Watching Over my Daughter
Several groups of parents and children had already arrived, so I decided to make rounds of greetings with those who held a rank of peerage close to my own.
In the aristocratic world, it was considered impudent for someone of a lower rank to talk to a noble from a higher station, and likewise there was a tacit understanding that they were to make themselves scarce before such nobles unless called upon first, but… honestly, I really hate that aspect of high society.
Of course, compared to other countries, the aristocracy here weren’t quite as obsessive over these rules, but… all the same, it was important to keep up appearances, and honouring old traditions was a part of that.
Well, the part of me that lived as Duke Callis considers that all part and parcel with being nobility, but… as expected, when it comes to the part of me that was just a normal working man in another world, it still doesn’t quite sit right.
For now, I’ll just greet the other attendees who are also from Ducal houses. Even though Laurier was bashful, she managed to greet everyone properly… yep, my daughter really is the cutest after all! As I thought that, I did my best to keep a courteous smile on that face of mine, but before long the greetings and pleasantries ended as His Majesty the King and Princess Serena arrived, and everyone in attendance turned to stand at attention.
“Everyone, you have our gratitude for coming on such an auspicious day! Today is an important occasion… for it is the celebration of my daughter Serena’s fifth birthday. Please enjoy yourselves to the utmost!”
And with a word from His Majesty, the party began in earnest.
And apparently, I was the first that His Majesty and Serena-sama deigned to meet…
“Duke Fall. I am most glad to see you here today.”
“It has been some time, Your Majesty. Serena-sama… my sincerest congratulations.”
I was Duke Fall, after all. It only made sense that I would be amongst the most important Lords of the realm, but… noticing how tense Laurier was, I laid my hand on her head and introduced her myself.
“This is my beloved daughter, Laurier.”
“M-My name is L-L-Laurier F-F-Fall… T-thank you very much for the in… in… invitayshun…”
As I kept my round of applause for Laurier’s efforts locked away in my heart as she curtseyed elegantly, I turned back to look at His Majesty… who, for some reason, looked quite surprised.
“Is there something wrong, Your Majesty?”
“No… I was just somewhat taken aback by how kindly you looked at your daughter just now. Do excuse me for saying as much, but you never truly seemed like the type to pay much attention to your family.”
It’s a shame if even the King thinks that way… but, painful as it was, until relatively recently it was the truth, so it can’t be helped. Smiling bitterly, I replied.
“If I were still the old me, then that would have been the truth, wouldn’t it? However, I truly do hold my daughter very dear to me now.”
“Well now…? At any rate, I would be most grateful if our daughters could get along. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Laurier.”
After saying that, His Majesty and Serena-sama moved along to greet the other noble attendees… but, before she left, Serena-sama approached Laurier with a smile.
“Sometime soon, let’s have tea together, okay? Laurier.”
Even though she was confused and bashful about the sudden friendly invitation, Laurier still managed to properly respond to the Princess. Then, after regarding me for a brief moment, Serena-sama smiled again before returning to His Majesty’s side.
“Laurier, you did really well.”
When those two finally left, I whispered some praise to Laurier, who still seemed stiff and nervous.
“I… did I do greetings properly?”
“Oh, yes, of course. When we get home, I’ll make some more delicious sweets for you as a reward.”
Laurier beamed happily at me… Yep, my daughter really does look best with a big smile!
Seeing the angelic Laurier, I was suddenly hit by the insatiable urge to pinch her cheeks or tussle her hair, but… I remembered just in time that I was still surrounded by nobles.
After that, nothing particularly momentous happened and the party went on without a hitch… but, was it just my imagination, or was Serena-sama constantly looking our way?
Well, I can deal with that later… for now, the only thing on my mind is what I could make for Laurier after we got home from this party. Of course, the worry was still somewhere in the back of my mind, but it was just nothing compared to my thoughts about Laurier.
Uh oh, don’t spoil her too much