Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 25: Unraveling Thoughts
“Was I born because I was loved and wanted…? Not only to become a tool?”
“Yes. Mother Elizabeth loved you and wanted you to be happy, Sis.”
Vincent’s affirmation to my mutterings helped me recognize the reality of the moment. In my mother’s diary, she had written many loving words to me. Tears welled up in my eyes, but they were out of joy. Even though I pretended to be a strong, cool-headed child, I was lonely. Vincent wiped away my tears and hugged me. It felt a bit embarrassing to be comforted by my little brother.
“Thank you, Vinnie.”
After I stopped crying, I smiled at Vinnie.
“Have you calmed down? I’d like you to take a look at this one, too, then, sis.”
Vincent pulled out a notebook. It was brown and very dirty. Was it stained with mud? The pages had soaked up so much muddy water that the first half of the notebook was almost unreadable. I had no choice but to start reading the second half, which was barely legible. The contents of the notebook were not in cypher text, but rather in a woman’s soft penmanship.
Today I married the love of my life. I am now Karen Lewis instead of Karen Axis. Although I married as the second wife, Gerald is a marquess (first and foremost) even though we are childhood friends. No impoverished viscount’s daughter of the lowest rank could marry someone like him. But Lady Elizabeth, Gerald’s first wife, who married him a week ago, said that she was willing to make me his second wife. Lady Elizabeth is so beautiful that she is called the hidden treasure of Olcott, and she is so famous in social circles that there isn’t anyone who doesn’t know her. My brother also had a hidden portrait of Lady Elizabeth.
Today, I met Lady Elizabeth for the first time. I even thought that I, the bride, would be overshadowed at the wedding. I had never seen such a beautiful woman. I was jealous, even though I was not worthy of feeling that way. Gerald didn’t need to marry me as well (with such a beautiful woman as his wife), but that man didn’t react at all when he saw Lady Elizabeth. I don’t know if I should be saying this, but is he really a man? I was relieved to find that Lady Elizabeth had a surprisingly refreshing personality. I think I can do well in House Lewis from now on.
Today, I found out that Elizabeth is pregnant. Although it was a matter of great joy, Gerald had a complicated look. I wonder why?
A few weeks after Liz got pregnant, I got pregnant too. Liz and I ate chocolates to celebrate, which were so delicious that they made me drool. We became good friends and started calling each other by first names. With some trepidation, I referred to Lady Elizabeth by her nickname of Liz. She is so caring, chivalrous, and cool… Liz is a lovely person, isn’t she? She is very different from Gerald, who has always been a good-for-nothing. I still can’t believe they refer to him as “Prime Minister.”
Morning sickness is hard. I never thought being pregnant could be so painful…
Lately, my baby has been moving a lot… More like thrashing around. Almost as if they’re kicking up a storm. I wish they could learn a little from Liz’s baby.
Today, His Majesty and Queen Dahlia visited Liz secretly. I was in a different room, but I had a short conversation with them. At first, I was more nervous than I had ever been in my life, but when they asked about Liz and Gerald’s child, all my tension was gone. Liz and Gerald decided to marry and have a child for the sake of the stability of the country. They said that since the side consort gave birth to a prince before the queen did, the political factions were unbalanced. It was natural for aristocrats to marry for the good of their House. But Liz and Gerald married for the sake of their country and His Majesty. And they will dedicate their child to the next king. I, who had married for love in a carefree manner, was not qualified to criticize them. Because their marriage will strengthen the unity of the royalist faction, and Liz’s child will lead to the country’s stability. I thought I was loyal to the royal family as a noble…but I was mistaken.
I wondered why Liz had not gotten up from bed recently, so I stormed into her room. I found her lying there with a pale face and thinner than before. I thought that she was acting strangely and that she was overworking herself, so I confronted her. Liz said, her face regal looking, “My body won’t be able to withstand childbirth.” She showed no regret on her face as she rubbed her belly lovingly. I realized that she deeply loved the child in her belly. I didn’t want to keep secrets from her, so I told her that I had found out why she and Gerald had married. What can I possibly do for Liz…?
Liz is due soon. Today, Gerald and I had sandwiches in Liz’s room. I remember how we used to go on picnics and eat sandwiches when I was at my parents’ residence. I only have a few more days left with Liz like this. I know that, but Goddess Luwell, please don’t take Liz away from us—-
Liz went into labor. I immediately called Gerald, who was at the royal palace. I wanted to be there for Liz, but I was also pregnant and did not know when I would go into labor. I was chased out of the room for being in the way, and all I could do was pray outside. I don’t know how long I prayed, but I hadn’t noticed Gerald beside me. The moment we heard the baby crying, Gerald and I ran into the room. Upon being told that the baby was a girl, Liz muttered, “Julianna,” and died soon after. I broke down crying. However, Liz’s face looked so peaceful and content.
Today was Liz’s funeral. House Olcott, as well as His Majesty and Queen Dahlia, were all in attendance. Seeing Liz’s corpse, Duke Olcott struck Gerald. But he was stopped by Julianna’s crying. Gerald had not cried once since Liz’s death. Although he was actually very sad, he still was a very tactless person. I am already the mother of one. And soon to be the mother of two. As Gerald’s wife and mother of his children, I must be strong. I will love Julianna all the more on behalf of Liz.
It has been three days since I gave birth to Vincent, the first son of House Lewis. My health has improved a lot. However, Vincent still has coughing fits occasionally. I’m very worried.
Today is Anna’s birthday. It is also the anniversary of Liz’s death, but we celebrated a lot. I am sure Liz would be happier this way. Anna is growing up well. On the other hand, Vinnie is very sickly despite being my child. However, Dr. Howard said he would get healthier as he grows up, which is good. Gerald hasn’t held Anna since Liz’s death… or rather since she was born. The same goes for Vinnie. Apparently, he doesn’t know how to interact with Anna, who looks like Liz, and Vinnie, who looks like him. He’s still a good-for-nothing, as usual. It’ll be too late for him to regret it when Anna and Vinnie eventually say, “I hate Father.”
Anna and Vinnie are now two years old. Perhaps because I’ve been talking to them a lot, they’ve started to speak, but only a few words. They are so cute. Gerald hardly comes home. He seems to be busy with work, but… I wish he would talk to me a little bit. I fear that at this rate the kids will forget that he exists.
It has been decided that Anna, Vinnie, and I will move to the estate at House Lewis’ territory. Most likely, it’s because of the religious faction’s increasing activity and condemnation. At least we will not get in Gerald’s way.
Today, I got some wonderful news. I’m pregnant! Our family is going to grow. When I told Gerald, he burst into tears. We both talked about naming this baby after Liz. I will tell Anna and Vinnie when my stomach gets rounder. Would they understand, though?
Anna was unusually ill with a cold. She is a strong girl, but I’m worried. I told Vinnie not to go near Anna, but when I took my eyes off him, he was right by her side. He’s like a little duckling to his big sister, which makes me worry about his future. Sure enough, Vinnie got a fever that night. He is too frail.
Tomorrow, I will go to the estate. Anna and Vinnie were supposed to accompany me, but since both of them are sick, I will be going alone. I pray that they get better soon.
This was where Mother Karen’s diary ended. I didn’t know… that we could have had a brother or sister. Moreover, as the head maid had said that Mother Karen loved me, too. I turned over the blank pages and was startled when I came to the back cover. There were letters… scribbled in dark and coarse paint. Was this blood…?
There was only one thing that the word “Macmillan” could refer to. House Macmillan was a noble family that had existed since the founding of Rowlands.
“This diary was sent to my dormitory out of the blue a month ago. It didn’t have an address.”
“Do you mean that Father sent it to you, Vinnie?”
“Probably. I checked, but I couldn’t find out who sent it. Sis, do you know Mother’s cause of death?”
“It was an accident caused by a landslide…”
“I did my own research on Mother’s accident. Upon doing so, I found something strange. The accident site was far off the route she was supposed to have taken.”
Traveling by horse-drawn carriage, while easy, could be dangerous if you didn’t follow a safe route. Your carriage could get derailed or be attacked by bandits. They wouldn’t have changed the route unless they had to. In other words, “Something terrible happened to Mother.”
“Are you saying that Mother Karen’s death was not an accident but a set-up?”
“I believe that’s a strong possibility.”
Vinnie and I looked at each other. If this theory was correct, how did House Macmillan come into play? Who killed our mother and younger sibling? Why did Father entrust Vinnie with Mother Karen’s diary anonymously in the first place? Many questions came to mind, but we didn’t have the means to find out for now.
— Clap Clap Clap —
Suddenly we heard out-of-place clapping from behind us. Vincent immediately shielded me behind his back and stood on alert.
“As expected of Lady Julianna and Young Master Vincent. But… you didn’t even notice that you were being eavesdropped. As a member of the military, Young Master Vincent, you have a long way to go.”
At some point, the head maid came in through the half-opened door. In her hands was a tray with tea and sweets atop it.
“The tea I’ve gone through the trouble of making is getting cold. Would you like some?”
I’ve left you again at a cliffhanger, but I’ve decided to cut the chapter. Sorry for ending with the head maid without making much sense. Also, the head maid placed the tray on the cabinet, clapped, and then picked up the tray again. She is not a superhuman who can clap while holding the tray. The next chapter should be the mystery-solving part.