The Reason Why We Shouldn't Get Married - Chapter 23
* * *
Diana could feel a mounting sense of dread creeping over her. Was Diana possibly sent back in time for the sole purpose of stopping all of Branneux’s ambitions? As her hand loosely fell to the side, Iandrus grabbed it.
“What do you want me to do?” Iandrus asked, his voice a quiet and soft whisper.
“What do I want?”
“I said I would do anything you wanted, Diana, and I meant it. So what do you ask of me? What do you need most, right now?”
“I…I don’t know. Is it possible to stop Branneux?”
“If that’s what you want, then I’ll do it for you, Diana.”
Iandrus smiled, and Diana let out a small laugh. Something like that was actually possible now.
* * *
Three hours had passed by the time Jaymus arrived in the office where Iandrus, Guinness, and Diana were waiting. He looked exhausted, and on his face was a subtle tinge of anger.
Jaymus took a look around the office and then walked to the table, pouring himself a strong drink and downing it without hesitation.
“Jaymus. How is Lady Catherine?”
“She’s asleep. She cried for a long time. Catherine’s never gone through anything like this before. Though, of course she hasn’t.”
Jaymus fell down on the sofa, making himself at home. Only then were the others in the room allowed to take their seats. After that, a heavy silence fell over the entire office.
“I’ll be honest. I don’t care how you found out about this. All that matters right now is finding the person responsible,” Jaymus muttered, echoing the worry that was bothering Diana for a while.
Diana clenched her fist. She didn’t think Jaymus would believe her as easily as Iandrus or Guinness had. She was worried about what she could say, but luckily, Jaymus wasn’t interested in hearing about the backstory behind how she knew this information.
All I have to do now is save Catherine…..!
Diana swallowed the tension in her throat.
“Iandrus. Can you explain this?”
“…..We believe Branneux is the one pulling the strings. It’s possible they intended to kill Lady Catherine in order to fill the spot next to you, brother……”
“What a useless thing to do,” Jaymus said, tensing his lips.
“We found out that the internal strife between the third and first princes is getting worse. There is a chance they wish to incite a war…..And they want to bring people’s attention to it,” Iandrus said, choosing his words very carefully. As Jaymus listened, he would only have questions if their story sounded too shoddy.
Iandrus continued on to say, “The third prince is more radical while the first prince is more moderate. But we still can’t be certain which one of them is driving this. The first prince is also known to have a sinister side to him.”
Jaymus looked lost in thought. “But if this is Branneux we’re talking about, they won’t give up so easily.”
“………We have an idea,” Diana said, swallowing harshly before she did. She wiped her sweaty palms against her dress as everyone focused on her. “Why don’t we let Lady Catherine stay here at the Philadelphia estate?”
“Yes. We have plenty of guards and knights here. In fact……“ Her words trailed off.
“You can speak freely, Lady Diana. It’s already well known that the knights of the royal family do not measure up in comparison to here. Even I must admit that Philadelphia is the safest place in Leonid,” Jaymus said lightly, as if everything were fine. “So, Count Guinness. Lady Diana. Can I entrust Catherine to you for a time?”
“For the sake of Leonid, I will happily accept your request.”
“I will inform the Grand Duke. Catherine would be better off staying here until she’s completely recovered her health. And once we figure out what Branneux’s plan is……..I’ll pay them back for everything they’ve done.”
“This is just my opinion, but I think it would be best for Lady Catherine not to attend the Founding holiday as well,” Diana pointed out.
It was no coincidence that Catherine collapsed that day. Branneux obviously had some kind of trick up their sleeve. At Diana’s words, Jaymus nodded his head.
“I agree. It would be best if she avoided places with a lot of people.”
They were changing Catherine’s fate. With the help of everyone, Diana had succeeded in saving her. But suddenly, the light in Diana’s eyes flashed blue with a dawning realization.
What happens next?
Now, they were moving into a future that Diana knew nothing about.
But as though he were sensing her unease, Iandrus held Diana’s hand, as if he were standing steady when she could not.
* * *
“Feel better now?”
The little figure, crouched down and staring into the transparent water, nodded. Her rounded head looked lonely as she shook.
“Does it still hurt?” The voice that dispersed into the air was quiet. “Does a new beginning make you feel lonely?”
“You may never go back like this. At this rate, you’ll disappear completely.”
“I’m okay with that, though.”
There were tears in her voice. Cascading down the girl’s back was long red hair, and as she looked down at Diana and Iandrus reflected in the clear water, her eyes were trembling, darting around as if she didn’t want to miss a single thing.
The person watching over the girl reached out their palm, gently patting the red hair atop her head. Then, a small, round light landed on the girl’s shoulder.
The girl lifted up her hand, poking at the light with her finger. The light laughed as though it tickled, happy at her friendly touch. It was a very peaceful and warm scene, one that no one could interfere with.
“Do you have any regrets?”
“None. But it’s the same for you, right?”
The rounded light blinked as if to agree.
* * *
Diana looked a little down, so Iandrus wanted to take her out. She was a little hesitant, but after being encouraged by Guinness, she eventually had no choice but to go. Now that he was becoming used to Iandrus’ presence, Guinness was already readily accepting him.
For Diana, this Iandrus was familiar and at the same time, not.
But he was keeping his promise to change.
In her past life, she couldn’t even remember the last time she went out with him. She couldn’t recall a time like this no matter how much she thought about it.
Back then, Diana was always frustratingly restless.
She was like a caged bird. She couldn’t speak to the people she wanted to, nor could she move as she wished. At any given moment, she was being watched, and anything Diana did became the subject of gossip. When she came back in time, she realized how much she missed the freedom she lost.
Visiting the night market held within Philadelphia, she felt such excitement inside of her chest.
“What do you want to do first?” Iandrus asked, looking over Diana’s expression.
“……Will they be hosting fireworks?”
“Then, I’d like to see them.” Diana smiled.
Iandrus took a sudden deep breath. She was smiling at him, but there was sadness clear as day in her eyes. It felt like something was digging deep into his heart.
Watching Diana for a while, Iandrus asked, “…….You didn’t see them in the future?”
“I can’t walk through closed doors. I wasn’t even allowed to open my window.”
But during the times when the watchful eyes glued to her were turned away, she would secretly open her window, taking in the fresh air. In the prison built for her by Iandrus, Diana had to get used to not being able to breathe.
“…….That bastard,” Iandrus genuinely mumbled to himself. The look on his face made Diana laugh.
In this lifetime, Iandrus was honest, sweet, and even cute a lot of the time. If things could be like this, then Diana would have no reservations about taking Iandrus’ hand going forward.
And if she did, then…….
She would even be able to meet her poor daughter again. Diana’s heart rocked like a boat being swept on the waves of a tsunami.
If only she could hold her in her arms again, calling out her name and telling her that she loved her. If she could do that, Diana would even be willing to sell her soul. Anything to take away that girl’s loneliness…..
If only Diana could hug that girl that kept dying, over and over again in her dreams. Immersed in her own emotions, Diana could imagine both happy and painful thoughts. Somehow, Iandrus represented both Diana’s greatest hopes and deepest despair. Even now, that was still the same.
She only hoped that this change of his would continue on.
* * *
The story of Catherine’s poisoning was secretly sent to Count Craydon.
Catherine was his only daughter and would soon become the Crown Princess of the Kingdom. It was only natural that Count Craydon would fall into deep despair hearing the news.
“What manner of monster could have done this?”
With a pale face, the countess bit her lip. It was as though her head was about to explode. No, her head was exploding. Her heart was being continuously squeezed in guilt and fear at having failed to keep Catherine safe.
“…..His Highness suspects that the embezzlement case may have been a fabrication.”
The countess bit her lip again.
Back then, they cleaned things up without dealing with the shock that came from being betrayed by those they trusted. But in retrospect, they wondered if their people were truly like that. They were the ones who had devoted their entire lives to protecting Craydon. They considered this house to be their honor and this place to be their home.
“…..Did we act too quickly?”
“Perhaps. But it’s too late to regret it when we have rats hiding in our mansion.”
“Then what do we do now?”
“We’ll have to bring Rodeo back.”
Rodeo was the name of the former head butler of the mansion.
“I don’t know if he’ll agree.”
“The rat hiding in our mansion helped tarnish his reputation. He’ll come back and help catch them if it means getting revenge for that. It’s for the sake of his honor. He’ll definitely come.”
With that, Count Craydon grinded his teeth.
* * *