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Chapter 44

“Let’s talk over a cup of tea. Since we ate dinner and enjoyed the festival separately, let’s have a conversation like this, the two of us.”

Yes. We need to talk. A lot.

Carynne sat down on a chair. Beyond the sunset-tinged window, the faint echoes of an artillery salute could be heard. It was the official beginning of the full-fledged festival.

After the period of abstinence, any repudiation against Raymond and Isella’s engagement was covered up with a lavish display of material things. The true masters of this land were here having a strange conversation, but for those two, the story that would flow in this room would be irrelevant to them. With just one glass barrier, those other stories had become completely separate.

Carynne looked around in this room of reality. What a ridiculously harmless interrogation room. The fief lord didn’t seem to think much about the murders that Carynne had committed.

Was he doing this just so he could reassure Carynne as well? Since she was supposedly suffering from a mental illness, did he do all that—cover it all up, hide the evidence, create a fiancé—just to soothe her?

“I do think that this year’s tea harvest will be good. The weather is fine.”

“It won’t be so good though.”

She answered casually, but soon closed her mouth. She was trying not to be so sure about anything anymore. These kinds of remarks and notions were poisonous.

“Ah, no. I’m not so sure about that. Don’t believe me, Father.”

“If you say so, then it must be like that.”

What did that mean?

She needed to drink warm tea to moisten her dry throat. Carynne sat there in her chair and, with trembling hands, took the cup that Borwen prepared. She wouldn’t be able to go on without drinking tea.

“Are you feeling alright?”

“…Yes.”

After she downed the red-colored tea, she then felt as though she was calming down a little. Carynne looked at the fief lord’s face, but it was difficult to read anything from his countenance. Once the meaningless greetings came and went, it was difficult to bear what happened after.

The tip of her tongue started to feel dry again. So, she sipped her tea once more.

“I heard a few things from Missus Deere.”

“Were those the rude remarks?”

Rude enough that she was killed, yes. Carynne nodded.

“That’s right. That woman refuted my whole life. She said I’ve gone crazy and lost my memories.”

“What a truly rude woman who doesn’t know her place.”

The fief lord shook his head as if he truly despised her. It seemed like he truly hated the woman. But was it for the same reason as Carynne?

“Indeed.”

Carynne didn’t bother to give another reason to cover up her actions. Deere wanted to be Carynne’s mother. That meant that she was aiming to be the fief lord’s mistress. She expressed a sense of responsibility for Catherine and Carynne, but the fief lord and Carynne herself only felt annoyed at her. It felt kind of pitiful, and Carynne found that this feeling was somewhat how she also felt towards Isella Evans.

The fief lord was revulsed by that woman. Even when that woman had lost her life to his daughter, it didn’t seem like he was feeling any remorse for her.

“To be honest, I wasn’t that angry,” Carynne explained. “Um… Well, it was like that at the moment it happened, but not that I think back on it, I don’t think I hated what happened that much. To be honest, I felt kind of comfortable.”

“Why is that so?”

“Because it’ll be over the moment someone dies.”

A sigh and a peal of laughter permeated the air at the same time.

“I would be ever so happy if this torturous life would just end.”

It’s not for the reason that you think.

Regardless of who she was or how she was calling this man her father, it didn’t matter to Carynne. Nothing at all mattered. If Carynne was crazy. If everything was truly a mere delusion.

That’s why Carynne just wanted the fief lord to give her a definite answer.

“I just want it to end.”

The fief lord stared straight into Carynne’s eyes.

“You won’t loathe or detest it?”

“Yes.”

This was the truth. She had witnessed humanity’s goodness and wickedness far too much. She just wanted one explanation.

“Death and life itself seems to be much too light for you,” the fief lord remarked.

“Lighter than paper, yes. It’s got to be that light when time wouldn’t go forward. Truthfully though, I do still want to feel sorry, somewhat.”

“……”

The fief lord fell silent once more. As the silence became overwhelming, Carynne spoke.

“Let’s have a serious conversation, Father.”

To the point that we’d vomit our guts out.

* * *

“Deere’s got a big mouth, so why did you let her leave the mansion? Ah, you don’t have to answer me. She’s already dead after all. A story about me is much more interesting than that woman’s life or her past. So, let me ask—am I Carynne?”

“Why don’t you ask just one question at a time?”

“…Fine.”

Carynne took a deep breath. There were too many things she was suspicious about. It felt like her head was about to explode from the plethora of questions rushing at her. But, she had only one mouth. She finally reached this point. She could do this one at a time.

“Is it true that I’ve had issues since I was young?”

“…That’s right.”

“Is it true that Nancy erased my memories and gave me new ones?”

“You’ve found out already.”

Carynne once again brought up the question she was the most curious about.

“Am I Carynne?”

“You are my one and only daughter.”

That’s not what she meant. Carynne frowned. Was Carynne 「 Carynne 」—that’s her question. Did she have a place to return to? Or was it all just mere illusion?

“That’s… No. What I mean is, is it appropriate for me to call you Father?”

“Mm, if you look at the portrait over here, you can see that you look exactly like your mother.”

She shouldn’t ask in this way. Carynne looked up at the portrait.

Would this conversation be easier if you were alive? Why is an outsider like him in front of me and not you?

“When I think of how jealous other people were of me up until we got married, it’s to the point that I get sick and tired of it. I’m telling you, there were indeed many suitors.”

Your love story doesn’t matter right now though.

Carynne looked at him with a hint of incredulity in her gaze. Sure enough, his wife had died, and after that there were rumors of him going half out of his mind, so to what extent was he correct in feeling this way.

Catherine, like Carynne, was an incredibly beautiful woman, just as Deere said. Even when she had moved to a backwoods countryside like this, it’s said that invitations flew in from so many places every winter.

But who said that? Carynne tried to suppress the memories of the past that kept rushing into the forefront of her mind. Dunno. She didn’t know anything and she wasn’t sure about nothing.

Ah, if only she had a gun now.

She would have aimed it at the fief lord’s head right now. No, but she couldn’t end it right away. She needed to hear the truth, so let’s start with threats.

“Father.”

“So no matter how intense it was…”

“I killed Nancy, too. You know this as well.”

“……”

“Why did you hide her body?”

“If Miss Evans finds out, wouldn’t it be difficult for me to protect you?”

The fief lord replied, and at this, Carynne was both relieved and frustrated at the answer.

“I really do feel like a marionette on a stage. In this world, I became a spectacle alone. What the hell did you think when you knew I did it?”

“It was to protect you.”

“Then you should have at least told me… You know, it’s funny that I’m the one saying this.”

She tapped one finger on the table.

“Nancy’s dead, correct? Did Missus Deere die by my hands? My Father in front of me, how can you say for sure that you’re here?”

She was so excruciatingly tired from this twisted sense of reality. And Carynne felt bitter about the fact that her gun was taken away from her. If the cause of her pain was her father, this man in front of her, then she would have wanted to drive several bullets into him.

It didn’t matter that she would have no other blood relative in this world. Wasn’t he an enemy who must be killed for the sake of her curiosity and entertainment? Wasn’t he the terrible source that made her entire life a lie? For it to be covered up with denial—Carynne was not convinced.

“You killed Nancy.”

The fief lord acknowledged this to Carynne.

“And I am now in front of you.”

He took Carynne’s hand. She felt his warmth. A sense of relief started spreading within her. It was the same feeling she had when Tom confirmed that the body of his father had not disappeared. As expected, it was like that. Someone was killed, someone died. Time flowed from yesterday to today. If the only one who’s crazy was her, then the world was stable. However, there was no such thing as a stable truth.

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