The sweetness lingered in my mouth, even my saliva was sweet. Yet I still kept stuffing the desserts into my mouth.
How can I refuse this…
They were the most delicious desserts I’ve ever eaten. More importantly, how could I refuse him when he gave them to me directly? I had to eat them.
Men usually disliked women who ate so much. He, on the other hand, kept smiling and placed more desserts on my plate as if to see if they would get a passing score too.
Of course, I, as a woman, was sensitive to my weight, so I did try to refuse since eating everything would be dangerous, but…
Damian’s words made me lose control of myself. I gobbled the sweets, which had piled up on my plate.
Although he had unconsciously muttered it, he truly meant it. Hearing him describe me as “cute” made me more than motivated.
The desserts disappeared into my stomach.
No matter how many times I repeated my life, I still lived my life as a noblewoman. As such, I did not want to show this side of me to my partner. But it couldn’t be helped, I’ve already paid the price.
In the end, I couldn’t refuse him. I smiled as I ate all the sweets he gave me.
It was delicious… But still! Stilllll!
My shame would not go away. The rising steam above my head was inevitable. On top of that, his compliment had made my face turn red.
Embarrassed, I couldn’t bear to lift my head. He was the reason I was like this, yet he was smiling as if amused. It was a nice sight to see, but I couldn’t help but be annoyed.
“You must like sweets a lot more than I thought, Lady Edelweiss. I guess it’s a good thing I prepared some ahead of time.”
“Nnngh! T-Thank you… I’m sure you like them a lot, but you gave them all to me… T-The next time I visit, there’s a famous parfait store in our region, I’ll bring one of each type from there!”
Was it a small act of defiance? I knew he didn’t like sweets, yet I brought it up.
Seemingly flustered by my offer, his face hardened for a second. I could imagine his displeasure as he forcefully ate the parfaits.
Will he refuse? Or force himself to eat them? It’s a gift from his fiancée after all, so he can’t refuse.
That’s right, I knew a lot about him and his likes and dislikes.
Despite becoming a Swordmaster who could slice through even the heavens, he was afraid of phantoms. He was extremely weak to alcohol, yet he didn’t stop until he was intoxicated.
Using the information which only I knew, I could see various aspects of him which I had not seen before.
It made the fire inside me light up like a bonfire.
I felt my heartbeat stabilizing, having adapted to being alone with him in this room. It was still pounding harder than usual, but it was no longer to the point where an accident could arise from one party being swept up by her desires.
He might have noticed that I had loosened up, since I could tell that he was getting ready to discuss our arrangement. I had a general idea of what he was going to say. I already knew what he wanted.
However, no matter how much I loved him, I did not plan on hearing him out. I’m certain that he wanted to break off our engagement.
He opened his mouth.
“Um, Lady Edelweiss. Pardon me, but would you allow me to call you by your name?”
“Ah, yes! Of course! Then, can I call you Lord Damian?”
“Yes, go ahead. Although it’s not official, we are still engaged. So long as it’s not a swear word, it doesn’t matter what we call each other.”
“E-Engaged… That’s right, we are.”
The moment I heard him say we were engaged, my chest burned. I wanted to put a ring on both our fingers right this instant and solidify our relationship. It was a shame that he had not escaped his fate yet.
Yes, that damned fate.
There was something called fate in this world; it was necessary and preordained. Whether it be a transcendentalist or god, everything that existed in this world was woven into the thread of fate like a net.
My talent, my breakup with Damian in my first life, and the subsequent events that I went through. All of this was fate that had been realized following heaven’s decree.
And Damian, or rather “he”, who was before me right now, knew of his own fate. He knew how Damian would fall and how his life would turn out.
The Damian that I knew did not regress like I did. The current Damian was inherently different from the other Damian. His soul was shining in my eyes.
The deity, which I had wrested in my previous life, had told me that he was from another world.
Fate was intrinsic in things which originally existed in this world. As such, he was an outsider to the laws of nature. He also came to this world at the same time as the foreign deity, thus his existence was far from the deterrent force of fate.
He was not aware of this fact. Furthermore, because he was weak right now to escape the deterrent force of fate, he was wary of fate more than anyone else.
Later on, he escaped the fate of “Damian” and became a transcendentalist just like myself. It’s still early now, but he’d definitely become one and I’d make it happen somehow.
With all the information I had, I knew his troubles would become his obstacles. I wanted to take care of them in advance, but if I was too impatient, I could end up ruining things. If I dealt with them one by one, he would eventually find out sooner or later. He was a sharp-witted man after all.
But don’t say those words.
“Elena, I understand how you’re feeling right now. It’s natural that you’re reluctant to be engaged to someone like me, who’s as good as a stranger.”
“Ah. I-It’s not like that!”
If you truly know how I feel, don’t push me away.
I rushed to deny it, but my feelings couldn’t reach him.
There was still too much distance between us before my heart could reach him. I was also too inexperienced to overcome that distance and convey my true feelings. Even though I lived a long life, dating was still an unfamiliar territory for me.
I didn’t know of love in my first life. As soon as I learned of love in my second life, it slipped from my hands. Now in this third life, I strongly felt the power of love.
“You don’t have to force yourself to say that. It’s the same for me.”
Why do I feel hurt when I already knew he would reject me?
I knew the answer to that question. It was because of love. I was hurting because I loved him.
Be that as it may, pain was pain. I knew why he was pushing me away, nevertheless, I still asked him the question.
“Um, do you mean to say you do not wish to be engaged to…”
“No, of course not. How could I hate my engagement with you? Marrying a lady like you is what all the men in the empire could dream of.”
Hearing him say that made me feel happy again. I knew it was lip service, but love truly made a person quite emotional.
“Rather than a happy marriage for myself, I want one where both me and my partner are happy. Please be honest, Elena Edelweiss. Are you in love with me right now?”
For a moment, I wondered if I should answer his question truthfully. However, he and I met for the first time today. I shut my mouth due to how little time we actually spent together in this life.
Fortunately, he did not immediately bring up the annulment. Instead, he was encouraging me to do so. My past selves from my first and second life would not have known his aim, but I for sure knew what he was going for.
Which is why this trick won’t work.
“I don’t believe marriages must be unhappy and must be between those who don’t love one another. My parents did, and other families have done the same, but unlike them, we can make our own decisions.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s very difficult to choose a stranger as a partner to be with for the rest of your life. No matter how popular political marriages are among nobles, the relationship between us is not like any other political arrangements. Unlike others who were forced into one by their families, you and I have the right to choose.”
I could instinctively tell that the climax was coming. It didn’t take him long to tell me to make my own decision.
“No matter what you choose, I will respect it, Lady Edelweiss. Please don’t feel pressured and tell me what you think. This meeting may be for us to get to know each other before the engagement, but it is also for us to tell each other what we really think about our engagement.”
I should be able to say it now.
This was all about the idea of engagement. He wouldn’t be able to tell whether my answer was derived from love or for financial gain. Regardless of what he said about love, I could decide from the options he presented, whether to cancel the engagement or to go through with it.
Of course, my answer had already been set and stone.
“Then shall we get engaged? Formally, I mean.”
Hearing his restless voice left a hole in my heart.
But you told me to choose, so I did. Just so you know, there’s no take-backs.