Calix didn’t say who it was, however, I could infer enough that the other person he’s referring to was me.
And just as expected, rumblings immediately erupted everywhere. And those quick-witted persons had a surprised expression on their faces as if they had finally noticed my identity.
Unexpectedly, the one who seemed to be the most shocked among them was James Camnell.
He was staring at me with his blurry eyes and reddish neck.
I frowned and avoided his gaze. Then I heard Sia’s voice laughing, with a hint of mockery in her tone.
“Really······ Your Grace. You’re such an amazing guy.”
“You’re still wrapped around your runaway fiancée even though she fled after throwing her engagement away, didn’t kept in touch for seven years, and even married another man.”
Calix growled. However, his voice was buried due to the buzzing of the people around us.
“What does she mean?”
“What is the Divine Lady talking about?”
“Then, you mean that woman was the Grand Duke’s fiancée?”
Sia looked around the audience with a satisfied smile. Then her gaze stopped at me.
Her face, which was smiling contentedly a moment ago, suddenly turned cold.
Her gaze, which is as cold as winter, seemed to tell me, ‘You don’t deserve to be around him.’
The feeling of guilt invaded me and I momentarily shrank. However, soon after, injustice soared through me. Why is it my fault? Do you all think I wanted to leave?
My life’s dreaded fate is finally unfolding before my eyes, and I’m not even alone, I have a child······.
I want to live somehow. I want to protect my child. I just chose the safest path that was given to me.
‘You are loved by God, and you even have great powers.’
There was not much I could do because I have nothing. Laure Ecrée was just an ordinary aristocratic lady born and raised as a daughter of a marquis.
I only had the memories of my previous life, I neither have the power to change my fate nor the gift of magic or swordsmanship.
The same was true of the original Laure Ecrée.
She wanted to drive Sia away and get Calix back. She blamed him for abandoning her but still continued loving him.
But she doesn’t have any other way. So what she grabbed······ was a force that she should never have grasped.
[“Give me strength, too. It’s not fair that only Sia has everything! I’m so weak······ What can I even do when I’m this powerless? If you’re really a God who cares for all things equally, you should give me strength too!”]
Laure shouted in front of the old tree. However, her malice failed to reach Phoenix and wounded up on something else. Another powerful being offered Laure a helping hand, and it was not Phoenix.
Nevertheless, Laure agreed. Because for her, it was better to be evil than to stay being helpless. She would accept everything even if it’s a power that came from malice and hatred. All the splendor that was hers from the beginning, she will get everything back······.
[—Even by holding hands with the devil.]
A nameless God whispered.
[‘I will be your father.
All lights are beyond darkness,
Your hope is your despair,
Wisdom is immorality and immortality is death,
Love is hate, and everything godly is corrupt, serve me and be victorious, help me destroy the righteous.
You, you will receive my key.
And you will open the door to the abyss with it.’]
That way, Laure Ecrée became an evil woman. A villainess. By possessing the power that was suitable for it.
And I didn’t want to be that way. Holding the hands of something that shouldn’t be held, and opening doors that shouldn’t be opened.
By the time I came to madly hate Sia, and if my heart eventually surrenders, I’m not sure if I could make a different choice than Laure.
I’m already having doubts, even by just looking at her now,
‘Why am I······.’
Why am I so irritated at you?
Is it because of that day, I saw you hugging and kissing Calix?
Because you like him?
It was incomprehensible to feel this way simply for that reason.
‘It’s as if Sia and I are fated to oppose each other.’
As the word fate comes to mind again, my heart throbbed unnervingly.
“I already know everything you’ve just said, and I don’t think I remember asking you to account it further for me.”
Calix’s voice came through my dizzy mind. Then he lifted me up and turned his back without giving anyone time to be surprised.
“I’m not in the mood for more of your nonsense, so I’ll get going. Everyone knows I’m not sane anyways. I’m sure the temple will understand my act of madness. Isn’t that so? Divine Lady.”
He looked back at Sia and said.
Then Calix kicked the door open before the attendant even opened it and walked out.
Then the sound of people’s clamor resonated loudly behind us. I looked up at Calix blankly. What did just happened? It happened so quickly that I was perplexed.
I don’t know if he understood my expression, but Calix, who glanced at me stealthily said.
“You don’t want to stay in that place any longer too, right?”
“······That’s true but······”
I don’t know if the temple will accede to his excuse of leaving the banquet early and just understand because he’s out of his mind. So far, it looks like he’s been considerably courteous with the temple, however, Calix seemed to be avoiding them ever since he found me.
I quietly thought while still being held in his arms.
‘Let’s calm him down a little and send him back.’
It was still much better to give farewell salutations properly and come out. No matter how far away this border is, he still disrespected the Divine Lady in front of the nobility. If the temple learned about this, Calix may be put in trouble.
But for now, I watched quietly where Calix was headed.
Passing through the long corridor and exiting the hallways, the place where he finally stopped was in the middle of a moonlit garden.
‘I was worried he would go straight to the carriage, fortunately·······.’
I sighed softly. All those times, Calix was just gazing down at me. He seemed to have no intention of dropping me down. Then I gently yanked his shoulder and said.
“Calix, I think you can drop me off now······.”
He nodded as if he had just realized our position, then carefully put me down.
As I finally got my feet down on the ground, I surreptitiously looked around us. Small flowers were in full bloom in the garden.
I couldn’t imagine that this was according to the Lord’s preference. He will surely plant flowers like colorful roses or digitalis.
So these flowers must be according to the gardener’s or Amelia’s preference.
As I approached the flowers and tried to smell their scent, Calix suddenly sticks close to me, hugging my waist. I felt strange because it seemed that a large dog was begging me to pet him.
Does Calix know that he looks like a big dog at times he acts like this? Though he transforms into a beast every time he growls and gets angry.
“Calix, it’s okay.”
I habitually patted his back and soothed him. And then Calix put his chin on my shoulder, peeked at me through the side of his eyes, and replied.
“What is okay, Laure?”
I became speechless as I look at the gloomy expression on his face. It seemed that he got quite annoyed with Sia. I blinked and rolled my eyes around as I think for an answer then responded.
“It doesn’t matter to me what anyone or Sia says.”
“And it’s the truth. That I’d just suddenly disappeared······.”
This time, Calix blinked as if he had lost his words. He too would have blamed and criticized me hundreds of times in his mind. And even if it’s just empty talks to annoy me, I can’t deny that it is really what happened.
And I had no intention of telling him to take my side either.
I quietly looked at Calix. I hesitated several times in my mind for a few minutes, and when I finally found the courage and opened my mouth-
“I have something to tell you-“
“Last time, I was-“
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The two of us spoke at the same time.
Calix and I looked at each other with round eyes and spat out laughter. I tried to tell him again, however, this time too,
Words came out of our lips at the same time once more. Fortunately, after that, before I could even open my mouth, Calix first struck a word.
“You can speak first, Laure.”
Then he sighed softly. I looked at him quietly with a faint smile on my face.
“······I don’t know where to start.”
After a long moment of silence, I finally brought up the subject.
“I want to confide my secret to you······.”
At that moment, I suddenly felt dizzy, like I did at Letty’s birthday party last time. As if to hinder me from confiding my secrets·······. I picked my breath for a while and then said.
“·······I don’t think I can do it now. But I can promise you one thing. Someday, when I’m ready. You’ll be the first person to know my secret.”
After saying that, the dizziness immediately disappeared as if it was washed away.
I was extremely puzzled, but I couldn’t show it in front of Calix. I was extremely confused inside.
Then Calix sighed softly, took me to sit on the bench, then took off his coat and put it around my shoulder.
His body temperature that was still permeated into the hem of his clothes was warm. I trembled violently like a leaf in the middle of a storm. Then Calix pulled me in and held me in his arms.
“I know. Laure.”
He patted me on the back and said calmly.
“That I should give you confidence, too. It’s not just about making up your mind and being courageous. I might not know completely, but I could vaguely understand.”
“I’m quite not sure, however······ it’s probably because of the Divine Lady.”
I flinched violently at the unexpected remark. I don’t know if my reaction convinced him, but the next moment, Calix said in a strange voice.
“It must be something related to the divine lady······ A fact that only I didn’t know.”
My heart pounded. I had never imagined that Calix would be suspicious of Sia. I’d just thought that he hated her.
“I will wait until the day you finally find the confidence to confide in me, Laure. Forever and ever.”
Calix turned his body slightly and looked into my eyes. His pupils were no longer dark. Although the shadows were still there, it was once again as blue as the autumn sky. Just the way I remember it.
“What I want······”
He touched my cheek and whispered.
“Is for you not to leave my side. That is all I want.”
Then he slightly smiled. A glimpse of gut-wrenching pain and craziness was shown through his smile. Like the smile he always wears ever since I first met him again. With a twisted and distorted form of affection.
My heart ached and I bit my lips firmly as I shook my head. Seeing his smile hurts me inside.
Calix grabbed me by the chin and raised it to face him. Drops of tears flowed through my eyes without ceasing.
I asked in a sobbing voice.
“Why, why did you hugged and kissed the divine lady then?”
Then, Calix made an expression that he couldn’t understand what I’m saying.
“What are you talking about?”
“I saw it that day. I saw you hugging and kissing the divine lady.”
“What did you just say?”
Calix had a face of disbelief.
I frowned. Why is he making this expression? Why is he acting like someone who doesn’t know what happened that day?
“And you’re smiling while looking at the divine lady. That’s why I·····.”
“Laure, what the hell are you talking about?”
Calix sighed and roughly swept his hair.
“I’ve never done anything like that.”
“Are you saying I’m just imagining things?”
“We don’t know. Think about it carefully. Laure. If something like that really happened-“
Calix spoke without hesitation in his words, then suddenly shut his mouth. As if something suddenly came to his mind.
Soon a faint glow came over his face.
“Don’t tell me, that thing that time······.”
I couldn’t understand what he’s trying to say, so I leaned my head down and frowned, then Calix annoyingly ruffled my hair and said.
“I think I know now what you’re talking about. However, you’ve misunderstood.”
“Yes. I don’t remember in detail for some reason, but I can say this one thing for sure. Ever since a long time ago until now, it was always you in my heart, Laure.”
I paused. Can I trust his words?
I might get hurt if I believe in him for no reason.
However, I’m not the only one hurt.
‘What if it’s really a misunderstanding.’
He must’ve been hurt too for being suddenly abandoned by his fiancée one day,
‘I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fully trust his words that I’m the only person for him’
But I could promise only one thing.
“For seven years, it must have been hard for you.”
“And it was the same for me too. It was painful because I couldn’t forget you.”
I raised my head that had been bowed for a moment and looked at his face.
“It will take a long time for us to regain trust with each other, right?”
Calix silently agreed.
Then I smiled faintly and said.
“I promise. I’ll go back to the capital with you. I will never run away.”
Then, Calix smiled bitterly as he carefully murmured to me. He embraced me in his arms and muttered as if talking to himself.
“Alright, even that’ll be enough.”
“As long as you stay by my side.”
“Then, I have nothing more to wish for.”
Sorrow could be heard in his voice.
The tears that I was holding burst and hugged him as tight as I could.
Tears flowed from my eyes and pain from the wounds. It seemed like it would never stop. The wounds that were dug through the years were so deep that it seemed that even time could not heal it.
“Please don’t cry, Laure.”
“I’m sorry, Calix.”
Calix sighed and took a handkerchief out of his vest’s front pocket.
His face, while wiping away my tears, looked very distressed.
I bit the flesh inside my mouth to hold back my tears, then hugged Calix tightly.