The Otome Game's Bad Ending - Chapter 27
Discord Server: Hush Mittens
“My chaperone is Countess McGinty, yet how much am I still gonna annoy my cavalier? I’m ashamed because I feel worthless.”
“Aunt will monopolize you later on, so give me a chance.”
“If I gave you another chance, I’m not sure how much I can shake House Brahamdorff, but maybe I can at least tear up one window.”
“She’s even joking now.”
Emilia gazed at Cassio Brahamdorff, who denied it neatly with a click of his tongue, as if she were bored, and then waved her off.
Cassio remarked to himself that she was a lady who, strangely, did not respond to his face.
It wasn’t self-praise, yet almost no one could deny their attraction to him.
The situation was the same for both men and women.
It was simple.
Making others believe that the ‘Cassio Brahamdorff’ they saw was not the rumor, and that they were the only ones who knew a part of the genuine him.
Even those who appeared apprehensive at first began to converse with Cassio Brahamdorff with ease.
Cassio Brahamdorff possessed an instinctive ability to rip through the barriers people erected against him and get their innermost thoughts.
People are easily influenced by repetition.
They may not notice the second time, but when it happens again and again, they eventually get complacent.
The strategy did not work for persons who could tell what sort of seeds each other were from the moment they met.
It was the case for Ophelia and Emilia.
“And you wouldn’t have turned down this chance so quickly, would you? I anticipated you to take advantage of the opportunity to use me as a thorn in your eye to your heart’s content.”
“You are well aware. You also realize that, in comparison to your goal, this is a simpler way than twisting a child’s wrist.”
“Is that correct?”
“Is there anything that money can’t do? People constantly say there are limits, even with money, but the Brahamdorff family would never waste money.”
Emilia wore the cap that Kitty had brought in with her little steps. Her wide-brimmed hat partially concealed her thin, glass-like black eyes before revealing them again.
“I’ve thought about a lot of things.”
“What are those?”
“I was wondering why you’d invest in me and try to make me a plausible partner to debut if you don’t want to openly use me in the social scene.”
She’s a lady who never lets her guard down, even if she has her own fantasies of becoming Cinderella.
Cassio kept a smirk on his lips unconsciously.
“I’m not sure why, but considering Lord Edmund’s appearance when we met in the dressmaker’s room last time, it appears that there are quite a few people who would be struck by me simply holding your hand and making an entrance. I’m not sure if that’s a real loss or just an emotional debt.”
“Not a bad guess. Can you relax now that you know there are advantages for me as well?”
“No. My statements are only conjecture. The only thing that comes to mind is that if you put me in a bad situation, I’d use your shin as a shoe rack.”
“I think you’re the only woman in the world who could say that to Cassio Brahamdorff.”
“Hmm, but there are three of us. Ophelia, the Countess, and me.”
“Do you even know how to puff your pride with empty words?”
“Who is to blame if you lose your true self, inflated by an imaginary dream?”
“If you don’t overdo it by becoming intoxicated with dreams, moderate enjoyment shouldn’t be a problem, right?”
“I can see why Countess McGinty would say something like that to you.”
Cassio responded in a somewhat agitated tone, unbeknownst to him.
“People are unable to resist temptation not because they’re greedy. Sometimes, the magnitude of their problem is too big. Say gambling, drinking, or something else. Don’t provoke your enemy if you’re not planning on taking responsibility. Especially if you’re going to laugh at them for coming to the wrong conclusion at all.”
“If I was a woman who was foolish enough to stick my head everywhere, then you’d be whispering your love to me by now. You’ll be mixing your words with flattery, like how you’d say that I’m your true love and the only one in your eyes. That Cassio who whispered love to Ophelia, so I’d think that I’m the same as her. Or I’d think about what I am lacking compared to her. I’d be swelling with inferiority and vanity.”
The woman’s voice was theatrical, as if she was in a play.
“And then you’d suddenly say, ‘have you fallen to your own foolishness?’ ‘Lady Emilia, did you think that you’d risen to a level?’ And then you’d watch as I disintegrate in front of you and enjoy it.”
“… Is that what you think about me? That kind of garbage? I thought I made myself clear that I don’t whisper my love just with anyone.”
“I said it because I know that it won’t work on me anyways. I will never fall into such a fantasy, not now, not ever.”
“How can you compare Ophelia with someone else? There’s no scale to that.”
Emilia’s pupils dilated.
“I have a perfect set of eyes, nose, and mouth. I have common sense. I can’t possibly miss such mediocrity. Who are you comparing my Ophelia to? Are you crazy?”
“… Are you talking about yourself?”
“My Ophelia is the most beautiful in the whole world. Don’t compare her to any other girl.”
Cassio Brahamdorff was rendered speechless.
Dare you to compare Ophelia to another girl?
Even if the other girl is Emilia?
From behind the confident Emilia, he could almost see Ophelia, who was already dead, sticking out her tongue and smiling at him.
Why does he feel strange?
Under normal conditions, he would have politely agreed. Even Emilia’s bravado made him uncomfortable at times.
It wasn’t just him either.
Others shared his sentiments.
She was correct.
Everything else seemed to lose its shine while Ophelia was alive.
The spectacle of that moment is still fresh in his mind.
Emilia was the woman sitting silently beside her like a shadow, handing Ophelia snacks or turning the pages of a book.
Of course, even then, she evaded criticism with a cool and skilled approach…
“…Do you even have something called self-love?”
“That’s why I fought Ophelia, I even pulled her hair.”
“No, that’s not… that’s not what I meant…”
Cassio felt strangely uneasy.
Emilia was deflecting Cassio’s statements as if it were second nature, and it was her true belief in what she was saying that left him dumbfounded.
Emilia immediately grew animated and began to speak happily.
Her previously uninterested black eyes glittered as if she were someone else.
“Right. Ophelia used to say that she believed I was prettier than her. Oh, that girl. Even though I know it was just flattery, my anger would immediately subside. Isn’t she like a fox? That’s really adorable. She knew that she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. Hmm… I’m curious if those who were duped by you, Cassio, felt the same way. Knowing it’s all a ruse hidden behind a gorgeous face, but still wanting to indulge? If that’s the case, I can understand.”
“…Is that so?”
Cassio was surprised.
He used to think Emilia’s apathy was a means for her to show off her tight friendship with Ophelia.
But now he realizes it wasn’t the case.
She seemed to be holding back, unwilling to casually discuss these inconsequential anecdotes with individuals who seemed to dislike Ophelia.
She couldn’t even tell Ophelia’s stories in front of complete strangers anymore.
It wouldn’t be too weird to tell her stories to Cassio, who was also an Ophelia devotee. But even so…
“Despite my warnings, she put the toad’s guts in my favorite teacup for a visitor, and the teacup became stained. Ophelia calmed me down by pouring hot water into the cup, letting it turn blue, then covering it with flower petals. It was adorable how she begged me not to drink it in my wrath. When I see stuff like that, I can see why those who were insane enough to follow Ophelia to the ends of the earth felt that way.”
… Did that happen?
Cassio Brahamdorff, of course, was once a disciple who applauded whatever Ophelia did, whether she flung a teacup, destroyed it, or poisoned it.
But, hearing it through Emilia’s words for the first time, it wasn’t just a cute narrative.
She used toad guts to poison a visitor’s teacup?
Isn’t that simply poison?
Cassio Brahamdorff was well aware of Ophelia’s terrible pranks on undesirable visitors.
Because he was one of the top three undesirable guests on Ophelia’s list.
In other words, Ophelia’s poison could have been the one he drank.
And to make amends, she gave her a flower floating in it?
When Emilia saw this, she vowed to drink it in rage, and Ophelia calmed her down?
What did Ophelia, the high and mighty, do?
Emilia was also beaming with pleasure.
She appeared to be genuinely pleased with herself.
Her normally uninterested black eyes glowed, and her pale cheeks flushed.
Cassio, who had tried to sway Emilia by pointing out various flaws since the last time, was at a loss.
She appeared to be a different person.
Didn’t she always say she wouldn’t be influenced by his schemes, never letting her guard down?
“… What do you mean by telling me this?”
“You like Ophelia, don’t you, Cassio?”
Emilia blinked her eyes closed.
“Wouldn’t you like stories like this?”
He couldn’t disagree, yet he was at a loss for words.
“Come to think of it, there aren’t that many people left with whom I can share these stories.”
“…Is that so?”
“Because it’s a thing of the past, Ophelia won’t mind if I brag a little.”
Brag? She even thought it was bragging?
“That’s fantastic. I couldn’t talk about it anyplace because of her image, so I had to keep my mouth shut. I’m glad you can hear it, Cassio!”
Emilia beamingly grinned.
It was a smile like I’d never seen before.
Casio intuitively sensed a crisis and rushed to avoid it.
“…No, that’s not it.”
“What’s the harm? Isn’t it about ‘that’ Ophelia?”
“I’m well aware that the two of you have a beautiful and long-lasting story that no one else can interfere with. I’m not going to pollute that territory.”
“Your feelings for Ophelia appear to have faded, Mr. Cassio Brahamdorff…”
Emilia even groaned, her lips slightly curled.
Unlike her typical unflappable manner, she appeared energetic like a girl her age at the time, which made him even more humiliated.
She even gave Cassio Brahamdorff a displeased look, as if he were a jackass who was playing hard to get.
“… My admiration for Lady Ophelia is unwavering. Please refrain from making your own conclusions.”
“Men’s hearts are more fickle than the wind in the reeds… My poor Ophelia…”
Ophelia was always calm in breaking her fans’ hearts.
It was especially true for Cassio Brahamdorff.
But of course, even though she acted like that, her admirers still worshiped her.
In any case, Emilia was not the type to feel sorry for their situations.
“…You have a thing for Ophelia, Emilia.”
“Who in the world wouldn’t fall in love with her?”
Emilia answered as if it were self-evident.
Cassio locked his gaze on her.
Rumors about Lady Elodie had long persisted in social circles.
She has a remarkable resemblance to ‘that’ Ophelia.
Unlike Ophelia’s character, she was a kind, compassionate, and affectionate young lady from a backwater village with little social contacts.
The Marchioness was alleged to have fallen into tears when holding the young lady who resembled her late daughter.
It was also stated that the Marquis’s house began to move as a result of her.
Elodie, on the other hand, was a more fitting figure in the social circle than ‘that’ Ophelia, who couldn’t even exchange a word due to the oppressive guard of the Marquis’s house, her poor health, and a disposition that was anything but nice.
There were already many who made that comparison.
However, the woman’s eyes were tranquil.
It was the same as the day of the funeral, and it was the same today that she chose to return after breaking her solitude by the letter from the departed.
“Everyone didn’t know her very well, so it ended like that, she was a girl worthy of love.”
It was a firm declaration that even parents couldn’t make with such certainty.
The woman’s voice was devoid of arrogance.
Just a boring remark, as if telling the world the truth.
Consider Emilia’s statement that the Marquis’s mansion without Ophelia means nothing to her, and that she gave up everything and left abruptly.
That indicates Ophelia Windrose was adored.
The meaning of being understood completely, enough to refuse all that the Marquis’s house could offer – power, wealth, honor and authority from high aristocracy, and comfort for a lifetime. She explained that it was only to that extent because others who were merely superficially following Ophelia were unaware.
That she was a beautiful kid who deserved to be loved by everyone, and thus all Emilia done for her has a purpose.
It was a genuine feeling.
It wasn’t a boastful or exaggerated statement.
It was only a brief confession to someone who, like herself, had stood at Ophelia’s side and followed in her footsteps, believing they were in a similar predicament.
Cassio Brahamdorff thought for a moment that he was envious of Ophelia.
The fundamental affection that is unaffected by external events.
He imagined Ophelia’s weak smile as a wet blossom.