Ashes and Kingdoms v2 2-1

<A Message from the translator:> Start of the next chapter.

2-1. Manor of the Local Lord of Nakte

Chapter 2

―Smells like blood……

Soon. Just a bit more…

The whisper floated and dissipated as if it was inside a pot slowly boiling.

An invisible spoon from the bottom of the shadow scrapped the surface. Bubbles rose to the surface of the thick murkiness.

Eventually, a tear was created. The small narrow rift could hardly be called a gateway, but the darkness forced itself out of it. It stretched itself thinly, twisting and squirming as it slowly made its way outside.

The moment it finally got its whole body out, it flinched at the radiance of the world. It was scared and trembled as it attempted to hide itself in the shadows. But, that wasn’t necessary.

It soon realized that no harm would befall, so it slowly took a deep breath.


Right. Must breathe.

The darkness rippled and slowly formed a shape. Then, it looked up at the sky. The sliver of the moon shone a white light over it.

The darkness squinted its eyes and reflectively stretched its hand out. There was a small nail on each of its five fingers.

(At this level, even light can be beautiful.)

Eventually, it stood up with a cautious yet clumsy gesture on two feet. It took one step forward. Then, two. The darkness around its body swirled, turning into shoes, clothes, and hair.

With unsteady and heavy feet, it began to disappear into the far west.

There was no one who saw it off besides the moon.

Despite the usually nice ventilation this room receives, it suddenly felt like all the air was cut off. “Father must have built another wall,” Fernanna thought and furrowed her brows. If not, then there was no way she would feel so suffocated.

Her husband was standing tensely in front of her. Even a corps commander was only a mere man in front of his father-in-law; he held no power. This elderly man had short, white hair that made him look like an angry wolf and dark, charcoal eyes that were either feared or praised by his subordinates for not missing anything.

“One year, Rufus.”

Old Cenate said solemnly. Just those words made Rufus further tense his body. Fernanna looked at this clearly blatant power difference in bitterness. She turned away so no one would see and pretended to look out the window to the garden.

(If Grandmother was still alive, he wouldn’t act in such a way.)

Fernanna grew teary as she remembered her grandmother who while kind was also dignified and held considerable power as the clan leader. Just like Rufus, her grandfather had married into the family and was a gentle soul. He was aware that he was the clan leader in name only, so he ignored all the terrible whispers of aristocrats as he continued to support and help his wife.

(And you didn’t like that, right, Father? That’s why you’re so cold to Rufus and me, right? How unsightly.)

However, no matter how much she cursed at him in her mind, she would be asking for her demise if she voiced them. She had no choice but to remain silent and swallow them.

On the other side, Old Cenate didn’t notice his daughter’s anger. Far from that, it seemed that he had been ignoring her presence as he continued to glare at Rufus. Although his eyes were charcoal in color, there was only ironic coldness and insensitivity in them, and likewise, there wasn’t even a fragment of warmth in his body.

“Even though a year had passed, why haven’t you found my grandson yet? You’re the one who said that you would use everything you had to find him. Is this the extent of your ‘everything?’ Because of your incompetence, my grandson might be shivering in a drain in who knows where right now. So, why are you acting so carefree in this manor?”

It seemed like he would say, “Hurry up and leave,” and savor the bitterness, so Fernanna couldn’t help but yell this.

“My child is safe!”

Lord Cenate showed her a callous glare and snorted. Then, he continued to ignore her and continue his conversation, so Fernanna repeated it. With a stronger and calmer tone this time.

“Father, my child is definitely alive.”


Cenate wasn’t reserved at all when he loudly sighed and turned around to her.

“On what basis do you say? If you have any clues, why don’t you hurry up and tell me?”

“The basis is…”

Fernanna bit her lip. It was clear that whatever she said, she would be ridiculed and spurned. Still, she had to convince him. She took a deep breath and stared straight at her father.

“A mother’s intuition. If something happened to that child, there’s no way I wouldn’t know.”


Just as she had expected, Cenate sneered and waved his hand as if to brush away the nonsense.

“Then, why don’t you use that mother’s intuition of yours to find his whereabouts? Well, tell me. Where’s my grandson?”

“I don’t know that much. But, I’m sure that child is alive. Besides, one of my maids is with the child. It must be because of that very reason that he wasn’t killed with Lord Fedoras during that scandal in the imperial capital. I’m sure that somewhere…”

“How absurd. What can a mere maid do? Leave us. You’re interrupting our conversation.”

“Please stop this! Father, this whole time, you’ve been saying my grandson, but he’s my child. Mine! He is not Father’s possession!”

Fernanna finally exploded. But, all she received was a cold gaze.

“Is that so? Then, you go and search for him yourself. I don’t know how someone like you who was raised comfortably in this manor can do in the outside world, but do as you like.”

If this was a normal household, then she would’ve spat out the curse, “You damn geezer.” But, this was the manor of the lord of Nakte. Fernanna bit deeply into her lips and clenched her fists so tightly that the whites of her knuckles could be seen, but she didn’t say anything in return.

Cenate showed no emotion at this meager victory and casually returned his eyes back to Rufus.

“Rufus, leaving this matter to you made no progress. I shall search for my grandson from now on. You will move your troops south of Costom. I’m sure you’ve already realized that Dirgius from the north is needlessly interfering.”

“Yes. It seems that he intends to join forces with the emperor. I have sent our own letter requesting for cooperation, but we would need a pretext for crossing the mountain range and setting up a station south. I have asked the Salda tribe to assist in interfering.”

Rufus said flatly and very businesslike as he held back his emotions. Cenate replied with, “Hmph,” and didn’t give any praise or gratitude. He ran his hand through his thinning white hair and dropped his gaze to his desk.

“As long as the widow of Tius in the east continues to cause trouble, the emperor wouldn’t be able to split his favorite generals and dispatch them. I don’t like having to pair with a woman, but just this time… As long as I can get at Valis, even a woman would work. I’ll follow Emperor Fedoras’ will and have my grandson ascend the throne.”

In his line of sight laid a secret document delivered from the east. Cenate scornfully sneered at the signature and seal of the Nornikom king.

A little while later, the young couple excused themselves to their room and unintentionally ended up sighing at the same time. They looked at each other and wryly smiled. The wife naturally leaned against her husband, and the husband put his hand around his wife’s shoulder. There wasn’t much of a height difference from the tall Fernanna and how small Rufus felt before.

As they slowly walked through the hallway, Fernanna quietly muttered.

“I miss Grandmother. Each year, Father gets more stubborn and colder… Ever since Cenate was born, we’ve been treated as hindrances. I’m sorry. I made you experience such horrible things as well.”

“I’m fine.”

Rufus forced a smile and whispered as he lightly kissed Fernanna’s cheek. Even though he was a corps commander and already in his forties, he still referred to himself the same way he did when they were children whenever the two were alone. Fernanna was tickled and laughed at this gentleness and sweetness. Rufus gave a tiny laugh and began to play with her hair with his fingers.

“Father-in-law is a splendid person. Besides, no matter what he says, he is my savior for bringing you and me together. He is somewhat stubborn, but it doesn’t matter. But, being blamed for not finding Cenate is…painful. I can’t even face you.”

“It’s alright. I know that our child is safe. I’m sure he’s hiding somewhere.”

“Yeah, from the one who killed the emperor. We have to hurry up and help him.”

Fernanna looked at the face of a father worried about his son and hesitated before resolutely opening her mouth.

“…But, what if our child doesn’t wish for that?”


Rufus stopped in shock. Fernanna also stopped walking and frowned in unease.

“What if, our child…doesn’t want to be found by the emperor, of course, and us as well? Hey, Rufus, our child is very clever. And is delicate and a kind child. It’s understandable why he got scared and ran away after finding himself in the middle of the battle between the emperor and Father.”

“…That is true.”

Rufus didn’t deny that his child was weak. He knew Cenate’s personality well. The child hated fights, and whenever his parents had a petty quarrel, he would nervously try to calm them down.

“But, if we can’t find him, we can’t protect him. We cannot persuade Father-in-law nor have a compromise with the emperor unless we have the child. Though, I don’t really don’t want that kind of agreement with him.”

“You were Lord Fedoras’ subordinate after all. But…”

“Yeah. Of course, I have no intention of forcing Cenate to ascend the throne if he doesn’t wish for it. There’s also the problem of who would support him. …Anyway, I want to see Cenate safe and sound soon.”

The husband let out an exhausted sigh, so Fernanna extended her hand to softly brush his ash-colored hair. The hair was cut short so it felt prickly.

“Me too. I hope that he would at least feel like telling us his location.”

“If he was, I’m sure that your maid would tell us.”

Rufus joked, took his wife’s hand, and kissed her palm. Normally, Fernanna would laugh and draw her hand back, but she didn’t this time and looked far into the scenery outside as if something was calling her.

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

Her whisper was carried away by the wind and disappeared. Fernanna followed it with her eyes and looked up at the sky as she hoped that her thoughts could reach her son wherever he may be.

Previous Part

Table of Contents

Next Part


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: