I spotted Liana standing at the side of the hall. I had not spoken to her for years, since Mother’s death. I was busy with my schoolwork and duties as Prince.
From what Adrian said she no longer cried easily. She liked reading, she liked the color blue. She had a sweet tooth. She was friend with the Lord Knightly’s daughter.
She was tugging at her dress. She was nervous. She always seemed nervous whenever she was in balls, especially when she was standing alone. She hid it well, but her hand hiding among the folds of her dress betrayed her.
“Son, Liana is over there. Why don’t you go over and invite her for a dance?” Father asked.
I knew I should. I wanted to see how the little girl who cried easily grew up to be. But I did not know how to approach her. What if she was frightened of me? I did not know how to interact with young ladies any more than with little girls.
“Father, I have my duties. Ambassadors from Zehan and Edehan are coming.”
“If you’re so invested in your duties, then stop sneaking glances at Liana! You made me feel like I am forcefully separating the two of you! How did I give birth to such a shy son?”
“You did not give birth to me, Mother did.”
“Stop being shy, Sebastian, you’ll regret one day. Take my words.”
“I am not shy.”
“No, of course not. You just don’t know how to start a conversation. As I said why did my son turn out to be such a boring and shy guy?”
“Father, Ambassador of Edehan is coming.”
Father sighed and shook his head. “You’ll regret one day.”
I regretted. Liana was sobbing in front of me. Her entire family was dead. I did not know how to comfort her. I froze when I saw her tears, just like when I was young. What a failure I was.
I suspected her family’s death and my father’s death were not pure accidents, but I could not tell her. Something was at force here. I could not expose her to dangers. Her family was most likely killed because they found out something.
“I am sorry for your loss.”
She looked up, her eyes rimmed with red. “Your highness, I am sorry for your loss,” she said sincerely.
I felt touched. She remembered even amid her own sadness.
“Do you have any plans?” I knew I was being harsh, but accepting reality was the best solution. I had and so should Liana.
Tears started to flow out of her eyes, but she quickly wiped them away with her handkerchief. She had grown up to be an even stronger girl than she was in the past.
“Prince Sebastian, I am your fiancee. I will stay here in Arerin. I should stay by your side at times like this.”
Liana was certainly not the crybaby from the past.
I had no interest in love or romance. Who was my wife in the future made no difference to me. But at that moment I thought maybe Liana as my Queen was not a bad choice. I did not detest this choice.
“Please, Sebastian, help me find out the murderer. My family was murdered,” Liana begged.
I wish I could, but I could not. I knew the murderer, but I could not tell her. Lord Bentley’s power made him able to spy from afar. He could hear or view things from afar. I could not risk her.
I had to stop her from continuing her search. I could not lose her as well. She was the only one I had now.
I smiled. Definitely not the smile she came to like when we were young. But the smile I knew she was frightened of.
“I am busy, Liana. I don’t have time for your make-pretend.”
Now I had done it. Why was my heart seems to be aching? Why was hurting her such an easy feat for me? No matter it was then or now.
Tears started to fill her eyes just like they did when she was young, when we were building sandcastles.
But unlike before, she quickly wiped away her tears. She put on a mask. A mask that shut me off from her.
“I’ll be in my room, your majesty.” She curtsied and she walked away. She pretended as if my words did not hurt her, but they did. Her hands amid the folds of her dress betrayed her. She was tugging her dress like she did when she was small.
Sorry, Liana. I’ll make them pay.
I regretted. Maybe I should not have married Liana from the start. I should not have selfishly bound her to me because she was the only one in the world that seemed to stand by my side. Now she was going to die with me.
She suffered from all those gossips and accusations because of my incompetence. I thought I could make up to her. I thought I could win. But I could not. I lose. What a failure I was.
Now she wished to die with me. The husband who hurt her, who did not rescue her when she needed me.
I regretted. I was wrong.
I wished I could erase all her sorrows. I wished we could start again.
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