The large dining table at the main house was filled with various dishes. Specialties from all over the continent, delicacies representing the region, various kinds of desserts, and local dishes with hundreds of years of tradition. A buffet where you choose the food you like without paying attention to the flow of the meal.
Anicilla Caines. She was the daughter of a prestigious aristocratic family with a long history in Kiel even before marrying her in Ryan Hart. Anisilla, who has been educated for her status from a young age, understandably does not enjoy this type of meal because it lacks ‘dignity’. No, it’s not that she doesn’t enjoy it, she hates it.
But Eugene likes this kind of meal.
I don’t like the plating where a few pieces of food are placed on a large plate and only sauce is sprinkled around it, or when bite-sized food that doesn’t taste good is served sequentially. So, when she was a young child who had just moved into the family home as an adopted child, even if she came home after eating at the home, she always ate one more meal in the annex.
It’s an old story. After she had grown old and had enough of a say, Eugene persuaded Annie Silla to interfere at the family table. I don’t eat it every day anyway, so I go out most of the time and come back from time to time to eat home-cooked meals.
If Anicilla hadn’t died in the past, even Anicilla wouldn’t have readily accepted it, but-
“Eat this too.”
Today’s Anicilla is neither fussy nor venomous as in the past.
The composure of being the hostess of the original family that no one can overlook.
All of her children have grown up, and Xian has been confirmed as the next head of household, and she has even been engaged to Geumjiokyeop of the Kingdom of Luhar.
The one I care about is Ciel, but… … Are there any trees in the world that cannot be climbed? Annie Silla believed in her daughter’s potential. If she can’t climb, she just needs to take ten or a hundred times to knock her over.
Those points softened Anicilla’s personality. In particular, when she becomes the most benevolent towards Anishilla, it is when she takes care of Mer and Raimirah like now. Dozens of desserts occupying one side of this wide dining table are actually prepared by Anicilla to feed Mer and Lymira.
“Oh, you got it on your lips.”
Even now, Anicilla was preoccupied with standing by the two little ones and taking care of them. She smiled softly as she wiped the cream from Lymilia’s mouth.
“hmm… … .”
Everyone in this place knows. The fact that those two little kids whom Annie Silla adores like her daughter, or her granddaughter, are actually several times older than Annie Silla, and she is at least 200 years old. But none of the dozens of people in the room pointed out or thought about that inconvenient truth.
dozens of people.
Yes, dozens. The only ones seated at the table were Vermouth and the family, but there were dozens of people in this room. Not only the attendants serving food and tableware and refilling drinks, but also the captains of the White Lion Knights and Black Lion Knights on the wall behind the table. There were even retired old senators. They politely refused to sit at the table, only to stand behind the wall.
The reason was obvious. The progenitor of the Lionheart family. A legend that has come back beyond 300 years of time. To see the great vermouth with your own eyes. To be honest, I saw it a month ago, but of course no one reaped satisfaction from that short meeting.
Why are there only captains? No matter how large Reinhardt’s dining room was, it was clear that hundreds of Knights of the White Lion and Knights of the Black Lion would enter. It must have been cut in order of rank among many, many applicants who wanted to meet the great Vermouth.
“… … .”
Vermouth was awkward with the dishes at the table, along with the envy-filled gaze that pierced him.
Strangely, in front of Vermouth, there were a lot of foods that boasted a long and long tradition, especially the northern kingdom of Ruhar and Kiel, as well as health food.
“… … .”
Returning after 300 years, did you think you would miss the old food? Did you think you needed health food because you couldn’t eat food while sealing the demon of destruction? I can understand why, but… … .
‘I don’t have to do this… … .’
Of course, Vermouth did not show such feelings.
“So why did you come out like that?”
While Vermouth ate with a calm face, Eugene faced the question he had been preparing for.
I thought I was prepared, but when I heard the real question, my breath stopped and my mind went blank. When Eugene glared at the food on the plate without looking straight ahead, Ciel, who was sitting across from him, smiled mischievously and put his hand into his arms.
“I mean this.”
What Ciel took out was a well-folded newspaper, and when he glanced at it, Eugene’s face crumpled as if he had chewed shit.
Of course, Eugene knows about that newspaper… … . Newspapers that had been out on extras across the continent a month ago.
“don’t do it.”
“You know what I can do?”
“I will show you that.”
“Of course I have to show you.”
Ciel smiled bashfully and opened the newspaper.
There is only one picture on the front page of the newspaper. Photo of the year that everyone will recognize. decades, no, hundreds of years. A photograph that proves and represents the ‘age’.
“Heroes who saved the world.”
The 6 heroes who came out after defeating the demon king of destruction. In the photo, the 6 people standing shoulder to shoulder – looking at it again, they looked like the most awkward relationship in the world.
Each of them stood awkwardly, put their hands on their shoulders, and said it was a bright smile in their own way, but it was artificial… … .
“I didn’t do it because I wanted to.”
“Then who wanted to do it?”
“I can’t tarnish my friend’s honor, so let’s keep quiet.”
“Is that what you said?”
“Because it is not. Vermouth told me to do it.”
Eugene sold the name of the vermouth next door. If Vermouth, not anyone else, told me to do it, at least in Lionheart, no one would be able to say anything.
“I never said anything like that.”
“Dog bird, how much have I done for you and how much trouble have you gone through?
“Anyway, isn’t it a bit like swearing at the ancestor in front of us?”
Ciel scolded him.
indeed. Guilade and the other members of the family, as well as the captains of the knights who were watching the meal, were making faces.
“I owe you a lot, Hamel. But you can’t say you did something you didn’t do.”
Vermouth murmured. Pudeuk. The knife in Eugene’s hand was crumpled like paper.
“Yeah, I said do it. By the way, it was me who wanted to do it, but I wasn’t the one who decided on the composition. Cristina decided.”
It’s not a lie. She suggested that we all get together for a photo shoot, but it was Cristina who pushed her on the shoulder.
“You enjoyed it too.”
“How do you know if I enjoyed it or not?”
“How do you know? You know I’m smiling in the picture. Didn’t you enjoy it?”
“Sometimes laughing is not laughing.”
“I know that? The head of the family will make a new large picture of this and decorate it in the living room.”
“Not only the main family, but also the Black Lion Castle and collateral families.”
“Is that true?”
Eugene looked at Gilade while his shoulders trembled. Gil Reid, who was drinking wine with a hearty smile, nodded his head.
“Isn’t that a nice picture? It is also a monumental photograph. It is proof that you defeated the demon king of destruction and saved the world. In the future, everyone in the world will think of that photo as a reason for being able to exist every day of their lives. That picture will appear in all textbooks that children of the continent learn. And all the descendants of Lionheart will draw their future selves by looking at the heroes decorated in the mansion.”
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There was no insult or ridicule in Gilreid’s unhindered reply. He genuinely thinks that picture is cool.
Eugene thinks, sometimes… … Gilreid was different from others in terms of aesthetics. However, Yujin couldn’t bear to let that emotion out of her mouth. It was because he remembered ten years ago when Gilreid said that Hamel was cool.
“If you want a picture to decorate, I will take another one… … .”
“Where is the need for that? I already recorded the vivid moment.”
Persuasion is impossible. Eugene closed her eyes and swallowed her sigh.
Can not help it… … . Unless you go back to the past or destroy the world once, you can’t stop that photo from continuing into the future.
‘If I knew it would be like this, I would not smile like an idiot and shut my mouth solemnly.’
Even regret was too late.
“… … .”
At the moment Eugene decided to obey the world’s great will, Carmen stared at Vermouth in silence. Representing the Senate and the Knights of the Black Lion, she sat across from Vermouth.
Indeed, who but Carmen could sit across from Vermouth? In the war a month ago, she beat her to death until her fists shattered. Carmen thinks that she was the one who gave the most attack to her destruction there, and if she rang a ‘voice’ to the depths of her destruction, the loudest among them would be the sound of a fist breaking.
“The founder of our family, the great Vermouth.”
Carmen’s mouth opened. at las. Vermouth cleared his mind and raised his gaze.
While wandering the continent for a month, I heard many stories from my colleagues. She had heard of the name ‘Carmen Ryan Hart’ among her stories at the time, but she had never really been told ‘what’ she was. The reason is that Eugene intentionally concealed Carmen’s personality, but Vermouth did not know about it.
Aside from things like personality, what Vermouth knows about Carmen is that she is Lionheart’s strongest besides Eugene. Vermouth’s intention was to see through the limits of the white salt ceremony and spread that realization to Lionheart. And it’s hard to imagine from her appearance, but she is the aunt of the head of the household, Gilreid, is single, and the eldest member of the Ryan Hart family.
“Please lower your voice.”
“No, it can’t be. I know that you are my descendants, but with what qualifications can I appear now and pretend to be the founder after 300 years have passed?”
“That statement is difficult for me to understand. Are you eligible? Without the progenitor, Lionheart would not have existed.”
“Carmen. I don’t know what kind of person I was today, but I was neither a caring husband nor a good father.”
Vermouth smiled bitterly and shook his head.
“At the time, I built a family only for necessity. I created a wall that can never be crossed between the main family and the collateral. And deceived everyone with a false death.”
“but… … .”
“I am very grateful that Carmen and others respect me as the progenitor of Lionheart. But I don’t want to treat you as descendants. It is because of you that I have grown the lion heart I made for my needs, and the reason I was able to realize who I am in the belly of destruction… … Because you called me.”
As if he had thought about it beforehand, there was no blockage in Vermouth’s answer.
The meal was stopped before I knew it. Even the attendants stopped moving and stared at the vermouth. The elders and captains standing by the wall were moved, and Gilreid, Genos, and Jehard were even shedding tears before they knew it.
“iced coffee… … .”
So was Carmen. She placed her hands on her lap without wiping the tears running down her cheeks.
“The founder must have heard our voices.”
“yes. In the belly of destruction where the dark darkness is sticky, I was able to not forget myself thanks to the voice calling my name. And the echo that shakes destruction… … .”
Carmen reacted before Vermouth could finish her sentence. She pulled her chair forward, her eyes twinkling.
“ring… … What kind of resonance are you talking about?”
“Attacking the body of the demon king of destruction… … .”
“Attack! Did it resonate even inside the demon king of destruction?”
“Yes that’s right.”
The hands that had been on her knees came up on the table. Carmen’s hands were white and smooth, already cured, but she clenched her fists without hesitation.
“My fist broke then.”
Vermouth searched for his memory.
a month ago. I… … after the picture was taken. When you meet the descendants of Lionheart who have flocked around you. Carmen stood in the forefront. Certainly, I remember her knuckles being shattered and covered in blood.
“I knew I couldn’t directly defeat the demon lord of destruction with this fist, but I didn’t stop punching. Even if Dragon Claw was broken, even if Heaven Genocide was broken, even if my bones were broken, I continued to swing my fist.”
What are Dragon Claw and Heaven Genocide? A question popped up in his head, but Vermouth couldn’t ask it. Carmen’s expression was so serious.
“To defeat the demon king of destruction and save the world. I wanted to add this fist to opening the future. I swung my fist hoping for just that. If the progenitor heard ‘Woollim’… … Among them, there must have been my knuckles shattered and my voice ringing.”
Vermouth stood up from his seat. He tried to stand up with Carmen, but Vermouth shook his head. He took a step forward and went to Carmen’s side.
“The echoes I heard must have included those from Carmen-sama’s fist.”
Vermouth went around the table and approached Carmen’s side.
“Now that I can come back to Lionheart and have a meal and talk… … Because Carmen and everyone else shed blood.”
“Chief… … .”
At that call, Vermouth smiled softly. Vermouth stood beside Carmen, placing her hand on her fist.
“It is true that I am the progenitor of Lionheart, but I don’t always want to be called ‘the progenitor’ by you guys. ‘Vermouth Lionheart’. I like to be called that. As a member of the same Lionheart, as your family.”
“iced coffee… … !”
The moment you put your hand on your fist. Carmen’s body trembled as if it had been struck by lightning. She stared at the vermouth with her quivering eyes, trying to control her quickening breathing.
“family… … family… … !”
“Yes, aren’t we a family? The same Lion Heart… … .”
“ah… … father.”
Vermouth’s eyes widened at the stuttering words.
“Father… … May I call you?”
“… … yes?”
“family… … isn’t it? father… … No, Vermut-sama is my father’s father’s father’s father’s father… … In other words, he is my distant father.”
That’s not wrong.
“but… … I’ll be called father by Carmen-sama… … .”
“I regard Vermut-sama as my father.”
“but… … .”
“Vermut-sama is the father of all Lionhearts. Ah, the broken fist at that time was so much better… … It must be to hold my father’s hand like this.”
Carmen shed tears again as she felt the warmth of flesh and blood from her fists.
“Please allow me. For me to call Vermut-sama my father… … .”
Vermouth’s eyes shook violently. It was difficult to understand why the conversation had become like this.
However, that earnest look and the words that he was the father of his father and the father of all Lionhearts had a subtle persuasive power to Vermouth.
“that… … If you want that, yes.”
“father… … !”
Carmen no longer clenched her fists and held Vermouth’s hand tightly.
Her biological father passed away a long time ago. But even his dead father would be happy in heaven if the great Vermouth became a new father.
“I have so many things I want to do with my father.”
“yes… … .”
“Can I, my daughter, raise a drink myself?”
“… … .”
Vermut hesitated, then glanced at Eugene. It was an unspoken request to lend a helping hand in this difficult situation, but looking at Eugene’s grinning face, it seemed that a helping hand would not come. Instead, something else came.
What came was not a helping hand, but a new drinking cup. Vermouth glared at Eugene while accepting the glass that had slipped from the table.
“I wish I had a daughter too.”
Watching Vermouth receiving alcohol from Carmen with a complicated face, Eugene clapped his hands.