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Part count of the month: 2 out of 6 parts~!
Bertia 17 Years Old (3)
Translated by LynneSuzuran & Senhiro
“I wonder if it’s better for me to get out of here earlier even if I have to do it forcibly, more or less? No, but, I also want to avoid the possibility that this sensation could influence my real self’s consciousness if I were to act thoughtlessly…”
Staring at my arms gradually turning into a doll’s, I pondered.
The light spirit should only be capable of fabricating a dream like this to confuse me.
Since I know that much, as long as I can securely keep a hold on my sense of self, it shouldn’t be able to that great an effect on me.
That’s why, the best choice in this situation really is to [wait for the light spirit to perish on its own], so I think.
But… it is so unpleasant, after all.
The moment I frowned at the scene in front of me, a gust of wind suddenly blew towards me.
When I slowly opened my eyes which I had closed in the spur of the moment, the scene before me had changed once more.
In front of Bertia who was crying because her mother just passed away due to an illness, I was wearing a sad look and spoke words of comfort while keeping a certain distance from her.
Next to her, there was the figure of Marquis Noches who was standing there without any expression, his eyes tainted with despair and pent-up anger.
It was the future that was supposed to have happened.
Over there was the future that Bertia and I changed together.
Perhaps because the Bertia in front of me was following the different path from the Bertia that I know, her personality, her speech and conduct, even her appearance—they all didn’t match the ones from my memories.
Looking at her like this, even if I felt that she was [pitiful], my feelings didn’t move any more than that.
However, witnessing the scene that differed hugely from my reality, I fully realized that [the Bertia in front of me and the Bertia I know didn’t overlap each other anymore], and I felt something similar to frustration.
At that moment, more warmth escaped from my chest, and from my hands to my shoulders as well as my feet changed to that of a doll’s.
The scene in front of me changed so rapidly that it didn’t even give me any leeway to worry over [what should I do?].
Marquis Noches became ruthless to other people as if he had changed into a completely different person.
He only poured his affection towards Bertia who was his wife’s memento, and Bertia gradually changed into a selfish and arrogant noble woman.
If things didn’t go the way she wanted, her anger would awaken and she would destroy everything she could lay her hands on.
She would take offense at her servants’ speech and conduct, and act violently.
As she snuggled up to me with her coaxing voice, forcibly pressing her plump body close, and at the same time completely keeping in check all other women who got closer to me.
Such scenes kept being projected before my eyes.
And each time, the warmth that was supposed to be inside of me was snatched away, and my body steadily changed into that of a doll’s.
Eventually, the projected scene changed and the grown-up Bertia finally entered Halm Academy.
By then, my body had more or less been changed into that of a doll’s.
No matter what I saw anymore, I wouldn’t feel anything.
…As I was having the delusion that they won’t move, I felt a cruel sense of loss, agony, and sadness.
This is not me.
My warmth… the [emotion] that I was able to gain… don’t you dare snatch [Bertia] away from me.
Inside of the [instrument] me who had changed into a doll, the [real] me, who was locked up, clamoured insignificantly.
The [instrument] that was hiding my surrounding said that [it’s weird to have that kind of emotion], trying to deny the emotion and will that the [real] me possessed.
It’s agonizing. I feel nauseated.
However, with this doll’s body, I couldn’t even breathe, let alone cry.
Even if I had to destroy everything, I thought to break this instrument and leave this unpleasant world.
However, the calm part of myself whispered.
“If you leave this place with this chaotic state of mind, what are you going to do if your real self’s state of mind is affected?”
“If things turn out like that, in the worst case, the [emotion] that you’ve finally able to gain… you might lose [Bertia] for real, you know?”
The moment I thought of that, I felt that the imaginary horror that this space gave couldn’t be compared with the horror of that possibility.
That possibility is the one thing I absolutely could not accept.
“Your Highness Cecil!!”
The moment I thought that the scene changed once more as my surroundings were wrapped up in the light for the umpteenth time, the sweet voice of a woman barged into my ears.
A bright and a pure smile.
I felt the illusion that everything became brighter with her just being there.
Like light incessantly rained down only around her.
I was fascinated by it.
The warmth began to return in my chest once more.
The fingers that had reached out on their own began to return to those of a human’s from that of the doll’s.
[This is wrong.]
The real me who was inside the doll complained with an unconcealed anger.
The one who was at the tip of my extended fingers was Baroness Heronia.
She isn’t my precious fiancée.
My fiancée is…
[…Then, wouldn’t it be fine to just change your fiancée?]
That’s not it.
Despite knowing what the right answer was, there was a part of me that wanted to nod at the whispers made in my own voice.
This is a nightmare.
As long as the light spirit has used up all of its strength, I’d wake up from this dream and my rational thought would return.
However, this nightmare itself is way too unpleasant that it makes me want to cling to this immediate comfort in front of me.
Although that [comfort] is the opponent that forced this kind of asceticism onto me.
I bit my lips as I stared at Baroness Heronia who was smiling at me, and at myself gradually beginning to show a real human’s expression instead of than the fake smiles I’d made.
Despite feeling that my body, which had changed temporarily into a doll’s, returned to that of a human’s, I got irritated by the process even when I should be feeling relieved.
Contradiction. Contradiction. Contradiction.
I couldn’t maintain the consistency of the emotions inside of me.
At any rate, everything will cease to exist so long as I wake up from this dream, so why don’t I try to yield myself to the fake emotions that the light spirit is displaying without resisting?
It should be easier that way.
Such a thought suddenly crossed my mind.
After I thought about it, I decided that things would be easier that way without a doubt.
Also, if things will return as the way they were before in just a few minutes, then there’s no meaning in trying to resist it so hard.
It would just be a pointless effort.
The feeling of wanting to oppose and the feeling of wanting to stop resisting are clashing.
“I… like Your Highness Cecil. Even if I antagonize Bertia-sama, I can’t change how I feel.”
It’s a scene that resembled the eve of Halm Academy’s graduation ceremony.
Baroness Heronia sweetly murmured that to me after I’d felt anger at Bertia’s cruel actions towards Baroness Heronia and had decided to discard Bertia.
Inside my chest which had never felt any kind of emotion apart from [interest] or a faint [favoring], something ardent was accumulating inside… such was my delusion.
[Is this the emotion commonly known as love? For the one who gave me this kind of feeling… there’s already no way I can let her go.]
I embraced Baroness Heronia closely and gave a dark smile that managed to send shivers down even my own spine.
The one there was no longer the “doll” me.
Ardent emotions were filling my chest.
I closed my eyes gently as I felt a returning joy from the warmth that I managed to feel inside myself.
Just a little longer, let’s yield to this comfortable sensation.
The moment I thought so…
“Your Highness Cecil!! Why?! Why is that woman standing next to you?!!”
I heard Bertia’s sorrowful cry.
When I reflexively opened my eyes, it was a scene of condemnation.
I’d seen all of Bertia’s violent actions up to this point inside this world that the light spirit had created.
That’s why, the scene of this world’s Bertia being condemned in front of so many students and their guardians like this was supposed to be a catharsis.
However, even though her appearance was somewhat different, she had features that greatly resembled my Bertia, and when she sorrowfully screamed with the exact same voice as my Bertia, my heart began to ache.
And then, the moment I saw the teardrops that spilled over and fell from those amber eyes, that image overlapped with the tears that the real Bertia showed to me.
The feeling of wanting to temporarily yield myself to the fake solace from Baroness Heronia quickly disappeared all at once.
Though it wasn’t reality and even if it was merely for just a short time, I truly hated acting in accordance to the light spirit’s expectations and yielding myself to the one who hurt my Bertia.
I can’t accept that, no matter what kind of agony doing so would bring me.
The moment I thought so, something other than the warmth that was forcefully given to me began to boil inside my chest.
It was certainly the [emotion] that I possessed myself.
I heard the cracking of something like a thin shell.
When I looked around at my surroundings, there were cracks here and there around the space I was in.
“Has it reached its limit at last…?”
Before I noticed, the scene around me turned into something like a flat surface, and the scenery was torn off just like a wall crumbling down.
A collapsing world.
However, only one part, the area around Baroness Heronia alone was slightly glittering with light as each crack was restored as if something was resisting.
“Why don’t you give up already? No matter what kind of illusion you show me, my heart won’t change. …I will never consider your master no matter what.”
I faced the empty space and declared.
Even though I couldn’t see its figure, it was supposed to be there based on the presence I felt.
Sure enough, the light spirit clearly heard my words and erased the surrounding scenery like it had given up on preserving that space, returning it back to a pure white world.
However, unlike the first time, there was a small boy around 5 years old standing there by himself.
It seemed like it was difficult to be take form even in the world that he created himself as his figure was transparent, and seemed to be on the verge of disappearing at any time.
“…Why? Why can’t it be Heronia? There’s supposed to be that kind of future waiting for you, you know?”
I smiled bitterly at his figure who was trying to frantically appeal to me as he rubbed his dripping tears with the back of his hand.
“‘Why,’ you ask? Perhaps I can only say that it’s because I have gone towards a completely different future.”
Certainly, just like what the light spirit said, there was certainly the possibility that such a future existed.
Because of how closely it resembled the world of the [otome game] that Bertia had told me about, I could somehow or another even believe that the possibility was quite high.
However, I have already walked down to the path of another future.
I can only say that it’s impossible for me to turn back to the former path.
Besides, when I was shown the possibility of another future just now, I was convinced once again.
Rather than the original future decided for me, I was many times more pleased with the other future in which Bertia and I could walk down together.
Under such circumstances, why must I correct my track towards the path leading towards the original future shown here?
I do not feel any necessity in doing so, and even if one were to insist on it, I’d want to resist it with all of my power.
Because I’ve been having a lot of fun in my current life with her—with Bertia.