Chapter Two and a Half: I Can’t Find Anything Other Than a Reflection (Will’s POV)
When I woke up, a young man with a naïve face, a young man with a cool face, and a middle-aged man with wrinkles between his eyebrows were looking into my face.
The moment I tilted my head, unable to recognize any of them, the three looked at each other and hurriedly assumed that such was the case.
Before I knew it, I was put on a carriage was brought to a magnificent yet strange mansion. Then, I was guided to a large room that could be called the master bedroom, and was pushed into another large bed.
Then, I finally realized that not only my headache, I also had no clue who I was. I also couldn’t figure out where I was.
Besides me, there was a man in his fifties who was dressed in a tailcoat. At first, I thought he was my father but soon realized that wasn’t the case.
The person who called himself Arthur said that he was the head butler of the Lutherford family.
He also told me that I was his master, and that I was called ‘Willian Ignatius de Lutherford.’ I was also taught that I was the Marquis of Springfield, one of the greatest aristocrats who possessed vast territory and power. It appeared that I was also the division leader of the 1st Division of the Royal Knights.
Despite hearing that, nothing came into my mind. I couldn’t even think that the name William, who should have been with me since the time I was born, was my own.
Arthur asked me if I could recall anything about my father, mother, brothers, sisters, friends, or the servants in the territory—unfortunately, I couldn’t.
“…My lord, how about Liliana?”
When I was about to ask, I heard the sound of knocking at the door. After Arthur had replied, three people came into the room.
One was the man with a cool expression, who had been by my side ever since I regained consciousness. The said man wore a tailcoat similar to Arthur. The other two were women, and one of them was dressed as a maid.
The moment I laid my gaze upon the woman that the maid was accompanying, my breath was taken away.
A slightly wavy pale blonde hair. Fine white skin. Coral-colored lips and a small nose. The most striking was her pair of round eyes.
The silver color of her eyes was as if it had trapped the gleam of a star. Her eyes, framed by her surprisingly long eyelashes, stared at me anxiously.
What a beauty she was!
If someone were to tell me that she was the Goddess of the Moon, who had just descended upon Earth, I’d believe them right away.
My heart was thumping like crazy, and I felt like a fool. I didn’t even want to miss a single of her blinks.
If I were the master of that mansion, the woman who was accompanied by the maid should be linked to me. However, my brain couldn’t recall her. I felt regretful towards the said woman. Then, while wishing that she was an important individual to me, the master, I asked who she was.
“Master, you’re being too terrible…! I mean, I know that you usually ignore your wife like human waste, but still…!”
The maid, who knitted her eyebrows, screamed.
I didn’t think those were the words she should be directed towards her master. Then, the young butler, Frederick, closed her mouth.
However, from the maid’s words, I figured that the beautiful woman was my wife. I was her husband. I managed to suppress my urge to scream. Nevertheless, a joyful grin still escaped me.
Arthur then informed the three that I had lost my memory. The two women became silent, with a surprise appearance on their faces. The maid’s agape mouth was no longer blocked.
Upon being entrusted with a task by Arthur, Frederick left.
The woman turned her worried look towards me. She took another step, and approached me. Thus, she opened her coral-colored lips.
“…I-it’s alright, my husband.”
A gentle voice, akin to a bell.
She was staring at me with an expression as if she was about to cry.
Suddenly, I noticed that her slender and delicate hands were clenching her skirt tightly. I put my hand on them.
“A beautiful woman like you—my wife…?”
I asked, hoping that it wasn’t a dream.
I heard a cute voice.
Perhaps, she was surprised. I stood up, and picked up her hand, which had solidified. I kissed the back of her hand, and asked for her forgiveness and her name.
“…To have forgotten about you, what a heartless husband I am. Could you please tell me your name?”
She turned to look at the maid as if in trouble. Maybe, she was her personal wife. The maid immediately erased her grin, told her something, and encouraged her slender back.
I felt a little uncomfortable about it. However, I couldn’t pursue her due to the fact that her delicate hand had escaped from mine.
Using said delicate hand, she proceeded to lift her skirt, bend her hips—which, by the way, was so thin that it seemed to break—before gracefully bowing her head.
“My name is Liliana Catherine de Alwin-Lutherford.”
I took Liliana’s nervous hand again, and uttered her name in joy.
I pulled her hand, and let her sit next to me. The hem of her skirt, which was dark blue, spread softly.
“…M, my husband?”
For some reason, she was fluttering. She also sneaked glances at her maid and Arthur.
I wanted her to only look at me. Thus, I embraced her thin shoulders, and peered into her face from above her.
“Liliana, I’m a heartless husband who has forgotten about his wife—can you please keep an eye on me?”
I stared at her white cheeks, turning rosy as I waited for her reply. What awaited me might have been a scolding; regardless, I was desperate.
“I’ll never give up on my husband.”
With her bright red face, Liliana politely conveyed each word. Due to her words, which come from the bottom of her heart, my expression relaxed.
“How kind you are. Thank you, Liliana. Your words alone have settled my heart.”
I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know my surroundings. I didn’t even know where I was. Unconsciously, I might have been very anxious. I was purposefully being unaware of it to protect myself.
However, Liliana’s words gently enveloped my anxiety-ridden chest.
Then, Liliana gently smiled at me.
The beauty of her smile made my heartache.
“I’m glad that your heart has found peace. As a wife, I’m not without flaws. Regardless, I’m by your side. If you need anything, please tell me.”
“…Thank you, Liliana.”
My smile grew deeper as I thanked her.
For such a woman to be my wife…
…However, when I was about to speak again, Frederick brought in a man with dark-colored hair. The man was about the same age as Arthur and was wearing a lab coat.
I was told that he was the doctor of the Lutherford family. Still, I couldn’t recall anything about him. But, when the man saw Liliana and me, his eyes narrowed as he smiled, “The two of you seem to be in good term.”
When I was about to think of the implication, Liliana stood up in a hurry. I gave priority to catching her. I embraced her thin shoulders even more deeply. The sweet fragrance of flowers permeated my nose.
I brought my lips to her small, well-shaped ear, which picked through her hair, and whispered.
“Stay beside me, Liliana.”
Then, Liliana entrusted herself to my body. She, who was making a fuss because her face had become scarlet, was truly adorable.
Morgan took out the stethoscope from the bag he had left to Frederick. As I unbuttoned the front of my nightwear, Liliana grew even redder and turned away.
…Even though we were a married couple.
The appearance of my innocent wife became cuter by seconds.
The coldness of the stethoscope caused me to lift my eyebrows slightly.
“Hmm, there’s nothing wrong with your physique. My lord, since you’ve suffered a head injury, I shall do another test.”
Then, Morgan asked me various questions.
After answering those questions, it became apparent that I had lost all my memories regarding the faces, names, relationships, and bonds with people. However, the knowledge I had amassed throughout my entire life remained in my brain. I could still read letters, and was still aware of what kingdom it was. The names of places and history were also in my head. But, it was general knowledge that everyone else knew. Even reciting the history of the Lutherford family made me feel as if I was reading a textbook rather than telling the story myself.
Recalling the names of the ancestors I had never met was part of history, and not part of my own memory.
“I’ve asked you before, Frederick, but I recall you saying the lord has lost his footing and fell?”
Frederick answered Morgan’s question.
“When he was training at the outdoor training ground on the knight’s premises, the rain was falling in earnest. Thus, when he was trying to avoid an attack, he was overtaken by the muddy ground, and struck his head on a stone. Everyone hurriedly carried the lord, which was already unconscious at that point, to the medical ward. He woke up about 30 minutes later but didn’t recognize anyone. Due to the severity of the situation, I hurriedly made my way back to the mansion. Fortunately, other than me, there were only His Excellency and Lord Alphonse.”
Liliana looked back at me. Her silver eyes painfully stared at the bandage on my head. At the same time, her gaze hurt.
Even though I was a knight, I was pathetic enough to fall and hit my head, to the point that I lost my memories.
“…Don’t stare at me too much, Liliana.”
Unable to endure Liliana’s gaze, which was pure of concern, I turned away.
However, I soon regretted that.
“I’m sorry, that was rude of me…”
Fear was all I could hear within her quivering voice. Liliana had lowered her face down. Apparently, she misunderstood it as me being angry for being stared at by her.
I also noticed that her delicate hands, clasped on top of her lap, were shaking. I hurriedly covered them with mine before apologizing to her.
“I wasn’t blaming you, Liliana.”
“No, I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
However, my words only caused Liliana to shrink further. By doing so, she seemed to be intent on disappearing from my sight.
‘Forgive me’—the words Liliana had spun in a crying voice caused me to reflexively hug her.
Her body, which was within my arms, had a feminine softness. It also felt very delicate, and fitted snugly in my arms.
I stroked her, shivering back to comfort her. I shamefully stated my actual reason to dispel her misunderstanding.
“Sorry for the lack of words. For me to fall and hit my head, and to top it off, forget about you—it’s too embarrassing.”
“Y, you aren’t angry?”
To deny Liliana’s question, I shook my head.
“I’m not angry, so don’t be scared. It’s alright.”
I caressed her small head, which fitted comfortably in my hand.
Then, under my hand, Liliana exhaled in relief. However, her face soon became red as she tried to escape from my arms. Her thin arms pushed my chest with all her might—however, they felt too weak, as if devoid of any strength. She was warm. My beloved was cute, and I had to desperately stop my cheeks from loosening.
“M-my husband, please let me go…”
“I don’t want to. You’re so thin, and yet, soft…”
Towards my unscrupulous words, Liliana turned red to her neck as she looked up towards me.
“What are you talking about…?”
She was so adorable; all my efforts went into embracing her even more fervently.
“…Such a charming body, how could I have forgotten about it?”
Her slightly thin hips seemed like it’d break if I were to exert even the slightest amount of force. Her breasts were pressed against me, and judging from the sensation, they were ample. I caressed her hips, which caused Liliana to tremble as she pressed her face against my chest.
As I adored her cuteness and was about to tease her once again, the maid’s cold voice resounded.
“My lord, may I have a word?”
I looked up towards the maid.
“…It’s because even though you’re her husband, you probably only know her name.”
Not knowing what she was implying, I tilted my head.
With an unpleasant expression, the maid then spoke. Her well-shaped eyebrows were furrowed.
“In the past year since the two of you have gotten married, my lord has never spent the night with his wife. All my lord has ever done is work, work, and work. Even during the day of the wedding, my lord left the church right after the ceremony. Upon returning to the reception room, my lord changed to the knight’s uniform and went to work as it was.”
“…No way, even though it was a wedding reception?”
I couldn’t believe the maid’s words, and raised such a question. Based on the knowledge I had retained, there was supposed to be a wedding reception in that kingdom, in which the bride and the groom introduced each other to their respective family.
It was Arthur, and not the maid, who answered my question.
“Since it was the season when most of the aristocrats had returned to their respective territories, my lord deemed it as meaningless. Therefore, we didn’t have a reception. The wedding itself was held by Frederick and me. Only Elsa, His Excellency, and Alphonse were in attendance.”
Unlike before, Arthur’s gaze towards me was frosty.
I couldn’t believe his words either.
However, I had finally pinpointed the true origin of the discomfort I sensed earlier.
For some reason, Liliana appeared to be scared of me. Even though I was her husband. No, up until that point, Liliana had always been wary. Had we been an amiable couple, she wouldn’t behave like that.
“So, unhand Milady.”
Liliana was snatched away from within my arms by the maid. Meanwhile, I was struck by my recent realization.
“Excuse me, Milady. Frederick.”
As Frederick closed Liliana’s ears, the maid turned to me and smiled gloriously.
“My lord and master, who’s famous for being a misogynist, married Liliana just for his own convenience. For the past year, you rarely returned to the mansion because you disliked the notion of having a wife, and would rather keep to yourself. Even during your first night together, you only spared Liliana a few words before going back to work immediately. You were wholly ignorant of how lonely Liliana has been for the past year. Despite that, she stayed in the mansion without being selfish. As of the present, after losing your memory, you’ve awoken to her charm, I see. Her body is appealing, you said? You shitty, shameless, bastard—are you kidding me?”
As if choking, my lips trembled.
However, the maid’s mouth didn’t stop. The two butlers who should have stopped her also pretended to not have heard anything.
“If you dare make Liliana cry, I shall personally see that you are kicked out of the mansion. Carve these words into your hopeless brain—that’s all, my lord.”
Frederick removed his hands from Liliana’s ears. Liliana looked back and forth between us. I, who was in disbelief, was dejected.
If the maid’s words were true, I was definitely a scum of a husband. It was a miracle that Liliana still found it within herself to be concerned about me.
“Alright, then, Milady. The lord has to undergo a more detailed inspection, so let’s return to the room with me.”
“But, my husband…”
Without paying heed to me, the maid tried to take Liliana away. The kind-hearted Liliana was seemingly down because she was concerned about me. I was undeserving of her sentiment.
“Oh, how kind Milady is! It’s alright; the lord just has to do a little introspection… It isn’t like he has gone foolish just because he has hit his head. But, to avoid any trouble, we’ll need Dr. Morgan to do an examination on him. Let’s return to the room, so we don’t get in the way.”
Convinced by her maid’s words, Liliana turned back and spoke to me.
“My husband, Dr. Morgan, is a wonderful doctor. If you have any concerns, please tell him immediately.”
“…I, I will.”
Realizing that she was concerned over such a husband from the bottom of her heart, guilt crushed me even more. It was so tremendous I couldn’t muster any reply.
“Dr. Morgan, please take care of my husband.”
My kind-hearted wife bowed to the doctor, thanking both him and the butler. Once again, she bowed to me, and then left with her maid.
“Yes, my lord, what do you need?”
“Is that maid’s words true…?”
I asked with a single glimmer of hope.
“Indeed. Elsa’s words are all true, and so are my words. For the past year since the two of you have been married, my lord wasn’t graceful enough to give her even a single flower, much else dine together. Therefore, it’s only natural for everyone to deem my lord as ‘selfish,’ as your past actions could only be said to be the ‘worst.’”
Due to his gaze, I could ascertain that the calm and strict butler was angry.
“…Does she—Liliana, despise me?”
The answer to the question I had uttered in a stunningly weak voice wasn’t an affirmation.
“No. Your wife is scared, but she doesn’t dislike or loathe her husband. Your kind-hearted wife is grateful that you welcome her as your wife, and let her live a comfortable life. She’s grateful to you all the time. However, if whether or not she loves you as a man is what you’re asking, then the answer is no—for today is only the fourth time the two of you have met.”
The words caused me to sink into the bed with disappointment.
As the butler said, Liliana was certainly concerned about me from the moment she entered the room and left. However, in a way, she was being a dutiful wife. Even if we rarely met, we were a married couple—at least on paper. Therefore, it was natural for her to worry. Whether she likes or dislikes me—the option to not worry didn’t exist for her in the first place.
I, who clutched my head due to such a fact, exhaled three times.