Chapter 11 : Fleeting — Before Rebirth
“Hey, Trice, what should I do? He confessed to me.”
Beatrice momentarily froze at the words from her only friend, Natalia, and eventually blinked slowly, then finally opened her mouth.
“Ah, that person might be…”
“That’s right! It’s your childhood friend, the prospective knight.
It’s Leopoldo Reinalpha-sama.”
Natalia has a happy smile on her face, and her voice cannot contain her excitement.
Her hands were wandering restlessly from here and there as she told her how she was experiencing such bliss.
Before her rebirth, Leopold, whom she always always loved, confessed to Beatrice’s only friend.
Leopold, whom she hadn’t seen in a long time, was looking at Natalia with blushing cheeks and feverish eyes.
As a pure love that transcended family differences, the love between the two beautiful people quickly became known throughout the school.
“Let’s have lunch together with Trice and the others.
It’s more fun with lots of people.”
Unable to resist the heat of her unrequited love, she would selfishly show up at the lovers’ trysts, only to be hurt by the sights she saw there.
She despaired at the fact that her beloved, whose eyes never reflect her own image.
And yet the next day, as if being held together by an invisible rope, she clung to him again.
Then, once again, she saw the lovers being happy again, and she despair alone.
I just wanted to be with him.
I just wanted to see his face, even if it was just for a moment.
It was that mock battle that I went to see with such a casual attitude.
Even from a distance, she thought, it would be enough if she could see Leopoldo swinging his sword.
She knew that his heart would never turn to her.
It was natural, because Leopold knew about her illness.
A disease in which blood cannot be produced normally.
With only symptomatic treatment, no established cure has yet been discovered, and she was diagnosed at an early age that she would not make it past the age of 20 if her condition continued.
Therefore, there was no way that she could have been chosen as a lover and future spouse in the first place.
Not only by her beloved Leopold, but also by any of the other gentlemen as well.
She will also never allow herself to be chosen as someone’s wife.
So I knew, I thought I knew.
She never thought she would be able to it turn around.
There really was no such expectation, not even a bit of deceitful lie.
However, she was certain that he was not even aware of the fact that she was secretly in love with him.
Because otherwise, why else…
Why am I feeling this way?
The sight of her loved one whispering love to someone who was not her made her feel conflicted, and it was even more intense when that “someone” was her own dearest best friend.
She wanted Leopold and Natalia to be happy.
This was never a lie.
And yet, knowing the fact that there was no room for her in that happiness, she felt sad.
That’s why I was glad.
When I realized that there was something I could do for both of them, and that I could be there with them, even if it was only for a short time.
I had hope.
In the third grade, when Leopoldo’s family’s financial situation continued to deteriorate and his marriage to Natalia was doomed.
When both of their faces were stained with despair.
“I didn’t tell Natalia this.
I was told that I couldn’t live past twenty because of this congenital disease.”
Beatrice wrapped her hands around Natalia’s hands.
She then chuckled at Leopold, who was standing next to her.
“That’s why I had given up on getting married.
My father also told me that there was no choice.
Since there was no point in having a daughter who would die in a few years after marriage… but Leopold-sama.
I don’t know if you would.”
They tilt their heads together.
Beatrice bitterly smiled at the idea of them being so close to each other.
“You take a wife who is meaningless to you.
For the sake of making one last memory of poor me, you ask my father to take me to be your wife.”
Natalia and Leopold’s faces paled quickly.
“I’m sure that my father will give the Marquise of Reinalpha financial support in return.
If he marries me, who is useless as a wife.
And I’ll be gone in a few years… and then, Natalia, you will marry Leopold-sama as his second wife.”
“After… as… wife…”
Beatrice nodded emphatically.
“By then the Reinalpha household’s economic situation should have improved.
At least it should at least be getting to the point where things begin recovering.
And if you’re a second wife, fewer people will find fault, blaming you for the huge disparity in family gap, isn’t that right?”
As soon as they understood what she was talking about, a light flashed in both of their eyes.
“But Trice, wait.
No matter how desperate I am, I can’t let you do something like that for me.”
“It’s okay, Natalia.”
Beatrice, who thinks she has found her mission, smiled kindly at them.
“It’s a life that will dissipate in a few years anyway.
So, you know? Let me at least do something for my dear childhood friend… and friend.”
“And you know what, Natalia? Don’t worry.
As you can see, because of my body, even if I were to get married, it would still leave me in a clean relationship with Leopold-sama.
That’s right, it’s a white marriage.”
“White… marriage… is that really what you want? I’m so sorry I let Trice get to that point…”
It’s okay, Natalia.
But you know, I can’t tell you exactly how long I have left to live.
I will see my doctor later, but until then, can you wait for Leopoldo-sama? Your father needs to be persuaded, too.”
“…yeah! Of course!”
“I hope that’s alright with you, Leopold-sama.
You don’t have to love me.
I would be your wife, even if only on paper.”
Beatrice, thank you.
I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.”
It should be Natalia and Leopold who rejoice.
And yet, as they talked, Beatrice was also shaking with joy.
She could be Leopold’s wife, even if it was only a formality.
I thought it was all over.
I thought this love would never come to fruition.
Even if it was a position as a wife that she would surrender in just a few years.
Even if Leopold’s love was not directed to herself until the end.
Even if it was a loveless marriage where she would never get an embrace or even a kiss from him.
Still, this desire of hers can be accomplished in a certain way.
And after her death, they can weave a happy future together.
She made the best offer she could for both of them.
Beatrice, at that time, did not doubt this belief.
She never thought that anyone’s malice existed there, not even a little.
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