Cassian left the bedroom and called Rand to the palace where the attendants were staying. If Rand had figured out something, he must have come to him.
“That is too much.”
As soon as Rand saw his face, he frowned and sat down across from Cassian with a face full of rebellion. Perhaps there was something important in his arms, he was holding a bundle of data tightly.
“If you say sorry for making me worry, I think it will be a big trouble.”
He eventually held out the things he was holding in his arms to Cassian, and he lowered his voice as much as he could.
“It was right that he was one of the previous family heads. What you are seeing now is the original records kept at the Duke’s residence.”
Cassian raised his eyebrows at the word original. He was not puzzled if the original had been stolen but that the original remained.
Rand continued to speak in tears.
“Yes. The aide who served him was my ancestor.”
“It was in his records. I was lucky.”
Listening to his words, Cassian gazed at Rand in amazement. It was doubtful to say it was a coincidence or luck.
“It seems that that’s all there is to find out.”
Rand glanced at the voice that couldn’t hide the subdued emotions and looked away silently as if he was going to wait until he finished the papers, and Cassian soon unfolded the material, which must have been old.
Cassian Esteban… The man had the same name as him.
Even the name was the same, it must be a coincidence. They probably wouldn’t have intentionally named him that, and Elysia must have found him after the Duke came. As he thought so, Cassian comforted himself and moved on to the next page.
These were very detailed records.
How many times did he subdue monsters, how many wars did he lead to victory, with whom and when he was engaged, and when was the wedding…
And where the Duchess’s name should have been, the name he hoped was written was there. As he turned to the next page, the portrait of the Duchess with a gentle smile fell onto his leg. It was because it was not at all different from the woman he was holding in his arms just a moment ago.
Cassian wanted to ask if this was true, but no voice came out.
The next page had her name changed to Esteban instead of Lowell, and the ring on the little finger of the woman in the portrait made it impossible to deny it anymore.
“….There is something strange.”
Rand, who glanced at his face as he stared at the portrait, opened his mouth.
“…Yes. It’s very strange.”
“That’s not it… they have a son between them.”
Cassian twisted his lips and let out a laugh. He hurriedly relaxed his hand, fearing that the portrait would be crumpled as his hand tightened at the rising emotion.
“…Can I keep talking?”
“There is not even a portrait of him left. In addition, he took a collateral family as his successor, and since then, the direct lineage has been cut off.”
Taking a long breath, he glanced back at the data.
The document gave the date of death of the man in the portrait. It was as expected. The man was someone who couldn’t be by her side. Even though he confirmed with his own two eyes the fact he had so longed for, why was his breath so choking?
“Are you okay?”
Elysia never forgot that man… that was the conclusion he had come to himself over the past month.
As he felt a throb in his chest, Cassian groaned softly.
At first, he just wanted her to forget him and look after himself, but he realized that he couldn’t be that way. Then, even if he had to imitate the man’s appearance, he also intended to make it impossible for her to let go of him. He was sure it was, still… why was it so hard to breathe as if his throat was tight?
“What was the date of the Duchess’s death?”
“…Not found. The record ends there, and the information goes right to the next family.”
“No way… that can’t be.”
Cassian’s face contorted in pain he could not understand.
Because the date of her death was not listed in the records? Because she didn’t have a beating heart? Because the traces of the long years suddenly revealed in her red eyes…?
Perhaps it was because he wondered if she had waited all this time, she hoped that Eyisia’s name would not be here. Just in case, he thought it was really nonsense though his breath choked when he confirmed what his intuition was pointing to.
It was something he didn’t dare to imagine and didn’t want to look into.
“This… shouldn’t be.”
This long time? Probably not… it couldn’t be, shouldn’t it?
He expected that she might not be normal, that she might not be human. His senses must be wrong. Cassian denied all his thoughts and wished that he had kept them a moment ago.
Please, he hoped that the man was not dead and he should be able to return to Elysia’s side. Otherwise…
Horrible and frightening thoughts filled his head to the point where he wished that everything written in this record was false. And it wasn’t long before he realized why it was so frightening, why it was so suffocating and heart-piercing.
It was like a miracle, and at the same time, it was a memory that destroyed him.
3. Recovered Memories
Seeing Cassian leaving the Palace, Elysia raised her body. She took a bath and put on a red dress that was more gorgeous than ever.
…Would he be angry? If not, would he run away? Or would he say that he was different from that man and only ask her to look at him?
Either way, he would be hurt.
Even if this was twisted, it was too twisted.
At first, it was a small hiccup though it had a bigger impact on him than she thought. Still, no matter how hard she tried to hide it, he must have realized that something was wrong and tried to find it…
…Having that creepy intuition was the same as it was then and now.
In fact, Elysia was a little taken aback. She was still unsure of her mind between him and the past.
Even though he proudly said that he would make her feel that he wouldn’t think of it, in the meantime, she had been caught thinking about him from the past from his attitude towards Cassian. And since they hadn’t been together long enough to be sure of their feelings, even if Cassian’s feelings weren’t love, she wasn’t disappointed at all.
On the contrary, she was embarrassed because she did not think that he would become obsessed with her and show his feelings quickly.
So, she asked Cardel to hide the data on Cassian in the past that she had separately, rather than incinerate it. If Cassian wanted to find out more, he was free to do so, but she didn’t know that the portrait would be included there as well.
Feeling a presence approaching her, Elysia took a deep breath. Still, he seemed to be thinking of talking to her first.
She waved her hand at Cassian, who returned to the bedroom with an awkward smile.
She could see the old records in his hand. The aide seemed to be good at finding out what was hidden, or it was something that Cardell hid in moderation.
Elysia shook her head, thinking that it didn’t matter to her now.
“If you were going to let me know like this, why wouldn’t you do that right away…?”
Cassian swept his hair roughly. Looking at the distorted face as if he was about to cry, something seemed to throb.
“…Because I didn’t want you to know.”
He twisted his lips.
He was right… because leaving the portrait came from the desire that she wanted him to know. It was cruel to him, too, and it also resulted in hurting him.
“Why did you do that?”