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Under the moon that hung overhead, a lilac carriage adorned with a snowflake pattern was ready to depart, waiting outside the palace’s east gate.
Bridget stood before the carriage, alternating between checking his watch and gazing up at the moon.
While other envoys had already departed and likely reached their destinations, Bridget hoped the minute hand wouldn’t reach the hour just yet.
“I wished to see her one more time.”
Even though he half expected it, he felt a pang of disappointment. He looked intently down the path he hoped Iva might appear from, before finally turning away.
Just then, a robust voice called out. Bridget’s lips curled into a smile before he even turned around.
Iva was running towards him, gripping the sides of her dress. Bridget met her halfway, holding out a hand as if to tell her she didn’t need to run.
“Lady Iva, be careful. You might trip. You could’ve walked over.”
“Haaah… I was afraid you’d already left.”
“I was about to.”
Iva leaned on his hand as if it were a pillar, catching her breath for a while. Bridget waited patiently, making no attempt to rush her.
Once Iva had calmed down a bit, she locked eyes with Bridget, her gaze shimmering.
“I’ve come to give my answer.”
“Ah, you’ve come to say you won’t join me.”
“How… how did you know?”
“If you’d decided to go with me, you wouldn’t have come empty-handed.”
“Ah, that’s true.”
“I would’ve understood even if you hadn’t come. Why bother?”
“Why? You are the first person who suggested we go together. A proper send-off is the least I can do.”
His sweet proposal had sincerely shaken her heart. Having always lived as the villainess who was scorned and shunned, Bridget’s words, offering to take her hand and leave together, felt truly gratifying.
Separating from the main characters and promising oneself a life of comfort and abundance made it sound like the perfect proposal. However, there was something that held her back from leaving just like that.
There was no concrete evidence, but Julian was filled with suspicions. She needed to confirm if she held memories from her past life and figure out how she reappeared as a princess.
If she left now, the unresolved curiosity might drive her mad. Perhaps it was due to her fiery nature, just as Chase said, that fleeing didn’t suit her.
Moreover, there was another person she couldn’t stop thinking about.
‘Iva Blanche. It’s you. Who I sincerely like.’
She still hadn’t given Ray an answer. She was leaning towards a rejection, but she hated the idea of leaving without saying a word.
Even if it was a refusal, she had to respond.
“Won’t you regret not leaving?”
Bridget, still holding Iva’s hand, gently caressed the back of it with his thumb as he asked.
“Of course, I will.”
Iva’s answer was unexpected. He thought he’d hear the opposite, but Iva candidly admitted.
“There will surely come a day in my life when I’ll regret not following Sir Bridget. It might even be as soon as tomorrow morning.”
“Then why aren’t you coming with me?”
“I feel that even if I went to Fenet, I’d have the same regrets.”
Under the moonlight, Iva’s green eyes sparkled vividly.
“Even in Fenet, I might regret not confronting my problems more directly, or not standing up against them. If I’m bound to have regrets either way, I might as well choose the path I’ll regret less.”
Bridget silently marveled at her. From the beginning to the end, she was a woman difficult to predict.
“I’m truly grateful for your invitation to accompany you. It’s the first time anyone has ever made such an offer to me.”
“If that means I remain in your memories in any way, then that’s good enough for me.”
“If I ever travel to Fenet in the future, please be my guide, Sir Bridget.”
“Haha. You plan on using a country envoy like me as a tour guide?”
“Is that not allowed?”
Bridget, with a radiant smile, lifted the hand he held with Iva. And just like when he proposed, he pressed a kiss to her left ring finger.
“I’d be delighted to serve.”
“You’ll need to build up a lot of stamina. When I go on trips, I make the most out of them.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ll know when the time comes.”
Iva grinned widely, and Bridget simply smiled along.
Bridget’s green and yellow eyes deepened in hue, looking almost as if they were two distinct pupils.
At the same time, in his eyes, Iva’s neck bore a wound, deep and dark, as if pierced by a large sword.
“You’ll definitely come looking for me.”
The brutal scar was painful even just to look at, yet Bridget managed to maintain his smiling facade.
“Huh? We won’t be getting married.”
Unaware of the deeper implication, Iva reflexively refused.
“Haha. So I’m rejected again?”
“You should set off quickly. Traveling at night will take longer.”
“Yes, I should leave before it gets any later.”
He gracefully stepped into the carriage after opening its door.
“It was a pleasure meeting you, Lady Iva.”
“Then, until we meet again, take care.”
“Sir Bridget, you do the same.”
His carriage set off. Having resolved one matter, Iva started planning for the others.
* * *
“Princess, how have you been? Are you feeling better now?”
A few days later, Iva met Julian again in her bedroom.
Contrary to the day she dismissed her abruptly due to a sudden bout of coughing, she appeared very healthy now.
Wait, was she pretending to be sick?
“That’s good to hear.”
“But I never expected Young Lady to invite me to dine with Brother Claude first.”
Indeed, Claude generously rewarded those on the report list and even prepared a gift for Iva.
A forced invitation to dine with him. The idea of dining alone with Claude made her head spin momentarily, but upon reflection, it seemed an opportunity when she thought about Julian.
So, when she expressed her desire to be with Julian, Claude readily agreed.
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