North x Northwest - Chapter 245
Volume 7 Chapter 245
Translators – Pru and Formidable
“I didn’t know that Venua was involved in this… And I didn’t expect to meet him this soon… I just… I’ve been so complacent. At the back of my mind, I figured we would bump into each other at some point, but his sense of existence just slipped, perhaps because it’s been a long time since we last saw each other, or because my memory of him is faint… Yet, now that I’ve seen him again, I’m reminded of the plan I made. At first, yes, I planned to go back to Mireille and rewind the knot I had left twisted… Getting my life back… that’s where I wanted to start. I believed that if I addressed my problems one by one, things would get better for me somehow. Even if there were variables…”
Lil cut herself off and hit her forehead.
‘There’s no need for such a tedious explanation… The only reason why I keep rambling on is because it gives me an excuse to stay… I wish I could slap myself on the cheeks right now… I almost fainted in the rain on the street. If it happens again, I don’t think I can overcome it… It will be over if I go out there and collapse for real this time…’
“But Venua is different from the Duke of Mireille. The Archduke, my father, is in critical condition, so Venua will soon succeed him and become the new Archduke… Come to think of it, it’s ridiculous for Venua to come all the way here in person just to look for me, even if it was requested by our father. Venua must have some other ulterior motive then. In such a case, there’s no way he’d let me go. Even if I try to remain optimistic, I know that this time, it will be different…”
“…I might be done for…”
“As I told you from the beginning. It doesn’t matter.”
“I said it doesn’t matter who you are.”
“And you were delighted, remember?*”
“That would mean that you look at me the same way even though I’m not wearing the necklace. You understand that right?”
“One way or another, my answer remains the same.”
“I said it doesn’t matter. What makes you think I’ll change my mind?”
Because of Ed’s persistent response, Lil was reminded of the time she shared with him in the music room. When she barged through the door while Ed was playing the cembalo.
‘After our fight and reconciliation, I asked him if he knew who I truly was. He said it didn’t matter… I didn’t know this was what he truly meant…’
Recalling what happened, Lil felt embarrassed.
‘Those were words said by someone who already knew everything about me.’
Not being able to sit still anymore, Lil rose from her seat and paced around it.
‘The more I ponder it, the hazier my mind becomes. I thought I understood Ed through our numerous conversations, but apparently, the depth of his mind is evidently deeper…’
Because of this, Lil felt as if the ground beneath her was crumbling and her feet didn’t touch the floor anymore. She turned her head towards him. Ed’s serious demeanor was so unwavering that Lil felt the pressure rise to her throat.
“I don’t understand. Why are you so…”
Lil’s speech became slurred when Ed suddenly jumped up. His eyes, illuminated by candlelight, moved uneasily, constantly returning to her right side. Lil followed his gaze to a window with curtains drawn. Apparently, Ed couldn’t keep still with the foreshadowing that Lil could be planning to run and jump out the window at any moment. He even tensely clenched and unclenched his fists, grabbed his clothes, and swept down his face impatiently.
“I know what I did to you. I let you down. I tried to coax you into thinking I was different from the other men. My actions since Amiaeng only disillusioned you and made you unable to trust me again. I know that. I’m still the same bastard who hasn’t gotten rid of the arrogance and the feeling of inferiority I had 10 years ago. I deserve to feel terrible for acting like that. But… But I just can’t let you go.”
“I won’t beg you for forgiveness. I won’t even ask you to look at me.”
“Why are you doing this for me?”
“Just don’t go.”
“You’re so strange. When have I ever spoken nicely to you or treated you kindly? I’ve never given you anything. You took a bullet for me, told me the things I wanted to hear the most in my life, and brought me back from the dead. I, on the other hand, have done nothing to repay any of that.”
“That’s not true. I’ve known you for much longer than you know…”
“I know. I read the letter.”
Ed, who was momentarily taken aback, lowered his eyes to the desk. Next to the candlestick was the reply Lil had been writing and a quill that was dripping ink.
Lil quickly snatched her stationery before Ed’s hand could reach it.
Half of the paper, which had been densely populated with Lil’s writing, crumpled in her hands.
‘I messed up… I said I had come to get some weapons and clothes, but the truth is that I haven’t even changed my clothes yet…’
She was still wearing the dress that got ripped when she escaped the mansion. From the very beginning, Lil had known that all the words she had blurted out to Ed were excuses that didn’t make any sense. But she had no choice but to do so. As soon as she entered the boudoir, she was determined to find the letter, and after reading it, she couldn’t help but write a reply.
The version of her in Ed’s letter was so unfamiliar to her that Lil held onto the letter for a long time. At first, she felt strange and awkward to discover how Ed saw her, but that feeling quickly changed into something wonderful and it sparkled throughout all his various sentences.
‘It felt weird to me that I might’ve looked like that to someone, so I couldn’t bring myself to get out of that feeling because it was so fascinating to me. It made me rethink the days I lived. I always thought my past was just full of envy… Filled with ridicule, criticism, and disillusionment…’
Lil tried to fool Ed into believing she was okay, but it wasn’t easy as a hot sensation rushed up and swept around her eyes. She pretended to fumble and touch her face, thinking she could use her face’s wetness from the rain as a cover.
“I know you don’t want to go, so do whatever you want instead. You already escaped from him to do that, and you said no one could force you, so why are you still being influenced by the Prince Regent?”
‘Because despite being in Roahn, Venua’s status didn’t change. He’s still Obernyu’s Prince Regent. I, on the other hand, became a nobody when I left the villa. Can someone like Ed even understand the sense of helplessness and self-degradation of being someone of no value? I want to ignore Venua just as Ed is doing, but I don’t have that kind of power… I never want the man in front of me to be hurt or fall sick in any way, but that doesn’t mean I can protect him or prevent it. Reality is that miserable. No matter how much Ed praises me, he can only do so through letters or reminiscences as the real-life me is extremely unsightly. Rather than shining, I’m immersed in darkness. No one would even know if I disappeared… Maybe the world is hoping that I’ll just go away…’
In the middle of her depressing thoughts, the medicine had started working and Lil suddenly felt it was much easier to stand, so she turned around to find her bag.
“I enjoyed reading your letter, thank you for thinking so highly of me.”
“Is that all?”
“I won’t misunderstand you anymore…”
“Are you doing this because you hate me?”
Lil slammed the sheathed knife she had been packing down on the desk. Ed had been following her since she began moving, so even if she looked back just a little, she could see him. Lil raised her voice because she was beginning to get frustrated that he kept pleading even though there was nothing she did or could do for him.
“I’m not that great of a person! I don’t know why you think of me that way, but I can’t stand myself because I’m so pathetic. None of your flowery words makes any sense to me!”
“At one point, I, too, thought I might be special. But ever since, I’ve been struggling to prove it, and till now, I still am. I know it. I’m nothing. I’m on the run, so I don’t belong to anyone or anywhere and that’s why I have no place to return to. I’m a lost object. Where am I supposed to go? I’m sick of myself because I could’ve died if I hadn’t come here. Do you get it? I’ll die if you don’t help me. I’m useless on my own. The world knows it. And yet I can’t admit it to myself. I feel like the crazy one for being unable to accept it.”
“No one can achieve everything alone.”
“Is there anyone who doesn’t know that? But whenever I ask someone for help, I hear that I’m asking for help because I’m weak and lacking. If I can’t do everything on my own, no one will believe in me. What you say applies only to people. And women are not people, they are women.”
Lil was well aware of this, but she still tried and eventually failed, which was why she was standing here.
The more Lil spoke, the more difficult it was for her to bear herself becoming so shabby. The Liloa that Ed remembered was so wonderful that now, she was embarrassed to be standing in front of him in such a state of disintegration.
– – – – –
“As I told you from the beginning. It doesn’t matter.” / “I said it doesn’t matter who you are.” / “And you were delighted, remember?” = Chapter 102 = The moment Ed is talking about is the scene just before the necklace stops working. Lil was down about the Duke’s endeavors to catch mermaids and said there was no end to it. Ed responded with that it would stop one day and that Lil could speed things up. Lil asked him if she could do that regardless of who she was and if he would still feel honored to meet her. Ed said of course and Lil was happy with his answer.