Sword Demon Love Story: The Bride's Father
—Anxiety was something that Wilhelm had never felt.
He could understand feelings of tension and caution, in which both the body and mind became tense, but such feelings were inseparable from the battlefield, and those who were not perceptive to them didn’t live for long.
Thus, Wilhelm was used to being under pressure. And that was why he couldn’t help but be surprised at how he was currently acting.
“───” Wilhelm’s limbs felt slightly numb, and he felt parched. Those sensations had come out of nowhere, and they were eating away at his mind and body.
“It seems like I, too, am a human being at the end of the day…”
“Wilhelm? Hey, Wilhelm, are you alright?” A voice called out to Wilhelm, who’d just loosened his collar and let out a hot breath. The person with that worried voice was looking at him with concern in her beautiful blue eyes.
Wilhelm psyched himself up after seeing her concerned gaze. He shook his head. “It’s nothing. I am just a bit thirsty.”
“Really? But you’ve been drinking tea this whole time… Are you perhaps nervous about something?”
Wilhelm held his breath when she asked that, as she was spot-on.
But the girl’s—Theresia’s—expression changed instantly when he answered her question with silence. “I see… So that’s how it is. Wilhelm, you’re nervous.”
Her concerned look became somewhat joyful, and he got caught in her mischievous gaze. Making him feel uncomfortable, he clicked his tongue.
“Oh, you clicked your tongue. Don’t do that when he is around. Me, Grimm, and the rest won’t care, but I think the people meeting you for the first time will care a lot.”
“I’ll do my best… What’s taking him so long?”
“Patience. He should be here soon…oh,” Theresia replied, hiding her mouth with a hand after Wilhelm looked away.
Right after that, the parlor’s door opened, and the person they were waiting for appeared.
“Mother, Father,” said Theresia, her eyes shining as she got up from the sofa.
The two on the receiving end of that had just entered the parlor. One was a graceful woman with her beige hair tied behind her head—a beautiful lady with clearly marked features. She was donned in a fluffy dress with long sleeves that suited her perfectly, and her eyes, which were sizing him up, caught his attention. The other person was a man with red hair and blue eyes—which matched Theresia’s—and it was clear at first glance that he had descended from a special bloodline. Those features were unique to the house of the Sword Saint, which had existed in the Dragon Kingdom of Lugunica for generations.
“───” Wilhelm also stood up—albeit a little after Theresia—after witnessing that. He bowed to the two who had appeared, being conscious of his body that had become stiff. He felt like it had become even heavier the moment they appeared. That was only natural, however. Since…
“Welcome back, Theresia. And thank you for coming, Mr. Wilhelm.”
The one who had said that was the red-haired man—whose name was Veltol Astrea, the head of House Astrea. But Wilhelm had a more appropriate way of addressing him.
“I heard you had something important to discuss… But what brings you here today, I wonder? I have no clue why you are here. None at all.”
While smiling gently, Veltol kept repeating the same thing, gradually making his tone stronger. Veins bulged on his forehead, and his blue eyes weren’t smiling at all.
Wilhelm—thinking him to be a tough opponent—felt slightly hurt as he sat in front of his future father-in-law.
Wilhelm and Theresia had traveled to the Astrea domain in the southern part of the Kingdom of Lugunica—and they were currently at Astrea Manor, Theresia’s home. For Theresia, she was just returning home, and for Wilhelm, he was just visiting the home of his beloved, but this trip was much more important than that. To put it simply, Wilhelm was there to greet Theresia’s parents and ask them for her hand in marriage.
In short, all hell was about to break loose.
“But I’m really glad that you chose Wilhelm. He seems like a sincere man. She has always been somewhat shy, so I was worried about what kind of man she would take a fancy to.”
“Geez, Mother… Don’t embarrass me like that.”
A table between them, Mother and Child were engaged in conversation. Theresia and her mother—Tishua Astrea—had been making small talk about the past and future, holding a cup of tea in one hand, since the first, simple greeting. Tishua seemed to be rather welcoming of Wilhelm. He hadn’t directly mentioned anything about marriage, but her joy was evident in every word she uttered. He honestly felt comforted by the fact that the mother of the bride was on his side.
“So, Mr. Wilhelm. What is your status, what is the rank you hold?”
“…My apologies. I am a knight, though I was only knighted recently.”
“Oh my! So you’re just a knight! I see…so that is how it is.”
The one speaking as if he had a hidden meaning behind his words was Veltol, who was sitting in front of Wilhelm. The future father-in-law had a magnificent beard and regal features, and he was keen on finding out whether Wilhelm was a suitable partner for his daughter or not. And it seemed like he wasn’t the least bit happy with his title.
“Of course, becoming a knight without any sort of backing is no mean feat. I’ll give you that. But I think it happened far too quickly. I wonder who knighted you. I can’t wrap my head around why they would do such a thing…”
“Father, the person who knighted Wilhelm was His Majesty Gionis.”
Once Theresia added that piece of information in, Veltol did a complete 180. “As expected, His Majesty is wise! I can do nothing but admire his decision!” Looking distant, he then muttered something under his breath. “His Majesty shouldn’t have done that…”
But peculiarly, his voice was loud enough that everyone could hear.
He’s not very good at hiding things, Wilhelm thought.
Although they had only been together for an extremely short period of time, Wilhelm discovered several things about Veltol. That he loved his daughter a lot, that he wasn’t okay with his daughter getting married, that he wasn’t good at hiding things, that he was—anyway, he learned quite a bit about Veltol.
“───” He took a quick glance at the women next to them and saw that Theresia was somewhat nervous as she looked at them talk. As for Tishua, she baffled him with a gentle smile that was devoid of all emotion. To be honest, if she were the one that had disapproved of him, the unpredictable Tishua would have been more of a challenge. That’s why you could say it was a good thing that the predictable Veltol was the one who disapproved of him. Nevertheless, how the bride’s father was treating him was abnormal, and there was something else that was making him uneasy.
—The nervousness that made him feel like his body was becoming numb was growing stronger by the minute.
“What is the matter, Mr. Wilhelm? It seems like you are, a bit pale?” said Veltol, expressing his concern for Wilhelm as he was being tormented by extreme thirst and stress eating away at his body. But there was no way he could tell him how he was really feeling.
If I do, he’ll deem me a failure of a man who can’t even control his own emotions.
What Veltol was saying wasn’t wrong. Wilhelm had come emptyhanded. He didn’t have a title, and neither was his future laid out for him. In fact, he had whisked away Theresia’s future as the Sword Saint. That being the case, he needed to make something of himself and prove his worth.
Wilhelm began the conversation with a serious air. “Lord Veltol, Lady Tishua, there is something I want to say to you.”
“You do not have the right to call me your father!!” Jumping to conclusions, Veltol tried to crush him right away.
“Honey, you are jumping to conclusions. Wilhelm has not called you that yet.” Tishua pointed it out with a gentle smile. “But.” She paused. “I am fine with you calling me mother anytime.”
“Huh!? What the hell are you saying, Tishua!?”
Veltol stood up looking white as a sheet after hearing Tishua’s words. His eyes darted to-and-fro, and then he looked at his beloved wife and beloved daughter.
“Our family is, our family is on the verge of breaking apart as we speak! How will we be able to protect Theresia from this scoundrel if we do not unite here?”
“Father! Stop calling him a scoundrel! Wilhelm isn’t like that at all! If you truly believe that, are you saying that the decision His Majesty Gionis made was wrong?”
“Yo-Your father has said no such thing! How dare you speak like that to me, Theresia! I will see to it that you are properly disciplined for this. I can’t marry you off until then…” Veltol declared with an evil face.
“F-a-t-h-e-r!” Theresia ferociously shouted at him.
Wilhelm was a bit overwhelmed by their vigor.
“I am sorry, Wilhelm. These two are always like this.” Tishua calmly apologized to Wilhelm before noticing that the cup in his hand was empty. “Oh my, your cup is empty. I do apologize for not noticing. Allow me to give you a…”
“—Hic! Stop, Tishua! I will pour it for him myself,” Veltol declared suddenly, hurriedly standing up and bringing the teapot from the serving cart over to give Wilhelm a refill. As hot steam and the rich smell of tea leaves wafted through the air, Veltol stroked his beard proudly. “Go ahead and drink to your heart’s content. Don’t be shy. You must have been anxious since we took time to get ready, right? Do drink, do drink.”
Wilhelm frowned after being pressured to drink more. Indeed, it had taken quite a while for Veltol and his wife to arrive at the parlor. Thanks to that, he’d spent quite a lot of time drinking tea and killing time, so much so that he became aware of his nervousness. As a result, he talked less and worried that his parents-in-law had developed a bad impression of him. Maybe all of this anxiety and worry is what is making my body feel numb, he thought, and as he was about to bring the cup to his mouth…
“—Wait, Wilhelm. Don’t drink that tea.”
The one who had leaned forward and stopped him was Theresia. She snatched the cup out of his hand and looked at the tea by narrowing her blue eyes.
That made Veltol start panicking.
“Hey!” Veltol exclaimed with a husky voice. “Do not act so unladylike. If you want a refill, then tell me. It has been quite some time since your father has shown off his skills, and…”
“That’s right, it’s very rare. What on earth happened for you to be making tea for someone?”
“Did you just say oops?” asked Wilhelm.
Veltol went pale, as if he wasn’t expecting to be questioned like that. On top of that, his face started to break out into a cold sweat, and it was clear that he was in a bit of a pickle.
“A-ha-ha…” After leering at what was going on with Veltol, Tishua looked down, her lips quivering. Her beautiful cheeks reddened, and with watery eyes, she looked at her panicking husband alluringly. Although it was still hard to guess what she was feeling, it seemed like she was enjoying the situation.
Wilhelm vaguely understood what was going on. “You mean, Lord Veltol did something to everyone’s tea?”
“More like, he only mixed something into your tea. Father?”
“Eek! I’m innocent!”
Veltol, who was being glared at by his daughter, said a cliché line that people who did something bad say. Wilhelm looked at his tea as he listened to his words that almost sounded like a confession, and then things clicked. It was indeed unnatural. I felt thirstier the more I drank. My body felt strangely numb and tense. I thought it was due to the anxiety of visiting my lover’s parents’ house, but…
“Besides, it seems like I didn’t use the right ratio when I mixed in the drug. Since he looks completely unaffected even after drinking so much…”
“The person who drugged the tea shouldn’t admit to it like it’s nothing! What did you try to make Wilhelm drink? Could it be that, you poisoned…”
“I would never do something so horrendous! All I did was mix in a small amount of a drug that makes you lose control of your bladder…” Veltol confessed like a timid child, tapping his index fingers together in front of his chest.
The drug he had prepared was something that caused polydipsia. In short, no matter how much tea he drank, his thirst would never be quenched, and the urine filling his bladder would eventually leak out—
“You’re such a conniving man, Father! Even if Wilhelm peed himself because of that, I wouldn’t stop loving him! I would love both him and his pee!”
“What!? Are you serious, Theresia!? You’re fine with being with a man that peed himself!?”
“I didn’t pee myself…” muttered Wilhelm, a bitter expression on his face, but the father and daughter ignored it and started arguing again.
As they completely ignored the person at the center of their argument and argued about whether he had peed himself or not, Wilhelm lost the energy to intervene. Either way, the thing he needed to do was—
“The bathroom is right at the end of the hallway after you exit the room.”
Sensing Wilhelm’s intentions, Tishua briefly told Wilhelm where to go.
I wonder how much this lady knew about what her husband was up to.
“—Thank you for telling me the way so courteously.”
Wilhelm felt like it was far scarier to ask about that, so he turned his doubt into words of gratitude upon standing up.
“Speaking of which, Wilhelm. —This is how our family is, so do you think you will be able to adjust?”
Wilhelm narrowed his eyes at her question. Veltol and Theresia were still arguing, and he didn’t feel like he had the energy to join them, but…
“—I wonder, Mother. Father seems like a hard man to get along with.”
“A-ha-ha, you get full marks.”
Tishua evaluated Wilhelm’s answer with a big smile. Looking at that smile, he was convinced that Theresia and Tishua were mother and child.
I feel like I’ll be able to connect with Veltol, at least when it comes to being pushed around by our wives.
With such feelings in his heart, Wilhelm hurriedly stepped out of the door while listening to the argument between the father and daughter.