Chapter 22 : Knowing you didn’t make it in time

“Oh, back already, Edgar-kun.
This time, you suddenly went home, is everything okay?”

Upon his return to the Royal Institute of Medicine in Drieste, Edgar was approached by Cartier, his immediate supervisor and assistant chief.

“Yes, it’s all right.
I apologize for imposing on you.”

Cartier smiled softly at Edgar, who bowed lightly and apologized for his sudden request for leave.

“No, I don’t mind.
Your reports have been very beneficial to us.
It’s been very helpful for us to know the actual results of taking ingredients that have been proven to work.
It has helped us to find the optimum ratio.”

“No, it is I who wants to thank you.
I am happy to see that she is getting better these days.
That’s thanks to your kindness.”

“I’m glad to hear that it’s working.
There are so few cases.
Normally, we wouldn’t be able to do it so efficiently.”

“I’m glad to hear you say that.
I wanted to hurry as much as possible… I don’t want it to happen again.”

“Edgar-kun?”

When his name was called in doubt, Edgar shook his head and said, “It’s nothing”.

“I will now return to my post.”

“Oh, please.”

With a bow, Edgar entered the department he was in charge of.

Several colleagues who had already started working noticed Edgar and greeted him.

One of them, Ronald, a fellow student, smiled at him ridiculously.

“Yo, Edgar.
You left in quite a hurry this time.
Did something happen to your beloved Artie-chan?

Always with this usual lighthearted pleasantries.

Every time he returned from his country, they would exchange these words as if it were a ritual.

Normally, it would end with a single word: nothing.

Normally.

Today, however, Ronaldo rolled his eyes when he saw Edgar’s face as he looked back at him.

It was the same smiling face as usual.

However, there was a hint of anger in his eyes.

“E, Edgar?”

Edgar spoke to the flustered Ronaldo with a smile on his face.

“You know, Ronaldo.
I’d appreciate it if you stop saying that name so familiarly.
I’m the only one who can call her Artie.”

“Eh?”

“Do you get it?”

“Ah, y-yes!”

Hearing his affirmative response, Edgar chuckled once more and hurried to his desk.

“T-that’s scary… I’ve never seen him in a bad mood before…”

Although he heard such a mutter, today’s Edgar didn’t seem to care about it.

I have to hurry.

Edgar was just a lowly third-year member of the institution.

There is not much he can do.

He could only be responsible for preparing materials, comparing data and selecting the most effective medical herbs, being in charge of ordering and managing medicinal herbs, and participating in experiments.

Just half a year ago, he finally discovered one highly effective medicinal herb, and he was proud about that achievement.

There was no doubt that the pace was faster than expected.
Everyone agreed on that, however…

But, still…

I can’t believe I can’t make it in time.
For such a matter…

Never again.

“I beg your pardon?”

The night he came back to the country, after taking an unscheduled vacation because he was worried about Beatrice’s condition…

He visited Rembrandt, who uttered incomprehensible words, and Edgar couldn’t help but ask back.

He knew what he said, but didn’t understand what he meant, so he asked back.

“So.
The medicine was completed seven years after you studied abroad.
That is, about five years from now.”

“…Rembrandt? What are you talking about?”

What Rembrandt next uttered was unbelievable.

How could time turn back?

Did Leopold have a girlfriend at the academy?

His girlfriend was Artie’s friend, but then Leopold’s family was about to fall and they gave up on their marriage.

But it was a trap set by his girlfriend’s childhood friend.

And…

“Artie and Leo were contractually married…”

“Yes.
And it seemed that Trice was the one who came up with this idea.
And in return, we gave him financial support.”

The story up to that point alone was shocking enough.

But the most shocking words for Edgar were the ones that followed.

“I heard that the medicine was successfully developed, but it was right around the time she died.”

“…”

Edgar clenched his fists tightly.

I have to hurry.

Quickly, as quickly as possible.

He couldn’t get Rembrandt’s words out of his head.

— “I heard that after you studied abroad, you never came back.”

“You didn’t even come back for Trice and Leopold’s wedding.” —

If it has, if time had really gone backwards, and that really happened in the previous life, then he really would never come back.

He had no confidence that he would be able to smile in the sight of such a scene.

In the first place, even now, he shouldn’t really have gone back.
Because that was his plan all along.

At least that was his intention when he first went to Artie to talk about studying abroad.

He was determined to use all the time he had to help them complete the medicine as soon as possible.

But Artie said…

— “I’m so sad to see you go.”

“But I mustn’t say anything to dissuade Edgar-sama from leaving for a neighboring country with such noble aspirations.
It’s my selfishness.” —

And because she burst into tears…

He found himself saying that he would come back often.

He knew that he would be on a tight schedule if he was to do it.
But he was happy enough to be willing to commit to it.

All along, he knew that she only thought of him as a kind older brother.

So at least he has made an effort to act on that thought.

But then, for the first time, Edgar thought. I wish…

I wondered if it might be possible to beg her for a rare chance. 

Not as an adored older brother, not as a childhood friend to be close to, but simply as a man.

Artie, I wonder if I could ask you for it.

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