Chapter 146: The Uncalled Name
Vestaline felt that her sigh was surprisingly rough. “How strange. Such a thing is impossible. Why am I so upset and terribly frustrated with the words of a lowly mercenary?”
“This is all a joke. Yes, it must be. Everything he just said is a ridiculous lie.” Vestaline told herself over and over again. Each time she tried to dismiss the mercenary’s words, her eyes regained part of her old composure.
However, even so, the depths of her heart continued to shake, and she could not stop the wriggling movements of her body. Every time Bruder’s voice filled the tavern, Vestaline’s whole body shivered intensely.
The reason was simple. What she heard was so full of realism that it even reflected in her eyes. Her voice became heavy somewhere. A feeling that even suffocated her. This mercenary’s story did not seem like an empty lie. His story had life.
“And, besides that…Ah, no. There is no way that he is telling the truth.”
Inside the dimly lit high-class tavern. This situation happened because of Vestaline’s own choice. She decided to bring those bad men here and surround them with mercenaries so that no one could escape. No one could help them anymore. This was the only way that she could know the facts she sought. With that in mind, Vestaline chose this particular place.
However, what about now? Was not this space like a prison that even blocked the escape route? This strange darkness obscured the boundaries of what was real and what was false. “I want to move my legs and run away from this place. I don’t want to hear this man’s words anymore. But the eyes of the surrounding mercenaries blocked my path.”
The Iron Devotee and Steel Princess along with her self-esteem, which was stronger than iron, trampled on the escape route.
Vestaline’s eyes blinked quickly. Her brain did not stop thinking. Her expression, which should have been like a cold mask, felt terrible and wobbly.
Therefore, the sound brought by the outside world must have been a savior for Vestaline. A messenger spoke from the other side of the door. Her father wanted to see her.
“…Yes, my…my father, Mordeaux.”
“Ah, finally. I feel that my true self has returned to my chest. Where I should go, and what I should aim for, has finally seeped into my head.”
Vestaline’s tense throat finally eased and she breathed freely for the first time in a while. The ongoing pain ceased from her heart. She kept breathing hard until a moment ago and her heart felt upset as if she was struggling in the water. But no more.
“Enough. I don’t care about the words of these two mercenaries anymore. Why did I bother dealing with them in the first place?”
“I don’t need to run away. However, I have to leave this place for good. I don’t want to feel that kind of drowning pain again. I must go home. I must live under my father’s guidance. That should be enough to bring back the harmony of our daily lives. Great. All those false words don’t matter anymore.” Vestaline distorted the shape of her cheeks, and her eyes quivered incomparably as they usually did during peacetime. She did not care about what was false or real. If there was peace for her inner self, then fine.
“After all, that’s how humans are. You don’t want to know the truth of the matter until you forcibly open your wound. I just want to feel peaceful now. What happened today has been enough. Isn’t that all right? I must not hide my eyes, or I will follow everyone’s choice to lick sweet poison rather than take bitter medicine. I must not follow the same path as everyone else’s path. I must be firm and my convictions must not be swayed by the momentary pleasures that are nearby.”
“Ah, yes, that’s why I am alive.” Vestaline repeated these thoughts in her brain. She finally reached a conclusion in her heart.
“I did my best every single day because my father praised me. He never overlooked me. I did not even want to know more about my mother’s death because my father looked hurt whenever I mentioned her name. He has lived a life that he fought for, and he never deviated from his wishes. He never tried to give up. I never defied him. Oh, that’s how I lived. I am alive because I kept licking only on the sweet candy.”
“In the end, I was always running away. Run away, run away, and run away. I felt scared, so I felt uncertainties. I tried to cross the boundaries because I did not want to know. I did not want to feel fear. This time too, I should have ended this, right? How stupid. I should have recognized that trying to know is a sin in itself. I just wish that I had heard my father first.”
“I must go home now. That’s enough for today. I want to see my father. He always praises me. I must not let those useless thoughts corrupt my mind any longer.”
The moment when Vestaline moved her foot in direction to the door of the tavern. Yes, the moment when she turned her back to Bruder and Lugis. That particular voice echoed again.
「…Where are you going, Vess? 」
Bruder’s voice pierced Vestaline’s back. Vestaline felt that her spine stopped moving, as if her spine and feet were frozen.
Vess. Vestaline’s nickname. She only allowed her beloved father, Mordeaux, call her this nickname. “I don’t remember forgiving anyone who called me by this name before. I made sure that those who called this name would never call this name ever again.”
If someone other than her father called her that name, Vestaline would have been angry enough to burn her viscera. Even feelings close to hatred crawled up from the heels.
“But why? I wonder why my heart is now sprouting with feelings that make me feel nostalgic instead of having profound anger.”
It was an instant act. Vestaline turned around immediately and turned her gaze to Bruder.
「Why are you leaving again. You will get lost…I’ve told you many times that you should never leave my side.」
Bruder’s tone and voice were different now. Bruder stood up and removed the hat on his head. Brown hair. His long hair spread throughout the dim light.
「You…You. Who are you…? That’s strange, yes. It’s really odd. I don’t know you.」
“I am scared. I don’t want to know. I feel that something unpleasant is crawling up on my head again.”
Vestaline replied with a loud voice. Vestaline had never spoken with such a voice in her life. Even though it was a loud voice, it was too thin and weak. She had never professed such weak tone before. Her weak voice disappeared before it reached Bruder.
Nonetheless. Bruder accepted her words with a gentle smile.
「You are hurting me, Vess. You’ve been so attached to me…Okay, can you come here?」
Bruder’s long brown hair swayed in the dark.
Vestaline’s legs trembled. And, with the voice of the messenger still echoing in the tavern, her feet return to the table again, as if the voice “pushed” Vestaline inside.
Everyone was staring at the scene as if they were daydreaming. No one understood what was happening right now. Even Vestaline herself did not know the reason why.
“Strange, why, why, but why.” Vestaline wondered if her thoughts went crazy. “So strange, I don’t know why I am behaving like this. I don’t know anything anymore.” Reason told her to leave this place. However, the voice calling for her made her remember something somewhere. A nostalgic feeling. A forgotten memory that even made her eyes teary.
One-step at a time, Vestaline shortened the distance between them.
Vestaline approached Bruder after he told her the name that only three people knew in this entire world.
Then, Bruder out-stretched his hands without hesitation.
「Welcome back, Vess. 」
Bruder’s voice gently reached his sister’s ears.
「I…I am…home…sis…ter… 」
Vestaline’s eyes were soft and crumbling. As she remembered something, she also missed something, but she feared something too at the same time.
Ohhhh Vestaline remembered her brother Bruder! Finally! I think Matia’s scheme acted as a catalyst. If it weren’t for the fake messenger act, Vestaline would’ve killed Lugis and Bruder on that very moment. But the messenger distracted Vestaline and allowed Bruder to speak for a final time. And thank goodness! It worked!
EDIT: Dear readers. I would like to apologize for a mistranslation because the writing style of this novel is a bit confusing at times. Vestaline did call Bruder her sister, and not her brother. Which means Bruder is a woman living as man (a disguise). The author actually shows gender ambiguity when it comes to Bruder, which means most people see “her” as a “he”, even Bruder herself. I apologize for my error and that’s why we have kind readers to help us improve our translations. Thank you!
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