The Otome Game's Bad Ending - Chapter 51
A lovely man appeared, holding Emilia’s calm and tidy hand like well water.
His eyes were frigid, despite his honey-sweet grin and gorgeous eyes.
Yes, that man did glance at her with an unusually cold stare.
Was it jealousy for the lady who could become a serious rival to his beloved partner?
It wasn’t anything as cute as that.
She could make that claim.
Except for Raretis, everyone in social circles had cast her impure glances at least once.
Cassio, on the other hand.
‘His eyes were cold and calculated.’
She had goosebumps as if she had turned into a frog in front of a snake.
It was enough to remind her of her previous dream.
Elodie closed her eyes, disgusted.
Yes, the calm, gentleman-like voice was too revolting.
Her entire body stiffened as if she had become a victim in the presence of a serial killer.
‘…Sir, if you continue in this manner, even I will be in trouble.’
She was hiding in a trash can in her dream.
It had been a moonless night.
Insects were wailing loudly.
She wanted to cover her ears, but she was terrified of making a sound, so she covered her mouth and held her breath.
Her body was hidden beneath rotting food waste, discolored cloth scraps, and broken wood pieces inside the tight and cramped garbage can.
Even the stench was pleasant.
It would successfully mask her odor. ‘Nyah,’ she heard the sound of a cat.
The little alley was filled with harsh crying.
Please, please, please.
Please pretend you didn’t notice, Cat.
She prayed in her dream with tears streaming down her cheeks.
The cat, who regularly rummaged through the garbage can to scavenge food scraps, appeared in a terrible mood due to the unexpected visitor.
‘If you’re going to lose it like this, what’s the point of me assisting you?’
His tone was that of a businessman interacting with a customer.
‘How rare it is to find a cat with white fur and green eyes.’
Her spine was chilled.
Thump, thump, thump.
She could hear footsteps.
The sound became louder and stopped just next to the trash bin.
She was going to be apprehended.
She was bound to be apprehended…
Elodie fiercely closed her eyes and then opened them in her dream.
Clang, the trash can lid trembled.
A dissatisfied cat’s meow echoed.
‘Oh dear, look how feisty it is.’
Surprisingly, the man had just removed the cat from the garbage can.
The cat, assumed to be in the man’s arms, was furious.
It raised its claws, making the sound of something being scratched.
The high-pitched meowing kept going.
The man made a clicking motion with his tongue.
‘Doesn’t it remind you of…? Take a look at this volatile personality. The white fur and emerald eyes have become a little soiled, but…’
‘Don’t casually mention her name.’
Elodie immediately covered her lips as she heard the dry, distorted voice.
A salty odor of blood, a bitter taste, and a sour odor assaulted her senses.
No, no. She shouldn’t inhale deeply.
She’d be apprehended.
She must not be discovered…
‘Of course, I say. Isn’t the incarnation of our beloved right here?’
There was no reaction.
A piercing meow reverberated again, indicating that the man had stroked the cat.
‘Why is the guy who didn’t even like animals fussing over a cat?’
‘Cats, they are animals that like cramped spaces, aren’t they?’
Something smacked the garbage can’s side.
Elodie sensed it instinctively.
She had been incorrect from the start.
She had never been set free from the beginning.
This was, indeed, a game.
It wouldn’t eat, just like a full-bellied cat playing with a mouse.
Yes, ‘he’ makes mistakes, but ‘that’ man does not.
It was a fight she couldn’t win from the start.
Wasn’t it that man’s favorite activity to provide hope and then take it away?
The door swung open.
A pair of gleaming gray eyes arrived, one arm clutching a white-furred, green-eyed cat.
A confident expression similar to that of a gambler who has painstakingly prepared for a game.
Elodie trembled and stared at him as he surveyed her from head to toe.
Surprisingly, he lacked enthusiasm in his eyes.
They were only dry, like a ruler’s scales.
Elodie reflexively gulped a breath in the dream due to her inherent repulsion.
Yes, as if…
As if judging how long she would survive this time.
* * *
It was the first night after the debutante ball finished, before daybreak the next day.
The footmen, tired after cleaning the vast ballroom, had disappeared to rest.
All the guests had left, and the royal palace, which had been bustling for a minute, was once again silent.
“It must be handled properly.”
The queen’s voice sounded piercing.
Her fading makeup and the lavish clothing that was out of place for the time and area could estimate her condition.
The dress she had not changed yet was crumpled.
Pearl and emerald-decorated earrings gleamed underneath her golden hair knotted up.
Apart from that, the room was rather cold.
It was worrying if the queen, wearing only clothing that concentrated on beauty rather than comfort, would be cold.
The queen, on the other hand, was not frigid at all; rather, she was glaring at one side of the room with an annoyed expression in her eyes.
An elderly woman in a coat lowered her head next to her.
The old lady was dressed differently as usual.
She was dressed in a cloak, but below was a basic outfit inappropriate for someone staying or visiting the castle.
Even the queen’s maid would not put on such a gown.
It was a pattern and cloth that commoners in the market would wear.
The queen’s confidante, Countess Orsé, waited behind the door, observing people come and go with a spiky voice like a stressed hedgehog.
The elderly lady bent her head once.
“Is there a way?”
“Do you know how many people I secretly gathered upon hearing your words?”
“Your grace is always appreciated.”
“You must leave no trace. We must avoid being detected.”
The queen’s voice was as pure as glass shards, but it was tinged with dread.
As if something could unsettle even the queen, who had the fearsome countenance of a tiger.
The elderly lady next to her only nodded weakly.
“Do you? Do you get it?”
Unknowingly, the elderly lady flinched.
The queen chuckled.
Her eyes were cold as she watched a frog jump into a kettle of lukewarm water, not realizing it was hot, and then try to escape after it heated up.
“If you make a mistake, it will be the end.”
Three men in black hooded garments came forward from the corner of the room in response to the queen’s motion.
Each expertly concealed their faces and figures, making it difficult to tell who was who from a distance.
Each of them wore a locket necklace that could hold something special.
“But eventually, the culprit must be revealed, right?”
“What if someone steps on our tail…”
“That’s why we have to create a fake tail.”
The queen’s pupils constricted.
“It’s a shame the Glamis Knights are stationed in the capital. It would have been fantastic if we could have gotten Sir Raretis. But that man is so obstinate that there is no way. In any case, we must not be caught before we reach our true objective, and no one must follow us. If something happens to Prince Alexis, we must atone for our sins by dying.”
“I will keep that in mind.”
The elderly lady bowed her waist and lowered her head once more.
“Who are you thinking of as the owner of the fake tail?”
“What’s the point of saying anything? The haughty Grand Duke Franz. When his brother became ill, he attempted to usurp his young nephew’s seat. We must depose that vile man. Didn’t he say his hobby was hunting?”
The queen mischievously chuckled.
“You must have thought I was nothing more than a hunter. That I only use beaters to drive monsters out of the forest and kill them. Let’s see what kind of expression that scumbag makes when he understands he’s the prey.”
* * *
It was an early start to the day.
Even though the Knights Order began their responsibilities three or four hours before the rest of the world, it was still before daybreak.
The sky was almost black, not just deep blue.
Nonetheless, Alston knocked politely on the door.
He did not doubt that his boss would be present.
Sure enough, a response was sent right away.
The tone of voice was a little lower than usual.
He must be fatigued after escorting his partner to the royal palace debutante party yesterday.
The role of Glamis Knights deputy commander was not simple.
Sir Alston Emery admired his boss, Sir Raretis Hope, more than anyone else, but if he was recommended as a successor, he was ready to flee with his shoes off.
When he opened the door, he saw a tired-looking man.
The man, who generally wore a uniform and buttoned his shirt to the neck, had the top button of his shirt undone.
His unkempt black hair hid his brow, and his dark eyes showed signs of exhaustion.
Alston, on the other hand, cleared his throat and handed him the paperwork hidden beneath his coat.
“It’s a missing person case, deputy commander.”
“A missing person case, you say?”
Raretis seized the materials and began flipping through them right away.
There wasn’t much information on the rustling pages of paper.
“Wasn’t the royal palace debutante ball the day before yesterday? So there was a comparable loud festivity seeking to follow the palace ball among the commoners. I assumed we only needed to be more cautious with public order than usual, but keeping public order in the capital is mostly the responsibility of the city guard and the royal guard.”
The Glamis Knights have their headquarters in the capital, but they do not always stay there.
They usually stay in fortifications on the northern and southern borders.
They must be prepared to go at any time with their available forces.
That was the Glamis Knights’ present position.
Of course, the royal guard and the city guard stationed in the palace were always in charge of ensuring public order and vigilance in the capital.
In truth, Raretis had no cause to receive a report on this topic from the start.
However, this was a work-related illness.
“There was a small festival in the square where everyone gathered, danced to music, and had a good time. However, after the dance and everyone went home, a few young females went missing.”
“Is there a possibility that it’s just a misunderstanding or that they stayed out overnight?”
“That is also a strong possibility. It’s possible that young men and women got along and didn’t go home…”
Alston rubbed his chin.
“At first, a little flower seller testified, and we asked around to get this result. Sir Blackwood, do you know the youngest?”
Raretis recognized the name.
The Glamis Knights did not frequently take on new members.
Because it was a rigid meritocracy, many commoners lined up to join the Glamis Knights, but few succeeded.
Sir Blackwood Pen had joined the order the year before last, despite being the youngest.
“He lives in the capital, and the girl he has a crush on appears to have attended the festival yesterday. So, since he was already off duty, he went to the event and had a great time. The kid selling flowers early in the morning was talking about it.”
There was nothing strange about the story up to this point.
The Glamis Knights worked hard while on duty, so no one bothered what they did on their days off as long as they did not violate chivalry or commit crimes.
“He has a sister who works with him selling flowers, and she didn’t show up today. He didn’t think it was a big thing then because there wouldn’t be many consumers buying flowers at daybreak like today.”
“Was there anything unusual?”
“A few people who always come to work every day without fail were missing.”
“So far, there isn’t a clear case.”
“Yes, but you always say that by the time something happens, it’s too late, right deputy commander?”
“Excellent job on the investigation. Keep an eye out for anything that comes up in the future.”
“But, honestly, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Even if people say they wouldn’t spend the night with a stranger, all kinds of things can happen when people meet, right? If something does occur, the jurisdiction and command for investigation are unclear, and it is not our responsibility to deal with it…”
“Isn’t it critical to resolve the problem before more victims suffer? The question of who gets the credit is secondary.”
The reply that had risen to Alston’s throat was swallowed.
No one was unaware of Sir Raretis’ charisma and repute.
Everyone knew the Glamis Knights had more honor and skill than the royal guard.
However, as a result, the royal guard developed an odd envy and inferiority attitude toward the Glamis Knights.
They were in charge of the royal family’s safety, as well as the protection of the capital and the palace throughout the year.
Unlike the Glamis Knights, who accepted commoners regardless of social position as long as they were skilled, the royal guard only accepted aristocrats with thoroughly vetted backgrounds.
As a result, they were proud to be the royal guards that protected the royal family.