My grandfather opened his eyes wide and stared at me for a long time, surprised.
"How did you know?"
Fortunately, it seemed that he had no intention of hiding it until the end.
"If I tell you, will you be honest with me?"
Grandfather grinned as he put down the teacup.
There is nothing I can do.
"The announcement of the succession was too fast."
I sighed softly and began to answer.
"It's a natural process for me to help my grandfather as a Deputy Patriarch and gradually learn things. And it's a process that usually takes several years. But my grandfather did it in just over a month."
"Isn't it possible that I just liked you so much?"
"That's possible. That's what I thought, so I stayed still. However..."
I shook my head.
"I noticed yesterday when you called me to the place where you had gathered the vassals. What happened yesterday, it wasn't just to inform the vassals of my grandfather's decision to take me as his successor, right?"
At my words, a light smile passed over my grandfather's face.
"Then what do you think it was?"
"....Question and Answer. In a short period of time, the lords were prepared to ask questions about me that would convince them."
Due to the nature of the Lombardi family, which has a very high loyalty to the estate, the special affection of the former family members to the state sometimes becomes a problem.
The phenomenon of not accepting and trusting a new state sometimes occurs.
Therefore, it is not only the current Patriarch's authority to decide the next householder, but the vassals must be fully convinced of the decision as well.
That way, when a change of state occurs, the gap in power can be minimized as much as possible without noise.
And this is something that happens naturally through a successor education curriculum that takes place over several years.
The Patriarch entrust big and small things to the Deputy Patriarch or the successor, and naturally creates opportunities to work and collide with the vassals.
Then, when the successor finally becomes the householder, the vassals know what the new Lombardi householder is like, what they do well, and what they need their help in.
"Unless I have to make the vassals my own in a very short period of time, my grandfather is not the kind of person to make such a decision."
I could have even made a slip of the tongue in front of the lords.
Or instead of capturing them, they could have been discouraged.
But my grandfather wanted me to be recognized quickly by the lords, even at the risk of that.
"Am I right?"
"...You can't be fooled."
My grandfather laughed.
It was a very tired laugh.
"How much...is it that bad?"
My voice coming out of my tight throat was terrible.
"Haa..Tia worries a lot."
My grandfather laughed lightly, but I couldn't laugh.
I thought I had changed the future enough by going back to the past, but there may be exceptions at any time.
There may be a law of regression that I don't know.
For example, a person's life span is fixed and cannot be changed.
"Estira's medicine is working well. Don't worry too much."
My grandfather stroked my head and said.
"I was just impatient because if I had to overdo it or put my mind to it, my body wouldn't listen like last time."
I stared in my grandfather's eyes.
It was because I was afraid that it would be true.
"Ohh, come on!"
Grandfather smiled a little awkwardly at my constant concern.
He keeps stroking my head.
I quietly raised my hand and pulled down the hand of my grandfather which was stroking my head.
"...Since when have you been like this?"
Grandfather's hands were shaking finely against his will.
"When I woke up today, it was like this."
Grandfather spoke nonchalantly as if it were someone else's business.
"I have already been examined by Dr. Estira. She said that there is no change in my body and it seems to be a temporary symptom. Look, it's fine."
My grandfather laughed and squeezed his hands.
I was a little relieved by its appearance.
It's a simple act, but I know it's impossible if my grandfather's illness gets worse.
"I'm like this because I am relaxed. It's all because I feel at ease."
"I've been running Lombardi on my own for decades, and now that I think I have a reliable granddaughter that will take over, my body seems to be a little lazy."
What do you mean lazy?
Grandfather is the farthest person I know that you can call 'lazy'.
"Time is catching up with me late."
"Then, shall I put down my successor again?"
My joke left a little bit of loneliness in my grandfather's face.
He then looked out of the window and said, "I have no regrets about the years I lived for Lombardi. But looking back, I have lived my life only as a Lombardi."
My grandfather's face, bright in sunlight, looked deeper today.
"I thought I was doing my best. But I guess I still have regrets."
I followed my grandfather's gaze and looked outside.
"Let go of me! I'm going to meet my father! Let go!!"
Viege was being dragged by the guards and was screaming.
"It's a fleeting statement , but it would be great if I could go back to the past and live again."
Mumbling in such a low voice, my grandfather turned his head and looked at me.
"I'm sorry, Tia."
"Why would you say that?"
"Didn't I let you have other problems, because of the family's matter."
It seemed to be the situation about Viege, who is staying in the Lombardi mansion with a modest status and Bellesac, who was still held in the Imperial palace.
"Maybe I should have given you the position of the Patriarch earlier than I thought."
"Yes, I understand."
I immediately replied with a nod.
In my previous life, my grandfather continued to work until the very end.
It was my role to assist in the work, so I know how hard and lonely that time was.
"Please give me all the hard work and have a good rest."
Then grandfather will live a much longer life than before.
I'll make it that way.
"Aren't you afraid?"
"You, aren't you being bold?"
"I have a bold personality because I don't have to do it alone anyway."
I shrugged my shoulders.
"There are some vassal families who can help me and I also have Aunt Shannanet to ask if there is anything I don't know. And above all, I have my grandfather."
"...Yes, being Patriarch doesn't mean you have to do everything alone."
Grandfather's warm brown eyes looked at me.
"So Grandpa, please be honest with me from now on. Especially when it comes to your health." I said, holding my grandfather's hand tightly.
"...Yes, I will."
"Don't hide it or anything in case you worry about me. You have to be honest with me so I can help you."
I said, deliberately, with a little brighter voice.
"If your eyes get dim, I'll read all the documents and books. If walking becomes difficult, I will make a wheeled chair and take you anywhere. Let's go for a walk in the woods where Grandmother loves to watch sunset together, Grandpa."
Grandfather held my hand tightly together.
And he laughed with me and said in a joking tone.
"Then you will say that you can't do it anymore because it's difficult?"
I shook my head.
And I said with confidence.
"I can do it all."
It's been years in my previous life and I've done it all.
Grandpa didn't seem to believe me.
However, his heart seemed to have gotten much better, and the trembling of his hand had subsided.
I talked to my Grandfather for a while.
And cautiously brought up the second purpose of visiting my grandfather today.
"And there's one thing I need permission for, Grandpa."
The Lombardi's carriage carrying me reached the entrance to the Imperial palace.
From a distance, I could see the soldiers of the Imperial Palace, who confirmed the Lombardi's family pattern, were seen rushing to open the door.
Lombardi's carriages are open to any palace without being checked.
Considering that the imperial force cannot enter the Lombardi mansion, it is an unfair treaty.
It just meant that if I wanted to, I could go to the palace where the Empress is located.
However, my destination today is not the Empress Palace.
"Will you take me to the Knights building?"
The coachman drove my carriage to the headquarters of the Imperial Knights.
Soon after, I was standing in front of a large three-story building made of black bricks.
"What's the matter...why is the young lady here?"
The knight who was guarding the front approached and asked.
It seems he knows who I am, even though his face was expressionless, he still looked embarrassed.
"I've come to meet the officer in charge of the attempt murder investigation of His Majesty."
I raised my head confidently, feeling the countless gazes focused on me, and said, "Is Your Highness the Second Prince here?"
"Well, yes, but he is currently interrogating---."
"Please call him."
The knight was embarrassed and asked me back.
"I told you to bring Your Highness the Second Prince."
"How dare you come and demand for Your Highness...Also, he's officially on duty."
"I wouldn't be asking like that if you know who you are having a conversation with."
Only then did a certain expression pass on the face of the imperial knight.
I looked straight at the Knight and said word by word.
"Go and tell him 'the Deputy Patriarch of Lombardi wants to see His Highness the Prince.'"
And I smiled brightly.
"Can you do it?"
"Oh, I see."
The Knight quickly disappeared into the building.
"I can't believe you let your guest stand on the road."
I felt unfairly treated, but I didn't blame the Knight for his lack of guest service skills.
I won't wait long anyway.
I thought so and watched the knight through the window.
He went up to the second floor, opened a door near the stairs and went inside.
It's probably the interrogation room.
And it wasn't until a few seconds later.
Immediately, the door opened and Perez popped out.
I could see him running down the stairs, half flying.
And looking at me still standing on the road in front of the door, he ran faster.
Afterwards, a series of imperial knights and the knight commander who we had met each other at the last hunting competition followed.
Perez quickly approached exactly two steps forward and asked, "How come you didn't come in?"
"How can I get in when no one has invited me in?"
At my words, Perez glared at the guard-in-waiting knight.
"It's fine. I'm not here for an apology."
I said so and told Perez.
"Today, I'm here to do my official work as a Deputy Patriarch of Lombardi."
Even at the moment I'm say this, I can't believe this is my first official job as a Deputy Patriarch.
However, as Deputy Patriarch, I can't pretend not to know anymore.
"Please pass Bellesac Lombardi's personal affairs to the Lombardi family, Your Highness."
N/A: As usual, too many things happen but you see, what really caught my attention in this chapter is when Florentia told her Grandfather how she will help him even when the time comes that he will lost his sense of sight or when he can't walk anymore. She's really sweet to her grandfather. For me, this chapter shows how much she loves her Grandpa.
Moving on, well what can you say about Florentia's first official duty? lol