༺ 3 Weeks (4) ༻
On the morning of April 27th, the rain poured continuously.
In a luxurious hallway in a mansion near the Capital, Lizzy stopped her wheelchair as she gazed outside the windows in deep thought.
The marriage between Alfreds and Claudias.
Common sense dictated that this union was something impossible.
And exactly because of this simple fact, this marriage was a bad deal for the Claudia family — Because there must be something Alfred wanted from Claudia, no, from her dear Lord Brother……
Lizzy continued her reasoning.
Also, the timing of her dearest Lord Brother handing the position of family head to second brother was also suspicious.
‘Is he sacrificing himself for our happiness?……. how would that even work?’
Just like in the real world, working hard doesn’t necessarily mean your dreams will come true, and sacrificing yourself for something doesn’t mean that this would make everything better either.
When the fire rages uncontrollably, sometimes only the ashes remain. As unfair as that was.
But sometimes, somehow, one survivor could rise from the ashes.
If this was a perfect world that followed the law of equivalent exchange, then Lizzy would have nothing to worry about, but she knew better than that.
With a sigh, Lizzy continued to move her wheelchair.
‘When will I break through the Euclidean class?’
Mana is something that can’t be acquired by external means.
It’s an innate power that has been contained in the body since birth.
Therefore, the mana would grow alongside the person over the course of time.
The growth threshold also dictates those who tread on the path of magic.
An example of this would be Ferzen and Yuriel, who were among the most talented in their generation.
Of course, even though the one’s growth rate was slow, and their maximum threshold was at Keter-class, there were other means available to break through.
When a child is born in a poor household, they tend to mature quickly compared to other kids.
This was the same with mana, as it can grow exponentially when one endures difficult trials.
No, rather ‘overcoming’ is a better suited term to explain this.
In fact, Lizzy showed explosive growth in her mana reserves because she decided to take revenge on Ferzen.
Lizzy could vaguely see it now.
The moment she could finally overcome her trauma…….
Would be the day she would surpass him.
* * * * *
“Hey Lizzy, can’t you at least smile…..”
The fourth floor of the capital’s cathedral.
Among the five Gods of Fortune, this was the floor dedicated to the God of Love.
In the waiting room for the Claudia family, Lizzy, who was accompanying her Brother, shook her head at his words.
“How can I smile when my own blood is sacrificing himself for our family.”
“It’s not like that…….”
“I’m not a child anymore…… Gone are the days when I would just waste my life lying in that cursed bed. So don’t you dare keep trying to protect me from everything. I’m already old enough to marry and have kids…..I’m an adult already.”
“You don’t need to keep raising me in a greenhouse….I already know how filthy life can be.”
Lizzy gently stroked Roer’s callused hands as a melancholic smile flickered across her face.
“If we live, we live together, and if we perish, we shall perish together. You don’t need to bear all of this weight yourself. Because on this ship called family, there’s no Captain……So we shall forge our destiny together.”
Looking down at Lizzy still in her wheelchair, Roer remembered their past……
Lizzy, who was only a toddler at that time, couldn’t even speak properly, but she would always smile sweetly at their family.
……She was so cute, it was no wonder she managed to hog all of our parent’s attention.
And what of the day when she trudged her way into his arms and called him big brother?
……That day I swore that even if the entire world turned against my sister. I would protect her with everything I had.
And when she learned how to walk properly, she would always follow him everywhere.
……How I wished I could have you by my side at all times.
Then, when Ferzen smashed her ankle, she could no longer walk and run like she used to, and this sight broke him.
……I promised myself that even if I get burned to ashes, I would avenge her.
“Look at you…….”
But that past has faded, and now they must live in the present.
“You are all grown up now.”
She was already leaving his shadow and was carving her own path.
“Hmph….Only you still think of me as a little girl, but in the eyes of others, they already see me as a woman.”
As if to enhance her argument, Lizzy put her hands on her waist and frowned slightly, as if she was lecturing him.
Roer smiled affectionately as he stroked her hair.
And then, Yuriel barged into the room without even knocking.
“What’s with this lovey dovey atmosphere? If someone saw you two right now, they would think you were the ones getting married today.”
“You surely jest, Lady Yuriel.”
“Yes, yes……Anyway, let’s go. It’s time to greet the guests.”
Since it was 10:30, Roer led Lizzy’s wheelchair to the cathedral’s front door.
When the large doors opened, they could see a large crowd of guests outside.
All of them carry the invitation sent to them.
Connections that the Claudia family would’ve only dreamed of making gathered before their eyes.
Of course, the cause of their poor networking was their feud with Brutein.
The details were still unknown to many, but it was obvious that the Claudia family had some sort of conflict with Brutein.
To break through this stigma, Roer tried desperately to join the Imperial Knights.
The only places where Brutein’s influence didn’t reach were the Imperial Knights and the Imperial Family themselves.
“Welcome. We thank you for attending.”
“Welcome. Thank you for joining us today.”
One after another, Roer and Lizzy greeted the guests.
However, the guest responded to them in accordance with the etiquette as they moved to Alfred’s side to talk about where the Bride – Alice, and her younger sister Yuriel were, and they acted visibly kinder to both.
This was something already expected, so both Roer and Lizzy didn’t show any discomfort on the outside.
However, there was only one.
Only one man who didn’t bother currying favor with the Alfred family.
“Welcome…….Thank you for…..Joining us…..”
Ferzen Von Schweig Louerg.
He didn’t seem to care about the Alfred family as he formally greeted them and entered the cathedral with his wife.
They could bear those people’s blatant disdain for them in response to Alfred’s glamor. This they could deal with……
But to welcome the man, the demon who was the source of all of their suffering in his own marriage……
The cruelty of this act maddened Roer.
As also his sister.
* * * * *
‘The Princes aren’t here yet…….’
Frowning at the crowd, Ferzen settled down with Euphemia as he struggled not to focus on anyone present here.
As he turned his head, Ferzen noticed that Euphemia couldn’t shake her eyes off the wedding dress of the bride – Alice.
“This marriage is nothing more than a political move. Even then, are you jealous?”
Taking off her gaze for the bride, Euphemia looked at me.
Come to think of it, we never had a wedding ceremony.
Since it was only a formality, my previous self must’ve felt it was meaningless and unnecessary.
Turning my head toward the voice, I was brought back from my musings.
“Greetings, Veronica Liel Reina Rosenberg.”
She was probably Laura’s adoptive mother since she didn’t have the middle name – De, but bore the surname Rosenberg.
“I’m Laura’s mother, and I heard you have been taking good care of her~~.”
“Is that so……Regardless there is no need for you to be so polite, so raise your head. Laura is one of my best students.”
“My oh my, of that, I’m sure of ~~ Since she mentioned you quite a lot in her letters~~.”
There were quite a lot of aristocrats who tried to talk with me using the subject of their children attending my lectures.
But there was no need for Rosenberg to do that, and also, she has constantly brought Laura in her words.
To the point where her intentions were quite obvious.
“Laura didn’t come back home at all~~.”
“You wouldn’t know the reason for that, would you, Lord Louerg~~?”
If there was anything I required of Rosenberg, I promised that it would go through Laura first, so there’s no need to cash in my favor now.
Furthermore, this wasn’t the head of Rosenberg but his wife.
“Laura is a child with a strong hunger for knowledge, so she would visit me from time to time to ask some questions. As a professor of the Imperial Academy, I shouldn’t show any sort of favoritism. Still, her enthusiasm was so great that I gave her some private lessons as well.”
Laura couldn’t return to Rosenberg because the next full moon was close, so she must have used some sort of excuse to stay.
I wouldn’t mind giving her a hand.
“Oh, I see~~~.”
When Rosenberg’s wife heard my answer, she opened the fan in her hand, covered her mouth, and sent a strange gaze to Euphemia, who was by my side.
I have no idea of what sort of messed-up conclusion this woman reached, but I thought it would be entertaining to probe her a bit. However, the moment I was about to open my mouth……
The surroundings started to buzz.
Then, the seated guests all rose from their chairs and bowed respectfully towards the cathedral’s entrance.
‘Even for Alfred’s eldest daughter’s wedding, having two Imperial Princes attend it…….’
Obviously, the Imperial Banquet on May 7th would be the prelude to the game of thrones.
Soon after the Imperial Princes entered, the Empire’s pawns — the Princes of the two kingdoms also appeared.
Accompanying them were the officials, ministers, and some aristocrats from their kingdom, as a few knights escorted them.
I kept an eye out for the Knights escorting them, but……
I don’t see him.
Since it’s been around three months, I was half certain that the ‘Main Character’ would make an appearance at the Imperial Banquet on May 7th.
So I believed that there was a chance I would spot him at the wedding as well, but it seems that I was wrong.
‘So after he left the Royal Road, did he settle in Obern, perhaps?’
Obern was a pro-Elmark kingdom, with a lot of time left until the next crowning, so it would be a place ignored by the current Empires.
Considering how the plot of most novels goes, I thought he would use the current political storm between the two kingdoms to make a name for himself.
Or was he simply not ready to make his debut?
Maybe, just maybe, he could have died in the frozen wilds of Loeurg as well.
Although I also have testimony from one of Brutein’s upper-level aides that Ciel Midford entered the Royal Road, but it could simply be a person who looked like him.
Well, that eyewitness couldn’t be sure even after seeing the portraits.
In any case, there was no need for me to worry about Ciel right now, so I threw the matter at the back of my mind.
Well, that was what I was planning on doing.
But, my dear wife suddenly trembled and looked at the declaration with a surprised look.
Is he here?
Along with those people, perhaps?
I once again inspected the escort knights, but I still couldn’t see him.
I very much doubt it, but there’s no way this woman who couldn’t even tell a lie with a straight face would fake this sort of reaction.
Placing my hands around her waist, I brought her closer to me.
Then just as I started playing with her hair, I whispered in her ear.
“There’s no need for you to be nervous. Be it the Princes of the Empire or the Kingdoms, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Remember, you are my wife. It should be they who are nervous about meeting you.”
While smiling awkwardly, Euphemia placed her hands on top of mine, which was still wrapped around her waist.
But there was no strength in her hands.
This should be the best resistance this woman could muster against me at this point.
In a careful but domineering way……
I grabbed both of her hands and lowered them.
At that moment, I felt it.
A thick and intense killing instinct that hides behind a bitter pair of eyes.
When I turned my head towards that gaze, that feeling disappeared.
But I could see him now.
Among the knights of the kingdom who were proud and composed, one man stood out with his arched pose.
The one and only……
He who stands at the crossroads of my destiny, the one who would point his sword at my heart.
The Main Character of this novel, no, of this world — Ciel Midford.
His hair color was different.
And his overall expression has changed dramatically too.
But when I looked at him again, I knew without a doubt it was him.
‘I welcome you.’
You don’t know it yet.
The night of the Imperial Banquet.
Will be the night you will die.
TL NOTE: Ferzen still thinks that Laura’s dad raped one of the Genova’s survivors, so he will always assume that Laura’s mother is her stepmom…. and this of course will cause some….interesting situations going foward.
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