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PBETTIAH Chapter 4

“You’re a big man adored by everyone…for your intelligence, your good looks, and your swordsmanship. But you can’t even make a single woman happy! You’re not worthy of being called a man! You’re useless!”

Clutching a handkerchief, beyond upset, Harold’s mother shouted, “I’m never going to let that happen!”

“I…won’t! I will never let that happen!”

No matter how hard Harold’s mother disapproved, her son’s engagement with Sereia had already been called off.

“What right do you have to take my happiness away!”

As Harold looked back at her with cold eyes, his mother’s face redden in anger. She slammed the table with her palm.

―Right…she’s right.

Deep down, Harold agreed with his mother.

“It’s not too late! Go and get her back!” She ordered with tears in her eyes, but of course, Harold could never respond to that command.

“I can’t do that.”

Hearing Harold answer with a faint smile, his mother cursed him, “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” Then proceeded to cry, shedding tons of tears.

Because of her growing anger and began to throw a tantrum, a servant rushed in. Harold handed his sobbing mother to the maid, leaving the scene.

As he walked out of the parlor into the hallway, his brother, five years older than Harold, was seen standing there.

He said, “I know she can’t help but get mad…at you…”

“…Yeah.”

Sereia was the only daughter of Harold’s mother’s best friend who died young. And ever since the two got engaged, her mother had been looking forward to the day when Sereia would become her own daughter.

The Randalls had been famous for producing knights for generations. Harold’s father, although he had retired from the Order of the Knights after succeeding to the title, he served as the Commander of the Order of the Kingsguard. While his grandfather still teaches swordsmanship to young knights at the Knight’s School after passing the title to his father.

Harold’s brother, unfortunately, had an accident and injured his leg in the knight’s school so he did not join the Order. But many people say that he was an excellent apprentice knight before his leg became crippled.

Was it because he excelled in the martial arts or was it in his bloodline?

The men of the Randalls were all hard-nosed, or rather, they had few words and uninteresting personalities.

Even when Harold’s grandfather, father, brother, and Harold himself were all gathered in one place, there was no conversation of any kind. They would talk about clerical matters in brief, and the rest was silence.

According to Harold’s mother, the men in her family were gloomy and boring. That’s why she was so looking forward to Sereia’s arrival at her house. To make the atmosphere of the house brighter and cheerful.

They can make sweets together, leave the men alone, go on trips together, go shopping together, and so on. She had imagined many things, spent many years preparing for that day.

Now, his mother’s long-held dream had been crushed.

Even though she knew there was nothing her son could do about it, she couldn’t help but want to blame everything on Harold.

“…They said she’s leaving today.”

“…I see.”

Harold turned his gaze away from his brother, who was looking at him anxiously. Staring out the window.

The sky outside was cloudless. It was a glorious spring day.

* * *

Where did I go wrong?

What choice could have prevented this outcome?

Harold had been thinking about this ever since he accepted his canceled engagement with Sereia. But no matter how hard he thought, there seemed to be no way out.

Originally, Harold had planned to marry Sereia as soon as he graduated from knight school.

But everything was extended when the Dauphin Edmund, a schoolmate and Harold’s master, provoked his father’s anger. So he was ordered to go to the disputed lands. Harold had to follow him.

The Vizier and his subjects tried to stop Edmund from going to the dangerous region. But he told them that he would not be treated specially even though he was a crown prince. He also said that his departure would have people’s support if the conflict at the border is resolved, which made perfect sense and they could deny it.

It took half a year to settle the dispute with the Balm people on the northern border. It ended in victory for the Lorant side, although Harold had to lose a number of his friends.

After returning to the capital, Harold received a reward from the king for his work in the disputed area. During this ceremony, Princess Cornelia discovered him.

He was supposed to marry Sereia once he returned from the war zone, but Cornelia got in the way. That’s how this issue turned complicated.

The thing was, the princess was a whim. Harold had thought that Princess Cornelia would get bored herself if he didn’t play along. But her stubbornness and obsessiveness toward Harold were getting stronger day by day.

Frustrated by the constant pestering, Harold finally told the princess that he could not respond to her feelings. That he also already had a fiancée. He made everything clear.

But, not long after, came those weird rumors.

Harold’s first encounter with Edmund was at the knight’s school. Since he thought that the man would one day be the successor to the current king, Harold felt the need to follow and protect him. He accompanied Edmund to the conflict zone.

Was that wrong?

Had Harold not gone to the conflict zone, he would not have been discovered by the princess at the knighthood ceremony.

Or should I just play along with the Princess so as not to provoke her pride? I don’t think I can be that dexterous, but…

If I had behaved better, would anything have changed?

Or would it still be the same no matter what I did?

Harold was overcome with regret, but he didn’t regret breaking off his engagement one bit. For had he not engaged Cornelia, the princess’s pride might have been hurt. Who knows what she would have done to Sereia?

The fact that she drove Sereia out of the royal capital and forced her to marry a frontier nobleman also showed that Cornelia had unusual jealousy.

Many people congratulated Harold on his engagement to Cornelia, but a lot of others also felt jealous. The second son of a nobleman could attract a king’s daughter, an exceptionally beautiful princess at that, so they said. 

Harold must have seemed a very lucky man from their point of view.

Harold was the son of a nobleman.

Marriage is a way of connecting house to house, and his own feelings are of secondary importance.

His engagement to Sereia was more than just the result of their mothers being best friends; it was also the result of their families being well matched. Even if it had not been Sereia, Harold would have been engaged to someone else.

Circumstances change. Someone else now took over as his soon-to-be wife. Just like that.

But―

Harold had made a choice that made many people unhappy. Ah, more than that, for the rest of his life, Harold will never be able to make himself happy.

From the moment Harold met Sereia, he knew that the girl would eventually become his wife. He had spent his life thinking that way since a child.

Harold had never thought of marrying any other woman.

It was natural for Harold to be by Sereia’s side.

What Harold wanted for his wife was not a beautiful princess who can charm anyone. Only Sereia, someone who had been by his side since he was a child and with whom he had shared many memories.

With the annulment of their engagement, the medals that had been given to Sereia will be handed back to his mother.

The medals, which should have been his honor, only left Harold feeling empty.

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