BBYW Vol. 1 Chapter 8

Chapter 8 – We Met in a Fairytale

【POV : Selena Nommes】

Today is my wedding day.

I was sitting by myself in the bride’s waiting room.

There was no one else in the room. The maids left as soon as they finished helping me don the dress.

The dress I was wearing was the same one my mother wore for her wedding.

Ever since I was a child, I always dreamed of wearing my mother’s dress for my own wedding.

Several years after that, my dream had finally come true.

My heart, however, was mired in deep, dark sadness.

“Why did things turn out like this…?”

I was supposed to be happy.

To be celebrated by everyone, to become one with the person I loved, to reach a happy ending like in the fairytales.

However, reality was different.

More than half of the invitation letters I sent to my friends and acquaintances were returned to the sender, the seal still unbroken.

Even the maids who made preparations for the ceremony looked like they were just putting up a front and did not wish me well from their hearts.

“Where did I go wrong…?”

The answer to that question was clear, but my heart refused to accept it.

What did I do wrong? Where did I stray off the right path?

I recalled my life until now.

~

Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to become a princess.

A princess just like in the picture books my late mother read to me.

My mother was crippled by sickness even before she gave birth to me. As long as I could remember, she was confined to her bed.

Father desperately sought a cure for her, desperate enough to even borrow money from Lord Maxwell, but could not find anything in the end.

I loved my mother and often slipped inside her bed, begging her to read me stories. Thinking about it now, that might have worsened her condition…but mother always listened to my requests, even when she was feeling worse than usual.

“Don’t worry, Selena, one day a prince will come for you…”

My mother used to tell me that every time she finished reading a picture book, patting my head.

The words “don’t worry”…were what my mother said to convince herself, maybe.

Mother probably felt she wouldn’t live the day to see me grow up, so she said that to dispel her worries about my future.

Sometime after my mother’s death, a man claiming to be my older brother came to the house. Father had sired a child with another woman.

“You’re Selena, right? Nice to meet you.”

“…I don’t know you!!”

“Eh? Ah, wait!”

I always avoided my brother.

I couldn’t believe father had cheated on mother, nor could I ever forgive him. I couldn’t accept the existence of my brother.

Even if the decision came from my father’s position as head of the family, as my sickly mother could not give birth to a male heir.

Even if my mother was aware of my father’s infidelity and gave her permission.

I could never forgive them.

Not my father, nor my brother.

Then it happened — father arranged a fiance for me.

“Cheers Selena: I have the perfect fiance for you.”

I was thirteen when I became engaged.

He was the successor of the house of Margrave Maxwell — Lord Dyngir.

“I’m Dyngir Maxwell. Nice to meet you.”

Lord Dyngir introduced himself in this friendly way.

At first, I planned to act disrespectfully towards my fiance, in order to shame my father.

The moment I saw lord Dyngir’s face, however, such thoughts completely vanished from my head.

“Eek…..!!”

“What’s wrong?”

The first thing I felt when I saw Lord Dyngir’s face was fear.

At first glance, Lord Dyngir looked like a friendly, quiet young man. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that something unfathomable, something more beast than human, was hiding inside him.

Yes, something like the dragon that kidnaps the princess in the fairytales…

(What was the name of that terrible dragon…? All black, as large as a mountain…the name of the dragon sent chills down your spine just by saying it…)

I didn’t know why I felt like that, but it might have been because of my mother’s blood. Mother was a priestess in the royal capital’s sanctuary until she married my father.

“Lord Dyngir has taken the enemy commander’s head in the last battle with the empire!”

Father talked about Lord Dyngir’s military exploits, to explain what an incredible person he was.

Who would start liking a person because they heard how they killed other people, I wondered.

My days of despair started like that.

Lord Dyngir was apparently aware that just looking at him scared me witless, so he tried to gain my favor by sending me flowers and other gifts any chance he had.

To me, however, it looked like the evil dragon was just saying sweet words to lure the prey closer.

Father and even my brother tried to help me and Lord Dyngir grow closer, but their actions always had the opposite effect: I hated them both, after all.

The relationship between Lord Dyngir and I never improved. Eventually, the day came when we would go to the royal capital and enroll in the royal academy.

~

That day was simply unforgettable.

On the day of my birthday, I visited the academy’s rear flower garden.

The academy had a flower garden both in the inner and rear courtyards, but most students visited the inner courtyard’s flower garden, as it was larger and close to the academy buildings.

Few people ever visited the rear garden, so it was perfect to think about things on my own.

“Phew…what should I do with this…?”

I sat on a bench, with a birthday gift I received from my fiance in my hands. It was a silver bracelet adorned with emerald gems, the same color as my eyes.

“…it’s so pretty. Why does he send me such beautiful things, every time…”

Lord Dyngir’s presents were always exquisite.

If only he sent something completely inappropriate, I could just throw it away…but his presents always matched my tastes so perfectly, so I ended up accepting them every time.

How does Lord Dyngir know my tastes so well…? I was terrified just thinking about it.

“…one more year…”

The following year, Lord Dyngir and I would graduate from the academy. I would then become Lord Dyngir’s bride.

I was scared to death of that day.

I didn’t want to be with him even for one second…how could I ever spend my life at his side?

“Uuh….”

Tears started falling naturally, trailing on my cheeks and dripping on the bracelet.

“Ah…!!”

“….eh?”

I heard someone’s surprised voice and raised my head, finding a man standing there.

Hair shining like gold, pearly white skin. Eyes as blue as the sky. A noble young man, just like a prince from the fairytales.

He was the kingdom’s crown prince, Sullivan Lamperouge.

“I apologize if I bothered you. I didn’t think anyone except me ever visited this garden, you see.”

“N-no, I must apologize instead…!”

I hurriedly stood up from the bench, but before I could, Sullivan’s handkerchief was gently caressing my cheeks.

“Ah…”

“Please, sit down. It is a gentleman’s duty to wipe a woman’s tears.”

“T-that’s…”

I timidly lowered my eyes, but Lord Sullivan smiled softly and continued wiping my tears.

Before I realized it, I had already stopped crying. My heart beat like crazy instead.

Who would ever think that a low class noble like me could ever have the chance to speak with the prince?

“When I saw you, I thought a flower fairy had come to this garden.”

“Eeh….!?”

I ended up shouting in response to Lord Sullivan’s words.

I hurriedly apologized for my bad manners, but Lord Sullivan’s warm smile made me forget everything.

“I’m the same as you, actually. When cruel things happen to me and I feel like crying, I always come to this place.”

“Cruel things…?”

I couldn’t believe such a perfect-looking prince had any troubles.

“You see, actually…”

Lord Sullivan then started talking. Surprisingly, his worries were very similar to mine.

Lord Sullivan also suffered because of the person he was engaged to.

Lord Sullivan’s fiancee, Lady Marianne, was a young lady that could be said to be without fault. She was very proud, however, and looked down on other students, as she was going to be the future queen.

“She does not wish to become my wife: all she wants is to be enthroned as queen, to rule over this country. She is just using me for that end, there is no love between us.”

“Oh my…that is horrible! Lord Sullivan, you are such a gentle, wonderful person, and yet…why are you forced to marry such a person!?”

“You are the only person who ever said something like that to me…Marianne is…yes, like one of those evil witches from the fairytales.”

Those words made me feel even closer to him.

A perfect fairytale prince, with the same problems as me.

For some reason, it made me really happy.

When I revealed my own troubles Lord Sullivan consoled me kindly.

“I see, we are the same, aren’t we.”

“Yes…”

That was how I met Lord Sullivan.

That day onwards, our relationship progressed at a fast pace.

(My prince finally came for me…)

This prince will surely slay the evil dragon and save me, or so I fully believed.

I believed that there was no way the prince would lose to the dragon, even though I had no proof.

Lord Sullivan and I continued to meet secretly in the rear flower garden, deepening our relationship.

When we were together, I could feel at peace. A feeling of pure bliss, something I had not felt since my mother died, filled my heart.

Our forbidden love, hidden from our fiances, burned brighter the more we saw each other, and eventually passed the point of no return.

Lord Sullivan invited me to one of his residences. I went there, avoiding being seen by anyone, and we became one.

“Selena, I want you to marry me.”

On the bed, embraced by Sullivan, tears flowed from my eyes.

His arms, as warm as the sun, filled my body with comfort. His gentle words thawed my frozen heart.

Lord Sullivan caressed my head as I wept uncontrollably. Surrounded by his warmth, I replied.

“…gladly, my prince.”

~

Eventually — the fated day came.

My noble prince set out to slay the evil dragon.

“Dyngir Maxwell!! I hereby declare your engagement to Selena void!!”

Lord Sullivan so announced to Lord Dyngir.

Lord Dyngir expounded on how breaking an engagement was something unjust, but Lord Sullivan faced him without fear. He was just like a brave hero armed with his holy sword.

His forceful words dispelled all fear from my heart. I never thought I could ever see the day when I could speak my true feelings to my terrifying fiance.

“…the cancellation of the engagement is accepted, for the time being. We shall contact the royal house officially in the near future.”

When I heard Lord Dyngir’s words, tears of happiness started streaming down my cheeks.

I was finally released from the grip of that monster of a man, I was free at last.

“Selena!”

“Lord Sullivan…I am so happy…!”

We embraced each other, without regard for the people watching. The garden was crowded, everyone was looking at us. But it mattered little to me.

“I will bring you happiness, Selena. I will never let you go…never.”

“Lord Sullivan…Lord Sullivan…I love you, Lord Sullivan…!!”

It all felt like a dream, like the ending of our fairytale.

The evil dragon had fallen before the brave prince and the princess was rescued.

The two became one and lived happily ever after.

~

The time of bliss, which I thought would last forever, ended immediately instead.

“…so? Is that all you have to say? Lord Sullivan?”

“Ah…no…I…”

We were overjoyed by Lord Dyngir’s unexpectedly quick acceptance of the broken engagement, but it did not last long: words as chilling as cold water rained upon us.

Lord Sullivan’s fiancee, Lady Marianne Rosais. Before her, Lord Sullivan, who was a noble fairytale prince just moments ago, faltered and wavered.

Lady Marianne, surrounded by people — probably her servants — looked down at the fearful Lord Sullivan from her seat, as if she was utterly bored.

I had heard from Lord Sullivan about Lady Marianne’s awful personality, but I did not expect her to be such a harsh person.

Lord Sullivan accused Lady Marianne of mistreating me, pointing out the rumors that she made secret connections with the empire and more.

I had never heard such rumors, nor was I ever treated badly by her. It was my first time meeting Lady Marianne, after all.

I was surprised and looked at Lord Sullivan, but he did not spare a glance at me.

“I am afraid all of this is simply ridiculous. Did I make secret connections with the empire? Do you have any evidence?”

There was no evidence, of course: Lord Sullivan’s excuses were all made on the spot. It was clear that there was no truth in them.

Lady Marianne sighed helplessly, then started preaching endlessly about how Lord Sullivan’s conduct was unfit for his title of the crown prince.

When Lord Sullivan was completely devastated, Lady Marianne said her last words.

“You wish to annulour engagement, yes? That is fine. Let our relationship end here and now.”

Lord Sullivan’s expression turned brighter. The words that followed, however, froze it again.

“I shall duly inform my father, the chancellor. About Lord Sullivan’s infidelity and your false accusations towards me as well. Rest assured I shall spare no details. Please prepare to receive a fitting punishment for your actions. I trust you do not believe you will be king without the support of house Rosais, yes?”

“Ah…er…t-that’s…”

Lord Sullivan was visibly shaken and could not speak clearly.

My beloved prince was troubled and cornered, so I overcame my fear and managed to speak.

“L-Lady Marianne! Lord Sullivan is the crown prince!! Your words overstep your bounds!!”

“Do you know who you are talking to? Those of lower rank should not speak to those of higher rank, as the unspoken rule of high society goes. Shame on you, you miserable daughter of a baron!”

Whipped by Lady Marianne’s harsh words, I shook in anger.

(She’s really an evil witch…just like Lord Sullivan said…)

“I-I am Lord Sullivan’s lover…”

“Ah, you’re the mistress. How filthy.”

“F-filthy…? No, that’s…”

“I would have cared nothing about whatever you two did after my engagement with His Highness was broken. Until proper procedures are taken, however, we are engaged. I have no ears to be soiled by the words of a woman who would lust after an engaged man. Do not speak another word, if you please.”

“H-how can you say something so cruel…? What did I ever do to you…?”

“What did you do? Well, I suppose you should tell me where you went in the evening two days ago. You left a request to spend the night outside the dormitory, did you not?”

“Ah….”

Lady Marianne’s words left me frozen too. It was the day Lord Sullivan and I became one for the first time.

“Did you perhaps take me for an ignorant fool? Margrave Maxwell’s heir was unaware of your relationship, apparently, but that is only because he only exhibited the least possible interest in your affairs. Did you really think your childish attempts to conceal your tryst would deceive the eyes of house Rosais?”

“Ah, I…that’s…but…”

“I planned to overlook everything if it was meant to be a trifle, but now that things turned out like this, I will have no mercy. I have enough evidence for your infidelity, which I shall submit to the attention of His Majesty the King. How long will His Majesty protect you before He must abandon you? That will be something to see.”

Lord Sullivan and I were both too shocked to move.

Our relationship was exposed since who knows when. We had been found out, just left alone.

“If you will excuse me, then…oh, and…goodbye, my former fiance.”

“W-wait…!!”

“Oh no, I shan’t do that. I have no duty to obey your words anymore.”

Lord Sullivan attempted to cling to Lady Marianne nonetheless, but her servants stopped him.

Lady Marianne thus left, her graceful manners never leaving her person even a moment.

Her noble and proud silhouette made me think for a moment that she was the perfect image of a queen.

Worried, I took Lord Sullivan’s hand.

The hand that caressed my head so gently when we were in bed together was now trembling ever so slightly.

“Lord Sullivan…”

“It’s all right, don’t worry. Selena…I’ll protect you no matter what. Father will never abandon me…so don’t worry…”

“……….”

Lord Sullivan’s face was stretched thin, his eyes wide open and bloodshot. He talked as if he wanted to convince himself more than me.

The noble prince that bravely faced off Lord Dyngir was completely gone, leaving a husk filled with worry, fear, and traces of regret.

He was a fairytale prince no more, but a very realistic figure of a man driven to desperation.

My heart, on the other hand, was filled with concern for a future I could not predict anymore.

~

What awaited us next was fall after fall.

Before we could do anything, Lord Sullivan was removed from the royal register and forced to marry into the Nommes house.

Father and brother condemned Lord Sullivan and me: because of us, Margrave Maxwell now viewed the Nommes with disfavor.

After marrying into my family, Lord Sullivan was at first confident that he would soon return to the royal family and sent many letters to His Majesty the King and his friends among powerful nobles in the royal capital.

However, Lord Sullivan gradually grew irritated by the fact that no reply ever came and eventually started yelling at me.

The gentle prince was nowhere to be seen. No, maybe this was Lord Sullivan’s true self.

『If only you didn’t exist』

I pretended not to notice glimmers of such feelings in Lord Sullivan’s eyes and continued living while interacting with my father and brother as little as possible.

Then today eventually came — I was going to become Lord Sullivan’s bride.

The bride of a man who lost everything.

A bride not blessed by her family, friends, or anyone else.

“Lady Selena, the preparations for the ceremony are complete. This way, please.”

“…yes, I’m coming.”

I replied to the maid who came to call me and stood up from my chair.

The beautiful dress left by my beloved mother. The pure white dress I dreamed of wearing now seemed soiled by invisible, indescribable stains.

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