Chapter 46 |
Like him, if only she could believe as innocently and naïvely, then it would be ever so wonderful.
However, Carynne had a difficult time calming her pounding chest.
“I would doubt it if it’s someone else,” her father said. “But if it’s you, she told me that it couldn’t be doubted.”
“Then that’s that.”
“Because it’s a phenomenon that needs no explanation. And it’s impossible for me to explain as well.”
In the end, he was right. It’s difficult to comprehend something that’s supposed to be impossible.
Carynne herself was the evidence to prove it. As she had been living a repetitive life all this time, of course she knew it for herself, so how could she doubt it? Just to understand the anguish she was feeling, the other person would have to search for the same meaning for 100 years—no, perhaps 10,000 years.
Carynne dropped her head onto her clenched hand. Her head was hot.
“What you said is right,” she answered.
No matter what the answer was, it would be difficult to take in.
Even if she were to hear her father say that he was God, or if the sky were to open up and shoot down lightning at this very moment and God would descend from the heavens, Carynne wouldn’t have been surprised. However, she would still wonder if these were hallucinations induced by the drugs she took last night.
All these years had made her like this, for doubt to be her closest friend.
“…If it’s something that could be solved by logic…”
If it was like that… Carynne calmed herself down as she felt the onslaught of hyperventilation.
“Why did you hide it? If you had just said something, then… I, more… Wouldn’t I have lived more comfortably?”
For the longest time, she had spent so many days dwelling on the notion that she was living inside a novel. If she had at least known that there was one more person who was having the same ordeals as her, then she wouldn’t have been so miserable. Better yet, she would have maybe had hope.
However, the fief lord denied her assumption.
“You heard about this matter when you were ten years old, but you were unable to accept it. You said that life was meaningless.”
“Then if, from the start, you had left me in the dark about this—”
“Isn’t this the result of it?”
Silence once again fell over the room.
“If my mother was in the same predicament, then did my grandmother have to go through this, too? Is this something that’s handed down from generation to generation?”
“I don’t know that much about it.”
Did the couple not talk to each other that much? Carynne was getting frustrated because she couldn’t get as many answers as she wanted. It was comforting to see that the fief lord, just like her, seemed to be uneasy. If he were just sitting there, observing her casually, then there would have been nothing more upsetting than that.
However, the conversation didn’t continue well because they both realized how much discomfort they felt for the other. It’s like they were of different wavelengths throughout this conversation when they tried to talk about the anguish that they felt when they experienced different sides of the story.
This conversation that had been put off for 100 years—it was strange. Awkward. Painful.
“So my mother likened her life to a novel.”
“Was it a romance novel?”
“What genre did she say it was? My life, I mean.”
A world full of rationality had abandoned her, and what greeted her back was a world full of fantasy. If that’s the case, then she would play by those rules.
Carynne pushed her doubts to one corner of the page, folded it and drew a question mark over it. Of course, the question was how could she get out of this.
“How do I end the story?”
The fief lord pointed a finger towards himself.
“Find someone like me.”
“That’s what Catherine did. She met me and went on to live her true life.”
Even though she decided to accept whatever words she heard, it wasn’t easy. Trying to sort her own thoughts and feelings regarding the fief lord, Carynne picked one question to ask.
“…Does it end with marriage?”
“With love, of course.”
It was quite disconcerting to hear that one’s life was nothing but a novel. It’s unrealistic, odd—a story that you’d hear from some loon who deliriously believed in their own fantasies. However, there was no other choice but to accept it as the truth.
It wasn’t love that had the greatest influence on a person’s life. It was death.
And yet here it was again—love. It was once again controlling Carynne’s life.
Carynne was on the verge of being fed up. This tedious, tiresome, annoying trope was coming up again.
You should love. You’re going the wrong way right now. Fall in love!
Carynne swallowed the words. Blood was pooling in her eyes. What formed in the fief lord’s eyes were tears, but with Carynne—no, it was blood. Be that as it may, the fief lord continued speaking.
“She met me and said that even if she didn’t have to leave the novel, it’s fine. More than that, she said that she didn’t need to ‘read’ the novel over and over again anymore.”
“…That’s what she said?”
The fief lord tapped himself again with one finger.
“Yes. She said that I’m her male lead. No other man was the right one for her. Not Count Landon, Not Crown Prince Gueuze, and not Marquis Pencier either. Only I was her true love.”
The fief lord recited the names of powerful men, one after another. Like a person meddling in the affairs of other people, Carynne traced her memories and tried to recall just who these men were that had been quite scandalously involved with Catherine.
Since they were from a different generation, she hadn't had the chance to meet them. Only Crown Prince Gueuze was a familiar name to her—particularly, she knew that he was notorious for being lustful.
“Compared to them, I was better…”
The fief lord’s face was full of pride. That expression of his looked quite like the one Deere had, and she was someone the fief lord ironically loathed.
This was an obsession for a dead person. It wasn’t just about remembering the person they truly loved, but it was remembering how the deceased had looked at them, and it was a sense of pride that they protected.
The expression that the fief lord had as he said that Catherine chose to marry him rather than those other suitors was the very expression Deere had as she was looking at Catherine’s portrait in her house.
“In the end, I was her love, after all.”
The way he said that he won after marrying Catherine was a lot more justified and compelling than how Deere did it. However, Carynne was much too old to be impressed by what he was saying and how he looked.
‘In the novels I’ve read, the male lead is usually the most handsome man who’s close in age with the main character.’
Lord Hare wasn’t all that bad, but it’s not like he was overwhelmingly head and shoulders above Catherine’s other suitors.
Now that it’s come to this, it seemed like true love was quite far away. What if one of the dying men fighting on the battlefield now was Carynne’s male lead? What a dumbfounding conclusion.
“So it’s… love.”
“Yes, it’s love. I don’t think you’ve found it yet. But, like your mother… It is true love.”
Seeing how the fief lord was nodding to himself, Carynne clenched her fist. Such a saccharine story—wasn’t it just too unrealistic, so terribly frustrating to the point of disgust? It’s as if she was being hit one the head with a sledgehammer, just that the weapon in question was made entirely out of candy.
“It was something that I didn’t believe myself as I was just a terrible rascal,” said the fief lord. “But compared to the emotions that might have been said, these are truly pure and gallant feelings.”
“While that’s what you know, then that’s how you feel.”
Carynne forced the corners of her lips to curve up into a smile. The people you thought were below you knew all about it in the end.
“Are you still wandering because you haven’t found your male lead?”
It shouldn’t be so easy to be offended by words that were so unbelievable, so fairytale-like. However, the fief lord looked over at Carynne’s fine cheekbones, at her wounds, at her blood-stained clothes. He looked at her with such lamentation—oh, how lovely. Oh, how pitiful.
His eyes were devoid of any anguish at the fact that his daughter had just killed a person. In them, only a desire to see his dead wife was evident.
So, Carynne felt more nauseous as she continued to examine her father’s face.
Love. Love, he said.
Towards the Carynne of the present, it was something that was even worse than murder.
She’s come this far, but what was this.
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