The Reason Why We Shouldn't Get Married - Chapter 25
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Diana pushed back a sigh, since it seemed like Iandrus had already made up his mind. Moreover, this young man claiming to be a painter seemed rather enthused by the idea, and she had no desire to crush their hopes.
Diana fiddled with the ends of her dress, saying, “We must look too gloomy.”
“Nonsense,” Cerian blushed. “From the moment I saw you, I thought you two looked very good in black clothing.”
“What is your name?”
“Ah, you may call me Cerian.”
“Alright. I am Iandrus, and this is Diana. How long will the painting take?”
“Around two weeks.”
“Ha. You must be a proper artist, then,” Iandrus nodded with a satisfied voice. “Alright. You get a chance. If you head up that way, you’ll arrive at Castle Philadelphia. You may see us there.”
“Yes, Mister Iandrus! Will eleven in the morning work for you two?”
Iandrus looked back at Diana with a look of anticipation in his eyes. Diana nodded like it couldn’t be helped. Once Cerian was out of view, Diana turned to Iandrus.
“I didn’t know you wanted to have something like this done.”
“Well, yeah. It’s nice, like a family portrait. I have one that I got done alone, but nothing with anyone else,” Iandrus answered honestly.
The more he got to know about Diana, the more he felt comfortable talking about his difficulties of being the black sheep, ignored within the royal castle. But when he looked at her, it was clear this was not something she realized about him.
Iandrus smiled softly.
Well, who would ever assume this?
Iandrus tried to look flawless on the outside, so no one would know he was being treated like that.
“…..This is my first time, too. Having a portrait done with someone else, I mean,” Diana murmured.
“Before your return?”
“I wasn’t interested in having a portrait done for the last five years, and then after that, there was no time to do one. And it was not possible for all of us to be included together.”
Diana was very calm when she answered.
After Scintilla was born, Diana once desired a portrait more than anything. But Iandrus continually refused her coldly until eventually, only Scintilla and Diana remained in the portrait. Like the two of them were the only members of their family.
Thinking of those bitter memories, Diana shook her head.
Iandrus could sense there was something she wasn’t saying, based on her reaction.
Giving a short smile, Iandrus muttered, “Damn bastard.” At the sound of his self-deprecating comment, Diana quickly erased the darkness on her expression as Iandrus moved on. “There’s still a lot to see, Diana. Let’s go over there, too.”
Diana nodded. As the two of them walked side by side, the scent of the early summer night dispersed across them. The two of them were young, and at such an unsuitable time, they were insisting on wearing black clothing.
And at the same time, Cerian’s eyes fell on them.
“What do you think?”
“Excuse me?” The aide standing next to Cerian responded.
“I’m talking about the two of them. Do you think they suit each other?”
“……..They’re fine. They look like a pair of ravens.”
“Don’t say that. Have you forgotten what we’re doing here, exactly? Cerian shot back, irritation and anger in his voice. It could not be forgotten that they came here to break the chaos of their current domestic situation. So long as they were here, he had something he needed to get from Leonid.
“Of course, Cerian. Looking at them now, those two don’t suit each other at all.”
Cerian gave a wide smile.
* * *
It didn’t matter if the person they commissioned was terrible at painting and couldn’t even paint a proper portrait. Iandrus was just satisfied that he now had a decent excuse to see Diana every day. No matter how the portrait turned out, since this artist had given him that chance, he earned himself a hefty fee.
Early in the morning, Cullen stared at Iandrus, unable to pull himself from the mirror while wearing an entirely black uniform.
“…….You’re taking your time to get ready today.”
“Today is important, Cullen,” Iandrus said, looking back at him with a face that made obvious his excitement.
“Yes, of course I know that. Today is the day the two of you decided to have a portrait done together.”
“How did you know that?”
“This is the tenth time you’ve mentioned it.”
“Yes, exactly. And you’ve told other people as much as you have me. I’ve started to wonder if your mouth hurts from all that talking.”
“Not one bit,” Iandrus shrugged. Again he turned around, checking his clothing once more before he turned around to face Cullen. “What do you think? Handsome?”
“……You’ve been wearing black a lot lately. Is there a reason for that?”
“I want to because of Diana. So long as she’s wearing black, I plan on wearing black alongside her.”
The reason why Diana insisted on wearing black was for the deceased Scintilla, but Iandrus knew nothing about her. To him, she was just a girl who existed in his mind, looking half like Diana and half like him. However, he was still deeply saddened by the loss of a child who suffered because of his own neglect.
He did the very thing he vowed never to do for the rest of his life.
As an illegitimate child, his existence was constantly being silenced, and he was always neglected his entire life. He did not have the confidence needed to be a good father, but he always thought he would at the very least try his best. He told himself he would not make his children suffer as he did. But then he went and broke the very promise he made to himself.
Such a fool he was, thinking that was possible.
Iandrus wore black clothing not only because of Diana, but also for himself. For his new promise, never to make the same mistakes again.
“……It seems like you’ve changed.”
“Yes. Though I’m not sure how to describe it.”
Cullen narrowed his eyes.
The prince he served was unmoving and unchanging, like static. He was not someone who even attempted to reveal his true feelings. He held feelings for Diana, but turned away from them. Having grown up alone in a place where hardly a person listened to him, he was accustomed to doing that. If he tried to explain his feelings, no one would listen, and no one would understand even if they did.
But these days, Iandrus was finally acting like a living person.
If his daily life was like stagnant water, then Diana was the one who threw a stone in it. The ever affectionate Diana had become the catalyst for change within him. For that which he believed to hold comfortably in his hands, Iandrus did not hesitate to change.
“Describe what? How have I changed?”
“It’s nothing. You’ve gotten more handsome,” Cullen said, lightly turning his words around.
Iandrus didn’t seem happy with that answer, but he couldn’t delay any longer. If he did, he might arrive later than the time the artist was supposed to come.
And he didn’t want to be late for the moment he so very much looked forward to.
Knowing that, Iandrus moved quickly.
* * *
It was eleven in the morning, but the room where Jaymus and Catherine were was shrouded in darkness. As the heavy curtains were draped over the windows, only the sound of heavy breathing could be heard.
Jaymus turned away from the window, staring at the sleeping Catherine with a darkened expression. Her body was small and frail, buried beneath the blankets to the point of disappearing entirely. Apparently, the process of expelling the remaining poison from her body was indescribably painful.
So Dyson said it would be best if they put Catherine to sleep for the time being.
Jaymus would never be able to forget the sight of Catherine, coughing up black blood. If she had not been the Crown Princess, this would not have been a fate meant for her. And Dyson said he couldn’t entirely predict what kind of after effects she may suffer as a result of the poison.
‘This has to be kept a secret.’
Jaymus gave the direct and stern order to everyone there.
‘This cannot be known to the rest of the royal family.’
If the queen were to find out about this, she would argue that Catherine would need to be stripped of her position immediately. The queen did not wish for the slightest blemish or scratch to tarnish her son’s throne. She believed Jaymus to be the perfect person, so everything else needed to be perfect, too.
And so she picked Catherine because she thought Catherine was perfect, too.
Catherine’s family, the Craydon family, was less dominant than the queen’s family. She was healthy, outstanding in appearance, and intelligent, too. Everyone said she would make the perfect bride, not even lacking in the eyes of the social circles. That was why she was selected to be the queen of Prince Jaymus.
But now Catherine was lying sick, suffering from poison.
Catherine was Jaymus’ responsibility. She was like this because of him. In the heavy darkness, Jaymus grinded his teeth. He would not allow anyone to pull her from her seat or steal her position.
With an unsteady and imperfect step, Jaymus approached Catherine, leaning down and kissing her forehead, whispering quietly.
“I will protect you, Catherine.”
Catherine shifted in her sleep, moving as if she could hear him.
It was early that morning that Jaymus wrote a letter to the capital. Within that letter was the order to transport all whom Branneux’s influence may have touched to the royal dungeons.
His thought was to pick out all of their spies, sending a select few back to Branneux. That would be enough to start putting some pressure on them. But a question still remained—which prince to pressure? The third prince, an enigma veiled in shadow? Or the first prince, who was outwardly carrying a moderate policy, but unknown what he was hiding elsewhere?
It was not easy knowing who was responsible.
What was hidden on the inside could be more nefarious and wicked than what lie plain on the outside.
Jaymus left the bedroom, pulling aside a passing servant and asking about Iandrus’ whereabouts. Iandrus was staying at the royal villa, but would often come here whenever he had a chance.
After all, if it were not for Philadelphia’s Lady Diana, Iandrus would’ve had no reason to be down here in the first place.
“Prince Iandrus is in the sunroom on the first floor with Lady Diana.”
“Yes, Your Highness. He’s having a portrait painted.”
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