The Otome Game's Bad Ending - Chapter 19
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“People’s affection is more expensive than you might think.”
That was also true of Ophelia and me. She envied my healthy future, and I envied what she had. I decided to be her friend because it was better for me to be by her side, and I was the only one who could be by her side till the end. Because I was a peer from a noble family who could give her priority. As a result, she selected me.
We were completely aware of this. Ophelia and I used to trash each other all the time when we were kids. We viciously assaulted one other’s sensitive regions, calling each other names like a child sold for money or a child so vile that even a morgue wouldn’t decompose her.
We exacted our vengeance by yanking each other’s ears and hair and tossing toads. Everyone who worked at the Marquis’s mansion was aware of her volatile temper. So, even though I was filthy, I wasn’t the only one who was accused when I confronted her. That was a stroke of luck. She also adored me because she understood how essential she was in my life. Ophelia’s connection with her followers, who followed her because she was gorgeous, wonderful, and noble, was different, regardless of whether she loathed and detested them. The man imitated a dissatisfied tone of voice.
“Do you mean you don’t believe me? Regardless of how kind I am to you?”
“Don’t say things that aren’t in your taste just to shake me.”
“Not to my taste… I’m dissatisfied.”
“That’s what I mean by recent words. Do you genuinely want to? Even when no one else is around?”
With all my heart, I sighed deeply. He’s such a jerk. Even I, who had known him since the beginning, could have been misled since he stretched out with such a warm and kind expression. How entranced must the inexperienced young ladies be? The man sighed and shrugged his shoulders.
“What does it matter what others think?”
“If I’ve been completely honest, I wish Mr. Cassio would shed some of the pretense that has wrapped itself around him like a pie crust?”
“I think Lady Emilia is fantastic.”
The man extended his hand. I took a curious look at his hand.
“Everyone was taken aback when Lady Emilia vanished from the Marquis’s house, as if she had fled in the middle of the night.”
“I didn’t even ask.”
“Who would have guessed she wouldn’t even show up for Ophelia’s memorial service?”
“Attending a grand memorial service isn’t the only way to mourn.”
“Letters began to arrive on the day of the memorial ceremony. Twice.”
The fingertips that had been hovering in the air, unsure whether to grab the man’s hand, slid. The man expertly seized my hand, as if he were a fisherman using a harpoon to catch fish. The patio was flooded with frigid air, which chilled both my hand and his.
“After reading the content delivered this year, I began to pay more attention to finding Lady Emilia.”
“What exactly did it say?”
“Didn’t we agree that I would show you when it’s over?”
“At least one if it’s two letters…”
“Emilia is truly…”
The man’s eyes began to glow strangely. Only then did I realize that the man had deftly snatched my hand, and I was once again facing him. I got sidetracked while chatting about the letters and found myself virtually engulfed in the man’s arm. I fidgeted with my fingertips, nibbled the tip of my tongue, and concentrated hard on the dialogue.
“Don’t your eyes change whenever Ophelia’s issues come up?”
“…Why are you bringing it up now?”
I murmured. What difference does it make to me what those individuals who would go to any length to get to Ophelia do?
“When you talk about other things, you are calm and objective in your assessment of the situation. You assure me that you will not be duped, being as careful as a beast scared to be hunted.”
It was rather amusing since these were remarks from a man who could easily be described as one of the greatest con artists in the world.
“When Lady Ophelia’s story comes up, you become restless, like a mother who has lost a child.”
“It’s quite fascinating.”
“It’s more fascinating to me how perfectly sane people turn into tailor-made idiots when it comes to Ophelia’s matters.”
“I wonder if Lady Ophelia resembles Emilia, or if Emilia resembles Lady Ophelia…”
“I desperately tried to correct my manner of speaking. People say it doesn’t matter how she lives her life once it’s gone. But I’m not yet dying. They say it’s not good to have a harsh tone.”
“…Is that so?”
“When Ophelia speaks harshly to visitors, if I at least pretend to stop her by my side, the visitors will protest a little less.”
“Was it done out of necessity?”
“Yes. I’m not sure whether you’re aware, but Ophelia even studied a book called ‘A Hundred Elegant Ways to Mess with People’ to see if she could fool you at least once.”
“Making Lady Ophelia go through such trouble, what an honor for the family.”
“Yes. That’s exactly how she intended to annoy people.”
I simply nodded. The man broke out laughing, like if a dam had burst. What began as a titter, hardly a whisper, got so violent that he was clutching his waist and shaking his shoulders the next minute. I couldn’t figure out why the man was laughing so hard and simply gazed at him, puzzled. Because I was only half-embraced, the man’s laughter was transmitted via my arms and lower back.
Should I shove him or perhaps headbutt him? Maybe he knew I was gazing at him with a dissatisfied expression, fantasizing of committing a perfect crime because it’s morning and there’s no one around, so he instantly stopped laughing. His eyes were flashing, indicating how enthusiastically he laughed.
I nodded insincerely, as if to inquire whether he had stopped laughing.
“This is unusual. Emilia used to appear so confident… and annoying… and unfortunate.”
“Does the fact that I’m shameless on top of clinging for no reason mean I’m completely unlucky?”
“No, no. It’s amusing, I mean.”
“It still sounds more like an insult to me than a compliment.”
“I expected you to show your true colors after Lady Ophelia died.”
“Are you calling me stupid because I didn’t act as despicably as you had hoped?”
“I just didn’t get it. You mentioned it was a trade, but what you did for the Marquis’s family had to be considerably bigger.”
“As an outsider, you appear to be very interested in the Marquis’s family affairs. Did you really want the Marquis’s family?”
“I’m curious about the Marquis’s family, which you have shattered.”
“The air is still very cold.”
The man stroked his palm across my brow. His chilly, somewhat stiff hands stroked over my hair and caressed my brow. It was a light touch, like if holding flowers that may fall with the slightest touch, or stroking a delicate linen. The man pushed me out of his grip softly but strongly.
It was then that I saw the man’s jacket had been slung over my shoulders. My hands and feet were already freezing, and it was almost time to depart, so I wondered what the point of this was, but I took it calmly. A sweet voice was heard.
“You can lie in bed and then go to the dressing room at your leisure. After all, you can’t avoid wearing clothing for much longer.”
I wanted to ask him what he meant by ‘the Marquis’s family that you have shattered,’ but I kept my lips shut because I felt uneasy. Cassio Brahamdorff could be as sensitive as anybody if he chose to be. But he was also the type of man who would never open his heart if he didn’t have to. A guy who could fool even those who knew he was lying. With one hand holding a cloak made of exquisite, noble material, all he could do was talk as though keeping time with a performance.
“You’re too preoccupied with a lady’s schedule. Speaking so confidently, you assured you’d make sure even clothing wasn’t an issue.”
“Of course, there would be no difficulty. But, if the price is the same, wouldn’t everybody rather be adorned with black diamonds than jade? The same is true for leisure.”
The man grasped my left wrist and tenderly kissed it just as I was about to leave my seat.
Have a good night, my lady.
It was a superficial goodbyes, like bitter chocolate with a sugar shell on top.