It’s just then. In this room that doesn’t even have space for wind to blow, a sudden violent wind sweeps over. But that wind doesn’t hurt me, only caressing my cheek. There’s a sound as if something’s repeatedly struck against the wall. No matter how much time passes, there’s no signs that the knife will stab me.
I timidly open my eyes. Then I gasp at that person standing between me and Lunamerie, holding his staff, protecting me.
「So you finally called me.」
It’s a beautiful voice, not even trying to hide its displeasure. I can’t believe my ears at that voice, obviously lower than usual.
‘How… is he… here?’ Dumbfounded, I can do nothing but look up at the man who is my husband. Turning over to look at me, he leans over and helps me up. My wounds hurt again at that gesture but not that much.
「You’d still be too slow no matter how much you called.」
At a glance, he doesn’t look different from usual. But since I’ve known him for so long, I can tell. That he’s extremely angry.
Although I feel like I know the reason he’s here in a fit of anger, but that’s why I can’t understand it. How could he appear in this place at this timing? It seems he correctly understood my question, speaking indifferently even though his voice is still low.
「I gave you that bracelet with the magic jewel, didn’t I? That’s the child stone of the magic jewel in my staff. As long as you carry it with you, I can tell where you are and what you’re doing too.」
I blink without realizing at him suddenly bringing up the bracelet I wear on my wrist. This is the first time I’m hearing about this. And on top of that, that’s such an unignorable thing he said. Did he really give something like that to me?
I can’t help but squint. It seems he realizes how weird that is, awkwardly averting his eyes and mumbling:
「……Don’t make that face, this is the first time I actually used it. Besides, it’s actually helpful.」
That’s certainly true, but if you ask me whether I understand, that’s a different question. ‘We really have to have a thorough talk over this,’ I think. That reminds me, this isn’t the time for this. I look over my surroundings.
Lunamerie’s shadows have all been struck against the walls in all directions, collapsing there. The sound I heard earlier must have been the sound of them being thrown against the wall by his magic. That was a rather clever act, even for my husband. In the midst of all that, Lunamerie is the only one standing in shock, looking here as if she can’t believe it, her earlier smile vanished.
Holding me, he looks at her over his shoulder, saying as if he’s spitting the words out:
「Ronein confessed. That you bastard were behind him. Seems like he confessed pretty easily once we told him it would save Filmina’s life.
Lunamerie raises her voice in shock at his words.
「There’s, there’s no way Sir Celves would do something against my wishes!」
「No, it’s the truth. The fact that I’m here is the greatest proof of that. And now, it’s your turn, knights.」
Along with those words, he swings his cane once. The second I see its magical jewel radiate a light, the knights of the chivalric order all appear in this jail cell, standing organized in a row. The leader standing in front draws his sword from his waist, raising his voice. In this decidedly not-big room, that voice resounds clearly.
「Lunamerie Elle Valentine! For your crime of attempted murder against Filmina Von Lancent, wife of Agedilus Von Lancent, in the name of our Goddess, we bind you!」
With those words as the start, the knights and Lunamerie’s shadows begin their fight with swords. Though, the shadows have already taken damage from being thrown against the wall by that man’s magic. Their motions are different from the knights, who are in perfect condition. Even to the untrained eye it looks like the knights are overwhelmingly better, in skill and in number. Leaving his subordinates, the leader of the knights slips through the gaps in the swordplay and approaches me as I’m held in that man’s arms.
His sunrise-colored eyes glare at the leader of the knights, but the leader ignores them, using his sword to cut the rope that ties my hands behind my back. I let out a sign of relief at my arms, finally free.
He tries to hold me up in his arms; getting the better of that, I borrow his shoulder to stand up. The painkillers have worn off on my body, and I’m unsteady at my feet. I feel like I’ll fall back down any second. That man gently supports me. Under normal circumstances, I would’ve been too embarrassed to cling to him like this, but just this time I can’t say things like that.
In front of me, the leader of the knights’ usual calm smile disappears as he starts talking to me with a serious expression on his face.
「Hey, Filmina. Don’t be angry at Agedilus over this.」
I tilt my head at the unexpected words. The knights’ leader deeply lowers his head, facing me.
「Even though Ronein confessed, we couldn’t tactlessly put suspicion on someone like Valentine. It was necessary to directly step in the crime scene at all costs. I forced what Agedilus was against until the very end. While I had the princess forcibly take Agedilus away from your side, I let Valentine kidnap you. So if you have to be angry, be angry at me. Since you were almost killed anyhow. It’s alright if you don’t forgive me.」
「……No. No, it’s alright, it’s not like that.」
The leader of the knights was just doing his job, that’s all. Like he said, he couldn’t possibly treat the daughter of the Valentine family, the grandest aristocrats of the grand aristocrats, as a criminal so easily. It’s like that everywhere in the world for powerful people. Even I understand that much. But even though I’m saying that I don’t mind, 『he』 really is such an annoying creature.
「Relax – even if Filmina forgives you, I never will. Prepare yourself from now on, Alhelm.」
「Right. I’ll bear that in mind.」
……This is him. He really is so annoying.
As the three of us are having a conversation, the shadows – who are very skilled by any standard – are captured and tied up in the blink of an eye by the hands of the elite knights our country boasts of. Left is just Lunamerie, watching that dumbfoundedly.
Her light pink lips move.
「Sir Edi, haven’t you come to meet me?」
That voice sounds deeply bewildered. It’s a voice so lovely that anyone would let her do anything, but the man supporting me from behind clicks his tongue in annoyance.
「Don’t call me that. It’s disgusting. The only one I allow to call me that is Filmina.」
「So wouldn’t it be fine if Lady Filmina wasn’t here? I mean, I’m much, much more suited to Sir Edi than Lady Filmina is.」
‘Isn’t that right?’ Lunamerie tilts her head, asking that. He glares at her mercilessly. I could do nothing but look back and forth from them as they stand at parallel lines.
At his cold words, Lunamerie’s amethyst eyes grow wet.
「Why, why, Sir Edi…?」
Along with her amethyst eyes blinking, a tear falls down the young girl’s cheek. I’m sure there’s plenty of people in this world that would want to wipe that drop off her face. Even I would certainly have offered her a handkerchief if we weren’t in this situation.
Tears endlessly falling down her face, Lunamerie is as helpless as a violet drenched in the rain. How can someone like her be capable of trying to kill a person?
「I’m younger, far more beautiful, cuter than Lady Filmina, aren’t I much more suited for you?」
Invisible arrows of words pierce my chest over and over. Lunamerie just truly thinks that, doesn’t she? It’s the same as the innocent cruelty of a tender child.
「I just want Sir Edi, why does everyone have to be in the way?」
‘Why, why, why?’ Lunamerie repeats like a child that’s just started learning how to speak. She looks like she can’t understand a bit of it, can’t understand why he’s glaring at her, why the knights are looking at her like she’s something strange.
「I want Sir Edi. The wizard with black that no one else has. A prince, only for me.」
…….What is this? Gazing at Lunamerie, I tilt my head at the simmering emotion that wells up within me from the depths of my chest. A strong emotion I’ve never felt until now. Different from surprise or fear, a different emotion. As he supports me, my hand on his arm tightens unconsciously. Noticing that, he gazes at me from above. I sense his gaze but I pretend not to notice, still looking at Lunamerie. Since no one’s stopping her, she takes the opportunity to speak further.
「If it’s me, I’d be a wife worthy of Sir Edi. Even if you’re an abhorrent Black-Hair, I’ll be sure to accept you just like that.」
She smiles a smile that could be called sweet, even while it’s wet with tears. She nods countless times at her own words.
「Yes, that’s right. The only one that can accept you is me. Even Lady Filmina’s actually scared, isn’t she? There’s no way someone the likes of Lady Filmina can accept something as repulsive as a Black-Hair. But I’m different. No matter how scary it is, I’m the only one who……」
That’s all I calmly heard of Lunamerie’s speech. She’s still talking, but none of those words reach my ears.
Instead of that, ‘snap’. I hear something snap inside me.
Ignoring his puzzled call, I slip out of his arms. He hurriedly reaches out his arm to me again as I feel like my body will wobble from the pain, but I control him with my gaze. He stiffens, surprised. Taking that as a good opportunity, I step forward, standing in front of Lunamerie. She blinks, wide-eyed. I smile sweetly at her. And then.
That strong sound resounds in the room. I hear someone gasp. Many of the knights gape open-mouthed. I can’t see the expressions of the man and the knights’ leader behind me, but they’re probably making the same faces as the knights. In front of me, Lunamerie holds her cheek that I slapped, looking at me with her mouth open, flabbergasted.
I feel just slightly gratified at how she looks like she has no idea what just happened. But the boiling emotion within me – namely, anger – isn’t something that can possibly calm down.
「——I’m deeply sorry. For moving my hand.」
Lunamerie’s shoulders jump in surprise. Oh my, that’s so strange. I just apologized normally, but this is like I’m bullying her. Even though I think it was just the sound that was loud; my wounded body couldn’t have been that strong, so it can’t have hurt that much.
Holding her cheek, Lunamerie trembles all over. Looking at the panic in her eyes, I know that dealing the final blow here would surely be a brutish act, but I still just have to say it.
「I’m certainly not a graceful white lily like the princess or a lovely violet like you. It’s really all right. You don’t have to go ahead and say it, I know it very well myself. Like you say, I’m a weed that can’t be a lovely flower even if I stand beside Edi.
Saying that, I deepen my sweet smile even more. Lunamerie softly murmurs, 「Ah……」 Her face grows even paler. I don’t mean to bully her or threaten her, so this reaction of hers is just a bit unintentional for me. But oh well, it’s fine. If she doesn’t reply back with anything, then I’ll just say what I want to say, that’s all.
「But, please don’t underestimate the life force of a weed. I believe that my feelings for Edi are so strong they’ll never lose to anyone, just like a weed. Black-Hair? The hero of the saved world? So what? At least all those titles are nothing more than mere trivialities for me.」
Yes, just like the woodsorrel with yellow petals that I embroidered on the handkerchief I gave him once. No matter how much I’m plucked off, my heart remains the same.
I can’t deny that certainly, the reason I was first interested in him was because of his nostalgic black hair. I accept that. But, how can anyone think that was all it took for me to go so far as marry him?
Lunamerie says she wants ‘Agedilus Von Lancent’. But it’s no use. I can’t let go of him anymore. Even if Lunamerie really is the one worthy of him. I think, ‘I can’t let him go,’ and then, ‘I don’t want to let him go.’
「Edi has such a twisted personality, a sharp tongue, unsociable and obstinate, coldhearted, and then more than anything, he is so outrageously tactless. Do you know that?」
I hear the knights’ leader snort from behind. 「Oi, oi, I told you!」 「…….Shut up.」 At the same time, I also hear whispers of conversation going around me, but now isn’t the time to listen to that.
The ‘Agedilus Von Lancent’ Lunamerie wants is just like a doll. He’s good in just looks, and on the inside, he’s empty, nothing more than a convenient doll for her. Certainly the same as how a baby wants a doll. Give me a break. How could I give over my husband to someone like this?
The man that became my husband, the ‘Agedilus Von Lancent’ that I know, he isn’t a big-hearted person to hang out with someone and play. If he was that soft, I wouldn’t have had to go through so much trouble. If he really was that soft, I wouldn’t have been so charmed by him in the first place. It’s because he’s the ‘Agedilus Von Lancent’ that I know, that’s why I was charmed by him, that’s why I can’t let go of him.
「If you’d still choose Edi If he wasn’t a Black-Hair, if he wasn’t a hero, if he wasn’t beautiful, then I’ll fight you fair and square too. Well now, please be sure to beat that personality of his into shape, touch it up.」
I declare that, smiling sweetly. ‘If she has a comeback to that, I’ll take up her challenge.’ Thinking that, I look at Lunamerie only to see her flop down, sitting as if she’s lost her strength.
Two knights make her stand up.
For a second, I feel like I’ve said too much to this lovely, beautiful girl with looks that invite everyone’s sympathy. But since she said more than that to me, I’ll say we’re even. I was almost killed in the first place too. If this much of a counterattack breaks her heart, it’s ridiculous to try to kill me as I’m currently enjoying my second life. Yes, I’m alive. I’m alive.
I can’t respond to his call. Instead of that, my body suddenly gets goosebumps. Lunamerie wasn’t the only one trembling all over. I’ve been shaking the same as her. At the delayed fear and the pain that runs through my body, I become increasingly unable to stop my trembling. A feeling like the ground’s shaking, that feeling attacks my whole body.
With that man’s and the knights’ leader’s calls being the last things I hear, my consciousness slips into darkness.