21.1 The Prince and the Fairy
“Jillreid, this is my last personal letter. Father was poisoned, not sick. Don’t go against the policies of your mother and uncle in the future, nor the notices of the church. If you want to exact revenge for what has been done, then you should accumulate enough power to rule this kingdom… or at least look for a way to get out of it. You mustn’t trust me either. Do not trust the Marquis’ family, the same is true for the families of the three Earls. Although the Earl of Shezdom and his family are neutral, due to that, they may be the subject of a purging in the future. But it’s alright. This purging and rule are neither malicious nor domineering. It’s just a story of good people who were concerned about the wellbeing of the kingdom not being able to forgive those foolish people who tried to taint the kingdom with their stupidity. That’s why… there’s a chance of survival. So please, survive.”
It was the last private letter from his older brother.
The letter from the older brother who had managed to hide the fact that his little brother had sneaked into the ground which was the tragedy of Gilasfi—and also the fact that his little brother had secretly attended their funeral with an unknown expression.
Then, a few days later, he not only lost his father, the King, Jillreid also lost said older brother.
No, Ricardo was always there, but that older brother of his, who would always smile gently and swore to protect the future of that kingdom, was no more. Instead, there was only a rugged man, one who looked like he was torn and restrained in chains. He looked like a wreck.
That was Jillreid’s conclusion.
Those happy days—the Duke of Gilasfi and the guards, along with the side of his older brother who loved to sneak out of the castle with Jillreid, were no more.
His gentle, quiet, older brother was also killed during that stormy day.
“…Actually, I don’t consider that person my older brother anymore.”
“Indeed. When you become a lord, you’re required to cut off your relationship with others. That’s only right. …But that child sure is pitiful. Just like your Father, and also the Gilasfi, who devotedly paid tribute to the King of the Night, the heart of that pitiful human belonged to our side. I also feel sorry for the Queen, and the King’s brother, and also the greedy priests of the church.”
The one who stood beside Jillreid was no longer the Earl of Shezdom’s only daughter. The words that came out of her mouth weren’t as pretty as her face, nor as soft as her hair.
Wearing the skin of a noble lady, in all actuality, was a fairy. Her words contained inhuman wisdom, as she herself had lived for a long time, so long, it was beyond the imagination of the people of Fashitar.
“Indeed. Here’s the perspective of these pitiful people. The deeper the kingdom fell into crisis, the more they began to blame superstition. At its peak, their focus was directed at a poor family, whom they believed was devoted to those who don’t exist, but also see as compatriots. They loved that poor family—despite so, because they couldn’t persuade said family no matter what, they decided to kill them to stop their wrongdoings.”
He clenched his teeth.
However, towards the slight astonishment expressed by the girl’s stare, Jillreid murmured—I know…
…That’s right. They never hated Father, Older Brother, and even the people of Gilasfi. On the contrary, they shed tears as to why that happened—they treated the tragic incident like scraping off a rotten lesion using a knife.
Because the first prince was still young, he was considered ‘safe’—there was still room for rehabilitation.
Under the pressure of his pleading mother and sisters, Ricardo had to prove his readiness to take up rehabilitation by rectifying the Gilasfi.
“I thought… if I was willing to accept the punishment, I would be saved. If I struck down the Gilasfi—those fools who have drifted apart from the King of the Night, I—the one who took the lead—would immediately be rewarded by those who aren’t human… Only then would those people, my father, and also my uncle know, that non-humans existed…”
Ricardo thought so and took charge in purging the Gilasfi.
For him, who realized he could no longer escape from that kingdom, it might be a final revenge.
Coincidentally, the form of revenge was the exact same as that of Diarashe’s—they were both trying to retaliate against their foolish compatriots through their own destruction.
But… even after harming the Gilasfi, to the extent that he purged them, it yielded no result.
How insurmountable were Ricardo’s disappointment and despair back then?
Perhaps his older brother had hoped, before the purging could happen, that he and the rest of the knights would be eliminated by the non-humans.
However, it didn’t go as planned, and the Duke of Gilasfi, including all his servants, excluding Dia, were purged.
…If it were me, I wouldn’t have ended up like my older brother.
Perhaps because Jillreid didn’t follow the same path as his older brother, he couldn’t really sympathize with his older brother’s despair.
The moment Ricardo received the report pertaining the completion of the purge, he must had been convinced that the Gilasfi were truly nothing more than fanatics.
So it turned out that his mother, the Queen, his uncle, and also the church were telling the truth—oh, how scary the truth was!
Then, his mind probably justified the killings—they were crazy, that’s why, it was being brutally killed was inevitable for them. It must be scary to end up thinking like that—despite so…
Back then, Jillreid could only lock himself up in the room, and his little brother was also still very young.
Ricardo, whom was one year older than him, could only swallow all of his despair, which felt like a lump of burning iron. He could no longer depend on anyone. Perhaps that was why he forced himself to work like a corpse.
Ignoring the despairing, weeping child, his mother praised him—“You did well!” while his uncle slapped his shoulder in admiration.
Perhaps that was when it was ingrained in Ricardo—maybe the day would come where he had to cut down his own siblings, or even his own father, maybe the day would come where they would praise him like that again for the getting the job done.
Perhaps that was when he decided, for the sake of the kingdom, he must kill his own heart, and also his own self.
In a sense, Ricardo was the only heretic left, whom was forced to keep living.
Seeing the eyes of Ricardo as he smiled at them was enough for Jillreid to confirm that there was no trace left of his former older brother.
The inner part of his beautiful eyes had completely collapsed—it was terrifying enough to be disturbing.
Thus, a long, long, time passed after that stormy night.
In the eyes of the outsiders, it may had been merely a blink of an eye.
But for a human who experienced pain and despair, it felt like forever.
At that time, Ricardo was younger than the present me…
Of course, he was already too old to be called a child.
Jillreid at that time was too naïve to imagine his suffering. Although Ricardo still had the help of his parents, family, and his subjects, his sins couldn’t be washed away.
Jillreid, who once despised his older brother and even tried to give up upon his own life due to the tremendous disappointment he felt for his own kingdom, was able to grow up to the point where he could sympathize with Ricardo’s suffering to an extent. It was also because he had met his spouse, who forced him to survive.
“In truth, Ricardo had no one.”
“Despite so, you still refuse to forgive Ricardo.”
“…I don’t have that strong of a hatred towards him, to the point I’m unable to forgive him or something like that. It’s more because I’m not qualified to bestow said forgiveness. At that time, only thinking about myself, I didn’t reach out towards my older brother. No one could protect Ricardo who had ended up in such a position. That is why, for the rest of my life, I’m unable to blame him.”
“Fuun, weird. Humans sometimes think about the most rigid things.”
“Aren’t you the one who taught me?”
***T/N: Ricardo: “S, sure, I killed the Gilasfi, it’s under my direct command, but they basically died because the non-humans didn’t show up to stop me! It’s the outsiders’ fault!“
Yeah sure, dude… that’ll hold up in court.