When she thought she would drown from water that reached only her ankles, she blamed herself. But he was so immersed in his own self that he didn’t seem to even notice the truth.
There’s no reason to compare, to try and see which side was more pathetic.
It’s not like finding out who was more lacking would solve anything.
“All I want is for you to let go of me. It’s worth knowing that your love isn’t capable of even this one thing.”
Ophelia threw off his hand and stood up, glancing down at Ian on the floor and seeing also broken pieces of herself there.
With Ian a mess on the floor with a tear-stricken face, it was quite a good look on him.
Frowning, she looked at the face of the man she yearned for so much, then she opened her lips.
“This is not the only reason I came to visit you today.”
The youngest mermaid princess who saved you.
I met her again.
“She’s in love with you again this time. She wants to walk on land just to meet you.”
If she was left as is, she would die again the same way she did in the past. It was a predestined future.
“And I want you to stop her. One time is enough for her to die just because of us.”
“…Then. What do you wish to do?”
“I want you to meet her once.”
For you to thank your real savior.
And to find out if your feelings do not hold any weight.
‘You might change your mind by then.’
In any case, Ian’s only feelings for Ophelia was an obsession for something he lost.
Wouldn’t he feel shaken once he meets Ariel?
‘Even if it’s because you feel sorry towards me and Ariel.’
It might be possible to change his mind.
Ophelia’s plan was to make sure they met so that no one would be left unhappy.
“And I want you to stop paying attention to a fake like me.”
“…But Ophelia, I— To me, you’re the one who saved me. My savior is—”
“No. I never saved you.”
So they had no reason to be involved with each other. Ophelia cut him short.
What savior. Ophelia was so far-removed from such a grandiose title.
“The one you care about and the one you need to let go of, I hope you realize it soon.”
At this, Ophelia turned around and left.
Though her voice sounded unbothered, internally, she wasn’t. This was because Ian, who she saw now in the middle of the day, seemed more unstable than she expected.
‘He’s not in his right mind now.’
Before he’d become a wildfire that would block her, she had to hurry and find Alei’s memories.
This was the shackle that continued to hold back Ophelia and Alei.
Even if she couldn’t be free from her own shackles, she had to solve Alei’s.
‘With my ankle caught up like this, I can’t go back to Ronen.’
Throughout the entirety of listening to Ian’s side of the story, Ophelia could feel something like frost starting to pierce at her, starting with her fingertips.
Hearing that he regretted it all after her death—it wasn’t as pleasant as she expected.
Ophelia was not usually swept away by an upheaval of emotions, but right now, whenever Ian’s lips spoke sweet words, a tsunami would rage within her.
Her hand while holding her teacup then had trembled because of the nausea swirling inside her. With her body covered in frost and her mind torrid to the point of boiling, it tormented Ophelia completely.
Only then could she realize why meeting Ian had shaken her so much.
This emotion was wrath.
After the regret and sadness had washed away, memories of trauma and old love had overflown, so she had noticed this late.
If she could, she would have grabbed him by the collar and asked.
What did he want from her after saying all that?
‘Ian values himself the most, even in the end.’
The reason he said he needed Ophelia, ultimately, was still rooted in his own life.
There might be someone else who’d be willing to receive this kind of love, but that wasn’t the case for Ophelia.
Ophelia valued herself, too. That’s why, even more, it couldn’t be Ian.
Who she needed was someone who could easily bow to her words and gestures.
Someone who wouldn’t cling to her, someone who could do what she needed him to do.
Someone who would be by her side until she’d let go of his hand, and if she did let go, they could part without any problems. That person is…
Ophelia heard a voice from behind her.
As soon as she turned around, she saw that Ian had raised himself from the ground. His expression was distorted as he approached Ophelia.
“Is it because of him? The reason why you’re being like this to me.”
“…I don’t know what you mean. Alei has nothing to do with this.”
“Is he really not involved? There’s no one in the castle who doesn’t know that you’re always with him while you were in Ronen.”
At what Ian said, Ophelia’s face turned pale. She thought that Ian wasn’t even interested in her, so she didn’t imagine that he was harboring such a misunderstanding.
“You’re out of your mind. He and I were simply friends. I spent a lot of time with him because he was the only person I could talk to comfortably. But now—”
“So how should I interpret the fact that he was with you in your bedroom late into the night? As a simple friend?”
“What is that,”
But the moment Ophelia was taken aback and started to speak, her wrist got caught.
Ian took Ophelia’s wrist at once, looking as though he’d lost all rationality.
“Your faithful watchdog said so, that a man’s voice could be heard in your bedroom. And this morning, that scoundrel Alejandro came out of your bedroom. What else is it?”
While Ian was writing the letter to be sent through the carrier pigeon, Lilith did not miss this chance to talk behind Ophelia’s back.
—I’m saying this just in case because Your Grace had a rumor like that with Her Highness Ophelia, but she really has terrible conduct. There’s a scandal following her every time.
—Not too long ago, Lord Ladeen had an accident while he was with Her Highness Ophelia. And even at night, a man’s voice could often be heard in her bedroom. I didn’t want to say anything and tried to keep it at a hush, but Your Grace just cannot get entangled with her in such a nasty way… I’m just worried, sire.
Lilith’s tone was brimming with malice, that’s why it’s highly likely that the testimonies she was spewing out right now were distorted. Perhaps the false statements outnumbered those that were true.
However even though he knew this, Ian could not control his emotions very well.
And when he met Ophelia again, there was anger and resentment filling his mind.
Yet leaving her leaving him was still never an option.
Ophelia had to stay by his side. No matter what condition.
And Ian thought it wouldn’t be too difficult to achieve this.
The reason was simple.
Just as Ophelia knew Ian well, Ian also knew Ophelia very much.
She was vulnerable to emotions. She was weak to affection and couldn’t refuse the touch that she yearned for.
So he thought that she definitely would not let go of his hand if only he reached out again.
If only there was no one who reached out to her before him.
Ian’s molars were crushed together.
“…Alejandro. He made you twisted.”
“What did you say?”
“Was what I said wrong? If not that, there’s no reason for you to leave me.”
Right. Otherwise, Ophelia had no reason to abandon him.
That’s why it’s Alejandro’s fault. He’s the only reason.
With eyes widened completely, Ian muttered this. It went without saying that as Ophelia looked at him, the look on her face expressed that she was tired of all this.
She would not be able to get through to Ian. He had already gone mad.
Ophelia tried to shake off Ian’s hand from hers.
However, unlike a while ago, Ian did not let go of her easily this time.
“Ian, let go of me!”
“If I let you go, you’ll go to him again.”
“Please pull yourself together! Why are you being like this? You weren’t this kind of person!”
“Because you weren’t with me.”
Ian was angry just now, but his expression was crushed once again.
“Ophelia, for you, towards me… it hasn’t been too long. But you can’t really hope that I’m the same person as I was then, right?”
Those three years created too much of a difference. Ian knew that he couldn’t be the same person as he was before.
But wouldn’t it be alright right now?
If he was the same as the past when he had allowed Ophelia to die, it would be the same hell.
As much as he had changed, he was confident that he wouldn’t repeat his past mistakes. If all he could see was Ophelia, then it would be alright.
But the moment Ian’s grip tightened over Ophelia’s wrist again—
“What are you doing right now?”
A sharp voice intervened.
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