The Otome Game's Bad Ending - Chapter 7
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The coachman of the carriage thought his luck was both terrible and amazing today. It was his bad luck that he almost caused an accident with a carriage that was bringing important people.
But luckily, there wasn’t a big accident at the end, which was good. It was also lucky that the important people in the carriage were kind enough not to punish the coachman too harshly. He was new to driving and hadn’t done it for very long.
He was driving two important people, one of whom was a silver-haired beauty who made his heart race just by looking at her, and the other was a well-known figure. Because they were in a hurry, he rushed more than he should have and got into an accident.
He looked at Raretis, who was sitting in the coachman’s seat and leading the horses himself without flinching. He was sorry that he would never do something like that again. The reins of the horse were tightly held by his wrist with blue veins that stood out. His black hair hung over his ears like a shadow, and his purple eyes, which were always looking forward, were very deep.
A well-known person who everyone, young and old, knows by name and by sight. A quiet hero who is also honest, proud, and very good with swords. The Glamis Knights’ Lieutenant General. Even though he was young, he was a hero who had done many things and won the King’s great favor. He was sent to the border many times.
From inside the coach, a careful voice could be heard. The coachman claimed he didn’t hear and looked at the man next to him. The man, who had been looking up, slowly turned his head. The carriage, which is popular with both rich and poor people, wasn’t very big. Even from the coachman’s seat, it was easy to talk to the people inside if you turned around. The woman’s voice was so soft and sweet that even the coachman was impressed. After a short pause, she called the man again.
“…Is it because of me that you’re upset?”
The answer was strong, but there was no affection in it. The woman in the carriage looked like she was sad. The coachman thought it was strange that Raretis was so quiet. People say that ‘Sir Raretis’ was a good guy who was kind to women and the weak. Even though he wasn’t the most articulate person, he knew how to take care of people so they didn’t feel uncomfortable.
His cheekbones and nose looked strangely serious when he didn’t smile. He was strong and had the features of a knight who most of the time held a sword every day. His thick brows and deep-colored eyes made him stand out.
“I turned down the lady’s offer of hospitality because I didn’t want to cause too much trouble as a guest at the Marquis’s house, but I was wrong. If I had known I would make so many people unhappy, I wouldn’t have done it.”
Even though Raretis’s answer seemed strangely fake, the woman kept talking in a nice way as if she didn’t care. Even though the carriage was mostly dark, the clear silver strands of her hair moved like a spider’s web when she moved. And so did her green eyes, which were shaped like a bow.
The coachman thought to himself that she was a very beautiful woman. She was so beautiful that she couldn’t be compared to the prima donnas shown in the media and other places. Even though he was with such a beautiful woman, Raretis was acting in a strange way.
No, it didn’t start out that way. Instead, he gently calmed down Elodie and, as she had asked, flagged down a public carriage and told the driver where to go.
“Elodie, it’s not your fault.”
The man spoke in a low, dry voice. Like he didn’t want to say anything else. The woman in the carriage looked like she was thinking about something.
“…Sir Raretis, I want to ask you something.”
The man’s eyes twitched very slightly, as if he could guess what she was going to ask. It was a reflex, like when an animal automatically moves away for its important organs. The woman was playing with her fingers and holding on to the bottom of her dress. She was looking down at the wall of the coach, so she didn’t see what the man did.
“It’s about the woman who helped save the child.”
The man’s face became more serious, which the coachman saw.
“Are you familiar with her?”
“Why are you asking?”
The man spoke quickly and in a fake way. Whoever knew him would be shocked by how hostile his voice was. But the woman, who didn’t know him well enough yet to notice his slight changes, just blushed and laughed, thinking that was just how he was with everyone.
“I wanted to thank her. To be honest, I was amazed. It was amazing that she could stay so cool in that situation. I would have been frozen and unable to do anything.
For a moment, the man’s eyes were confused, but then they were clear again.
His eyes passed over the woman’s innocent smile and landed on the tips of her fingers that were holding up the bottom of her dress. The next second, his face was blank, as if nothing had happened.
“She’s someone I don’t know very well.”
“Oh, is that true? I should find out then…”
“Getting involved with nobility unnecessarily can also be troublesome for commoners.”
The woman was shocked and opened her eyes wide. Her innocent green eyes seemed to have lost all of their brightness.
“…Is that true? Well, she did say she didn’t want to get involved in troublesome things, so I guess that makes sense…”
“You shouldn’t worry about it.”
The man’s voice was so strong and determined that it could be called cold. The coachman thought it was a bit strange what was going on. Certainly, what happened was his fault, but things worked out well in the end. The brave woman saved the child who was about to be hit, and no one got hurt badly. The two riders even got off the carriage to apologize to the child and its mother, and they went to the commoner woman who saved the child.
The coachman was too busy taking care of the excited horses and checking the carriage to hear the whole exchange, but he got the idea. Elodie wanted to give a thank-you gift, but her partner told her no. Raretis hurried Elodie back into the carriage because he was afraid they would be late. After a few words with the other person, he got into the carriage.
No matter how he looked at it, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The woman in plain clothes, who had just been in a similar situation but was looking at him with a strangely calm face, had firmly refused to accept thanks, which was a little shocking. But it wasn’t something that was hard to understand. Many of the regular people didn’t like getting involved with the nobles.
No one was hurt in the end, and it turned out to be a harmless event, but Raretis, who had climbed up to the coachman’s seat and was driving the carriage with him, had been quiet ever since. He was looking into nothing with an extremely hard look on his face. He couldn’t even say how worried he was about the woman, whose heart might still be racing from what had just happened.
In fact, the most shocking thing was that he told Elodie, who wanted to thank her in some way, not to do it. Since the honor of a Marquess’s home was at stake, the pay would be quite large, and it was likely that a commoner would be tempted by the amount. So even if the other person said it was fine on the outside, they might have been too ashamed to take the precious noble lady up on her offer. It would have been nice if they had said they would try to find a different place if they could.
But Raretis was way too strong and sure of himself. Even though it was clear that the woman was ashamed, she had said what she did out of goodwill…
‘It seems like they don’t want to meet at all.’
The coachman laughed when he saw that he was right. Wasn’t the woman he had seen before wearing simple clothes and holding a basket?
Even though she was a commoner, she seemed to have a lot of elegance because of the way she looked and how clean her face was. But she couldn’t beat the beautiful woman sitting behind him. It wasn’t like she was trying to save face, so why did she try so hard to stop a clear sign of goodwill? Especially from Raretis, the Glamis Knights’ respected Lieutenant General.
The coachman thought that was a lot to think about. They were getting close to their destination. Raretis jumped off the seat and opened the door so Elodie could get out. When the woman blushed, it was like a flower in full bloom. She looked happy and shy at the same time. When he walked her to the door with good manners and she looked like a picture, it was like a painting.
After getting paid for the carriage ride and leaving the spot, the driver thought that his first guess was silly. Isn’t he acting like a gentleman by taking the girl with him? After all, he is a knight. Even though he is known as Sir Raretis, he might have been a little ashamed that he almost hurt the woman in the carriage with him.
The coachman was sure of this, so he moved away. As he did, he caught a glimpse of the side face of the man walking into the house as the sun was starting to set. Cold, indifferent, and solid as if he were made of stone, he was hiding something. In the darkest part of the man’s pockets, the red skin of an apple he had hidden there shone.
The day Elodie and Raretis shared a carriage and the accident was very long. She was so tired that she couldn’t even go buy more food.
She dusted off the crust of the bread that had fallen on the dirt floor, dipped it in milk, ate a few bites, and then fell asleep as if she had passed out.
Everything was bright when she opened her eyes. She had slept too much, so she ran to the front of the store. Even though the shop didn’t get many customers, there were some regulars who came in from time to time, so she thought he should open it late, but as she was running, she saw a figure in front of the door.
She tilted his head because she thought it was Thomas, who sometimes comes in late, orders coffee, and writes something on paper. But the man in front of her just looked at her. The bright blonde hair that could be seen from far away and covered his ears just a bit. The dark eyes were hard to understand. Thin lips that turned up just a little bit in a smile. He didn’t know what to say for a moment. It was Cassio Brahamdorff, a confident smile on his face.
She kept quiet because she didn’t know what to say. The man who found her got a sad look in his eyes.
“It’s been a little while.”
His smile seemed to poke fun at people. I didn’t try to hide how wary I was getting. He spread his arms out as if to comfort me when he saw me about to step back. Just by looking at him, he seemed like a gentleman meeting up with a lover after a long time.
“I had been looking for you everywhere, but there you were right in front of me. Lady, you always find a way to surprise me.”
“There’s no need to call me Lady.”
“Why? I’ve always called you Lady Emilia. Is there any reason for you to reject that title now?”
“I really don’t have any plans to live as a noble.”
I took out my key and opened the shop door without looking at the man. I got the door to stay open, went in, and opened the window. Surprisingly, the man didn’t do anything but watch me quietly. He watched me the whole time I was cleaning up the table and opening the windows to get some fresh air inside.
“You seem used to things.”
“This is where I work, so I need to be here.”
“It looks like a lot of people around here know about ‘Emily,’ too.”
I stopped while I was putting a pot of water on the fire. Did he mean that he had asked around about the people around me? Cassio opened his mouth as if to explain what he thought my look meant.
“…I just heard some stories about this area, how there’s a small coffee shop in an alley and you’re the woman who owns it. You’re kind of a big deal around here, aren’t you?”
“Is that really so?”
“You open late when you have time and close fairly late. The coffee isn’t great, and it’s amazing that you haven’t gone out of business even though your customers don’t seem to bring in much money.”
“I’m not good at running a business.”
When I answered calmly, Cassio laughed like he had just heard a funny joke. He was laughing so hard that he was banging on the table and shaking his shoulders at a story that wasn’t very funny. The next second, he was quiet again. His face, which had been laughing lightly, went blank as he looked at me with a creepy stare, as if he were trying to look into my stomach.
“Why did you run away?”
Even though I knew I wasn’t the one he felt that way about, his focused gaze made me feel for a moment like I had made a mistake. I didn’t look at him, so I cut a slightly old piece of bread and replied.
“I didn’t run away. I left.”
“Who told you to leave the Marquis’s house?”
His voice was quiet, but it seemed to shake with anger that he didn’t know he had. I stopped cutting the bread with the knife’s tip.
“No one, because everyone was nice.”
“Cassio, I don’t know why you’re pushing me, but I was there because of Ophelia, and if I was going to leave anyway, I just wanted to leave sooner. There’s no other reason.”
I took a piece of cheese out of a cool place and cut it as I tried to ignore the quiet man. I put the cheese pieces on the bread and lightly toasted it over the fire. When the water started to boil, I slowly poured it over the ground beans I had already prepared. The small room was filled with the smell of coffee.
I put the improvised coffee and toast on a wooden tray and took it to the man’s table. It was a strange sight to see a tall, beautiful man, who looked like he was about to hold a champagne glass at a fancy party, squished under a table in a small cafe. As I put the tray down in front of the man, he just looked at me blankly.
Since he had pretty high-end tastes, I thought he would throw it away without trying it, but to my surprise, he took a sip right away.
He even took a piece of unevenly toasted bread and bit into it with confidence. The man was sad that the heavily buttered piece of bread was gone after just a few bites. I felt a little silly when I saw the plate was empty because I thought he wouldn’t even touch it.
“…It tastes pretty good.”
“There’s no need to be nice to me.”
“I’m serious. I didn’t think Lady Emilia would take care of me on the way here. Didn’t you always serve tea made with rainwater from three days ago when you had the chance?”
“Like I’ve said many times before, Ophelia told me to.”
Cassio was one of the many men who liked Ophelia, but she hated him the most. The way he looked, how he acted, and what he said, all of it was impressive.
But her parents were worried that she was almost always stuck in the house, so they had most of the visitors stay with them. This meant that she had to see him, and each time she tried to annoy him as much as possible. It was normal to give him a cold shower or serve him bad tea. But Cassio always treated her like a kind and loving fan, making snide comments as if all of her crazy behavior was my fault. Then Ophelia would get mad at him, and he would use his beautiful words to explain and apologize. This would happen over and over again, in a loop.
I didn’t bother them on my own, but whenever Ophelia asked me to do something, I did it. The dark eyes of Cassio sparkled. I didn’t know why, but he seemed to like the way things were going.
“Running a coffee shop? That’s a surprise. Cleaning, organizing, and even making sales all by yourself? Doesn’t that bother you?”
“Since I was eight, I’ve been taking care of the most annoying girl in the world. This is easy.”
When I would say something like this, he would usually say something sarcastic.