Chapter 31: The Chasing Game
“Oh my goodness, Elliot! What was he thinking? He hasn’t shown up in over a month!”
in the pretty pink-walled office at the back of Sally’s Bridal Boutique.
Sally was enraged and red in the face.
“If Nikka were here, I’d grab his neck and drag him along, but he’s on a mission right now!”
Olivia gives a wry smile in response to Sally’s momentum.
He did say to wait, but a month seems excessive.
A few days after Olivia’s return to the Royal Capital.
Elliot’s letter arrived.
In the letter, written in careful handwriting, he says he’s sorry for not protecting her at the wedding, scaring her, and hiding who he is and what he does.
Concerning his status and occupation, he stated, “I can’t write in detail,” and then wrote that he was forced to work two jobs due to his family’s policy.
The previous sentence concluded with the words,
The case has spread faster than we anticipated, and my position makes it difficult for me to leave Daregas for a few more days.
I also have some things to do when I return.
I will definitely visit you when they are finished, so could you please wait a little longer?
I sincerely apologize.
Olivia felt relieved after reading this letter.
Elliot wasn’t trying to deceive her.
A common misconception is that one can only have one status, but a duke can have two.
Then it’s no lie that he was a merchant of the Dixx Trading Company and that the “martial family” he told her about in the railroad car were the Dukes of Florence.
(Maybe he was telling me a last-minute story.)
What she doesn’t get is the knight’s remark [thank you for your role as bait].
What was the point of that?
After some hesitation, she quietly asked Nikka, who seemed to know what was going on, and he replied,
“It’s impossible for the Order’s reputation to have Olivia as bait. That knight is full of horsesh*t.”
He said this bitterly.
She inquired as to why Elliot was in Daregas two years ago.
“I’m not sure why, but I believe it was because Daregas was the location of the first counterfeit bill case.”
Viscount Bergor appears to have only recently emerged as a suspect in the case.
Olivia is relieved by her suspicions that “He made himself a friend to have a connection with the Viscount.” is just her imagination.
(In the meantime, let’s hear directly from Elliot. From the letter’s contents, I’d say he’ll be here in a week or two.)
However, he did not appear for two or three weeks. He did, however, send Olivia some delicious sweets, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Finally, after about a month.
Sally asked, “What happened?” and replied, “I haven’t seen him yet.”
She raised her eyes and said, “What the hell is he thinking?!”
Soothing Sally’s rage,
“When he gets back, let him buy you something expensive!”
“I’ll think about it.”
Olivia leaves Sally’s store.
She stretches and takes in the sights of the city.
The sun is already shining far away, casting long, slanted reflections of shadowy figures on the cobblestones.
She mumbles softly as she walks on, staring blankly at the shadowy figure.
“…Elliot, I’m curious what he’s up to now.”
From the letter and Nikka’s story, she knew that Elliot had been faithful to her.
She realized he couldn’t reveal his true identity to anyone.
She wonders if it has anything to do with the fact that he hasn’t arrived yet.
(…But the question is, what do I do now?)
Olivia still liked hhim,even when she learned about her status difference with Elliot.
(He’s good-natured, kind, and reliable. And he helps me like that. So how can I not like him?)
However, the difference between the ranks of dukes and baronets is five levels.
In fairy tales, it is common for royalty to fall in love with and marry a commoner’s daughter.
But that’s just a fairy tale.
In reality, the maximum difference permitted is two ranks.
A difference of three or more levels is considered insane.
You will be called a “fool,” and you will face strong opposition from those around you.
In other words, Olivia and Elliot had little chance of ever being together, no matter how much they loved each other.
(Perhaps this is why Elliot used the word [friend] before.)
She doesn’t know why Elliot has recently attempted to break through the friendship barrier.
But he’s the type of guy who never does anything illogical.
After much deliberation, he may have concluded that protecting Olivia with only a friend status, in this case of Viscount Bergor would be difficult.
Now that the case has been resolved, what will happen to their relationship now that they’ve crossed the line?
It would be best if they could continue as “friends” as before.
All the better if things could be restored to their previous state.
(…but it’s impossible, isn’t it?)
Olivia laughs as she strolls through the city at dusk.
(If I like him this much, I’m not sure I can treat him as a friend, and Elliot probably feels the same way.)
And if they stay together, Olivia, who is just the daughter of a baronet, will be a burden to Elliot.
Bringing the man she loves down.
That is something she does not want to happen.
(… and I can’t quit being a magic tool maker.)
She enjoys her job as a magic tool maker, and she has a store that she was able to open with the help of many people.
She enjoys both making customers happy and designing.
She considers it her responsibility to carry on her father’s knowledge and magic tool-making skills.
(…Perhaps it’s best if we don’t see each other anymore…)
Olivia slumps her shoulders.
(Then again, I think we should meet at least once so I can listen to him and thank him. But it’s probably best if we don’t see each other again after that…)
It hurts her to consider leaving, but it’s better than dragging him down with her.
She can’t help but like him now, but she’s confident she’ll be able to forget him after a few years of work.
(Sigh. I can’t believe I will have to make an effort to forget about it as soon as I realize how I feel.)
Olivia staggers back into the store with a heavy heart, checks the mailbox in front of the store, realizes there is no delivery from Elliot, and sighs.
Then open the door and go in,
She saw the back of a tall young man talking to Lottie.
Elliot, the young man, notices the door is open and slowly turns around.
His golden hair, which has been slightly lengthened, swings slightly.
He looks at Olivia standing in the doorway and smiles happily.
Olivia’s blood rushed to her head as she saw the purple eyes behind the silver-rimmed glasses narrow sweetly.
Her eyes widened as she backed away involuntarily.
(What should I do? I’m so embarrassed!)
She was both embarrassed to be seen and embarrassed about herself.
Finally, she can’t take it any longer.
“Lottie, stop Elliot!”
She yells and dashes out of the store like a rabbit.
Coming from behind her, “O-Olivia?! Let me go, Lottie!” and “No, you’ll be staying for a while.”
Olivia is unconcerned and runs through the crowd in the evening.
She is worried inside.
(… Oh, God. What am I doing?!)
The moment she saw Elliot, she was embarrassed beyond reason.
He was so cool to her, partly because he was wearing silver-rimmed glasses instead of the usual green ones, and she thought she would die of a heart attack when he called her name.
And the next thing she knows, she’s fleeing.
(He must have been surprised. I did something wrong…)
Olivia reflects deeply.
(But I can’t do it—if I see him like this, I’ll not only forget him, but I’ll never forget him.)
It’s preferable to wait until things settle down a little.
(It’ll be better to see him when I’m not so in love. So when I get home, I’ll write him a letter. I’m a little sorry, but he hasn’t shown up in a month. So I suppose it makes both of us responsible. But first, I need to figure out how to thank him.)
Olivia pauses, breathing on her shoulder as she makes her decision.
She then looked up and blinked at the cityscape in front of her.
(W-Wait, where am I?)
She finds herself in an unfamiliar location.
When she looked to the side, she noticed a large canal running through the city’s south side, which was illuminated by the setting sun.
(I was so absorbed in running that I came all the way here.)
She walks slowly and looks at the canal.
The canal is tranquil at dusk, with an occasional breeze that causes the river’s surface to wrinkle finely.
Large street lamps have been placed at regular intervals along the riverside path, which has already begun to glow.
(It’s a nostalgic sight.)
As if drawn in, she descends the steps to the canal-side walkway.
And she begins to walk to one of the benches to rest when…
A familiar voice can be heard echoing through the air.
In a panic, she turned to see Elliot standing at the top of the stairs, breathing heavily.
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