17. An Important Place
Looking at me, someone who was unable to bear it and started to cry, Noel became concerned.
That was my first time hearing about his past—it was too painful and sad.
At the same time, I also learned about how much he thought about me. The joy and remorse almost crushed my chest.
Because I grew up being loved by my parents, I didn’t understand his feelings. I couldn’t find any words to say to him. I muttered, “I’m sorry.” in a small voice, and he stared at me—both weirdly and in embarrassment.
“Why would you apologize?”
“Because of me…”
Because of me, Noel had to abandon his dreams. All because I thoughtlessly said, “Noel is the only one for me.”
…But, if I hadn’t done that, he’d probably be marrying another woman. If I went back in time, I’d surely say the same thing again.
Noel gently smiled at me.
“You don’t have to apologize. I did it for my own sake.”
Noel was truly kind. I couldn’t stop crying because he patted my head. He was too sweet for me.
“—I love you. For the rest of my life, you’re the only one for me.”
He gave me the words I told him that day.
That touched my heart more than anything else.
Once my restriction spell resolved, I shall explain everything. I expect him to be angry. I will apologize many—dozens of times—until he forgives me. I shall confess to him over and over. In my heart, I vowed that.
“Sherry, it’s your day off tomorrow, right? If you’re alright with it, why don’t we go out together?”
A few days later, in the evening, Noel invited me out over dinner.
After that day, I stopped locking myself away in my room and returned to my normal life. At work, I apologized to everyone for suddenly taking off. Upon being told that I could take more time off, I realized how fortunate I was.
Maybe because I lost some weight over those few days, Noel kept pestering me to eat every morning and night. No matter how busy he was, all my favorite foods were served on the table. I felt like I was truly being pampered.
Only a week remained until the spell was lifted.
Honestly, I wanted to stay as quiet as possible. However, it wasn’t like I could refuse going on a date with Noel.
“Don’t worry, I will protect you.”
What was more, if he—the most wonderful knight of all—promised me such, there was no choice but to nod.
As I kept repeating what he said in my heart and mind, I forgot to eat, causing him to worry again.
On the appointed day, I was enthusiastic. After making sure that I was as fashionable as possible, I boarded the carriage with Noel. He was as beautiful as a prince who jumped out of the fairy tale.
Afterwards, we wandered around the city without any destination in mind and saw a popular stage play. I was wondering why I was so happy even though it was nothing more than a normal date.
We had lunch at a popular restaurant and enjoyed leisure shopping from the afternoon. As usual, I could only take a casual attitude, but I was glad he seemed to be having fun.
“The other day, I found something that would match well with you.”
Then, Noel took me to a fashionable, luxurious, jewelry store.
When I looked around, I saw amazing pieces of jewelry. While feeling a cold sweat, I wondered if there was something that would truly fit me in such a place. I tried to stay nonchalant as I entered the store beside him.
“As expected, it looks good on you.”
“…Is that so.”
A beautiful amethyst necklace was gleaming from my neck. However, my expression was as flat as ever. By all means, I was unworthy of such a piece of jewelry. At the same time, I realized it bore the same color as Noel’s eyes.
After smiling with satisfaction, he immediately decided to purchase it. No matter how many times I said I couldn’t accept such an expensive item, he was indignant that I wear it.
In the end, after he bought it for me, I decided to wear it forever and make it my heirloom. The floaty feeling of joy caused me to feel lightheaded. I felt ready to drift into the sky.
When we exited the store, the sky had already begun to turn red. I felt lonely thinking that we were about to return home. Noel suddenly took my hand and smiled.
“There’s one more place I want to visit.”
“Where is it?”
“It’s an important place for me.”
…Noel’s important place. I had no idea where it was, but I was glad he wanted to take me to such a place.
It was a small hill at the end of a certain road. As we held hands, we steadily climbed up it. Eventually, when we reached the summit, I lost my breath.
“It’s a very beautiful sunset.”
Beyond Noel, who smiled after saying that, there was a breathtakingly beautiful, colorful, crimson sky.
“…Whenever I feel like it’s too hard, I always come here.”
He looked up at the sky with reminiscing stare.
His profile, coupled with the fantastic scenery, was so beautiful, it reached the point of being otherworldly.
“Whenever I had a hard time and just wanted to run away, I came here. Whenever I saw this sky, I felt like I could still do my best.”
…I didn’t know.
When he first joined the knight order, he—the son of an aristocrat—was accustomed to preferential treatment. He was rarely exposed to the life of a commoner. No matter how strong his magic was, there was no way he’d instantly acclimated to the harsh training. He most likely had a difficult time back then.
“The evening sky has the same color as your eyes. Whenever I think about the future with you, I feel like I can endure anything.”
—to him, were my eyes that beautiful?
Before Noel, who laughed shyly, I realized that he considered me his support. I realized how much he loved me, and I wanted to cry right away.
That day, too, he confessed to me.
“I love you, Sherry.”
“It’s nice coming out to the city once in a while. Does Noel often come here?”
“I’m not good with crowds, so I only come occasionally.”
While looking out from the window of the carriage, Rufus, the great priest, smiled a little.
That day, Noel was escorting him to a neighboring town. During the trip, they swayed in a carriage together. During that time, Rufus would speak about how much he wanted to see the city.
For some reason, Rufus seemed to favor me. I was often chosen as his escort.
Then, when I casually looked out of the window, I spotted Sherry amongst the crowd. She walked happily while talking with her colleague, the same woman I saw in her office the other day. Even though I saw Sherry every day, I felt happy whenever I caught a glimpse of her.
Probably because I was staring at her too much, Rufus asked me.
“Are you acquainted with her?”
When I told him that she was my fiancée, Rufus also turned towards Sherry.
He then said, “The color of her eyes are truly beautiful. She must be a nice person.”
“Yes, she’s kinder than anyone else.”
“The same goes for you, Noel.”
Rufus had a keen eye for people. He got his current position precisely because of that. It was said that he perceived people’s personalities and magic as colors.
“Say, Noel, why does your fiancée have a restriction spell cast on her?”
“…A restriction spell?”
“Yes, and quite a powerful one, at that.”
Since the one who said that was Rufus, there was no reason to doubt him. However, I had never heard of such a story.
I immediately came into a conclusion that she was entrapped by someone. However, Rufus said that judging from the color, she consented to the spell. Hence, the spell gained more strength.
…Why would Sherry consent to such a magic?
I felt anxious, but decided to just ask her about it after she came home that day—
—or so I thought.
That very same day, Sherry vanished.
***T/N: Ahaha, nice. Well, considering Noel’s personality, it wouldn’t be weird for the necklace to have tracker or sth like that, jk…