It’s already been a year since Alicia confined herself to that little cabin…..
At that time, I never imagined that she would even consider accepting those conditions, let alone uphold them for this long.
I had purposely given her unreasonable demands for that exact reason.
Their sole purpose was to make her give up, but in the end they just seemed to strengthen her resolve even more.
Up until that point, I thought I had understood her personality well.
But it seems that I was wrong.
Mere difficulties aren’t enough to change her mind anymore, and even impossible requirements don’t seem to faze her in the slightest.
My little girl has grown up so much, but I only realized that fact after it was already too late.
……And now it’s been a whole year since I last saw her.
The most contact I’ve had with her is through supplying her with food, clothes, and books by having her personal maid, Rosetta, travel back and forth as the go-between.
But, of course, Alicia has had no actual contact with Rosetta either.
Her maid merely leaves the necessary items in front of the cabin and then returns back to the estate.
The cabin that she’s staying in may be tiny, old, and worn out, but it has a bathroom and all the necessary amenities so it is at least serviceable as a full-time home.
That being said, it’s so different from living in the pampered comfort that our mansion has afforded her, that I thought she wouldn’t be able to deal with the inconvenience of this new lifestyle.
To go from living simply to experiencing the lap of luxury may be one thing, but the converse can’t be nearly as smooth of a transition after enjoying an exorbitant lifestyle for your whole life.
But, despite all that, Alicia has already managed to endure living there for a full year.
Just how long will she be able to put up with it In the past, she used to give up on things so easily.
I never thought I’d ever wish for those days to come back.
I know it’s terrible, but….
I wish she’d just hurry up and give up already!
Even though it was laughably late, when I found out that Alicia had been kidnapped, I wholeheartedly regretted my decision to allow her to monitor Liz Cather.
When I saw her back at our estate safe and sound, all of her wounds may have healed already, but my imagination couldn’t help but run wild.
I was told of the state that she had been in when she made it out of that hut, so the mere sight of her reminded me of all the torment and pain she must have gone through.
I wondered what scars would have been left below the surface, what trauma she must have received from living through such an experience.
And the thought felt like a dull, jagged knife stabbing me in the heart.
My precious daughter could have died that day.
That fact weighed heavily on me, just like that overwhelming surge of regret.
There may have been no way to turn back time and change my decision, but I thought I could at least try to keep her safe from experiencing such horrors in the future.
So I resolved myself to make her quit from that dangerous job!
Only, she obstinately refused.
I couldn’t understand.
She had suffered through such an ordeal, she had her very life put at risk, and yet she told me that she wanted to continue monitoring Liz Cather.
And her desire to continue was so strong that she was even willing to accept those unreasonable conditions and live in that tiny cabin for the past year.
As frustrating as it is, I believe it’s important to take responsibility for the things that you say.
After I’d already offered her those conditions and promised to allow her to continue if she met them, I couldn’t set a bad example for her by reneging on my promise or trying to take it all back.
So I had to let her try, and no matter what the results may be in the end, I’ll make sure to uphold my end of the bargain.
No sooner had I come to terms with my own glaring mistake, did I realize that I never mentioned a word of this to the king or the rest of the council.
Thankfully, Luke is an intelligent and wise king, so I assumed he would at least be willing to listen to my explanation and understand my feelings as a father, but that doesn’t mean the other council members would be so forgiving.
So, after I sent Alicia off, I called for an emergency council meeting and I explained everything to them.
Johan was rather displeased by the fact that I acted out on my own, muttering something like, ‘selfish ba*stard‘ under his breath, but like the rest, I was able to persuade him to reluctantly see things my way.
It is a fact that if Alicia can’t at least manage to reach level 90 in magic, then she won’t be able to properly guide the saintess, because someone with decidedly inferior capabilities just won’t be able to have any authority over her.
It’s difficult to argue with that logic, so the four of them thankfully ended up agreeing with me, though they couldn’t hide their impatience, since we’re basically throwing away two years’ worth of opportunities.
By the time that Alicia comes back, Liz Cather will already be 20, which means she’ll be in her last year at the academy.
And once she graduates, Alicia will no longer have the chance to see the saintess regularly, so we’ll only have one year to properly change her mentality.
We don’t have time to waste like this.
I know that.
But, why does it have to be my daughter
Alicia may be an unprecedented enfant terrible just like the saintess, but that’s not a good enough reason for me to just sit back and watch her be put in harm’s way.
I can’t just watch as she’s nearly killed.
I can still feel my blood boiling and rage rampaging through me every time I think of what those b*stards tried to do to her.
And to these cold-blooded b*stards that just let it happen, that want her to continue despite the dangers, that are grumbling about how crazy I am for interfering… At one point, I could barely hold back the murderous fury I had towards them.
I demanded to know, “What do you think my daughter is! Some sort of tool to just be used and discarded at your own convenience!”
That shut the four of them up right quick.
It’s like their lips had been sewn shut.
After a long, drawn out silence, Luke finally spoke up for the first time in the meeting.
He simply said, “To deal with an enfant terrible, you need to use another enfant terrible.”
I couldn’t say anything to argue with that.
But I still wish it didn’t have to be my daughter.
I know I’m being selfish, but I’m still hoping that she’ll give up.
That she’ll forget all about that job, and come back to us, and live happily and safely here.
Everyday I visit her cabin, and just watch over it from a afar, silently begging for Alicia to come out.
To come back home.
On the same day that I explained to the council what happened, I also went to see the boy known as Gilles for the first time.
And what I found was a very sour looking young man who seemed quite small, even for a child of 9 years old.
Upon seeing me, his expression didn’t change at all, but once I started explaining the situation to him, his face just continued to grow darker and more exasperated by the second.
By the time that I started explaining how Alicia also wouldn’t be able to visit the impoverished village during the next two years, the look in his eyes was positively hostile towards me.
He was glaring at me menacingly, and there was such a tremendous amount of bloodlust burning in the depths of his eyes that I found it hard to believe he’s still only nine.
When I had said my piece, I passed him a vile of pink liquid containing a concoction called Abell.
I explained to him that if he takes this he should be able to pass through the wall any time he wanted to visit the village by himself.
With that, I said no more and just let all the news sink in.
But his reply was so unexpected that he left me speechless.
“When their parents are idiots, that just makes their children all the more pitiable,” he spit out with a sneer on his face before he turned on his heel and left the room without so much as another word.
I was so taken aback, I didn’t say a word in reply.
I just followed his tiny back with my eyes as he strode out the door.
It was not a day later when I realized how he planned to spend the entirety of these two years.
It seems that he and Alicia are truly cut from the same cloth.
Since, the moment he realized he’d been left to his own devices, he promptly holed himself up in the library.
Though, unlike Alicia, he wouldn’t leave.
Even his meals were taken in the library.
The servants would deliver them there at the proper times of day and retrieve the emptied plates once he was done.
He made an exception for bathing though, but even that he would only leave to take care of every other day.
The only time he would leave the room for an extended period was on the occasional night when he walked off into the woods behind the estate.
According to the reports, each time he headed straight in the direction for the impoverished village.
Gilles was not the only one who I had to explain Alicia’s absence to.
I made sure to explain the situation to the rest of my family as well.
Two of my sons, Alan and Albert, didn’t show much of a reaction to the news.
They didn’t feel it particularly odd or worrisome at all.
But Henry was another story.
When I first told him about it, that was the first time I’d ever heard him raise his voice.
“Why would you give her those sorts ridiculous conditions!” he had yelled.
“Didn’t you realize that Ali would definitely accept them even if they seemed impossible!”
And ever since that day, Henry hasn’t spoken to me again.
It seems that in the time that I hadn’t been paying enough attention, at least one of my sons had tried to understand her properly.
It wasn’t just my son who was seething after that though.
I found myself being glared at by Luke’s son, Duke, as well.
Every time we happened to cross paths he would never say anything, but fury and scorn heated his gaze.
My wife was rather indignant about my decision as well.
Ever since Alicia left the house, she’s been nitpicking everything I’ve done, scolding me for the smallest, most trivial matters.
And, on the day that Alicia headed out, she also made sure to give me a good sock in the face.
I had a black eye for a week after that.
…..But that was that.
That was all the backlash that I received from my foolish decision.
The rest came from myself.
Every day I lamented the fact that I hadn’t truly understood my own daughter.
I still saw her as the little girl that never stuck with any of her whims, so I ended up not taking her seriously enough.
Somehow I had missed her growing into a young woman who is willing to do anything for the sake of accomplishing her own goals.
When we had talked on that day a year ago, she was just being so stubborn and I couldn’t bear to see her going through something like that, so I just threw out the most unreasonable, impossible conditions that I could think of.
It was about half a year later when I received my first and last word from Alicia during this time.
It arrived in the form of a single, small letter.
It was addressed from Alicia to me and read:
『Dear Father, by chance I overheard a conversation between two gardeners at work around the cabin which prompted me to write this.
They were speaking as if you were deeply regretting the words that you had said to me that day.
But, it’s much too early for you to be regretting anything.
I will make sure to satisfy your two conditions perfectly, and then you may have leave to regret.
Until then, please live happily and healthily. Alicia』