“I have something to say.”
Because of the loud noise around us, I dragged his hand. Naturally, his eyes turned to me.
“The day I came back from the beach. There was a minor carriage accident.”
“Yes, I remember.”
“I went home safely. Fortunately, there was no wound.”
“I should have sent someone to treat you. You must have had a hard time riding the carriage all day long that day.”
Hmm? I didn’t bring it up for this. I realized later that it would be useless because the only thought I had at that time was to send him away because of the unexpected situation that day.
Red eyes, red hair, anyone could see that woman was the daughter of a noble family, and if you add up all those conditions, there must be only one person who fit that description. When I disappeared before, wouldn’t Valery, who constantly searched for me, found out about the real person of that identity? As soon as he saw her, he must have thought of Blake Ariandel.
That’s why I was going to talk about that. Even after realizing that, I thought of keeping Blake’s mouth shut, but contrary to my expectations, Blake Ariandel came to me and I also agreed to hold her hand. I concluded that it was okay to tell him the extent of her existence.
“We rode it together. I slept soundly last night, so it wasn’t like what you thought at all. But there’s something more important than that.”
Suddenly, Valery stopped walking. Curious about his behavior, I turned around to see him and grabbed his other hand that wasn’t the one I held.
“You don’t have to tell me.”
My mouth opened like a fool without realizing it. As expected, he knew. I didn’t say it on purpose.
“Did she threaten you? Or is she troubling you?”
They were words that didn’t fit the situation at all, Threaten, troubling. That’s what Blake Ariandel should have heard, not me. Of course, it was true that she threw a few words at me to take the initiative at first, but compared to what I have been through, she was like a chick threatening me. So no matter how much I’ve lived without conscience, I have to correct that part a bit.
“There was no such thing.”
“Not at all?”
“That’s right, not at all. And the victim is not me.”
Valery seemed to be slowly examining my expression. Only when I said nothing had happened again did he completely relax.
“Why did she come to see you?”
“Um… she said she was curious. I don’t know the details, but it seemed like she had her own circumstances.”
“Do you have plans to meet again?” He asked with a disapproving look.
“I don’t know yet. Anyway, I have to return the borrowed name someday.”
“Then… it’s nothing. Still, it would be good to be a little vigilant.”
Valery stopped talking and turned away. But it seemed like I knew what he wanted to say. It was probably a question like, ‘What happens if you return her name?’
I decided to face a more realistic situation, which made me talk as if reporting the situation lightly. Even if my mother completely changed her mind and gave up everything, I would still leave this place, because I realized that my plan which tried to disappear silently was turning in the opposite direction.
It would be much better for him to be painted with betrayal and anger. Seeing that he was only worried about me, I thought he would blame me if I suddenly left him.
“Have you ever been resentful?”
His words made me smile. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel it at all. But that doesn’t change anything. It’s not as easy as you think to escape from your fate.”
He couldn’t speak for a long time as if he couldn’t find anything to say. I touched his hand for no reason. As expected, I couldn’t cover it up even though I said I wouldn’t think about anything else.
“Valery, you know…”
“I will probably not get my name back even if I give this name back to Blake Ariandel.”
“Why do you think so?”
“I want my mother to drop everything. It’s true that I don’t want anyone to get hurt anymore. My dream is to change my mother’s mind. Then I can beg for His Majesty’s forgiveness after that. Well, I won’t be forgiven, but I think it’ll be better than now.”
“I know it’s not your fault. And everyone will know.”
“That would be great, but it would take a very long time. In the end, it could be a pointless wait…”
I looked up at him and smiled. Realizing that he wasn’t just a passerby for me, I’d already used him several times, but I didn’t want him to get hurt more in the future.
“That’s what I thought.”
I pulled his hand a little harder. Valery’s face hardened when our eyes met.
“I think it would be better to talk about something else.”
“When the time comes to let go.”
“I will let go of this hand. No one will be blaming you. And it’s a very natural thing…”
“I will let go of this hand as if nothing happened.”
I lightly rubbed his hand with my thumb. Valery’s chin, who was looking down at me, rose then sank again.
“I’ll find a way.”
I smiled at him for fear of crying any momentarily.
“Yes, I hope so.”
Wouldn’t it be okay to have a safety device for him?
He suddenly raised my hand and kissed the back of it.
“You can use me. So use me as you please. You can ask for anything.”
“I will find a way, Bella. So don’t make it hard for yourself anymore.”
I couldn’t find anything to say and was only thinking of stopping him, but he looked at me as if pleading.
“Please don’t talk like you’re going to leave anytime.”
“Didn’t you give me permission? You said I would be yours.”
I took a short breath and nodded.
“Okay. I didn’t mean to talk about it seriously. I made a slip of tongue. I just thought that I should tell you about that day.”
“It’s all right.”
“A jewelry necklace that makes wishes come true! Jewelry bracelet! Go see it!”
Just in time, the loud voice of a merchant penetrated between us.
With the thought of relief, I held his hand and turned my head in the direction of the sound. It was a small stand in the direction we were going. Those, which glistened in orange, seemed to be the jewels the shopkeeper said.
Wouldn’t it be dangerous to sell jewelry at a night market like this? With that in mind, I grabbed Valery’s hand and pulled it.
“We’re here to play, so let’s go see that.”
Valery didn’t let go of his expression quickly, but he was pulled to me with just a little strength.
Contrary to what the owner advertised as jewelry, what he sold was a pendant made by putting various small things such as feathers, seashells, and dried flower petals in a round frame with resin and hardening them. Seeing that, I couldn’t help but smile.
They were all different in shape and contained foreign substances. Nevertheless, thanks to the bright orange lights lit throughout the night market, they were sparkling and looked like jewelry to children. No, they were like pumpkins.
“How about this?”
Where did his faithful soul go? I could clearly feel his feeling of reluctance.
I chose another necklace that was the same as the one I just picked.
“Should we wear a couple necklace? Well, it’s not very fashionable in the society, but whatever. I guess I could wear it at least one. It just so happens that there are two identical ones.”
And knowing that he didn’t answer, I raised my hand and put a necklace around his neck. I put the remaining one to my neck and said, “Put it on like this, right?”
The necklace overlapped because I had already come with the necklace he had given as a gift, but it didn’t seem like it would be too much of a hindrance because the beads hardened with resin were so small.
When I spoke close to his face, Valery’s expression eventually melted away like snow. I paid for the two necklaces and waved them with both hands.
“I’ll do it for you.”
“Well, then I’ll do one for you. You just have to put it on top.”
Then I gave one to him first. He took the necklace, undid it, and wrapped it around my neck.
“Is it pretty?”
Then, Valery burst into laughter as if he didn’t know such a question would come out. Thanks to this, the atmosphere, which was still a little stiff, was relieved.
“It’s very pretty.”
“Now, I’ll do it for you.”
Then he bowed his upper body according to my height. I put the necklace around his neck like he did and talk.