Chapter 2 - Goodbye, Old Love. Hello, New Life!
I became puzzled by his question.
‘Have I ever been angry with him? I don’t think so.’
Mikhail was Jubelian’s love of her life and the novel’s male lead. But now that I saw him, my heart was terribly still. A despondent feeling rose inside of me.
‘I used to be so infatuated with him, but I feel nothing now.’
In the past, Jubelian treated Mikhail like her savior. She longed for his love and hung on his every word. At the slightest change of his expression, she became anxious and was constantly afraid that he might leave her as well.
However, my experiences in the modern world changed Jubelian’s personality completely. I had to take care of tuition costs, keep my grades up, look for jobs, and pay living expenses all by myself.
‘I don’t need someone to be my savior. I can change my future myself.’
After coming to this conclusion, I opened my mouth.
“I’m not angry.”
I simply didn’t want to waste any more time and feelings on him.
“Jubelian.” Mikhail stared at me with a slightly annoyed expression.
Although our relationship had been forcefully started, it had endured two years nonetheless. I could understand the weight of his words just by listening to the tone of his voice.
“If you pursue small matters this way, isn’t it possible to have problems in our relationship?”
It was not a request but a thinly veiled warning. He was telling me to stop bothering him.
I smiled innocently like I always did. Except this time, I was being sincere.
“I’m not angry. I was joking when I scolded you for being late.” I spoke pleasantly to lighten the mood, but it seemed like he was displeased by my response.
He stared at me with a serious expression.
“A joke? That doesn’t seem like something you would do.” He huffed and observed me with weary eyes. “So, why did you call me here?”
I sighed upon seeing the blatant displeasure on his face.
‘Well, I guess he can’t help but be upset. The past Jubelian often interfered with his training.’
I decided to let him off the hook this time because of her past mistakes.
“Mikhail, could you please…”
“You said you only needed me briefly.” He cut me off before I even finished talking.
I burst out laughing, but he didn’t look amused.
“If it isn’t anything important, I’ll be going.”
Mikhail was about to leave first, as usual. It seemed like he was too impatient to be near me any longer. Despite his rude attitude, I knew that nothing good was going to come of making enemies with the novel’s male lead.
“It will only take a minute.”
“I have to go now. There’s an important training session I have to attend.”
When I met his cold gaze, I became irritated.
‘Ah, this is pathetic! He thinks I’m not even worth five minutes of his time!’
Three days ago, I even asked him when he had time for me because I was afraid of interrupting his training. But today, on our promised appointment, I ended up spending three hours in the Imperial Knights’ waiting room. No matter what I did, this man continued to ignore my efforts. He only valued his own time, not mine.
‘Well, there is no reason for me to endure this any longer.’
I set the mood by lowering my voice.
“Sit down, please. It’ll only take a second.”
“I think I already refused.”
His voice was threateningly low as if he thought he was the superior one in this relationship. I felt the urge to break his illusion.
“My father knows that we’re meeting today. Wouldn’t it be odd if you returned early?”
Mikhail’s expression stiffened when I mentioned my father, who was a boss he both feared and respected.
“Five minutes,” he conceded.
It seemed that even the strongest knight was afraid of the only Sword Master in the empire. Mikhail sat down in obedience.
‘Maybe I should have mentioned the duke a little earlier.’
I laughed, thinking back to the time I struggled to please the man in front of me.
‘It was all in vain. There was an easy way out all this time…’
At that moment, I heard a stern voice.
“What’s so funny?”
Mikhail’s expression was filled with annoyance, but it didn’t matter now that I didn’t need his goodwill anymore.
“For the past two years, we’ve spent quite a bit of time together.” I started with a sentimental opening.
He probably thought I was trying to seek attention from him because he interrupted me with a low voice.
“Did you call me here just to say that?”
He didn’t even let me finish what I had to say and had already lost patience. It seemed that he really hated being with me.
‘He’s so impatient. I was about to give him a gift too.’
Although I was disgruntled by his words, I gave him an insincere smile I had learned from working at my part-time job.
“You won’t be busy anymore.”
“What are you talking about?”
I frowned at his attitude.
‘He’s being too much.’
I honestly wanted to tell him, ‘I’m going to tell my father about this, and he’ll fire you.’ He knows about Jubelian’s powerful background too, and this would teach him a lesson about what power could do. However, my father would never fire a subordinate he cared about. If Mikhail and I came to despise each other, it would only end badly for me.
‘Let’s not make enemies anymore. My goal is to live a long life.’
I slowly spoke as I reaffirmed this decision in my mind.
“I’m saying that I’ll let you go.”
At my words, his eyes widened before slowly turning back to normal. Even the corner of his lips tilted as if he couldn’t believe me.
“You’re bluffing. Do you really think I’ll believe that?”
I sighed at his wary attitude.
Well then, it would be a waste of time to say any more.
“It’s up to you whether to believe it or not. I already said what I needed to say.”
I turned around, but a cold voice stopped me in my tracks.
“Fine, I’ll trust you. Just don’t appear in front of me ever again.”
The corners of my mouth quirked up at his unexpected words.
‘I guess the breakup was successful?’
Whatever his reason was, he accepted it. I felt relieved.
Now my goal was to enjoy life to the fullest extent. Although Father was indifferent towards me, he didn’t mind supporting the luxurious life I gained from being his daughter. It wouldn’t be bad to live happily while spending his money.
My spirits increased as I imagined a bright future. I glanced back at Mikhail and smiled.
“I’m sorry for everything that’s happened until now. I wish you happiness.”
After bidding him farewell sincerely, I turned around.
When I used to meet Mikhail, I usually wore pretty but uncomfortable shoes. The ones I wore today were plain and low-heeled.
Was it thanks to these comfortable shoes that I was able to leave without regrets?
* * *
‘She said she’s sorry for everything?’
Mikhail scoffed while staring at the woman’s retreating figure.
‘Bullshit. It must be a ploy to get my attention.’
He was certain that the woman would turn around again and come back to him. But contrary to his expectations, she continued to walk away without sparing him another glance. When she finally left the waiting room, he clenched his fists.
‘Was she being serious?’
Jubelian Eloy Floyen.
She was undoubtedly beautiful, despite suffering from an illness of the mind. For the past two years, he had endured her behavior, which she had excused in the name of love. The woman followed him wherever he went. She showed hostility to the people he spoke to and was overjoyed if he gave her even a little attention. She was like a dog; A stupid dog who wagged her tail even when pushed away and showed affection even when her master did not.
Although it was very annoying, he tolerated her because of the attention he received from her father and his idol, Duke Floyen.
“It’s nice to meet you, Mikhail,” the duke had said when they first met.
In addition, he was relieved that other annoying women didn’t bother him when she was with him.
‘Why did she suddenly change her mind?’
Plagued with uncertainty, Mikhail clenched his fists unconsciously. Now that the woman was now completely out of sight, he unexpectedly felt strange instead of relieved.
‘It’s a relief I won’t have to see that troublesome woman anymore.’
Mikhail tried to focus on this mindset to shake off conflicting thoughts, but…
He couldn’t stop thinking about her.
Her words continued to play in his mind: “I’m sorry for everything until now. I wish you happiness.”
He couldn’t forget her smile either. She even looked a little relieved.
* * *
‘Ah, it feels like the knot in the pit of my stomach has been unraveled. I’ll go up to my room and rest now.’
I had just come home after parting with Mikhail. It was then I ran into a handsome man by the front door. I had inherited his silver hair and blue eyes, but not his striking appearance. Because he was a transcendent being who aged slowly, it seemed like we could be siblings.
‘There may be a day when I’ll look older than this person.’
“Father, how was your day?” I greeted him with an upbeat voice, which was the complete opposite of how I felt inside.
He stared at me with indifference. Although we were family, it had been many years since I greeted him like this.
“Do not come here again,” he had told me once.
After being turned away, I only talked to him when it concerned important business. But now I had a reason to pretend to be friendly to him.
‘I just want to live happily.’
After retrieving the memories of my previous life, I realized an important fact: No matter how much I begged for his love, my father would eventually abandon me. In addition to being lacking in many ways, I was nothing more than a shameful existence that he never mentioned to other people. Since I wasn’t going to be loved by him anyway, I would give up and find my happiness elsewhere.
‘Yes, the happiness of money!’
Of course, I had a conscience, so I didn’t intend to be greedy. A small estate in the outskirts of the city, some money from my father, and a job handling one of his countless responsibilities would be enough.
‘In fact, I would still be living a luxurious life even with only those things.’
I had no intention of begging for my father’s love anymore. But as long as I needed his money, it was important to maintain a proper relationship. If I didn’t get along with him like in the original novel, I might end up with not even a penny.
I showed him an insincere smile that I learned from working in retail.
“You must be tired from supervising training all day.”
Once again, he didn’t answer.
‘My God! Would it kill him to say a word?’
His behavior brought me into a foul mood like it would any other human being. Even so, I was used to being ignored by him.
“You should go and relax. I will go up, too.” I hurriedly finished the one-sided conversation and started climbing the stairs to the second floor.
It was then I heard him speak.
“There was no training today.”