HAPPILY EVER AFTER(4)
Translated by: Miss Ruby
Edited by: ShadowDog
A group of people approached the conference hall from beyond the hallway. When the Duke of Taran, the Head of Central, appeared leading central officials, the atmosphere in the conference hall changed. The knights standing guard in front of the conference hall stood more upright and there was a strange tension in the air.
The Duke of Taran became a real authoritative power while he was serving as head of the central administration. As he entered his mid-thirties, his experience aged with him and his aura grew more dignified. But at the same time, his aura co-existed with a feeling of being ‘rough around the edges’.
Marquis DeKhan looked the Duke of Taran, whose figure was drawing closer and closer, then he looked at the Count of Taran. Their appearances were similar, but father and son had very different atmospheres.
The Duke of Taran was like a wild beast. There was violence, dormant in those red eyes of his, akin to a hunter looking carefreely at the prey around it, right after it had eaten its fill. It made you fear for when he might run in and rip out your throat.
On the other hand, his son grew up among people, so he was like a human friendly beast. It felt like he would at least give you a warning before he ran in and took a bite out of you.
As a matter of fact, if you looked at Damian separately, he was definitely not the easiest person to approach. His personality was cold, he was only appropriately courteous and set a defined distance with people so they couldn’t approach beyond that. However, compared to Hugo, there was room to take a step forward with Damian.
Those who wanted to lean on the Duke of Taran’s power went after his son, Count Taran, rather than the Duke himself. Unlike Hugo who ignored everything, Damian responded politely. But on a closer look, there was in fact no difference.
Whether it was Hugo or Damian, they were both the same in having no interest in people outside their own. The reason why Damian was polite to pathetic people he didn’t even want to bother with, was because there were times when his mother saw his effort and praised him because she was very pleased. Damian always tried his best not to act against his mother’s teachings.
Hugo went into the conference hall without as much as a glance at his son, who was standing in the hallway. Usually, whenever people witnessed the stiff distance between father and son or their rigid manner of speaking, they would admire the Duke of Taran for educating his successor well.
As Duke Ramis and Marquis DeKhan also went into the conference hall, the people in the hallway decreased and the two young men remained standing there.
“Everyone always brings up that story when they see me.”
Bruno grumbled. He kept hearing the same thing over and over again so he was annoyed to death. His expression was askew, with a hint of cynicism.
“Don’t do it again. This was the first time, so it passed over somehow but if you do it again, you’ll be branded as a scoundrel.”
Bruno was also aware that what he had done was not a minor mistake. But at the time, he couldn’t hold back.
It happened around the time he went to break room to avoid the dance requests that were surging despite his constant refusal. He heard some Count’s daughter yapping away about something; he couldn’t even remember her name.
[As you all know, there are almost no cases of an illegitimate child taking over a family. Who knows what will happen when the Duchess gives birth to a son.]
It was a widely known fact that Damian was not the Duchess’ biological son. When Damian first debuted in the social circle, it became a very hot topic.
When people gathered, they talked about the Duke of Taran’s successor. There were many who were uncomfortable with the Duke’s decision to have an illegitimate child succeed him. There were no reputable noble families who haven’t had illegitimate children enter the family register and it was a common headache to have an illegitimate child with superior capability earn the family head’s trust over the qualified heir.
In Xenon, the position of illegitimate children was vague. Compared to other countries which didn’t even treat illegitimate children as human beings, Xenon was generous. There were no limits on the number of illegitimates that could be entered into the family register, and as long as the illegitimate child was in the register, they were treated as qualifiers. What was funny however, was that in other countries, it wasn’t too uncommon to see an illegitimate child succeed the family.
However, Xenon was very conservative when it came to such matters. Even if their only descendant was an illegitimate child that was entered into the register, they would adopt a relative and have the relative inherit the family. Damian’s existence was a challenge to the deeply rooted custom in Xenon.
The uncomfortable looks that were sent to Damian lessened over time. The noblewomen were cautious because the Duchess’ tender affection for Damian remained unchanged while other people were careful with their words because they knew that the Duke did whatever he wanted to do, without caring what people said.
Around when a gentleman with a charming appearance like the Duke of Taran’s but polite manners different from the Duke, began to capture the hearts of the noble ladies, Damian became the Academy’s Shyta.
Initially, students of Ixium, were usually second sons of families and below. Successors were taught by specialized tutors then built their connections by going to meetings or social parties. However, that changed, and successors also began to attend Ixium.
Ixium’s reputation rose tremendously over the years as it became clear that the academy’s status would be a central figure in the power of each country in the future. People began to see the Damian who had become Shyta, as an individual with outstanding capabilities.
Now at this point, there was no one who clamored about Damian’s birth status. It became an unstated rule to not bring it up even if you knew. However, Bruno was disgusted with the Count’s daughter who arrogantly brought up such unsavory details as a topic of conversation. Right then, something surged inside him and he took a cocktail from the tray of the passing servant and emptied it on the girl’s head.
Bruno knew that Damian wouldn’t really care even if he heard such talk personally. His friend was an interesting guy who didn’t have the slightest gloom concerning the weakness of his birth status. But still, it wasn’t exactly something good to talk about so Bruno kept his mouth shut about why he did it.
“I just hate those girls who say whatever they want.” (Bruno)
“There you go again.”(Damian)
When Damian frowned, Bruno gave a half-hearted, ‘my bad’.
“I know you wouldn’t do it for no reason.” (Damian)
The Bruno that Damian knew might not be the most amicable of persons, but it wasn’t possible for him to do such a thing without reason, so Damian guessed that the Count’s daughter must have done something pretty rude.
“But my mother is right. You are in a position where you have to consider things more carefully.”
When the Duchess was brought up, Bruno’s sharp blue eyes grew warm.
“Mother is always right.”(Bruno).
“That is true.”(Damian)
The two young men nodded at each other seriously while saying something that would make people laugh if they ever heard.
 I think I’ve explained this before, but a second time won’t hurt. The family register is basically an official document that states you are a member of a certain house. It also gives you rights not applicable to those not on the register. Rights to noble titles, rights to take over the family’s mantle, etc.
 Qualifier: qualified to succeed the title in your family.
 He says ‘mother’ not ‘your mother’. This is not a mistake.
[Quote: “the Duchess’ tender affection for Damian remained unchanged“]
T/N: So, the more literal translation for this sentence would be “the Duchess kept pouring unchanging tender affection on Damian”. But when I was typing this, I had this imagery of Lucia holding a bucket filled with ‘affection’ and just dumping it on Damian’s head, so I ended up changing it _(:3」∠)_