Chapter 72: As a Good Woman
I walked with Wilhelm-sama on the way home.
After being told of the shocking reality by Wilhelm-sama, I was at a loss for words. Why did he not tell me something so important until now?
And because he understood such feelings of mine, Wilhelm-sama was not saying anything.
We merely walked back in silence, with Natalia trailing behind us.
Was it right for me to say anything to Wilhelm-sama?
Was it right to cling to him while crying, “Please do not go”?
Until now, I brought us lunch and we ate together almost every day. However, when he leaves for the battlefield, Wilhelm-sama could not return.
Our days apart would stretch on until Wilhelm-sama comes back.
「Well, Carol, I had fun today. Thank you」
When I realized it, we had arrived in front of the manor.
Even though Wilhelm-sama was smiling, I could only look down.
The day after tomorrow, Wilhelm-sama would be going away. That was something which had already been decided.
No matter how much I cried, Wilhelm-sama would not stay. I knew that.
It was because I knew that I could not say anything.
I, too, had fun.
Being with Wilhelm-sama, eating outside.
Walking around with Wilhelm-sama at the Southern Park’s flower garden.
This was a day more blissful than any other. It was the happiest day in all my life.
Simply being with Wilhelm-sama was enough happiness for me.
And thinking about that Wilhelm-sama going far away, my tears would not stop—.
「Do not cry, Carol. I am merely going to war」
The days we are apart were heart-breaking. The uncertain number of days where I would keep on waiting was heart-breaking.
And above all, there was no guarantee Wilhelm-sama would make it back alive.
I stepped forward and brazenly embraced Wilhelm-sama.
If I let go now—I felt like I would never see him again.
「I am happy that you yearn so much for this old man」
「Do not go, please do not go……! Wilhelm-sama……! 」
「That I cannot do. I am the knight captain, and I must fight for the country when the time comes. And for that, I train myself and my men day after day. That is not something which Carol does not understand」
It was because I understood that it was much too heart-breaking.
Wilhelm-sama was the strongest knight captain in the Flarekista Kingdom. He was famous outside of the country.
I also understood the diplomatic reason why Wilhelm-sama must leave: to preserve our ties to the Empire.
Though I could understand, I could not accept it.
「Carol, do not be too worried」
「Indeed, it is not impossible. Perhaps I might even fall in battle. However, at that moment, I am prepared to die well, as is a soldier’s final wish1」
I disliked it.
I could not imagine a future without Wilhelm-sama.
I also knew, no matter how much I whine nothing would change.
But I still wished to hold on to Wilhelm-sama’s kindness.
What a weak woman I was.
Even though I was told by my mother to 「become a good woman」 time and again, I was still in this predicament.
Then, what should I do?
「Do you understand? 」
I shook my head.
I did not want to agree. I did not want to let go.
From the start, I had already understood. I understood Wilhelm-sama would have to leave should a war occur.
The mere thought of Wilhelm-sama heading to battle seemed to break my heart apart.
Just thinking about Wilhelm-sama possibly dying seemed to crush my heart.
Therefore, I often thought I hated war.
I hate it even now. Even my bitterness surged towards the Empire for trying to steal Wilhelm-sama away from me.
「What is it? 」
「I will…ask my father. The Empire…and the Ambrose ducal house…are on familiar terms. Deploying reinforcements…we will decline……」
「You must not」
My body flinched at Wilhelm-sama’s terse refusal.
I know; this was only my selfishness. I was under no illusion I could influence anything related the national defense with just my selfish request.
However, if there was even a little possibility—.
「Carol, I am happy you feel that way. But that is a bad move」
「If we refuse the Empire’s appeal for reinforcements, our relationship with them will deteriorate. The Empire might even wage war with us using that as their cause. If that happens, this country might become a battlefield. I do not want that to happen. For that, I will head for battle」
I did not know much about diplomatic relations.
But I understood what Wilhelm-sama was saying.
Then, what else could I do?
「Please……just a bit……please allow me some time」
My tears could not seem to stop.
But I would stop it. I would desperately make it stop.
I could not see Wilhelm-sama off as a weak woman.
As a strong woman, as a good woman, it would be my duty as a wife to see Wilhelm-sama off in his departure.
I held tight, clinging to Wilhelm-sama for just a bit longer.
Though I am truly sorry for soiling Wilhelm-sama’s clothes with my tears.
I took a long, deep breath.
I am all right.
My tears—had stopped.
I looked up to his face.
My eyes were definitely red, but I steadily looked on.
I did not know if I could properly smile. But I pushed through.
My face would be what Wilhelm-sama would remember on the battlefield
So I must smile.
「I pray for your good luck in battle」
「Carol is looking forward to your return. I will wait and wait forever……! 」
「Yes……I will be back for sure」
Wilhelm-sama said so.
And Wilhelm-sama had never broken a promise with me.
So this was a promise.
I believe he will definitely come back.
With this promise—I would wait.
「There is one thing I never said」
I would surely cry once I am back in my room.
But in front of Wilhelm-sama, I would not show any more weakness.
But, but, but.
「I love you」
「Once I come back from war……let us get married」
For an entirely different reason.
Not of loneliness, of sadness, of despair, nor of grief.
My tears fell, because of happiness—!
 A soldier’s final wish- I’m not sure how to phrase this or what the actual term is. But I have learned that there are those who wish to die in battle rather than live idly and dying of old age. For some, like with Vikings, they consider dying in battle an honor, a “true warrior’s death”. ↩