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PBETTIAH Chapter 3

Since it was too painful to keep them, Sereia asked a servant to deliver the wooden crate containing the nine medals to the Randalls. In the future, Princess Cornelia would look after them.

What should I do with the items in the big crate?

Sereia pondered in front of the box. Inside were a large number of letters, bundled together in chronological order.

Harold was not the type to talk much or joke around, but he was a pretty good writer. He constantly sent letters during his time at the knight’s boarding school, when he joined the Order, and when he went to war.

There were no words of love of course. Most were just about the weather, the books he had read, how he worked out, and other things that, from Sereia’s point of view, were not very important.

Unlike the medals, the letters were written by Harold himself to Sereia. It would be rude to return them. They should belong to Sereia.

However, Sereia could not take these letters from her former fiancé with her. Soon she would be marrying another man in the frontier territory.

Right, maybe Sereia should dispose of them…by burning them, burying them, or whatever.

“…Sister?”

As Sereia stared at the contents of the crate with a grim look, a voice was calling her.

The door opened slightly and chestnut eyes peeked out from it.

Chris.

“I knocked several times, but there was no…answer.”

“I was in a daze and didn’t notice. I’m sorry,” said Sereia, motioning Chris to come in.

Chris, who turned eight this year, was Sereia’s little brother. He looked so much like his stepmother, and Sereia adored him.

“I heard from Mother you’re getting married…and that you’re leaving home and going far away. Is that true?”

“Yes…I won’t be back for a while, but I will definitely write to you.”

At Sereia’s words, Chris stared inside the crate.

“…What will brother Harold do?”

“I think he will probably marry the princess.”

“…That doesn’t make any sense.”

Although Harold was not very good with children and did not seem to be interested in them at first glance, he never tired of listening to Chris’s chatter. He even taught the boy horseback riding and swordsmanship when he was asked to. Harold was very fond of Chris in his own way.

“I don’t like brother Harold anymore.”

Sereia could not find the right words to respond. She stroked her brother’s soft chestnut hair.

“You don’t like him?”

“Yes, that’s right. Next time I see him again, I’m not gonna talk to him… Sister, why are you laughing?”

In her head, Sereia pictured a chatting Harold ignored by Chris. She could not help but laugh.

“Because…I’ll feel sorry for him.”

“…Sister, don’t you hate brother Harold?”

If only Sereia could hate him, she would be very relieved to leave this place. To embark on a new life with her new fiancé in the future. Unfortunately, people’s feelings are not always what they seem.

“I love you more than Harold.”

Chris was not happy to hear those words, his lips twitching in annoyance.

“Sister, that kind of thing is called deception.”

“But it’s true though― Chris, I have a favor to ask you.”

“A favor?”

Sereia pointed out her large wooden crate to Chris.

“I want you to keep this, in your room. Because it will get in my way.”

“Letters from brother Harold?”

“I’ll come back for it when things settle down, I promise. So until then, can you do me a favor?”

Someday―

―I don’t know if it will be a year or ten years from now.

Sereia would marry a Frontier Count and have offspring with him. Someday, Harold will completely only become her past.

Today, everything about Harold hurts Sereia, but by then she should be able to throw her feelings away.

Oh, and maybe Chris will also forget about her sister’s promise. He will eventually throw the crate away. That’s fine.

“…I understand.”

Chris nodded. But then, the boy pointed out something hidden in the corner of the crate, hidden by the bundle of letters.

“I’m afraid I can’t take care of that, sister!”

It was a wooden statue. A snake the size of a palm, coated in coil with a thin tongue protruding from its mouth. It must have been made by a very skilled craftsman.

Sereia took it out of the wooden crate and placed it in her palm. When she squinted at the statue, nostalgia came over her.

“Get that away, get that away, sister!” Chris shouted with tears in his eyes.

If Chris doesn’t want to keep it, Sereia couldn’t leave the statue with him.

(As I recall, I was told by an old tribe in the East that snakes protect you from bad things.)

This was a gift from Sereia’s ex-fiancé. Well, it’s not something precious like letters or medals. It’s just a creepy statue. She could take it as a good luck charm.

And so it was. Ten days later Sereia was escorted by everyone in her family and left the royal city where she was born and raised to the frontier territory.

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