2.1 The Kingdom of Everlasting Night and The Prince’s Fiancée
That night, Dia’s fiancé came bearing their engagement’s magical pledge.
Measures had been taken too—in case something happened, the contract would destroy itself. Despite so, under normal circumstance, a formal signature from Dia was all that was required.
All the servants who worked in the building where Dia resided were provided by the Royal Family.
More importantly, the visitor was Dia’s fiancé, whom had lived together with her in the Royal Palace ever since she was six. Tonight, when he finally visited her, it was to dissolve their engagement.
Just because they were unmarried man and woman, there was no need for someone to remain in the room as a chaperon.
Dia had to talk to Ricardo that night.
Dia was a Duke’s daughter—
—that said, her title had already been transferred to another family after the passing of her family.
Dia was then taken under the wing of the King, who became her guardian. Although she retained her status as the ‘Duke’s daughter’, she had no relation whatsoever with the current Duke of Gillasfi.
The details that influenced the decision were established on the founding story of that kingdom.
In Fashitar—Dia’s kingdom—which was also known as the ‘Kingdom of the Everlasting Night’ by its neighbors, there was an ancient, deep forest that was protected by a unique creature called the King of the Night.
In the past, there was once a royal family that governed the humans, and a royal family that governed the nonhuman. There existed a festival between the humans and them.
It just so happened that Dia’s family descended from said royal family who used to bond with nonhumans. They had changed their title to Dukedom once Fashitar was build.
…now, the festival is but a thing of the past. One which has long been forgotten. They said the audience would be the spirits heading to the castle of the King of the Night, and there would be dragons gracing the dawn sky…
…such sights actually existed until the generation of Dia’s great-grandfather. Despite so, said scene would only ever be depicted in fairy tales, now.
In Fashitaru, high-quality forest crystals, various blessed stones, and minerals were continuously mined. In consequence, the vast magic that once resided in the land had been exhausted.
As of the present, the kingdom was almost devoid of magic.
The forest of deep conifers consisted of a white-gray and viridian layer. Looking at the enchanting sight that was the forest’s branches and leaves glittering in the snow made it easier to believe that magical creatures resided there—or, at the very least, once did.
In the present time, the people of that kingdom believed that the days of the past—where humans lived side by side with the nonhumans—as a mere fantasy.
…despite so, it seems that they failed to fit the superstitious bloodline of Gillasfi Family and the magical forest festival under the same category.
Humans were called humans because of their selfishness.
The Royal Capital suffered under the heavy burden of skepticism. They had already lost their faith in the existence of the nonhumans—as such, was there still a reason to regard the Gillasfi Family highly?
Those people never thought that Dia, who couldn’t succeed her family because of her young age, was aware of what actually happened that night—that night of the tragedy.
Still vivid in her memories, the rumbling of the thunder and the roar of the gale, the shaking of her walls and windows.
On a stormy night, during which the trees in the garden swayed and swayed, Dia’s beloved parents, brother, and two sisters were murdered by a rogue.
Dia was lifted up and cradled like a treasure by one of the knights who rushed to her location. Then, she was brought to the magnificent Royal Palace of the Fashitaru.
That year, Fashitar suffered long rains.
Surrounded by deep forests, the kingdom was considered the source for quality gemstones. Despite so, the kingdom was also famous for its long night—the lack of climate caused poor harvests.
It might be known as a robust, small, kingdom, but in all actuality, it was enclosed by the woods. Not to mention, it was located at the foot of the mountains—as such, there was a lot of drizzle and fog. It wasn’t possible to create vast fields.
On top of that was the heavy downpour.
Once the war of the surrounding countries had settled down, the demand for magical tools made of minerals and forest crystals increased. Although the kingdom became rich and grew a large population, once a failed harvest hit, it was forced to somehow feed its growing populace. Even though nothing grew on the land.
Naturally, the kingdom was forced to raise its taxes.
While most of the income coming from the other countries was dedicated to maintaining the lives of the people, those who aimed for a richer life were forced to return to the modesty of their past. It was said to be temporary.
That was when tragedy befell the Duke of Gillasfi.
Someone said that it was too early for the kingdom to order them to lower their standard of living, when the kingdom itself hadn’t exhausted all of its options yet.
The investigation revealed that those who resented the order of abstinence attacked the Duke’s family in retaliation. They had been arrested and were promptly executed.
Many people in the territory loved the Duke and his family, whom were famous for their brilliant and calm temperament. When they heard their gentle lord had passed, they mourned for one month.
Dia recalled the funeral procession, where she had to endlessly walk through the stormy hills of the late autumn. She also remembered the bright hue of the blue, swaying, national flag.
The peephole of the coffin was barred to her. It was too miserable of a sight for a child like her.
…Fortunately, the one who inherited the Dukedom is a very good and kind person.
Dia must had been a fortunate child.
When she signed the document that would transfer her title to the current Duke of Gillasfi, she was still suffering under the loss of her family, and felt numb towards the fact that she had just lost her birthright.
It was only after she was a little older that she understood the weight of the responsibility associated with said title. It was necessary to become someone that was suitable for the role—for the name ‘Gillasfi’.
At that time, the kingdom already suffering from poverty, was shaken by tragedy. It was a dangerous time. Dia held no grudge whatsoever against the decision of the King and the other nobles below her who judged a six year old unfit to succeed her family name.
…This kingdom is beautiful.
Especially in autumn, when fog shrouded the luster colored forests and hills, where the golden light of the dawn scattered.
The sight was so mesmerizing, it wasn’t strange for an entirely different world—a world so mysterious, it had never seen before—to exist beyond the milky fog.
…This kingdom is so beautiful.
…I’m rather proud of this kingdom, who made me hand over my title to someone who is more fit to carry it without sugarcoating it…
Meanwhile, Dia, who had been taken by the Royal Family, was brought up along with the princes and princesses at the royal palace.
Of course, be it royalties or not, the education of the noble society didn’t differ much. Even though she felt lonely due to the absents of her real family, she was never treated unfairly.
The King and the Queen didn’t waste any time to provide Dia with the most reliable servants and tutors. They even gave her a wing in the corner of the palace, adorned with winter night roses and a violet-colored ridge.
Despite not being their actual family member, they gave Dia a place to stay. Dia also didn’t remember ever being mistreated by them.
Without the despair incurred by that tragic incident, Dia may had grown up to be a different person.
That night of the incident, the glitter of the gorgeous thunder illuminated the mountain ridge. There was the scent signaling that rain was about to fall.
As the wind roared, the one who opened the main gate of the Duke’s residence amidst the storm wasn’t Hattie the maid, but Dia instead. She had worn the maid’s daughter’s cloak.
At the main gate, the one she welcomed was Order of the Knights dispatched from the Royal Capital.
…until before the visit of those Knights, my family was still alive. Who would’ve thought that my family would be purged while they were preparing decorations for Evemeria?
On that stormy night, the one who killed Dia’s precious family wasn’t a rogue.
Instead, it was by the knights of the kingdom, under the order of the kingdom’s nobles—King and Queen included. Since the start, Dia was aware of that fact.
Of course, they didn’t bury the Duke’s family in private.
Given the politeness of mourning and the treatment of Dia, it was clear that there was no emotional reason behind it.
…Perhaps, at that time, the kingdom had no choice but to do so…
…The Duke of Gillasfi, who had opposed the King’s order regarding the clearance of the forest at the end of the West, had to be silenced as soon as possible…
***T/N : I’m super intrigued by Dia, this is a lady that had already succumbed to despair and keep trying to make herself see the good sides so she doesn’t break, alright