Chapter 87 – Dante’s Past
The place Eiji was led to resembled a reception room.
Things that one could find inside were a table, a monopod chair, and flowers arranged in a vase.
The room was most likely a resting room for guests who were awaiting their meeting with Nazioni.
Eiji looked around its interior while sitting in a chair.
There was a garden that he could stare at from a window in the room.
The beautifully trimmed garden gave a distinct impression from what he had seen on this island til now.
It was taken care of so pointlessly much that it was, so to speak, ghastly.
As Eiji was drinking water from the present jug, the door opened.
The one who appeared from it was Dante.
It wasn’t that surprising, as this place belonged to Dante’s family.
– Howdy. What’s up? I bet you’re feeling nervous.
– Dante, what’s the matter?
Eiji would lie were he to tell Dante he didn’t feel nervous.
After all, he was going to oppose the ruler.
Even though it was for the sake of protecting his beliefs, Eiji knew he was overdoing it a bit.
And when it came to the time right before his meeting, Eiji was even more aware of that fact, whether he liked it or not.
Not being related to Eiji’s concern, Dante replied smoothly.
– I was appointed to accompany you during your meeting.
– Is that so? Then, I wonder if it’s already the time for that.
– Just wait a little bit. It appears my father is preparing to meet you.
– Shall we hold a short conversation together? Dante, I wonder what kind of a person your father is to you.
– My father…..? That’s right.
Dante was, so to speak, the closest person to Nazioni in his family.
Perhaps, by asking him, Eiji will be able to grasp more about Nazioni’s nature, instead of just knowing him broadly as a statesman until now.
Dante held his tongue and pondered for a while, but in the end, he started to mutter few words.
– Truth be told, my father and I aren’t quite on good terms. Rather than that, I wonder if it’s better to say he won’t even look at me. For him, I’m someone he couldn’t care less about. Well, I’m not the only one who isn’t getting along with my father; my brothers also don’t get along with him. Still, because they’re more outstanding than me, it doesn’t look like he has had any expectations in me from the beginning.
Dante began to talk about his story little by little, the content of which made Eiji become astonished.
For Eiji, being 1st or 3rd didn’t change the fact of one being someone’s son.
Naturally, such a thing matters when it comes to fulfilling one’s duty as an heir, however, it should most likely not affect the way one’s treated.
Despite saying so, Eiji too had heard stories from elderly people about households where the eldest son would be adored the most.
The second son would act as an insurance in case something happens and receive his fair amount of treatment. As for the third son and the later ones, one could describe their reception as being indifferent.
If one was to explain why people used to cherish their family business above individuals, then one would probably point at that.
– Then, Dante, what’s your opinion on your father?
– Don’t get me wrong.
Was it something he hated to be asked about?
At Eiji’s question, Dante shook his head on sides.
However, no anger was seen on his face.
– I regard my father highly. Did you know? During the previous war, the city of Nazioni was in the center of wartime destruction.
– No, this is the first I’ve heard of it.
Nazioni was placed right in the middle of the island.
The city, which was a village at that time, could be easily turned into a battlefield due to soldiers running into each other from all sides. As a result, Nazioni appeared to sustain heavy damages.
Back then, Dante could barely remember the view as he was probably still too young.
– This trampled down place began to change once my father took over after my grandfather, who had passed away. Being proactive in making new allies on the west side, he took the advantage and rushed to the battlefield. And then, the war started to shift in favor of the east. Back then, my father seemed to possess a strength comparable with that of a fierce god or something similar. Rumor has it that he wouldn’t sustain even a single injury on the battlefield. With the war being put to an end thanks to his efforts, Nazioni was no longer a village but a governing body of the whole island, and my father has been considered as a hero.
An untold part of the war, the story that had been ambiguously retold by everyone. Eiji felt strange upon learning about it.
Just how much is the hostility from other villagers toward their ruler justified?
However, saying he didn’t incur a single injury on the battlefield sounded absurd.
Eiji too thought at once, but, if Nazioni had suffered a minor injury from an arrow, there would’ve been lots of complications resulting from suppuration.
In ancient times, being able to live through a war without an injury was perhaps quite important for a society.
– After the war concluded, my father, who had been the hardest fighter, became a peacemaker. With his first order, he decided to restore our village. Since Nazioni, at which my father stationed, was the most wasted and declined place, he wouldn’t listen to anyone’s advice. Despite saying so, he strengthened the defense of the city and made sure that no other war would occur. And then, he requisitioned for blacksmiths who specialized in bronze casting from other villages and built up our potential, or so it appears. My father is well aware of the fact that we are being detested by other people for imposing these methods.
– …..Dante, why are you going to such extent in telling me that?
– Certainly, it may be true that he doesn’t hold any interest in me, and that I had been doing nothing but bad deeds back when I lived in this city, but, as expected, father is still someone I deeply admire. That’s why, Eiji, I wanted you to know more about him.
Dante laughed while rubbing his nose shyly.
– What? So you’ve finally become aware of your own mistakes?
– Y, Yeah…..
– If time allows us in the future, let’s talk more about smithing.
He asked with a dumbfounded attitude, but, Eiji wouldn’t let Dante off just because he had told him that much.
Nevertheless, being able to reminisce on his own mistakes wasn’t a bad thing.
– Now that I think back on it, father has always been in solitary. Well, I can somehow understand him not taking a liking to me after grandfather died, but I hate those stupid brothers’ attitude of making me a fool of, you see.
– So your brothers won’t consider you as their ally?
– That’s because we have different mothers.
Dante’s mother was a concubine.
Back when Dante had just been born, there were also times when Dante would receive favorable treatment thanks to his mother being loved by Nazioni.
However, that would worsen at once after his mother had died from an illness.
Is human love supposed to be this cold hearted?
No matter what he did, Eiji couldn’t think of treating his and Tanya’s own child that way.
– Being the 3rd son and a potential heir, I thought I could do as I pleased with anyone around me. After all, I was the son of the ruler. Nobody would say anything as nobody would object to me. The only person to speak to me would be someone like Franko. Therefore, at that time, I was truly surprised and annoyed at being knocked down by you, Eiji.
– You could say you reap what you sow.
– But now, I’ve come to understand a bit of myself from back then.
– This is what you call being a grown-up, right?
Ahh, well, it was my bad – Dante turned around at Eiji’s words as if trying to dodge the question.
He was most likely feeling bashful.
– It’s about time to go.
– Thank you Dante. Thanks to you, I feel more relieved now.
– You mean it? I don’t know what you plan to do, but, you have my support.
– I’ll do my best.
– Fine, then, I shall guide you. You better follow me!
Standing up, Dante opened the door and went out.
It wasn’t just Eiji and Nazioni’s distance that shrank.
He felt he bore no remaining grudge against Dante from the day they first met.