The Resolve of the Next Family Head
“A long time ago, a certain someone told me this. The most important thing to stand at the top of the underworld was to have the ability to maintain order, and lead and command all your subordinates.”
Inside her mind, the figure of her past life’s grandfather appeared.
“There’s nothing more dangerous and troublesome than a mob of villainous criminals he said. The people in the underworld are all villains as well, and it is only because of the various rules and oaths set up that even the 5 great families still maintain their connection with the royal family and continue to coexist with the ‘surface’ world.”
“……..Well, yes, that’s true but….”
What Francesca had said was nothing special, and something that was an obvious known fact to anyone belonging to the 5 great families. Seeing him look confused over what she was trying to say, Francesca spoke even more clearly to explain herself.
“Ricardo, you also have that ability, don’t you?”
Ricardo breathed in deeply hearing that.
“You are the public morals committee chairman of this Academy. Whenever you scold someone, everyone feels nervous, and you know that as well. Even though you are part of the underworld, there’s aren’t many others like you who’d follow the rules of the ‘surface’ so strictly and also make sure that the normal students do so as well.”
“And it’s not just the effect you have on the surface students? Outside members of the Calvino family, the only person who’d have the guts to drag our Graziano to attend supplementary classes like you did, is just you alone, probably in this entire world!”
When Francesca emphasized that point, Ricardo continued to stare at her quietly.
“Your father may have said that he’ll remove you as his heir if you fail to solve this incident, but that was only because he trusted you Ricardo, to be able to handle this, and because he is your father, I think he, of all people, truly believes that Ricardo is indeed [worthy of being his heir], I think.”
For a moment it seemed like a strange light flickered inside Ricardo’s blue eyes.
“——-My father, thinks that way of me?”
“I’m sure of it!”
Ricardo hung his head, as if slowly chewing on those words and while letting what he heard digest, he covered his eyes with his palm.
“…………is that so………..”
But it was right then, when Francesca also calmed down and came to her sense.
(Wait, I may have said a bit too much considering it’s someone else’s family matter!?)
It may have been insensitive of her to do so. Francesca wanted to run away from the underworld, meanwhile Ricardo was one who was supposed to be at the forefront of this world in the future. The burdens they carried were completely different.
“That’s why! Umm, well, you see……….!!”
He began to suddenly chuckle for whatever reason, making Francesca tilt her head in confusion.
“……….Apologies. My complaining from before, I think I made a mistake with my choice of words.
“As the next family head, there’s no doubt that I do want to aim to be a man worthy of that title of course. But, the impatience and frustration that I feel right now is not because I feel that I am unqualified to earn that role.”
Ricardo’s voice, was a lot more gentler than before.
His expression, as he raised his head back up again, was not his frowning face, but a more gentle look.
“These drugs, are a threat to both the dignity and safety of the people. To let something like that enter inside our own capital, is something that I simply cannot forgive no matter what.”
He put his pen down, and spoke with a much more refreshing tone.
“This is my hometown, and the people that live here are people that I am sworn to protect.——even if I am a villain, but even so.”
And then he laughed teasingly.
“The creed of our family is [Tradition] but, if someone were to say that letting drugs spread inside the capital besmirches our family name, that is still only second in terms of my frustrations.——And if someone were to say that this disqualifies me as a worthy successor to the house, even then, it is not something I am willing to bend on.”
Francesca became happy, and nodded at his words. She could tell that her words and attempts at cheering him up had indeed worked as she intended.
Ricardo exhaled deeply, and then spoke to her again.
“To be honest, the way our family is run has been a bit too tight and forceful since the old days.”
“The Serranovas? Ah, if I remember, Papa did say that your family follows their creed of [Tradition] so devotedly that it makes it difficult for you guys to even get into newer [businesses] as well……”
“Perhaps Father is hoping to get some financial aid from your family. I’ve heard that your father was an old academy friend of his back in the day. There’s a chance that the meeting is for that purpose.”
“I see. That could be true.”
Ricardo stood up, and cracked his neck and shoulders. It seems he had finally finished his paperwork that he had been working on throughout the lunch break.
“Thanks to watching a certain someone, now I’m feeling really hungry as well. I guess I should also use the cafeteria once in a while huh.”
“Wait, you still hadn’t had your lunch yet!? The new bread was really delicious, so I recommend that. Actually, maybe I should buy one more if they have some still left.”
“You sure you’re not eating a bit too much………..?”
While having such a back and forth, she left the committee room alongside Ricardo.
(He wants to solve the drugs incident because, above all, he wants to keep the people of this city safe eh……….It does make me want to root for Ricardo but…..)
While staring at Ricardo, who looked a lot more cheerful, from the side, Francesca continued to think inside her mind.
(But before that, the [mastermind] behind everything may be someone close to me, the protagonist.——I need to resolve myself for that truth as well——…..)
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And so, on the day of the meeting, a Saturday, Francesca was preparing herself like her father had asked.
She was wearing a elegant yet somewhat flashy, red dress.
The chiffon was piled in layers to make a drape, to make the insignia of the Calvino house, the Red Rose out of the cloth. While not as extravagant as the one she wore to the party, this was still a very cute and pretty dress that she really liked.
Small pearls adorned her ears as earrings as they gently swayed with every movement of her head.
Checking herself again all over in front of the mirror, she turned to look at Graziano standing behind her.
“Hey Graziano, don’t you think I look really fashionable today?”
“Haa. Sure, I guess so. Anything works, really.”
“Jeez, you’re not being serious at all!”
“That’s not true, the young miss looks adorable in anything she wears. It really suits you.”
“You, there’s a limit to how uninterested you can sound……..!!”
Even though normally he’d give a more proper comment, today Graziano was being really curt and blunt.
Though to be fair, even when they were kids, her little bro would always turn a bit sulky whenever Francesca dressed up a bit more cutely than usual.
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