* * *
At a late hour of the night, Kalian was standing in the hallway instead of going to bed.
The moon outside the window was especially bright today.
Then someone suddenly called him as he stood by the window.
Kalia turned his head and saw Bastian, who was standing in the hallway.
“Why are you out here when it’s so late? You can’t sleep? Or don’t tell me you’re just coming back now?”
Next to Bastian, was a servant who was helping him. Bastian gestured for the servant to withdraw.
Then he walked up to Kalian alone with his cane.
Kalian didn’t answer Bastian’s question but asked Bastian the same question.
“Same to you, Grandfather, why have you come out instead of sleeping?”
“The older you get, the harder it is to sleep.”
Bastian walked till he was next to Kalian, then he stood by the window as well.
Then the two of them silently watched the moon in the night sky.
“You look like you have a lot of things on your mind lately.”
After a while, Bastian opened his mouth first and spoke to Kalian.
Kalian’s gaze moved to Bastian’s side profile.
“Of course I do. The East is as rowdy as a beehive, after all.”
“My father is seizing the chance and prodding even more.”
Although neither of them said it, the reason both Bastian and Kalian were unable to sleep even though it was so late was in fact, the same.
“Your personality has always been gentle since you were a child, unlike what one would expect from Dominic’s child.”
Bastian said like he was recalling the past.
“You’re the eldest son and you’ve been highly intelligent from a young age so the high expectations from those around you must have been a burden, but you followed everything your father said without any discontent.”
After saying that, Bastian looked away from the window and turned to look at Kalian.
“But honestly, your nature doesn’t go well with Dominic. Isn’t that right?”
Kalian stared at his grandfather without saying anything.
“It’s just that he’s very good at pushing people, and he’s the type to go through with whatever he intends to do, no matter what, while you are a stubborn and polite child who listens well to the adults.”
It was only then that Kalian’s mouth, which had been shut the entire time, opened. He thought Bastian’s words did not fit him.
“It’s just that it was easier to meet the expectations of those around me, so I didn’t bother moving on a different path.”
After wrapping that shrewdness in a layer, Bastian and other people simply misunderstood and looked upon him favorably.
Tsk-tsk, Bastian clicked his tongue at Kalian after he said that.
“In my opinion, you have some obsession with yourself being clean. Why else will you criticize yourself so mercilessly?”
At Bastian’s reproach, Kalian lowered his head slightly like he was ashamed.
Seeing Kalian like this, Bastian click his tongue again, but he soon turned around as if he was saying that’s enough.
“Anyway, since you think that way, it’s easier for me to say what I want. What I really want to tell you is this…”
And when Bastian’s next words rang in his ears, Kalian’s hand on the window frame trembled.
“Kalian, it’s enough, you can stop now.”
The moment Kalian lifted his head, he locked eyes with Bastian who was still looking straight at him.
“You are not someone’s accessory. You do not have to try to live up to my expectations, or Dominic’s, or anyone else.”
Bastian spoke like he could see Kalian’s dilemma.
“So you should go on the path you believe is right. Just don’t forget that you also have to bear responsibility for whatever result you get.”
The look on his face filled with the obvious traces of time’s passage showed trust in his grandson.
Kalian’s eyes shook faintly as he was faced with that expression.
Of course, Bastian wouldn’t have said this if he knew all the worries that were troubling Kalian right now…
So he might be disappointed with Kalian in the future.
Still, at least right now, he felt comforted by his grandfather who had always watched over him with more warmth than his own father.
Soon after, Kalian closed his eyes and whispered softly:
“Thank you, Grandfather.”
Even though the night was still dark, the moonlight seeping through the window was bright.
It felt like it was patting Kalian’s shoulders in comfort.
* * *
That night, Genos was by himself and took out a drink from the cabinet.
“How old is this thing?”
The Sheldon mansion had been vacant ever since he was expelled in the past. Of course, he heard that there were servants cleaning and managing the mansion from time to time, but it seems they did not organize things that were used in the past.
Hence, the wines he had collected in the past were just as he had left them.
Genos had restrained from drinking for a while after he was re-instated.
Then today, he was really craving some alcohol, so he went through the cupboard in the middle of the night. Thankfully, he had some good wine that hadn’t been opened yet.
Genos brought the bottle to his mouth and drank it alone while using the floral scent coming from the window as a side-dish. Maybe it’s because he had been pushing himself and running around lately but once the alcohol got into his system, all his accumulated fatigue rushed in all at once.
Because his heart was uncomfortable, his mind drifted away for a bit and as he lost himself in thought, he emptied half of the large bottle of alcohol.
Genos had met Kalian a while ago.
“Won’t it be better if we try negotiating?”
Kalian looked like he had finally made up his mind.
However, Genos was a little surprised because his determination was much more than Genos expected.
“I did not help the Salvatores with this sort of intention in mind. Right now, they must have brewed a lot of hostility, but I think negotiations are fully possible if the Crawford House takes a step back. Moreover, the Crawford Head will not be able to move as he did now, as long as the Salvatores hold that bomb in their hands.”
Of course, Genos also thought it wouldn’t do to leave things like this, once he knew that the things Dominic Crawford’s did were bigger than he expected. However, that did not mean he wanted to jeopardize his friend, Kalian’s position.
The only reason he gave the Salvatores some help was to balance the scales to some extent.
In the East currently, there were way too many scales tilted in the favor of the Crawford house, especially towards Dominic, the current head.
“No, he probably won’t step back. The father I know will pretend to step back for now but will sharpen his knives even more thoroughly to defeat those opposing the Crawford family in the future.”
However, Kalian was stubborn.
“Then he will try to consolidate the East under the Crawford family once again.”
“But still…are you really sure about this?”
“As the successor to the Crawford family and Dominic’s son, I have to finish it and deal with the aftermath. So you can step back at this point.”
No matter what Genos said, Kalian refused to change his mind.
“If so then I have nothing more to say but I prepared this for you. If you need it later, use it.”
And so, Genos didn’t try to stop Kalian anymore. He handed over all the information he had secretly gathered about the Salvatores then he withdrew.
“Maybe I should have tried to stop him a little more.”
Genos mumbled to himself, feeling somewhat regretful.
However, he was practically a third party in this matter, how could he stop Kalian when Kalian had already hardened his heart so much?
Kalian’s stubbornness was stronger than he imagined.
‘It should be going well, I guess.’
After several sleepless nights, Genos finally fell asleep after emptying the wine bottle.
It was only after some time passed that a dark shadow appeared at the open window.
The intruder stepped into the room Genos was in without making a sound.
Genos was usually a light sleeper so normally, he would have noticed if someone got so close to him. But today, he was drunk, and the intruder had no presence just like the moonlight shining outside the window.
—Oh wow, he must have been drinking. Great then. He won’t wake up even if we touch him.
The person who entered Genos’ house was none other than Lakis.
He approached Genos who was fast asleep on the sofa.
Then without any hesitation, he placed his hand on Genos’ forehead.
Genos tossed momentarily but, in the end, he did not wake up.
Lakis peeked into Genos’ mind. Countless information poured into Lakis’ mind.
And finally, Lakis found what he was looking for in Genos’ head.
The thing that had been making him uncomfortable ever since he read Odin’s memories.
It was the prophecy about Yuri.
Lakis’ eyes shone coldly when he saw a dark-haired woman soaked in blood in Genos’ memory.
—Ooh, is this how foresight works? I’m experiencing it for the first time, but it looks very vivid, huh.
‘Is this fun for you?’
Lakis spoke coldly to the bug who was chattered like it was excited.
—No, rather than fun, it’s interesting that’s why…Goodness me, you get so prickly when it involves the landlady. I mean, you can’t even tell whether the blood belongs to the landlady or not.
The bug was right but Lakis was still in a foul mood.
Even though he knew it wasn’t Genos’ fault that he saw such an awful prediction, his killing intent spiked for a moment.
—Ah! There’s another one. Look at that one too. The one that has winged mutant. I think that prediction has something to do with the landlady too, doesn’t it?
And when Lakis looked at the next prediction, his mood improved a little.
He got all the information he wanted from Genos’ head then he left as silently as he first appeared.
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