Chapter 19: Reunion
“I apologize; I didn’t mean to hold you up.”
“No, it was also nice to talk to you.”
“I’m glad to hear it! Yes, please don’t tell His Highness what I said earlier; he’d be furious if he found out, wouldn’t he? ‘Don’t say anything unnecessary to my wife.’”
“Fufufu, I understand.”
Minister Morgen bows once and walks away.
I look at his back.
“… I doubt he’d say that.”
I murmur from afar in a voice that the minister cannot hear.
There is no overarching love between us.
There isn’t any love.
What binds us together is… It’s not about feelings.
“Want to go back? I don’t know…”
I didn’t need to think about it because I definitely didn’t want to go back.
I recall painful memories.
To escape from such a place, I took His Highness’ hand.
But what if the viciousness of the environment improved?
What do I think?
“…That is not going to happen.”
That’s exactly what I didn’t need to consider.
The court is not going to change now.
I’m confident it won’t.
The day came quickly.
As usual, we had a peaceful time.
“You have a visitor, sister!”
“That’s what he said! A nobleman from another country. His name is――.”
Lena-chan told me the name of the guest.
I had a suspicion.
I would not like to meet a guest from a neighboring country, my home country.
Nonetheless, it exceeded my expectations.
I’m bothered by doubts.
“――Thank you, but where is he?”
“He’s waiting for you in the waiting room!”
“The butler will summon him soon.”
A knock comes at the door.
As Lena-chan mentioned, I received word from a servant that I had a guest.
He apparently entered the country through the proper channels.
If he’s come this far, His Highness must have heard about it.
His Highness would…
You are not required to meet with him if you do not wish to.
I believe he would say that.
But I couldn’t help but be intrigued.
What is someone I thought I’d never see again, someone who nearly traumatized me, doing here?
That’s what I was curious about.
So I made the decision to meet him.
I reach the waiting room.
Take a deep breath.
I enter the room after knocking on the door.
“Good day, it’s been a while.”
Our gazes lock.
I still feel a refreshingly bright atmosphere.
It used to appeal to me.
I treasured it.
But I was betrayed…
“It’s been a while, Salerio-sama.”
“Haha, I’m not sure how I feel about you addressing me (as ‘sama’) now.”
“If you say so, then so does Salerio-sama.”
“Yes, it was not the right attitude to have toward a woman who is now a princess of a country, and I sincerely apologize.”
I received an empty apology.
In my eyes, he’s not really sorry.
There have always been times when I don’t know what this person is thinking.
He appears friendly, but I’m not sure what he’s thinking behind his eyes.
That explains why I didn’t recognize it.
And the fact that he abandoned me in favor of Raynasia-son’s hand.
“Why don’t you take a seat?”
We were facing each other.
Ex-fiancées, across the border.
I never imagined this opportunity would come my way.
“What brings you here? You came to me… It’s not like that, is it?”
“Oh, I’m here for another reason; I’m here on His Majesty’s behalf, so I’m treated well; it’s good that you’re here so I can talk to you.”
“… What are you doing?”
“What exactly do you mean?”
“My relationship with Salerio-sama has come to an end.”
The moment he betrayed me that day.
We had become strangers.
But… Why are you staring at me like that right now?
like when we were engaged.
The warm, kind eyes you had when I trusted you?
“Phyllis, I have something important to tell you.”
He used the same words when we said our goodbyes that day.
“Will you come back to me? To the court.
My heart and body are in turmoil.
“What kind of joke is that?”
“I’m not joking. I’m serious.”
If that’s the case, I’m baffled.
I’m sure he knows it as well.
“Do you think I… want to go back?”
“Yes, I understand. I understand you don’t want to return to your old environment, so we’re going to improve the working environment.”
“My family donates a lot of money to the court. That’s why I have influence. If I act, your treatment will improve.”
He says it with pride.
I was aware of the Ratratos family’s generosity to the court.
That’s why he could come and go as he pleased.
His proposal has merit.
That is not to say it is impossible.
But that’s why, I think.
“Why would I want to? Why are you telling me this now? “
If you could do that, why haven’t you done anything so far?
You’ve seen more of what I’ve been through than anyone else.
“I sincerely apologize. This is something I should have done sooner.”
It’s far too late.
“I know it’s late, but you’ve been a tremendous help to us; I wish you’d return; you didn’t really want to come here, did you?”
“What are you…”
“Don’t play dumb. There’s a reason for this… Did he hold onto your weakness? If not, it doesn’t make sense. You, marrying the prince of this country.”
He gives me a cold stare.
Was he listening to our conversation?
I don’t think so…
It was just me and His Highness.
But he has his doubts.
About our relationship
“I hate to say it this way. But you are now a traitor who has fled the country.”
And that’s how it’s told.
After I left the court.