Can't Come Back - Chapter 53
The sun, which they prayed would never rise, appeared. Berlia, who had dozed off in Cain’s arms, awoke frowning at the bright sunlight.
‘It’s already dawn…’
“You slept off. Berlia, did you get enough sleep?”
Cain’s eyes were filled with love. Berlia buried her face in his chest, filled with regret. She could feel Cain’s body heat. She wouldn’t be able to see him for a time after today. That heightened her want for him to be back. In fact, she wished that time would stop in this state forever.
“I wish time would just stop flowing.”
Cain grinned and kissed her forehead in response to his beloved’s words.
“I share your sentiments. I don’t want to leave you.”
Berlia slowly raised her head to see Cain. Their gazes locked. Their lips met without knowing who started it.
Cain clasped her face with his palms. Berlia pressed her tongue on his lips.
Berlia’s forceful approach caused Cain to halt for a second. But he quickly accepted her tongue that had entered his mouth gently.
Cain backed away from the kiss after sucking her tongue a few times. Berlia, who hadn’t quite recovered her breath, stared at him, her cheeks flushed.
Given that it was dawn, Cain’s penis readily exhibited its hardness. Furthermore, seeing his lover’s disheveled appearance made him feel as if more blood was rushing beneath him.
He didn’t want to drive her to the brink of exhaustion. Hadn’t he lost his mind the day before and taken her into his arms one more time than was planned?
“Not anymore, we can’t.”
Cain held her and whispered inaudibly.
“If things keep going like this, I won’t be able to leave.”
* * *
The knights of Hildayden and Cain, who had concluded all preparations to leave towards the border, were being bid farewell at the mansion’s front gate. Berlia and the majority of the servants were present to see them off.
There weren’t many Hildayden knights departing with Cain because most were already stationed at the border following Dean.
“Take good care of yourself.”
“I will. Sister-in-law.”
As they faced each other, Berlia had her back to the mansion and Cain had his back to the gate. They would have to turn around and walk in opposite ways after this point.
‘All I want to do is hold her one more time.’
Cain longed to wrap his arms around his sweetheart immediately away. Others, though, saw Berlia as little more than Cain’s deceased brother’s wife.
No one passionately embraces his sister-in-law before going to the battlefield. He couldn’t act as he liked because of the numerous watching eyes. Cain despised his situation. How much longer could he adore her in this way?
His brother, Dean, died unintentionally, and he became Duke Hildyden. So, shouldn’t he be allowed to claim Berlia as his own legally?
‘After this war, in some ways, our relationship…’
Cain wanted to declare that the woman before him was his beloved publicly. He intended to embrace and kiss her without being swayed by anyone’s attention when he returned to Duke Hildyden’s residence after dealing with the border area.
“Well, I’ll be going.”
Cain spoke as he mounted and turned his horse’s head.
“Duke, please take care.”
The equine Cain was on the move. When the clattering of horse hooves was heard, his form grew further away. Berlia remained outside the mansion until Cain’s departing figure vanished.
“My Lady, you should go inside right now.”
Even though his figure had vanished from her vision, Betty advised her to enter the mansion when Berlia showed no sign of moving. Berlia only then took a hesitant step into the mansion.
‘Something is missing.’
The mansion felt empty without Cain. It was a completely different sensation than when he briefly went out. Even though the mansion was the same as every other day save for Cain’s absence, it felt like something was void. He appeared to have left that void.
‘Perhaps a place without Cain is meaningless to me.’
She pondered if her ability to sustain her terrible three-year marriage was entirely due to Cain. While their marriage was ongoing, they didn’t have much connection, but his presence alone gave a momentary pillar of support in the corner of Berlia’s heart.
A man who was her husband’s brother. She shouldn’t love him, but if she hadn’t, she would have continued to live an unhappy life. She didn’t want to think about what it would have been like if he hadn’t been there.
‘Cain… please return safely.’
Berlia hoped Cain would return without incident as she stood in his empty chamber after departed.
* * *
So more than a month had passed. Apart from the staff, only Berlia remained in Duke Hildyden’s mansion. Not only Cain but Dean and Reiley, with whom she used to dine, had vanished.
Every day, she stayed at home and waited for Cain. She listened for any news about the war, terrified that something terrible might happen to him. Fortunately, there did not appear to be a problem.
‘…Nothing will change even if I worry and wait like this.’
She had this thinking one day while she was spending time like this.
“Betty, let us get ready to go out today.”
Berlia, who had been keeping at home all this time, decided to venture out for the first time in a long time. It was because she believed that if she stayed peacefully in the mansion waiting for Cain, nothing would change.
Betty was overjoyed to learn that Berlia, who hadn’t thought about going out since Dean’s death, was going out gleefully.
“Where are you thinking of going?”
“I’ll cheer myself up by buying new clothes; it’s been a long time.”
Berlia hadn’t been able to acquire new garments or accessories since Riley arrived at the mansion and the Hildayden Ducal House’s 300th-anniversary feast. Her child had perished due to poison, her husband had died, and war had broken out.
The country was in upheaval, but she craved a change of scenery.
Berlia and Betty’s carriage was slowly making its way toward town. Betty, on her first outing in a long time, peered out the window with glee.
“The city still looks the same as it did before!”
“That’s right, Betty.”
Even in a war, it was only about the border areas surrounding Talisbon. They hadn’t heard that the Talisbon army was pushing back the Imperial forces. This signified the Imperial armies had the upper hand.
Furthermore, the frontier districts were remote from the imperial capital. Because the Empire was the first to invade, the capital suffered minor damage. All the residents were going about their daily lives as usual for these and other reasons.
Berlia felt weird staying in such a peaceful location, unlike Cain, who had gone to the deadly battlefield, as the carriage stopped.
“We’ve finally arrived.”
The coachman announced their arrival at the destination. Betty and Berlia exited the carriage.
“Oh, Berlia!” s
Then someone called out to Berlia in a kind tone. She twisted her head to face the source of the voice.
“Berlia! It’s been a while. Were you planning on going to the dressing room?”
“Yes, I haven’t been able to get my clothes tailored lately.”
“I get that. Have you been doing well? I’ve been worried because I haven’t seen your face in a long time.”
It was Cadelin, her friend. Cadelin approached Berlia and inquired about her health. Count Adrian, Cadelin’s husband, was also in the war, thus Cadelin, who was generally happy, appeared slightly subdued.
“I’m all right now. Cadelin, thank you for your care.”
“Are you all right? I was considering going a few days ago, just in case…”
Cadelin was concerned as she glanced at Berlia.
“I also heard that Lord Cain, no, the Duke, has gone to the border.”
Cadelin felt sorry for Berlia as she faced her. Dean, her husband, had perished in this battle, she knew. She even lost the kid she was carrying due to betrayal by a maid she had worked with for over a year.
A son and a husband. Cadelin couldn’t imagine how lonely a lady who had lost two family members simultaneously would feel.
‘She says she’s fine, but Berlia’s heart can’t be completely fine.’
Even Cain, who had risen to the rank of duke, was sent to the border. Berlia seems to have nowhere to turn at this time.
“Do you have any news from the border from Count Adrian?”
Berlia inquired. She was hoping to hear something about Cain.
“Just so happens, my husband wrote in a letter that he has news about Duke Cain to tell you.”
Berlia instantly inquired of Cadelin. She gave a slight nod.
“Yes, he said he’s safe and well now.”
“I’m relieved, really…”
Berlia smiled with relief after hearing Cadelin’s remarks that Cain was doing well.
Even sending letters was difficult on the battlefield. Meeting Cadelin when she couldn’t obtain any news was beneficial to her.
“And this is a different story, but we need more people to care for the wounded soldiers because my husband is having a hard time.”
“What? What exactly do you mean?”
Berlia was intrigued by Cadelin’s complaint-like phrases. Cadelin kept speaking.
“His Majesty the Emperor wishes to end this war as soon as possible. As a result, it appears that the number of injured soldiers has increased in tandem with the number of soldiers despatched. There aren’t enough people to care for and treat them.”
“Why? Are there any prerequisites for doing the job?”
“No, there don’t appear to be special conditions, but who would want to go? It is still a battleground. It is unpredictable. It could be hazardous.”
Berlia became silent after hearing Cadelin’s words.
‘Can I go to Cain if I volunteer?’
She believed she was capable of caring for the wounded soldiers. The mansion had no meaning for her without Cain. Instead, she desired to be with him, even if it meant risking her life. Berlia opened her mouth slowly.
“What if I go?”
After Berlia finished speaking, there was a little hush between the two.