22. By the Lakeside (4)
During the time William was with Carla on the boat, Amelia was alone with Arthur in the woods.
“—…well, well! Then, what happened next?”
“After that, William chased the ball and fell straight into the river!”
“Fortunately, the water was only knee-deep, so nothing serious happened. His entire body was soaked, though.”
“Fufufu, so someone as serious as William-sama also has that kind of side to him…”
“He probably wants to impress you, that’s why he’s only showing his amazing sides.”
“Well, this side of William-sama is also cute, I think…”
They talked endlessly about William. It seemed that Arthur and William had been friends for a decade. In the boarding school directory, they both held important roles. Arthur did befriend Edward and Bryan back then, but William was the one he hung out the most with.
William was a serious, well-mannered student—in short, he was a role model. In contrast, Arthur, although well-behaved, was too carefree and did whatever he liked. Even so, he was very good at uniting people together. They were a perfect combination.
“This is the first time I’ve heard about it! So you guys were already close since your school days!”
“I can understand why. After graduating, he was only occupied with learning to be the successor of his family. After receiving his title, he only got even busier. Even if we happen to meet at a ball, we will only exchange light greeting.”
“That’s harsh. Even though the friendship you two have is enviable, this kind of thing can still happen, huh…”
“Hahaha, it is harsh, indeed. That’s why I was really surprised when I learned that William was engaged to you.”
Hearing Arthur’s words, Amelia blushed.
“…Yes, actually, I too, am surprised. For William-sama to go to such an extent just for me… Despite everything, I know I am unworthy.”
In his mind, Arthur tried to guess what William said when he proposed.
“I agree that it’s very unlikely of William—this is my guess, but there’s a high chance he did that because he liked the person. It’s the first time this has happened—you are his first love, Amelia-sama.”
“—is that… really true?”
Amelia shyly covered her red cheeks with her palms.
Arthur stared at Amelia.
—Amelia’s beautiful profile—the deep blue lake eyes—they were the windows to her heart.
Momentarily, Arthur’s right eye was literally dyed red. It was redder than crimson, dazzling like ruby, the color of blood—it was majestic, and at the same, terrifying. Such was the color.
But it was only for a moment. Amelia didn’t notice it.
“…It’s like that, huh?”
Arthur nodded, and stopped his feet. At the same time, his aura completely changed.
Excitement and joy were rising in him. The hysteria that had been bubbling for the longest of time almost broke his façade.
Amelia looked at back Arthur, who suddenly stopped—
—that was when she noticed his grin, only for a short while. In the next moment, he grabbed her wrist and yanked her around—pulling her towards him. His other hand encircled her waist, bringing their body into close contact.
It happened in a flash—
Amelia couldn’t speak. Her eyes widened. Her face distorted with discomfort.
Arthur’s face was coming closer, and closer—until finally, Amelia couldn’t hold it anymore.
This is unforgiveable…!!
“What are you planning to do?” Amelia finally managed to squeeze her voice out, and glared at Arthur with hostility. “Laying your hands against someone else’s fiancée—even if you’re the prince, you won’t get away with this!”
Hearing Amelia’s words, Arthur only scowled.
“Don’t get me wrong. I have no shortage of women.”
Before Amelia could say anything, however, Arthur had hugged her and whispered into her ears;
“You too, possess it, don’t you?”
“—!?” Amelia’s heart jumped. Her expression disappeared entirely.
In front of her, Arthur grinned, taking delight in her reaction.
Amelia turned away, escaping Arthur’s line of sight.
He couldn’t mean anything else… —anything else but that. Cold sweat formed on her forehead.
Arthur suddenly asked.
“What’s your real purpose? Is it Lewis?”
Why did that name suddenly came up? Amelia failed to comprehend it.
Amelia’s purpose was to not let William die. That was it. It has nothing to do with Lewis…—this is a trap, that must be it!
“Huh? Am I wrong?”
Amelia became a spectator to his complex expression—he looked disappointed, but at the same time, relieved. Meanwhile, he loosened his grip—
—Amelia didn’t miss the chance and freed herself from Arthur. She glared at him.
“…Just now, what did you mean? I can’t comprehend what Arthur-sama was saying—Moreover, I just met Lewis today.”
Towards Amelia’s words, Arthur frowned.
“…You just met him? But Lewis seems to know you so well?”
—an unnerving silence descended upon the two. It was that kind of silence between two enemies, waiting for an opportunity to attack.
“—well, either way is fine. I’m satisfied with just meeting you.” Arthur smiled sarcastically, his previous dangerous aura dissipated.
“Oh, yeah—if your purpose isn’t Lewis, let me give you a piece of advice.”
“…what could it be?”
“He is dangerous. I, you, and Lewis—we all possess it. We are the same. Although I don’t know what he possesses. He has always been looking for you. You should watch your back around him.”
“I’m going to take your advice—but doesn’t the same apply to you, as well?” There was no way for Amelia to let go of what Arthur just did. She was wary of him. Next time, she would make sure to not to come into contact with him anymore.
“Well, yes. But the thing is, William is my friend. That’s why I can’t just let a shady person like Lewis stays by his side. Now, assuming the ‘shady person’ has increased to two, of course I have to do something about it—in other words, the rest is up to you.”
“Then you don’t need to worry—I will forever be on William-sama’s side!”
“That does sound reliable…”
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to trust you, or Lewis.”
One thing hadn’t been cleared yet—although she was distrustful of Arthur’s sudden dignified manner, Amelia still inquired;
“Can I ask you something?”
“Sure. Although I can’t guarantee the answer.”
“Does William-sama know…?”
“—who knows? I never spoke to any other about my power, including William. Although, whether he knows or not about Lewis’s is a mystery. One thing for sure—“
Arthur smiled and continued.
“—William is hiding something.”
“Something that not even I know.”
“…is that so.”
Amelia nodded, affirming something in her mind. She turned her back towards Arthur.
“I’m going to go ahead first. I want to be alone for a moment. Don’t follow me, Arthur-sama.”
With her back towards Arthur, Amelia said so indifferently. She walked away with steps that were very unbecoming of a lady.
***T/N : Gosh, Arthur is someone I’ll never able to adapt with. That mood swings and extreme unpredictability of his will be the end of me, for sure. And the plot, it thickeeeeens….