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Chapter: 231


Chapter 231

Translator: yun

With every word I spoke, I could taste something sweet in my mouth. Was the taste of wine still lingering on my tongue? Every time I shifted my tongue, sweetness seeped into my tastebuds. I couldn’t believe Dane and Fleon had been gatekeeping such a sweet taste from me. Come to think of it, in my previous life, I much preferred drinking soju or makgeolli. Since when have my tastes become so childish? 

"Did you just say that because you were drunk?"

I didn’t ask Ray because I had ulterior motives. It was just that whenever I looked at Ray, the times we spent together in the past would come rushing back to me like pieces fitting into a puzzle. No, perhaps I had always known but had been choosing to turn a blind eye. 

Lord Ray stared at me motionlessly. 

"If you continue looking at me like that, I’m going to blush."

He then replied calmly. 

"I know that won’t really happen."

He was still holding my ankle gently. I was amazed by how he wasn’t flustered by my question. 

"Don’t take my question too seriously. I was just making a guess. So, I hope I haven’t angered you too much if I had gotten it wrong."

I stared at Ray without another word. Soon after, I closed my eyes and smiled. 

"Who wouldn’t love someone as adorable and lovely as me?"

"Who told you that?"

"The patrols."

"….."

"Why, don’t you think so?"

The best attack was also defence. With a playful smile, I noticed him slowly lowering his head. In his face half-hidden in shadows, I spotted a look of anguish on his face for the first time. He was hesitating. 

"If I say that you look lovely here, I’d just be admitting it."

It was very interesting how the people who had been with me the longest tell me they love me. Of course, Ray had never outright told me that he did but I could tell from his deep gaze that made him look almost pained.

The day where I became the female lead of the countless romance novels stored in my head had finally come. This was so weird. This was something I should have been happy about but why wasn’t I happy? In fact, I felt rather sad. 

I pitied and sympathised with those who swore to follow me down the thorny path I chose to take. I could only feel sorry for being unable to give anything back to the people who professed their love for me. 

"Ray, you know."

I closed my eyes before recalling how I was like before I found the diary. I had a body that didn’t suit my age but I always carried a bright and happy expression. 

"If it had been me from a long time ago–"

I wondered what would have happened if I had continued growing up like that. I had no right to the throne so the emperor had never targeted me. I could have grown up normally, dated someone and maybe would have gotten married by now. It would have almost seemed like all my misfortune had been erased. But that was only if my misfortune was erased. 

"I might have fallen for you."

If I had grown up normally, I would have never met Castor or Amor and would have never discovered that I was not siblings with Dane and Fleon. In the end, I would have found someone by my side. Though I could not completely rule out the possibility that I would be living alone. But I would have at least met someone. 

And I would have most probably been with the man who watched as I tried to climb a fence too tall for me and grew up with me. I would have liked the man who had always wordlessly protected me. 

"Still."

But I was no longer the same. Hence, there was no way to tell if that would really be the choice I would make. 

"I’m no longer the same as I was."

I recalled the days I had spent with Ray, Fleon and Dane. The crumbs of happiness I didn’t know I held. It was almost funny how Ray was now standing before me, exactly the same as he was in the past. Standing before me like a sentinel while everyone around me continued to change, this knight of mine was now making me sad. 

"You remind me of the person I never managed to become."

That was why I could not choose Ray. I would only bring pain and sorrow to him. I had been so narrow-minded and was so wrapped up in envy and longing for my past self, I had selfishly pushed Ray away. 

"I want to love someone too. Even if I did love you, I cannot choose you."

It was all because I was selfish. I stared at him apologetically. 

"You’ve never let me say it once."

Why couldn’t I accept his desperate love? I could only slowly reach out to the man who loved me that much with apologies and regret that I couldn’t return his feelings. His hair felt rough. When I lifted my hand off his head, he grabbed it. 

"I’ve decided to follow you a long time ago. It was back when you escaped to our western territories to avoid the plague. I had been participating in the war as a child soldier around that time."

Escaping to the western territories from the plague was such a long time ago. He was saying that he met me during a period I had no memories of. I bit my lips. I thought it would only hurt him more if I told him I did not remember our encounter. 

"Ray, I–"

"It doesn’t matter to me if you don’t remember."

His dark eyes twinkled under the moonlight. Regret flickered in his eyes. But I can recognise a man filled with remorse and Ray did not look the part. A night filled with moonlight. That was the day I had asked Ray to be my partner for the [Primo Salvatio]. 

"But why? Why don’t you want to perform with me? The [Primo Salvatio] will only advance your career. Don’t you want to be promoted?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

I thought of the way his eyes looked when we locked gazes. 

"Well."

Ray had muttered before looking away from me and slowly blinking. 

"If our relationship changes, you won’t be treating me the same way you’re treating me now."

Words I couldn’t understand that day were now piercing my heart. And the feelings that were also pricking at my heart were those of pity and sorrow. How did you manage to fall in love with someone like me? How could he continue to calmly continue to dream of a love I could never return? 

However, though he was kneeling before me on one knee, Ray stared at me with a humble yet dignified expression before saying. 

"I haven’t said anything."

He was never really loving. But no one could hide their love completely as it showed in their eyes.

"That’s why you haven’t heard anything either."

Before I knew it, he stared at me with an expression I had never seen before. But his gaze quickly dropped. 

"I will be your burden till the day I die."

He let go of my hand before slowly leaning in and lifting my ankle at the same time. 

"Your sword, Ray Aquita."

I could feel his breath from below. It was heartbreakingly ticklish. 

"Everything you wish."

He had given up on his humanity and asked to remain as my sword till the end. I couldn’t turn a blind eye to the meaning behind his words.

"A sword doesn’t think and doesn’t make its own judgements."

And when he finally kissed my feet, I felt like crying.

The Truth between Fingertips

Deep into a night where the moon was shrouded in clouds, a young man jumped out of bed. 

"Pant, pant…"

As soon as he got up, the young man swept his face down roughly. He swept the sky blue hair that was sticking to his sweaty forehead back. When he raised his head, his dark green eyes glimmered.

‘What the hell…?’

Amor sighed briefly but his pants barely subsided. He was so confused. The memories currently flashing through his mind were that of the dream he just had. 

"You might not believe me, but if you drink that, brother, you’d die."

She looked much younger than she was now. This often happened with spouses who were also templars. The influence one’s divinity had on their partner. Though they were not married, they shared as much divinity as married templars did. And if Ashley was a templar, then he would be affected by her divinity as well.

But what he encountered was shocking. 

"If I die drinking this tea, that means I was right. Right?"

"What are you doing? Hurry, spit it out! Spit it out!"

He felt something warm on his cheeks. Ashley choked and spluttered. Ashley was dying. She had drunk poisoned tea right in front of him. 

"You, why did you you, why would you drink it!"

She clutched the ends of his clothes as she died.

"… So that you wouldn’t die, brother."

Her eyes were so filled with confidence, it was hard to believe she was dying. In that dream, he could do nothing but to hold her and watch her die. He couldn’t do anything. No, why was she dying for him without a second thought? Confused, he was incapable of thinking of a plausible reason. He reasoned that it would have been hard for him to save her since she had already consumed the poison without giving him enough time to help her. 

"With my last moments, if I can save you."

In his dream, he had held Ashley in dismay. It wasn’t because he wasn’t used to death. It was more like he was not used to people dying for him. Why? He and Ashley Rosé had barely interacted before that moment. But why was she willing to die for him? 

"Brother, I have died dozens of times."

The girl he currently knew had died dozens of times before. She had confessed that to him while looking very much alive. So this meant that the dream he had was of an Ashley in a timeline he had never known. 

"Brother, please… this is the 20th time. Please remember. Remember me. I’m going to die tomorrow by Castor’s hand. Save me. Please…"

She had pleaded with him dozens of times. To please remember. But his response never changed. 

"Why! Why! Why don’t you remember! Why! Please… remember. Hm? Brother, I…"

Ashley had helped him with poison without hesitating but she was pleading with him again at the very next moment. But from some point on, she stopped begging and stared at him with an empty gaze. 

"… How can you be so brazen?"

Ashley just smiled gently. She was almost expressionless and only raised the corners of her lips slightly. 

"Well, I wonder when did I start … From about a month ago?"

He caught the Ashley in his dream that had her back turned towards him.

"You, why do your eyes look dead?"

"What do you mean by dead?"

"You look like someone who’s not alright."

She blinked her eyes slowly and captured Amor with her gaze. Her eyes might look like jewels but there was not a glint of light in them. Ashley lowered her head and laughed. But it was an expression of resignation. 

"Well, I think I’m fine though."

She looked as if she had lost hope for anything. It was then he woke up from his dream. Amor was heartbroken. Why, why?

"I’ve been killed 40 times."

Amor’s expression finally crumpled as he held it in his hands. 

"I now hold no secrets from you, brother."

***

"The 2nd Prince would like to see the princess."

It was when I heard Soricks, who had become the new deputy replacing Penne, speak, that I realised how his status had unexpectedly risen. The extras that weren’t important were now becoming the main supporting cast. 

In other words, the most powerful prince after the Crown Prince wanted to meet the princess whom no one knew up till recently. Of course, that was excluding Castor who was abnormally obsessed with me. 

"Tell them to set a date for the meeting."

"Yes."

After Ahasia returned to her kingdom, my palace had been peaceful. But peace was not all that good. I had a feeling that this peace was just the calm before the storm. Because I had no idea when the emperor’s uncomfortable presence would explode because of what happened with Ahsaia. 

"Soricks, have you looked into what I asked for?"

"Do you mean the list of missing women? It is being re-investigated."

He seemed to be hesitating so I nodded my head to encourage him.

"But there is something strange…"

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