The next mini-arc will be the last one, and then 4 epilogue chapters for this arc. I am so excited~! Enjoy the chapter!
ED: xtostos, eristol
When Harold and I arrived at the courtyard of the Castle of Light, Earl Nibelheim was about to get on a carriage while holding a document bag.
He was planning to go to Knot Reed again to negotiate with the creditors.
We were barely in time, it is good that we didn’t miss each other.
Harold quickly descended from the carriage and rushed over to Earl Nibelheim.
“Harry!? ……And Erica-sama?”
Earl Nibelheim looked at Harold with an unexpectedly gentle expression on his face.
Because of his repeated anxiety, his presence was thin.
“U-um, Tou-san, you know what!”
“Harry, what happened, there are bags under your eyes…… You seem to be exhausted.”
“There was something I had to do no matter what so I stayed up all night……no, that, that’s not what I mean……umm, that……sorry, that was—”
Harold who originally was full of spirit seemed to droop as he went around in circles.
The situation has turned around for the better so far and we only need to tell him and get his approval.
I thought for a moment that maybe I should be the one to talk instead, but realized that it would not be good, so I chewed my lips.
I decided to take a step back and wait.
“There is something I want to talk about. Um, it’s about the matter of fundraising.”
When Harold finally started to talk calmly, Earl Nibelheim approached him slowly.
And then, he stretched his large and rugged hand and stroked his son’s short red hair.
“Harry, it’s a great help that you work and think over various things. However, I cannot burden a young child like you any more than this—”
“Yeah, I know this is not an issue that’s okay for a child to intrude in on. But!”
Harold strongly blocked the words of Earl Nibelheim.
Upon hearing that, Earl Nibelheim’s expression turned into a very serious one.
And Harold, who was sensitive to the change in his father’s facial expression, froze.
“……No, I’m sorry. The one who should apologize in this case is Tou-san.”
Earl Nibelheim crouched down to Harold’s height and their eyes met properly.
The Earl conveyed his feelings to Harold as if repenting to God.
“Harry, I think I will tell you the things I couldn’t convey to you if not for circumstances like this.”
“What’s the matter, Tou-san?”
“Harry, I feel remorseful every time I see your scar.
I have ruined your body forever due to my own carelessness.
I was scared to face you. I thought that you must’ve resented me.”
Earl Nibelheim cut off his words, he quietly took a deep breath.
“At that time, I couldn’t stay by your side when you were badly hurt.
I didn’t grant your wish when you said you wanted me to stay by your side because you were lonely.
Even though I could also watch over the progress of your treatment, I left it to Elder Turm.”
“Such a thing, it couldn’t be helped, because you were busy with the project at that time!”
“That was only an excuse. An excuse that couldn’t even fool myself.
Still, I should have stayed with you.
I should have made time for you even a little, and I should have gone to see you.”
“That is also the case with the fraud.
Whether you were a child or not, I should have talked about it properly.
Because you will inherit this territory which is your hometown.”
That being said, Earl Nibelheim took Harold’s right hand.
He regretted that he hurt his son’s body and was about to lose the territory his son would inherit due to his own negligence.
“Harry, I’m sorry.”
“Wait……what are you apologizing for, Tou-san?”
Harold had a perplexed face after his father’s repentance.
Harold held his father’s hand tightly with his right hand.
“Even if we don’t meet much, there is no reason for me to resent my hometown and Tou-san who works hard for the territory, right?”
Harold said with tone of voice as if he were an even younger child.
At that reply, Earl Nibelheim’s eyes became slightly blurry.
“Even the fact that I got such an injury, it’s because my powers were suited for making wands instead.
My hands are miraculous hands, someone told me.
That, I’m sure was chosen by destiny.
Don’t worry, Tou-san. It wasn’t due to your fault.
Everything, surely, was destiny.”
As Harold kept on talking quickly more and more, his smile grew proportionally.
“So, I have no regret or resentment about my life.”
Harold said that no matter what happens he will accept it and live.
Those are somewhat intense thoughts, but that is his strength.
“Hey, Tou-san. And now, it’s the fate-given, unmistakable chance. That’s why, please, hear me out.”
In response to Harold’s words, Earl Nibelheim became silent for a while.
His expression looked like that of a criminal who had been released from many years of constraints.
Those eyes were filled with tears, but those tears never fell.
And Earl Nibelheim nodded quietly.
“Harry……alright, let’s hear it. This matter that made you reluctant to sleep and do your best, I’m going to hear you out properly.”
I felt that the stilted air between them changed.
At last, their mutual feelings were conveyed and the ill feelings disappeared.
Harold opened the wooden boxes gracefully and took out the dish with pomegranate pattern.
The contrast of beautiful blue and white shone vividly under the autumn sunlight.
Earl Nibelheim stared at the dish and sucked his breath in.
“This porcelain……it seems quite different from the ones circulated by the antique fraudsters some time ago.
That one had a warmer color like of earth, but this has exactly the same radiance as the authentic masterpiece, no, this one has more texture.
Above all, this blue, isn’t it not supposed to be in this continent?”
“If I tell you it will take a long time, but……”
Harold explained the series of miraculous events that had happened so far to Earl Nibelheim.
The identity of the alchemist who succeeded in restoring the white porcelain was Gilbert Turm and his encounter with him who came back to Knot Reed by chance.
The fact that the tailing from the low-quality silver ore was actually a rare metal that could be processed into an expensive pigment.
That the raw material of the porcelain was a common whetstone in the north-western part.
And the fact that they already reached the production of prototypes of porcelain in Gilbert’s furnace.
After hearing all these things, Earl Nibelheim seemed perplexed.
“No way, for such things to happen……it is difficult to believe it so suddenly.”
“As everything has come together like this so far, there’s no reason not to make use of it, Tou-san. Let’s think about turning it into our main industry.”
“Is it true that the young man is Gilbert of the Turm family?”
“If you have any doubts, please visit the notary Bernhard. When we consulted about this case, we asked Gilbert’s older brother to attend.”
“Bernhard, huh……if he can prove his identity, he is definitely the real thing.”
In the north-west part of the country, the name of Turm family has an absolute reputation.
It is the same for Gilbert who is rumored to be the prodigal son whose life-or-death is uncertain.
Furthermore, if it can be guaranteed that Bernhard, a notary public, is his brother, then there is no further proof needed.
“If so, the problem is about the purchase of whetstones.”
“Since it’s not silver mining rights, can’t we just buy the whetstone mining rights?”
“That’s it, I cannot afford to purchase it outright with our current financial standing.
Since my reputation is falling lately, it will be difficult to borrow money any more than this.
If we can explain the matter about porcelain……no, it wouldn’t be weird if we get taken advantage of……”
“No way, even though we can obtain cobalt oxide for free……”
“That’s right, it’s such an astronomical miracle that rare materials like that were thrown away……hm? Wait?”
Earn Nibelheim who was talking until that point had a frantic expression on his face.
“Harry, the production place of the whetstones, the raw materials of this porcelain, is it in Evit region?”
“Eh……uum, since it’s in the upstream of Varnalis River, yeah, it’s should be in Evit region.”
“It’s a miracle. No, this must be destiny……we did it, Harry!”
The expression on Earl Nibelheim turned bright.
He easily lifted Harold while raising his voice in joy.
“W-w-what happened, Tou-san?”
“Hahaha! What a fool I was! Everything was gathered from the very beginning!”
“Wait a moment, Tou-san! I don’t understand! Don’t leave me out of the loop again!”
“Aah, sorry, Harry.”
Earl Nibelheim lowered Harold to explain after exhaling to calm himself down.
“About four years ago, I went to a certain merchant in Knot Reed to ask for an investment in our silverware industry.
It was a long-established store that handled a large amount of whetstones of the Evit region.
At that time, he was in trouble with the disposal of the stone dust which came out while processing the whetstone.”
“Even though the amount of investment was small, I thought it was fine to accept the stone dust here.
We have a lot of old waste mines that have withered, so whatever it is, I don’t mind cramming them in the old waste mine until they’re bursting full.
When I suggested it, he gave me a favorable offer for the fund.
It was a contract that said all the stone dust of the Evit region produced by the vendor for 20 years will be accepted by Nibelheim.
What we want is the whetstone, which is not a stone but a material……then, the stone dust is enough.”
Harold and I are the ones who were surprised this time.
The bell that informed us of the time had just resounded.
Earl Nibelheim raised his head at ease.
“It’s time. Sorry, Harry. I will borrow a sample of this porcelain and this ore.”
“Of course, Tou-san!”
Harold carefully put the dish back into the wooden box and handed it to Earl Nibelheim.
Earl Nibelheim put his leg on the waiting carriage and looked back unexpectedly.
“Sorry, and thank you, Harry. You are my pride. You are too good to be my son.”
After leaving behind a remark like that, Earl Nibelheim went out of the castle in no time.
Harold stood in the middle of the courtyard after his father left and didn’t move.
To me who was behind him, it seemed as if he was staring at the sky.
“Seriously, that person, always busy running around.”
“You mean your father?”
“Aa. I wish I could talk a lot more with him.
Saying I am his pride, now of all times……such a thing, if he says such a thing……what should I say, I don’t understand……”
Harold sniffled while cursing with a loud voice.
I see, he wasn’t looking at the sky, he was enduring so the tears won’t spill.
I tried to take out my handkerchief but stopped myself.
Because I recalled the rule Harold imposed on himself about crying only once.
I think that happy tears shouldn’t count, but it is he himself who decided it.
“It’s alright. You can talk a lot with him from now on.”
“I see……that’s true……”
Harold couldn’t endure it anymore, he crouched and heaved with sobs.
Laying a handkerchief down, I sat in a back-to-back position with him.
“I got tired from the conversation, so I want to take a break. Is that fine?”
“You must be tired too, Harold. You ought to take it easy.”
“Yeah……sorry, thank you……”
My back took Harold’s slight weight.
He had noticed my implied intentions and began to cry without hesitation.
I pretended that I couldn’t hear him crying, so that Harold could cry as much as he liked.
I entrusted half of my weight on Harold’s back and looked up to the autumn sky from the courtyard.
I felt that the Nibelheim’s sky on that day was high, clear, and blue.