36 – The Finishing Blow
Clap Clap Clap Clap!
The elderly women who intruded into the room while clapping happily showed a warm smile as she drew near Calcedonia. She then turned her gaze towards Tatsumi.
“Please do forgive me for my suddenness. But, it was a good speech. Practically very few people can say that while in the presence of nobles.”
After being told that, Tatsumi was finally self-aware of exactly what he did.
Certainly, part of it was because of anger and part of it was because he got dragged into the flow of events but in the end, saying he’d stay true to his feelings even if the country was against him was a bit too grandiose. Realizing what he did again, Tatsumi’s face became red hot.
“I-I may have said a minute too much… B-But! It’s true that I don’t plan on parting with her.”
Calcedonia was ecstatic. But her happiness still showed on her whole face. Probably the current she wasn’t a bit aware of her surroundings. The elderly woman—- Former Duchess Eleesha Cuoletto, after seeing Calcedonia like that gasped in amazement.
“Oh dear. Turning that Calcedonia into this much of an immoral state. As expected lad, looks like you have quite a deep handling of women.”
“Eh? Whaaaaa—…!? M-Me? Have a deep… of women!? T-There’s no way that could be possible!! I-I, The only woman I am close to would be Chiiko!!”
“U-Umm.. Chiiko would be Calsey’s past name… or not but, that…. How should I explain this… By the way please excuse my rudeness but, you are…?”
Not being able to explain why he was calling Calcedonia Chiiko, Tatsumi became flustered. It was after that that he finally noticed the elderly women in front of him wasn’t someone he knew.
And the elderly women, while she was amused seeing Tatsumi flustered like that, finally cover her mouth with the back of her hand and said while laughing.
“My, how rude of me not to introduce myself. I am called Eleesha. I’ve a long relationship with Calsey and Giuseppe. You have my best regards from now on.”
“Well thank you. I’m Tatsumi Yamagata. So you’re a friend of Mister Giuseppe and Chi-… Calsey huh. I want to ask, why is Madam Eleesha here?”
While he was asking Eleesha, he looked at Giuseppe and Calcedonia.
Currently, this situation was not very appropriate to invite others to show. But, if she’s Giuseppe and Calcedonia’s friend then she should have been called over by either Giuseppe or Calcedonia for a reason.
Seeing Tatsumi look at Giuseppe and then at herself restlessly a few times, Eleesha was once again very amused.
“Ufufufufufufufu. Certainly, it’s as Giuseppe said. After actually meeting you face to face like this, I think I have a good understanding on what kind of person you are.”
Tatsumi tilted his head not understanding what Eleesha was saying.
“Actually son-in-law, I got Eleesha to help out this time. This old vixen has some good spies under her command, you see.”
“My! I only lent a hand because a certain old badger came to me crying for help though?”
Even though they were cursing each other, they looked like they were enjoying it. Seeing that, Tatsumi realized how close Giuseppe and Eleesha’s relationship was.
“F-Former duchess Cuoletto!!”
Until that moment, the Gargadon mother and child dumbfoundedly stared at the scene before them.
Being shocked by Tatsumi’s declaration to even go against the country if necessary, then being shocked again after the entry of a big-shot, and being further shocked seeing that big-shot talking with Tatsumi in such a nice manner.
But, finally coming to her senses, Schecrya hurried to the big-shot AKA Eleesha and quickly kneeled down in front of her.
“Great mistress should have heard it too!? This one arrogantly declared that he will aim an arrow at us nobles… no, the whole Largofiely kingdom! And moreover he is running amok committing an outrage after tying up my dear son! Please by all means, great mistress should use her might to grant this fool the punishment he deserves!!”
“E-Exactly so! This person is threatening Lady Calcedonia who is to become my wife, and coercing her into doing as he pleases! Moreover he wishes to take her as his wife, this wastrel! I have heard that great mistress is close to Calcedonia. So for Calcedonia as well, please judge this buffoon as he deserves!”
Even while being tied up by a rope, Lalaic followed his mother as he almost crawled to Eleesha’s feet and crouched down.
Eleesha coldly looked down upon this mother and child of the Gargadons. On the other hand, Tatsumi’s eyes turned white after learning this old woman was a high figure even amongst the various ducal houses.
“Threatening Calcedonia…Was it? Is that true?”
Eleesha suddenly glanced at Tatsumi. And Tatsumi who felt a deep pressure coming from that glance hurriedly shook his head left and right as he took a few steps back.
And as if to protect Tatsumi, Calcedonia stood in front of Eleesha with a smile.
“Just like I told madam the other day, I really do love Mast-… Lord Tatsumi. By no mean am I being tricked. Far from it, I truly am happy. Because Lord Tatsumi clearly said it, towards that very extent, his feelings for me.”
Recalling Tatsumi’s declaration from just a moment ago, Calcedonia’s lips bloomed into a smile so dazzling that it would warm up even the hearts of those near her.
“Right, I too think that Tatsumi is not tricking or threatening you. Even if he was tricking you, he wouldn’t have been able to say what he just did. By the way——”
Though she was happy seeing someone she treated just like a grandchild maturing, she narrowed her eyes. Her gaze once again turned into a sharp blade as she looked at the two groveling at her feet.
“Tricked…Was it? No, I wonder who was it that really tried to trick her?”
Like a knife, her severe gave pierced through Lalaic.
“E-Exactly what is her excellency talking about, I wonder…? I-I have never, ever tricked or threatened another person in my whole life……”
“Oh my, is that so? By the way Lalaic… was it? This, do you recognize it?”
Saying that, what she took out was a crystal ball as large as an adult’s fist.
A transparent crystal, perfectly spherical without a trace of impurity. It was shining on top of Eleesha’s palm.
“T-That, is that perhaps…. A [Shape-scripting Crystal]…?”
“Yes, exactly. Though this is part of a certain old badgers collection… The things reflected here are quite interesting. Want to see?”
Eleesha held up the shape-scripting crystal on her palm, and chanted some sort of keyword like aria.
And after she did that, a kind of imagery reflected on the surface of the Crystal, along with voices.
The magic seal device called shape-scripting crystal could record images and sounds and replay it later whenever one wished. A magic seal device that had the same function as a Video Recorder.
<< —— Why can you still not teach that young priest called Tatsumi a good lesson!? My master is at the end of his patience. If you don’t succeed then both I and you won’t be let off easily——– >>
Tatsumi could see in the projected reflection that the thugs who wanted to harass him were having somewhat of a dangerous and shady conversation with someone who looked to be like a servant of an affluent family.
The background seemed to be a city bar. So the surroundings should’ve be quite noisy. The fact that the scene was recorded with such clarity meant the person who recorded it should’ve done it from quite the close proximity.
Soon the images changed as the reflection projected the image of a now tarnished room. From the looks of it the room should have been decorated with rather expensive stuff, but all of it was destroyed. There were two men in the room who were having a conversation.
As it seemed, the images were taken from the ceilings so the point of view was quite oblique like looking down from above. But even so they could see one of the men was certainly the same servant from the previous images.
And without a doubt, the other man was Lalaic Gargadon, present at this very moment.
<< Curses!! Why can’t you still find that priest by the name of Tatsumi’s weakness!? And just when will the hired men finally be able the grief this Tatsumi for once!? >>
<< Y-Yes… It looks like his ability to run away is commendable, if one thing. No matter how the men want to trap him, he could always manage to escape……>>
<< I am tired of hearing excuses! Rather than that I want results!! Hurry up, or else……>>
The Lalaic inside the reflection narrowed his eyes as he told the servant,
<< By using the power of my house of Gargadon, do you wish to see how I can take care of an insignificant person such as yourself? >>
<< U-Understood, Lord Lalaic……!! I will certainly make that man called Tatsumi suffer soon…!!>>
With that, Eleesha stopped the crystal.
The reason why Giuseppe told Tatsumi to run around all over the place, was to buy enough time for the spy sent by Eleesha to be able to use the magic seal Giuseppe lent, and record everything so that they had enough proof against Lalaic.
“Hmm, strange… certainly did you not just say you had never tricked or threatened a person in your whole life just now…. Or was it me who heard wrong?”
“I-I know nothing!! I am not aware of a single thing of which this reflected image was about!!”
“T-That’s right!! This is surely that foul boy called Tatsumi’s fault!! He must’ve fabricated all this to trick my poor Lala into blame!!”
“Enough, you fools. You realize that unless one isn’t an experienced specialist in this field, it’s nigh impossible to temper with a seal device. In the first place, the thugs showed in the crystal have already been apprehended by the knights of our temple. Because they repeatedly tried to harass a priest from the temple. The duty of the clerical knights is to protect the temple and its followers. So what they did was of course a matter of course. Now then, I am really excited about what we will hear from the thugs. Aren’t you too?”
“You people, it seems like you two really are not aware… of just what you tried to orchestrate.”
Eleesha grumbled while letting out a tired sigh.
“The kingdom and the temple always had a mutual give and take relationship. What you people wanted to do was to cause the mutual trust between the two parties to break down. And looks like you aren’t even aware of it.”
Because the temple didn’t belong to the kingdom, the kingdom had no right to give any sort of order to it.
Vice versa, the temple was not to participate in the kingdom’s internal management.
There were a lot of fronts in the official stances, and basically these were the official standing of the two sides. But of course, the two sides had a long standing deep relationship.
Even though the temple didn’t belong to the kingdom, it’s not like it didn’t receive any sort of protection at all. For a lot of countrymen, the temple was their spiritual support.
If by chance any kind of fissure appeared between the temple and the kingdom, it would manifest itself as the citizen’s discomfort towards the country.
So suppose the Kingdom did do something to offend the temple. The temple would probably shut itself away from the kingdom. And this would definitely not end with just the people being snatched of their place of worship.
The temple wasn’t only a place of prayer. It also acted as a medical facility, and stood in for various other practice institutions.
The nursing and medical treatment of patients and the wounded, the art of self-defense, and even things like arithmetic were taught by the temple.
So if the temple closed its doors to the kingdom, the people would no longer be able to receive these things.
And when that happened, the people would undoubtedly direct their anger towards the kingdom. The fate of a kingdom which lost the trust of its people, there’s no way it could be anything bright.
For that reason, the kingdom and the temple had always toiled to build up a positive relationship based on mutual trust.
“What you guys did was the same as trampling on the years of cooperation between us and the temple. If that old badger over there…. No, the supreme pontiff of the temple of Savaiv was truly enraged, the good association we have with the temple would immediately deteriorate. And of course, the kingdom will evidently hold you people accountable for it. The consequences of it… you can guess what would happen right?”
Implicitly, Eleesha hinted towards the destruction of the Earl’s house.
And now, reaching the extreme limits of things, the Gargadon mother and child finally realized they lost.
“The crime of creating a deep crack in the relationship of the temple and the kingdom, originally by the laws of our kingdom you should have been properly judged. But I do not wish to make this matter any bigger.”
For the kingdom of Largofiely, every kind of product produced by the Gargadon’s fief were extremely vital.
Not only were they the suppliers of the army’s weapons and armours, the metal products and special good from the Gargadon’s fief were also exported outside the country.
For the Earl to be able to develop this industry to such heights, his ability was widely recognized. So they just could not simply crush his house like that.
Even if they did bring down the house and the fief was put under the royal family’s direct control, there was no guarantee that the industry could be re-developed to its peak.
That’s how much the Earl’s ability outshined others, and the kingdom could not afford to lose it so suddenly.
“Therefore, your punishment will be completely left for the Earl of Gargadon, Almond Gargadon to decide. Understood?”
As she raised her voice towards the open door of the room, the figure of a middle aged gentleman appeared there.
Tatsumi guessed that this person was probably Lalaic’s father, Almond Gargadon.
“ Everything will be as you said, Great mistress. I will take responsibility to punish these people as by your command. And I also thank you from the bottom of my heart for your leniency.”
He bowed deeply at Eleesha. And after that he looked at Giuseppe and bowed once again.
“Your holiness lord Chrysophrase. This time, I have really troubled you greatly… I do not know the words I should use to ask for your forgiveness.”
“I do not need your apology. Rather you should properly punish those two. Do not dare to go easy on them because of your blood ties you hear me?”
“Yes!! I swear that from now on they will never cause any discomfort to your Holiness, Lady Calcedonia and her honoured fiancé.”
“However, I will inform this time’s case to his royal highness. If his highness delivers some sort of verdict, be sure to savour it slowly. Am I clear?”
“I humbly assent, great mistress.”
“Well then, Earl of Gargadon, how exactly do you plan on punishing these two?”
Giuseppe asked Almond, not with his usual happy-go-lucky attitude, but with a dignified grace befitting of the Supreme Pontiff of the Temple of Savaiv.
Almond realized, that if he really went easy on his wife and son, then that would be the real start of the Gargadon’s decline.
It was then that Almond finally looked at his wife and son groveling on the floor.
“F-Father… I beg you… D-don’t…”
Schecrya and Lalaic finally understood that they were at a dead end, as they tried to cling onto Almond who was the husband, and father, to save them.
But looking at them, Almond’s aura turned cold like never before.
“Oh Schecrya. I hereby dissolve our marriage… It seems like the great mistress already had a word with you family. Probably even they won’t wish for you to return.”
Looking at his wife—Rather his Ex-wife with cold eyes, he then turned his gaze towards Lalaic.
“Lalaic, I am disinheriting you. You are no longer the heir to my house. We no longer have a father and son relationship from this moment. What happens to you from now on, and where you will go, is all up to you.”
“N-No way… Is father telling me and mother to die in the wilderness!?”
“T-That’s right!! Disinheriting your only son, what’s going to happen to the house of Gargadon from now on!?”
Almonds decision was too severe— Or that’s what it looked like to the mother and son as they suddenly made a protest. But, Almond didn’t even show a reaction, neither listening to them nor looking at them.
“Oh please, if it’s about the Earl’s successor than you needn’t worry. I will recommend a splendid child for him to adopt.”
“What? Compared to that fool over there, any man would be a splendid heir.”
The old badger and vixen were talking loudly purposely for them to hear. Looking at those two, Tatsumi became a bit disillusioned.
But then, Eleesha suddenly cast a deep and meaningful glance at Tatsumi.
“Ah, come to think of it, don’t we have a young man with a bright future right here? How about it, Earl Gargadon. Why not just make the lad here called Tatsumi your successor?”
“W-Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat!? P-Please don’t joke about this!! I, being a noble is definitely not for me!! I am both heart and soul a commoner!! Becoming an heir to a house? That’s impossible, absolutely impossible for me!! It doesn’t suit me at all!!”
Tatsumi was completely baffled as he was hysterically denying it. Looking at him like that, Eleesha and Giuseppe, even Calcedonia started to smile.
And by the side, Almond was for some reason seriously inspecting Tatsumi. Maybe he was actually thinking of making Tatsumi into his heir?
A few days after the mess caused by the Gargadon mother and child.
Giuseppe called both Calcedonia and Tatsumi to his office.
As in a sense the earlier events had come to a close, Giuseppe was going to tell them the conclusion.
“So what happened after that?”
After entering Giuseppe’s office and being told to have a seat, Tatsumi asked the question.
“Well. The Gargadon house wasn’t blamed much. But they did impose extra taxes on the fief for a few years.”
By no means was it easy to bring down a noble house.
The people who served the house till then would suddenly fall to the streets, and in most cases proper handling of the fief becomes nigh impossible after that.
“And, what about that mother and child?”
Being asked by Calcedonia, Giuseppe half-heartedly replied the circumstances.
“The two, after being divorced and disinherited didn’t have anywhere to go to. The Earl gave them a small house and field within the territory for their living. But of course, as peasants, not as nobles.
“So will those two be able to handle it well?”
“Who knows, I can’t say that much. But giving them a house and a field was being compassionate on the Earl’s part. Whether or not they change their heart and live well from now, or end up dying in the middle of nowhere is up to them.”
Schecrya and Lalaic life and death had nothing to do with the house of Gargadon any longer. Even giving them a house and a field was definitely the Earl showing his last bit of affection for his former family.
Just when Tatsumi heaved a sigh of relief as he decided that this times case was over, Giuseppe said something to him.
“Listen, son-in-law. I can’t really guarantee the same thing as this time won’t happen again. So how about it? I was thinking, why not announce yours and Calsey’s relationship officially to the world?…. You should give it a thought.”