this chapter is brought to you by mio
as translator, proofreader and editor!
To be honest, I wasn’t that surprised. Since it was within the range of requests he could’ve asked of me. That was why I could also answer him right away.
[Ara] “Little Duke, our relationship was severed the moment the Duke of Darchez threw me away. There is no reason for me to return to the Duchy.”
I understood that it would be a shame for the Duchy to lose me, who had become a saintess. But wasn’t it too deceptive of them to grab onto the ‘useless child’ once they had become of use?
[Ara] “If you want me to do something as the Saintess for the Duchy, I can talk to the temple and consider doing so.”
[Alion] “It’s not that.”
He bit his lower lip at my words telling him to request something different since I had no intention of returning.
[Alion] “It’s true that my father was the one who told me to bring you back since you became the saintess. I won’t deny that. But I’m saying that I want you back, not just because of that reason.”
[Ara] “…I don’t quite understand what you’re saying.”
Why else would he want Meliara back, if not for the reason that she’s now a ‘saintess’?
His lips moved slightly, but he couldn’t find anything appropriate to say. Instead, he placed the box that was next to him onto the table.
Curious as it is about what was inside the box that he had brought together with him, he pushed it closer toward me.
[Alion] “I brought it back when I was returning from the expedition this time.”
He was beating around the bush when it was clearly a gift. All sorts of thoughts ran through my head for a moment.
A gift? Was Alion the type of person who would care enough to give Meliara a gift?
That didn’t seem to be the case when I snuck a look sideways to check Meliara’s expression. Since she had a shocked expression on her face too.
I looked suspiciously at the box for a long time before I reached my hand out.
[Ara] “I can open it, right?”
I opened it after I confirmed he had nodded his head.
Inside was a teddy bear that was big enough to fit in my arms. It was a teddy bear that was ordinary enough to be found anywhere.
[Alion] “I’ve never once… properly behaved like an older brother before.”
It wasn’t me, but Meliara, who let loose a sigh at his explanation of his gift. She covered her mouth with trembling hands. She looked like she was about to burst into tears at any moment now.
I understood without even having to ask.
Something she wanted to have at least once, but never had the chance to receive, even once. She never once had a stuffed toy that aristocratic girls would naturally have in their ordinary childhood.
Since no one bought one for her, nor was she in any position to ask for one.
[Alion] “When I came back and heard that you weren’t at the Duchy anymore, I thought you had just run away from home in a childish fit of temper. And after only listening to our father, who said that you talked back to him and complained, I went to pick you up without even trying to understand your reasoning behind it properly…”
He, who seemed to be laying out his justification, trailed off in the middle of his sentence. His lips moved slightly before he continued on carefully.
[Alion] “The moment I saw your expression when you said we should never see each other again, I knew. That you really had no intention of coming back.”
[Alion] “So that’s why I also missed my opportunity to say this.”
[Ara] “Say what?”
He hesitated again at my question. He seemed to be thinking, ‘Is saying this really the right thing?’ After a long while of hesitating, he whispered.
[Alion] “…I’m sorry.”
My eyes widened at the words that flowed out of his lips. Meliara also seemed just as shocked when I turned my head to look at her. The sight of her trembling hands that still covered her mouth was extremely pitiful.
[Alion] “When I was little, I hated you because I believed the words of those around me when they said that my mother died because of you, just like a fool would.”
He slowly began to tell his own story. I considered whether or not I should stop him, but I waited quietly since Meliara seemed to want to hear it.
[Alion] “Then one day, I heard what you said when you were crying all by yourself.”
“If it weren’t for me, my mum wouldn’t have died, my brother wouldn’t be sad, and my dad wouldn’t be angry all the time.”
[Alion] “It wasn’t something a child of only nine years would say.”
[Alion] “I immediately came to my senses the moment I heard those words. Just what on earth was I doing to my little sister?”
As if it wasn’t enough for her not to receive the generous love of her family, she was even shunned and abused at such an age. Since they were siblings with a nine year age gap, Alion, who turned eighteen, immediately realised his past wrongdoings.
[Alion] “But I couldn’t get closer to you without hesitating. You already found being around me so uncomfortable…”
Alion was also not someone who could suddenly change his behaviour to treat someone else warmly. Rather, the guilt of what he had done to her until now would’ve more likely caught him by the heels instead.
[Alion] “I couldn’t even protect you from our father since I was too weak…”
Moreover, to Alion, the Duke was like an unsurpassable mountain. He wasn’t brave enough to stand up to his father and protect Meliara at such a young age.
[Alion] “But seeing it now after coming here, even that’s all just a cowardly excuse. Even though I was weak, while you were living in fear, you were much more…”
He couldn’t bear to finish his sentence.
Since she, at a much younger age, and with a much smaller body, was already being pressured by this unsurpassable mountain of a father, while he had been running away due to his fear.
Knowing that, Alion was at a loss for words for a long time. Staring only at the teddy bear that was inside the gift box, he murmured quietly in a voice that was almost a sigh.
[Alion] “I didn’t need to do anything that grandiose… I clearly could’ve just started with the basics.”
Those words that were murmured quietly made my heart tighten. A sour feeling tickled the edge of my throat.
He had figured out the problem more accurately than I thought he would.
[Alion] “So, give me one more chance, Meliara. So that at least once, I can be a proper older brother to you.”
[Alion] “Come back.”
I couldn’t say anything to that.
Since I wasn’t the recipient of those words, and since the actual Meliara was crying silently next to me.
I wanted to be angry just like how I felt deep in my heart, since it was already too late. But I couldn’t even say anything recklessly, since it didn’t seem to be my place to get angry like that.
The desperate appearance of Alion, who doesn’t even know that his little sister is already gone. The sound of Meliara sobbing, and her tears that are still leaking out, even now. And a teddy bear that, even though is late, has arrived all the more too late.
I felt that this whole situation was regrettable.
A single word of resentment popped out of nowhere as I looked at the teddy bear that was lying on the table like that.
[Ara] “Why are you only here now?”
Why are you so late? And what’s with this extremely common teddy bear?
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:
There was a long silence that followed the end of that sentence.
It was Alion who got up from his seat first.
I only looked up from my position, since there was no reason for me to stop him from leaving.
The light in his eyes when we made eye contact was dark. I could still see the fatigue I had seen when I had encountered him at the accommodation.
I could now understand why his face was always so dark.
Even if he was only the Little Duke, he might’ve had a better life than Meliara, since he would’ve had the care of everyone in the Duchy. But…
‘This man was also just a victim of a broken family.’
He too was a man who needed just as much affection as Meliara needed.
I could see that now.
But there was nothing I could do.
Since nothing would change, even if I went back with him. The fact that he was already too late was now an irreversible reality. It would only be a deception for me to pretend to be Meliara to reward his efforts, just to ease my mind.
[Ara] “Little Duke.”
I wasn’t in a position to forgive him, since I wasn’t Meliara. So this was the only sincerity I could freely tell him with my position.
[Ara] “Stay healthy.”
Alion’s pupils shook violently for a moment. But in the end, he still left the room without leaving a reply.
The sound of Meliara’s sobbing grew louder as the door clicked shut after his departure.
I could neither give her a pat on the back since I couldn’t even touch her, nor did I have the ability to give her any words of comfort. The best I could do was give her some time to herself. I left the room with her, crying sadly in front of the teddy bear.
I took a heavy step after telling the priests not to enter that room for a while.
I had only wanted to ask him for some evidence, but I had unintentionally caught a glimpse of the deep and complicated feelings between the two siblings. Although it wasn’t intentional, the situation became even more complicated since there was a foreign existence stuck between the two of them.
‘I don’t think it’s possible to ask for Alion’s cooperation anymore, so what should I do?’
Should I really use a spy to steal the evidence…?
But I didn’t want to employ such a method after seeing the complicated relationship between Meliara and Alion.
The problem was just that going ahead without either Frody’s testimony, or Alion’s evidence was like hitting a rock with an egg.
‘I should be able to clear my head a bit if I take a walk.’
I headed to the garden with the thought that I’d be able to think a bit more comfortably after getting some fresh air. I followed the long hallway and watched the scenery outside of the large window.
[Ara] “It’ll really be winter soon.”
I was hit by the chilly air as soon as I opened the door to the garden. I was lucky that I had my outerwear on.
A cold energy wafted up as I walked on top of the lawn. It was a refreshing and pleasant coldness. It helped to ease the complicated thoughts that were cluttering my head.
I suddenly felt a prickling sensation at the back of my head as I was looking at the cloudless blue sky. I turned my head in surprise, but I couldn’t see anything there.
‘That’s strange. I thought I could feel someone looking at me.’
Thinking that I had mistaken it for the feeling of the cool wind, I turned my head back. However, as if to prove that I hadn’t been mistaken, Kelber suddenly stood in front of me with his back turned to me, his hackles raised.
I began to feel anxious upon seeing Kelber baring his teeth threateningly at the empty space in front of us.
I put my hand on my chest and circulated my divine power around my heart. I could feel the shield that I had absorbed from the side temple in Chivan Village. Preparing to take it out at any time, I leaned closer to Kelber, who was now the size of a lion.
At that moment, the fragrance of gold osmanthus flowers tickled the tip of my nose. I could tell who it was immediately.
As soon as I finished speaking, a small breeze billowed frighteningly in the space in front of me and revealed his figure.
[Frody] “Oh, it looks like the Saintess is right. How did you know?”
[Ara] “It’d be stranger if I didn’t know, when you’ve been so strongly appealing for me to notice you like this.”
Frody approached me, the corner of his mouth curling up.
[Kelber] “Woof woof!”
Kelber barked loudly at him as he approached me.
Frody’s pet snake, which didn’t seem to like that, grew in size and sprang up toward Kelber. The five-headed snake that was as big as a horse, and Kelber, who was as big as a brown bear, quickly began to entangle each other.
It was a far cry from his playful tussling with Gryphon. The two of them rushed to kill each other.
The snake was using its body to try and bind Kelber, who cleverly avoided it and was trampling on the moving torso of the snake. It looked as if either of them would be severely injured if they were even bitten once.
But I didn’t have time to worry about Kelber’s fight.
Frody, who had narrowed the distance between us in an instance, was now right in front of me.
[Frody] “Hello, Saintess.”
‘Although I thought of meeting him in order to persuade him, I wasn’t expecting him to show up in person like this either.’
Was it because I knew he had a hostile relationship with Lecht? Or was it because I knew that he was the figure behind Olivia’s true self? Although he had never harmed me, nor did we have a particularly bad relationship, I could still feel chills travelling up my spine.
[Frody] “I thought so last time as well, but your face is really pretty, Saintess.”
I took a step back as he examined my face closely and evaluated it.
[Ara] “I appreciate the compliment, but could you please stay away from me? This distance is a little burdensome.”
Nevertheless, he approached me just as much as I retreated.
prepare the tissues bc this is such a tragedy ;-;
i think this chapter is one of my favourites bc i rlly like how the author showed the complicated relationship between alion and the og meliara through ara’s third party pov.
i don’t think i’ll ever be able to fully forgive alion for being a bystander and in a way, enabling the abuse of meliara for all those years through his inaction, but i rlly love how the author did this whole scene. this situation clearly shows the effects of death and grief on a family and how all members of a broken family suffer from the aftereffects of it.
the duke channels his grief into anger and directs misguidedly toward the existence that took his wife away from him and neglects to think about how his wife will feel if she knows the existence that she so painstakingly brought into the world at the expense of her own life is treated so harshly by her own father.
we see a young misguided alion whose surroundings have shaped him to hate meliara. and i can’t exactly blame him there, because he was only a child as well, and it should’ve been an adult that told him how all these complexities work. but he should’ve known better when he was already 18. it shouldn’t have taken him overhearing meliara to get him to realise he’s done wrong. ara phrases it perfectly: he too is a victim of a broken family.
but i like the way they phrased his apology because he doesn’t try to make excuses; he acknowledges that everything he’s saying is an excuse and he’s aware that none of this can justify how he acted and takes responsibility. he also doesn’t get angry that meliara doesn’t want to reestablish a relationship with him.
and meliara is truly the most pitiful of all; she’s been framed as a culprit and no one in her household is willing to believe her– or at least to her knowledge; not until she’s ousted of her own body does she know that her older brother has always unconditionally believed in her.
this chapter is one of my favourites but it’s truly a tragedy; it’s bittersweet and melancholy and i’m crying rn to kenny by still woozy ;-;
sorry for the long ass essay, it’s been a while since i’ve done such a long translator’s endnote, but i rlly hope they do elaborate on og meliara and i wish her happiness too, bc god she deserves it. alion was just too late, but the fact that meliara heard it but is already gone just what makes it all the more tragic.
to end, pls vote and review this novel on novelupdates if it also made u feel smth, until next time <333