Time flew by quickly for children.
Soon enough, I had become a six-month-old baby.
There wasn’t anything different about turning six months old, but I did have one good news. I could sit up! Now give me applause!
Heh heh, I liked it.
When I turned around five months old, even I felt the difference in my development. I started to slow down in growth which made me think it was a bad thing, but seeing as how Serira remained calm, I guess it was normal at this stage. I managed to put more strength into my legs and hands, so I thought I could start crawling but damn! My hopes were dashed. I ended up pushing myself on my stomach and failed numerous times. Numerous times I wailed inwardly and looked for Serira, so I could ask her when could I start crawling.
Serira, I can’t crawl!
“Oh, my Princess are you sitting up again?”
Yup, I really wished for this to happen.
I unconsciously answered her and realized suddenly. When did you get here? When I was playing with my toys, Serira appeared out of nowhere and looked down at me.
Really, sitting up again? Wasn’t it obvious? You shouldn’t say it like that.
I giggled and Serira laughed with me.
Serira could now see her child once a month because I played well with the other servants, so she could relax and visit her child with peace of mind. Maybe that’s why she looked happier these days. It felt like she was growing prettier day by day.
Ah, to be honest, I didn’t like the other servants, but for Serira’s sake, I tried my best to play along with them.
“Princess, please eat this.”
I cocked my head as she pushed a bowl in front of me.
Wasn’t this solids? It’s solids! Yum!
I would eat it, but wasn’t it too early to eat solids?
Then I remembered how my nanny would spend a long time checking out my mouth after she bathed me. I think she was checking if I had teeth… I had teeth now!
Ah, was that why I was starting on solids? Oh, could I start talking now?
Even I thought that that wasn’t a sound a human could understand, but these days, I felt so light-hearted I unconsciously let out screeches. Damn. I wasn’t a monster.
“Here, say ‘ah~’.”
As soon as a spoon came toward me, I automatically opened my mouth. What nanny usually gave me was fruit. Today, it’s fruits again. The only difference was I had no idea what kind of fruit it was because it’s mashed beyond recognition. Also, my taste buds were dull due to the fact that I only had milk for several months.
Anyway, this was delicious!
“Eat slowly. Good girl.”
What kind of fruit was this? I unconsciously asked her, but unfortunately, no human words came out. Serira ended up patting me on the head and that was the end of it.
Damn, I had to get out of this baby phase, so I can actually do something.
“Was it that delicious? Good girl. Have some more.”
Yup, that’s right. For now, hand over that bowl. It was pretty good. I felt like Columbus discovering a new continent. Was this a whole new world?
It was solids, but instead of chewing it, it was more accurate to say I was just swallowing the purée whole. In other words, it was like drinking fruit juice. At first, I thought solids were too much for me when I didn’t have teeth, but Serira was a master at early childcare development.
Serira, you’re the boss! I believe in your abilities!
As I ate up the small snack, Serira smiled and left the room.
I looked down at the toys in my hands as I savored the lingering taste of the fruit I had earlier. I sighed thereafter. The toys were all the same kind. You either had to match shapes or look at shapes. To be frank, they were all boring.
Think about it, it would be boring to just play with those all day.
Let me play games instead! Battle royal! I wanted to play a shooting game.
As I sat there in my crib with a sullen face matching the shapes, I fell into deep thought. Now I know why babies were so sensitive. This world was too big for me alone, and the things I could do were few. Even if I could move my hands and feet, there was nothing I could actually do. The only emotions I could express was happiness or displeasure. It’s just those two. There were only two ways I could emote those emotions. I could either cry or I could laugh.
How uncomfortable was this body?
Yet mothers could figure out what the baby wanted and needed just by hearing their unpredictable cries. Their skill was mysterious like magic. I felt uncomfortable just watching them. If I had a baby of my own, could I do the same?
If I managed to grow up well and find my other half who’s just right for me, get married, and have a baby, I wanted to be a mother like Serira.
This was how much affection she gave me. It was simply immeasurable.
Well, I always heard a parent’s love was like the heavens.
“Now, princess, let’s go to his majesty.”
No, I didn’t need a Dad.
Caitel’s day started as early as five in the morning.
He woke up so early.
Anyway, the first thing he would do after waking up was sword training, so his body wouldn’t get rusty. He would finish that around seven. Then he would have breakfast and go with Ferdel to attend government meetings. After he finished his business around twelve, he would have lunch with Ferdel. Then he would just shove himself in the study, looking over paperwork until he’s ready to gobble on his dinner.
“Just leave it around there somewhere.”
Caitel said, not even bothering to lift his head from his papers. Serira entered the room very quietly, like a specter, Caitel always knew what was going on.
Anyways, he’s a specter. A specter I tell you.
I shook my head for no reason when Serira looked at me.
Serira laid me down in the bassinet without another word.
Some time ago, a bassinet randomly appeared in the study, but it was smaller than the one in my room. However, the important thing was that this new bassinet moved easier than my other one.
To think that there’s a moving bassinet.
“May you reach Evangelium.”
Serira finished her greeting and left the room.
It had been just the two of us in this room until I was five months old, but suddenly ever since one fateful day, it was just me alone here with Serira on standby outside the door unless Caitel called for her specifically.
Now that I thought about it, it’s weird. ‘Why did we start doing that?’
I wondered for just a minute.
I looked dully around the study. Well, to be accurate, it was a break room.
Caitel had already made mountains of papers around him. He was sitting on the sofa with a messy appearance; studying the papers with a dry look.
Hmmm. I sighed. I leaned my head against the guard for no reason and stared at him through the rails.
The break room’s lights were always a bit dark. There was bright sunshine pouring out from the large window the size of the wall, but we both avoided going there.
The window led to the garden in the great outdoors, but that wasn’t any of my business.
After seeing Caitel always on the attack, I was surprised by how he looked in such a quiet atmosphere. To think his attitude made such a difference. The air around him simply fell to the ground. It all seemed to belong on a different place, like his own island.
When Caitel was alone, it was always like this. No, when it was just him and I, I could see him like this.
I hated it. I wanted to break the silence.
At my sudden outburst, Caitel threw his papers sideways and looked at me. Then he laughed.
“Are you bored?”
After tossing his papers, he pulled the bassinet slightly closer to him and patted my head. As he watched me, he slightly laughed. It was a very slight laugh.
“You grew quite big.”
He saw his baby brat every day, yet he always said the same thing each time. Rotten jerk.
He had no interest in me. No interest at all.
It was not like I wanted it, yet at moments like this, I wanted to ask him “What’s wrong with you?” I couldn’t help myself from feeling this way. Should I say it was pathetic or should I say it was annoying? To be honest, I didn’t know. It just—it made me feel down.
All right, I would be big-hearted and stop asking you to go study child development. However, Dad, how about tutoring sessions with Serira?
Three days! Learn everything about kids!
I heard people do that nowadays…
“Now you are starting to look a bit like a human being.”
This Shi… Siberia.
Then, father, were you saying I didn’t look like a human before? Was that what he was trying to say? Huh? Did he want to get his ass kicked? No, would he like to get smacked instead then? I honestly wanted to beat him up. Before, I felt hurt by his words but, now, there were none of those feelings.
I was just speechless. I had no words, just hollow laughter.
How should I describe it… Liberation?
Yes, I must be feeling liberated from him. Ah, then would I reach complete enlightenment?
The guy just laughed as I made a rotten face and stuck out my bottom lip.
Then, he grabbed his papers with his left hand and stroked my head with his right. I leaned against the guard while getting stroked by him. Caitel enjoyed petting me a lot more than I thought he would.
I wonder why? I thought he hated any kind of human contact.
All gazes were always directed toward one place, him.
“April. River overflow causing mass flooding, one-third of the area had eight thousand people washed away. The Utrecht alliance will have poor crops this year too.”
How would you know?
Since I lifted my head, Caitel removed his sights from the papers and just looked at me.
His face was a bit like a scourge, but besides that, it was a flawless beauty…
However, it still looked like the face of a jackass to me.
“Coventry next to it, if we play our cards right, we can eat it quite easily. It’ll be okay, right?”
Look at the words you’re saying to a baby who didn’t even know the meaning of the word ‘coventry’.
I didn’t agree with him or denied him. I just simply stared at him.
One day, we randomly caught each other looking into each other’s eyes a lot so I stopped smiling each time he looked at me. At first, I thought my life was over, but Caitel didn’t go around jumping about to kill me. When I realized it didn’t affect my life right away, my liver grew big and now it came to this. I just sat there with a shitty face.
That’s right, you could just bark by yourself. I would just play by myself.
“The Emperor of Praezia is surprisingly quiet…”
I didn’t know if he was bored, but he listlessly flipped over a paper and dragged my bassinet toward him. Then, while looking straight into my eyeballs, he lowered his arms on a cushion and lifted his chin.
“He won’t forgive me for killing his daughter.”
The moment we looked into each other’s eyes, I compulsively called out to him.
Caitel didn’t laugh. He just stared at me.