Despite our first meeting in two years, he saw through me wearing a mask at once.
I didn’t know how to react to him.
Because he surprised me as well.
I was confused about whether to pretend I didn’t know or say hello to him.
“Don’t try to pretend to be someone else.”
But he probably expected that far, seeing he got angry again.
I didn’t know if I was caught by him from the banquet hall or if I caught his eyes as soon as I came out.
All I could tell was that he had no intention of letting me go, no matter what I said.
It couldn’t be helped.
I will have to lay low for a while at the dead end.
I hoped Valery wouldn’t notice my nervous voice.
Slowly, I closed my eyes and opened them.
“…long time no see, Your Highness.”
He burst out laughing at what I said.
I didn’t know he could laugh like that.
His smile, as I remember, was gentle and bright enough to make me feel guilty.
But it has become cold now.
As soon as I heard his sunny laughter turn cynical, I felt deeply how long the past two years of living like a mouse had passed.
“Long time no see”
“…You’ve become very dignified.”
“Do you know how much I—!”
He stopped talking as if he was choking up.
When he frowned, his eyes, which were good to see, became narrower.
The hallway was so bright that it was no different from the banquet hall, but when Valery, who had grown more, blocked my front, a large shade was created.
His appearance has changed so much in two years.
I stared at his face and then looked around again.
Fortunately, no one has left the banquet hall except me.
But it wouldn’t be surprising if someone came out right now.
Maybe they would come out if someone did it first.
I had to put an end to this situation before anyone saw it.
What I wanted now wasn’t an issue or a spectacle.
If anyone sees this now, you will soon be in trouble.”
However, the calmness of my voice seemed to upset him.
“I don’t care.”
“But I care.
If you really want to have a conversation, I think we should change the place first.”
He took a step back, creating a big shadow when I said that I was also the involved party.
But he didn’t seem to want to let me go.
Valery grabbed my wrist and headed somewhere.
It was an urgent and rough touch.
As if he wouldn’t let me run away again.
I followed him as if I was being dragged.
“It hurts… Please slow down.”
Then his steps slowed considerably.
It was the same with the strength he held my hand.
“Where are we going” I asked without taking off my mask yet.
“A place where only the two of us can be together.”
There were several doors nearby.
Perhaps it was a place for guests who had come to the banquet hall.
After a few more steps, the tightly closed door opened, then he brought me in and closed the door.
There were some doors nearby.
Maybe it’s a place for guests who come to the banquet hall.
After a few steps, he opened the tightly closed door and soon brought me in and closed the door.
He threw the mask he was wearing on the floor.
I could see his face straight between him and the door.
The light in the room was dim enough to check the surroundings.
The flickering light cast a shadow, revealing the outline of his face more clearly.
I think I’ve met him more than ten times, but I’ve never seen him this close.
Unlike two years ago, the dark and beautiful eyes that were not seen in detail because they were covered by a mask were revealed.
The fresh feeling that came from him was gone.
His face became thinner and sharper.
Is he really the sweet guy I used to know
We spent the same two years, but maybe he had suffered longer than I did.
Should I say that he has gotten great Or how did he know me How am I supposed to calm him down
I heard a voice coming from outside the closed door.
In the meantime, people must have come out of the banquet hall.
I held my breath and looked sideways at the door.
The voices of women and men were intertwined and couldn’t be understood.
The noise that was coming closer got farther away.
I immediately took my eyes off the door and turned to him again.
He stared at me, then sighed and muttered something, covering his face with one hand.
Maybe he was swearing at me, but luckily I couldn’t hear what he was saying.
“I thought you were dead.”
He made eye contact again.
His hand carefully stroked my chin and cheek as if he was painting over his memories.
His hand felt on the tip of my chin and was warm and rough.
It was a touch that felt different from the kindness I had felt before, whether it was because he had worked hard to practice swordsmanship.
“…there was a circumstance.”
“And you can’t say a word”
There was still anger in his voice.
Unlike before, the feeling of being overwhelmed by his atmosphere was different and a little threatening.
It wasn’t like a threat to put a knife around my neck, but it was just he had changed so much without me even knowing he was holding my hand and shaking it.
Actually, I was a little surprised.
I vaguely thought that he wouldn’t forget me because I was the one who made one of his numerous emotions rise.
On the other hand, I thought that there might be someone who later snatched his feelings.
However, his eyes and actions that overshadowed such thoughts were somewhat bizarre.
I never thought someone could be that persistent.
I was too caught up in my life to think about that.
I feel sorry for him, but I didn’t even think about him a few times.
It wasn’t that I forgot him, but I didn’t think of him on purpose. It was because I began to get used to my life and hoped I would never come back here again and hoped for a new life there.
In fact, isn’t that the best ending I thought so.
Of course, all those thoughts had to be shattered again on the way back.
Unconsciously, I looked at him quietly and then lowered my gaze.
Raised my hand and untied the ribbon of the mask tied behind my head.
I dropped the mask and looked up at him.
I could see his eyes shaking wildly when I made eye contact again without a mask.
“Did I make you worry a lot”
He was confused.
The wall, which had been firmly built so far, was also collapsing, and his old expression was coming back.
Yes, this expression.
The expression I knew.
“There was a circumstance.”
“You could have said just one word.”
His voice softened a little as soon as he thought of that.
I lifted my head a little more.
“If I could, I would have done it to you before I went away.”
“I’ve been looking for your traces for so long.”
I raised my eyebrows instead of answering.
It was because Valery’s expression had changed subtly.
He seemed to be struggling as if he was trying to say something.
Then his mouth opened with difficulty.
“I know you’re not Blake.”
That was what he was going to say.
In fact, I thought he would have noticed to some extent because he searched for my traces.
However, I thought I could pass it safely because Sir Shubart arranged for me to pretend to be Blake Ariandel again.
“…are you threatening me”
“No, it doesn’t matter.”
I suddenly became curious.
Damn this curiosity.
I asked a question that I shouldn’t have asked.
“…do you know who I really am”
He shut his mouth.
The tip of his chin swelled up, and I knew he was holding back what he had to say.
You know it all.
But it wasn’t scary.
When I looked into his eyes, I realized I liked him more than I thought.
“So, are you going to turn me over”
But in the following words, I could clearly feel that Valery had really changed.
But if it can make me hold you by my side, I will use it.
In case you’re going to disappear like that time.”
He took something out of his inner pocket.
His hands were so big that it took a little longer to notice what was inside of them.
What he took out was the necklace I lost.
Brightly red rubies necklace.
Did he always carry it with him
Valery got closer.
With his large hand, he untied the necklace and put it on my neck.
I just looked at him and let him do what he wanted.