The Marquis’ Amnesia 8
Chapter Eight: The Unheard Past
Alphonse’s sky-blue eyes were turned towards my husband.
“You’re amazing, Lily. Because of you, Will, who is a misogynist, now sleeps on his wife’s laps.”
Before I knew it, he had referred to me by nickname. I didn’t feel the slightest bit uncomfortable. It must had been because of Alphonse’s human virtue. He seemed to be very good at bonding with people.
I couldn’t ask for the true meaning behind Alphonse’s words. Thus, I turned my eyes to my husband.
“I believe he’s merely lonely after losing his amnesia. I doubt he knows who I am. Since my husband’s family is nowhere near, he has taken an interest to me, merely because I hold the title of a wife. I’m sure that when his memory returns…”
My husband, who was asleep on my lap, had a peaceful sleeping expression. When his memory returned, I was sure he wouldn’t show me such an expression anymore.
“Does Lily think that once Will’s memory has returned, he won’t stay the same?”
Unable to see Alphonse’s face, I silently nodded.
That night, my husband told me, “Trust me.” But I couldn’t just take his words for it.
On the bedroom during our first night, I was told by my husband that he had no intention of having children. Even though nothing was more important to an aristocrat than preserving their bloodline. It was truly important in order to protect the house, the territory, and the people.
My husband despised me to the point that he refused to do that.
Therefore, I couldn’t believe his words. By no means was my husband at fault. After all, Elsa, Frederick, and Arthur had told me that my husband was a proud knight who thought of that kingdom more than anyone else. He was the marquis who cared about the people more than anything else.
In the last two weeks, I had experienced the truth behind their words myself. Even if he was amnesic, his pride as an aristocrat and a knight, which had been ingrained within his heart, hadn’t wavered.
I was hated to the point that my husband forsook his duty as an aristocrat. As such, I didn’t know what or how to believe.
I gently entwined his amber hair around my fingertips. It felt as if the voices of the cicadas had grown louder than before. I felt that the weakness I had been hiding was resurfacing.
“I’m afraid to believe in my husband… I’m afraid to become accustomed with his kindness… When he remembers, I’m sure he will hate me again…”
If the one who hated me was the husband that I had only met twice, the wound would be shallow.
However, as of the present, the mere thought of him despising me shredded my heart.
“…I’m sure Will is to blame for this. But, returning to the main topic, do you know the real reason behind Will’s dislike for women?”
I didn’t quite hear the first half of his sentence, but I could understand his question. My heart was uneasy.
Still, I lifted my face and tilted my head. Alphonse seemed lonely.
“…I heard that my husband is quite a popular man. Women would scramble all over him. As a result, he became a misogyny…”
After he muttered a reply, Alphonse put his hand under his chin. He looked up and squinted at the sun beyond the sunbeams. The breeze swayed Alphonse’s honey-colored hair.
“Well, since he himself had forgotten, and I don’t think any of the servants would say a word about it… Alright, for the sake of my friend, I’ll tell you.”
Alphonse turned to me and opened his mouth. It was as if he had made some sort of arrangement with himself. I didn’t understand the meaning of his words. I merely tilted my head as I waited for him to continue.
“Do you know that Will became famous for his martial arts after the war with the neighboring kingdom seven years ago?”
“Yes, Elsa, a maid, has taught me…”
“Do you know that Will had a fiancée at that time?”
It was unexpected.
With a bitter smile, Alphonse moistened his throat with a tea. By that time, the tea must had grown cold. Perhaps, it was because of my expression.
“Back in his school days, Will was an excellent student. After graduating, he became an excellent knight. If judged based on swordsmanship only, he was amongst the five strongest warriors in this kingdom. However, the Marquis of Springfield is a great nobleman who has a connection with the royal family. That idiot was jealous of Will. He sent Will to the frontline… but, contrary to the fool’s expectation, Will used a splendid tactic and managed to slay the enemy general. He defeated them, destroyed their formation, drove the enemy forces to ruin, and created a chance for our kingdom to achieve victory.”
A glint of proudness could be seen within Alphonse’s eyes as he turned to look at my husband.
“As the division leader of the 1st Division, he has been contributing greatly to our kingdom. He has also protected the royal capital. I’m the deputy division leader, but since I’m also the crown prince, I’ll be leaving the knights. By the time I sit on the throne, Will is supposed to become the new leader.”
“My husband is a great person, isn’t he?”
Once again, I realized what a wonderful man my husband was.
Alphonse nodded with a giggle.
“Well, back to the story, Will had a fiancée that his father had decided for him when he was 17-years-old. It’s your usual arranged marriage. His partner was the daughter of a marquis. She was a year younger than us. She’s the opposite of Lily, if I were to liken Lily to the moonlight on a quiet night, she’s like the dazzling midsummer sunshine.”
When I looked up, there was a bright sun behind the many layers of branches and leaves. The dazzling sunshine that illuminated everything made me lower my face and avert my gaze.
“Will’s parents are a very intimate couple. Will, who grew up watching them, also cherished his fiancée. Back then, he wasn’t unkind. At the same time, he was naïve. The engaged couple were doing pretty well, but… when they were about to get married in three months, Will is ordered to go to the battlefield. Their wedding was postponed. Will promised his fiancée that he’ll definitely return alive and went to the battlefield. His fiancée also made an amulet and sent Will off while wishing him a safety return. However…”
As I looked up to Alphonse, who had grown silent, I noticed the look of contempt on his face. He was smiling sadly.
“…A little over a year later, when he returned, his fiancée was already pregnant.”
For a moment, it was as if every sound had disappeared from the world. The cicadas, the rustling of the leaves, the wind—everything seemed to have been blown away due to my shock.
“…I, is it my husband’s?”
Stunned, I asked.
Alphonse slowly shook his head.
“It would’ve been nice if such is the case… However, Will was on the border, waging a war against the neighboring kingdom far from the royal city for over a year and could never return. Meanwhile, she was six months pregnant. It’d be strange for the child to be Will’s, right? That would account for one of the world’s biggest wonder.”
Alphonse shrugged his shoulders before sighing for a long time.
“Will cherished the amulet given by his fiancée and fought tooth and nail on the battlefield. There were many conflicts—still, Will fought. On the battlefield where corpses rolled on the mountain, while wielding his sword. He didn’t give up on living. He didn’t let those morons harass him. He gave it all to the point that he couldn’t be thought of as a mere knight anymore. As such, it was an utter shock to him. His fiancée was visibly plump for reasons other than obesity.”
Alphonse’s dry laughter was mixed with the voice of cicada that had come to be heard before I knew it.
“Moreover, it was with a stranger she had met in the masquerade ball. A man she didn’t know anything about. Towards Will, who was in too much shock to comprehend anything, what do you think was her excuses? She said that it was because she was lonely. He took too long to return. He didn’t buy her any dresses or jewelry. He didn’t come to see her at all, which made her doubt his love for her. She was fully convinced that she wasn’t in the wrong. She also told Will that it didn’t mean anything. For the first time in my life, I saw will screaming at a woman with a look of contempt on his face.”
Although he spoke casually as if it was nothing, Alphonse’s expression, as he stared at me, betrayed his actual feelings. Due to the regret, sadness, and anger that still remained within him, Alphonse’s sky-blue eyes were contorted with complex colors.
“…Of course, the engagement was annulled in the end. The lady was disowned… but the baby wasn’t guilty, therefore she married a merchant. Will’s father, the former marquis, also felt guilty. After all, he was the one who matched Will with that woman. Thus, he gave up his reign and retired. Afterwards, Will became distrustful of women. Well, it isn’t unreasonable. I can only imagine Will’s feelings. I truly thought that it was sad, painful, and harrowing.”
Alphonse casted his gaze down and smiled bitterly. He picked up the cup again and brought it to his mouth to moisten his throat.
“To make matters worse, Will is the hero of the kingdom. As such, a lot of women approached Will. But none of them saw William as a man he is. It was to his title that they confessed their love to. In the end, it led to an ugly fight over Will. Thus, Will became the man he is.”
The faint sound of clanking as the cup was returned to the saucer rang in my ears.
He appealed to me with his gaze.
“Will, who is presently taking good care of you, is the true personality of this man. Will knows love—he’s a kind man who is capable of loving. Despite what I said earlier… I actually though that it’s fortunate of him to lose his memories. While those memories certainly made William Rutherford the man he is today, it comes at the cost of his current peaceful, slumbering, expression.”
I turned to face my husband, who was on my lap. My husband was sleeping at ease.
While the scary husband of my memory was certainly mighty, my husband, whom was currently vast asleep, was the live definition of peace.
“The words and feelings that Will gives you are genuine. I understand where your unease came from. An adult man who is ten years your senior forsook you for an entire year. I don’t think you can forgive him so easily, and I know that you’re still distrustful… But, I want my precious best friend to be happy.”
Alphonse showed a truly gentle smile. Alphonse’s words were filled with concern. He was truly thoughtful to his precious best friend that I could understand the sincerity of his wish.
Still, I wasn’t confident enough to say yes.
When I looked down to escape his gaze, my husband stretched himself. When I thought that his eyelids quivered, my husband’s bright blue eyes opened.
“…Liliana, what’s wrong?”
What kind of expression was I making? To my husband, who anxiously narrowed his eyes, I smiled in a hurry.
“You see, my husband… that, Crown Prince Alphonse is here…”
My words awakened my husband at once. He woke up vigorously. The moment he saw Alphonse, he was incredibly shocked.
“Al, didn’t you promise to come at three o’clock?”
“It’s because I couldn’t meet Lily when I came the day before yesterday.”
Alphonse replied nonchalantly. Apparently, Alphonse visited the mansion the day before yesterday. I didn’t know. I was spending the afternoon in my room without being aware of a visiting guest.
“I was so surprised at how beautiful she is. No wonder Will fell for her. I couldn’t see her face well during the wedding.”
“Need I remind you that Liliana is my wife?”
“But isn’t it only on paper?”
For a moment, Alphonse’s retort caused my husband to furrow his eyebrows. He snarled with regret and waved as if to shoo the crown prince.
“Go to the study first… or rather, did you say anything unnecessary while I was sleeping?”
When he was in front of Alphonse, my husband’s atmosphere was different than usual. My husband and Alphonse had known each other ever since an early age. As such, even if he lost his memories, their closeness might not have changed.
“We’re just chatting happily. Isn’t that so, Lily?”
“Don’t casually refer to my wife as ‘Lily’!”
“Don’t be such a narrowminded man? I’m merely entertaining Lily, who might be depressed because of her amnesic husband, by telling her some funny stories. About that one time when the deputy leader got so angry at you, you have to stand in the corridor. Or about that time when you snuck some bell peppers into your subordinates’ meals to the point that the aunt of the cafeteria yelled at you.”
It was a first for me to hear those stories. My husband’s dislike of vegetables seemed to be hardcore.
“You don’t have to tell her that?! There must’ve been something else you can talk about!?”
My husband’s cheeks were bright red. Alphonse seemed to be enjoying himself. Since I was my husband’s wife, I had to take his side.
“It’s alright, my husband. Cedric isn’t good with bell pepper, either.”
For some reason, my husband silently slumped to my lap. I was truly concerned about my husband, who had grown silent and motionless.
“Ahahaha! You’re compared with Cedric, who’s 9-years-old, ahahaha!”
Alphonse burst in laughter.
“I, I’m not likening Cedric to my husband! It doesn’t matter if you aren’t good with bell peppers! I won’t tell anyone!”
I noticed my mistake and made an excuse in a hurry. My husband wrapped his arms around my waist and remained in such a position. I suddenly recalled that similar thing had happened before. My husband, who visited my room for the first time, was stuck with burying his face in my lap just like that moment. Fortunately, I recalled Elsa’s advice from that time.
I gently caressed his amber hair as I did then. As I slipped my fingertips between his hair, I sought help from Alphonse. However, Alphonse was still clutching his stomach as he laughed.
After that, things remained as they did. But after Alphonse had stopped laughing, my husband also raised his face.
“Liliana, I’m sorry, I have some business to take care of with this moron. I’ll visit your room again after dinner.”
“Eeeh? Should you be referring to me that way? In fact, shouldn’t you be asking me politely?”
Out of nowhere, Alphonse flashed a scroll of letter tied with a red ribbon. My husband silently glared at Alphonse. Once again, instead of shrinking away, Alphonse appeared to be amused.
No matter how close they were, was it alright to refer to the crown prince of the kingdom as a ‘moron’?
“Alright, for the sake of the cute Lily, I shall give you a pass.”
“Don’t call her Lily!”
“Okay, okay, see you again, Lily. Next time, I shall bring you a cake made by my pastry chef as a souvenir. Therefore, let’s have a cup of tea again.”
With that said, Alphonse went to the mansion to escape from my husband.
After seeing his gentle smile, I rushed to answer, “Yes!” Afterwards, he left while waving his hand alongside Arthur, who had suddenly appeared.
“Liliana, what else did he say? Did he say anything strange? Are you alright?”
My husband, who was glaring at Alphonse’s back, turned to me.
“He inquired about your current state. He has also told me that you’re an excellent and wonderful knight.”
I didn’t have the courage to mention his former fiancée.
“Is that so?”
“Yes, he’s a kind person. He doesn’t nitpick about my lackluster mannerism.”
“…I have no memory of him at all. But for some reason, I can trust him. At the same time, I’m also annoyed at him.”
Based on the way Alphonse behaved, in the past, he must had made fun of my husband a lot. I didn’t bring it up because I felt sure my husband was aware of it.
“Will you return to the room?”
“No, I’ll stay a little longer because the breeze feels nice.”
“I see, but don’t stay for too long. Although it feels cool under the shade, it’ll be worrisome if you get heatstroke.”
“Yes, thank you for your concern.”
I honestly thanked him. My husband was a kind person who was concerned with my physical condition.
“Then, I’ll see you at dinner.”
Alongside Frederick, who had come before I knew it, my husband returned to the mansion. Along the way, he glanced back at me several times, to which I waved my hand. Then, with satisfaction, my husband waved his hand as well and returned to the mansion with satisfaction.
“Milady, are you alright?”
Elsa came over and asked with anxiety.
“My legs just feel a bit numb. With a little patience, I’ll recover soon.”
I had been sitting all the time with my husband’s head on top of my lap. Therefore, my legs felt numb. My husband didn’t seem to notice it, but the same couldn’t be said about Elsa. After the biggest numbing wave had passed, only a spicy and tickling numbness remained. I waited for it to gradually disappear.
Elsa, who was tidying my dress, paused and raised her face.
I’d like to inquire about my husband’s fiancée, but I couldn’t put it into words because I was so stubborn.
“…Did you receive any letter from Cedric?”
I tilted my head while repenting to god for making my precious younger brother an escape route. Elsa apologized while shaking her head.
“I’m asking everyone to let me know if a letter arrives… but, it’s already this late into the month…”
I nodded. While I was worried about my husband’s fiancée, the same went for Cedric. Usually, his letter would arrive by the beginning of the second week of a month. As of the present, it was the end of the third week.
“…I’m planning to go to the bazaar with my husband tomorrow. The Alwin family isn’t too far from our house. Would you like me to see what’s going on in your home?”
Elsa’s encouraging words uplifted my feelings. I nodded while saying yes.
“Then, I shall ask for permission at dinner. How’s your legs, Milady? The afternoon is still hot. Let’s return to your room, soon. I’ll ask another person to clean up the rest.”
“I’m alright, see?”
I stood up with my numb legs. Elsa’s expression relaxed. She took out a parasol and handed it to me. I thanked Elsa as we returned to the mansion together.