After going through the huge stack of paperwork on his desk, Lucius Richternach returned home. Just as he changed from his uniform into some casual clothes, an unexpected visitor appeared before the gate’s of his mansion.
“–Costacurta… so he’s Valeria’s relative?”
“I think he’s her father.”
Tira, who’d been working in the Richternach mansion since she was young, said with hints of disgust. In actuality, she wasn’t really disgusted; it was just that she was too overly serious with everything. Lucius, who’d grew up with her, was very aware of this point.
Wrapped in his sleeping robe and about to jump into bed, Lucius said quietly:
“I think mother’s going to be staying overnight at the Magic Academy tonight-”
“Lucius-sama, I’ve already told Valeria’s father that Orvieto-sama isn’t currently at home, but he keeps on insisting that he wants to come in and see you…”
“Hmmm… I think I know why he’s here… It’s fine, let him in.”
Tying up his long silver hair that he’d just let loose into a ponytail, Lucius walked towards the living room.
When mother wasn’t home, Lucius was the master, the host of the mansion. It wouldn’t to make visitors wait. After ordering his maids to prepare a few glasses of red wine for the meeting ahead, he sat down on a comfy chair to wait for Tira to bring Valeria’s father in.
Valeria’s father, who’d appeared together with Tira, said with a wretched face. He was so loud that it was bordering close to a shout.
“My daughter! M-m-my daughter! The hope of our Costacurta family…!”
Faced with a man in so much of a panic that he couldn’t speak properly, Lucius could do nothing but give a wry smile.
“Costacurta-sama, please calm down…”
With a smooth, practiced motion, Lucius gave a hand gesture for Valeria’s father to sit down on the sofa.
“Please, be my guest.”
Wetting his lips with the glass of red wine in front of him on the coffee table, Borja finally calmed himself down. Sighing, he said:
“I’m really sorry, to have you see me in such a crazed fervor…”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. I don’t mind. But there’s something I want to ask you first, and that’s… what’s with that very conspicuous piece of plaster on your head?”
“Aha, i-i-it’s… I’ll tell you later, if you don’t mind.”
“Right — if you don’t mind me asking this, but why do you want to visit my mother so late in the evening? Mother’s been pretty busy with her work at the Magic Academy lately, so I don’t know when she’ll be coming back.”
“I needed to see the Academy Headmaster for help! Since she’s not here, I can only ask Lucius-sama for help!”
Avoiding the patch of his head covered in plaster, Borja wiped the sweat off his forehead.
“From what you’ve said just now… this is about your daughter, right?”
“Yes! My daughter Valeria! Lucius-sama, do you know where my daughter has gone?”
“Where she’s gone…?”
“She left home really early in the morning today to God knows where… Apparently, the Academy headmaster had given her a secret mission, so I was hoping you’d know where she’d gone off to.”
“Secret mission, huh…?”
Lucius crossed his arms in front of his chest and nodded his head slightly.
“–Even though Orvieto is my mother, in public, she’s the Headmaster of the Magic Academy, and I’m the Vice-Captain of the Seal Knight Corps. Even if we’re mother and son, there are many things that we cannot tell each other. That’s why t I didn’t know that your daughter had been sent off on a secret mission until you told me just now, so I’m really sorry Borja-san, I really don’t know where she’s gone off to.”
“Did your daughter not tell you anything at all?”
“Y-y-yeah! She only told me that she was going off on a secret mission, so when I tried to stop her from leaving, she blasted me with magic–”
“Blasted you with magic?”
“Well, not directly… She blasted the tree next to me, causing a branch to snap, and crack! It crashed onto my head!”
“Oh, so that’s why you’ve got plaster on your head.”
Because he was knocked out on the spot after being hit by the branch, by the time he woke up, it was already dusk, and his daughter had long left the mansion already.
Lucius wanted to laugh after hearing Borja speak of his ordeal, but managed to repress his desire to do so.
Wanting to comfort Borja, he said “The mission was supposed to be secret, but your daughter still mentioned it to you. Isn’t that her unique way of caring for you?”
“If she really cared about me, she would’ve listened to me and refused to go on that secret mission! A-a-also, at that moment in time I was unconscious on the floor!”
“But if she did that, she’d be disobeying the Magic Academy’s order. Because of her new status as a Dominas, she can’t do so. And also, wasn’t becoming a Dominas your daughter’s dream since she was young?”
“That I know of…”
Borja said whilst sipping from his glass of red wine. Even though it wasn’t brandy or some sort of very fiery and powerful alcoholic beverage, he was drinking the red wine too fast. Not long after, he started complaining once again.
“I understand that you’re worried about your daughter, but her selection as a Dominas proves that she has both the ability and power to live up to her status. Not to mention that she’s a genius in magic that only appears once every ten years.”
“But she’s still a child! A little girl!”
“She’s got the ability and power to take care of herself. Nothing bad will happen to her.”
“Borja-san, I’m very curious as to why you’re so opposed to Valeria becoming a Dominas?”
Borja retracted his hand that was about to grab his glass of wine on the coffee table, then looked at Lucius with pleading eyes.
“Please leave us alone for while.”
Tira, who was by Borja’s side pouring red wine into his glass for him, gave a deep bow of respect and left the living room. Upon hearing the loud and heavy noise of the door closing, Borja started speaking in a low and quiet voice:
“… to be honest, I’m very opposed to Valeria becoming a Dominas, because all I want her to do is find a good husband and continue the Costacurta family bloodline.”
“I remember you only have–”
“One child. Valeria. Because her mother had a very weak body…”
Although the Costacurta family had lost its former power and glory, it had married into the Royal Family at one point in time, so it was still one of the oldest and most prominent families in the whole of the Kingdom. One of the major problems they currently faced was the headache of continuing on their bloodline. Even Lucius himself was facing this dilemma, because he was Orvieto’s only son and had to marry a women one day to continue on the Richternach family’s bloodline.
“I’ve heard that Dominas’ had to serve the country for a term of 9 years before retirement. Once Valeria retires from being a Dominas, she would be 25. Also, her Hiera Glaphicos is a young male, so I’m afraid that it’d leave a bad impression on people…”
“Oh, so that’s why…”
Putting down his glass of wine on the coffee table, Borja spoke with trembling hands:
“–I’ve heard that my daughter’s Hiera Glaphicos was handpicked by the Academy Headmaster, and that he’s a member of the Richternach family.”
“You’re right. His name is Dimitar.”
“Since there was nothing I can do to change Valeria’s mind, I wanted to find a Hiera Glaphicos who’s capable of protecting her from harm… and that was what I requested of Orvieto-sama. Sigh… Lucius-sama, it shames me to say this, but the words I’m going to say next may be very rude…”
“It’s fine. Please continue.”
“About Dimitar-san… I’ve heard nothing but bad rumours about him.”
“But aren’t they just rumours?”
Faced with Borja’s serious expression, Lucius laughed:
“Dimitar… Even though Di’s still young, he’s a man who’s undergone many hardships. He has a great sense of responsibility, knows when to go forward and when to retreat, and has great swordsmanship and magic ability. To be frank, he is the person most suitable for being your daughter’s bodyguard.”
“The reason why you’re hearing so many bad rumours about him is because Di is rude, and has many enemies because of that. But, when Di was appointed as Valeria’s Hiera Glaphicos, I told him that he had to protect Valeria no matter what. I told him that.”
Unable to decipher the meaning behind Lucius’ words, Borja knit his eyebrows together in confusion.
“–I’ve told Di that he had to protect Valeria at any cost, and he agreed, so he’ll do everything he can to protect her from harm. He’s just that type of person. Won’t go back on anything he’s promised to do. Also, he won’t do anything bad or harmful to your daughter, because I’ve told him not to as well.”
It was at this point that Lucius realised that all he’d been doing was repeat what he’d said whilst smiling.
Even with Lucius’ assurances, Borja’s facial expression remained serious and unconvinced. He didn’t know himself what type of person Dimitar was, so as a father who was very worried for his daughter, it was perfectly justifiable that he would remain unconvinced by Lucius’ words of assurance.
“… Costacurta-sama, I trust Dimitar in keeping your daughter safe, so can you have faith in me?”
“Mn… since Lucius-sama places so much trust on Dimitar…”
“Please don’t worry.”
Taking advantage of Borja’s hesitation, Lucius continued to speak:
“I’ll tell my subordinates to investigate where your daughter’s gone off to. And if anything happens to your daughter… trust me, I won’t let her die.”
“Lucius-sama… you’re willing to help me?”
“Yes. Because your daughter and I aren’t complete strangers, and my little brother Dimitar is participating in the secret mission as well.”
“Thankyou, Lucius-sama! I leave my daughter’s safety in your hands!”
Borja finally relaxed his body, which was previously stiff with tension and wracked nerves. So nervous before that his butt wasn’t even touching the couch, he sank down like a stone into the sofa.
“Since Lucius-sama has already agreed to my request, I won’t ask for more now — I’m very sorry for disturbing you so late in the evening.”
“Hahaha, it’s fine, it’s fine, please rest assured that I’ll do everything within my ability to ensure that your daughter doesn’t come to harm.”
It was almost about time for Borja to leave, so Lucius poured him one last glass of wine.
“Lucius-sama, I’ll take my leave now.”
Borja, who’d finished that last glass of wine, stood up, said his goodbyes, and left for home a different man. In high spirits, he was obviously pleased with how the meeting had went.
“Ahhh, so tough to deal with… no wonder Valeria finds him annoying and aggravating.”
Lucius sat down on the sofa once again. Lifting up the wine bottle to see how much red wine was left, he put it to his mouth, about to gulp down the remaining contents.
“There’s something I want to tell you.”
“Don’t copy Dimitar-sama and drink like that.”
“There’s nothing wrong with drinking directly from the bottle. When the Seal Knights Corps are off on an expedition–”
“Young master, you must remember that the mansion is not a battle zone.”
Tira snatched the wine bottle from Lucius’ hands, then poured the remaining red wine into Lucius’ wineglass.
Lucius shrugged his shoulders, and chugged down all the wine in the wineglass in one go.
“– I’m sure the Royal Palace will issue an official statement on what’s happening in Seriba very soon… Seem’s like the trouble there won’t be resolved in one or two days.”
“There’s a chance they’ll send out the Seal Knights Corps–?”
“No, none at all. The Seal Knights Corps exists only to protect The Demon’s Seal, and because they’re only comprised of naive and airheaded young nobles, there’s no chance in hell they’d be able to suppress a rebellion, an uprising. However, I can’t just sit back and watch because of that.”
After Tira retired to her bedchamber, Lucius stood up and walked towards the window. Looking out, he readjusted his sleeping robe so that it wouldn’t fall off.
“Hmmm… Let’s not think about why mother approved of it first. What does Isaac have in mind, sending Valeria and Dimitar to Seriba?”