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    Loves Error

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    The spacious garden was bathed in warm sunlight.

    The garden, personally cultivated by this body’s mother, appeared particularly vibrant with shades of pink and white. Although I’d heard the names of each and every flower, it went through one ear and out the other.

    It was because I thought giving names to every flower was something only beautiful women did.

    It was a week before my fifth year of being born in this world.

    In the meantime, I had greatly familiarized myself with the language of this land.

    Just as the direct descendants of the families forming the clans of the central plains uphold the lineage of their clans, the nobles of this land inherit their titles, passing them down from one generation to the next.

    I had yet to complete my studies on the proper court ranks, so it was difficult for me to fully infer which was low and which was high, but it was a good thing that I was a direct descendant of a Count family as their eldest son.

    While setting up chairs and a table in the expansive garden and indulging in tea with luxurious service was made possible by the hard work of numerous servants, it had become a routine for the direct descendants of the family.

    Since tea tables were often set up in pavilions by the pond in the Namgung Clan, it wasn’t entirely unfamiliar to me.

    “Our Mika has finally come.”

    “Yes, Mother, Father.”

    I politely bowed and climbed onto the chair.

    Since my body was still not fully grown, I required the assistance of a servant every time I got onto the chair. However, I grew dissatisfied with being lifted all the time, so as soon as I could walk and run, I requested a low platform to be placed beneath the chair and used it as a step to climb up on my own.

    Thanks to the fact that the chair was tailored to my young body, I sat at the proper height relative to the table, with it positioned below my chest.

    Although the strength in my hands had not yet developed equally, I still knew what was right for the tea ceremony. 

    Following my mother’s example, I held the teacup with one hand and took a sip of the tea, which had cooled to the perfect temperature, to moisten my throat before carefully setting it back down. I felt a sense of pride in managing to place the teacup on the saucer without making a sound.

    Since I started being able to speak properly, my father and mother, who weren’t particularly close, often created opportunities for us to come together like this.

    As soon as I could properly pronounce things, I repeatedly advised my father that a patriarch shouldn’t be treating his wife so unkindly, and seeing how he listened to me after that, it made it clear that my father was unexpectedly tender-hearted and possessed a docile character.

    After that, my mother’s health improved slightly, so I hoped to have two or three more siblings.

    I felt a bit shy under the warm gazes of my father and mother as they observed my every little move.

    Now, I could easily tell them that I was over forty years old, but even that sounded like insanity to my ears, so it had been five years since I decided not to say it aloud.

    I continued to diligently play the role of their mature yet young son.

    Since there were many things I didn’t know about this world, it wasn’t particularly difficult.

    Just by honestly asking about things I didn’t know and requesting help, I appeared enough of a young child to them.

    “So, you’re begging me to use the training grounds again?”

    “Yes. Now that I am already five years old, it will be too late if I do not start practicing the sword. I must start training before my limbs grow any longer.”

    “Is that something you heard from Sir Laurence?”

    “No. It’s something I thought of on my own.”

    Sir Laurence, the escort knight assigned to me, was a martial artist who had recently just turned twenty and, in the terms of this world, had just entered the beginning stage of Sword Expert. It wasn’t bad progress, reaching the stage of a second-class martial artist at barely twenty years old.

    Watching them train, I realized that these people didn’t sharpen their swords for the sake of moral culture and martial arts, but for war. What I wanted was similar, but a little different.

    In my past life, I reached the stage of transcendent, but I failed to reach the stage of unrestrained.

    I was able to draw sword aura but failed to wield sword force.

    Given a new life as a merit, it was only natural for me to feel greedy as a martial artist.

    I wanted to see the end of the Boundless Heaven Sword Technique, and I wanted to be able to imitate the Emperor Sword Form, which I wasn’t allowed to learn.

    “Why do you want to learn the sword?”

    “I will become a sword master.”

    “A sword… ahem. I see… So, our son wishes to become a sword master.”

    “Though it might seem like a distant dream at the moment, once my body develops and I am able to control my range, I will be able to use sword aura, at the very least. Please grant me permission.”

    “Will you explain to me what… range means, son?”

    “It means extending the range of the sword’s attack in relation to one’s opponent as one’s arms and legs grow longer.”

    “I see… It seems that our son will easily be able to use sword aura once he grows a little bigger…”

    “Yes.”

    Of course, it was only natural for my parents to be disbelieving of my words.

    In this world, it was customary for children to begin wielding the sword only after turning eight. The gentler upbringing of children here compared to those of the central plains stemmed from a greater inclination toward pursuing literature and mercantilism rather than martial arts.

    The count’s estate, which I had convinced my father to let me explore a while back, was abundant with fruit and grain, and the roads were astonishingly well-maintained. Moreover, even the ordinary buildings, aside from brothels, were neatly constructed, reaching two or three floors in height.

    My father, who fell silent for a moment, glanced at my mother’s expression before contemplating and eventually struggling to say, “Very well, should we arrange for one of the family’s knights to be your teacher?”

    “I’m content with just being able to use the training grounds for now. Afterwards, when the time comes and I require a teacher, I will request it. But for now, I’d like to have a wooden sword that fits my body.”

    “…Very well, then… We’ll arrange for a wooden sword as your birthday gift this year.”

    “I’m always grateful for Father’s benevolence.”

    My father responded with a swallow of his throaty groan, as he always did, while my mother placed a cookie in my hand with laughter lighting up her face.

    It was because she knew that my arms were too short to reach the center of the table, and if I wanted to eat the snacks without getting up from my chair, I often had to borrow my parents’ hand.

    The luxurious and sweet taste, which I didn’t often encounter in my past life, was enchanting, and I was in a good mood since my father had easily accepted my request this time as well. A bright smile spread across my face.

    “Son, which do you like more, cranberry cookies or chocolate cookies?”

    “It’s difficult to place one above the other. The tartish one sticks sweetly to the inside of your mouth, while the sweet one easily melts inside it and lingers, so apart from the fact that they’re both very good, it’s difficult for me to pick.”

    “Hmm, it’s wonderful how our son isn’t picky at all.”

    “Is this also not all thanks to the benevolence of my parents?”

    My father soon joined my mother, laughing idly.

    There was no need for me to feel embarrassed, as it was only natural for people to laugh at the words of a child, regardless of whether they were right or wrong.

    Moreover, wasn’t this the body of their eldest son? Even in the central plains, the eldest son, who was destined to carry on the family’s lineage, was adored and cherished as the family’s golden calf and jade toad¹.

    It was only natural for my mother and father, who oversaw dozens of servants in a manor as grand as this, to dote on their son, who resembled them.

    I nodded and said, “My parents’ benevolence is like the heavens,” once again uttering the right thing.

    We spoke of various things, such as the guests to invite to this body’s birthday party, the menu for the event, the commodities that sold well in the commercial district nowadays, the current state of the wheat farms, and the affairs of neighbouring countries as well as the state of the empire where I currently resided.

    Seeing how my mother and father had laughed several times during our conversation, I glanced at them before carefully opening my mouth to say, “There’s one more birthday gift I would like to have.”

    “I see, so this was your plan all along. What else do you wish to have?”

    “Since ancient times, it’s been said that there is nothing thicker than blood. I wish to have a younger sibling. From what I’ve heard, the Cerbel family has already had their third child, yet…”

    “Ahem! Ahem, that is not something we can control, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer.”

    “I am already five years old! Having too much of an age gap isn’t ideal for siblings to rely on each other, Father. Are you putting in any effort?”

    When my mother stood up, the maids, who had been standing at a distance so as not to overhear the conversations between family members, approached her in confusion.

    I was well aware that this could be an embarrassing subject for a woman, so instead of holding her back, I stared fiercely at my father.

    Even though I wasn’t fully accustomed to this land yet, I still knew what was right and what was wrong.

    A family bound by blood needed not only a successor but solid allies to assist them as well. Clans with many descendants always thrived more than those with fewer.

    My father and mother were both still young, and the body I was born with was strong and healthy, so it was evident that my siblings and their future siblings would be healthy as well, so the fact that there was still no news led me to wonder if this was due to the fact that my father and mother did not lay together often.

    My father seemed incapable of leaving his son alone after his wife had already departed, so he sat there, burying his face in his hands before sweeping it down in a frenzy.

    He wasn’t even thirty yet, was he? Seeing him in such a state made it evident that my father was indeed still young.

    “Father and Mother are both still young and healthy, so it would be nice to have about two more siblings.”

    “…Where in the world did you learn to say such a thing…”

    I watched my father lift his head and glance at the servants, who shook their heads as if it were utter nonsense.

    Since they hadn’t done anything wrong, I confidently waved my hand to get my father’s attention and asked him for another cookie. My father complied with my request.

    “Such things aren’t learned from others but gained through experience. Life has taught me that the more relatives, the better.”

    “…I see… Alright.”

    My father murmured the names of Count and Countess Cerbel, who had recently visited the mansion, under his breath.

    They seem to have an unusually prolific constitution in this land.

    In my previous world, it was quite common for children from respectable clans to be engaged since birth. It seemed that this world wasn’t all that different. So, I mentioned to my father that later on, when I get married, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to choose a bride from the prolific Cerbel family, and he responded with a laugh that sounded more like a sob.

    ¹ 금송아지 옥두꺼비 – A child the family is proud of and always brags about

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