A marriage between me and Charlotte…
Just like I thought about it, Charlotte thought about it as well. Charlotte seemed to think that it wasn’t that impossible.
I actually didn’t think that it was completely impossible either. However, It wouldn’t be between her and Reinhardt, but between her and Valier.
However, what Charlotte was saying was that she didn’t find it that impossible that she would end up marrying Reinhardt, not Valier.
Charlotte looked at me with narrowed eyes when she saw me panicking.
“What? Do you want to deny it again? Do you hate me that much?”
“N-no! It’s not that I hate you! It’s because you said something like that so suddenly!”
Didn’t she basically ask me to marry her?Skip
Wouldn’t it be weirder if I didn’t get flustered?
“That’s not what it meant? Does that mean you like me then?”
“W-why are you doing this to me…?”
I’d said I didn’t hate her, so that meant I had to like her? What the hell did she want from me? Charlotte clicked her tongue.
“So you can’t even say that you like me. You’re a very strange person. Just what do I lack?”
“P-please. I’m about to go crazy here. I can’t give you an answer because this feels like a trap no matter what I do.”
“Hmhmm. Fine. I’ll stop bullying you then.”
When I basically pleaded to her on the cold, hard ground, Charlotte’s smile reached her eyes as if telling me that she would stop for the moment.
“It’s just that… I don’t know how you think or feel. I mean, do you know what thoughts I hold in my heart?”
Charlotte said that she’d imagined what would have to happen in order for her to end up marrying me in the future. She didn’t know my thoughts, but she did know her own, so she just imagined those scenarios according to what she knew.
“You and I share a certain secret. Because of that, I might become emotionally dependent on you after some time, I might even come to love you… That’s what I thought.”
The matters concerning Valier.
If she was talking about secrets, it would be that. I was personally delivering those letters to her as well.
However, wasn’t I just a kind of contact person? In fact, Charlotte wasn’t actually emotionally relying on Reinhardt, but Valier. So how did she end up thinking that she might end up being emotionally dependent on me to the point where she might start to love me?
“…Not on that boy?”
As if she knew that I would ask that, Charlotte smiled.
“You don’t have to deliver those letters anymore.”
Charlotte was wearing the saddest smile I had ever seen in my life.
* * *
“…I have been acting quite selfish so far. While you were taking so many risks, I never even thought about how dangerous these things actually were or how you felt about all this. I know you feel troubled because you’re basically stuck between Bertus and me. All this might be burdensome to you, you might even be scared. However, I never thought about that possibility.”
“I think I took too many things for granted, only voicing my gratitude and nothing more.”
“I’m sorry, Reinhardt. I don’t think it was right of me to ask something like that of you just because I’m the Imperial Princess.”
“You might have reluctantly cooperated with me because you risked losing your gang members who are like your family if you turned down my request, but I never thought of that. Maybe you weren’t actually worried about that, but I still should have considered it.”
“As someone asking another person to undertake such dangerous work, I should have considered just what kinds of risks that person had to shoulder, how pressured they would feel, how scared they had to be… I didn’t even think about such matters.”
“I was negligent. It’s all my fault, Reinhardt.”
“The only reason you walk on this tightrope is because of my request.”
“You’d be better off just being on Bertus’s side in Class A.”
“However, because of me, because of my greed, you got involved in this dangerous tug-of-war between us.”
“I put you in danger, I made you suffer, and then I acted as if my gratitude was already payment enough for what you did.”
“You had no reason to help me. What I have done to you up to this point was nothing more than coercion:”
“So, Reinhardt. I want to apologize for my actions up to this point.”
“You don’t have to deliver those letters for me anymore. I already received so much from you. You can finally stop that dangerous tightrope walk. You can finally choose to be just on one side.”
“On Bertus’s side.”
“I’m not upset about it, I don’t deserve to be.”
“If you were to stand on my side, you would become Bertus’s enemy. If you stand on Bertus’s side, however, I won’t ever be your enemy.”
Charlotte just looked at me quietly after she finished talking. She wasn’t worried about that marriage prophecy or something like that.
She felt disappointed in herself because she didn’t consider how much pressure I must have been under for delivering those letters.
That was why Charlotte felt so uncomfortable around me.
I didn’t really find it difficult, though.
And yet she felt apologetic towards me.
I had no clue where she’d gotten that idea from, but Charlotte was telling me that I could stop delivering those letters.
“Then… Will you deliver those letters… through someone else then? Is it something like that?”
If I stopped, someone else would have to visit Eleris in person. I didn’t think of that before. That would complicate things quite a bit.
However, Charlotte just shook her head.
“No, I won’t let anyone else deliver the letters.”
Her answer was completely unexpected.
“You didn’t know, right? There are only three people who know that boy’s whereabouts. You, me, and that wizard.”
“I didn’t even tell any of my people. For certain reasons, I have become completely unable to tell anyone else now.”
So if she wouldn’t let anyone else deliver them, would Charlotte herself bring them to Eleris?
“So… What are you going to do, then?”
“I won’t contact him anymore.”
When Charlotte called me on my communication device, her voice seemed full of determination as if she had just decided on something. She wasn’t trying to negotiate with me or anything like that.
She’d decided to break off any contact she had with Valier.
Charlotte didn’t tell any of her people about Valier’s whereabouts, keeping it a secret. At first, she did it because she thought the fewer people know, the better, but then she simply couldn’t tell them for a completely different reason.
Every time I had to pretend to deliver letters to her, write them, and read her replies, I felt guilt stabbing my heart.
I wouldn’t have to write these hellish letters anymore.
That would be great.
“What I mean to say is, you don’t have to take on any more risks.”
However, if Charlotte was scared that she’d exposed me to danger and felt guilty because she thought that she’d forced me to do something, she didn’t have to be.
She shouldn’t force herself to break off something she didn’t want to break off while wearing such a sad expression.
“Looks like you still have no fucking clue about me?”
While Charlotte spoke very gently and softly, I talked pretty roughly.
The way someone would talk if they felt pissed.
The way that bastard Reinhardt would.
“I’m the kinda bastard that would fucking yell at ya if I didn’t wanna fucking do something.”
Charlotte looked at me, slightly perplexed when those harsh words suddenly left my mouth. I guessed that she didn’t expect me to react like that.
Yeah, the Reinhardt everyone knew was a crazy bastard. He was the type of guy who would get annoyed if things didn’t work out his way, which would lead him to act on his temper. And if someone was acting like a fucking jerk, he would directly ask them why they were acting like a fucking jerk—no matter who that person was.
Speaking harshly to Charlotte for the first time, I asked her if she fucking forgot what kind of guy I was.
“If I thought your request was shit, I would have fucking said that it was shit. So, did I ever do that?”
“No… You didn’t.”
“See? I did that stuff ’cause I wanted to.”
Charlotte’s eyes widened at my words.
“I just shout out whatever comes to my mind and do whatever I want to. You’re no exception.”
Charlotte was kind of an exception…
And so was Bertus…
But for the moment, I just had to put it like that!
“I did it because I wanted to. I mean, I wouldn’t have fucking done it if I didn’t want to, so your worries and apologies are meaningless.”
Clear droplets were gradually forming in the corners of Charlotte’s eyes.
“So if you want me to deliver those letters again, don’t think about that useless stuff and just give em to me.”
“You want to deliver them?”
“You want to have them delivered, right? I mean, what’s so hard about delivering those small pieces of paper anyway?”
Tears rolled down Charlotte’s eyes; then she looked at me with a helpless smile on her lips.
She was crying, and yet, she was laughing.
“Yeah… So that’s what you’d say, as expected.”
Did she even expect that that would happen? Did she know I would react like that? Charlotte wiped away her tears with a handkerchief.
“Still, it’s okay, you really don’t have to deliver those letters anymore.”
Charlotte spoke these words with a sad look in her eyes.
It seemed like she had already made up her mind about Valier, the problem she had with me aside.
“Why… if it’s not too rude to ask?”
“…It’s not rude. It’s just a difficult question to answer.”
Charlotte bowed her head slightly as she faced me. I couldn’t help but be surprised because I didn’t expect her to act that way.
“Thank you very, very much, Reinhardt.”
I didn’t have to deliver Charlotte’s letters anymore from that point on.
I didn’t have to torture myself by writing those replies lined with nothing but lies anymore.
However, it was far more torturous for me to see Charlotte struggling with her own sadness like that.
But there was nothing I could say to her.
Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafySkip
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Charlotte didn’t weep loudly, however she shed some tears that she wiped away.
After some time, she found her composure again. She turned to me again wearing a rather awkward smile.
“I’m sorry, I always end up showing you this ugly side of me.”
“I’ll just think of it as an honor.”
Wasn’t it actually pretty bad that the Imperial Princess was the only one who would end up revealing her weak side every time?
“Anyway, that’s what I wanted to say. You don’t have to deliver any letters from now on. So you don’t have to walk that tightrope between me and Bertus anymore.”
Charlotte said she wouldn’t resent or see me as her enemy even if I completely joined Bertus’s side. When I thought of it, I only had contact with Charlotte because of that request. If I didn’t have to deliver those letters anymore, there would be no reason for me to have any connection to Charlotte.
So she was essentially letting me go.
“So should we pretend that we don’t know each other from now on or something?”
“We… should, shouldn’t we…?”
Charlotte seemed a little dazed when I said that without a hint of hesitation.
“Isn’t that kind of sad?”
When I threw the fastball that I would be sad at her, Charlotte seemed even more shocked.
“Of course, I can’t say that I enjoy almost getting squashed between Bertus and you, but if you just tell me to stick to Bertus, doesn’t that mean that you were actually just using me? Don’t you think so?”
“W-well… I would, wouldn’t it?”
“I thought we were friends. That’s why I’ve been helping you so far.”
“What’s with that shocked reaction? Did you really just think of me as Henchman One?”
“N-no! No! Not at all! I never thought of you like that!”
Charlotte’s face reddened and she wildly shook her head. I felt like I had been squirming before Charlotte up until then. However, as she felt very apologetic towards me, she seemed very flustered when I uttered those words.
One could say that the tables had turned.
Even though what I was talking about was pretty much nonsense, Charlotte still ended up stuttering like that.
“So… are we friends?”
When I asked her that with a big smile spreading across my face, Charlotte’s lips trembled slightly as she slightly raised her head. It might have been unbearably embarrassing for her to say with her own mouth, or maybe the situation just seemed utterly ridiculous to her
“So, yes or no?”
“It… it’s… Urg…”
That was something I used to say when I was trying to pressure someone. It’s what I’d used when Cayer was picking a fight with me.
In my second semester, I could say those words to the Imperial Princess—although the details were slightly different.
It’s not like I was friends with that other guy, after all!
“Th-that’s… That’s correct…”
Maybe because she felt ashamed or humiliated, she nodded slightly, her face red, and body trembling slightly.
“So, you can obviously ask a friend for help or something, you can also meet up with them on your way back and talk to them, so don’t think too much about this.”
“You’re too smart. Sometimes that’s the root of your problems.”
If she wanted to interpret a situation badly, she would always imagine the worst-case scenario.
I just did what I did because Charlotte requested me to, and after she started to think that she might have forced me, she became convinced that she’d somehow made a big mistake.
Spending too much time alone with one’s thoughts would lead to problems, after all.
Of course, I also spent an unhealthy amount of time alone with my thoughts.
I’d also noticed that Charlotte was uncomfortable around me, so I’d also let my imagination run in very weird directions. My imagination was so far apart from what actually was going on.
Both Charlotte and I had deeply thought about the other on our own, making various assumptions.
And both of us were completely wrong.
In the end, we had to confront each other to find out the truth. Charlotte was a little dazed when she heard that the root of the problem was that she was too smart.
She then took a few deep breaths. When the color of her face returned to normal, Charlotte looked at me with a somewhat playful smile on her face.
“Right, we’re friends. So let me ask you something.
“Sure, go ahead.”
“Is Bertus also your friend?”
I was a little surprised by that question, which appeared at a rather unexpected time.
“Is Bertus your friend as well?”
“I mean, that’s… Well. It would be nice if he thought that way, I guess…”
Were Bertus and I really friends?
I definitely thought of Charlotte as a friend, but I didn’t know how Bertus actually thought of me. With her head slightly tilted, Charlotte smiled at me.
“Well, don’t you think that you are actually a lot closer to Bertus than to me?”
She certainly was smiling, but it somehow seemed a little threatening. What? She thought that I was closer to Bertus? That had to be a misunderstanding. While I had been a bit surprised by Bertus’s behavior, if I had to choose who I was closer to, it would obviously be her!
Bertus didn’t only try to kill her, but me as well!
“N-no? I don’t think so, though? What makes you think that?”
“Then why did you ask Bertus to help with your Gang’s new business and not me?”
Ah. I felt my brain freeze for a second when I heard Charlotte’s words.
It was because of that!
Bertus told her, so she’d found out!
“You had to think that I was unreliable, or you believed that Bertus could do better than me, or you just asked him because you were closer to him personally, right?”
Why did you ask Bertus when you could have asked me? I thought we were friends. Oh, so you asked Bertus because you were even closer friends with him, is that it?
That was what Charlotte seemed to ask with her eyes
Did she become upset after she heard about that?
No, did she come to the conclusion that I might actually hate her or be afraid of her after thinking about it for a while?
“W-well you know, because of the situation between us and that atmosphere, I really couldn’t help but…”
“You couldn’t help it? Why?”
“I-I mean… if I just came up to you and suddenly asked you for a favor right after Dettomolian told us that we were going to end up marrying each other. Aah! That would have been a bit much!”
It seemed that Charlotte only just realized when I had made that request.
It would have been really weird if I just acted as if I didn’t care at all, so there was no way I would have been able to ask her like that!
Both Charlotte’s and my face were red. After much talking, we eventually came back to the first topic which started everything.
We didn’t say anything for a while.
Finally, Charlotte opened her mouth after stammering for a bit.
“But really… Honestly, let me ask you one more question.”
“…What is it?”
Charlotte stared at me.
“Am I not good-looking enough for you?”
“So, am I attractive enough or not?”
“W-why would you ask me something like that?!”
“No! You! You’ve been so strangely repulsed by the idea of marrying me! Shouldn’t you have been glad? No matter how good-looking Ellen Artorius is, how am I inferior to her? I know that there are a few things in which I’m far below her, but I have a lot of good parts as well, right?”
“Why are you talking about her all of a sudden?!”
“Anyway, my looks are fine, right?! Just tell me! Yes or no!”
Yes or no. Charlotte shot the question I asked her right back at me. We were talking about quite heavy things up to that point, but after we declared that we were friends, why did the conversation suddenly turn out like that?
“Yeah! You’re attractive! Ah! I’m sorry!”
“…Hearing that from you, it seems like I forced you to do it, don’t you think that’s even worse?”
“…What do you want from me?”
“…I’m not sure either.”
Charlotte’s answer grew even more rotten when she heard my answer.
Charlotte simply stretched with a sullen expression on her face before she let out a sigh.
She then smiled at me.
“For becoming the second friend of the Imperial Princess of Gradias.”
She seemed to get along with everyone in Class B.
However, it seemed like she drew a line between them and herself in her mind. Did being friends mean a lot to Charlotte?
I knew who the first one was without her telling me.
The second one…
So, in the end, I would be Charlotte’s only friend. Seeing me like that, Charlotte frowned and smiled a bit mischievously.
“Consider it an honor.”Skip
“Yeah, yeah, it’s an honor.”
“You seem to be getting more and more comfortable with me, so I shall just think of it as a good sign. Though you did act a bit dirty…”
Charlotte was watching the fish swimming in the pond.
The deep sorrow hidden inside of her was nowhere to be seen.
“Let’s do our best… Or something.”
I didn’t know in what we should do or best.
But we should just do our best.
That somehow seemed like a form of consolation to me.