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My Male Lead was Building up an Impenetrable Wall (4)
“Hmmmm. The person I want to persuade doesn’t look at faces at all.”
“But your beauty blows away personal taste.”
“He doesn’t have eyes in the first plac… I mean, he cares so little it’s like he doesn’t have any eyes. And I think he finds me pretty irritating.”
“How is that possible?”
Olga raised her voice as if she were in complete disbelief.
Hey, it’s nice that you think so highly of me, but it’s not like my face can solve every problem…
Sensing my quiet gaze, Olga flinched. This time around she gave me a relatively more sincere answer.
“I’ve never deliberately tried to get anyone to like me. Everyone liked me even when I didn’t try. At first I thought it was the same for you, Anastasia…”
“… You thought?”
Olga blushed slightly when I echoed her words.
“After hearing the rumors about you and finding out it wasn’t true, I realized I had been living a pretty easy life.”
“Do you mind telling me more about those rumors?”
“They weren’t anything big. Just, I heard you only started going out recently. And before that you were always alone… But I don’t think it’s your fault, Anastasia! And that person won’t either!”
Olga was on the verge of bursting into tears.
I interjected, “Calm down. Whatever attention I’ve been missing out on this whole time, I’ll make sure to receive it all. And I won’t die until I do.”
“Why would I lie to you?”
“Then, say that to that person too!” Olga exclaimed enthusiastically.
I cocked my head to the side.
“You’re going to live for a long time, so threaten them by saying you’ll harass them nonstop until they give in! Actually, threatening someone is a lot easier than persuading them, isn’t it?”
“… Olga, have you secretly been hanging out with Lynette-eonni?”
Olga let out an exaggerated cough.
“We ran into each other by chance a few times at the Marquis’ residence. Then, when I heard the news that you had fallen into a deep sleep, I tried to think about what I could do to help.”
She added extra emphasis to the words ‘by chance’.
I gave her an amused look as I munched on a cookie.
“Coming to see me like this is enough. By the way, the person I’m facing is quite the opponent, so I don’t know if threats will work.”
Kylis wouldn’t bat an eye if I thrust a knife towards his face.
I mean, can he even die from being stabbed in the first place? He seems to get around just fine with his head cut off.
Olga stared at me, wide-eyed.
“Still, they must have some weakness, right?”
I thought it over. I didn’t know any of Kylis’ weaknesses, but I knew what he wanted. Thinking I might have come up with a good idea, I rolled it over in my brain. Olga suddenly shifted next to me.
“About Rayleigh… Can’t you forgive him now?”
Olga took hold of my hand with her uninjured hand.
“I’m not saying that Rayleigh didn’t do anything wrong! I definitely saw what he did to you, Anastasia. But he’s a little… pitiful, isn’t he? Isn’t this enough revenge? If it keeps going like this, Rayleigh could be permanently expelled from the church. His family isn’t as powerful as ours are…”
“Didn’t Duke Magnus cut off his sponsorship of the church because Rayleigh insulted Adele during an official visit he made to the Great Temple to deliver a donation? A clerk even attested to Rayleigh’s actions personally.”
Adele had gone to donate a large amount of money, but he had been cursed at and treated like a deranged killer. It was absolutely shocking. If the conflict between Rayleigh and I had been the only thing, the Duke wouldn’t have gone as far as he had.
“That’s true, but…”
Olga dropped her gaze miserably. She couldn’t help but worry about her friend who had changed so drastically from the way he used to be. To be honest, it was surprising that she had taken my side in the past.
“I understand what you mean, Olga. I also think it would be good to meet up with Rayleigh again.”
If Rayleigh felt even the slightest sense of something unusual in the Forest of Repentance, then he would come to see me sooner or later. Of course, there was no way that his intentions for coming would be good.
Interpreting my words positively, Olga nodded her head.
“I’m sure Rayleigh feels the same way.”
As if she were satisfied by our conversation, Olga stopped talking about Rayleigh.
We made light conversation while Olga put some of the leftover flowers into a vase. Olga boasted about how pretty, clever, and lovable her younger sister was. She said that her sister cooked for her when she was in a good mood and that it was really delicious, even when it was completely unseasoned and burned to a crisp. I gave the vase to her as a gift, but I was more than a little concerned given that Olga was someone who would fall down while walking around on her own.
“Thank you for coming by today. Can I lend you a carriage?”
Please, I beg you… take the ride!
“No, I can go home by myself.”
Olga declined. Flinging the door open, she smacked herself on the head.
I… I’m going to die of worry.
“Then let me walk with you for a bit. We can wander around the estate as much as you’d like.”
Vase nestled in her arms, Olga walked briskly as I followed a half step behind. The path was clear and free of any loose rocks, but Olga still wobbled precariously from time to time. I etched the fact that Olga Floresense was the type of person who could break their nose falling backwards into my mind.
Olga said her goodbyes in a cheery voice as we parted ways.
“Anastasia, when you get your strength back, do you want to come hang out together?”
“Yes. Let’s play around so much that we can die happily with nothing left to regret.”
“Oh, that’s no good. Let’s leave a few regrets.”
Olga seemed faintly troubled. I waved to her until she turned away, then I immediately called my personal guard over.
“Ms. Vesta, would you watch over Olga and make sure she gets home safely? I’m a little worried about her.”
“That’s not too difficult. Should I also report back about who she meets and what they talk about?”
Ha, ha ha. I laughed awkwardly.
“Just make sure she gets home without getting injured, please.”
“Is that all?”
“Understood. But I will keep track of everything in case you need it later.”
“No really, it’s fi…”
… She’s already gone.
With some mixed feelings, I turned around and walked away. I felt bad about invading Olga’s privacy, but I took comfort in the fact that it would only be for about an hour or so. The most important thing was making sure Olga didn’t get hurt again. It would be a real disaster if she fell while holding that vase…
Back in my bedroom I finished up my list of reasons to live.
Hmm… does this list reveal my inner desires a little too much?
I quietly folded the paper up and placed it deep within my desk drawer. If anyone saw my list, I would definitely be branded as a pervert.
“Ahhhhh. I want to see Adele…”
As soon as those words left my mouth, the urge to see Adele grew uncontrollably. I wasn’t sick, but my chest felt tight and my pulse was racing.
Every change in my body felt unfamiliar. It seemed I liked Adele much more than I previously thought.
In any case, my ability to be patient completely disappeared when it came to Adele. I mulled over our relationship while I mindlessly opened and closed my desk drawer.
Adele liked me as much as I liked him. But maybe what Adele wanted wasn’t the typical romantic relationship.
There was always the possibility that what he wanted was a relationship that placed value on emotional connection rather than sharing body heat. Essentially, ‘platonic love’.
If that’s the case, then I won’t be able to kiss anyone in this lifetime…
My eyes welled up with tears.
O-of… of course if that’s what Adele wants, then I’ll respect his wishes! I’ll do my best to accept it somehow! Even though I wanted to hold hands with Adele and hug him and do all other sorts of little things…!
Even though I believed that the day would come where we would kiss until our lips were chapped and our lungs burst, followed by passing out from too much carbon dioxide!
I didn’t know I was such a lump of desires! I didn’t know my rationality was so shallow!
“I’ll transcend my earthly desires… or maybe not. I still like him. Well, it can’t be helped. The person who likes the other more is naturally the one that ends up losing.”
I started to make excuses for myself as I swallowed back my tears.
First I’ll meet up with Adele when he’s a little less busy and try to talk with him. If he really wants something platonic, then I’ll have to focus on letting go of my greed for more.
Releasing the drawer reluctantly, I flopped facedown on the desk. As I lay, I sensed the presence of someone else.
I opened my eyes when I heard Vesta Grania’s voice.
“Did Olga get back safely?”
I had expected a simple yes-or-no answer, but Vesta bluntly delivered some extremely shocking news.
“She is arguing with a young apprentice priest, the one that His Grace told me to keep a close eye on so that he doesn’t threaten you again. He became suspicious when he spotted the Count’s carriage parked at the entrance to Greengriad the other day and made attempts to tail you, Miss.”
I stiffened, freezing in an awkward position.
“… Please elaborate.”
It was obvious the apprentice priest that Vesta was talking about was Rayleigh Lucrezia.
And… Olga is arguing with him?
“The apprentice priest asked the young lady why she was associating with you and said that it wasn’t appropriate for a good person such as herself to ignore his advice. He also said that he would purify her.”
Turning a deathly pale, I jumped up.
“Where are they? No, just take me there! We’ll talk afterwards!”
I pushed all of my worries to the side for later. Rayleigh had gone off the deep end ages ago, but the arrow of his resentment had always been pointed towards either me or Adele.
It wasn’t a good sign that he had started to get angry at Olga.
Without even a single word of question, Vesta simply looked me up and down before answering.
Vesta picked me up and we were off the estate in a flash. She supported my weight effortlessly even without the use of magic.
After passing through several alleyways, Olga’s voice came into earshot. Vesta dropped me off just out of their sightline.
“Please, Rayleigh. Can’t you make up for my sake?”
Olga pled with Rayleigh on the verge of tears.
“You’re been so weird lately. Why are you acting so scary?”
I could feel the blood in my body run cold.
To Olga, Rayleigh Lucrezia was her closest friend and someone who brought her comfort just by being by her side. Until recently the Rayleigh that she had known had been a gentle and overly affectionate boy. But now he was threatening her with a look of contempt on his face.
“You’re the one who’s gotten weird, Olga. Saying you’re so happy to receive a present from that woman… aren’t you ashamed? Don’t you have any self-respect?”
His tone was aggressive as if he were hell-bent on wounding the deepest parts of her heart.
Olga turned white, but she still managed to shout, “Don’t say that! Anastasia saved me from drowning and even though we were in a difficult situation and we weren’t really that close, she protected me to the very end! And she… she said I have the capacity to grow and become better! She’s such a good person!”
Olga hated fighting with anyone, much less her closest friend. I couldn’t imagine how much courage it had taken for her to say those words.
There was no time to worry and no time to think. My feet moved on their own.