5. Father, Dad, and Capiko
As I waited for this depressing dinner to come to an end, I got called by my father. Father was always very busy, so he eats separately at different times. And there were lots of days where I don’t even get to see him. But to call me so soon after I returned means that he, without a doubt, already heard about my engagement cancellation.
Feeling the tension from the over-spiced baptism decrease, I led myself to my father’s office.
“It seems you have done something outrageous.”
I was greeted by a baritone voice that sounded as if it had come from the bottom of hell. One wouldn’t think that he would direct such an intimidating deep tone at his own daughter, but alas that’s my father.
The Duke of Gramwell, and the head of the family, Gardosia Gramwell.
His name gives a powerful impression, and his face, as the name suggests, was quite fierce. Objectively speaking I think that his moustache-grown features are quite well-organized. However, it’s the kind of beauty that puts people in awe and under pressure, or, in other words, make-children-cry-type of beauty.
While I’m sorry to my father, I was glad that I took after my late mother appearance-wise. My father and I only have our purple eyes in common, but I inherited my features and blond hair from my mother. It wasn’t only his features, but his eyes too were constantly sharp, and his atmosphere was very lofty. Honestly, even I, his own daughter, was a bit scared; He wasn’t the kind of person I could talk to easily.
“Leticia, are you listening? Do you understand what you have done today?”
“…… My apologies, father. I’m truly sorry about the engagement annulment and the exilement.”
Although it was the best option at the time, to listen to the crown prince’s ridiculous demands, that choice tarnished the Duke’s reputation. So, it was a given that my father was angry, and since the underlying cause of this was the discord between me and the crown prince, I had no choice but to apologize.
Father’s silence prompted me to continue and tell him in detail what occurred today. As the conversation progressed, the wrinkles between his eyebrows deepened, and it was as if I could see a dark aura emitting from his whole body.
“So, in short, your position as His Highness’s fiancée was snatched from you by a little girl who is a so-called saint?”
“…. That’s true. I’m terribly sorry for the annulment of the engagement that father worked so hard for.”
I bowed my head as I felt a sharp pain in my chest.
In the first place, it was for my father that I worked so hard to be an adequate fiancée to the crown prince. As the future crown princess, I unabashedly acquired as much knowledge, cultivated myself, and tried to deepen my relationship with Fritz.
For five years, I foolhardily underwent the princess-to-be training, in hopes to meet my father’s expectations and to be praised by him. For me, my father’s disappointment and admonishment were more painful than when I was confronted by the crown prince to break off our engagement.
“Raise your head, Leticia. You are the daughter of a Duke. Stand firm and proud.”
” …… Yes, Father.”
“As the banishment is no longer reversible, I have to find a suitable country for you to go. I’m sure it will be hectic from now on, so I probably won’t have a chance to talk to you for a while.”
“I’m sincerely sorry for causing so much trouble…”
The apology I gave to my father was from the bottom of my heart. It was because of his eyes. They were glinting sharply before, but now they looked bloodshot and strained. His face was even more intense because of that. It was a sign of overwork. And now that I remember my corporate life where my colleagues looked the same with deathly pale faces, I was certain.
“….. It’s a given that I would go that extend. I can’t have my daughter look shabby. Now that you’ve lost his highness Fritz’s favour, you can no longer show your face at the academy anymore, do you understand? It would be best for you to stay here until we can figure out where you’re going.”
“I understand. I’ll do as you say.”
“…… You don’t have to do any more crown princess training. If there are any books that catch your eye, I’ll order them. Do you desire for anything to help spend your time?”
“Do I want anything…?”
I pondered for a bit.
…….. Let’s ask earnestly, and if he rejects it, so be it.
“Father, would you allow me to enter the kitchen, please?”
“In the kitchen? What are you going to do?”
“I want to cook. Of course, I know this is an absurd request, but…. can I?”
Basically, aristocratic ladies in this country weren’t allowed in the kitchen. Aside from making tea and teacakes, few ladies cooked. That’s why, even if it was for nought, I at least expressed what I wanted.
“All right, I permit it.”
He approved it so easily that I couldn’t help but let out a sound of disbelief.
“Father? Are you sure about that?”
“What? Was it just a whim, weren’t you serious?”
“……. No, of course not. I’ve really wanted to try to cook, so I’m very happy.”
“You’re happy, huh… It’s fine to get carried away but be careful not to be seen by outsiders. Although, any injuries from fire or cutlery are out of the question. You can amuse yourself however you like but be cautious.”
I expressed my heartfelt gratitude toward my father; then, I took my leave. My father will get busy from now on, so I wanted to refrain from staying for long. Lucian, who was waiting outside the door, accompanied me back to my room, as I let out what was on my mind.
“I can’t believe that I got permission……”
Given my relationship with my father, I felt disbelief and happiness at the same time. What a curious turn of events.
“Could he have been worried about me because of the engagement cancellation…?”
He frowns all the time, and he has a stiff manner of speaking, but if I were to translate his words, things like “Be careful not to hurt yourself” comes out from time to time showing a bit of sympathy.
“…… That’s impossible, right?”
At any rate, my father wasn’t one to smile. Even now. I realized that I have never seen my father smile at all. I heard that by nature, my father rarely smiled.
Still, he must have smiled at my three older brothers every once in a while, when they were little. But the reason why he doesn’t smile at me is because of my late mother.
In this household, there was a total of four siblings, and I was the youngest and only daughter. While my father and my mother only married for political reasons like every other aristocrat, they had a harmonious relationship…….Or so I have heard. I don’t remember my mother, and I’ve only seen her in portraits.
My mother’s recovery after giving birth to me didn’t go well, and she passed shortly after. Because of me, his beloved wife had died. That’s why I have given up thinking that my father might love me.
I never got mistreated or yelled at, but there was very little parent-child interaction, and there was always a sense of distance between us.
Of course, my father was busy, and he didn’t have enough time to get involved with me. Even if that were the case, I’ve never once seen him smile, so I just assumed that he doesn’t love me. I have respect for him as a public figure and an aristocrat, but as a parent and child, there was a wall. Although his words towards me were sympathetic, I assumed it came from a sense of duty as the head of the house.
“Compared to my dad from my previous life, he’s different in lots of ways……”
To distinguish them, I call my father from this world as Father and the one from my previous life as Dad.
My dad used to complain about his work and was a bit pathetic, but since I was a kid, he would always take me with him to various places to play. Thus, we had a favourable relationship as I became an adult.
…….. I wonder If dad was still on his diet, he did have a bit of a belly.
I was worried about my dog, Jiro, that I left at the scene of the incident, but I was also concerned for my parents’ health.
I knew that there was nothing I could do now that I got reincarnated, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. In my previous life, I had a reliable younger brother, Tomoya, so I could only pray that he takes good care of our parents.
I felt a bit of discomfort.
But why? Where was it coming from?
My younger brother, Tomoya?
Brother? Why was I bothered by it?
“That’s not right……”
I suddenly realized it.
It was his name.
I remember my brother’s first name, as well as my parents’, my best friend’s, even my homeroom teacher from elementary school. Yet…
“What was my name…?”
I felt like I just got drenched in ice-cold water. I couldn’t remember my name from my previous life that should be familiar to me. And, the fact that I wasn’t aware of it up until now gave me chills. It’s like my mind went blank. I couldn’t remember both my first name and my last name.
“What is this……? Was this a side-effect from reincarnating……?”
A truck hit me, and before I knew it, I got reincarnated. I don’t remember meeting God or something like that or being given a special mission or anything. But the only thing I could think of that might be causing this blankness was probably the reincarnation. It was such an unnatural situation once you take note of it. I racked my brain to remember my name.
Remember, remember, remember.
What was my nickname?
I had a nickname throughout elementary, middle, and high school. I couldn’t remember it though, perhaps because it might give me a clue to my real name.
Remember, remember, remember ―――――――
I freeze at the word that came to my mind out of nowhere. Then I remembered my time in the lower grades of elementary school.
“Doesn’t 〇〇 seem like a capybara with how carefree and laid-back she is?”
“Aren’t capybaras the ones who are usually lazy, but when they want to do something, they’re super quick?”
“Capiko” I remember my classmates calling me that. I resemble a capybara, and so they called me Capiko. When I want to do something, I do it quick, like a capybara.
“Ha, what’s with that…?”
It sounded so stupid that a bitter smile formed on my face. In my previous life, I was “Capiko” huh……
As soon as I recalled it, I felt at ease, and my shoulders sagged. I couldn’t remember my real name, just this silly nickname… I guess it’s no use worrying about it. I was concerned about lots of things, such as the circumstances of my reincarnation, but there was nothing I could do about it now.
Anyhow, the me that went by Capiko was the office lady that went with her own pace. But as a Lady, I thought about my country’s future and worried about my relationship with my father.
As I thought, it’s in my nature to seriously face my worries head-on. Either as an office lady from japan or a Lady from a different world. Despite having a different personality, I still had a sense of conviction. I may have recalled my memories today, but I feel that personality-wise, I’m fundamentally the same.
Maybe I could relax a little more now. Every day, as the crown princess and a Lady, I was always very cautious in what I did. I wanted to believe that now I could live a bit more freely and as I like.
“…. I’ll go and sleep for now.”
Many things happened today.
Sleep well and rest my body ―――――――――
――――――――― Then make delicious food.