"Now then, I believe you all know that I have had two wives. My legal wife, Narae was the daughter of Ramo Company's chief, wed to me as an adopted daughter of Sawajie. My and Narae's eldest son passed in his infancy, and our second son whom was named a successor also passed fiver years ago. Thus I nominated the eldest son of my second son, Zepus as the heir, but he also lost his life last year, after which I was planning to announce Zepus's little brother as the next in line. However, Dopus too passed three days ago."
Prado paused for a bit here before unveiling a shocking truth.
"By way of a poisonous needle."
A huge commotion erupted. Meanwhile Norma calmly observed. Who are truly surprised, and who are not.
"Kusandria. I have a question for you."
"You arrived at Vouka ten days ago, bringing along your third son born to Boldrin House."
"And you were insistent on pushing that third son of yours be the successor to Goncourt House. And that despite knowing Dopus, the then heir, still alive and well. Dopus was a healthy man who never even had a cold, nor had he a history of illness. Thus I ask you, Kusandria."
"Who told you that Dopus was on the verge of dying?"
"T-that's. But father, news of Dopus's illness even reached Vantaroy town."
"Who have gotten you into believing such an obvious lie?"
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
Kusandria looked to her left. The attendant to the left behind her nudged at Kusandria's shoulder, stopping her.
Kusandria turned her line of sight at upper seats of the branch family.
As if urged by her gaze, an elderly man sitting on the second highest seat spoke out.
"My lord. Kusandria-sama has expressly come back home for the sake of Goncourt's enduring prosperity. And besides, now that Dopus-sama has passed away, we must pick a successor as soon as possible."
Norma has a paper detailing the seating positions of this council members laid on her desktop. The one who spoke just now is Sakurd Beym. Husband of Prado's little sister.
"Indeed. This period of booming prosperity for town of Vouka is precisely the time to deepen our relationship with Vantaroy. By tying a strong knot with House of Boldrin, Goncourt shall open a path to its biggest success yet."
This one was by Hama Gakusto. The present head of the branch family, grandson of Prado's little brother.
Afterward, a few more family members spoke in Kusandria's defense. What interesting was how there were also several individuals who remained silence despite getting urged by Kusandria's glances.
(Those who have been enticed by Boldrin House.)
(And those who are still undecided but leaning on yes.)
(They have no choice but to support Kusandria-sama here.)
(But even among those who have promised Kusandria-sama their cooperation.)
(Some of them seem to have inferred the questionable prospect and refrained from showing definite support.)
Norma calmly, or more like, amusingly listened to the relatives' opinions.
After they were done voicing their opinions to a point, Prado spoke once again.
"Back to the issue at hand. Dopus has lost his life. Going by order, the next in line should have been the eldest son of the late Zepus, Gaipus. However, Gaipus is five this year. Considering I am 71, there is a danger of me passing before Gaipus has come of age if I do nominate him."
"I do not believe present master-sama would get an invitation by the underworld god for a decade, nay, two decades still."
This transparently sucking up attitude was said by the highest seated person of the branch family, Don Cospes. The person who would have been named the guardian had Norma declined to be the successor.
Following Don, the majority of the family members also voiced their optimism on Prado's lifespan.
"Thus, I may name a guardian for Gaipus."
Prado paused here, drank water to quench his throat and resumed.
"I am thinking of naming an intermediate successor."
"It cannot be."
"So the next head won't be Gaipus-dono?"
Prado raised his hand to calm down the rustle.
"Now then, my second wife Rokusuna, came from the noble House of Okarute from Bigo, however, House of Okarute has ceased to exist. I and Rokusuna had a daughter by name of Korona."
Prado turned his gaze at Norma sitting to his left.
Norma looked straight ahead at the table with a slightly loose gaze as she smiled softly.
"Korona was married to Sasfrey-sama of Wazrof, and birthed Norma-dono. The person sitting next to me is Norma-dono, that is to say my granddaughter. I would like to name this Norma-dono as the heiress, she would swear to surrender the position to Gaipus once he's come of age."
A commotion break out in the banquet hall.
Many words flew around, but the one compiled them all was the branch family head, Don Cospes.
"Pardon me, present head-sama. I Don Cospes is aware of the matter transpired in month nine last year related to apothecary Norma-dono, however, I have never heard of her being a member of Goncourt. Additionally, how someone from our Goncourt House was wed to a member of Marquis of Mashajain, Wazrof House is also news to me. What does this all mean."
He mixed in some lies there, thought Norma.
The effective leader of the branch family can't possibly have not gathered information on the main family's head's children and grandchildren. Naturally he must know that Norma is Korona's daughter, Prado's granddaughter.
He also must have gathered intel up to Sasfrey, an apothecary, a medical practitioner and a researcher, being the husband of Korona. He might even find out how he had some sort of connections to Wazrof. But that would be the end of the line for any clue. After all, House of Wazrof should have imposed a thorough information blockage on everything related to Norma's mother, Korona.
"You may listen to the explanation regarding that from Norma-dono herself. Norma-dono."
Prado looked to his left and signaled with his eyes. Norma looked back at Prado's eyes, nodded and stood up.