this chapter is brought to you by mio
as translator, proofreader and editor!
Linden swallowed a sigh at the words of Ziken, who clicked his tongue as if he was pathetic.
He already knew that Grand Duke Arvis had no interest in politics. The reason he had even come here was entirely because of Ara. Despite not having a single expectation of that since he already knew, he still didn’t want to explain it to Ziken, who was unaware of that and came to such a conclusion.
He was waiting for his pathetic older brother to leave after finishing everything he had to say, but then he said something he couldn’t just ignore.
[Ziken] “No matter how much effort you put into pulling the Princess of Darchez to your side, it’s still my power in the end.”
Linden’s expressionless mask on his face cracked slightly.
[Ziken] “Do you really think the Duke of Darchez is going to abandon my mother, the Empress?”
The Duke of Darchez, who valued honour and class to the highest degree, would never support Linden even if he was forced to death due to his blood which was mixed with that of a commoner. There was also no way for Ara, who had been treated as a nuisance in the Duchy, to override the Duke to command the family.
[Ziken] “She seems to be behaving uncharacteristically childishly and has run away from home… but she’ll end up going back home anyway.”
At Ziken’s words, Linden recalled what Ara had said.
[Ara] “The Duke said that he’d erase my name from the Duchy’s genealogy because I made the Duchy into a joke. So I told him to go ahead and do it.”
As expected, he didn’t do it. No wonder he couldn’t find anything no matter how much he investigated. To be fair, there’s no way a duke who values honour would disown their own daughter.
That being said, it meant that Ara would be dragged back to the Duchy, even if it was against her will. She’d be made to aid the power of the Crown Prince, even if it was by force.
So, what he meant was that no matter how well Ara treated Linden right now, she would still abandon him in the end one day.
Linden’s fingertips became cold. …He didn’t want that.
He had never once cared about losing power before. He just thought of it as losing a knight on a chessboard. He could keep fighting with what remained, and if it wasn’t enough, he could just gather more power.
But Ara was different. As he imagined Ara turning her back on him, Linden felt as if the ground from under his feet had disappeared.
[Ziken] “The Princess is the Saintess of the Moon God? That’s great.”
Ziken laughed arrogantly.
[Ziken] “Livi is mine, so Solarism is mine. The Princess will end up in my faction, so Lunarism will also be mine.”
[Ziken] “Oh my. Once again, you don’t have a single thing, do you?”
In the end, Linden glowered at Ziken, his once expressionless face collapsing.
[Ziken] “Isn’t this because you keep coveting other people’s things that you aren’t worthy of? You’re just like your mother.”
[Linden] “You better shut that mouth of yours.”
Linden finally grabbed his brother by the collar at his insults toward his mother.
[Knight] “Your Highness!”
The knights who were guarding him ran toward him, but the red haze that rose around Linden held them back.
Ziken was nonchalant, even after witnessing Linden’s magic.
[Ziken] “What, you’re going to attack me? That wouldn’t be a bad sight to see. The prince of misfortune who was petty and couldn’t endure his inferiority complex and used his magic to turn his grandfather’s burial hall into a wasteland.”
He made a declaration of war to destroy this place without any hesitation the moment Linden attacked him.
[Ziken] “Crawl back to where you came from while licking what I threw away. You know what? Why don’t I throw one more thing away out of pity?”
Despite the humiliation that followed, Linden was unable to do anything but tremble with anger. The place where they were currently standing was too great of a weakness. Ziken had deliberately come here to provoke him since he knew that too.
Ziken was the one who pushed Linden away first. He walked away, leaving nothing but a jeer for Linden, who he had thrown over onto a chair.
After a while, the door closed and the burial hall became silent again. Alone and flung onto a chair, Linden finally looked at his grandfather’s remains, which were illuminated by the lamp.
It was dark. Everything was so dark. Both this space, as well as his life.
He had never coveted the throne. He just wanted to live. But the Empress refused to allow it.
So he was hunted down. Rather than being continuously hunted down, he thought it’d be better to fight back, so he started to face them head on.
But the Empress destroyed the people around him one by one, as if his efforts were futile. If he built friendships, it led to death, and if he built trust, it only led to betrayal.
The last person to side with him unconditionally in this brutal world was his grandfather. Yet now he was gone too.
He was at a loss. It felt as if his heart was slowly freezing over. With his grandfather’s death came a cold loneliness which crept through the cracks in his heart.
In this cold and lonely moment, he only longed for one thing.
Even if you’re someone who’s going to leave me anyway, can’t you at least come and stay by my side for this moment?
Looking at his empty hands with his head bowed, it was the moment he had such a thought. A small bundle of light floated gently over to his hand.
The cluster of light twirled around Linden’s hand, as if it was saying, ‘I know him! He’s a good child!’. Starting with that one, bundles of light continued to flow towards him.
Recognising what it was, Linden raised his head.
As expected, Ara was also standing there. The space which had only been lit by a dim lamp was now filled with the soft divine power she had created. She was looking down at him with an expression as if she were about to burst into tears at any moment.
Is this an illusion?
Then, her pretty lips moved.
[Ara] “Sorry. I got here too late, didn’t I?”
Linden collapsed at the lovely whisper of her teary voice.
He hugged her hastily. Burying his face into her stomach, he clung to her eagerly.
[Linden] “Don’t abandon me.”
A sudden request bubbled up. Linden begged her, knowing that she was destined to be taken away by the Duke of Darchez in the end.
[Linden] “I’m really alone now…”
Even though after the loss of his grandfather, there was only a dark road ahead with nothing remaining. Even though this was only a world that was full of things that would devour him… He felt like he could endure it if she was by his side. With her warmth and light, he could also overcome that tunnel.
[Linden] “So please…”
The tears that had already burst now flowed out uncontrollably.
There was nowhere for him to cry in the funeral ceremony, so he had endured it over and over again. But he couldn’t help but shed those tears the moment he grabbed onto her. They were tears that he had already endured for a very long time.
[Linden] “Please don’t leave me alone.”
Linden came to a realisation. She wasn’t a buoy or lighthouse in the vast ocean. She was the last breath of air for him, who had already fallen into the water.
He heard a warm voice that dissolved all his worries.
[Ara] “How are you alone? We’re here too.”
Linden’s body was enveloped in a warm and gentle divine power. Her divine power began to cleanse all of his depression, anxieties, and negative emotions, one by one.
[Ara] “You’re not alone, Linden.”
Her voice was so full of assurance…
[Ara] “So you can cry as much as you want.”
Linden believed it, despite knowing how absurd her words were.
And then he cried.
* * *
pls do not share this anywhere or u will always stub ur toe when u walk past a door frame !! this translation has been stolen from mioscorner.com, pls only read there i’m begging u :kneels:
Anyhow, it was this mouth of mine that was the problem.
[Lecht] “Does it look like I require financial help?”
[Linden] “It’s not for you, Your Excellency, but for Ara.”
[Lecht] “Then we’ll go to another accomodation.”
[Linden] “All of the best accomodations around here are owned by the Ezzarson Guild.”
[Lecht] “Then I’ll just buy this place.”
[Linden] “I don’t have any intention of selling it though?”
A smiling Linden. A frigid Lecht.
It all started on the day I comforted Linden.
At the sight of Linden completely collapsing and seeming as if he were about to disappear from the world at any moment after the loss of his grandfather, I grabbed onto him first. The sound of him begging me not to leave him was so sorrowful that I couldn’t help but comfort him, despite not knowing the reason why.
The problem was what happened next.
The morning sun rose while I stayed by his side, comforting him. As I heard the baker’s cry of ‘the first batch of bread for the day has come out!’, I found Lecht, standing in front of the door waiting for me when I returned to the accommodation.
Although Lecht greeted me as if nothing had happened, I could get a pretty good glimpse of his emotional state just by observing Kelber next to me, who was whining and refused to approach him. The severe dark circles of the butler, who was responsible for preparing our breakfast, gave me a broader image of just how exhausted he must’ve been dealing with Lecht all night.
I snuck a look at Lecht cautiously as I fiddled with my cup of multigrain shake. It felt as if I had been caught by my roommate sneaking back into the house after partying for a whole night. Although there wasn’t anything wrong with it, it was just something that you couldn’t help but notice.
[Lecht] “Does it not suit your preference? Do you want me to make you a new one?”
Lecht asked when I continued to fuss without drinking. His outstretched hand touched my hand which was wrapped around the cup.
I looked back at him, surprised by his icy hands which were normally always warm. But he just looked at me as if he didn’t notice.
[Ara] “Lecht, don’t tell me…”
Did you wait outside the whole time?
Although the question bubbled up in my throat, I couldn’t manage to spit it out. Even the Three Musketeer Priests knew how much he cherished me, so it was meaningless for me to ask him why he did it. But above all, it was obvious that our ambiguous relationship would be brought to the surface again the moment I asked that question.
Our conversation would go around aimlessly, with me explaining in detail why I came back late, and then him making excuses for why he was standing outside, just to ease my guilt. Only awkwardness and guilt would remain after that.
[Ara] “No. It’s delicious.”
I set aside the conversation that was making me uneasy just from imagining it, and held his hand tightly instead, breathing divine power into it. His hands soon warmed up. He didn’t reply, as if he hadn’t noticed the meaning in my actions.
When the delicate atmosphere had passed, a familiar man came in through the open door of the accommodation.
It was Linden, who had changed bright clothes, greatly contrasting the dark clothes he had been wearing until this morning. He was smiling so brightly that I wondered if he was still the same man who had cried yesterday like a child who had lost everything in the world.
Running straight to where I was, Linden nodded perfunctorily to Lecht and held my hand which wasn’t holding Lecht’s tightly in his own.
[Linden] “You’re staying in the capital until the proclamation ceremony, right?”
Why is he so excited?
I replied to him calmly, despite being puzzled.
[Ara] “In any case, I thought that’d be better after considering the time it’ll take to go back and forth.”
According to the Three Musketeer Priests, the time was roughly set to the full moon a month later, so timing was too vague to incorporate the travel time to and from the Grand Duchy.
[Linden] “That’s great! There’s going to be a night market set up around the river to celebrate the harvest season this evening!”
[Ara] “Night market?”
[Linden] “Let’s go! You’ve never been there, have you? I’ll show you around!”
He wrapped both of his hands around mine, his eyes sparkling.
A night market… That sounds fun.
[Ara] “Hmm, I don’t have anything in particular planned tonight, so…”
Just as I was about to nod my head, Lecht spoke up, pulling on my hand which was already in his grip.
[Lecht] “Prince. Do you really think this is the time to sightsee leisurely at the night market? From what I saw yesterday, it seems like the Crown Prince’s faction is in need for an urgent clean up.”
With his eyes glued onto Linden, he pulled his chair toward me and stuck himself closer to me.
[Linden] “On the contrary, it’s actually counterproductive to be in a hurry. And going to the night market with Ara isn’t exactly just about having fun either.”
In a way, it could be seen as a ‘political move’, since its purpose was also to show off his relationship with me, the Saintess of the Moon God.
Wow, you even thought that far ahead during this time. I couldn’t even think of anything else apart from what sort of yummy food would be at the night market.
[Lecht] “You’re being very obvious about using Ara. Even doing so in front of me as well.”
Lecht was upset about the actions of Linden, who seemed to be using me like a tool.
[Linden] “That’s an issue I’ve already finished speaking with Ara about. She promised that she’d stay by my side.”
Linden ever so subtly twisted my ‘You’re not alone’ phrase to Lecht. I hadn’t meant it like that.
[Lecht] “Ara has plans to go with me, so you can just get lost.”
[Linden] “I was the one who brought up the idea of a night market. Stop trying to freeload off of my idea.”
The two men who were grabbing my wrists had stuck themselves to either side of me at some point and were now staring down each other. It was so fierce I thought I could see sparks flying between them.
Unable to do this or that, I groaned, causing the two men to look at me in unison.
[Linden] “Ara, you’re coming with me, right?”
[Lecht] “Ara, back then, you clearly said I was your escort knight.”
A cold sweat trickled down my back as a pair of pretty blue eyes and alluring gold eyes looked passionately at me at the same time.
i bet linden’s projecting onto ara bc MOMMY ISSUES GHSDLFIJFS
&& i want the problem ara has ;-;