The smile on his face, an expression of genuine happiness and fulfillment that lasted for a few moments, widened as she returned the compliment, his cheeks flushed with the slightest hint of carmine, though doubt laced the impression, dulling the emotion after the passing of some seconds. Was this really what he wanted, what they wanted? If they were to look back on this event in a few years' time, would they remember it fondly? The Ambassador truly struggled with the thought now that this situation began to unravel before him, his irises, steeped in characteristic, twofold hues, wandering over the crowd of what amounted to a group of practically complete strangers. He was certain of a few things. Of his appreciation for the Articulation Mage, an insight that he had dwelled over for a while and a revelation that had dawned on him naught more than a minute ago when the Second Seal had put his innate feelings for her into words, a tangible and concise form that left no room for debate.
He cherished her in a way that was sincere and uncompromising. The emotion that he felt had been hard to interpret to begin with, given that Johann was quite sure he had never before in his life felt the same way about another person, but, yes, he was certain. Certain that Amalie was the one person in this world he could rely on, and one of the very, very few who didn't judge him for what he was or what he had done, for what people called him and said when he didn't listen, didn't care for him because of his previous nobility or his current lack thereof, the titles or money, the authority or the politics, even the presence of the Nephilim of War, as eccentric as the Second Seal was. No. If he could be certain of one thing in this world it was the fact that yes, he loved her.
He knew that this was true, but ... if this was the case, then why did this not induce a feeling of euphoric expectation? This would be the logical conclusion to their story, would it not? They would profess their love for one another, marry, and live happily ever after. Well, apart from the fact that this would not be the case. At that moment, it would click, the pieces falling into place. Of course not, how could it be? This whole ceremony was, for all intents and purposes, a lie. A faux wedding that had not much purpose other than to entertain guests and be a public spectacle for strangers to partake in and enjoy, while, demonstrably, the pair had to sit through and endure the whole procedure. Johann, as oblivious as he could be sometimes, naive, even, was a man of conviction and integrity. His ideals, as some people knew, meant a lot to the God of Ishgar, and when he had set himself a certain goal a long time ago, he did not imagine that this would be a part of that goal. This did not feel right. No, this was not how it would go down.
The gentle tunes of classical music were almost drowned out by the Minister's speech, Johann's eyes, with an expression of growing concern, remaining locked on Amalie, and when the man asked her the same question that the two had been asked on a day exactly one year ago, Johann did not fail to notice the moment of hesitation. His brows inched closer together ever so slightly. The man, though, continued with unchanged pace and tone, extending the same question to the Ambassador. The silver-haired man, initially, did not respond, eyeing Amalie with an expression that was discernably stern before taking a deep breath, exhaling with a heavy sigh. "I do, I really do. I sincerely believed that this was what I wanted, but ...", the Ambassador paused briefly, a soft smile curving his lips upwards before he continued, "... well ... to put it plain and simply, I was wrong". An array of gasps would come from the crowd, some evidently shocked by the display that had to, admittedly, have come rather unexpectedly, especially given the nature of their gathering, the nature of this event.
The argent-haired man showed himself unfazed, continuing with an unimpressed, steady, and collected tone. "When I first met Amalie my life had come to a point of struggle. A struggle that involved my past, my present, and my future alike". The Ambassador paused once more, turning to the Commander, a warm smile on his face. "Over the course of months, years, though, you have helped me overcome what held me down. You showed me that I can still laugh, and that despite all that has happened, I can still feel. I can depend on you, unconditionally so. You showed me love, Amalie". The Ambassador pondered for a few fleeting moments. He didn't care anymore if he was causing a scene, he didn't care if he was going against this Company's expectations, he simply didn't care anymore. Instead, he took another breath, his mind filled with a certain clarity, a sense of confidence that had been long been gone from the Ambassador's repository of emotions.
"I love you, Amalie West. With all my heart, I love you".
The man turned his head towards the Minister, his tone sharp and appropriately critical. "And yes, eventually, I do want to take her to be my wife. I do want to marry her, "honour and keep her in sickness and in health", as you have so eloquently proclaimed-", he would turn to the crowd and back to the man who had the explicit purpose to conduct this fake wedding, "-but I have come to realize that I do not want to do so in front of a crowd of strangers, none of which I have ever met in my life, by a man who barely knows our names, for little more purpose than providing an entertaining gimmick, little more than an advertisement, to please people I neither know nor care about".
"But what about the wedding!?", the bridesmaid next to Amalie stepped forward, waving the bouquet in the Ambassador's face. "Cancelled, I'm afraid", the man grinned sharply, responding with a determined tone. He reached forward, snatching the bouquet and throwing it over his shoulder into the crowd almost haphazardly with a "You'll just have to find someone else". As soon as the flowers started flying through the air, they began to glow subtly, a magical enchantment doing its work, exploding into what seemed like a cloud of glitter, petals and the shimmer of magic.
The Ambassador of Dies Irae, however, paid very little mind to the bouquet and its magic, his attention instead focussed on the woman in the wedding dress beside him. Without much thought, he extended his hand towards her to take, a gentle, soft tone defining the character of his words as he addressed Amalie. "I suppose we'll have to talk about this later, but for now, please, let us just get out of here". As soon as she took his hand, the two would seemingly vanish into thin air in an instant, teleported away from this miserable display to another point in Rose Garden, a random street, the sudden breeze of fresh air swirling through the silver-haired man's hair, catching a few loose ones of his argent strands, which would fall to one side. With that fresh breeze, however, also came the realization that he, they, had escaped what could quite possibly have become a decision he would've looked back upon with nothing but regret.
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