this chapter is brought to you by mio
as translator, proofreader and editor!
“No, Ara, your skin is too bright so this colour won’t suit you.”
“Anything looks good on Ara.”
“That’s a given. I’m just choosing a colour that will look especially pretty from among them.”
Linden and Lecht were bickering, yet sitting side by side as they continued to pick out my clothes. They were in the middle of choosing the clothes that I would wear to the proclamation ceremony of the saintess which would be held the day after tomorrow. Although I was perfectly capable of choosing it myself, they had come and done it for me.
“Aren’t both of you busy? Your own work must have been delayed while you were dealing with this issue.”
“No, not at all.”
“One way to have more time is if you have a competent subordinate.”
They really got along well at times like this though.
I shook my head and stood the two of them up. “Well, I’m busy so no. I’m saying that I can’t prepare properly for the proclamation ceremony.”
When I pushed them out with my hands on their backs, Lecht let himself be pushed out unwillingly while Linden turned back and complained. “So I’ll help you. What do you need?”
“I need time to myself.”
“Apart from that…”
“It’s all stuff I can do by myself, so go.”
Only me and the maids remained in the room after I had successfully kicked them out.
‘Come to think of it now, I can’t see where Meliara went.’
She had been waiting for us when we came back from the imperial palace. When I told her about everything that had transpired, she had burst into tears and had gone to slowly shed her sorrowful feelings.
But after that, she was nowhere to be found. I had even gone to the area that had been specially set up for her, but she wasn’t there. She wasn’t next to the teddy bear either. I had briefly wondered if she had simply just left like this, but that shouldn’t be the case.
‘Maybe she just wants to be alone right now.’
I mean, she had suffered because of Olivia for so long, and now all of that had been resolved.
“Even my thoughts are getting complicated for no reason.”
“Mm, alright. Stop thinking about bad things.” I smiled at Kelber, who was acting cute to cheer me up. “You seem to be acting cuter since noona hasn’t played with you in a while, huh?”
Kelber had remained in the temple throughout the whole duration of the case since we constantly had to move here and there. He had continued to whine so we would take him as well, but there was no way I would be able to take him to infiltrate the villa or when we went to the imperial palace, so he ended up staying here for a long time.
Maybe that’s why it felt like I hadn’t seen him for a long time.
“I’ll play with you a lot after the proclamation ceremony is over.”
I was patting his three heads and giving him a heap of affection when I heard a knock at the door.
“Yes, come in.”
Don’t tell me the maids are bringing in even more clothes? There were already so many for me to try on though. I turned my head in half worry and excitement.
What opened the door and came in was even better than what I expected.
“Why did you come in again? Go and do your work.”
“The Grand Duchy is too far away.”
Can even that be considered an excuse? Nevertheless, I still let out a small smile at his cuteness.
“If you really do want to be left alone, then I’ll leave.”
“That isn’t what I meant.”
The truth was that I just couldn’t stand watching Linden and Lecht bickering all the time. I would’ve normally just laughed and brushed it off in the past, but now that my feelings were set in stone, I couldn’t just stand and watch that happen.
Having said that, although I had never had a proper conversation like that with Linden, I just put an end to it by apologising and kicking both of them out instead. But how did Lecht notice that point and come back again like this?
Although it was rather unexpected, in any case, Lecht seemed to be particularly sensitive to the changes in my emotions. Since that much could be interpreted to mean that he was always watching me, my heart started to flutter at that thought.
“I’ll come back after changing into my next outfit, so do you just want to wait here?”
He grabbed my wrist that was outstretched and pointed to the sofa as I was talking. He then took something out of his inner pocket and tied it around my wrist. At the cold touch, it didn’t take very long for me to figure out what it was.
“What’s with the sudden bracelet…?”
“Oh, is it like the bouquet? Did I tell you that it was fine for you to give me a gift no matter when it was as well?”
The person I was a hundred years ago was someone who would’ve said something like that.
As I asked with a smile, Lecht smiled as well, as if he had the same thought as me. “Those words are true too, but this is…” Holding my small hand preciously between his two large hands, he swept the tip of his thumb over the bracelet. “It was something I had to give you someday.”
“…Don’t tell me, you waited 100 years to do this?”
Instead of answering my question, Lecht smiled awkwardly. That itself was more than enough as an answer.
“It’s exactly my style.”
Looking at the bracelet, I had the thought that the saintess from a hundred years ago really was me. We had similar taste in men, and our preferences regarding this were similar too. Even our habits and the way we talked were similar as well according to Lecht.
“It’s because I made it by copying a bracelet you liked.”
“Oh… what? You made it?”
“I wanted to give you something as well when you came back, just like how you left me with a piece of your soul back then.”
“Just Lecht’s heart is more than enough…”
The fact that he never stopped loving me through a hundred years was more than enough. Nevertheless, saying it with my own mouth was a bit more embarrassing than I thought it would be. Although I had shut up rather quickly, Lecht, who had already heard it, stroked my cheek with the back of his finger again with a tender expression on his face.
“Yes, if it’s you, then you would say that just giving you a rock that’s on the side of the road would be enough for you.”
“No, how could we possibly compare your heart to a rock on the side of the road?”
“But I’m not good enough.”
“No matter how much I give you, it will always be lacking; it won’t be enough.”
“The rose shines when you get closer to it.”
“Is this like that as well?”
It’s not shining though…?
“It’s a device that can summon me, anytime, and anywhere.”
My eyes widened. I couldn’t help but be shocked. How could I not be shocked when he put a device on my wrist that was capable of summoning the demon king?
“In any case, this is a bit…”
“It’s disposable.” Lecht added quickly.
Did he make it a one use item since he knew I would feel burdened otherwise? I laughed at how cute he had been when he had quickly added that it was disposable lest I refuse it.
“What is this? Are you giving this to me so that I can call you when I need you because you’re not thinking of staying by my side anymore?”
“…!” Although I had only been joking, Lecht seemed to be extremely flustered. “It isn’t like that. It isn’t that, rather, I made it like that since there was no other way for me to show you that I’m now bound to you.”
Wow, this was the first time I had seen Lecht speak so fast.
“I have no intention of leaving you.”
I could see just how frantic Lecht was by the way he cupped my cheeks so that my eyes were fixed on his while he talked. “Just like in the case where Frody approached you as soon as I left you, if that ever happens again and something happens to you when I’m not there, I would never forgive myself for it. That’s why I did it.”
At his appearance of continuing to explain desperately to the point where it was pitiful, I tried to calm him down. Even the remaining mischievous feelings I had of wanting to see more of that adorable appearance had all but disappeared now.
“You’ll stick right by my side, I know.” And the words I had wanted to say last time, but couldn’t. I carefully brought out the feelings of my heart that I wanted to show him. “I believe Lecht, since you’re a man who keeps his promises no matter what. That’s why you’re reliable, and cool, and…”
I couldn’t find the words to say when he just continued to stare at me with my face in his hands. My throat felt itchy, but the words wouldn’t come out. My heart felt like it was flipping upside down, my cheeks in his hands felt burning hot, and his gaze that was on me made me feel even more embarrassed. At this rate, it seemed like I wouldn’t be able to say what I wanted to say.
So I stepped forward. He hadn’t used a lot of force to hold me, so I easily escaped his grasp. And then I plunged straight into his arms.
It was a rather funny issue. It was embarrassing for me to just look into his eyes, but I was used to hugging him like this. I gently embraced the arms that felt safer than anywhere else in this world.
“That’s why I like you.”
Badump, badump, badump, badump.
Was this heartbeat that was sounding in my ears my own or Lecht’s? It was probably both of ours, but frankly, it didn’t matter anyway.
I buried my red face into the nape of his neck. His refreshing scent, which had now become my favourite fragrance, gently tickled the tip of my nose.
“I won’t say it again!”
How could I possibly confess my feelings twice when I’m already feeling embarrassed? I grumbled as I tightened my arms around him for no reason.
Soon after, I heard a small laugh in my ear as he wrapped his arms around me. He hugged me tighter in his large embrace.
“Just once is enough.”
His sweet voice stirred up my eardrums. Our conversation ended there, but the warm hug and our loud heartbeats continued.
It was when I thought I would fall into a honey pot just like this.
—A-Ara! What should we do, outside…! Heok!
Meliara shouted as she urgently appeared after floating through a wall. Then, she turned around in surprise when she discovered Lecht and I. Shocked, I quickly moved away from Lecht, while Lecht looked at me with wide eyes, shocked from my actions.
“Oh, the thing is… Meliara appeared…” I whispered softly, pointing to where Meliara was standing.
“Oh.” Lecht also nodded lightly, as if he now understood why I had pushed him away.
“Ahem, so why did you come and find me?”
—I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt…
My face was scarlet red from the fact that I had wholeheartedly hugged Lecht as well as the obvious embarrassment that was visible on the face of Meliara, who had witnessed it all.
“E-Enough about that…! What’s outside?”
A knock sounded before Meliara could answer my question. In any case, I flinched momentarily, perhaps because I had heard Meliara’s urgent voice talking about something ‘outside…’.
“Saintess, a visitor has arrived.” A maid spoke from outside.
Judging by the reaction of Meliara, who was shocked and covered her mouth with one hand, I could guess that the reason why she had barged in so urgently was because of that visitor…
“Yes, the Little Duke, Alion Darchez is outside.”
I was able to understand why Meliara had been in such a fluster at the name of that person.
* * *
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:
The only ones who were left in the drawing room were Alion and I. At my feet was the napping Kelber, stuck to me like a piece of gum. Of course, Meliara was there as well, but she was invisible to Alion, so from his point of view, there were only the two of us here.
A long bout of awkward silence passed.
“I’ve just come back from the imperial palace.” He opened his mouth first. “They said that they would compensate for the damage that the Darchez Duchy has suffered during this time.”
“I told them that I’d rather they reward you instead, since you were the one who suffered more damage than the Duchy.”
“His Majesty already told me that he would give me a separate compensation.”
“Yes, that’s what His Majesty said to me as well.” Alion smiled bitterly. Sighing silently, he bowed his head. “Now there’s no excuse I can use for me to ask you to come back.”
“…Aren’t you going to say anything about me sneaking out the messenger and all the other witnesses?”
“What right do I have to talk about that? It’s a villa that belongs to the Darchez Duchy so you can easily go in and out of it if you want, plus giving you the witnesses if you wanted them would be the right thing to do in the first place.”
Alion raised his head heavily and stared at me. I couldn’t hold up to his gaze and turned away. Although all he saw was his younger sister, the emotion behind that gaze was too heavy for me to bear, since I wasn’t actually his younger sister.
“Little Duke.” I took the initiative to interrupt him before he could say anymore. “I’m not your younger sister.”
“I’m not saying this because of the bad feelings that piled up from your past deeds.”
“It’s just an irrefutable fact.”
I couldn’t bring myself to say the part where an outsider had taken over and currently occupied his younger sister’s body. Although Meliara was able to accept this fact since she was a child who already had no lingering feelings for life in the first place, him being able to accept it was something that was beyond my knowledge.
However, I still thought it would be wrong of me to pretend to be his younger sister. No matter how much he looked for her, he wouldn’t be able to meet Meliara, and I wasn’t her either. So I should just cut it off cleanly right here.
“I can’t go back to your side.”
His face distorted immediately as he bowed his head, as if trying to hide it. A faint sigh echoed throughout the drawing room.
He slowly raised his head again, an expression of resignation on his face. “I’m going to oust my father and become the duke.”
He had even used the term, ‘oust’. That in itself was quite symbolic. I could see just how resolute he was in that decision, just from that alone.
“So… if you decide that you want to come back at any time, the Duchy’s doors will always be open to you.” After leaving those words behind, he rose from his seat.
I couldn’t bring myself to say anything until he had left the room.
After Alion had disappeared, only Meliara and I remained in the room.
“I’m sorry. At any rate, he’s still your older brother, but I so heartlessly… but it’s because I really can’t be like you.”
—No. This is for the best. I think this is better. I think he’d have a harder time if he found out that I couldn’t stand it and gave up on my life in the end.
“You’ve lived your whole life being misunderstood like that, and you’re still able to forgive your older brother?”
—…I guess so.
“You’re too nice.” I let out a sigh. “Should I tell him to come to the temple when I’m not here? That way, even if he can’t see you, you’ll at least be able to see him often.”
—He’s a busy person. How could he do that?
“You’re even worrying over others now as well. You can be selfish sometimes as well. Even after living your whole life in suffering, you…”
—Because I don’t know what’s going to happen next either.
I was lost for words when Meliara looked down at her own hand. No, why are you suddenly rushing in with the facts… it really makes people speechless.
But what really happened next actually made me speechless.
“What… were you talking about just now?” The voice of the man who was supposed to have just left sounded from the door.
Shocked, our heads turned around at the same time to find Alion still standing there.
“L-Little Duke? You haven’t left yet…?”
“I forgot to give this to you… but what were you just talking about?”
He had a small gift box in his hands. Was he trying to give me all the gifts he hadn’t been able to give me so far? But that was beside the point.
“Who are you talking to?”
“Who are you?”
Oh… we’re in big trouble.
 coming across really straightforwardly and headstrong
my heart truly breaks for og meliara and alion </3 simply two children from a broken family that weren’t taught how to communicate or love
also one of my fav songs to listen to for this chapter is lily of the valley by daniel! i’ve been listening to the slowed and reverbed version and it’s absolute perfection fHGSDFLK i’ll link it down below here!