Ex Strongest, Revealing All Circumstances
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“H-how… did you find out?” (Cecil)
After a few moments of repeated opening and closing of her mouth, the words that came out were as if she were squeezing them out.
Soma shrugged and replied.
“Well… I have no choice now but to answer in various ways when you ask that. Even though we are to resist until the end, there is a high possibility that all but ourselves would be wiped out. So, it’s not normal for the person in charge of one part of the management to try to head to the royal capital.” (Soma)
“Aah… I thought it was a bit weird, but I didn’t say anything because you didn’t say anything. In other words, did you know at that point?” (Aina)
“Normally, if you get into that situation, you would either, you should choose to conceal the truth. Perhaps, if you want to let everyone know, everyone else should do the same. So, whether you are aware of not, that is another matter, but… there are many parts to be suspicious about. Same goes to Sheila’s existence.” (Soma)
“…Hmm, am I suspicious?” (Sheila)
“Although the base was close to the Empire, it was just too much to accept Sheila as a guard. Well, I still call that for convenience, but Cecil asked Sheila for help, and Sheila agreed. Unless she is the person that Sheila absolutely needs to protect or to be there, it’s unreasonable to do that.” (Soma)
There was no point in keeping the trump card, which was Sheila, face down to support the third child, who had no chance of winning. Even if Cecil used her at this moment, this place where she didn’t use her was obviously strange.
Considering that there was an actual attack, the place where Sheila was based was the place where Sheila might be most needed. So, speaking of the first moment of suspicion, it would be the moment when they met Sheila again.
“Also, the reaction of the man from the chivalric order was a bit strange. Does that mean he knew who you were?” (Soma)
“Aah, yes… that’s right. We were from different factions, but we met each other several times, and sometimes, he took care of me.” (Cecil)
“Hmm, was that why you were reacting weirdly a little?” (Soma)
From that man’s point of view, he must have been facing an enemy, but he didn’t pretend to do anything, not because Soma and the others were there, or because she was a royal family, but because he was convinced those bad guys had already been defeated.
Somehow, Soma had a feeling that the man would have gone for it without hesitation in that situation if the conflict was still going on.
“…Yes, that’s true as well. He was like a knight who could throw away other trivial things without hesitation if it was for his beliefs and his lord.” (Cecil)
“I’m glad that I didn’t have to slay such a man.” (Soma)
When Soma said that, he saw Cecil tentatively swallow a spit. Perhaps, the following question was what she wanted to ask the most.
And Soma knew that.
“So… how did you know that I am a woman?” (Cecil)
It was almost at the same time when he nodded his head that Aina and Sheila looked at him. There was a hint of suspicion in the girls’ eyes, but that was also as expected.
“Well… I suppose so. However, I still don’t see that, you know.” (Aina)
“…Yes, me too.” (Sheila)
“Well, I suppose you two would say that. In fact, I was aware of it from the moment I saw her.” (Soma)
He knew from the beginning that Aina and Sheila had recognized Cecil as a man. That was because their attitude and distance toward her was clearly not that of the same sex. It was as if their caution came first, or that they drew a clear line even though they seemed to be talking to each other in a friendly manner.
In the first place, Aina and Sheila didn’t feel weird about her name. After all, Cecil was a man’s name.
However, even though Soma told them the fact, the two still had the same suspicious look in their eyes.
“You were aware of it at the first moment I saw her… and how? The face and physique… definitely a bit neutral, but looking at those two aspects, those are man’s, right?” (Aina)
“…And not just clothes, but gestures as well.” (Sheila)
“Hmm… I see. That’s what she looked like to you two.” (Soma)
“It’s not really different.” (Aina)
“That’s what I’ve been saying.” (Soma)
“…I see, somehow, I’ve been exposed.” (Cecil)
The moment she said that, the atmosphere that Cecil tentatively had changed slightly… That was all that Soma felt, but for Aina and Sheila, it was a bit different. Their eyes widened in surprise, and they were looking serious.
“Eh… just now?” (Aina)
He had expected that from the way they looked at each other, but it seemed that they had always seen her a bit differently. And finally, it seemed that they could see the same appearance that Soma saw.
“Yes. I sincerely apologize for deceiving you until now.” (Cecil)
“I think it’s normal to deceive if you were in that position, but I don’t know if it’s because of who you are. From your words and actions, it seems you were disguising to hide the fact that you were the ‘third prince’. Wouldn’t that be the case? Anyhow, why are you supposed to be a prince in the first place?” (Soma)
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“If you ask me that, it seems you really don’t know. I’m glad because I would have lost all confidence in myself if I had been recognized so far.” (Cecil)
As she said this, she brought her hands to her ears. When she removed her hands, what appeared was a slightly oddly shaped ear.
It was sharp like an Elf’s, but short for an Elf. Soma knew what a person with such ears would be called.
“Half Elf, isn’t it? Hmm, I knew from Aina and Sheila’s reaction that the illusion was used, and because of that, I didn’t do anything to doubt it anymore. Hmm, but actually, I still do.” (Soma)
“It’s a whole-body illusion, so it would be a problem if it was discovered. That is in many ways though.” (Cecil)
“Well, That’s for sure. Veritas is a country of human race… a country of human race supremacy. It would be a big problem if anyone knew that the royal family had a half Elf.
“Yes, and because of that, I was the third prince, and I was told that people were told that I would hardly appear in public. If I was a princess, I would basically be used to strengthen relations with other families or countries, but if I were a prince, I could still be kept out of the public eye.” (Cecil)
“Hmm…If you have to go through all that trouble, wouldn’t it be better not to be recognized as the king’s child from the beginning?” (Soma)
“That’s probably true, but I thought there was a reason for it. It’s something I don’t know now, and I don’t want to know.” (Cecil)
“Well, that’s not a bad thing. By the way, I’ve been wondering why Sheila wasn’t surprised? Is it because she is a Half Elf? And not because she is a woman?” (Aina)
“…Hmm, I knew that. From the moment I met her.” (Sheila)
“Eh? Really?” (Aina)
“Did you notice a particular sign? As I expected.” (Soma)
“Rather, I think my confidence is tattered…” (Cecil)
She seemed to say it seriously, and she was depressed when Soma looked at her.
Anyhow, Sheila was a High Elf. Those eyes couldn’t be deceived.
“Well, you have no choice but to think that Sheila is the wrong person to deceive. By the way, is it still your ideal because you’re a half?” (Soma)
“Ah, no… I’m not saying it’s not there, but I just wanted to do that. There may be differences in appearances, but at the end of the day, we are all the same people. There is no need to think of me as someone different. That feeling became even stronger when I heard from Sheila.” (Cecil)
“Sheila? What did she talk about?” (Aina)
“…I was asked what you think about discrimination between races, so I talked a little bit about Radeus.” (Sheila)
“Hmm, well, Radeus claimed to be a multi-race country. However, even in Radeus, there is still discrimination.” (Soma)
“But it’s becoming less and less, right?” (Aina)
It would still take a long time until discrimination to be completely eliminated, even if people were hoping for it. When it came to discrimination, it was mainly unconscious discrimination that was difficult to eliminate.
However, it was true that it was gradually disappearing, probably because people realized it. It would be so in the next generation, or probably the generation after that, before it could be completely eliminated, but even so, they were becoming more and more worthy for the name of a multi-race country.
“I know it’s difficult to get rid of discrimination altogether. However, there is a country that is trying to make it happen. So, I want to make this country like that. To be honest, this country is bad, but it’s still my hometown.” (Cecil)
“Hometown, is it…?” (Soma)
“Yes, that’s right. Because of that… it would be enough for you three, right?” (Cecil)
“Eh…? What do you mean by that? That reminds me, why are we talking about this all of sudden?” (Aina)
“No, it’s not sudden. I was wondering when to reveal it, but now, you know who I am and what I am about, I think it’s the right time. I think it’s time to know who I am and everything.” (Cecil)
“…Well, what do you mean?” (Sheila)
“Going to the royal capital is just a family quarrel. It has nothing to do with you three, and you have a purpose, right? So, there’s no need to get involved with me. In that case, I think we should take a different path.” (Cecil)
“Hmm… is that so? I understand.” (Soma)
Aina gave me a surprised look when he nodded easily, and he shrugged in return. Cecil said she didn’t need their help anymore. Then, there was no choice but to agree.
“However, we’re still going to the royal capital. If anything happens, I may get involved in it. There may be things that happen to an acquaintance involved in it, but… well, it’s just coincidence if that happens. I can’t help it.” (Soma)
“A-aah… I see. That may happen, so it can’t be helped.” (Aina)
“…Yeah, it can’t be helped.” (Sheila)
When they said it shamelessly, Cecil looked at them as if it was something unbelievable.
Her mouth opened and closed, and then… a squeezing voice was let out.
“B-but why…? It has nothing to do with you three…” (Cecil)
“Hmm… no, it isn’t unrelated. In fact, this country is my parents’ hometown. If such a country might be a good country, I will try to support it. That’s normal, isn’t it?” (Soma)
“I’m not really from there, but… it seems Mother was taken care after by the country. Well, I don’t think she was treated well though, but… I’m willing to help if you want to make this country a better place.” (Aina)
“…It’s natural for Elves to help their own kind.” (Aina)
“Y-you all…” (Cecil)
She turned over and tried to say something, as if she was trying to refuse, but… it never became words.
She repeatedly opened and closed her mouth. Eventually, she looked up as if she had given up. Then…
“…Everyone, thank you very much. In the meantime, let me tell you my real name. I’ve never been called by that name before, but yes, my name is Cecilia. I’m also really grateful for things that will happen from now on.” (Cecilia)
When Soma and others saw Cecil… no, Cecilia, she bowed her head. They looked at each other and loosened their mouths.
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