16. What is Love? (3)
That night, god was acting strange.
“…Is there something on my face?”
God kept staring at me.
If I were to be stared at so seriously, I’d be nervous, right…?
Especially when the other party had an extraordinarily good-looking face. I liked to think that after meeting the royal siblings, I was accustomed to beautiful faces. Still, god was exceptionally beautiful. Maybe it was due to the background… regardless, he was beautiful.
God spoke as I turned away.
“Are you stupid?”
“…I received that same rant earlier in the day.”
“I want to say the same, as well. Really, how foolish. Why won’t you focus on your own happiness? That prince’s younger brother is a good man. His brother is unfaithful to you, so why don’t you just switch to him? You may not be able to get married in the end, but if you are able to find true love and are happily taken care of, then what’s the problem? Isn’t that a very happy ending?”
What part of that is a happy end?
But pointing that out would have been foolish. In the end, I only sighed. It was my usual respond.
Even so, god didn’t understand.
“Well, that’s to be expected of you. It may go against your pride as an aristocrat to be unfaithful. But please give me a reason. Why do you refuse to give yourself a distraction to heal from your wounds? Why don’t you just travel to various places? It shouldn’t be a problem for you to just be honest with your desires and spoil yourself.”
“I’m not particularly interested in doing any of that.”
“Do you love the second prince’s older brother that much?”
Like I said to His Highness Zafield during the day, I respected how serious and hardworking His Highness Sazanjill was. But that didn’t seem to be what the god was asking.
As expected, I couldn’t lie to a god—so let’s just be honest.
“The thing that is commonly known as love… I honestly never thought about it.”
“In your mind, there’s no one in particular?”
Because love had nothing to do with me. Ever since I had been born, my marriage partner had already been decided. It was also common for men to have concubines, as it was with women having various lovers. Not to mention, I was about to be married into the royal family. There was also the issue of succession—which, of course, was out of the question.
…Hence, love was unnecessary. I was destined to love only His Highness Sazanjill for the remainder of my life.
Towards such a me, god spoke.
“…What a pitiful person.”
…I couldn’t understand what he had said.
I merely acted my part as the duke’s daughter, someone who was born to be a princess, right?
—besides, the one who decided such a fate for me—
—wasn’t it you?
Therefore, I pretended to be oblivious.
“Who are you talking about?”
“Don’t be angry. I just want you to have a happy ending.”
Within me, something snapped.
“—It’s none of your business!”
Ahh, why isn’t there anything around right now?
Be it a glass, or a fan, it didn’t matter. I felt like throwing stuff at the man who could only talk in front of me.
What was wrong with me?
I smiled gracefully.
Even then and in the past—hadn’t I lived earnestly as a candidate to become duchess and the princess? Did I do anything wrong? Did god have any problems with me?
“I’m dying in thirty-six days, what more do you want?!”
I shut my quivering lips. If I were to speak any longer, I wouldn’t be able to retain my senses. I wouldn’t be able to stand on my own two feet until the end—that was what I felt.
Because of my distorted vision, I didn’t know what kind of face god was making.
“Sooner or later, ‘death’ is a path that everyone must take. Hence, you can do whatever you like.”
His voice was very gentle—which made me feel even more miserable.
—36 days remaining.
However, the next night after having that quarrel.
“Hey, god, I thought I wouldn’t be able to meet you today.”
“…You didn’t want to see me?”
Oh, how unusual, you’re turning away from me?
If that’s what you’ve decided, then I won’t hold back.
“I didn’t say that.”
He sneaked a glance at me, before averting his gaze once again. It probably wasn’t my fault.
—35 days remaining.
The night when I fell down violently during my practice of sidestepping.
“…Hey, are you going to talk to me today?”
“It isn’t like I was ignoring you yesterday?”
“That’s right, but… what are you so upset about?”
“I’m not upset at all.”
That’s a lie!? He’s definitely upset!
Even so, god refused to drop his stubbornness.
I let out a sigh.
“Are you a child?”
Then, god snorted.
“A god doesn’t have the concept of age. If you think god is a child, then he is a child. If you think that god is an old man, then he is an old man.”
“What a quibble.”
That might be true, but isn’t that still mean!?
—34 days remaining.
That night, I made some consecutives appointments with Lumiere for that weekend. She was so happy, she cried.
I thought about it.
“I said, hey.”
Even if god spoke to me, I’d remain silent.
It was payback. I would keep turning away.
As I kept doing so—at last, god put his foot down.
“What an attitude! I’ve never ignored you, but now you’re giving me the cold shoulder!?”
“But you only say mean things.”
I couldn’t help but say something about his childish behavior.
God, who paused, straightforwardly asked me.
“Do you want me to act more concerned about you?”
“You’re the one who said that it’s none of my business, didn’t you?”
“…I didn’t say I didn’t like it.”
“Didn’t like what?”
“I mean, your advice is pretty unnecessary, but I didn’t say I didn’t like your concern.”
“Wow, what selfishness.”
It was probably my fault.
Still, it couldn’t be helped because it felt good.
Before I could turn away once again, god asked me in a very gentle voice.
“Do you like the second prince’s older brother?”
“He’s a hard-worker. I think that he’s suitable as the future king.”
“That’s not what I’m asking. I’m asking if you love him as a man.”
“…Isn’t that kind of thing unnecessary?”
I wondered if he’d call me pitiful again…
I involuntarily revealed the emptiness I felt.
“But, if I could experience that feeling…”
I didn’t say anything beyond that. It couldn’t be helped—
—oh? Wait a minute…
“God, do you remember our initial promise?”
“Our initial promise? A gamble for your death to be beautiful?”
“That’s right. It’s still in effect, isn’t it?”
God firmly nodded.
Depending on my death, I could get what I wanted in my next life.
I had come up with something very good.
I was able to laugh again, “Fufu…”
“What? That smile, it feels ominous.”
“God, why are you scared of a lady? Also, how rude.”
Giving a casual reply to god, who withdrew a step, my mood steadily rose.
I had decided.
I was truly looking forward to 31 days from then on!
But before that, I still had something to do.
“As for this weekend, it’s a fun three-day holiday!”
“…Can such a schedule be called that?”
God skeptically asked, and my reply was instant.
***T/N: …And now they’re having a lover quarrel…
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