There were some things that could be surmised from the servant’s panicky rambling.
There was a carriage accident on the boulevard. The carriage had Leontine’s insignia on it.
Both the driver and the passenger died on the spot.
Ravia’s body hardened each time the facts were drilled into her head.
No, was she trembling? It almost felt like she could hear the buzzing in her ears. It also felt like the ground had caved in, or that this place was nothing like the mansion she knew.
She couldn’t exactly figure out what she was feeling right now.
The single word expressed her turbulent emotions.
Only then she realized that her hands and feet were shaking. She realized that she stood on something; that she was crying before she knew it.
She retched uncontrollably. Ravia’s chest heaved up and down as her body staggered even if it was just within reach of someone.
After seeing the carpet on the floor, Ravia only realized that she had been gripping her upper body as if she was kicked in the stomach.
Her chest heaved up and down rapidly like someone who forgot how to breathe.
She looked up, thinking that there was a thunderbolt outside the window, but she forgot what she was going to see when she saw the bookshelf instead of the window.
All of her actions were incoherent, and her awareness was fading.
Ravia just couldn’t understand this situation.
To be precise, she refused to understand.
Usually, there would be two reasons that made it hard to understand this situation.
It either you really didn’t understand or you didn’t want to accept the truth.
Her conversation with Tidwell earlier and the information reported by the servant who rushed in—all meant the same thing.
It was even possible to infer the whole situation at hand.
However, Ravia thought nothing was ‘understandable.’
I don’t understand. I simply don’t understand.
I don’t know anything.
There was no doubt that she tried her best. She refused to let Tidwell go even when her life was at stake. She tried to correct what was wrong with all her might.
She never resented anyone.
Only she knew how much sorrow she had buried in her tattered heart.
Even when she faced Hamlet’s question, she tried to remain as humane as possible.
But what is this situation?
What am I trying so hard for?
All the time I devoted to saving everyone while dreading my impending death. My decisions and resolutions. My emotions. What was all of that for?
When she dropped her head, she heard her father’s voice. It was only an hour ago that she sat face to face with him.
His crumpled forehead and the face that seemed to hold back tears.
His worried tone and words that she refused to accept at that time.
-I…I was afraid to lose you, Ravia.
-I’ll never leave you alone anymore.
-No matter what happens, I want you to be happy.
Or so she thought she did. Her awareness was so poor that she couldn’t be certain either.
A drowning man wouldn’t say or do something consciously.
All they he did would be gasping for air and screaming at the top of his lungs.
Ravia’s current situation wasn’t that different.
She couldn’t see anything because it was dark in front of her. No, she couldn’t see anything because it was white in front of her.
As if someone grabbed her airway and shook it. She couldn’t even begin to register what was going on, so she just blindly denied the truth, and burst into tears because she remembered her father.
Heint never directly said ‘I love you’ to her, but Ravia could feel that the person whom she encountered in the Villa loved her.
He wouldn’t care about her so much if he didn’t love her. He wouldn’t change if it wasn’t because he loved her.
How come she didn’t know that?
Why didn’t she recognize the man’s affection when he wished her happiness?
He wouldn’t make such an apology if there was no affection.
Ravia brushed it off because she wasn’t prepared to accept it.
At that time, she couldn’t accept it because she thought his apology was ridiculous, and that he had put her into a precarious situation.
At that time, Ravia was feeling pessimistic because she seemed to be heading toward death.
She did whatever it took to erase him from her top priority.
As a result, she overlooked the fact that her father could be in danger.
No, it’d be more fitting to say she didn’t care.
Ever since she lost her admiration for him, he was never an important figure for Ravia.
But what was this feeling?
What were these feelings that erupted like a dam breaking when she learned of her father’s passing?
Why did she keep getting flashbacks of her father trying to stop her from leaving?
She was well aware that she was not at all to blame for her father’s death.
So whose guilt did she carry? Why did the desperation seem to choke her? Just whose guilt was it?
“I didn’t expect you to be this sad.”
Ravia raised her head. She saw a man through her blurry vision.
“Don’t be too surprised. The Duke was already a dead man from the time I came to this family.”
He was right. Ravia was also aware of that fact.
Because the essence of Dark Flower was poison.
If Tidwell used Dark Flower to hypnotize, then the poison would spread faster and the majority of people would die without seeing another year.
Even if Ravia brought Amnesia, Tidwell could cancel the effect easily with a bunch of Dark Flower, so Duke Leontine would still die in the near future.
Yeah, what if it’s like this…
Ravia knew that was a false assumption.
There should be many possibilities while he is still alive.
One of those possibilities was that he would be poisoned and pass away before the year ended.
Wouldn’t it be resolved if Ravia bought more Amnesia?
Did she think that Leontine wouldn’t be able to hire a good doctor?
In short, Tidwell was saying that he would remove the flower first because it might wither.
So Ravia tearfully forced out a question.
Why did you have to do that?
She wanted to hear it. Because she couldn’t think of anything right now, she’d rather hear it from his own mouth.
“Why, did you ask? Are you sure you don’t know?”
But his answer was cold.
“Aren’t there already plenty of reasons? You already knew, but the Duke was attempting to find out more about me. Is there a good reason why I should let him be?”
Tidwell’s voice was unfamiliar.
The man she knew wouldn’t say that. The man who loves her wouldn’t say that.
She would rather deny that voice. It wasn’t him. Someone else spoke while she was disoriented.
She knew it was ridiculous, but she couldn’t stop herself from thinking like that.
But as Tidwell trampled on Ravia’s earnest plea, he continued.
“It breaks my heart, too. If you hadn’t tried to leave me, I would have come up with another plan.”
Ravia stopped sobbing upon hearing his cold remarks.
As soon as she heard that, she felt like something had been taken out of her. It felt like a large rock that seemed to have fallen from a cliff and broken into pieces.
In other words, she felt that something had taken a wrong turn.
She had only made efforts to stay with Tidwell so far, but he said the exact opposite.
With her composure completely ruined, Ravia asked in a voice full of doubt.
“…What did you say?”
At Ravia’s question, Tidwell retorted derisively.
“Are you going to deny it again? You’re always like that.”
You’re acting as though you’d accept a bastard like me, but you’ll be gone when the sun is up.
Tidwell uttered mockingly as he held Ravia with both arms. It was his effort to steel himself.
There was only one person who cried, but both looked like they were going to break.
The frowning man spoke in a threatening voice.
“When Duke Leontine finds out about the truth and brings it to the Emperor. Do you think I wouldn’t know that you’re going to leave me, Sister?”
Every word he said was pain filled.
“If you wanted to leave like this, you shouldn’t have accepted me into your arms.”
Ravia could see a beast howling over the crack.