Chapter 31 – Having met you
In a room that was dimly lit due to the sun having already gone down, while I was sitting in a chair next to the bed, I got an anxious feeling for yet another time, and rushed to the bedside. Then, I checked the breathing and temperature of the person sleeping there, and let out a sigh of relief.
There was a girl sleeping quietly on a bed in a dorm room.
The person most important to me, Anne Sherry, in this world – Katarina Claes-sama.
Without even the slightest movement, Katarina-sama was deeply sleeping there.
What if her breathing ends up stopping…… What if her body becomes cold……
Being driven by my anxiety, I continued checking her breathing and temperature every ten minutes or so.
It’s already the second day since Katarina-sama’s become like this.
I just kept staying by Katarina-sama’s side, and could hardly even sleep at all. I also didn’t have much of an appetite. My coworker maids told me many times “we’ll take your place and attend to her, so go rest,” but I really didn’t want to switch at all.
When I think that something might happen to Katarina-sama while I’m not by her side…… I’m finding it impossible to leave her side at all.
I held the sleeping Katarina-sama’s hand, and looked at her face.
She has such a lively personality, that even when sleeping she would always move around, and often send the blanket flying with her kicks, at seeing how she was sleeping without moving at all – I intensely felt that this situation was completely abnormal.
Why…… did it become like this……
Two days ago, during midday, Katarina-sama was found collapsed in the garden and brought back to her dorm room here.
What I heard from Prince Jared was, Katarina-sama wasn’t feeling well in the morning so she went to the infirmary to rest, and around the time of lunch break she told the nurse “I’m going to return to the classrooms now.”
And so, since she never arrived at the classrooms in the end, everyone started worrying about her and began searching, and found her collapsed by herself in a corner of the school garden.
However, no matter how much we called out to her there was no reply, so we immediately moved her to the infirmary, and when the doctor checked her condition he said “she’s only sleeping.” But…… After that, no amount of calling out to her would wake her up, and we ended up moving her back to her own dorm room.
And then we had the doctor check her again, but his diagnosis was still “she’s only sleeping.”
Then at seeing how Katarina-sama wasn’t waking up at all, the frustrated Prince Jared used his authority as a prince, and summoned one of the best doctors in the country here.
He’s an elderly doctor who has quite the splendid mustache, and is the one in charge of the royal family’s health, one of the top class doctors in the country. If it’s this person, maybe he’ll be able to do something, is what I hoped, but……
“Honestly, I have no idea what’s going on. No matter how much I examine her, there’s no problems with her body. She might even open her eyes right now, or she might keep sleeping just like this.”
“What will happen if she keeps sleeping just like this?”
Prince Jared asked with a grim expression on his face, and the doctor replied with a deeply sad expression.
“……If she keeps sleeping just like this…… Without being able to eat or drink…… In that case, before long, her life will be in danger.”
“Such a thing!? Such a stupid thing!?” Keith-sama had lost his usual calmness, and was desperately pleading with the doctor.
When I looked to see what had caused a sudden loud noise, it was Prince Jared who had slammed his fist into the wall without having made a sound himself at the impact, and without a sign of his usual smile.
Mary-sama was extremely pale and trembling badly, and it seemed that she might collapse at any moment as well. Prince Alan’s expression was one that I’ve never seen as well, he was so terribly stiff.
Sophia-sama just stood there without saying anything, shedding tears from her eyes. Nico-sama was clenching his fists so tightly that they were changing color.
And so I took in how everyone was doing, and I also felt that I myself would collapse right then and there if I allowed myself to relax.
If Katarina-sama loses her life……
I felt an intense despair from the sudden fact that confronted me.
After that, many other doctors came to see her as well, but the cause was still unknown, and Katarina-sama still wouldn’t wake up.
Once, we asked one of the only light magic users in the entire country who also had the power of healing magic to come visit, but…… The result was still the same.
One day passed, and then another…… There was no sign that Katarina-sama would wake up.
The person that changed me from a tool into a human. The most important person to me in the world.
Even though I had decided to always be by your side and live with you –
I beg you. Katarina-sama, please, please, don’t leave me alone.
I gripped the sleeping Katarina-sama’s hand tightly.
“No, no. Please don’t worry about such a scratch, Prince Jared. Anyways, the scar will be no problem at all because my bangs will hide it anyhow.”
And so, it’s been seven years since the day she said that while smiling at me. My all-important fiancee, Katarina Claes.
This funny girl had appeared in front of me when I had been forgotten by everyone in the royal palace and was spending every day bored to death.
While spending time with this girl who had hilarious actions, words, and hobbies – My world that was completely boring drab grey became filled with vivid colors instead.
In my boredom, I hadn’t even known any other feelings besides boredom. What’s happy, what’s fun, Katarina taught everything to me that didn’t know anything. Jealousy and pain as well…… They’re all emotions I never would have experienced if I hadn’t met Katarina.
After the seven years I’ve spent with Katarina since meeting her, I don’t want to return to that grey, boring life without Katarina anymore.
At first, I had ulterior motives for getting engaged to her. However, before I realized it, I began to love the person known as Katarina Claes more than anyone else in the world.
Since she was innately a harem protagonist, there were many people that loved her hanging around her, but…… I have no intention of ever giving her up to anyone else, since she’s already in my grasp, I’m definitely never going to let go.
And yet…… For such a thing to have happened……
Even though I know that danger is approaching Katarina right now…… I can’t do anything to protect her. I’m filled with strong regret and remorse.
Katarina might have become this way because of dark magic. That’s what I thought, and I even had a light magic user come here, but…… In the end, we learned nothing. “If it’s a strong light magic user, we might find something out” is what I thought, but…… The only person who has even stronger light magic, Maria Campbell, still remains missing. The situation wasn’t improving at all.
I’m so frustrated at how powerless I am and that there’s nothing I can do…… I punched the wall with all my might, and clenched my swelling fist tightly.
“Keith, because we have become siblings now, it’s fine to just call me nee-san.”
It’s been seven years since she said so while smiling and holding her hand out to me. Even so, I remember that day as clearly as if it were yesterday.
I was reviled as a monster, and would always hug my knees alone by myself in my dark room. Then, such a warm hand reached out to me.
She told me “I’ll always be with you” with a smile on her face and brought me out from my dark room into such a bright world. My all-important stepsister, Katarina Claes.
I have more than just brotherly affections for her warm smile and gentleness, she’s the most important person to me in the world.
We’ll be together forever, and I had always intended to keep being together with her. There’s no way that I’ll let her so-called fiance Prince Jared have her so easily.
I’ve vowed that I would definitely protect her with my own hands. For that purpose, I desperately learned swordsmanship and magic, as well as how to become a proper noble. Everything was all in order to be able to protect her myself.
Why did it come to this…… Why wasn’t I together with her at that time…… Even though I had vowed that I would definitely protect her……
Regret was surging up within me.
When I became the Claes family’s adopted son at eight years old, nee-san was always by my side whenever times were difficult, and she always smiled gently towards me.
Right now, I want to see that gentle smile so much……
I don’t want to lose Katarina……
I tried to stop my body from shaking.
“Mary, you have a green thumb! It means your hands have a special talent for growing plants! Yep, you and your green thumb are an amazing, special existence!”
She held both my hands tightly as she said so on that day, I still remember it clearly. I was just a cowardly wimp, always running away with my head down. I really hated how I was.
To such a me, Katarina Claes called me an amazing, special existence. I was so, so happy.
My older sisters would call me “dirty,” and I also hated my auburn hair and eyes – When Katarina said she loved it, and told me it was pretty I began to like it as well.
In order to stand by Katarina’s side, and become a splendid lady, I worked really hard.
Honestly speaking, many times over, I almost gave up. But, because Katarina was together with me, and said she liked me and that I was important to her, I was able to keep going.
Everything that Mary Hunt is today is all because Katarina Claes was beside me.
And so, from now on as well, I always wanted to be by her side forever. What’s more, to the point where I really want to steal her away from her fiance, she’s my favorite, most important person.
Seeing how Katarina was sleeping there so quietly almost as if she had died already, things were going dark before my eyes, and I desperately braced myself the best I could.
At this rate…… I can’t just keep feeling down like this……
I’m Katarina Claes’s close friend, Mary Hunt. I’m different from that weak girl I was before!
If there’s anything that I can do for Katarina now, it’s…… I fixed my posture, and raised my head.
“Prince Alan surely also has things that you are good at, it’s natural that people will be more suited to some things than others.”
To the completely inferior me who had always been compared to my older twin, that’s what she told me.
That girl’s light blue eyes looked directly at me, and she would never go easy on me in a match, the hilarious girl who could climb trees like a monkey, Katarina Claes.
I had been troubled by whispers behind my back, and she returned me back to sanity from being filled with delusions of grandeur. After meeting Katarina, I was finally able to get rid of the feeling of powerlessness pressing down on my shoulders as well.
She was always so direct, it was very comfortable being by Katarina’s side. That’s why, I always stayed by her side as if it was the natural thing to do.
That…… How did it come to this……
That I might lose Katarina…… When I thought that, I experienced a terror that I’ve never experienced before.
Then, I noticed it for the first time. To me, Katarina had already become a very important person…… What’s more…… To the point where I always wanted to be by her side……
How could I have been so dense. Something like only noticing my feelings after being in danger of losing her……
Since she’s my older twin’s fiancee…… I’ve never thought of her that way before.
Even so…… I still want to stay as close by as allowed. I can’t bear the thought of losing her right now.
I want to do something to be able to help Katarina……
“Your parents are so wonderful, and your sister is so cute as well, Nico-sama, you’re a really lucky person.”
I still can’t forget the day that she said that to me while smiling.
People decided on their own that my important family was a misfortune upon me, and pitied me…… No matter how much I told people “I’m lucky” they wouldn’t understand.
I thought that nobody would ever understand…… I had already given up.
Katarina Claes understood what I was thinking. My frustration at how others didn’t understand finally burst out of my chest, and I was filled with a warm feeling instead.
Ever since that day, Katarina became a special person to me.
Since I wasn’t really that good at dealing with other people, I often averted my eyes.
However, Katarina would always look straight at me with those light blue eyes of hers, and smile brightly like the sun. It was very comfortable being by her side.
Katarina’s the fiancee of my childhood friend, the third prince.
I had always thought that we’d all be together forever.
Even though I had always thought that I’d stay as close by as allowed by her side……
“You’re excellent, you’ll definitely be the next prime minister” is what people around me said about me, but I hate myself for being unable to do anything for the most important person to me.
I can’t even protect the person most important to me, what’s all this about the next prime minister supposed to be……
Once again, I clenched my fist as tightly as I could, to the point where my nails were digging streaks of blood into my palms.
“I think, that Sophia-sama’s silken white hair, and eyes that sparkle like rubies are very beautiful in my opinion.”
My appearance that was different from others was called creepy and cursed. This girl told me “it’s beautiful,” and right after she took my hands in hers and said “won’t you be friends with me?”
At first, I thought that I was just having a really good dream, but…… I didn’t wake up from the dream.
She’s the first friend I’ve ever had since I was born, and would always smile so gently at me.
Ever since meeting the girl known as Katarina Claes, my world’s changed so much. I’ve flown out from the gilded cage of my room that I’ve always stayed in, to under the bright sun. I finally obtained the happy days that I’ve always been dreaming about inside my room.
I wished that these days would continue forever. Even though that’s what I hoped……
Why…… Why did it come to such a thing……
During these two days, if I lost focus for even an instant tears would come pouring out. I cried so much, that I thought all the moisture in my body should have dried up already…… Yet tears would still keep flowing out.
Since the two days that Katarina’s collapsed, I’ve tried my best to keep standing. I’ve visited her room so many times, and kept calling out to her, but there’s no reaction at all, and my chest would tighten at seeing how she continued to sleep.
Truthfully, I wanted to be by Katarina’s side forever. But, “you can’t say things like that” is what my brother lectured me with in the dorm rooms.
But, being separated like this right now, at this moment, I’m so unsettled from a strong sense of anxiety at the thought of possibly losing Katarina.
During these two days, various doctors have been here to check up on Katarina, but none of them found a way to wake her up.
If she keeps sleeping like this, Katarina’s life will be in danger……
At first, I didn’t feel like this was real, having been confronted with the facts so suddenly. No matter which doctor it was, they would always reply unfavorably during these two days, and reality crept closer and closer.
At this rate, I really might lose Katarina…… I won’t be able to see that smile anymore. I definitely couldn’t stand that! I don’t want to lose her!
As I thought that as hard as I could, that’s when it happened.
“That’s it! It’s unbearable! I don’t ever want to lose anyone again!”
From somewhere, I suddenly heard a voice. It’s a voice I’ve never heard before, yet it was still somehow nostalgic.
I was surprised, and looked all around, but there was nobody else in the room besides the servants.
“Even though I was finally able to meet her again…… I don’t want to lose her! …… This time, I’m going to help that girl! So, stop crying uncontrollably in a place like this, and take me to where she is!”
It was as if I was hearing a mysterious voice coming from myself. Under the mysterious voice’s orders, I stood up and headed for Katarina’s room.
“Sophia-sama!? What are you doing at this time of night!?”
The maid that was attending to Katarina raised her voice in surprise at my sudden visit.
Well, that’s to be expected. It’s already the middle of the night, and I suddenly visited without prior notification. Normally, this would be considered very out of the ordinary. Even so, I felt that I absolutely had to come here. Also, because that mysterious voice had appealed to me as well.
I approached the bed, and firmly grasped both her hands in mine.
When doing so, it seems that my odd behavior has been reported, and my brother came to pick me up.
“Sophia, please calm down.”
As he said so, he placed a hand on my shoulder, and prompted me to return to my room, but…… I categorically rejected it.
Somehow everyone seems to have been informed, and before I realized it, Jared, Keith, Mary, and Alan, everyone has gathered here as well.
Even so, I just kept holding on to Katarina’s hands, and wouldn’t move.
And, I brought her hands to my forehead and closed my eyes praying “please, I’m begging. Please help Katarina” with all my might.
Then, reflected on the back of my eyelids, was a girl I’d never seen before. She had black hair and eyes, and even though I haven’t ever seen her before, she still felt familiar and nostalgic, how strange.
“I know it! She’ll definitely come back! You should keep calling for Katarina here!”
After the girl with such a strong will in her eyes said so, she disappeared.
It’s been two days since I used dark magic to cause Katarina to fall into a deep sleep.
Her knights desperately tried various methods to wake her up, but none of them worked. It’s something that only the caster can cancel.
At this rate, Katarina will probably just keep sleeping until her life runs out.
That’s what my wish was.
And yet…… For some reason, my chest was restless. When I think that at this rate Katarina will lose her life…… My chest would tighten painfully.
……No, I don’t want to lose her…… I want to cancel my dark magic……
“What kind of stupid things are you thinking about!?” The other me was yelling angrily.
“That girl is getting in the way of our revenge! We have to get rid of anyone that gets in the way of our revenge!”
To the confused me, the other me raised his voice even more roughly.
“The reason that you live is so that you can take revenge! The meaning of your life is so that you can cast those that stole away your mother’s life and made a tool out of you down to hell! Did you forget, your mother’s last words!”
The last words of the mother that I loved so much…… “……Please, take revenge……” The last words of my dying mother have become the meaning of my life.
The only reason that I’m living is so that I can take revenge.