The Unintentional Flag Crusher
After his timid greeting, that red haired boy… ducked straight back into Grieze’s shadow. As Reuben did, Viscount Grieze heaved a sigh.
“Hey, Reuben. How many times have I told you that you should be bold when greeting someone for the first time?”
“No buts! You are the heir to the House of Grieze, and eventually, you will be one of the shields that guard this land as a knight. You need to shape up.”
…This seems like quite a poor mix of parent and child, doesn’t it? A shy son and a spartan father… well, it’s not really my place to intrude in the family affairs of others, but… I couldn’t help but think of my own daughter as I watched, so I found myself speaking up.
“Please excuse my rudeness, it’s not my intention to interrupt you, however… Viscount Grieze, don’t you think you’re being too harsh on your son?”
“Hm? But, my son is always so nervous. If he’s going to one day inherit the House of Grieze, he needs to walk with his head held high…”
Hmm… Well, I don’t want to tell another man how to raise his son, but…
“Even if your son isn’t the boldest, you shouldn’t force him to become someone that he’s not. Not everyone can fit the same mould. Certainly, sometimes strict education may be what’s required, but… you shouldn’t seek to deny who your son is from the very beginning. Your son is not you. Your son is unique, there’s only one of him in the entire world… so, I’d recommend talking with him a little more.”
“Talking, you say…?”
“Yes. If you meet your son at his level and have an honest discussion… then, I’m sure that you will find a way forward that suits both of you.”
As I saw Reuben peek from behind Viscount Grieze’s legs, still looking slightly frightened by me, I spoke softly.
“Ah… Reuben, isn’t it? My name is Callis Fall. The head of the House of Fall.”
Reuben trembled like a deer in the headlights. Did he think I was about to yell at him? Although when I reached my hand out to him, he shut his eyes tight, all I did was ruffle his hair.
“It’s only natural to be nervous when meeting someone for the first time. But, you really do have an excellent father. You can always take pride in that.”
“B-but… I… I’m no good with swords, like father is…”
“You’re far too young to decide whether or not you have talent in one thing or another. And if you don’t have talent… that doesn’t stop you from exerting effort.”
I smiled at Reuben, who looked up at me in confusion as he trembled.
“Do you like your father?”
“Then, do you admire your father?”
“…Yes. Someday, just like father… I want to be… a knight…”
When Reuben said that, I noticed the flash of surprise that ran across Viscount Grieze’s face, but… I kept going without hesitating.
“Then, with your own strength, you should aim to become an even better knight than your father.”
“My own strength…?”
“The person you become will be based off all the things you see and experience in your life, but… to find your own strength and surpass your father, you’ll have to work hard. The only reason your father is hard on you is because he wants you to aspire to great things as well.”
“Don’t feel too burdened by it. However… just know that your father loves and cherishes you. Never forget that.”
With that, something changed in Reuben’s face… instead of looking confused and worried at my words like he had just before, he suddenly managed to find a firm voice, even though he still trembled.
“I… I’ll do my best. It’s scary but… just like father… I want to be an awesome knight…!”
“Yep. Do your best.”
I gave the boy’s head a final last pat and returned my gaze back to Viscount Grieze… who was staring at me, utterly dumbfounded.
“My apologies for interfering like that. But, even if your son may be shy, he has a stout heart… I am sure that, in the future, he will become an even greater knight than you can imagine.”
“How surprising… to think that my son would say something like that…”
Viscount Grieze looked stunned. Well, I suppose this is common between parents and children who don’t communicate well with each other; when they truly hear what their children think, it’s far beyond what they expected. Parents like to think they know everything about their child, but… at the same time, sometimes it’s hard for parents to look past that and truly see their child for what they are.
“You should talk more with your son from now on. Now then, if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish up my work.”
As I passed by the still shocked Viscount Grieze, I heard that shy voice from behind me cry out “U-Um… I…!” ーーー when I turned around, I saw Reuben with a determined expression on his face.
“I… I’ll definitely be an awesome knight like father one day…!”
“Yeah, I look forward to seeing it.”
As the boy bowed to me, I gave Reuben a slight nod of my head before turning around and leaving once more. Did I get too involved again…? Well, it should be fine.