Chapter 61: Rihannan, My Love
Igor flinched and hid his hands behind his back noticing Rihannan’s lingering gaze planted on his fingers.
Rihannan looked away, deciding not to point out what she had seen.
“….I had never thought to bring a bouquet of flowers,” she said.
Heavy silence scattered all around thereafter. One could hear the steady rhythm of their heart. The series of incidents in the ship left the two parties, Rihannan and Igor, in a sour mood. They could not face each other properly, let alone talk. Though in truth it was Rihannan’s doing. She chose to avoid him on purpose.
Unable to bear the still sullenness, Rihannan opened her lips and broke the quietness. “But mother had always loved flowers, especially flowers commonly found in the road rather than the large, exotic flowers in the garden. Thank you. I’m sure she’s happy.”
“…..” Igor’s eyes quivered and looked away.
Rihannan looked down, fingers wiggling. She had nothing to say thereafter.
Then Igor looked at the grave next to the countess coldly. “The count was buried here too…”
Rihannan nodded. “My paternal relatives were eager to bury him next to her.”
“You’re too generous. I heard the count brought a child from another woman the day of her funeral.”
“Ah, yeah…” Rihannan lips tightened.
The day she left for Chrichton, she wrote a letter to the Queen of her sudden decision to live with her maternal relatives and the appearance of a new half-blood sister. The Queen herself had probably revealed Rihannan’s sudden departure to Igor. And Rihannan was aware of the needless folks cursing her cold-bloodedness, her actions breaking the sacrilege of familial relations. They spat their tongues out at her, speaking words of bane because she had the audacity to kick out her own father and her half-sister who had no home. At least Igor did not blame her and did not point his fingers at her.
But it was strange. She was having a conversation with Igor. This was the most they had ever spoken to one another.
Igor was not the man she knew from the past, the one whose heart was always full of acrimony and disgust. He always clashed with his mother. But in this life, he was more stable, more relaxed. Perhaps it was because he stepped foot on the throne much earlier. The Igor Rihannan knew would have never picked flowers for her mother.
‘…..You’re not the only one who changed…’
She, too, had changed. She was no longer that poor, foolish, and naive little girl who lacked brevity.
This was fine too. She needs not bury herself in the past. It was time that she put it away. As long as she can hold a proper and amicable relationship with Igor, then that too was fine. And after that, they would separate peacefully.
Igor noticed a discrepancy in the countess’ tombstone. “….Rihannan, what is this text? I’ve never seen it before.”
Rihannan moved in front of him and stroked the tombstone. There was a short phrase carved on it.
「My beloved mother, Anastasia Alessin. (Rihannan)」
Igor pointed to the last letter and asked for its meaning.
“I wrote my name. It’s an ancient text from Chrichton…”
At present, both Chrichton and Arundell used the same language and phonetics, but hundreds of years ago, their language differed greatly. They had their own separate culture and language. Despite their barriers, they could communicate using the language of Lisaa, the empire they served under. But one day, the Great Lisaa Empire walked down the path of destruction. Outside foreigners pillaged the Empire of Lisaa until only Chrichton and Arundell was left. The other lands of Lisaa were now under the Toulouse Empire’s rule.
With only Chrichton and Arundell left, the two kingdoms became a unified ally and integrated the ancient empire’s language and letters. Their historical backgrounds and ancient ties were the reason they were able to maintain their military alliance despite their animosity against one another.
The text carved into the tombstone was Chrichton’s ancient language before the invasion.
“In fact, my name itself was an age-old common phrase in Chrichton.”
“What does Rihannan mean in Chrichton’s ancient language?”
“「Rihannan」 My love.” Rihannan smiled shyly. “My mother truly loved me.”
A moment of thought appeared in his mind and he soon parted his lips.
And then, he repeated her name with his tongue… savoring its taste several times.
“Rihannan, Rihannan, Rihannan…”
Soon after, he smiled broadly as he looked at Rihannan.
“Rihannan… what a pretty name that is, Rihannan.”