Chapter 1 : Tears Upon the Cheeks

The knife swung down again and again.

I felt the shock in my chest, my arms, and my shoulders.

As she repeatedly plunged the knife into me, her brow furrowed sadly, and tears trickled from her eyes.

It’s strange.

It seems to me that you, who was killing me, are much sadder than I, who was being killed.

“Why… Why did you break your promise? You promised to give it back to me.
No, you said you only had three years left to live…!”

Natalia, I didn’t mean to break my promise.

Just because you’ve been sentenced to three years doesn’t mean you’ll die in exactly three years.

But you know what?

I really couldn’t move much anymore.

“I heard about the medicine… they’ve developed it, haven’t they? How terrible, then you will never be able to die!”

Are you referring to a new medicine that has been successfully developed in a neighboring country?

That’s right.

If I had that medicine, my disease would be cured completely.

But that medicine was developed by a neighboring country.
It will take a long time to get it.

So by the time it becomes available in this country, surely I will.

“Liar, liar! I believed in you and waited…!”

I’m glad you believed me, Natalia.

Yeah, I wanted you to keep believing.

Because I was going to give him away properly.

Even if you hadn’t done this, I was already at that point anyway.

It wouldn’t even take long.

“Die as you promised.
You have to die! Give me back Leo, give me back Leopold…”

Oh, Natalia.

I’m not going to give him back, he was yours from the beginning.

You’re a funny person.

What were you so worried about?

Because you and Leopold have been in touch with each other since your time at the academy.

Leopold looks only at you, and you look only at Leopold.

You’ve always been loved from the beginning.

You knew that, didn’t you?

I wasn’t loved.

I have never been loved.

And yet, why?

Why did you have to kill me?

“Natalia! What have you done?!”

What I heard were mixed shouts and screams from the servants.

The sound of approaching footsteps and his impatient voice.

Oh, but…

There’s something distant in his voice.

“What evil is this? There’s blood everywhere! Stay with me, Beatrice!”

“Beatrice.”

“…Atie!”

Who?

The overlapping voices were drowned out by the shouting and clamor of the crowd.

The screams of the maids.

The butler’s startled voice and the sound of breaking dishes and other things.

In the midst of such confusion, my body was shaken along with a voice calling me with a hint of urgency.

Is it you, Leopold-sama, did you just pick up my body…?

“Why? Because Trice is the one who broke the promise!”

“What are you talking about, Natalia? Beatrice is…”

“Shut up! This is not the time to be talking about this!”

Someone’s hand gently caressed my cheek.

The hand was trembling slightly.

That’s funny.

Leopold would never do such a thing to me.

He would never touch me gently.

Something warm and light touched my face.

It trickled down my skin.

Ah, who was it that hugged me?

I tried to open my eyes, but I couldn’t move a muscle anymore.

Ah.

No more.

I can’t hear anything.

I can’t see anything.

Nothing.

I’m sorry, Leopold-sama.

I couldn’t be of any help to you in the end.

I thought I could have done better.

And I’m sorry, Natalia.

But I didn’t mean to break my promise.

Because.

Because I really am.

Even if you hadn’t done anything, even if you hadn’t bothered to kill me, I would have been dead soon.

And then I’ll do what I promised.

Yes, just as I promised.

…No, it’s all excuses.

It’s probably my fault.

It’s my fault that I fell in love with you—

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