Broken Engagement and Punishment 9
“But forget about me…. Did something happen to you, Liechten? Why were you away for so long?”
“Oh, that was because Father and I went up to the castle together. He put me to work saying it was for the sake of my ‘studies.’ And then after that, he started complaining that I had been taking a break from school for too long, so I ended up going back to the academy for a few days as well.”
“Ohhh, so that’s what happened. That must have been rough for you. I’m sorry, Liechten. It’s all my fault that Father is being so hard on you.”
In the first place, he wouldn’t be so busy with preparations for becoming the next duke had it not been for the annulment of my engagement with the prince. All of this is basically Father’s way of assuring that the shame that I brought upon our family at the very least does not influence Liechten’s reputation. And I’m the main reason that he’s not going to school as well. Liechten’s really too considerate of me. He worries about the fact that he can still easily attend the academy while I’m stuck here, having had to drop out.
He probably had to listen to Father’s incessant complaints and lectures about all of this, too. I have to hand it to him, he’s doing a great job of hanging in there.
“No way! Sister, you don’t have anything you need to apologize to me for. The only bad thing is…. I probably won’t be able to come back here as often as before…” Liechten says, hanging his head in disappointment, looking just like the angelic little brother he used to be.
Seeing him like this again, I can’t help but want to protect him and before I even think about it, I’m pulling him into my arms for a huge hug. In an instant, his face is going beat red and he is pulling away from me again.
Jeez, isn’t it fine? It was just going to be for a few seconds…. Stingy.
I’m just about to say this to him out loud, but then I realize why the lines sound so familiar: it sounds like something Flora would say! With that discovery in mind though, I somehow don’t feel like saying it anymore.
“Anyway! From now on, I won’t be able to keep taking care of everything for you like I have been! So you need to start being more responsible!”
Liechten’s been taking care of things for me? I glance over at Claude, the question written clearly on my face, and he just shrugs.
Claude, what is that supposed to mean exactly?
“Liechten-sama, you must be exhausted from your trip so would you like me to prepare some tea for you?”
“Thank you, Claude. I would really appreciate some black tea. And since the weather is so nice today, would you mind bringing it out onto the terrace for us?”
“Not at all. I’ll be there momentarily,” Claude says, bowing deeply before walking purposefully out of the entrance hall.
Liechten sees Claude out and then leaves the hall himself with me following directly behind him. As we walk though, Liechten makes a sound as if he suddenly remembered something, and slowly turns his head back to look at me. I quicken my pace so that I am now walking next to him, but he just continues to look me over with those deep blue eyes of his, seemingly deep in thought.
It’s probably a bit late, but it’s in this moment, walking side by side with Liechten, that I finally realize..… Liechten really is considerably taller than me. What a sad day this is.
“Oh, Sister, by the way…”
“Huh? Oh, yes?”
“When I was staying in the imperial capital, or more specifically while I was at the academy, I heard a pretty interesting rumor.”
“Yeah. It’s about that former fiance of yours, His Highness Elouan. People are saying that he’s utter trash, though it doesn’t seem to have spread farther than the academy yet.”
If I’m not mistaken, for some reason it looked like Liechten wore an especially bright smile while he was saying the words, ‘former fiance’ like they made him extremely happy.
“So it was for the best that your engagement ended up being annulled,” he continues, breaking into my thoughts.
Original translation at Carnations Scans