“Now, will you explain to me what is happening?”
Clara bit her lips and lowered her head. “You already heard. I want to become the church’s holy daughter.”
“Don’t give me that crap, Clara. You and I know that you never liked the church.” I said in an ice-cold tone. “In fact, I even thought for an instant that you hated the thought of marrying me so much that you preferred to become the holy daughter or whatever. However, that doesn’t explain why you didn’t cancel the engagement outright and instead asked me to cancel it. If you truly hate me, you would not have done such a sacrifice.”
“Moreover, you have been avoiding me for a while. You even excused yourself from attending my birthday ball.”
“… I’m sorry Claus. But I can’t tell you…” Clara said with a shaking tone.
“You don’t need to tell me. Actually, I already have an idea. Someone is forcing you to stop your relationship with me, right?”
Clara’s body shook. She opened her lips to refute me, but the words were unable to escape her mouth.
“… Was it your family?”
Clara did not answer. But her expression told me everything.
For an instant, none of us spoke.
I looked at Clara and sighed deeply. “Please, can you explain to me what happened?”
Clara’s expression distorted. Soon, I realized that her eyes had turned red, and tears had started to form in the corner of her eyes.
“… It happened after we were engaged. Father was pretty happy with our engagement. My family is just a normal noble family, and even if you are not the heir to the throne, you are still a prince. After we married, I would get the title of princess.
“… I was very happy. Claus, you know that I always have loved you. In fact, part of the reason father agreed to our engagement was that he knew about my feelings. The days after we were engaged were some of the happiest days of my life.” A reminiscent expression appeared on Clara’s face. For an instant, her expression seemed truly blissful.
But in the next instant, the bliss turned into sadness.
“My nightmare started a few days after that. One day, my father suddenly received a group of visitors. Even today, I don’t know their identities, but father treated them very respectfully. Father received the visitors in his office, and they talked about something. I’m not sure what they talked about, but when the visitors left, father’s face seemed much older and… afraid.
“The following days, father’s condition worsened. He seemed constantly worried about something, as though he had to take a very difficult decision. Even today, father has not recovered completely.
“Finally, an afternoon, father called me to her office. He told me… He told me that I could not marry you.” Clara put on a bitter expression. I could see the pain and sadness she was feeling currently.
“At first, I thought he was joking. But when I saw his eyes, I knew it was true. I remember I refused bitterly. Father then raised his voice and started to yell to me, but I continued refusing. Even when father threatened me to lock me inside my room, I refused! I told him that I would marry you even if I had to escape!
“However, when father told me that our family would be destroyed if I married you, I could not keep my determination…
“That night, I cried bitterly. I truly wanted to marry you, Claus. When we were children, I dreamed of one day becoming your wife and having children… However, how can I put my family at risk due to my selfishness?!
“So the next day, I told father that I agreed. I remember father heaving a sigh and apologizing to me with tears on his eyes. Do you know, Claus? That was the only time I saw father crying…
“It’s not easy to cancel an engagement with a prince. Our family can’t afford to do so without a good enough reason. As such, father asked me to keep a distance from you. Then, when the opportunity presents itself, He would cancel the marriage.
“A few days ago, father and I visited the Church of Order. For some reason, I acquired the goddess’s recognition and became a candidate to the holy daughter’s position…”
Clara raised her face and looked at me. Her face was covered in tears. Clara was smiling, but her smile was filled with pain and sadness. She seemed as though she was going to shatter with the slightest touch.
“Actually, I’m pretty happy. Even if I’m unable to marry you, we were engaged for a while. Don’t worry Claus, in this life, I’ll not marry anyone but you. So, if I can’t marry you, then perhaps it’s for the best if I become this holy daughter or whatever.”
“Clara…” I stared at Clara with a complicated expression. I never imagined that she was suffering so much.
Actually, I realized that something was wrong with Clara long ago, but to be honest, I did not care. For someone like me, most problems are things I can resolve by snapping my fingers. But precisely because of that, I’m too lazy to pay attention to them as long as they don’t affect my life directly.
You can say that it’s a side-effect of having lived for so long.
‘Me’ of the fiftieth reincarnation would have acted immediately if he had the slightest suspicion that something was wrong with anyone close to me. But the ‘me’ of now is still hiding his strength simply because it’s more entertaining this way.
How lame. I wonder how I fell to this state.
… Living for so long is not always good, after all.
I heaved a sigh and walked towards Clara before hugging her. Clara did not reject my hug and simply continued to cry. I felt pity when I saw her bitter tears flowing down on her face.
After a while, Clara finally began to calm down. She grabbed my arms and held them tightly.
“… I’m sorry, Claus. I love you, I truly love you…”
“No, it’s my fault. I’m the reason you have to go through this.”
Clara fell silent. She rested her body against mine and smiled. “… Hey Claus, we never kissed even once, you know? Can you…”
I smiled and raised her chin. Clare put on a nervous expression and looked into my eyes.
I sighed and slowly sealed her lips.
Current schedule: 9 Chapters/week