Her frequent absences were first.
Her smiles were still gentle and loving...but there was always a hint of something underneath.
She never really held his hands or kissed him as much anymore.
Whenever he tried to hug her or offer her assistance, she always shied away.
The suitcases filled with her belongings gave everything meaning. It was the last straw.
After Sophia silently slipped through the door and closed it, she turned, gasping when she saw Anton standing grimly in her path with her luggage behind his legs. His blue eyes, normally relaxed and full of love for her, were passive with calm indignation. Her own green ones reflected guilt and remorse, but there was a certain fire in her eyes that dared anything, or anyone, for that matter, to stand in her way.
"Anton?" she asked quietly. "Why do you have my bags?"
Her fiancé barked out a harsh laugh. "That is quite a question, my dear. But I should really be asking you why you packed them in the first place."
When she remained silent, he growled, "There's someone else you've been seeing, isn't there? But you are mine, and mine only! Who is it? Tell me!"
But she refused. Sophia bowed her head and clasped her necklace between her trembling hands.
Upon seeing the gesture, something in Anton softened, and he approached her, taking her elbows into his palms. "Sophia... My dear, sweet Sophia," he murmured. "You know as well as I do that you mustn't ever be afraid of me. I would never harm you. I simply want the truth."
She lifted her eyes to his, and his breath caught in his throat. They were filled with so much affection, he knew, for him, but there was plenty left for another. At this, he could feel his rage crawling through him again, but he had sworn to never lay a hand on Sophia like that. She was too fragile. One blow could send her crashing to the ground, and he was to protect her, not destroy her.
"The truth," she said softly, like she was going to lull him to sleep. Her fingers ghosted over his pale cheekbones and gently brushed his golden locks aside. "There is no one else, Anton." Her voice was sincere and pleading. "Only you. And our...our future."
Anton wanted so badly to believe her. For her to make his doubts disappear. But they were still there, pushing him over the edge. "So why must you leave?" he whispered, choked.
Just like that, the reverie was broken, and Sophia lightly pushed him away. "It is for the good of both of us, Anton, that we go our separate ways. Your destiny lies here. My fate leads me elsewhere. That is how it is."
Anton squeezed his eyes shut. "No, it is not," he said. "What is troubling you, Sophia? Please, just tell me. We can go through it together."
Sophia covered her face with her hands and shook her head. "Believe me, Anton, I would like to stay," she whispered. "But I have someone to care for. I made a promise. And yours lies here, in Folsense, where I cannot be, for the sake of...of whom my duty belongs to."
"I made a promise to better Folsense with you, not without you," he said quietly. "If you left, I would be breaking it."
She lowered her arms to wrap around herself and averted her eyes remorsefully. "I'm sorry, Anton, but there's someone else I love who needs me even more than you..." His blood froze. "Please try to understand."
As he stood there in shock, watching her every move, trying to register what was happening, she moved swiftly, bringing her suitcases back into her possession. She grasped the door handle with one hand and her luggage with the other.
Before she let herself out, she looked at him with a tender, sad smile and said in a quivering voice, "You will always be in my heart, Anton, I can promise you that. It is one duty I intend on fulfilling forever."
When he woke to the bright sunlight the next morning, the first thing that greeted his ears was the bittersweet melody of the Elysian Box.
Based on Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (cutscenes)
Disclaimer: Sophia and Anton Herzen belong to the game Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, which is a creation and trademark of Level-5 Inc.