Author: alyalia

His fingers moved the jewel clockwise again. 




“It seems you want to be cruel to me until the end.” 




“Fortunately, I do not love you now.” 


Luize’s gaze reached his wrist. The bracelet, which she saw for the first time, had a seemingly expensive red jewel embedded in it. 


“Well then, take care.” Luize headed outside the terrace. 


* * *

Edward entered the terrace with his long legs without hesitation. As soon as he arrived at the terrace, someone followed him in. Turning around with an expressionless face as if he expected it, Edward faced the person in question. 


“You came on your own, Princess Diana.” 


Diana’s shoulders shuddered under his cold, red gaze.  She smiled awkwardly.


“I felt like I would get scolded by the Grand Duke anyway. I thought it might be less if I came by myself.”


“What did you do?” 


“I told Count Cloette to prove his feelings. If the two of them are not cleanly separated, it would be troublesome. Both for the Grand Duke and for me.” 


“In what way?” 


“Like this.” 


She showed her wrist. The jewel on the bracelet sparkled blue. 


[Luize. Have you been well?] 


Reiad’s voice was heard from there. 


“You’re using a rather old-fashioned method.” 


“It’s the most reliable way.” 


Come to think of it, Reiad was wearing the same bracelet earlier.  Given that mana was felt from the jewel in the center of the bracelet, it seemed to be a magical tool used for communication. The conversation between the two on the other side soon got to the point. 


[I’m sorry, but I’ve never loved you, not even for a moment.]


As those words came out of Reiad’s mouth, Edward’s face hardened. Diana quickly glanced at him with a troubled face. She hurriedly turned the jewel in the bracelet to the center. As the jewel turned black, the voice from the other side was cut off. 


“I didn’t mean to say it like that…” 


“I remember asking you not to touch Luize.” 


“That’s not what I meant. I just wanted to make sure they were clearly separated.” 




Her words were probably true.  Though Diana was naïve and had a history with men, she wasn’t the type to enjoy hurting others. 


Why is it that Luize is the only one who continues to be hurt, even though the real culprits seem unaffected? 


Diana added, seeing Edward’s silence. “And what I did isn’t different from what the Grand Duke did, right?” 




“Luize is hurt by being played by your politics, and by getting involved in my affairs, the result is the same. I didn’t know he’d speak so harshly.” 


Indeed, that was the case. From Luize marrying Reiad and having an unhappy marriage, to getting divorced and hearing hurtful words, to being involved in dangerous expeditions. Edward was the cause of all these events. If the emperor had not checked on Edward, Reiad would have no reason to do such things.


“… You’re right.” 


“Huh? You agree that easily? That’s scary.” 


Diana wrapped her arms around herself as if she got goosebumps. His gaze quietly moved to the princess’s bracelet. 


“So, I plan to distance myself from Luize as soon as possible.” 


“She wasn’t to your liking?” 




“Well, it’s up to the Grand Duke.”


Diana looked at Edward with a face that couldn’t understand. Then, suddenly remembering something, she turned the communicator on the bracelet clockwise.


[…Princess. I’m not sure if you’re listening, but I’m currently on the fifth terrace.] 


“I should go now. The Grand Duke’s gift is calling me.” 




Diana pushed aside the curtain and went out to the terrace. 


Edward looked down at the palace garden blankly. It was a scene he could only see when invited to the palace. The garden had changed so much from when he was there that not a trace of his time could be found. There was nothing here that he had preserved with his own hands. 


“…It seems the conversation has ended.”


This was not the time to be here. Worried about Luize, Edward quickly pushed aside the terrace curtain. His movements came to a halt. There, Luize stood looking at him with a pale face. 




Luize’s eyes were red and swollen. As she stepped onto the terrace, Edward’s hand, which was holding the curtain, lost its strength. 


“Politics? What did the princess say? And just now, it seemed like I heard Reiad’s voice from here…” 


“…Did you hear everything?” 


“What’s going on? Why is the princess coming out from this terrace? I know the two of you are close, but why is my story coming out in your conversation?” 


Edward silently stared at Luize. He finally felt the weight of what he had done. 


“If she finds out about this later, she might feel played by your political games. She could be deeply hurt and even come to hate the Grand Duke. Just because one isn’t physically harmed doesn’t mean they’re okay. What’s the use of a physically intact wreck?”


Perhaps if he explained everything now, Luize would forgive Edward, if not Reiad. If he told her that he had tried to separate them to protect her from the storm he would soon call upon the capital, she would understand and accept everything because Luize is a generous person. But the moment she knew all the details, she would be dragged into dirty political strife and ensuing battles. 


Edward believed in Luize’s strength. She was not someone who would break down over something like this, except if it meant leaving his side. 


“Everything Miss Luize heard is true.” 




“I invited Princess Diana here because I knew that when she returned to Eldran, the count would try to divorce Miss Luize.”


“What do you mean, Edward?”


“You know that the count is part of the emperor’s faction. I invited the princess because he was becoming a thorn in my side, and I wanted to get rid of him through Pendel.”




“I didn’t want you to know till the end, but it turned out this way.”


“It’s a lie, isn’t it?”




“That’s impossible.” Luize’s voice trembled. “There’s no way you would do that to me, Edward. So, this was all your doing?”


“I didn’t expect to be caught like this. It’s regrettable.”


“Are you planning to distance yourself from me?”


“I decided it would be best to maintain some distance in case you learned all the facts. That’s also why I opposed the expedition in the first place. I’d rather not have someone like Luize as an enemy during it.”


“…Ha.” Luize scoffed. She flicked her lips in disbelief and then closed her mouth as if lost in thought.


An uncomfortable silence followed between them for a while. It was Luize, still with a confused face, who broke the silence. “It seems difficult to join this expedition together. It seems you wished for that from the start.”


“Yes. As I said earlier, I will start by placing Benny’s mask on someone else, and then we will depart.”




Luize left the terrace as if running away. Left alone, Edward stood in place like someone who had lost his way for a long time.


* * *

Reiad approached Diana with a bright smile. “Do you trust me now?”


“Yes. Ah, it’s hot.” Diana fanned herself and leaned on the terrace railing.


Right after coming out of the terrace where she was with Edward, she encountered Luize. Since she greeted with an unaffected smile, it seemed she hadn’t heard their conversation, but the guilt made Diana feel strangely uncomfortable. To think that person would be there.


“Then, I’ll bring you something to drink.”


“Thank you.”


“Do you have a preferred drink?”


“Anything with ice in it.”




Reiad left the terrace with his usual expression. His steps quickened, eventually leading him out of the banquet hall. It wasn’t until he reached a corridor leading to the less frequented upper floors that he stopped and let out the breath he had been holding.


Ugh, ugh.”


The rising nausea made his eyes turn red. Fortunately, since he hadn’t eaten anything but potions, nothing came out.


He was used to suppressing the feeling of nausea; it was almost routine for him. The sweet whispers and dense physical affection are given to someone without feelings. He had felt extreme disgust for many of the words and actions he had taken. But today, he had been more honest than ever, and it was hard to understand why he felt such nausea.


“Why do I, ugh, feel nauseous…”


Could it be?


An absurd thought crossed his mind, making him twist his lips.


It couldn’t be.


Reiad opened his mouth with a half-believing expression.


“Luize, I was wrong.”


The nausea subsided. He furrowed his brows and took a deep breath. It couldn’t be. It just couldn’t. It was absolutely impossible.


“…The truth is, I didn’t want to divorce you.”

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