24. By the Lakeside (6)
The sounds of rough breathing and the trampling of the fallen leaves were all that could be heard.
“—just now, what was all that …about?”
I was upset.
“’We are all the same’—the heck?!”
I muttered without reason. I ran through the woods to distance myself as far as possible from Arthur.
Honestly, I didn’t know where I was anymore. …I just didn’t want to see Arthur again. I was …scared.
“What is… even happening…”
He said he was the same as me—and so was Lewis—what does that even mean!?
I halted my feet.
—I didn’t feel anyone following me.
“…haa…” I exhaled and adjusted my breath, before sitting under the shade of a tree.
No one is going to follow me this far…
“I need to reorganize my thoughts…”
Thus, I recalled the conversation I had with Arthur.
He said he and I were the same—‘the same’ as in what, really?
The same as in, ‘retaining previous lives’ memories’? They wouldn’t perish even if I died—‘a memory that won’t disappear’? …Or, was it that part where William would suffer ill fortunes if he became close with me? That curse-like power?
I had never met anyone who had lived for a thousand years and had such power like myself.
…Now, two people appeared at once, claiming to have the same abilities?
No, more importantly, remember what Arthur had said—Lewis was looking for me. It wasn’t a coincidence. It seemed like he had searched, and finally found me. …But why?
Deriving from what Arthur had said, William was likely a normal human-being.
I couldn’t trust him, but it didn’t seem like he harbored malicious intents towards William…
—Then, what about Lewis?
During that evening ball, William said he really trusted Lewis.
But what if Lewis knew of my purpose since the start? What if he was aware of my connection with William, and became close to William just to get a hold of me in the end?
If he planned all of that all along, ever since before William first met him—that was when he was nine years old—then surely, he was the same as me.
The biggest concern, however, until before I had appeared, Lewis may had been William’s friend—but, after that?
What would happen now, after he had achieved his goal of finding me?
Would he stay as the ‘Old Lewis’, whom was the friend of William?
I didn’t know Lewis’ real thoughts, nor his power. Why was he looking for me? Unless I knew the reason, I couldn’t make a move—
—…yet, if Lewis was to become a threat to William in the future…
“…I’ll eliminate him from William-sama’s side.”
I stood up and stared at my right hand—
—the right hand that had been dyed red a countless number of times. The right hand that had especially been trained just to protect that person.
If I could, I preferred not to resort to such method—
—but, in the worst case, I wouldn’t hesitate, for sure. For example, when William was hurt, or someone made him sad…
…Yes, I had always been like this. Anyone who threatened his life, I would remove them without mercy—after all, aren’t humans the scariest? Albeit, this time, it might cause more problems than necessary…
I narrowed my eyes. I had made my resolve.
“Now, what should I do…?” I looked around. Where am I? I couldn’t even tell my right from my left—the scenery looked the same wherever I looked. Only trees.
“Well, it’s to be expected, it’s a forest, after all.”
However, because this was on the lakeside, there should be a creek nearby.
I listened carefully—then, I heard the sound of running water amongst all the rustlings and buzzing.
“—yep, I was correct.” I triumphantly headed towards the sound.
After walking for a while, the field of view opened slightly. Although I still wasn’t sure of the distance, but it seemed that I had arrived on a cliff. The sound of water wasn’t as far as before. There was probably a river under this cliff.
I headed towards the place without vegetation and looked down the cliff—it was about five meters high from the river. The gap between them was ten meters. The flow was fast, but it wasn’t a big river. Yet still…
“…I messed up, huh?” It was hard to imagine such a big lake connected to the river. In other words, back to zero. “I wonder if there’s something else that might be—ara…?”
When I looked around, I saw the shadow of a familiar person not too far away.
…Isn’t that Carla-sama?
She stood near the cliff and stared at river.
From here, I could see her shoulders shaking.
Could she be …crying?
…Did something happen between her and William?
“…Carla-sama?” I approached slowly and called out to her. With a jolt, she turned around.
Her eyes were swollen red.
Not wanting to reveal her feelings, she turned away from me again.
“…Why are you here?” She asked in irritation.
—aah, I no longer doubted it.
William was the cause.
Just because we were engaged, it didn’t mean that he wasn’t allowed to have other relationships going on… For a long time, it had been so. After all, some marriages were in name only …I guess he’s just that kind of person.
—I guess I’m also responsible in this.
However, I had never encountered such a situation in my memories. What should I say to a brokenhearted person? What would I want said to myself if I was in her situation?
I pondered for a bit—before finally deciding to just leave.
“I’m so sorry for disturbing you.”
Choosing the safest option, I smiled and turned away—
“Hey, you! Wait!”
She stopped me …for some reason.
“…yes?” I couldn’t figure her reasons for stopping me, but she did say ‘wait’, and that’s what I did.
Thus, I turned around—
“—you, do you have nothing to say to me—!?” She said so with her swollen red eyes, thus failing to sound intimidating.
…Even so, what did she expect me to do? Apologize? Or, did she want me to comfort her? But… you sure I’m the right person?
“…uhhh.” I began thinking desperately.
Yet, it didn’t matter how profusely I thought about it—I didn’t remember ever making a friend that talked about love. Reading emotions was much more difficult than reading thoughts.
To the speechless me, she yelled until my eardrums rang.
“This is all your fault—!! If only you didn’t show up—!!”
She started crying again. “—yet, even if you didn’t, I already knew…”
Large tears flowed down her cheeks. Her eyes were the same as William’s—a deep green, as if reflecting the rich scenery of the forest. One after another, her tears spilled—they were as beautiful as a transparent pearls.
“—Why, even though I’m an absolutely better choice for him—even though I love William-sama—…”
In front of me, she bawled her eyes out like a child. I watched her do so while being silent the entire time.
Beautiful—her pure tears which contained no lies entranced my heart.
Oh, how pure, sincere, and honest she was.
She was like a pure and innocent child whose tears came directly from the heart.
“…I’m envious.” Unintentionally, the words spilled from my lips.
At the same time, she opened her eyes, surprised by my words—
…such a strange twist this was.
—strong gush of wind blew.
Her bonnet flew, and she reached out with her thin arms—
Her body leaned towards the ravine.
—right at that moment.
Before I even noticed, I had ran towards her—
—I grabbed her arm and pulled her—but,
In response, my body was thrown back, my footing was lost entirely—
“—Amelia-sama!!!” She cried out my name from the top of the cliff.
—…Thank God, she’s safe.
If something were to happen to her, William would grieve for sure…
—this is good enough…
Then, my field of view disappeared entirely.
***T/N: ‘Come on!!! That’s your reason for saving someone’s life!!?? How very shallow of you!!!’–would be my usual retort. But I guess after the death of her heart because of the 1000 years repeated reincarnation, with the lingering feeling for William the only thing left for her, this is in line with Amelia’s character.