Love even in death
He wanted to deny it, especially when he had turned his back on Senelia.
Benelucia laughed to himself bitterly.
I didn’t know at the time I left for Lucalina, but I have fallen so deeply in love with Senelia but she won’t want me back.
Oh, how arrogant he was.
He regretted it, he regretted leaving Senelia that morning.
Belatedly, he remembered her emaciated face.
[T/N: Emaciated – he means her face looked unusually thin and weak as if she hadn’t eaten for a while]
I was so mean.
As the thought surfaced in his mind, the duke’s head filled with Senelia.
Thoughts which he had previously put on hold flooded to the forefront of his mind.
For example… The thought that he may never be able to bring Senelia back to his side.
If Lucalina’s voice had not sharply cut through his wondering, he might not have jumped up and left to his ex-lover.
The Grand Duke flinched as her name left Lucalina’s lips.
His first love had been away from the capital for eleven years.
The Viscount Daphnen family was not a great family amongst the aristocrats, so they weren’t well-known.
Moreover, Senelia had only begun appearing in the capital eight years ago.
But, Lucalina knew Senelia’s last name, which Benelucia had not mentioned.
And that was not the end.
Her next words added to Benelucia’s surprise.
“Didn’t you and Senelia Daphnen break up seven years ago”
The Grand Duke’s expression hardened.
Seven years ago, Senelia and the Grand Duke had yet to become lovers.
But to use the word ‘break-up’, Lucalina’s wording was really strange.
“Luna, you’re being weird today.”
Benelucia’s intuition controlled his voice.
The unfamiliar feeling that he felt for Lucalina at that moment was no coincidence.
It was the same intuition that had save him countless times on the battlefield.
“What the hell are you hiding from me”
With his questioning, Lucalina bit her lip.
It was then that Lucalina realized that she had gone too far with her unexpected remarks.
After a brief hesitation, she decided to ask the duke a question which was entirely unrelated to his question.
“Ben, do you really think that you love Senelia Daphnen”
There was something strange in the way she phrased her question.
So, she means that it’s as if… As if my mind is deluded and assumed that what I feel is love.
“…Yes, I love Sally.”
With his first love’s fierce gaze, in the end, Benelucia was forced to answer honestly.
Lucalina clenched her teeth but continued.
“You… That’s an illusion.”
She spoke as if prophesizing causing Benelucia to become bewildered.
“In three years, you and I will get married.”
“…it’s not something I can talk about.
But I know of the future.”
Lucalina took a deep breath and continued as though determined.
“I am a Thorn of Chloracean.”
Thorn of Chloracean.
Benelucia, a member of the imperial family, knew what that meant.
And now, Lucalina used the words that only the royal family would understand.
As she had stated, all of what she said would have been hard to guess unless she was a Thorn of Chloracean.
“I’ve come back to five years into my past.
And in order to change what had happened in the future, I did not end the war right away.
I brought people along, those who would remain on the battlefield and stand by our side.”
The imperial family knew that Thorns of Chloracean were those who were either possessed or reincarnated.
However, that exact meaning of the Chloracean Thorn was those who could change the path set by the three Gods of Fate.
So, it was not wrong to say that this new information meant the development of a new type of fate.
Lucalina continued her explanation.
“Choose me, Ben.
Cliff will kill you eventually.
Only when we are together can we both live.”
The Grand Duke was confused and had a hard time wrapping his head around the situation.
If that happened, at that moment… As long as O could have Senelia by my side when I die, I think I would be fine.
“It’s only natural that you would feel strange about me, Ben.
After living three years more than I am now, I returned to the age of twenty-seven.
In effect, I have lived for eight more years.”
Lucalina spoke without knowing Benelucia’s current thoughts.
“Especially for the next two years.
Our first year was hard as hell.
Cliff and I are at war, Ben.
It was such a big war that you and I couldn’t even compared to our current years in battle.
Its’ only natural that you are unfamiliar with something like that.”
Benelucia couldn’t possibly imagine Lucalina’s point lead to that direction.
The fact that Cliff and her had gone to war meant that in the end, a civil war had broken out in the empire over the throne.
If it was as she said and the war was like nothing he had experienced up to then, then that meant that the empire would have been in shambles.
“…Why did a war break out”
“Because Cliff never gave up his vigilance over you, even until the very end.”
Benelucia shut his mouth.
He already knew that Cliff had always kept a lookout on him.
However, unexpectedly, he suddenly realized that there was no way he could make up his mind and attack.
“Is that all”
The Grand Duke’s tone of voice changed without his notice.
As a result, Lucalina’s brow furrowed slightly.
“Then what else do you want”
He hesitated to speak his mind.
Now that he had a change of heart, he was confused as to whether he could state his point.
But as much as he pondered, he knew that his guess was probably correct.
“Was it because I refused to give you up, even at the end”
“What” Lucalina asked.
To Benelucia, it was a though she was asking how could he say such a thing.
“My brother is always on guard against the two of us.
During the eleven years that you and I have been apart, he has never thought of killing me, even if he was wary of me.”
Benelucia’s words were spoken not to blame his first love.
He simply thought that if his guess proved true, then he should distance himself from her.
“My brother doesn’t want to kill me either.”
If Cliff de Helios had wanted Benelucia dead, then he would have ended him at the young age of fifteen when he had no power.
Instead, he had sent Benelucia to battle, where he had knights to support himself.
“What are you talking about, Ben Have you forgotten who has sent you to the battlefield”
Lucalina said frustratedly.
Most of the nobles thought that Cliff de Helios had sent his brother to battle as he was reluctant to kill him himself.
The assumption wasn’t all that wrong.
If you die on the battlefield, then their will won’t be the two of us.
Cliff sent his younger brother to battle, knowing fully well that he could die there.
But if you come back alive, there will be more than one reason for me and you to fight.
As Benelucia had built power of his own rather than as a nobleman, he was able to fight against the nobles who had dared to try and wield him.
The Grand Duke’s older brother was not wrong.
If Benelucia had been swayed by the temptations of the nobles and endangered the throne, the emperor would have had to cut off his own brother.
The time spent on the battlefield was an endless threat to Benelucia, but in the end, it also saved him.
“He has no intention of killing me yet.
It’s not just because we are brothers.”
The Grand Duke’s judgement was not simply based on something as simple as brotherly affection.
He knew very well exactly what his existence meant to Emperor Cliff de Helios.
“There is something humane in every person that we try to at least protect.”
For Cliff, Benelucia was his last bit of humanity.
After slaughtering his half-brothers, even if they weren’t fully related, Cliff no longer went crazy.
The line he should never cross in order to remain as human, was never crossed.
That line was Benelucia.
In such a situation, the emperor thought that there was only one person who could come and shake that balance.
The only opponent was the person that Benelucia could not forget from a very young age, and even up until then.
His only opponent.
“The terrible war I went through… Are you trying to say that it is because of me”
Lucalina felt her lips tremble.
For the very first time, resentment towards Benelucia built in her eyes.
How could that cruelty be my fault
If it happened… It was because of me.”
Benelucia denied it with a shake of his head and a shaky voice.
He spoke as if to calm her down.
“For me, not fighting against my brother is the best way.
It is true that I am only Alive today because my brother had endured it all as he ascended to the throne.”
Cliff would have been safer had he not protected Benelucia as a child.
He could have sacrificed him instead.
After he became the emperor, he sent Benelucia away.
Even though he could have conventionally driven his brother to death.
On the battlefield, Benelucia had already spilt the blood of countless people.
If anyone heard of it, they might have said it was hypocrisy.
But still, he did not want to bury the only blood related brother who had always protected him.
It was the main reason as to why he endured all the pressures of the emperor silently.
Cliff the emperor knew the thoughts of his brother well.
They both held one another as their last speck of humanity.
That was why a strange peace had been maintained between the brothers ever since.
If one of the two did not violate it, then there would be no war.
And Benelucia guessed that the one to break that fragile peace was none other than himself.
But that lead him to thoughts of Senelia being enough.
If Senelia was the only person who could hold that peace, then he would be glad.
“Luna I… I never intended to marry anyone else but you.
I just wanted to marry you, but I knew that I could not.”
Lucalina’s eyes began to twinkle at Benelucia’s words.