whole chapter is in Amelia’s Pov
Who am I?
I’ve been asking that question for a long time.
I’ve been playing the role of Amelia Rose, the person everyone wants to be, since I was a child.
I knew from the time I can remember that I was a special person.
People would cheer me on. It felt so good to me as a child. I grew up with all the praise and compliments I received.
But somehow I didn’t grow up to be arrogant like …… other aristocratic children.
It’s a question that runs through my mind from an early age.
Why, exactly why am I being praised?
When I got to the bottom of it uneasily, I realized that it was this bloodline that was the subject, not me.
In no way is Amelia important, etc., but I, as the eldest daughter of the Rose family, am important. …… With a vague thought, I understood that.
But still, the rest of the other three aristocrats, Rebecca and Ariane, have accepted it and grown up naturally. They are not conceited, they just stare at the reality, as if they embody what the three great aristocrats should be.
I was impatient.
Because I can’t act like that.
I can’t help but pretend to be something I’m not, to mend, to wear a mask. I feel a sense of desolation that I can’t fill.
I couldn’t help it any longer. So, I’ve been looking for something to do, imitating their example, playing the aristocrat that my parents and friends wanted me to be.
Courtesy, learning, study, magic.
I have been perfectly ripe for all of it. Because if I didn’t, I would not be me.
In the first place, when I say I’m pretending to be something I’m not, there is no real me.
Something that is neither more nor less than that, just pretending to be something you are not, without knowing what you really want.
That is exactly what Amelia Rose was.
“Trainee Amelia! Looks like you’re doing well!”
As always, I salute and then work hard to train with him.
At the beginning of this training, it was still good. Because I didn’t have time to worry about it. That’s how tough this training was.
There were times when it was too tough and I had to run away.
But I eventually came back.
Part of it was the feeling that I shouldn’t run away, that I was moving on …… but I know I had other feelings as well.
I didn’t want to be abandoned.
I didn’t want to be left behind by him.
It was with this backwardness that I was training with Ray.
“Alright! Take a break!”
Summer sunshine shines on me relentlessly. The cicadas have already begun to buzz louder, and summer has come into full swing. The crystal-clear blue sky and endlessly clear air. And the sunshine scorches me.
I walked away from Ray and headed toward the spot where the faucet was located.
When I stared at the ground, I saw a darker shadow than usual, probably because of the strong sunshine. And when I saw it, I thought.
”He’s the sun and I’m just a shadow.”
Ray was dazzling. He is stretching out and living according to what he wants to do. He is a dazzling presence, free in every way.
On the other hand, I am an aristocrat, an existence bound by the chains of bloodline. I have shown myself that this is how a nobleman should be, even …… because it has to be so. There is no freedom, only a mechanical life. I’m just a shadow.
So looking at Ray, my shadow becomes even darker. But shadows don’t exist without light. And I dream that shadows can become light, too.
I’m just a bird in a cage, but I dream such an irreverent dream …… and burn down as it is. The fake is a fake after all and can never become the real thing.
I’m a fool for still dreaming about it.
I dream of being like him someday, I want to be like him.
Trying to cool down a little bit by taking a dip in cold water from my head.
The cold water felt so good in this heat. Then I wiped the water off with a towel and sat down.
I looked at my hands and they were shaking. The trembling was for the upcoming magic swordsmanship competition. Until now, I had never been able to show off my existence to this extent. But in the Magic Swordsmanship Competition, my existence will be highlighted and I will be rated as a mage in the form of victory or defeat.
I couldn’t be a loser.
Because I am Amelia Rose.
But after all, it’s not confidence that crosses my mind. It’s just the fear of anxiety that dominates my mind.
What if I lose?
What if I lose despite Ray’s training?
Ray would probably be disappointed in me.
No, it’s not just Ray.
Elisa, Clarice, Evi, …… and everyone in this academy will be disappointed.
Amelia Rose is only that much …… and.
It’s because of this anxiety that my hands often shake these days. But squeezing it tightly, I go back to Ray.
“Good. You’re back. Let’s keep going!”
To avoid letting people know about my heart, I’m going to put my mask on today as well.
Because if I do, I’ll be able to remain as I am──.
I’m the Amelia that everyone wants me to be.
“What…..what exactly are you talking about?”
“Hmm? Well, just sit down for now. We’ll talk afterwards.”
Afterwards, I was the only one called by Lydia-san and shown into her study room. Everyone else seemed to be eating in the living room, but for some reason I was asked to come in for a minute.
I didn’t know her that well. When I’ve met her before, I’ve never thought of her as Ray’s mentor, so I just gave her the usual formal greeting as usual.
Then she moved the pile of papers on her desk to the edge, looked me in the eye, and said.
“Looks like you’re working hard,”
“…… What’s that about?
“I already told you. It’s about training. With Ray, I’m sure he has been reckless in a lot of ways, but …… I hope you’ll take it with a grain of salt there. That said, you’re definitely not letting him get reckless, are you? He’ s so kind.”
“It’s …… yes. That’s right …….”
I din’t get the point. I wonder if she called me up just to have this conversation. But my thoughts soon become irrelevant.
“Well, Amelia Rose. Apparently, you’re in distress…….”
“What are you talking about?”
I play dumb. It must not be known. I had to stick the mask, and keep it on.
I’m Amelia-Rose, and I’m going to pretend to be the Amelia that everyone wants. Up until now, I have been playing the Amelia that the nobles want. But now I’m going to play the Amelia that everyone who is close to me wants. Ray, Evi, Elisa, and Clarice. I’m the person they all want to see someone who is strong, noble, and comfortable.
That’s why I’m going to play the clown today.
“Here it is.”
“The letter. A letter from Ray. He sends me letters like this from time to time. Lately it’s just been an update on what’s going on, but I can’t help but think of …… since he started training you.”
“What does …… it says?”
“I know Amelia is hiding something, but I don’t know if I should step in with …….”
I didn’t think Ray was thinking that. No, I knew he felt something. But I never dreamed that he was thinking like that. At best, I thought it would be something like, I am tired from training and need more strength.
“You’ve heard about Ray’s past, right?”
“…… yes. I heard he was involved in the Battle of the Far East.”
“Yes. I checked his ancestry, and he’s a real commoner. But he had talent. He surpassed me, or at least had the best talent in the world. I raised him with the expectation that he would become the best sorcerer in the world ……. However, Ray caused the magic domain stampede due to me …… now. My only failure was not being able to teach that guy enough about the human heart.”
“The human heart, is it ……”
“Ah. When I first saw Ray, he was a boy who seemed to have given up everything in this world. But gradually he regained his human heart, but …… was still not enough. After all, we soldiers are limited in the scope of what we can teach. That’s what makes that guy oddly mature or even floating, right?”
“It’s well …… but ……”
Ray was a bit strange …… from the moment I met him, or rather, he was really a military man. He’s oddly stiff and civility is strong, but he’s somewhat lopsided …….
“That was the limit. We adults have ……. That’s why I encouraged Ray to join the Academy. I wanted him to learn about people’s hearts and make some dear friends there. That’s what I thought. But I was worried. Can that idiot make a proper friend? That’s what I thought, but I was wrong about ……. I think he’s found a fine, irreplaceable friend. And such a man can sense the subtleties of the human heart.”
“Amelia-Rose. I don’t know what’s in your heart. No, I’m sure no one else does. Except you. I’m not saying that you should ever expose it. It’s an option to live a lifetime in your heart, to keep it locked up. But if you want to be freed from your worries, your pain, and your desire to become something other than what you are now, rely on your friends ……. Well, keep in mind that it’s …… none of my business, but keep that in mind.”
After being told this, I walked out of the study, stunned.
I wonder if the day will come when I too will be able to express my feelings, my innermost thoughts.
I do not know if that day will ever come.
I’m not as strong or noble or aristocratic as people think I am …… a coward and a very, very weak person.
A cowardly, stupid, weak, and perpetually scared …… such an irresponsible person.
“Ah …… bathroom is ……”
“Go straight down here and at the end of the street, you will see it on your left.”
“Thank you for ……”
After hearing this from the attendant I met on the way, I headed for the ladies’ room.
And once inside, I leaned my head against the wall.
Rely on your friends.
Those words continue to stick in my mind.
How much easier it would be if I could express these thoughts, these insecurities. I want to be freed …… I don’t want to be like this anymore. My friends now, and……Ray would surely be able to accept it, but my body was still trembling.
Ray said. His hands are stained with blood and he has killed many people. The moment I heard all about that past, I hugged him. But it was never just because of the sympathy for that past.
I wanted the strength of his heart to be able to talk about that past.
So reflexively, I was drawn to that strength.
I want to get my feelings out …… like Ray does. But I’m sure people will be disappointed. No, I want to believe that there is no …… such thing.
Such a contradiction dragged me further into the abyss.
In the end, people can only understand themselves. No matter how close we are to our friends, we cannot understand their true hearts. There is a clear gap between us.
So, just because I think I’m okay with everyone else, …… may not really be so.
If the three great aristocrats found out that I was a weak person, they might leave me.
I just didn’t want to do that. I liked my current relationship. I’m sure I can be myself in front of everyone. Because I could dream of a different possibility, different from the one I was used to.
So I can’t destroy it.
Let’s put on a mask, create a false image, and keep acting.
That’s all I can do now.
“Aah …… really, I can’t help myself …… really ……”
I put my hand on the mirror and stare at myself.
Who is the person I see in the mirror?
I may not be able to become anyone else.
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