She and the Sixth Day 2
“Yup. Fine… Freed, sorry. Could you go back to our room first?”
“… Got it.”
Having noticed Raid’s unusual state, Freed nodded quite easily, despite seeming slightly hesitant
We went to her room. Edward naturally came after us, but before entering the room, she drove him away.
“You don’t have to come. Stay outside until I call you.”
“However, Your Highness.”
“Persistent. You won’t listen to my order?”
“… I apologize.”
Under Raid’s glare Edward reluctantly backed down.
“Lidi, come in.”
I nodded to her words and entered the room. I was sat on the sofa in the inner part of Raid’s room. She remained standing and, without meeting my eyes, looked at the scenery outside.
“―― I’m truly a fool.”
Wondering what Raid was saying suddenly, I looked at her. She showed a bitter smile.
“Earlier, you protected the beastman boy without hesitation. You didn’t permit discrimination, behaving appropriately for royalty. His Highness Friedrich was the same. He protected you, gently persuaded everyone, and told them to reflect upon your words… You both were different from me.”
“Eh, but, Raid, you too…”
It was unmistakably thanks to Raid that everyone dispersed quietly. Without her, there’d be a bigger disturbance.
But, Raid shook her head to deny.
“I couldn’t act… Just a little, only just a little, but I understood their feelings. I couldn’t act immediately because I agreed with their words somewhere deep down.”
Unable to say anything, I just looked at Raid. She turned to me with a face on the verge of tears and said.
“Lidi. Could you listen to my story? The story of… my love that didn’t come true.”
“I’ve never told anyone about it. I haven’t told Ed either. But, I want you to listen. Is that alright?”
“Of course… It’s alright.”
I didn’t understand why she’d tell me an important secret now, but I nodded.
If Raid was okay with me, I’d listen to her story. I was sure it’d be meaningful for her.
Seeing me nod, Raid said, “Thanks,” in an almost inaudible voice.
For a few seconds she closed her eyes.
When she opened them, her face contained something resembling determination.
“―― Since I was a child, I always liked my brother. My blood-related, only sibling. I loved my elder brother.”
“Older brother… His Highness Hendrik?”
Raid agreed in a quiet voice. I understood how serious she was from the tone of her voice alone.
“Of course, I knew it was an unacceptable feeling. I didn’t think of making it happen. Anyway, I was born royalty. One day, I’d marry a man for the benefit of the country at my father’s command. It’s an inevitable royal duty. But, my feelings didn’t quite go the way I wanted. As if to deceive myself, my hobby, dressing as a man, became an everyday reality. I wanted to convince myself I had no interest in Brother by looking like a man. But, that also failed. Next, I began writing a story. A romance between a man and woman. I wanted to turn my feelings for Brother into a novel. The plan succeeded, and I immersed myself in writing. Perhaps dressing as a man also had some effect, and I felt like little by little the feelings for my brother subsided… Until that day.”
Somehow, I knew what she’d say next.
“Brother fought with Father and rushed out of the Royal Palace, but one day, he suddenly came back. He brought a woman with him and declared he’d make her his princess consort. My parents were confused, but so was I. I thought just like me, Brother would eventually marry a woman prepared by Father without saying anything. That’s an inevitable royal duty. I thought that I should bless Brother after he’d have fulfilled that duty, and yet of all things, he brought with him a woman he loved.”
Raid’s lament was painful.
How did Ilya look in her eyes as she desperately tried to overcome the feelings for her brother?
I was afraid to even imagine how Raid had felt about what for her could look like her beloved brother’s betrayal.
“Brother silenced his surroundings and married the woman he’d brought with him. He seemed happy. Of course he would. He was able to marry the woman he decided to be his only one. I also celebrated Brother’s happiness. No matter how complicated I felt deep down, I told them my congratulations and blessed them.”
“At that occasion, I decided to forget about Brother. He married a woman he loved. I also couldn’t harbor these fruitless feelings forever. I wished Brother happiness and tried to cut off these feelings.”
I could only imagine how painful that decision was for Raid.
For her, it should’ve been the pain of cutting off the part of self.
Forbidden love that was an important part of herself since young childhood. Just how much must have Raid grieved when she decided to let go of it.
“And, I erased my feelings. I should’ve erased them. However, I accidentally saw it once. In the courtyard, Brother was embracing Sister-in-law. And, there were cat ears on top of her head.”
My eyes widened at the word cat ears. Unconsciously, I stared at Raid. She looked at me and said, “As expected, you knew,” with a bitter smile. Apparently, it showed on my face a little.
Since I didn’t answer, Raid said, “You don’t have to answer. I roughly guessed it. That’s why I thought of talking to you,” and didn’t question me.
“In Brother’s defense, he was doing it in a hidden, inconspicuous place where nobody would come. But unfortunately, it was also my secret reading place. I climbed a tree there and read sitting on a robust branch. When I heard voices below, I looked down… and they were there. Anyway, I couldn’t be discovered by them, so I desperately held my breath until they finished… By chance, I happened to see Sister-in-law’s ears. It seems the act made her so aroused her ears came out. It was shocking.”
I had no idea what I should say anymore. I wanted to hold my head at Prince Hendrik doing it outside, and I had no way to describe how sorry I felt for Raid that she accidentally had to witness a love scene.
Moreover… Ilya’s hidden ears showed. She was unlucky.
Of course, Prince Hendrik was unmistakably the one most at fault, but… if I was unlucky, Freed could very well do the same, and I’d get swept away, so I couldn’t criticize Prince Hendrik too much.
“When they left and I was left there alone, I was stunned. I couldn’t believe what I’d seen. Brother had embraced Sister-in-law in the courtyard, and Sister-in-law was a beastman.”
“Nevertheless, I somehow calmed down my feelings and returned to my room. I drove away Ed after he asked if anything had happened since I was pale and shut myself in the room alone. Various emotions swirled around in my chest. Do you know which one was most prominent, Lidi?”
“… I don’t.”
I answered honestly. Raid said with a face on the verge of tears.
“I wondered why a beastman stole Elder Brother. Even though I continue being discriminated against because I look like this, even though I know the pain of being looked coldly at and laughed at, I couldn’t tolerate a beastman stealing Elder Brother. I wondered why it couldn’t be me if he had chosen a beastman anyway… And I couldn’t forgive myself for being so awful as to think that… But, I couldn’t erase these feelings… Since then, I’ve deliberately avoided Sister-in-law.”
After all, Raid was only pretending to be calm and was actually hurting. Of course, I think her bold claim that dressing as a man is her identity is true, but that’s not all. It hurts her to be kept at distance and avoided, but she still stays composed. In such a situation, she started looking down on a beastman.
I can understand from spending this short time with her. Raid is an honest, upright person. Such a person harbors a discriminatory feeling. It’s undoubtedly painful.
It’s not like I sympathized with her. However, I stared at her with an awfully helpless feeling. Raid showed a sad smile and told me.
“It’s a foolish story, right? Moreover, that’s not all. Since then, I somehow can’t write anymore. Nothing in my head can be turned into words. Even if I have earlier drafts, I can’t write anything. No matter how I struggle to write, something is different. In the past year, I haven’t written a new book. That’s why the second volume of the book I gave you isn’t out.”
“I look just like a man, but the true me is a woman through and through, and I harbor such dirty feelings unforgivable for royalty. Hey, Lidi. I despise this unsightly me. I hate it so much I can’t stand it.”