That Alata Mayoi had married a total bitch was not something lost on him. If he’d ever had a choice in the matter, he’d have never married the woman… but then again, having come to know his wonderful daughter as well as he had, maybe he’d put up with it, given the choice to do it all over again, just to make sure that Kana existed.

“Caria,” Alata sighed, trying to edge into his wife’s rantings, about something he’d never even caught the beginning of. “Caria?”

Theirs was a town full of corruption and misery. In few places in the world did arranged marriages happen without royal bloodlines being present in the equation somewhere. This happened to be one of them. His was one of the more wealthy families, tied to the merchant’s trade of shipping. That her parents’ slightly-less-successful family wanted merge with his family was easily taken care of via marriage.

Caria Calvert- now Mayoi- had hated that she had to take his family name, all as part of the deal, and had quickly taken over Alata’s controlling interests in the business almost in… spite? Revenge? Or was that part of her family’s plan as well?

If it was, he wasn’t upset by that, no. He’d always looked for an out from the Family Business, and was glad to hand the proverbial keys over. It gave him time to focus on much nicer things- raising his daughter, for instance.

Alata always thought of the young girl as his daughter, in the singular. Never “Ours” or “Hers” or even jointly as “Theirs”- the woman he was currently trying to pacify enough to figure out what the hell she was ranting about had so little to do with the girl’s life that there was no doubt that Kana was his, through and through.

Caria had wanted a heir, and so they’d had a child. Boy or Girl did not matter much- she’d sworn off ever having another child after giving birth to Kana. At first, that was fine with Alata. It made raising Kana into someone other than Caria’s daughter an easier task. Less attention to divide. He didn’t need to worry, as Caria had rarely given the girl the time of day as the day-to-day operations of the business side of the family grew more and more demanding, so that too was much easier.

“Caria- slow down,” He finally managed. “Just what’s gotten you upset?”

“Our Daughter is Running away to join some Fop School in the middle of nowhere!” Caria finally managed to get to the initial point that had set her off and– Wait. What?

“Where did you find out about this?” Alata asked, curious, and slightly concerned about Caria’s sudden interest in Kana’s choice of schooling.

“I’ve had our phone tapped with a recorder stone,” Caria answered, “every business call I make is recorded for legal reasons and-”

“You recorded our daughter making a personal phone call?” Alata couldn’t help but stare at the woman. Besides that- it suddenly made him glad he was making his personal calls on an external line. Damn, that sudden burst of paranoia last year had actually happened to pay off!

“That’s besides the point! She’s trying to run away from the family business!” Caria snarled.

‘And there it is,’ Alata suddenly realized. She wasn’t finally owning up and being a concerned parent. Caria didn’t care about Kana as long as she played the perfect little Heiress. And that was something that Kana had never actually done for as long as Alata had a say in how she was being raised. But now that Kana was making her own choice about schooling?

“So now you take an interest.” He didn’t even realize he’d said it aloud at first, but the look of surprise on her face told him that he’d had. And so, Alata continued, “You’re losing control of your future, and so you’re finally taking steps to reign it in. Well, that’s too little too late, Caria.”

“Alata, what-” She went to say something more, but he raised a finger and silenced her with a glare.

It was time to play his hidden, secret ultimate attack.

“I’m filing for divorce.”

Tracking Kana down afterwards had been easy enough- she’d been in her room packing.

“Hey, sweetie,” he smiled down at his girl. Orange hair, bright green eyes. She looked more like her mother than either of them liked to admit, but at least her scales were warmer than the sulfur shade of her mother, and her eyes held a warmth in them that her mother simply never had. “Packing for a trip?”

The young dragon stiffened, then, warily, asked, “Are you here to talk me out of running away?”

“No,” he answered simply. “I’m here to ask you what school you want to go to so badly to make your mom so angry.”

“Mistrial,” Kana said the name, and it sounded like… “No, wait. Was it Mystery isle?” Yes, that was it.

“Mystryal,” Alata smiled. As fine of a school as any, as far as he was concerned. A Detective’s School. A place to hone the mind… No wonder Caria didn’t want her to go.

“Yeah, that,” Kana nodded.

“I’m not going to stop you from going,” Alata said, and the shock caused Kana to drop the dress she’d been about to pack. “But, I am not going to let you go on your own, either.”

“What?” Kana turned to look up at him, awe and confusion in those young eyes.

“I’m divorcing your mother and filing for sole custody,” Alata gave enough of a pause to let his daughter get up and run over to give him a tight hug before continuing. “I haven’t told her that last part yet, though, and she’s not going to be happy about it either. So I’m going to pay for your tuition to keep you out of her claws while I deal with everything here.”

“ThankYouThankYouThankYou!” Came the happy squeal from his daughter. Alata could only sigh a happy kind of sigh, and run his hand through his daughter’s hair.

His daughter’s hair. And if Alata had his way, Caria would face a hot day in the Flame Princess’ cage before she ever got her hands on Kana again.


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