The Otome Game's Bad Ending - Chapter 44
“In other words, she’s like a person where God molded Ophelia’s physical form and breathed a good and kind soul into her without a care in the world.”
“Congratulations are in order if the estate has regained its vitality.”
“I’m not criticizing Lord Raretis.”
“I’ve never been worried about that.”
“It will be difficult if the limits are pushed too far, but if we maintain a proper boundary, it benefits everyone. The Lady of the Estate is pleased to have a well-behaved daughter, and the presence of young people revitalizes the estate. I’ve grown fond of the estate’s residents, so I hope everything goes well…”
“Why keep saying things you don’t mean?”
His tone of speaking was tense.
“…Rather, be enraged at me. Be upset that I’m tarnishing her name! Why do you act as if everyone on the estate is unrelated to you as if they are strangers?”
I’ve heard far too many stories about people being wrecked by their inordinate hunger for things that aren’t theirs.
I know it’s better to leave something you’ll never have for a lifetime than to keep it close and long for it. It is torturous to hope.
“Lady Emilia is, indeed, a bit too sharp in everything she does.”
The air became utterly still. In an instant, Raretis’s face turned chilly.
His violet eyes, which lacked warmth, flared sharply.
“Please accept my apologies for my tardiness, Lady Emilia. I was preoccupied with an irritating lady.”
That ‘annoying lady’ can’t possibly be the Lady of the Estate.
Cassio Brahamdorff smiled amiably as he wrapped one arm protectively around my shoulder. He appeared to be a territorial animal.
“You are quite late.”
“I was selecting the wine that best suits the Lady’s taste.”
In his other hand, he held a slender glass filled with bright yellow champagne.
I took it but did not consume it.
Raretis’s look was especially frightening as he discreetly glared at Cassio, whose eyes, while ostensibly smiling, were not particularly pleasant either.
I was caught in the midst and found myself uncomfortably looking around.
“Is there no basic awareness as a partner if you leave the troubled lady alone?”
“Rest taken by itself by a distressed lady can be a medicine. I don’t want to be a male that wanders around aimlessly like a monkey with no regard.”
…The environment is too hostile.
Particularly from Raretis.
Why are their words so incisive?
When Ophelia was present, it appeared that only a few apathetic words were spoken to soothe the raged Ophelia.
The identical thing was told to Cassio in such a way that it couldn’t be avoided due to appearances.
In the flowing atmosphere, I was sweating, contrary to my expectations.
Cassio’s remarks were more venomous than expected.
“Anyway. Lady Emilia, your popularity is a major issue. A nice day as a cavalier must be difficult.”
He sighed loudly and ostentatiously as if he was bragging.
“…Do you get slapped because you’re too popular?”
I tackled him, unable to take it any longer and in disbelief, and Cassio Brahamdorff squinted one eye.
“Shall we say that an adolescent boy’s resentment is an expression of affection? Lady Emilia, it appears that, despite being slapped by him, she mentally kicked him in the shin.”
That is ridiculous.
“Moreover, Lord Raretis, while there are dishonest gentlemen who flirt with our guests, what use is such a trivial matter? If you were looking for a companion, you could blow up the entire system by lifting a single little finger. You are quite greedy, threatening even me, who is only making my debutante partner’s first cavalier appearance.”
“…Your sophistry is as usual.”
“Your rigidity and lack of conversational skills are also typical. There’s no point in practicing conversational skills when the people around you take care of everything.”
“Stop it, both of you. What exactly are you doing here?”
I couldn’t take it any longer, and Cassio Brahamdorff put his lips to the back of my palm, a sorrowful expression on his face.
“How humbly have I treated you today, Lady Emilia? Another butterfly landed on me as I was leaving my seat to bring out your order. I’m very depressed. According to the brilliant Lord Raretis, it’s not a butterfly. The Lady cannot be compared to an insect. A difficult lady was trying to grasp me, and I just escaped… and you, my lady, appear to be eyeing another gentleman…”
“You seem quite proud to say you were dealing with another lady.”
“As sharp as ever, Lady Emilia.”
I would have clapped if this were not an outside garden.
Raretis appeared distressed.
Especially after I couldn’t take it any longer and began conversing with Cassio.
I couldn’t declare, ‘I’m not friends with Cassio Brahamdorff,’ in this situation. ‘There is no likelihood of a love relationship developing. It’s a professional connection.’
There is no reason for Cassio Brahamdorff to pick someone like me from the start.
If he were to choose a partner, wouldn’t he opt for a marriage that would benefit both his family and himself?
As opposed to going to Lady Elodi like Raretis and Edmund.
Perhaps Princess Alosia…
“…You two seem to get along quite well, Emilia.”
“It’s because Lord Cassio Brahamdorff’s relationships with his peers aren’t always cordial.”
Cassio Brahamdorff, of all persons, would not want to be with someone who understands his actual character.
This is a unique scenario.
I didn’t hesitate to lash out at Cassio verbally, and he cheekily parried.
Cassio Brahamdorff’s poise is fully responsible for this partnership.
He knows more and has more than I do.
Even though I understand his character, I know I can’t harm him.
That’s why he puts up with the verbal sparring.
That’s what makes him so terrifying.
Raretis, on the other hand, did not see it that way.
Can I learn more if I told Raretis about Ophelia’s letter?
Other than me, the only person Ophelia could possibly trust around her was Raretis.
Was it a letter intended to deceive Cassio?
If that were the case, she would have told me.
I was hesitant to speak too quickly in case there was a deeper significance.
“Lord Raretis, it would be best if you left as well. I thought I was well-liked, but the calls for Lord Raretis from others were urgent. Lord Raretis’ whereabouts piqued the interest of even the noble queen.”
I remembered the queen summoning Countess McGinty earlier.
But how did Cassio know the queen was interested in Raretis?
Did he overhear it in the banquet hall?
Raretis exhaled quietly as if he couldn’t ignore a summons from royalty.
He then yanked my hand away and handed me a little potion bottle.
He hurriedly retreated before I could refuse, thinking it was too much.
I gazed down at the small bottle in my palm, unable to return it.
“Let’s talk about it again, Emilia.”
Raretis’ voice had an unusual power to it.
“Good night, my dear Lord Raretis.”
Raretis turned away from Cassio without even saying goodbye.
It was a fairly frigid demeanor, enough to make one feel cold.
Cassio, on the other hand, grinned naturally, as if it were normal.
Cassio inquired once he was confident that the man had vanished from the area.
“Is that a potion in your palm?”
“…I heard that the Glamis Knights are given a potion once a year because they frequently encounter dangerous situations due to their nature. After a major incident, they supplement it themselves.”
“It is a cumbersome item. I’ll get him to take it back…”
“What’s the point? Many persons would gladly offer such an item to Lord Raretis at the drop of a hat. Given the possibility of a rabid dog breaking free and attacking, it might be prudent for my Lady to carry one.”
With a bored expression, I inquired,
“…A rabid dog?”
“A metaphor, a metaphor. When a dog doesn’t know who is holding their leash and feels threatened, it will bark, bark, and finally bite. Isn’t it comparable?”
“It could be when we’re alone, but that’s too metaphorical.”
Cassio’s laid-back manner stood in stark contrast to Raretis’ solemn appearance.
Despite the circumstances, he managed to inject some of his trademark levity.
This conversation highlights the disparities in their personalities as well as their separate connections with Emilia.
Cassio Brahamdorff gave an odd smile.
He let go of his arm around his shoulder and tilted his head close, both hands on my shoulders. His golden hair tickled his brow.
“Do you know how monstrous the bottom of this palace is?”
It appeared to be a warning.
The vista was lighter than it was because of the lighting set here and there.
Shadows, on the other hand, were cast here and there.
The intertwining shadows of the branches resembled a net.
“The palace is where people plan to trap others with a smiling face and chew on the flesh of enemies with a foolish expression.”
The man spoke in a casual tone.
“Just stepping in the wrong place once could be fatal for Lady Emilia. You make excellent prey.”
“Today, being slapped will be dismissed as child’s play. I am far too popular if you want to silently hold your breath and live on the margins of the social circle.”
The man’s smile and gloomy eyes made him look more like a fiend sent from hell to propose a contract than a gentleman.
“I’d appreciate it if you could explain yourself properly. Don’t only tell stories about yourself.”
“Lady Emilia will become very popular from now on.”
The man sighed and shrugged his shoulders.
“I’m not going to have much time to monopolize the lady. It’s heartbreaking. In any case, Lady Emilia will be sought after in various locations. There will be attacks that you are aware of but unable to prevent. Because the current situation is difficult, there will be instances where shrimp are sacrificed in whale fights.”
“Are you saying I should flee now?”
“Yes. Nobody will hold it against you.”
The man answered as if he had been expecting it.
After all, what I witnessed today was more than sufficient to warrant such a decision.
I’d made my debut, met Raretis and Elodie, and had to put up with numerous individuals picking on me and causing issues.
I even bumped into Edmund Gloster, was slapped after an argument, and fled—only to run into the Marchioness Windrose.
As if that wasn’t enough, I ran into Raretis once more.
The man tenderly stroked the back of my cheek.
My cheek was no longer in pain.
“Women who talk too much are unpopular.”
He’d expertly hurled emotional grenades, and now he’s claiming there’s still time to flee—could anything be more infuriating?
“Pay the cost of the transaction. Today, I’d like to see at least one letter from that child.”
Cassio Brahamdorff smiled warmly as he closed his eyes slightly.
His grey eyes sparkled like star shards.
He bowed his head and knelt, then put his lips to the back of my hand once more.
It tingled even through the glove.
“As you wish, my lady.”
His speech was as hollow as a poisoned chalice.
* * *
“I never expected Lord Cassio Brahamdorff to refuse my proposal.”
Cassio gave a quiet smile. Queen Patricia sat across from him.
Lady Orse, the queen’s confidante, came to locate him when he left Emilia in the lounge. Even he couldn’t say no when told the queen wanted to see him.
He had assumed she had completed her business with Countess Mcginty, but being summoned by the queen one after the other suggested a larger plan at work.
The chamber was a pleasant retreat near the ballroom.
Steaming cups of tea and modest tea snacks were already on the table.
Cassio merely touched the teacup and set it down out of respect.
“Because I am insufficient to become the precious princess’ cavalier.”
“What do you mean, insufficient? Lord Cassio, say up. Do you dislike our Alosia?”
“How could I possibly judge whether I like or dislike the princess, who was raised in the palace with such care? Even from whispers, her nobility is well recognized.”
The queen’s brow furrowed. ‘The princess, whom I adore and lavish attention on, is rumored to be lacking.’
It was apparent irony.
The queen’s expression was unruffled, even though it had been unpleasant.
Cassio was slightly taken aback by her calm manner.
She was not a woman who had spent decades in the palace for nothing.
Time had left a pearl-like imprint on her once-radiant face, and her piled-up golden hair had faded in places.
Nonetheless, her posture remained calm, and her gaze focused.
Princess Alosia’s younger brother would have been an unwelcome guest if he resembled his mother even somewhat.
“It’s a shame the Brahamdorffs don’t have young children. I can’t help but want members of the Brahamdorff family whenever I see them. I desperately wish I had a friend his age to hold young Alexis’ hand.”
The snake is working its magic.
Cassio only smiled.
“Didn’t you bring Princess Alosia? Regardless of age, a member of the royal family cannot be compared to the offspring of a common noble family.”
“Doesn’t there seem to be an age difference? It is unrivaled by competitors. So… how comforting would it be if Lord Cassio looked after him like an older brother?”
The queen feigned to wipe her eyes with a handkerchief like a frail mother.
Lady Orse, standing like a shadow beside her, gently patted the queen’s shoulder.
Cassio sipped his tea and set the cup down.
“Haha… Wouldn’t it be preferable to have someone more trustworthy to look after the prince? If you’re seeking a role model, look no further… Isn’t Lord Raretis present? The Glamis Knights’ deputy commander, who is obligated to remain faithful to the royal family.”