Chapter 22: Lumentium XI (part 2)

Sarah took a step back and answered the question.

“…everything you said is right. I won’t deny it. I am also one of the members of Count Cernard’s family. Even if my intentions weren’t aligned, as long as I have the surname Cernard, I think I’m partly responsible for their mistakes.”

After saying that, she bowed her head toward me.

“I’m sorry, Cain. I apologize to you and the Duke of Estel for our rudeness.”

“…..”

“And to continue the previous conversation, I will be of great use to you. It’s insignificant, but I pride myself on being talented when it comes to business. I think I can at least help a little more than merely acting like a flower vase.”

“…”

That, I knew all too well. The Sarah Cernard I knew was an intelligent woman who was immensely talented in doing business.

“…so please. Can you take me in, Cain?”

But now, that fact was not important.

“Sarah, you…”

Sarah Cernard bowed her head to me. The Sarah Cernard, who was always haughty and never lost her pride in herself, laid down her pride toward me. As if she were a merchant, she was judging her own value and begging me for mercy.

It didn’t make me feel happy. I didn’t know why, but I felt very dirty. I wasn’t provoking Sarah to see her act like this.

“…Sarah.”

There was no point in provoking or teasing her anymore. I sighed and asked her a question.

“Why? Why do you want to entrust yourself to the Duke of Estel, even at the cost of everything? Is that reason more important than all that you currently have, Sarah?”

The Sarah I knew was not that kind of person.

“Cain, you are misunderstanding something.”

She smiled self-deprecatingly at me.

“You don’t know anything. How I feel about standing here like this right now? What I can give up to live like I want to. And, everything, even the false the image of me you have in your mind.”

“…..”

“And, even if I put all that aside, I still have a reason to go to the Duke of Estel. Because the current Duke of Estel, no, the current you, will be a veil that can deceive the world.”

‘A veil…’

Those words reminded me of the play I had with Sarah at the banquet hall earlier.

“Did you deliberately act like that at the banquet hall?”

“Right. To let everyone know that I have nothing to do with you and that wherever I go in the world, I will not go where you are. To completely separate a woman named Sarah Cernard from a man named Cain von Estel.”

“Why? Why are you trying to hide yourself by doing such a play?”

“…..”

Sarah remained silent.

Even after waiting for a long time, there was no reply. Did that mean that she didn’t want to answer?

No, that wasn’t it. 

The silence now was very unnatural. I noticed that it was different from the silence I had experienced with her so far.

“Sarah.”

“…yes?”

“Close your eyes. Wait a moment.”

“You’re not trying to kiss me, are you?”

Sarah obediently closed her eyes even as she made such a joke. 

I brushed her hair, but I wasn’t doing this with impure intentions. Placing my hand on the back of her neck, I quietly tried using the ‘Flowing Star’.

“…..”

Then, I felt the flow. 

And, I felt the black curse that had its source in her heart and engulfed her entire nervous system through her blood vessels. 

No doubt about it. I was sure that this curse was the damned thing which had taken away her ability to speak.

“…a very despicable curse. I’ve roughly figured it out, so it’s okay not to overdo it.”

“Cain, that’s quite amazing. It’s a curse that most wizards don’t even notice. You seem to have improved a bit since we last met?”

When Sarah opened her eyes wide in surprise and amazement. 

I answered with a calm smile, “Originally, the more popular a man is, the more secrets he hides.”

“Oh? Is that so? Then you should have shown this side of you before. If you did…”

A bittersweet smile hung over her face.

“…I might have really loved you.”

Sarah said so. But it was already too late for us. Our paths had diverged so much. Our relationship had already ended a long time ago. Just as broken glass cannot be fully glued together, and water that has spilled cannot be picked up and contained again.

“Don’t look at me with those eyes, Cain. It’s just something I’ve said because of the atmosphere.”

Saying that, Sarah changed the topic as if she was trying to lighten the mood.

“Oh right. The engagement ring I gave you. That’s a payment too. Or you can think of it as a bribe. A bribe to impress the Duke of Estel. It’s quite precious, so you can’t lose it, alright?”

“What the hell is this ring?”

“…..”

Sarah responded silently to my question. 

Was that also a question that lay in the unanswerable realm? Well, good. Since it was an item that the Lady of House Cernard, one of the wealthiest families on the continent, had personally guaranteed as ‘precious’, then I won’t lose anything if I have it.

I put the ring back in my pocket and spoke to her.

“Alright. I don’t know when you’ll do it, but I’ll accept you in the name of Duke Estel. Instead, there are conditions on this side as well.”

“Conditions?”

No big deal. At least I didn’t think it was a big deal. It was just a trivial thing that required a little determination.

“Sarah Cernard.”

“Yes.”

“Can you die for me?”


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