Author: Eica Editor: Eica

Chapter 23

 

The maid asked with a worried face.

“Are you uncomfortable somewhere?”

“No, I am not. Maybe it’s just because I’m nervous. I just have to wait here until the ceremony starts, right?”

“Yes. That’s right.”

“Where is Dane?”

“Sir is waiting for the ceremony in the building across the street.”

“I see. Thank you.”

Brides sometimes need some alone time. The maid said to call if she needed anything and left the room.

Alone in the large room, Liv revealed the true emotions she had been suppressing.

Looking through the mirror, the woman’s face looked pale and tired, looking uneasy like a sheet of thin ice that might break at any moment. If he was next to her, she would be fine, but if he was not around, she would instantly be in this state.

Liv slumped down in the chair and buried her face in her hands.

As time passed, what had happened in the mansion became clearer. It was what she really felt.

‘I gave myself to him. I threw myself at him, begging him not to let me go.’

Liv bit her lip as she looked at herself in front of the mirror.

‘I’ve been like this since the beginning.’

A being that can only live by living off of others. A being who is unstable and unable to do anything without restraint. That’s the kind of person I am. No matter how much I tried to deny it, I was that kind of person.

‘If it wasn’t for Dane…… what would have become of me now?’

Perhaps she would be under Carl Rayleigh’s feet and begging him to please take her away, showing all kinds of pitiful looks.

Liv stood up and paced around the room. A rush of anxiety and agitation crept in over her.

She didn’t know why. Again and again, inexplicable anxiety rushed in and swept through Liv like a wave. She tried to suppress it, but she just couldn’t.

“Ah…….”

Liv, who had been pacing incessantly in the room due to anxiety, looked out the window. There was no one.

She needed Dane. Every time he saw her acting like this in the Lesbourne residence, he would always hug and reassure her. She wanted to see him, even for a moment.

Without thinking, Liv stepped out of the window and started running.

After passing through a long passage, Liv saw a building in front of her that looked exactly like where she had stayed. Holding her breath, she approached the window and raised her tiptoes and looked inside.

She saw Dane. And beside him was an unfamiliar man who was of a similar age to him. Liv quickly lowered her head.

‘Who is that man?’

He was dressed splendidly to be called a servant who helps change clothes. Liv looked up again and looked through the window.

While the man sat in a chair and drank tea leisurely, Dane stripped off his clothes, revealing his bare upper body. Liv saw a scar across his shoulder. That was the identity of the touch that she felt at her fingertips.

It was only for a brief moment as he immediately put on his clothes, but the scar was clearly familiar to her. It was a scar similar to the one she saw every time she looked at herself in the mirror.

Liv couldn’t take her eyes off his shoulder as she seemed to remember something.

“How does it feel to finally pay off your debts?”

The man rose from his seat and walked to the window. Liv hurriedly lowered herself.

“To abandon everything and come back to this rotten country just because of a childhood memory. Does your bride know this?”

Dane did not answer. Liv’s eyes were confused as she lowered her head and stared at the finely laid grass on the floor.

“I heard that Liv Ragnell had been neglected all the time because of the burn marks on her face. Do you feel guilty for the woman who is ruined because of you? I had no idea you were such a good guy.”

‘I am ruined because of Dane?’

Liv, completely unable to comprehend what the man was talking about, held her breath at the sudden flash of an old memory.

It was a painful memory that she had buried deep in her heart because she wanted to forget it.

There was a fire. Fueled by the fierce wind, embers completely engulfed one of Hale’s tallest wooden buildings. The flames were so large that it could be seen from a distance.

Liv, who was still a child, begged the maid to take a look. That day, her life was turned upside down.

A piece of burning wood fell from the sky towards a boy. Watching the blazing flames, Liv ran towards the boy without thinking.

Something hot hit her face and Liv passed out.

When she opened her eyes after everything had ended, she saw the pained eyes and horrified expressions on the faces of the people around her that made her scream.

And like that, Liv’s face was ruined.

“Shut up, Nolan Vergo.”

Nolan shrugged and drank his tea.

“Your father that has passed away will come out of the coffin if he witnesses you in that state right now.”

“If you’re going to talk nonsense, get out right now.”

“I’m about to leave anyway. I have no intention of watching your pathetic wedding to the end.”

Nolan stood up, opened the door, and turned back again.

“When you’ve paid your debt to the woman, come back. I’ll leave your seat empty. You know that everything in this country is of no use to you. Don’t be so stupid anymore.”

Even after the man left, Liv couldn’t get up from her seat for a long time.

Through the window, she could hear Dane changing his clothes. It felt as if a large rock was lodged in her throat. Fearing that she might make noise, she desperately closed her mouth.

Liv returned the way she had come, giving strength to her weakened legs.

“Miss!”

A maid wandering about in search of the missing bride spotted Liv and grabbed her.

Then a voice was heard. The maid quickly hid Liv behind a pillar in case anyone saw the bride’s appearance.

“Have you still not let go of your lingering feelings?”

“Father is like me. Don’t scold me for no reason.”

It was the daughter of the Duke who had expressed interest in Dane at the ball. Her face was full of dissatisfaction as if she still hadn’t let go of her feelings for Dane.

“His feelings are bound to fade over time anyway. Eventually, he would realize that all that remains is honor and power. We just have to wait for that moment. Now, I’ll just let him play with love to your heart’s content.”

“There’s no way the Emperor would grant a divorce so easily.”

“Hmph, even the Emperor would prefer his favored person to marry me rather than an insignificant noblewoman. And since the Baron died, what’s left of Lady Ragnell? That guy is a Vergo. Wouldn’t it be great if someone from Vergo came into our family?”

The Duke did not answer whether he felt the same way as his daughter.

“Two years. In two years, that man will change.”

It was not something a bride-to-be should hear. The maid furtively glanced back at Liv and saw that her face trembled and was pale and tired, as if she was going to vomit at any moment.

The most important thing when working with nobles was to be silent. The maid immediately erased from her mind what she had just heard.

The maid cautiously dragged Liv.

“I will be at the door. If anything happens, please call me right away.”

The maid with pity in her face closed the door and walked out. Big brown eyes stared blankly into the air.

‘You were that boy then. So it was like that.’

Liv smiled at the reflection of herself in the mirror. In the mirror, a shabby woman with her hair covering her scar sat, wearing a pure white dress that didn’t match her.

‘So it was like that.’

She didn’t understand why such a coveted man had chosen her. No one loved her. Even though she knew it couldn’t be love, she thought to herself that it might be love.

It wasn’t love after all. The whole reason why he was marrying me was to pay off his debts.

 

‘When you’ve paid your debt to the woman, come back. I’ll leave your seat empty.’

‘His feelings are bound to fade over time anyway. Eventually, he would realize that all that remains is honor and power. We just have to wait for that moment.’

 

Unlike Liv, who no one wanted, everyone wanted Dane.

She only has Dane left, and she keeps trying to take him away.

‘Why am I such a greedy person? I would rather have been someone who doesn’t know light like any other person from the back alley. If only he were such a frivolous man who was only after the hem of my skirt…… I wouldn’t have felt this way. If I was the only one who recognized him and gave him his resting place when others kicked him for being dirty…….’

Liv’s breathing became ragged.

‘In the first place, he should have had his face ruined like mine!’

If his face was ruined like hers, no one would have known his beauty.

She was chagrined. This was not fair. He became like this because of him, but nothing changed for him.

Jealousy and inferiority make a person sink to the bottom. Liv wanted him to be dirtier and be pointed at than anyone else in the world. May he feel the anxiety and restlessness she feels right now. She wanted him to be the one to endure the terrible self-loathing, not herself.

And she hoped that she would be his sole savior.

Liv was sick of her nauseatingly disgusting heart.

She remembered Rayleigh’s sarcastic words about wishing her a happy marriage.

‘If I marry him, I will have to live with this disgusting feeling for the rest of my life.’

He did nothing wrong. Running to save him was all my choice. Even so, she couldn’t stop her heart from wishing that he was ruined.

She couldn’t figure out where it went wrong.

‘I shouldn’t have forgotten the child I saved in the first place…… I had to hate him, curse him, and make sure I would never fall in love with him. The moment I recognized him, I had to shout in anger that my whole life was ruined because of you.’

She had to point fingers at him for being dirty and spit on him like everyone else. She shouldn’t have loved that child.

‘I shouldn’t have loved you. I should never have loved him…….’

She wanted to escape. She wanted to get away from the endless repetition of emotions and thoughts.

Liv burst into tears of pain.

“Isn’t it a happy day? Why are you sitting like that?”

The sun, hidden by the mist, shone brightly beyond the window. Liv looked at the man who climbed through the window with his back to the sun as if possessed.

“Lohan…….”

Author's Thoughts

Hello, everyone~! Eica, here. If you find any mistakes, please do not hesitate to inform me. And, I'm sorry in advance for any mistranslations that might occur.

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Eica

A lazy cat who wants her honied indolence back.

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