(——Don’t come here!)

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Wisteria thought that so earnestly that she felt as if she was going to burst into tears at any moment.

What weakness.
How foolish.

Even if she tried to mock herself, her heart couldn’t regain its original strength, just as a thread that had been ripped to pieces could never return to the way it was.

She didn’t want to see the face of the man who she continued to pine for, not even for a moment.

Because he loved her younger sister, not her.

(Why now?)

Why would he want to see her and talk to her?

——Maybe…A faint hope rose in her heart.

Even if she squeezed her fists and told herself it was impossible, her heart pounded stupidly and wildly.

Because if she kept silent, her sister would disappear.

And then, he would…

Even though she knew it was a shameful and repulsive hope, Wisteria waited as if she was bound by a spell, not running away or refusing it.

And so, the waiting man entered the parlor.

There was a shadow that couldn’t be concealed hanging over the face of the man, so deep that it was hard to imagine that this man was called the “living jewel” of Reuning.

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He had shining silver hair and golden eyes.
A high nose and well-shaped lips.
He looked as if he had stepped out of a famous painting, and he was tall, lean, and slender.
He was the “living jewel” of the Reuning ducal house, a noble family that had produced several renowned magicians.

His external beauty wasn’t the only reason why he was called that.
He was bright, kind, and treated everyone equally.
He, who was liveliness itself, radiated light from within as well.

He–Bright–was now losing his light.

——I wanted to see him.

——I didn’t want to see him.

Wisteria, torn between her conflicting feelings, urged him to sit on the sofa.

The parlor door was open to ensure that nothing untoward would happen between unmarried ladies and gentlemen.

Bright, who looked very tired, sat down on the sofa at Wisteria’s urging.

Wisteria also sat down across from him without saying a word.


A heavy silence fell over them for what seemed like an eternity.

“…Sorry, Wis.”

Bright spoke quietly.
He put his hand over his eyes with a heavy sigh.

Wisteria had never seen such a gesture from the openhearted man before.

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Finally, Bright looked up.
There was a resolve in his face that even be called tragically heroic.

His golden eyes, turned toward Wisteria, blazed like the sunset.

“I’ll be brief.
I want you to go to the ‘Land of Grey Dawn’ instead of Rosalie.”

His voice was subdued but cool-headed.

Wisteria’s breath caught in her throat.
For a moment, everything went black, and she felt as if she had been stabbed deeply in her heart with ice.

Bright laughed at himself and spat out the words coldly.

“I would gladly take her place if I could.”

The man who had once been called the Sun of Reuning now had the darkest, coldest eyes she had ever seen.
They were filled with a bitter self-mockery, self-loathing–and even humiliation.

Wisteria knew better than anyone that this brilliant young man couldn’t be a substitute for anyone else.

“I don’t want to lose Rosalie.
I won’t let her become the guardian of the ‘Land of Grey Dawn.’”

——That’s why, I’m asking you to take her place.

The words of the man Wisteria loved ripped her into a million pieces.

Not only because he was telling her to die in place of her sister.

She was almost crushed by Bright’s resolve, determination, and coldheartedness–all of which allowed him to say that to her.

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As well, there was the fact that Bright himself had found out that she was capable of taking Rosalie’s place.

It was nothing short of a tragedy that Rosalie had been chosen as the guardian of the “Land of Grey Dawn.”

Being chosen for it was as good as being a sacrifice.

But that tragedy also brought another meaning to Wisteria alone.

At that moment Rosalie was plunged into despair, what she felt in her heart was the ugliest feeling in the world.

If Rosalie is gone, Bright will be mine——

“You can hate me as much as you want.
The fact that you’re Rosalie’s sister, and the fact that you have an unparalleled talent–all of those things can only become material for convenient excuses for me.”

Bright continued without moving an eyebrow, as if the anguish he felt earlier never happened.

Still, Wisteria saw in her mind that had gone blank that Bright’s hands, folded between his open knees, had turned white.
She could see it so clearly that it was odd.

“I just don’t want to lose Rosalie.
That is my–ugly, selfish desire.”

I love her—the words she heard that night seemed to come back to her.

For a moment, blood rushed to Wisteria’s head.

(How can you say that!)

This man, of all people.

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The only man Wisteria had ever wished to be with in her life, the only man she was willing to give up everything for.

(For your sake…)

——I would give up everything.

In order to become engaged to him, she continued her research, resigned to her ill reputation.

The research of magic was also to save him from cruel malice.

Even her own peculiar constitution was intended to help her do that.

It was never to proceed towards certain death in her sister’s place like this.

Perhaps she should have stood up, shouted angrily, and showered him with the contents of her cup.

And yet she couldn’t.
Her blood rose for only an instant, and she immediately felt the core of her head cool down.

(…Is this punishment?)

Because she had shallowly wished for Bright to be her partner.

Because she was foolishly jealous of her sister Rosalie.
Because she had such horrific feelings towards her sister who was chosen as a sacrifice.

Because she knew she could take her place but didn’t tell anyone.

So now, she was being confronted with the thing she didn’t want to be told to her by the last person she wanted it to be known by——

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