Laurier Fall Thinks of Her Father
For Laurier Fall, until recently, the word ‘family’ was only understood as a frame within which she lived her life. She only knew that there were people who gave birth to her and then she was given to others to raise, and under no circumstances was she to bother them any more than that.
“Are you listening, Laurier-sama? You are the sole daughter of the Duke of Fall… and one day, because of that, you shall become this country’s Queen.”
She had heard words like that over and over again. She didn’t really understand what they meant, but somehow she knew that she had to try her best.
But, that being said, Laurier was still a child… even if she put in all her effort, there were still limits to what she could do.
No matter how much it hurt, no matter how lonely she was, she had to endure it day after day without end. After a while, Laurier came to accept that what was happening to her was only natural. This was simply how things were.
Despite being deprived of warmth, Laurier grew up quickly for a child her age. Although the rigours of the aristocracy were a harsh environment within which to bring up a child… she took to language at an earlier age than most children and did her best to learn all she could.
Though despite Laurier’s efforts, she was never praised by her teachers, being told that such a thing was only natural for a child of a Duke, as she was strictly driven on. The way in which she was treated was so severe that it could be considered abuse for someone her age, even in this sort of society, but… human beings are unique creatures in how they will learn to adapt themselves to even the most inhospitable of environments.
The governess who was in charge of her etiquette training was especially cruel, to the point where it seemed like she even began to enjoy abusing Laurier under the auspices of ‘teaching’. Of course, Laurier didn’t know anything about that… to her, the only thing she could think of was that she had done something to deserve it whenever she was beaten, and in thinking that she began to start hiding her feelings. Before long, she had become very good at that.
It was about half a year after Laurier turned two years old that her life reached a turning point… when she overheard two maids gossiping about how her father had collapsed. However, Laurier could count on one hand the times she had ever seen her father. She still worried a little bit about her always busy parents, but… it wasn’t as if those two would care whether she worried about them or not.
Therefore, as she obeyed the ‘teachings’ of her governess who had become even more sadistic over time… she was shocked at the person who suddenly burst through the door one day.
“Oi… What do you think you’re doing to the daughter of my house!?”
It was her father, who she had seen so few times it was a surprise in of itself that she remembered his face. After watching her father rage against the governess for striking Laurier, he suddenly turned to her with a desperately worried look on his face.
“Laurier… are you okay?”
It was the first time her father had truly faced her like this. His eyes were firmly on Laurier, his eyes opened wide in anxiety… and, somehow, it looked like he was desperately trying to hold back something within himself.
As she stared back at him, the only thing Laurier could wonder from the bottom of her heart was; why would he help me? But, as her father pulled Laurier into a firm embrace, he spoke again.
“I’m so sorry Laurier… It’s all because of how careless I was that you had to go through so much pain until now…”
As her father hugged her, he spoke such gentle words into her ear. Was it because of that sudden warmth? Laurier found the words tumbling out of her mouth on their own.
“I-I… When she said no one wanted me… I didn’t like it… But, I…”
“Such a thing isn’t true at all. I need you, Laurier. You are my precious daughter. That’s why, for everything up until now, I’m so sorry. From now on, I will give you all the love you deserve. I promise.”
“Ah…!? F-f…. ather… uuu…”
Her father held her gently in his arms. For the first time since she could remember, Laurier felt something stir in that heart of hers that had grown cold. As warmth flooded through her chest, she worried that her heart would burst, but… Laurier was truly happy.
After that, she doesn’t remember exactly when she fell asleep, but when Laurier woke up her mother told her that she needed her as well… and she was really happy.
She didn’t know what had truly happened to her father, but… from that day on, Laurier thought that her father really was amazing.
A brave man who saved her when she was broken… her father was like a hero from the storybooks.
Perhaps her preferences started from that day on, where if Laurier was ever asked about what she looked for in a man, she would say ‘A kind and handsome man, like my father’, without minding the confused looks on her friends’ faces as she smiled.
It should go without saying that Laurier deeply loved her cool and caring father who, like a prince from the fairy tales, had saved her that day.