Chapter 79 - Contract
“You aren’t allowed to come near me. You can’t touch me. Also, I can’t wait for a year. I need time to break the engagement.”
Cladis, who was about to protest in response to Ella’s words from the spot she told him to stop at, soon nodded, giving up on everything. Her words were reasonable. Even if he couldn’t persuade her, she needed time to sort it out afterward.
“Let’s make it 10-months. If we exclude the time it takes for you to graduate from the Academy, it will be 8-months.”
“That’s too short!”
“It is. But there’s no other way. Or do you wish to quit now?”
He couldn’t quit. That’s why he nodded, but his voice that agreed had no energy in it. Ella decided to give him a bit of credit as he showed his dislike for the result but still agreed to it. If he disregarded her thoughts and only tried to have her by his side, it would be easier for him to talk to the emperor. If Cladis did that, he wouldn’t have to agree to this and sit and do nothing while the emperor hurried the engagement. If that happened, there was nothing she could do.
‘The emperor’s will is the law in this world.’
In that case, this was also a chance to buy her time to break the engagement. Ella thought that Cladis would have been frustrated if he knew, so she told him a story that would really frustrate him. This was the actual point.
“Even if there’s time left, we will end it unconditionally at any time if I ever want to do that.”
“You said you’ll give me a chance!” Cladis shouted in protest.
“I’m giving you a chance, but I didn’t say I’ll give you that chance for that long. I’m deciding on how long to give you right now.”
“Do I have the right to refuse?”
“Does it look that way?”
“No, it doesn’t. Alright, have it your way.”
Now, Ella was in full control, so Cladis had no right to refuse or negotiate. But in some way, it was a great success that he at least was at this negotiation table. Before this, she would never even give him a chance like this.
“I’ll also let you quit whenever you want,” said Ella.
“That will never happen.”
“You never know. You should always be open to all possibilities. Also, there’s one more thing.”
“What is it?”
“Although I’m giving you a chance, I’ll keep trying to end this engagement as well. You’re not allowed to stop me from doing this.”
His answer didn’t come so easily at this moment. ‘Can I truly look away from it? Can I really ignore everything that she tries to do to get away from me?’ wondered Cladis.
While Cladis was thinking it through, Ella dropped a bomb on him by mentioning, “That goes even when I meet another man.”
“Are you planning to meet other men?”
The dying puppy suddenly turned into a man and stepped up. But Ella wasn’t going to cower even if he made such a face and walked up to her. She lightly took some steps back, the amount that he walked toward her earlier. She then gestured without any words to signal to him to stay away. Cladis took a long sigh, trying to suppress his anger, and looked at her, silently asking for an explanation.
“I’m sure you know the meaning of the crown princess in Duffspe. I need to meet people with powers, and I need their help if I am to step down from that seat. Most of those people are men, unfortunately. That’s why I am letting you know ahead of time. I can’t have you acting disrespectfully like the way you were in front of Xylem.”
“Your Highness. I understood your situation and that you had no other choice, so I’m giving you a chance. You need to understand that I had no other choice as well. I must run away from this role.”
Her will to escape no matter the cost formed a shape and faced him. Cladis became overwhelmed with the uncertainty that he may never destroy that will and replied, “Why? Why do you have to run away?”
“Because I don’t love you. I don’t like you either. I hated you, but I don’t hate you anymore, at least. Isn’t that a good thing? I understand you now. But I’m certain that I don’t like you. I can’t become the spouse of someone I don’t like and live forever inside that palace. You know very well the reason why I shouldn’t live like that!”
Cladis’s expression darkened at her words. What she meant was the relationship between the emperor and the empress. If they were to marry in their current relationship, it was evident that they would end up like them. He didn’t wish for that either.
“No, we shouldn’t live like that. That shouldn’t happen. Alright then. If I can’t make you fall in love with me, I will let you go. Even if I can’t imagine life without you, I must let you go if a future with you will be like that.”
A life without her and a life with her as an enemy… Both were terrible. However, if he were to choose one, then it was better to choose one without her. At least her life was going to be different than his.
“If you let me go, I will be your friend.”
“If you don’t like that, I can leave the country.”
“No, a friend is good.” A life without her changed to a life where she remained as a friend. Cladis’s face loosened a bit.
“If you let me go now, I can also become your BF,” Ella added.
His rejection came immediately. His expression resembled a young boy’s, which almost made her laugh. But she didn’t want to loosen his nervousness by laughing. So instead, she made an apologetic look, trying to make fun of him.