that? 」
In response to my question, Rostam looked at me with a puzzled look for the first time.
「? Why is brother’s name mentioned here? 」
「Eh…? Because you, at that time… 」
I was confused after hearing Rostam’s reply.
After Rostam stared at me for a while, he turned his back on me and walked out of the door.
As I stared at the door where Rostam had disappeared, I began to notice something.
「…Rostam. You, could it be… 」