The Otome Game's Bad Ending - Chapter 39
Princess Alosia displayed numerous indications of discomfort, indicating that she was not suited for this type of gathering.
However, her mother’s proximity was potentially intimidating, so she maintained a low profile. Strictly speaking, the princess who had reached her maturity should have been the star of this occasion.
She was once considered a potential heir to this country.
She should not be ignored regardless of her age or social standing.
Regardless of who states what, Elodie Diantha, accompanied by Raretis Hope, was the most brilliant person in the room at the time.
The social circle has no sympathy for those who can’t even manage their own plate, but the situation is slightly different if the opponent is a member of the royal family.
Countess McGinty deceitfully asserted that my circumstance and that of the princess who was maintaining her position were identical.
There were varied interpretations.
At first glimpse, it appeared as though she was mocking the situation, which was telling that we are comparable to a wallflower.
In actuality, however, it was a criticism of Elodie, who ‘cannot take too much care of herself, relying on an ephemeral popularity without substance.’
Similar to the phrase ‘a gossip for an old person like me’ Countess McGinty was a prominent figure in the social realm.
Now semi-retired, a noblewoman’s influence does not vanish overnight.
She responded to the criticism that ‘it’s not enjoyable for her age’ by stating, ‘Would a heavyweight like me have a stormy unpredictable child by my side?’
It could also be interpreted as a bold proclamation that says, ‘I have my sights set on this young lady Emilia, the societal sensation of the moment, and there is no room for anyone else.’
“Have you come to laud an elderly woman like me because you, the Countess, also have a beautiful daughter? To all, she is a lovely woman.”
It was an unambiguous statement requiring no interpretation.
Why are you applauding a child who is not yours and ignoring your daughter?
“Hahaha. It appears Countess McGinty has misinterpreted my intent… Young women are attractive to everyone.”
“It’s all right, Countess Betty. When I was young, I too had a fever attempting to emulate the beauty of the late queen. I acted so neurotic to avoid hearing that I was the worst by arranging the order according to appearance. In retrospect, it was all just a memory.”
The eloquence of Countess McGinty was truly remarkable.
Despite what others may say, beauty is an influence in the social realm.
Especially in a world where women’s line of suitors determine the level of popularity.
Who, in terms of physical appearance, could be compared to Ophelia and Elodie? However, she stated from the outset that comparison was unnecessary.
She can defend herself by stating, ‘That too is a cherished memory from my youth, not a criticism,’ if questioned.
Because Countess McGinty spoke these words, they are all meaningful.
Even identical phrases, I dare not utter.
Their respective weights differ.
Countess Betty must have believed that speaking more would be detrimental, as she struggled to conceal her reddening face.
“Ha… ha… ha… How dare I suggest to the countess who is superior and who is inferior?”
“Is that indeed so?”
“Yes. I was simply happy to see a face I rarely see at such a joyous event… Oh, I recognize my daughter there. I believe I’ll leave now.”
“Please do, Countess Betty.”
“It has been an honor, Countess McGinty. Lord Cassio also. Oh, and congratulations on your début, Lady Emilia!”
Countess Betty scarcely managed a smile before making a hasty exit, as though she might be apprehended by someone.
Countess McGinty briefly clicked her tongue as she observed her fading form.
“She is surprisingly timid.”
“Only you, aunt, after hearing that conversation, could call the Countess timid.”
“What can I do if it turns out to be true? Didn’t you see what happened? She fled after I merely agitated the waters. She did not even come close to her mark, Lady Emilia.”
“Aunt, isn’t it ‘couldn’t’ rather than ‘didn’t’? How could they overcome someone as formidable as you?”
Again, Countess McGinty has just flicked her tongue.
I exhibited a subtle smile.
“Thank you for your help, Countess.”
“What. I am simply fulfilling my obligations.”
“Cassio can’t always be by your side.”
“I do know.”
“You cannot always be by his side, especially considering that you are not even his fiancé.”
“Either you get torn apart by these toothless fools, or you run away with your tail between your legs.”
Then and only then did I finally relax and chuckle softly.
Suddenly, an odd woman approached us.
A navy blue dress with minimal embellishment and a cameo gave off a vintage vibe.
Without even glancing at me or Cassio, she walked directly up to the countess and bowed slightly.
“… Baroness Orse.”
“Her Majesty wishes to see you, Countess.”
The Countess’s features became slightly rigid.
She spoke after glancing briefly at Cassio and me and stating,
“Remember what I’ve told you.”
“Yes, we do understand.”
“How could I deny the request of Her Majesty? Please lead the way.”
Lady Orse once more bowed slightly in our direction before leaving with the Countess.
We could sense the shifting gazes of those who had pretended not to be watching us.
Cassio turned his head toward me and whispered, as if to obstruct the people’s gaze.
“Aunt’s words might not end up as a joke after all.”
“I must improve my skills on stepping Mr. Cassio’s feet.”
“I would have no cause for concern.”
“You appear extremely sincere.”
My pupils widened in response to the voice that came from behind Cassio.
Circular vintage glasses.
Blue tresses tied delicately.
A black garment that almost constituted a uniform.
A male sporting a lily boutonniere on his chest.
The man I hadn’t seen since our dressmaker shop encounter.
It was Edmund Gloucester.
* * *
The smile on Cassio’s face hardened ever-so-slightly, a subtle change that I alone could detect due to my proximity.
Edmund’s expression as he glanced at us was, to say the least, peculiar.
I had no idea how he viewed me when I was dressed up and attending the gala as Cassio’s date.
I had anticipated that he would be firmly attached to Elodie.
Eventually, I realized why.
As the music for the dance resumed, I observed Elodie and Raretis join hands and begin dancing.
I saw him also observing the silver haired woman.
I turned my head as though scorched.
“I never could have imagined the two of you being so close.”
His words possessed a peculiarly pointed tone.
“That has nothing to do with you, Mr. Edmund.”
Edmund Gloucester scowled in response to my rebuttal.
The crowd’s attention was divided. Some gazed at the gorgeously dancing couple, while others focused on us.
Who I was, and which ‘Emilia’ I was, appeared to be rapidly spreading throughout the throng. Rumors such as ‘That woman was Ophelia’s companion Emilia.
After departing the Marquis’s residence, her whereabouts were unknown; however, she is present today.’
The phrase ‘I wonder how Lady Elodie feels’ began to propagate.
And Edmund, who was speaking to us, was referring to the individuals who had appeared together, one of whom was a former suitor of the old Ophelia.
“You said that you don’t need anything from the Marquis.”
Edmund Gloucester’s blue eyes regarded me with disdain.
He did not resemble the man who had sat helplessly after being unable to respond to my words.
“What are you currently playing? As soon as you learned that Lady Elodie had appeared, did petty envy arise within you? You are acting quite differently than usual. But does that make any difference?”
“I do not know what delusions you are currently harboring, but there is no room for you in the Marquis’s home. You must be aware that Marchioness Windrose plans to adopt her as her own daughter, right? You voluntarily exited, so don’t assume you can just crawl back in.”
“Would my harsh words here tarnish the reputation of the Brahamdorf family?”
“I am merely your wings; I do not wish to be the clouds in your path.”
“Fine. Then listen carefully, you imp!”
I gently grabbed Edmund’s collar while beaming.
Cassio used his body to discreetly obstruct people’s line of sight.
In such situations, he is quite the man.
To others, it appeared that I, a lady, was tenderly adjusting a gentleman’s twisted boutonniere.
I stood next to the man who had his head bowed in astonishment in a manner that could be considered ladylike.
“Why should I feel envy?”
The man’s blue irises froze.
“Why should I be envious of a person who is not even her? And why do I need to hear such nonsense from a moron like you who can’t tell individuals apart and clings to anyone who appears similar?”
“Why else are you here if not for that?”
The man, who was subdued to that extent, stammered.
It was peculiar.
He was not the sort of man to be easily flustered.
Certainly, he had a grudge against Cassio and was the most hot-tempered, but he was not the type to lose to me; he had always bared his fangs as if he were prepared to devour me.
This was also the case the last time he was seen in the dressmaker acting as if he had seen an apparition.
Cassio was simply observing the fellow and me with a curious expression.
It was frustrating to be unable to say, ‘It’s her fault. Otherwise, why am I here holding the hand of this individual who is essentially my archenemy?’
This fool must have been quite enamored with Ophelia even in the game.
Even if the letter’s contents were as straightforward as ‘Dance the best dance at the debutante,’ this man would do anything to steal it if it was handwritten by Ophelia.
I distanced myself from the man and responded quickly.
“It appears you were unaware, Lord Edmund Gloucester, but I am also a noble and will be able to attend the debutante ball if the conditions are met. Given that your focus was always on Ophelia, you may have forgotten that we share the same age.”
“More than that, I do not comprehend why you are becoming so cordial and close to me. How should our relationship function? Were you restless after your partner was stolen?”
My words were uttered with a radiant smile.
Edmund Gloucester regarded me with an expression of confusion.
He looked at the dancing men and women before returning his gaze to my beaming face.
“Lord, Lord Brahamdorf.”
“Yes, Sir Gloucester. It has been some time. You are as beautiful as ever. You have everything it takes to be Lady Elodie’s escort.”
As anticipated, Countess McGinty’s wit had not diminished.
After Cassio had seized me, her words directed at Edmund, who had lost his mind, were quite severe.
One formal cavalier only.
If Raretis is accompanying Elodie, then Edmund has been relegated to the scrap heap.
He may have been the untouched food.
Regardless, it is laughable to praise him as magnificent now that Elodie is dancing with Raretis and he is alone.
As always, he is someone I would not wish to oppose.
“To claim that my partner was stolen! It was my intention to…”
“Then, what about Lady Elodie’s will?”