2.2 Until the Day I Lose Her—middle part of memoirs~
**T/N: Hello everyone~!! I’m so sorry it took so long, but as you see–
–welcome to the new website of American Faux!!!
I’m so hyped that I decided, OK!! I SHALL DESIGN A CHARACTER THAT IS ANNE MARIE, AND THEN A CG TOO!!!!! And finally, I can present both to y’all today, hereby, Anne Marie;
And for the other one… hehe, keep reading to find out! This translator shan’t bother you no longer!
“I have returned.”
“Welcome back, Gilbert-sama.”
Anne Marie welcomed me home with another smile.
Wordlessly, I shoved a bouquet of gerbera towards her chest.
Back during the wedding ceremony, I discovered that she still liked gerbera.
—Now, rather than roses, would you be more pleased by receiving this?
“Ooh..! Thank you very much.”
Hugging the bouquet tightly, Anne Marie’s smile widened and became more brilliant than ever before.
“Do you prefer gerberas over roses?”
“I do like both, however—”
‘—Speaking of which, my favorite, …it might be rose—but, of course! I also like gerbera. Again, thank you.’
Or so I was told.
So people’s likings and preferences indeed change once they reached adulthood. I was right after all.
Thus, I regretted my recent action.
I shouldn’t have even thought about doing something I’m not used to do.
“The Imperial Guards were attacked.”
“No way… was it the doing of Marquis Bellman?”
“Probably, although he was careful enough to not leave anything indicating his involvement. He even went so far as to employ disposable mercenaries, instead of sending his subordinates.”
“How are the guards now?”
“Thankfully, the number of enemies were small and there are almost no injuries, …but.”
The guards said that, instead of during their duties, they were assailed when they were at their stations.
“Could it be… that they were aiming for some ‘gaps’ that we might’ve overlooked?”
However, the number of guards stationed were numerous. How strange.
“Not only it is strange, the mercenaries were more interested in giving the guards minor wounds instead of killing them.”
Landing a minor wound… their weapons might have been poisoned.
Brother shook his head at my suggestion.
“No poison has been detected, and the injuries those guards sustained were caused by none other than a sword’s blow.”
It might had been a feign toward the actual attempt, then…
“With the occurence of such a thing in the background… will you still hold the ball as per usual?”
“Well, of course, it’s a traditional event in our kingdom. We can’t just cancel it just because some of the guards were injured.”
Since the ball had been decided already, there was no way to publicize the threat of Marquis Bellman now.
“During the ball, You are part of my plan in the aid of the venue’s security.”
“I’m included too?”
“You know about a lot of circumstances that are unknown to most. Lastly, or rather actually, you have been quite helpful.”
Looking at my stupified face, my brother laughed.
“Malone Grass—thanks to that medicinal herb, the injured guards will be able to come back next week, uninjured, for the ball.”
“It is ironic how the Marquis of Bellman, someone is involved in the discovery of the cure; is also the cause of the injury,” said my brother with a bitter laugh.
“At today’s ball, I can’t be by your side all the time”
It was the day of the ball hosted by the royal family.
Indeed, I might have announced that to Anne Marie because I had a premonition that something was going to happen.
She nodded quietly.
Always, I have always been leaving you alone; leaving you behind.
What was the point of me saying this?—as if it would make any difference.
As guilt budding from my own inappropriate conduct seeped into me—precisely at that very moment, the Imperial Guards arrived with strict orders straight from my brother.
I was glad to receive that summon.
I was relieved from the obligation of facing my own guilt.
I was thankful.
So I turned for my older brother; walking ahead without looking back at Anne Marie.
It wasn’t a voice demanding attention from the Imperial Guard, but the scream of a certain lady announcing the forthcoming invasion of violence.
At once, the venue was thrown into panic.
The nobles participating in the ball were naturally unarmed.
“What are the Imperial Guards doing outside—!? Take care of this chaos immediately—!!”
My brother’s roar clammored through the uproar.
“Hey—!! Who are you turning your sword to—!?”
“To you, obviously—!! Although we wore the same uniform, I’ve never seen your face before—!! You are one of those bandits, aren’t you—!?”
“Wha, what are you saying…!? Didn’t we just ate dinner together yesterday…!?”
“That’s undoubtedly a lie!”
“How can you be asleep in the middle of this emergency…!? Get up immediately or I’ll cut you down…!!”
“This is… bad… I can’t… open my eyes, no matter, …what…”
The whole crowd was in a state of confusion. Their numbers were not something that could be supressed by just the Imperial Guards.
Even so, the heart of this event that was spiraling out of control, undeniably lies in the poor state of the Imperial Guards.
“Your Majesty!! The Imperial Guards are in a state of mass confusion!!”
“Why, …how is this happening?”
My brother’s patience was dwindling down as he became more and more frantic.
“The Imperial Guards are currently useless—!! Call for the Order of Knight—!!”
Brother protectively drew Maria towards his side while ordering the remaining Imperial Guards to evacuate the nobles.
Nothing I could do would remedy our current state.
If the situation was already this dire, then at the very least, the protection of my brother and Maria could be strengthened by the presence of the Imperial Guards.
If Marquis Bellman was truly set on bethroning me, he wouldn’t kill me.
Suddenly, Maria asked while staring at me incredulously;
“Gilbert, what about your wife, Anne Marie? Where is she now?”
“She.., well, she must be fine…”
The enemy would surely ensure her safety too.
Surely, they wouldn’t lay a finger on her—
—since she is my wife, after all.
While answering, my gaze searched for Anne Marie everywhere in the venue.
And then, my eyes met hers.
Her figure laid, sprawled on the floor.
Her dress, which was the color of a vivid red flower, encased her, disheveled.
Her crumpled skirt was like a blossoming rose in full bloom as the color red spread beneath her.
Her eyes and hand were slowly reaching out towards me, weakly.
Both were beckoning for me.
Once I saw the glittering tears that streamed down her cheeks, I quickly looked away.
Certainly, I suppose that was the expression I had desired to see.
All of the mistreatment, all of the horrible conduct I made her suffer through—wasn’t it all for the sake of this very moment…?
However, when this moment finally arrived; exactly at this moment, my thoughts were preoccupied with only one thing—
I couldn’t bear to see her in such a state.
What was I thinking, all this time?
When we were both young; when she was innocently attached to me—I wanted to make such a look appear on her face.
The sad look that gave up upon everything.
The one that shouted just now, …was it Maria?
The moment I saw the collapsed figure of Anne Marie was the first time I noticed something off about her—or to be more precise, her attire.
The dress she wore for today’s ball, I remembered very well that it was my present to her for this ball.
A dress with the color and style matching the preference of the nation’s number one woman.
Other than some additions such as the ornate decoration for glamour purpose, I didn’t spot any kind of difference—it was still the same dress as the one I gifted to her.
—and that dress wasn’t originally red.
How did I not notice this?
That wasn’t color, ..that wasn’t it at all—!
“Somebody!! Call a doctor!!”
As I was still dazed, I heard my brother’s flustered cry from afar.