Chapter 22. First Meeting (9)
When the banquet was well under way, a servant rushed to Siegfried Hall and whispered to the grand chamberlain. When the chamberlain heard the story, he quickly settled his surprised features before going to the king’s side to deliver the message.
Rumein turned back slightly. As there were many listeners around, the chamberlain concealed his mouth with his hand and spoke as quietly as he could.
– Prince Calian left the palace a little while ago.
Rumein’s head tilted a little further toward the chamberlain, but he did not say anything else. The chamberlain’s words continued.
– It was guaranteed by Duke Siegfried.
“…I see,” Rumein murmured in return.
He could not think of what the relationship was between Calian and Duke Siegfried. King Rumein turned his head around again as indication that he was to be left alone now, and the chamberlain bowed low and stepped away.
Rumein’s eyes narrowed.
Meanwhile, Slayman’s mouth was twisted as he let out a bellowing laugh in the garden.
“Puhahaha! Ahahas! Pueueohahaha!”
Even as he tried to hold himself back, he burst into laughter. After a long laugh, Slayman paused to wipe the tears from his eyes. He mouth opened his again. Instead of words, a roar of laughter burst out once more.
The men of Siegfried did not know how to stop once they started to laugh or cry.
Eventually, the young man standing in front of Slayman covered the jolly man’s mouth, worried that everyone would look at them. After a while, when Slayman seemed to have calmed down a little bit, he took his hands off.
“I’m not laughing anymore!” Slayman exclaimed to Yan, whose hair was still wildly loose. “My son trusted in me as he was working, don’t you think that I would be happy? Ahohoho!”
Yan’s expression seemed about to burst, then Slayman made a look of concern.
If anyone had seen them, they would have realized right away that they were father and son without any explanation. Their faces bore a strong resemblance to each other’s.
“The kid ran away and told you to not let guards follow him, and when you said you were a Siegfried to the guards, they obeyed. Is that right?”
Although his son had gotten into some sort of trouble, he couldn’t help but look at Yan fondly. Slayman gave him a look as if not to worry over it.
“I don’t know if you realize it, but you did very well! It was a good solution.”
“You have to figure a way out of his. Wouldn’t His Majesty the king ask about it?”
Slayman’s mouth caught a smile. Not a funny smile, but a father’s smile at his naive son who had not grown up yet.
Yan was just doing things without even thinking it through.
“He won’t ask,” Slayman said.
“As far as I can say, King Rumein has too many thoughts. So he won’t ask. Let’s not worry him, let’s say it’s nothing. Do you understand?”
At the remark, Yan pondered for a moment and managed to catch up to his meaning.
“Because of the name Siegfried?”
Slayman patted Jan on the head as if it was the correct answer.
“I’m glad you aren’t like me. You’re smarter than me than when I was your age. Uhahaha!”
“I guess there isn’t a resemblance.”
Slayman didn’t know that Yan was thinking, ‘The prince is also learning magic.’ He laughed as if he thought Yan was agreeing. He smiled pleasantly as if something had occurred to him.
“No. But you play the violin well. It certainly resembles me!”
The Siegfried who didn’t know how to use a sword but knew how to play the violin was Yan. So when Yan saw Slayman arrive at the palace, Yan made a disgusted face because Slayman made fun of his son and laughed at him.
“You sold and used my name, but my name is a bit pricey,” Slayman said.
Yan glowered. He ran away because he hated the pressure, and there was no way his father did not know about it.
“If King Rumein asks what the boy has to do with me, there’s nothing Rumein can do no matter the answer.”
If Calian and Siegfried did not have a relationship and was only helped out by chance, Rumein would be wary of Siegfried’s good intentions.
However, the same was true even if Calian and Siegfried were connected. If Rumein punished the prince, then he would ignore Siegfried’s guarantee, and if he didn’t punish him, he would recognize the prince’s friendship with Siegfried. Marquis Brissen would certainly not like it.
There was no choice.
“Rumein probably decided he would do nothing the moment he heard the guarantee. So, the boy can act brazenly as if it was a prearranged outing today. That’s why I said you did a good job.”
Slayman spoke with a strong face.
“So you can sell my name often in the future. I can bear with it. Isn’t that what a father does?”
Yan looked at Slayman as if he was moved.
Then, feeling proud with that look, Slayman straightened his back and broadened his shoulders.
“Ha ha! I am not as mean as you think!” he chuckled.
Well, Yan thought he was an jerk who was cool for a second.
Yan clicked his tongue. Pretending that he didn’t hear, Slayman sat down on a bench in the garden.
“But they don’t know who I am, do they?” Yan asked. He wondered if Rumein or if the other royalty knew that Yan was a Siegfried.
“I don’t think so. Otherwise, the internal affairs officer would have reported it earlier.”
That was true. If anyone knew, there wouldn’t have been any chance that Silica would have allowed Yan next to Calian. When Slayman looked at his son again, he smiled gladly and patted his head again.
“But. No one is really suspicious of my son because he doesn’t look that rich.”
Yan frowned and glanced at Slayman. But Slayman didn’t take his hands away. Yan’s hair was a blond color, the same as his poodle’s “Yan” at home, so his hands kept going.
“By the way.” Yan opened his mouth to say something, but stopped himself at the last moment.
He wanted to talk about Calian’s symptons, because he remembered that Calian mentioned something about magic. However, if Slayman didn’t know about it, it was best not to bring the topic up.
He couldn’t just leave his words there, so he asked about something else instead.
“How’s Rea doing?”
Dimirea was Yan’s younger sister. Not only could she fight with a sword well, but she was also a most gifted child.
“She’s doing well. She had a hard time of letting me come here this time.”
Slayman gently squeezed his fist on his knee. Then he looked at his palms and then Yan’s hands, which were covered in calloused flesh.
“So for you. Is it worth living here?”
“How does it look to you, Father?”
“It seems like cheap shit.”
Even if his father said that, he wouldn’t go home. Yan shook his head. Slayman sighed and opened his mouth for a moment.
“If you get tired listening to your master, come down anytime. Rea has a vacancy for you.”
Yan thought about his sister for a moment. “He’s the same age as Rea.”
He was talking about Calian. Slayman already knew this, and he nodded.
“When I first came to the palace, the prince was like a dried tree branch. Rea was a shiny leaf that had just sprouted up and glistened,” Yan said. There was a murmur of water in the artificial brook that rolled between the gardens. “At first I felt bad for the prince. It was surprising that I could think of someone like that. That was why, after I started feeling sorry for him, I started to protect him. So it is worth living now.”
Slayman’s faced wrinkled as he gave a smile.
“So that’s it.”
He suddenly remembered seeing Calian and Yan talking with comfortable expressions. How Calian’s steps seemed to float.
“That little boy. I think it’ll be fun watching him.”
Yan’s eyes widened. “What do you mean?”
“Don’t know. Anyway, I’m leaving tomorrow, so I won’t see you for a while.”
“Not necessarily. I’ll see you in three months.”
“Huh? Are you going to quit?”
Yan shook his head. Then he answered briefly.
“I’m fifteen now.”
Slayman clapped his palms as if he just remembered something.
“Oh, yes. So you are!”
Yan stood up from his seat and neatly tied his hair back up. Having finished talking to his father, he would go to wait for Calian by the front gates.
Yan gave his farewell.
“I’ll see you then. At the Siegfried Ball.”
Slayman pretended to look disgusted and waved his hands as if to shoo him away. Yan smiled and turned away.