Whole chapter is in Amelia’s PoV
It’s the dream I had when I finished my training with Ray.
The scene from that moment refrains over and over again.
I hugged Ray, and I just cried …… pitifully.
Ray accepted me as such. He accepted my existence by just gently wrapping me in his arms. That made me unbearably happy.
I may be able to become …… me.
I’m still a bird in a cage, but I’m sure I’ll be able to flap my wings. That’s what I thought …….
But still, the essence of who I am did not change so easily.
I shuddered. It was just before the opening ceremony. I had finally made it to this place. The rookie round of the Magic Chevalier. I’m sure many people take it for granted that I’m in this place.
But that’s not true. I don’t take it for granted that I’m here.
I am able to stand here because of Ray. Still, the trembling in my hand never stops.
I stare at my right hand.
Ahh …… why, why am I so weak? This is the true nature of Amelia Rose. …… Such a pathetic girl who is scared in front of the big stage.
I watched from afar as everyone else set up their stalls and happily set up their stores. I initially wanted to …… go and say hello, but I couldn’t …… go on.
That place was too bright for me.
And just as I was about to move on, Ariane appeared.
How long has it been since I’ve seen her? No, I’ve seen her every year at parties, but she’s grown up a lot. As one of the three great noble families, Ariane has come a long way. She’s been progressing to those heights.
But what about me now?
She’s flying so high, and I’m in a cage.
When we met at Magic Chevalier in this way, I could see it clearly. I’m sure she is the main character in this competition. I’m just there, ……. just standing there, a lost fool, with no spirit, no pride.
So, with that in mind, I walked away from everyone.
I wanted to talk to the very cute Elisa, Clarice, and the cross-dressing Ray. I wanted to laugh with them. Maybe I should go around three times and enjoy all the different sets. But I couldn’t …… do that.
“Ray, the next time we meet, ……”
“…… Shhhh! Tiana is here!”
“Ah …… yes, I know. I mean, I can’t help but think you’re a real woman. ……”
“That’s right. I’m Lily now.”
“I …… I see. Hopefully one day I’ll meet the real you …….”
I wonder why. I could clearly hear the conversation between Ray and Ariane, even though I couldn’t hear their voices over the din around me.
Ah, ……, it’s so dazzling.
The two of them were a perfect match. The two whose eyes shine endlessly. There is no hesitation, there is no confusion. There is nothing shady about the two of them walking together.
A moment later, I felt a stabbing pain in my chest.
I wonder what this is. Until now, I was just fed up with this situation. But now, I felt as if another emotion was dwelling in my …… heart.
But I didn’t want to face it. I had a bad feeling about it.
Then I left the place.
“Amelia. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you.”
Just before the opening ceremony.
Each competitor was waiting for the entrance ……, and there I met Ariane. It’s been a while since I’ve had a proper conversation with …… her.
I had a debt to her.
We used to be best friends, we were so close.
But at some point, I began to feel uncomfortable with myself and jealous of Ariane’s radiance. I don’t know if it was really jealousy, but I refused to be around Ariane …… anyway.
It’s not that she did anything wrong.
I was frustrated with the way Ariane was growing and developing.
So I …… distanced myself.
I didn’t want to compare myself to her or be compared to her.
Perhaps Ariane had sensed my feelings and accepted the distance. When we were children, we used to play until nightfall, but our paths diverged into two.
It was …… more than a little strange that we were now, here, having this conversation.
“I just saw Ray.”
“Yes. He said Amelia was ready. She said she’d beat me and …… win the competition.”
“Is, ……Is that so, …….”
I wonder why.
I felt a sharp pain in my chest again. But it’s a little different now. It’s just that something warm is also spreading in my chest.
“Ray is out of the norm. And did you see that? That cross-dressing skills are truly amazing. ……”
“Haha, well. Yes, ……, that was a bit amazing.”
The two of us talked about Ray. For some reason, I was able to behave normally during this time. Usually, I pretended to be intimidated by Ariane, but I was able to talk to her as usual for some reason.
“…… Amelia, you have changed a bit, haven’t you?”
“Yea. Besides, you’ve made …… a friend”
“Umm. Well, not just …… Ray, but I’ve made some good friends. Even me.”
I know it too.
Ariane is a sweet girl. She is a very, very kind girl. I’ve known for a long time that she was worried about me because I’ve always kept a certain distance from people.
But I just kept her at a distance and retreated into my own shell.
That’s right. Until now.
But after meeting Ray, …… and everyone else, I may have changed, if only a little.
Ariane was smiling, but her gaze suddenly turned stern.
“Amelia. I’m not going to lose.”
“I’m not going to …… lose either.”
The words came out naturally.
I’m scared. I shuddered. It makes me want to run away. I’m …… overwhelmed in front of this big stage.
But I had survived the days with Ray, those days of training. I’m sure I’m trembling miserably now.
I manage to clench my fists and endure it.
On the other hand, the words spilled out naturally.
I don’t want to lose.
I can’t lose to Ariane, I thought to myself.
“If we were to fight, it would be in the …… final.”
“I remember that.”
“Competing with Amelia, that’s what.”
When we were little, Ariane and I used to compete. From playing to drawing, the two of us competed in every little thing. At that time, I genuinely did not think about superiority or inferiority, I just enjoyed …… being with Ariane.
“I see,……, we did that too,…….”
“Actually, it was a tie between me and Amelia. So let’s settle it right here.”
“…… settle, huh?”
“Yes. I’m not going to run and hide. So, Amelia, come at me head-on. I, Ariane Algren, will take it all in and defeat you.”
That’s what she declared in a high-pitched voice.
Ahh, ……, such grace.
At the same time, I feel like a small person. It is because I can understand Ariane’s true feelings that I can understand my own diminutive existence.
If it were up to now, I would have been scared out of my wits at this point. I would have just been crushed by the sheer greatness and the beautiful way of being of the heart.
But now, I can shake my …… head. The heart that Ray gave me this courage, I now have ……….
“Ariane. I’ll see you in the finals. And, I’ll definitely be at the top of my game in this Magic Chevalier.”
“Fufu ……, you have a good expression. I’ll be waiting for you, Amelia.”
And so we shook hands once again.
It was warm.
When was the last time I felt Ariane’s touch?
I remember. I remember the days when we were young.
We had gone our separate ways. No, that was just me running away on my own. But Ariane had been waiting for me.
She believed that I would come back one day.
Ahh,……, I really can’t compete with that,……, I think, and look at those eyes.
We’ve both grown up.
We are both almost adults. And the mind is also maturing.
But there is one thing that has not changed.
That was the fact that Ariane and I were rivals.
And so we made our way to the venue of the opening ceremony. Amidst the cheers of the crowd, the athletes proceeded.
Her figure was more dazzling than anyone else’s as she was engulfed in the light.
Hopefully, I can be that light too …….
I hoped that ──.
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