Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 208 – What to Ask from a Rare Person: In the Case of Mother-in-Law
After the dinner was over, Archbishop Deckard returned with High Priestess Katerina to the guest room that had been prepared for them. The dinner was a great success, I would say, as they seemed to be satisfied with the food and my talk.
“Thanks for your hard work. Kosuke-sama. You must be tired of talking, too, right?”
“Yes, a little.”
After all, Archbishop Deckard asked me to talk not only about my original world but also about the history from the time I came to this world to the present. How many times have I told you the story of my life up to now? You must be getting used to it by now. Should I take some training as a storyteller?
“It was very interesting to see the difference between the story from Sylphiel’s point of view and your own.”
“Uh, yes. Thank you for that.”
After dinner, it would normally be a relaxing time to take a bath and talk with Sylphy and the others over drinks, but today, for some reason, I am having drinks with my mother-in-law ── in other words, Seraphita-sama. Sylphy, Isla, the Harpies, Melty, and Grande are all absent today.
What in the world is this situation? What am I supposed to do?
Sylphy asked me to sit down with her mother after dinner today, and in the blink of an eye, this table was set up for me.
Even though she is Sylphy’s mother ── in other words, my mother-in-law ── it was almost as if we were meeting for the first time. She is so young that she looks almost the same age as Sylphy. I was at a loss as to how I should treat her.
“Um, it’s a little weird or uncomfortable for me to be called with the suffix ‘sama’ by my mother-in-law, Seraphita-sama, isn’t it?”
When I said this to Seraphita-sama, who was about to say something, she looked at me with a puzzled expression and then giggled like a little girl. Oh no, she’s so cute. I’m going to have a crush on her even though the other party is Sylphy’s mother and also a married woman.
“Fufu, I feel the same way when you, my son-in-law and a rare person, address me as ‘sama’ too, don’t you?”
“No, it’s just that, Seraphita-sama is a queen, isn’t she?”
“If you say that, Kosuke-sama is also a rare person, isn’t he? Then let’s just call each other by ‘san’ or something. Wouldn’t that be better?”
It is hard to say no when you are told so with a soft smile. I don’t know if I should call it overflowing softness or nobility… but for some reason, there is something irresistible about Seraphita-san’s words.
“So, I have a question for you, Kosuke-san.”
“Yes, what is it?”
The first time I saw Seraphita-san’s serious expression, which was completely different from the cheerful one she had just shown, I straightened my back too.
“What are you going to do with us, Kosuke-san?”
“What am I going to do, you ask…?”
It’s difficult for me to say. I have no intention of doing anything about it. It really bothers me when people talk about me as if I have the authority to make such decisions.
“I have no intention of doing anything about it myself… but what I would like you to do is to stay close to Sylphy. Sylphy has lived this far in order to see Seraphita-san and her family again. I think Sylphy should have a happy ending after all she has accomplished after all her hardships.”
This is unquestionably my true intention. She was a young girl when she left her country, learned of the destruction of her homeland while staying there, spent her childhood with a fierce desire for vengeance against the Holy Kingdom that had done it, and then found me and her true intentions were fulfilled. No, it is being accomplished. She should be rewarded accordingly.
“I don’t mean that you should give up your own will and live for Sylphy. But at least don’t do anything that will make her sad.”
I have not spent so much time with Seraphita-san, but apparently, I have sensed a strange kind of fragility toward her since our first meeting. Would it be better to say that I feel an atmosphere as if she would disappear at any moment if she is touched?
“What do you want to do, Seraphita-san?”
“What do you mean by what I want to do…?”
She peered intently into the cup she held with both hands. What do her eyes see in the honey wine in the cup?
“What am I to do?”
She raised her gaze from the cup and turned her slightly unfocused eyes toward me. Is this the same person who just smiled at me like a little girl? Her eyes are endlessly dark as if she is exhausted from everything.
“Is it okay to lose a country, lose a husband, cause misery to many people, send them to their deaths, and live in comfort without being punished? I am…”
Seraphita-san dropped her gaze into her cup again and fell silent. Oh… how should I speak to her? Isn’t it a little too hard for me to somehow cheer up a woman in such a state?
“I don’t mean to sound cold, but if you are talking about the responsibility for the demise of the old Merinard kingdom, I am a complete outsider, so I can’t say anything to you. When I came to this world, everything had already ended, and I did not experience the hardships caused by the fall of the old Merinard kingdom. I have a certain amount of friendship with the refugees and those who were forced to suffer under the rule of the Holy Kingdom, though.”
To be honest, this matter is out of my hands. Well, I’m sure Seraphita-san is counting on me. She must be expecting me to condemn her. I am sure that Sylphy will not punish Seraphita-san because she is not the one to punish Seraphita-san. Because she has stained her hands with blood in order to save Seraphita-san. There is no way she could condemn Seraphita-san and her sisters, whom she rescued with her own hands.
What about her subordinates?
I don’t think Melty has any intention of doing so. Although she herself has not clearly stated it, I think she is probably lending a helping hand to Sylphy based on her very personal feelings toward Sylphy. Perhaps she would not force Seraphita-san to do something that Sylphy does not want. Perhaps this upsets Isla as well.
What Danan and Sir Leonard have is basically a strong feeling of hatred toward the Holy Kingdom. I have never heard them express any critical opinion of the royalty of the former Merinard kingdom. Well, they are adults. If they have such feelings, they may not be expressing them. Still, I cannot imagine them holding the royal family responsible for the fall of the former Merinard kingdom.
Ms. Zamir seems to be in a position to take a step back further. She even feels responsible for the failure to protect the royal family despite her presence. She may have a half-obsessive desire to protect the people she is supposed to protect this time around.
But now that I think of it this way, I understand a little more about what Seraphita-san is thinking.
“I am an outsider, so I can make an objective judgment and condemn Seraphita-san and the others, is that it?”
Seraphita-san nodded her head at my words.
I see. I am in trouble. I’m super confused. What in the world do you want me to do, even if I’m told to do so? What kind of punishment do you think is appropriate, even if I’m asked to condemn them?
They have ruined the country. They have made many people suffer and die. It would be an unbecoming failure for royalty. When you get right down to it, the duty of the king who rules the country and the royal family is to keep the country alive and to protect the lives and safety of the people. This is the only thing that matters. In this light, the king and queen who destroyed the former Merinard Kingdom must be culpable.
The king froze the lives and time of his wife and children in order to prevent the Holy Kingdom from gaining further power. At the cost of his own life. His plan succeeded, and he actually protected the bodies and hearts of Seraphita-san and his family until Sylphy liberated the royal castle.
However, his actions can be seen as abandoning his people in order to protect the dignity of his wife and children. What the Holy Kingdom wanted from the Merinard Kingdom was the blood of elves, who produced children with strong magical power. If only the royal family had offered its body and dignity to the Holy Kingdom, the people might have avoided being sacrificed.
From Seraphita-san’s reaction, I wonder if this idea is not far off the mark.
“…What in the world do you want me to do? Should I execute Seraphita-san and make you take responsibility for the downfall of the former Merinard Kingdom? Is that what you want me to tell Sylphy? Don’t be ridiculous.”
“You’re the only one I can ask.”
“I can’t. The reason I went through all this trouble to come here with Sylphy is to save you and make her happy. If I execute you and make Sylphy sad, it’s a complete waste of time.”
“Please, I beg you.”
“No. Don’t involve Sylphy in your guilt. If there is a punishment for you, you will have to live with that guilt for the rest of your life.”
What Seraphita-san is carrying is what is called survivor’s guilt. This is the guilt often felt by people who have miraculously survived a desperate situation such as war or a catastrophe. In some cases, it is said that mental health care is also necessary.
As I was thinking about what to do, Seraphita-san began to shed tears.
“Please… please, help me. W-what should I… do?”
I was in trouble. I’m very troubled. I am troubled when you cry. I’m so confused. Sylphy! Isla! Melty! Lime, Beth! Or worst, Poizo! Anybody, come on over! Grande is… yeah, it’s okay. Grande doesn’t have to come in these situations.
But my thoughts are not getting through, and no one is showing up. Have the heavens abandoned me? I had no choice but to get up from my seat and hug Seraphita-san’s head to my chest, just as if I was soothing Sylphy, who was in a bad mood and had been whining.
“I think it’s okay for Seraphita-san to relax her shoulders and be pampered by someone. I hate to put it this way, but the Merinard Kingdom was destroyed once, so there will be no more royalty, no more queen, no more anything. Why don’t you just leave the new Merinard Kingdom to Sylphy and live as just Seraphita-san?”
When I said that, Seraphita-san put her hands around my waist and hugged me, moving her head languidly and rubbing her face against my chest. Ah, this gesture or the way in which she pampered herself was the same as Sylphy’s. I guess that means they are mother and daughter. I guess she is much older than me, but she is no different from a child in this way.
After a while, Seraphita-san finally stopped crying and released her arms that were holding me, and removed herself from my chest. When she looked up, her eyes were red from crying, and dark circles were etched under her eyes. I wondered if she was hiding it with makeup or… maybe she had hardly slept since she woke up.
I took a clean cloth out of my inventory and wiped Seraphita-san’s face with it.
The dark circles under her eyes are thick, and her eyes are red from crying, but Seraphita-san’s face is still amazingly beautiful. In fact, her face is so swollen and red that it looks like she’s in a state of weakness, and it makes me want to protect her so badly. The other person is Sylphy’s mother. My mother-in-law. Stay put, Kosuke!
“Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? Let’s have fun without thinking too much about such negative things.”
I quickly removed myself from Seraphita-san, thinking that this was not a good idea, but as quickly as I could, I saw the hand that was extended and Seraphita-san’s lonely voice and expression… No, no, calm down. Be cool.
“I’ll go and get someone. Please wait a moment.”
With that, I turned on my heel with steel will and left the room with my back to Seraphita-san. I gently closed the door behind me and exhaled.
“You don’t push her down-nodesu?”
Then I stomped down with all my might on the green slime that had gushed out from under my feet. I knew she was definitely watching me, this jerk. I know Lime and Beth are there too, just not daring to reveal themselves, right? Come on out. I won’t get mad. Yes, I am. I lied. I’m angry. So come on out. Come out!