Can't Come Back - Side Story 3
Side Story 3 – Their History (3)
* * *
Dean had been looking for an opportunity to approach Berlia since that day. He had intended to reach her before Cain. It was a Lady of a Baron’s family, one who a lowly family would not even consider, let alone a ducal one. Taking her away would be simple if he could time it right.
Dean had attended Berlia’s gatherings for the past two months. And he had planned the family’s affairs so that Cain could not participate in the celebrations. Thanks to Dean’s efforts, Cain had not seen Berlia since the banquet that day.
Dean, on the other hand, had become acquainted with Berlia. If things continued this way, he believed he could have her before she met Cain.
“I cannot leave the capital at this time.”
And Dean had the most pressing issue to attend to. Cain was given the responsibility of traveling to Keindell. Dean intended to spend three months in Keindell. It was to grasp the situation in Keindell and make his presence known as the next Duke.
Conversely, Cain would have to confront Berlia if he left for Keindell right now. Dean’s strategy would then fall apart.
“That cannot happen.”
Dean made his way to his father, Duke Hildayden.
“Father, I have a request.”
“Dean, I’m sorry. Yes, what do you want?”
Duke Hildayden smiled as he gazed at Dean. He was more generous to Dean, the firstborn, than Cain, the secondborn. He felt terrible for his eldest kid, who didn’t appear to be able to establish himself over his gifted younger sibling.
“This time, I’m thinking about going to Keindell. But what if Cain, instead of me, goes?”
“What exactly do you mean by that? You are the future Duke, and you should show up.”
With a perplexed gaze, Duke Hildayden inquired. He didn’t get it. Dean, not Cain, was the family’s heir. As a result, it should be him who goes to Keindell.
Furthermore, Dean desired more than Cain. Duke Hildayden and his wife believed Dean, who would become Duke Hildayden, deserved better. As a result, they gave him extra. But why was he refusing to go to Keindell now, where he should have gone as the future Duke?
“Isn’t there another opportunity to go to Keindell next time?”
Dean’s response came quickly. He meant returning to Keindell as the future duke would be okay.
“…Is there anything else you want?”
Dean grinned in response to the duke’s question. Now was Cain’s chance to have something he wouldn’t be able to have for the rest of his life.
* * *
Cain eventually left for Keindell rather than Dean. Duke Hildayden, his father, had personally ordered it. Cain was called to leave the imperial capital for three months.
Dean, meantime, approached Berlia.
“I am Dean Hildayden.”
“I am Berlia of the Kinderton Baron’s House.”
Berlia and Dean had become acquainted during the three months without Cain, casually conversing at events. Berlia was especially fond of Cain; thus, she opened her heart more freely to his older brother, Dean, than other men. Her sentiments for Dean were not romantic but rather pragmatic.
‘Cain will return soon. First and foremost, I must propose Berlia.’
The day of Cain’s return grew closer as time passed. Cain was already scheduled to return to the imperial capital the following week.
Dean had chosen to propose to Berlia today. He wasn’t sure if Berlia’s heart would turn towards him after Cain’s return. This time, Dean intended to bask in the glory of defeating Cain.
“Ah, Your Grace.”
Berlia was the first to arrive at the promised location and was waiting for Dean. She didn’t understand why Dean had asked to meet her that day.
Dean knelt in front of Berlia and looked up at her.
“Berlia. Are you willing to marry me?”
“What…? Wait, what did you just say?”
After finishing his comments, Dean held out a massive ring with a jewel in it. Berlia shifted her gaze back and forth between the ring and Dean’s face, shocked. It was an unexpected reaction for her. Dean went on to say,
“I am asking you to become my wife.”
“Are you proposing to me…?”
“Of course. I propose to you, Lady Berlia Kinderton.”
Berlia was surprised and embarrassed, so she covered her mouth with both hands. Dean was convinced of his accomplishment after seeing her like that. He reasoned that a penniless aristocratic woman would be unable to resist a proposal from a duke.
“Why, Why, Why Me, Your Grace?”
Berlia inquired as to the reason. Dean responded within,
‘Obviously, because that guy Cain showed an interest in you.’
It was because of Cain that Dean approached Berlia. But he was unable to tell her. Dean responded favorably to Berlia,
“I have always admired you, Berlia.”
Berlia, on the other hand, seemed to believe Dean’s response. Her face flushed as she stammered. It was further confirmation of Dean’s comments.
“Co, could what you are saying be… I mean…”
“It’s not about a concubine or anything. I’d like to welcome you as my wife officially.”
Berlia appeared discouraged by Dean’s response. Dean knew things were going well when he saw her expression. Dean removed the ring from the case without losing a beat and asked her once more,
“Will you marry me?”
“…Yes, Your Grace.”
Berlia, for one, couldn’t help but be concerned. She had no choice but to choose Dean because she did not expect Cain to look after her. She could save her struggling family if she became Duchess. Dean was thinking the same thing.
“I will make you happy, Berlia.”
Dean smiled as he heard her response. Finally, he could see Cain’s desperation. Although he didn’t like or love Berlia, he was grateful to her at the time.
Dean removed the ring from his case and placed it on Berlia’s left ring finger.
‘I wonder how Cain will react when he finds out about this.’
He only had to wait for Cain to return from Keindell.
* * *
A bit more time passed, and Cain’s return date arrived. Dean had invited Berlia to dinner on purpose that day. The goal was to introduce Berlia on a day when everyone in the family was together.
Duke and Duchess Hildayden did not object to Dean’s marriage to Berlia, as Dean had expected. The Hildayden family would benefit nothing from Dean marrying the Kinderton family, but the Duke and Duchess seemed relieved that Dean was married before Cain. Dean had been a source of concern for the couple.
“Cain will be down soon.”
“Ah, yes, Your Grace.”
“You don’t have to be so worried. You can now treat us casually. Berlia, you’re family.”
Thud, Thud, Thud-
The Duke, Duchess, Dean, and Berlia were talking when they heard Cain’s footsteps coming.
“Ah, Cain has finally arrived.”
When Dean saw Cain, he opened his mouth. Dean was ecstatic about what was going to happen. What would Cain’s reaction be? Amid Dean’s expectations, Cain stopped in front of them. Dean couldn’t help but smile as he presented Berlia to Cain.
“This is Berlia Kinderton, your future sister-in-law. Berlia, Duchess Hildayden, she shall be soon.”
Dean placed a loving hand on Berlia’s shoulder. Cain’s face was tense as he stood there watching.
‘Exactly as I predicted.’
Dean felt a huge rush at that moment. It was the moment he had been anticipating.
“…Good day, Your Grace. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I am Berlia Kinderton.”
“Hello… My name is Cain Hildayden.”
‘How does it feel to want something out of reach? Finally, you will feel the same way. ‘Various ideas ran through Dean’s head as the two exchanged greetings. For a long, Dean couldn’t take his eyes off the deep smile on his face, content with having accomplished something Cain couldn’t. Such an intense experience appeared impossible to happen again in his life.
After almost a year had passed, unfortunately, the pleasure of that time was ephemeral. Berlia was the only tool that Dean could use to defeat Cain. Her lovely face was lovely, but nothing more or less. Dean’s interest in her diminished gradually, and he began to need something else.
‘Being an heir is meaningless. I need to become the duke.”
Dean could only become a duke in one way. If his father, the current Duke Hildayden, died at that time. As a result, Dean became blinded by something and did an act that should never have occurred.
“It’s dreadful! According to reports, the Duke and Duchess have been killed in a carriage accident!”
“What?! Is there no chance they’re still alive?”
“They died instantly… and their death has already been confirmed.”
Duke and Duchess Hildayden were killed in a carriage crash. As the wagon wheel shook severely, they were claimed to have rolled down a mountain route on their way to a villa for repose.
Everyone thought it was a horrible accident, but Dean was behind it all. Unbeknownst to others, he had weakened the wheel the day before the departure, making it easily detachable. When the carriage hit a rock, it lost its balance and fell effortlessly.
‘Nobody knows. This is how I rose to the position of Duke.’
As a result of his treason, Dean ascended to the throne of Hildayden, capturing both the dukedom and Berlia. He now got everything he had ever desired.
However, the bright future he had imagined was nowhere to be found. Society paid more attention to Cain once he married Berlia, even after becoming a duke. Everything had returned to normal.
Dean would never understand why others could not acknowledge him as ‘Dean Hildayden’ and why he could only be remembered as Cain’s brother throughout his life.
– Nothing follows. The end. –