The Otome Game's Bad Ending - Chapter 53
Raretis nodded lightly, as if he had found the answer, and his face softened somewhat.
Of course, Alston had no idea that once his assignment was completed, Raretis would go to every famous jewelry store in the capital and gaze at every jewel available.
He also would not have predicted that he would subsequently be searched for information on flowers, opera tickets, and suitable date sites, in addition to jewelry.
I overslept the day after the ball.
Even after waking up at noon, I felt sleepy, and my eyelids closed involuntarily.
My cheek, which had been hit the day before, was a bit sore as if it had enlarged while I was sleeping, but the pain was bearable, so I tried to sleep again.
But I couldn’t take my eyes off Kitty, sitting in a corner of the room, staring at me as if she were a dog waiting for its owner.
It somehow seemed like I was being tamed.
I mean, all I had to do was call her when she needed to do something, but Kitty would always come into my bed and wait for me to wake up with her beautiful eyes.
“Good morning, miss!”
I opened my eyes and yawned.
I thought I was going to die from exhaustion.
“No, no! The countess has invited you to tea with her today after lunch!”
“Ugh… I’ll go…”
I had no strength in my body, whether it was tea or pea time.
Kitty managed to drag my jelly-like body into a hot bath.
I finally came to my wits after rolling around in the hot water like a boiled egg, and Kitty gave me a light dress.
It included beige cloth, purple ribbons, and black buttons in a vintage style.
My makeup was minimal, and my hair was pulled back with a purple ribbon.
After putting on the garnet earrings Cassio had dumped on me, along with the jewelry, clothes, and shoes he had robbed from the stores the previous time, I was finally free.
Kitty pushed me out the door with a happy grin, as if she was full simply by looking at me.
I wanted to conclude tea with the countess fast and get some slumber.
Countess McGinty was sitting erect and extremely clean in the reception room when I arrived.
When I walked in, a calm maid gave me scones and madeleines on individual plates.
“Good morning, Countess McGinty.”
Countess McGinty was reading something when she turned to meet me.
I sat down with my head bent.
The tea was a standard black tea.
It was still warm as if it had just been brewed, and I drank it relieved.
Countess McGinty said nothing, and I only had a few bites of the scones.
Countess McGinty eventually spoke when she finished reading the paper.
“There are already several households that have sent you invitations.”
I was taken aback.
There are three debutante balls this year, including today.
The first day was yesterday, and most people attended all days, including today and tomorrow.
Given what happened yesterday, I had planned to rest today and possibly tomorrow.
In any case, attending the first day is usually considered participation in the debutante.
Since Countess McGinty barely introduced me to anyone last night, some families likely gave me invitations without even being presented to me.
It was unexpected and uncharacteristic of the high society that loves appearances.
“There’s one from Countess Betty as well. She sent it to me while claiming it wasn’t for you.”
I had to fight the urge to frown.
Countess McGinty had a relaxed expression on her face.
“Anyway, there are many people in social circles who are eager to invite famous figures in whatever way they can. It’s intriguing. They must have written the letters as soon as they arrived home yesterday night and told them to deliver them as soon as the sun came up.”
“Do you want to go anywhere?”
“Right. That’s what I assumed. If you don’t plan on attending the ball today or tomorrow, it’s best to explain you’re sick.”
I agreed with a nod.
“How long do you think the excuse of being unwell will work?”
“It depends, but in your case…”
Countess McGinty spoke herself thoughtfully.
“If you pretend to be sick and say that your cheek hurts so much that you can’t chew food, the Gloucester family will be quite anxious.”
The swelling cheek sprang to mind.
Edmund knocked me down.
My tongue barely stroked the inside of my cheek.
It was a little sore but not too bad.
In any event, the other cheek was excitedly biting on a scone.
“Has the Gloucester family sent an apology letter?”
“No, not yet. They will, however.”
Given that the incident occurred not on a hidden patio but in front of a large crowd, it seemed expected that they would apologize in some way.
Even if I had thrown the most heinous insults, the right response for them would have been to laugh it off gracefully and nobly rather than physically attacking me.
“However, I’m intrigued. What on earth did you say to enrage Edmund to a fuming idiot?”
I almost spit out my drink when she called Edmund a fuming idiot.
I was able to set my cup down and carefully choose my remarks.
“I said it was laughable that the most ardent follower of Ophelia was deriving vicarious satisfaction from Elodie and that Lady Elodie was truly pitiable.”
In actuality, my wording had been far harsher.
Countess McGinty narrowed her eyes as I spoke gently.
“I said that, given Lady Elodie’s well-known temperament, even if she truly despised and feared them, where could she express her feelings? He slapped me then.”
Countess McGinty exclaimed quietly in disbelief.
“That is not a topic to be brought up in front of everyone.”
“Still, if you don’t talk about it, people will make up their own stories about what you might have said.”
“I don’t mind. May I return the favor and slap Sir Edmund Gloucester if he makes up and spreads ridiculous stories?”
I responded quietly, and the Countess of MacGinty glanced at me with an odd expression.
Her eyes were strange.
What should I say?
It had the expression of a housewife who had discovered a bomb sprouting in the small succulent pot she periodically watered on the windowsill.
“…I knew Lady Emilia was a bit different from the ladies I’ve seen.”
“If I don’t receive an apology, I think it’s better to repay in kind than to duel.”
“The apology will come.”
“After all, what should a debauched gentleman who slapped the cheek of a lady on the first day of her debutante ball receive for her to forgive him?”
“Do you have something in mind?”
“Well, just like I had a romance for the debutante ball, maybe if I cry everywhere I go, things will somehow work out.”
Countess McGinty’s face twisted once again.
“…You’re going to cry?”
“Surely they won’t scold a crying person.”
“What will you do if you gain a reputation as a weak-hearted young lady who cries at the drop of a hat?”
“What if I earnestly plead that my cheek hurts when I’m nervous?”
With a calm countenance, I uttered a sentence that sounded like a threat from a traffic accident scammer, and the Countess fell silent for a moment.
It seemed like a reasonable approach to me…
“Anyway, what you said will make others say, ‘Isn’t Lady Emilia the one who is overly conscious of Lady Elodie?’” The Countess went on. “If by any chance, Sir Edmund Gloucester…”
“I don’t think he’ll be able to say anything. Looking back, what I said wasn’t very noteworthy, but the fact that he smacked me in front of everyone seems suspicious.”
A guilty conscience, in other words, pricks the mind.
If Edmund had any shame, he wouldn’t want his name to become a controversy and follow around the lady he was ardently seeking from the start.
People may claim I was wrong if the contents of my talk were public; that is, it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest Sir Edmund Gloucester was enjoying vicarious satisfaction.
There would be many who claimed Lady Emilia was envious of Lady Elodie.
Various people would contribute their own ideas, which is confusing.
It was merely that he’d be better off becoming the garbage who happened to raise his hand to my cheek in a fit of wrath that day.
However, I couldn’t be certain that he would act that way.
“When we bumped into each other in the dressing room, he looked at me as if I were a dead body. He inquired as to why I was there.”
Countess McGinty appeared perplexed.
I shrugged and sipped my tea.
“At the time, I was almost slapped again. Looking back, I don’t have such a strained relationship with that individual. There was also… Lady Elodie at the time.”
“High society is a place where you have to smile even if the enemy of your parents is smiling in front of you.”
“But don’t you prepare poison in knives and wine glasses?”
“One must not use one’s own hands to deliver the poison. It must conclude in such a way that it appears to be an unfortunate accident or incident.”
I couldn’t think about Lady Elodie positively.
However, because we made our debuts simultaneously, we would have to see each other’s faces multiple times, whether we liked it or not.
Countess MacGinty pointed out that no matter what happened, we had to smile on the outside.
I said that no one cared what we were thinking inside as long as we smiled on the surface.
The ‘social season’ is a polished term for high society, yet the people who genuinely play dirty play nasty.
They gamble their fortunes away and conduct affairs behind people’s backs.
Not all nobles are the same, and not all members of high society behave the same way.
Lady Elodie, as far as I could tell, had no intention of directly harming me.
“If I hadn’t met Lady Elodie this way, I might have thought well of her.”
That was something I unintentionally stated.
“In what way?”
“As if she was enjoying the things that… Ophelia should have had when she debuted as if she was taking away the things that… Ophelia should have had.”
It was dubbed ‘the return of the goddess’ in the press.
Knights kept vigil 24 hours daily to deter riffraff from sneaking into the Marquis’s house with flower bouquets and serenades.
They claimed that instead of the deceased Ophelia, she had become the Marquis’s family’s salt and light.
This was true not only for the Marquis’s family but for the many people who followed and adored her.
If her family situation and status had not been apparent, there could have been absurd reports that the Marchioness had given birth to twins but lost one, and the remaining one was Ophelia.
One of the midwives who thought the infant was too beautiful had kidnapped her.
Even though Elodie had barely survived in the countryside with her grandmother, she was still a noble.
Given that the Marquis’s relatives, particularly Ophelia’s nanny, were present at the time of Ophelia’s birth, the account made no sense.
Of course, newspapers are only interested in such things if they are fascinating.
Could Lady Elodie become the ‘true master’ of Windrose, the Marquisdom who left Ophelia?
Her beauty and extremely calming, gentle nature could prove that she was a gift delivered to the people by the deceased Ophelia.
They were only outlining this foolishness.