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The Thing That Lies Beyond That Feeling 1
I want you to not protect me.
The moment Reggie said those words, she widened her eyes, her expression warped into an expression that seemed close to crying.
–She was rejected.
To her expression that seemed to convey what she was thinking, Reggie felt a slight pain to his heart.
He didn’t want her to make such a face. If possible, I’d like to see her smiling innocently and running around freely like a kitten.
However, despite his status as the crown prince, Reginald Dias Faruzia couldn’t protect Kiara unless he chose to do it this way. Otherwise, Kiara might be exposed to an unnecessary danger as she was always trying to protect him.
In order to avoid that, he couldn’t go with how she wanted it to be, no matter what.
He also regretted that she got a hint and took an initiative ahead of him in regards to the previous Ruain’s invasion. He came to realize that the things within his reach were actually quite scarce.
The ‘weapon’ that Reggie owned was quite weak in order to overturn something from the start.
For example, the nobles who believed in his grandfather. The nobles who approached Reggie hurriedly as they had a policy change in case the king was taken by Ruain. Even he didn’t know who—among his support base—could be manipulated by the Ruain once their weakness was grasped.
More importantly, the king disliked his grandfather’s influence and couldn’t trust the people that his grandfather used to the extent that he would painstakingly plant his spies around them.
There was still a silver lining of a dark cloud, and that was the fact that he could have a connection with some merchants, by using the help of his aunt. However, those merchants formed a connection with the Ruain through the southern country to some extent, so there were cases when the information was late or even leaked out.
The merchants who had done some direct transactions with the Ruain were under the patronage of the king of Ruain. Even if he tried to slip someone there, their vigilance was quite strong that they wouldn’t just welcome a newcomer into their country’s shops. …Which led him to think that Ruain still planned on invading Faruzia.
Moreover, this time’s invasion was done through the help of Sarehald who had quite a lot of disputes with Faruzia. Sarehald was a country that sometimes sided with the Ruain.
As a result, Kiara felt cornered and chose to become a magician even when she knew that their reinforcement would be coming.
She was someone who had never thought of killing anyone, yet she entered the battlefield where she couldn’t hide or avert her gaze from seeing people getting slaughtered.
However, that was fine.
After all, it wouldn’t fit Kiara’s image if she were to have the mindset of having someone else fight until death as long as it wasn’t herself.
In exchange for that, he would keep away the things that may hindrance her.
The army’s departure was set tomorrow.
Having the permission of moving around only within his room, Reggie received a certain someone’s visit along with Aunt Beatrice.
Groul and his other guarding knights were standing on guard in the room’s various places. Then, the person who entered after the door was opened was Cecilia.
She was wearing a light brown plain dress for travel. It was decided that she would be living under the protection of Roderk territory in the south from now on.
Today would be her departure day, so she visited to give her last greeting.
After taking several steps from the door, Cecilia kneeled and bowed deeply.
“I apologize for causing you trouble. I am aware that you might not forgive me. Even so, you are still willing to give some of your time for me before my departure, and I am truly grateful for that…”
Cecilia said in one go, before she raised her face to see the other party’ reactions.
Whether or not she was forgiven. Whether or not he was angry. Or—if he was feeling sad for herself.
But Reggie was looking at her calmly as if he was observing her, and his expression wasn’t shaken the slightest bit.
Cecilia felt quite bitter looking at Reggie’s unchanging expression.
Still, it was fine. If Reggie weren’t at least concerned about her as his fiancee candidate, her expectations that he might be a kind person that she could yearn for wouldn’t disappear. This way, she wouldn’t long for her affection to be returned by Reggie anymore.
It was troublesome to hold an expectation.
It was quite impossible for Reggie to choose her as someone who would stand next to him. There was no future for them since she was someone who didn’t have the backbone to fight together with him. She also didn’t like observing herself break down. It would only cause her unhappiness.
Beatrice answered Cecilia on behalf of Reggie who didn’t intend on saying anything.
“We are also aware of your parents’ situation. And how you still tried to protect his Highness even when you didn’t have any way to resist. It would be another long trip after your previous long trip, so please take care of yourself, Cecilia-sama. I’ve given the detailed instructions to the attendants who will be traveling with you so that you would certainly be able to reach Roderk.”
“Thank you very much… for your kindness.”
Cecilia bowed again. After that, she stood up and looked at Reggie with a little bit of lingering affection before she said her words of farewell.
“It’s quite frustrating that I can’t do anything, but I will be praying for Faruzia’s peace and everyone’s victory. Once peace is attained, I will come again to deliver my gratitude along with my parents…”
“Unfortunately, you have to prepare yourself to do that alone.”
Both Cecilia and Beatrice immediately looked at Reggie who interrupted Cecilia’s words. Reggie didn’t just stop there, he added more information.
“Sarehald is occupying Tolisfid and based on my prediction, they’re discussing the ownership of that area with Ruain since the area is close to that country. If that’s the case, keeping the count and countess alive would not benefit them. …It isn’t yet certain, but the probability they’re still alive is quite low.”
“Reginald, that is…”
Beatrice tried to stop Reginald’s words as she was concerned over Cecilia, whose face turned ghastly pale. However, Reggie ignored her.
“Baron Roderk has just lost his young daughter recently. That’s why he really welcomed you. Besides, he can shelter you quite well as you need that especially in this kind of period. You have to think about how you can stabilize your life first. Be careful along the way.”
There is no possibility her family can be saved. Cecilia’s mind turned blank after she heard those words, but she could still leave Reggie’s room somehow after being urged to.
After Cecilia exited the room, there were only Reggie and Beatrice. There were also Reggie’s guarding knights left in the silent room. The one who broke the silence was Beatrice who heaved a long sigh.
“You haven’t changed.”
Beatrice looked at Reggie with a slightly troublesome expression.
Reggie understood immediately that she was referring to the way he spoke without any leniency. It couldn’t be helped to consider the way he spoke words that smashed the other party’s hope as harsh.
“In my opinion, I tried a less harsh method to convey that.”
“Is that so?”
“With this, she won’t be misled when she comes in touch with anyone else. Moreover, if she can accept the place as her second home instead of a place to freeload, she can focus her mind to getting used to live there. The pain she felt just now would gradually fade.”
Baron and Baroness Roderk would also be comforted to have Cecilia who would be seen as their daughter figure.
She would be able to spend her time more comfortably rather than being treated as an unwelcomed visitor in Everal.
Moreover, it could be said that she won’t have someone she could depend on. Cecilia would do her best to grow accustomed to the area and so that she would be loved by the baron and baroness.
At the same time, if Tolisfid appeared here again, she wouldn’t get involved unnecessarily anymore.
There is no way she would push away her safe haven that she finally can obtain in order to return to the battlefield. Otherwise, she would just move under the Ruain army’s orders like before.
At that time, he could avoid her and Kiara’s meeting.
After all, Kiara was too kind and would believe Cecilia who really cherished her family and try to help her as there was still a possibility that they were still alive. In case she couldn’t save them, Kiara would feel bad and if something were to happen to her, he would be the one regretting it.
Regardless of ally and enemy, Kiara would still feel hurt due to the dead toll of the war. He didn’t want her to suffer anymore.
“Besides, she wouldn’t feel bitter if around the time she becomes emotionally attached, she were to hear from the baron and baroness that her biological parents have passed away. More importantly, she wouldn’t think of relying on me after her bitter response to me.”
Beatrice put her hand on her forehead upon hearing that Reggie calculated the benefit to himself on top of being able to comfort the two grieving families to form a new one.
“It was quite troublesome to arrange such matters by yourself, wasn’t it?”
“It is—after all—really bothersome to face someone who we can’t really refuse despite knowing that they are our enemy.”
It couldn’t be helped that he kept Kiara away, but he also calculated more in order to make sure the worst case scenario won’t happen as Kiara had come into contact with Cecilia once. He wanted to spare himself from the bitter feeling that would come in case he couldn’t protect her.
“Come to think of it, Aunt. I’m going to depart in three days.”
“Will you be alright?”
“It’s not like I was really wounded. That [poison] only caused me a high fever.”
Because of that, his recovery was fast the moment his fever went down. Even during the three days, Groul and the others persuaded him to take a little more rest.
Reggie still had to catch up with the army as soon as possible.
Obviously, he was aware that there was someone by Kiara’s side that would definitely protect her. But he completely didn’t have any intention of leaving it all up to him.
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