“To think someone was able to escape my notice like this. The people of this island never cease to amaze me.”
Though, I wasn’t surprised that father had missed Mappa.
I couldn’t count the number of times Mappa had appeared out of nowhere and startled us.
Father accepted the robe. It was clear that he was puzzled by Mappa’s stange attitude.
“I thank you… By the way, why are you so offended?”
Mappa pointed at his beard and at his body as if trying to explain something.
I watched this and interpreted it for him.
“I think…he’s saying that you have a similar physique and clothes… No, he’s mad that your beard is bigger…I think.”
Father’s white beard was longer and fuller than Mappa’s. And perhaps father exposing his torso had been the last straw.
“Hmm… That is regrettable indeed. I am sorry.”
“You’re going to apologize for that…”
I muttered as father put on his robe again.
Once he was finished dressing, he turned to me and said,
“If I cannot make you obey me by force…then it cannot be helped. I will have to make someone else my successor.”
“Then I am…”
“You have built your own country, have you not? From now on, we will be equals in standing.”
I was no longer a lord over Sanfaris territory, but the head of a separate country. He was acknowledging this.
And if we were equals, that meant this relationship between king and lord was over.
“…We might be enemies, or we might be allies.”
“Indeed. However, you are still the founder of a new house that derives from the royal family. And as family, we should try and avoid any conflict when possible. This bloodline must not end.”
“…Why can’t you just be decent and suggest we form an alliance, if we are family? Why are you always like this?”
He was always harsh and would never indulge anyone. And I had always hated him.
“Heal… The path of a king is a lonely one. The more you gain, the deeper that loneliness will become.”
He probably considered that a warning. And I understood what he was trying to say.
However, part of this had to do with Sanfaris’s tradition of deciding a person’s worth based on their crest.
Perhaps I and my brothers could have gotten along, if such a tradition had not existed. Maybe Oren wouldn’t have become the person he was now.
I wanted to say all of this to him. However, he turned away from me.
“As this land is not mine, I must leave at once. While I do not know if we will be allies, I shall discuss the matter with Balpas, and we will decide how to negotiate with this country in the future.”
So saying, father repaired the ship and boarded it.
That’s when the stunned Balpas suddenly turned to me and shouted.
“Heal! Let’s form an alliance! We will be your friends forever!”
He said immediately. Though his expression was very stiff.