Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 10: Steps to the Royal Capital
During the eve of the memorial, it was customary for the participants to fast in honor of the spirit of the soldiers who may have died without a proper meal while protecting the country. The day before the service, the archbishop would lead a morning prayer, and everyone would retire to their rooms early after lunch.
Leorino, who was seated alongside his family throughout the prayer service, was not allowed to join the other guests during their meal and ate with his brother, Gauff, in their family dining room instead. Since Gauff was the third son of Count Augustus and would be turning eighteen at the end of the year, he was closest in age to Leorino. Thus, it was easier for them to talk about anything and everything.
Gauff was aiming to become a knight and would be graduating from the royal capital’s academy soon. Once knighted, he would serve the highest of nobles and felt compelled to tell his youngest brother stories of the capital and the people who lived there. He informed Leorino of the history and personality of each of their guests to remind him to mind his manners and not to offend them.
Of all the things that Gauff told Leorino, it was the fact that Prime Minister Marshall Vinter was a survivor from the battle at Zwölink, which caught Leorino by surprise. The prime minister was once a member of the royal army’s special task force, and together with Deputy General Lucas Brandt, was dispatched and led to defend Zwölink by the king’s brother, General Gravis.
Vinter was severely injured during the battle and was thus relieved of his military duties once the fighting was over. Soon after his dismissal, Vinter became a civil officer and slowly climbed his way up to his current position as the prime minister.
On the other hand, Deputy General1 Brandt and his commander went on a rampage after reclaiming Zwölink and successfully eradicated the enemy’s army. They were also the most involved in officiating the ceasefire treaty with Zwölf. Even to this day, they were the two most well known generals in the history of the royal army.
“The king’s brother… Does that mean the current general was the same one in charge of reclaiming the citadel?” Leorino asked, making sure he had heard his brother correctly.
“Yes. It is said that his royal highness possesses a mysterious power greater than anyone else in the royal family,” Gauff explained, sounding more fascinated than Leorino on the subject. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s said that because of that, they were able to arrive at Zwölink in just a day. Normally, it would take two weeks of travel on the fastest horse at full speed to get there. But, thanks to that power, they were able to successfully eliminate all of Fanoren’s enemies in one fell swoop.”
“He’s amazing!” Leorino exclaimed in admiration, clearly enthralled with the topic they were discussing. “I wonder what kind of power his royal highness has? Brother! Aren’t we part of the country’s nobility too? Do you think we might have some kind of special power ourselves?”
“Nobility, you say?” Gauff snickered at his brother’s seemingly innocent question. “I’ll have you know, since you may not be aware of it because Father’s so humble, the Cashew family is the second most respected noble family in all of Fanoren, right after the dukes.”
“No, I already knew that,” Leorino replied dryly. “What I meant is… mother is part of the royal family too. Though she may not have any kind of special ability herself, what about father, or even Oriano and Yohan, or you, Gauff? Do you have any kind of mysterious power like his royal highness?”
I wish I also had some sort of power that I could use to help people or to fight, thought Leorino, lost in fantasy like any other boy his age.
“Well, mother does have some sort of power,” Gauff stated matter-of-factly.
“Really!? I didn’t know that!” Leorino exclaimed in shock.
“It’s not all that useful, but she’s of royal blood after all,” Gauff explained, making sure his younger brother understood what exactly he was saying “I heard that mother’s ability speeds up one’s recovery from illness or injury a little faster than usual.”
“The fact that I talked lowly of Mother just now… I’m the worst! I didn’t know about that… not one bit. Why didn’t anyone tell me?” Leorino asked, feeling guilty for the thoughtless remarks he made to her in the past. This information made him more aware of the fact that he didn’t really know much about anything at all.
“I didn’t know about it either,” Gauff admitted to Leorino, trying to help lift his brother’s mood. “I only learned about it because I was injured once and Mother had to treat me. She healed my injury faster than any doctor or medicine could have.”
“Wow! That’s so amazing! I want to try it too!”
“Do you understand what you’re saying, you dolt? I was injured, Rino. Injured. It wasn’t pleasant,” Gauff reminded Leorino of the most important fact he seemed to be overlooking. “Besides, it’s already bad enough for someone like you, who’s less able to fend for themself than anyone else, to catch a cold. Not only that, I can’t even imagine you getting hurt. You don’t go outside to play with the other boys or play pranks like they do, and as such, I bet you’ve never even gotten hurt once. I doubt you’ll ever have to experience real pain in your lifetime2,” Gauff teased.
“It’s Leo, not Rino, and it’s not that I don’t want to go outside or play pranks, it’s that I can’t. If I went and ripped any of my clothes, Mom would never let me hear the end of it,” Leorino said a little too informally, momentarily forgetting the fact that he was supposed to address his parents as “Mother” and “Father” like his older brothers did.
“Well, anyway, that’s what Mother’s power is. Be sure not to let just anyone know about it. I can’t even imagine what kind of power his majesty’s brother has,” Gauff said, returning back to their earlier conversation.
Leorino’s eyes widened in wonder. “But he brought the royal army to Zwölink at such an incredible speed. He must be really strong!”
“You’re absolutely right. If I ever have the chance, I’d like to see him use it with my own two eyes,” Gauff agreed excitedly, inspiring even Leorino to want to one day meet his royal highness, General Gravis, just to see if he could ask him to show off that mysterious power in secret.
“Won’t the general be coming to the memorial service?” Leorino asked.
“As far as I know, the general won’t be attending the memorial service this year—no, wait,” Gauff corrected himself, “it’s more like he’s never attended any of the honorary ceremonies since the end of the war.”
Leorino tilted his head to the side in confusion. “Why is that? Isn’t he the one responsible for reclaiming Zwölink?” The question left Gauff to wonder the answer too. Even the king of Fanoren attended as many of the memorial services as his schedule allowed, but why his brother, the general, never did, not even once, was truly a mystery.
Does he not want to be revered as a hero? Hm, I don’t know what to think of this. Leorino’s purple eyes flickered with a tinge of sadness as he thought of all the reasons why the general never attended the memorial service for the Flame of the Fallen and murmured to himself, “I want to meet you, but why won’t you come, General Gravis?”