The Sleepless Night of the Maid — Chapter 26
Translator: Eonnicorn / Editor: Scarlet
Her surroundings became quiet after Eva stopped talking. Unconsciously turning her head as she spoke, Eva saw Ruth smiling, listening to her. By then, Eva realized she had been talking to herself excitedly. Ruth had committed a rude act by watching her intently longer than usual.
“I-It’s the most beautiful place on spring nights when roses bloom. If you have a chance later, when the roses bloom-”
“You mean like that?”
Ruth cut off Eva’s words as he gestured something on the corner. There was a rose bud blooming on a dry vine that the gardener hadn’t dug out.
“Huh? Why is the rose now…” Eva muttered as she stared at the flower, a baffled expression plastered on her face. This was not the season for roses to bloom, yet a single flower bloomed against the laws of nature.
“It seems like the flower is lost.” Ruth expressed his opinion while inspecting the flower with Eva.
“I believe so. What should we do with this flower?”
Eva’s face fell. Flowers that bloomed in a certain season needed sunlight and temperature of that season. The autumn sun and wind would be too cold for roses that bloomed in May. It must be lonely to bloom alone without friends or family around. She was glad to see the flower, while at the same time, she was worried that it would wither soon.
“What can I do?”
“Pardon?” Eva asked back, not understanding Ruth’s aimless question.
“Won’t it die if we leave this flower as it is now? If you’re okay with it, I can make a partition around it or bring it inside. Looks like it’ll be able to live if it gets protected from storms and cold air as well as taking care of the pests so they can’t gnaw the flower.”
Ruth turned completely away from the flower and asked Eva while watching her. His expression was soft, but his eyes and words were serious.
The moment she felt her breath hitch, Eva realized that he wasn’t talking about the flower. The offer of helping her that he mentioned a little while ago in the Baronet’s residence. He alluded to it again by comparing it to this flower.
“Do you really need to pay heed to that extent?” Eva also asked back as if it was a question about the flower. She was curious as to why he suggested this offer again, even though she had already rejected it.
“I leave at dawn tomorrow. After that, we probably won’t come across each other again.”
“So, think of it as a present in return for our past bond.”
A cold wind blew through Eva’s body suddenly. It was a short but impassioned encounter, so it was natural to feel sad about the parting. However, the bitterness that followed was for a different kind of thing. In order to find out the cause which stirred that emotion, Eva wanted to confirm something. So in that way, perhaps it would answer the question about the flower more accurately.
“Sir Ruth, can I ask you one thing before that?”
“Go ahead.” He meekly tugged up corners of his mouth, listening to Eva.
“Who gave you Ruth as the name?”
Ruth’s face looked hardened a bit. Although it was only a minuscule change of demeanor, his eyes narrowed with his chin lifted, looking down at Eva. Perhaps he was in deep thought, pondering: Was she just asking out of curiosity or was she aware of his identity and asking after realizing something?
The garden filled with an uncomfortable silence. Eva presumed she had made a mistake because she had never felt this way. Ruth slowly raised the corners of his mouth, to allay her concerns.
“When I was young, someone I respected gave it to me. It was the father of my fiancee. It means to be the light and illuminate the world.”
Cecil’s words dawned on her shortly after he finished talking.
“Ruth means light. It’s a nickname given to the Crown Prince by your father, Lord Massies, when he was young.”
It was him. The Crown Prince, Edward. Her ex-fiance.
A firm conviction struck Eva’s head. Without revealing his name nor identity, her foggy suspicions completely cleared out.
His words and actions now fit together like cogwheels. The reason why he showed interest in her in the first place, treated her well and offered to help her, was because it was his way of expressing the last favor, loyalty, and sympathy toward his former fiancee. His heart ached to see the woman who was once his betrothed, and almost became the Crown Princess, living in misery.
Seeing his comrade in a dire situation, and being in a better situation than her, this was his last offer of help. That way, he would be able to leave a little lighter.
“Sir Ruth.” Eva flashed a soft smile while locking her eyes to Ruth.
This time, she didn’t feel discord. Before and even now, he had nothing to do with her. She hated being indebted to someone she didn’t have a connection with. If news about him helping her was brought to light, it would stir useless gossip. For now, the safest thing for both was separating to their own paths as if they had never met.
“I may have lost my past life, but I’m not just feeling pain.”
He would know what she was talking about.
“I learned the value of time, happiness from small things, understanding others, and appreciating daily routines.”
Before, she didn’t know about various forms of life. She didn’t know that a piece of hard bread could be a dinner for someone, while she, on the other side, enjoyed the finest dishes in Bale Castle. And how hard it was to buy a pair of silk stockings that she wore previously, even if she worked blood, sweat, and tears all day. It was only after she did hard work that she understood the value of labor.
She wouldn’t have known any of that if she continued to have lived in Bale Castle with ease. She might know how to help and donate to the poor, but she wouldn’t have understood the nature of the deed, and would have just pretended to understand. Some things are only attainable after losing some other things. Life wasn’t all that bad knowing that.
“For that reason, please leave this flower alone.”
“There must be a reason why this flower bloomed in this season. Please wait and watch so that the flower can find its own way. If the flower falls, then it’s the fate of this flower.”
It was the fate of the flower to bloom in this season, and her destiny to stand here. She believed that if there was a reason for everything in the world, neither the flower nor she would give up easily. He was just a passing wind. The one that couldn’t stay long. She didn’t wish sympathy from the wind that disappeared as soon as it came.