Chapter 2: Loneliness
The words I hear are running through my head.
I hope I got it wrong.
With a twitch in my face, I ask Salerio-sama.
“S-Salerio-sama? What you just say?
“I want to break off our engagement.”
The second time was worded more clearly.
I don’t need to listen to it again because it’s so clear.
Even if it’s difficult to believe, the truth is right in front of me.
“Why did you…?”
“… Yes. There are several reasons for this, but first, let me state the facts.”
“Your engagement to me was made when your parents were still alive. It was a political arrangement. The connection with your parents was the only reason our family, the Frelios, stayed the same even when things got tough.”
That is something I understand.
I also understand that our engagement was meant to strengthen the bonds between our noble families.
Despite this, I adored Salerio-sama.
“I became engaged to you at my family’s behest, not of my own accord. To put it bluntly, I do not love you.”
No, I guess I didn’t realize it.
I was mistaken.
My parents are no longer alive, and my position as a noble is uncertain, but he has always treated me the same way up until now.
Even though our engagement was arranged, I thought he was genuinely interested in me.
I’ve always believed this.
But I was obviously mistaken.
I’m so shocked. I feel like I’m going to lose every ounce of strength in my body.
But the story is far from over.
Salerio-sama continues, as if to put me out of my misery,
“But now I’ve found someone. Yes, someone in whom I have complete faith! Genuine love!”
“Allow me to introduce you. My new fiancée.”
Salerio-sama calls out to the door.
Please don’t do that.
A new fiancée… I’ll never get over seeing someone like that.
The fact that it’s right in front of your eyes makes it even more real.
She gives me a friendly smile.
” Oh, so you do know each other.”
“Yes, we work at the same court, and despite having different jobs, we can see each other.”
It’s impossible not to know her.
She arrived at the courthouse at the same time as I did.
She’s a mage.
She was a year younger than me, a brilliant mage who had entered the court at the age of 14.
It was unfortunate timing.
I was the center of attention because I was the first court grantmaker at the time, and she was never in the spotlight.
She was supposed to be valued and respected more.
Inevitably, she hated me.
Besides, she didn’t like the fact that I was the daughter of a former prestigious aristocrat who was about to fall.
She’s been bothering me ever since I started working.
“Well, that’s a lot easier when you know her. She’s my new fiancée. When I met her, I discovered what it means to truly love someone.”
“I love you too, Salerio-sama~”
deliberately, as if to show off.
She makes a sexy noise while snuggling up to Salerio-sama.
This can’t be happening, I thought.
But that triumphant expression… I’m certain of it.
She took Salerio-sama from me on purpose.
“Wait a second, Salerio-sama! My engagement was promised to Duke Ratratos, and even if Salerio-sama found someone else, it wouldn’t be easy to―”
“Of course, Father already agreed.”
“We have several reasons for breaking off our engagement. I just told you that.”
He has a glum expression on his face.
As if we were complete strangers…
“I’ve heard much about your reputation at court. Unlike when I first met you, I don’t hear much good about you these days.”
“You’re always working to a deadline and spending the entire day in the warehouse. You’re not actively spending time with me, your fiancée. To be honest, it’s a problem for my father as well.”
Because it’s too much for one person to handle…
I almost blurted out an excuse and covered my mouth as quickly as I could.
They’ll just argue with you more if you make excuses right now.
“She’s brilliant in comparison. I’ve never heard anything negative about her. Her secretary described her as the ideal court mage.”
“Oh, no. I was simply doing my job.”
“Haha, that’s what I like about you.”
“Thank you very much.”
She gives me a look.
She doesn’t say anything.
But it’s conveyed.
I’m in a good mood.
That’s what her eyes are telling me.
“There’s another reason, but… I think that’s enough. Or do you want to hear it?”
“Without a doubt. So, this is probably the last time we’ll see each other. Yeah, you’ll continue to pay your debts. We are no longer related because you and I are no longer engaged.”
“Salerio-sama is a wonderful person. Phyllis-san thanks you as well. Right?”
You don’t have to tell me how grateful I am.
My feelings for him have subsided.
I was reminded that I was, after all, alone.
“…that’s the end of the story, isn’t it? Then… I’ll be back to work.”
“Right. Thank you for everything, Phyllis. I hope you are as content as I am.”
“Have a nice day, Phyllis-san.”
with a bang against the closed door.
I’m now alone.
In a very real sense, I was alone.
Suddenly, I burst into tears.
When my parents left, I resolved not to cry any longer.
I had to be tough.
I assumed there was no time for crying.
But it’s impossible.
I feel so robbed that even my resolve is shaken.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I muddledly continued to work.