The Otome Game's Bad Ending - Chapter 82
She was more tender and compassionate than she was firm.
She had reduced her social engagements to those she already knew after the death of her daughter.
The meeting today was about embroidery.
Everyone brought their embroidery hoops, threads, and needles and talked while working with their hands.
Irenne had been sewing on her hoop but had stopped, her fingers quivering.
Countess Betty appeared hesitant at first, but she did not back down.
Her manner had a slightly malevolent tinge to it.
“How truly scandalous it is. To think that an unmarried lady would say such horrible, disgusting things in the palace…”
“What are you talking about?”
“Have you not heard? Concerning Lady Emilia. She’s been the talk of the town recently because of her meeting with a Cavalier, but she got too carried away at the royal ball. She was nasty with other ladies, shouting horrible insults…”
“Yes. She didn’t even bother to bow her head in shame. It’s been all over the news. You’re far too generous, Marchioness. Doesn’t she take your compassion for granted and only turn to your family when it suits her? It’s extremely impressive how you’ve nurtured such a lady, treating her like a child and developing her to behave properly.”
“It’s self-evident, isn’t it? Lady Elodie is acting out of malice since you’ve been watching over her…”
“What, what did she say?”
“Oh, I should have been more considerate of your delicate nature, Marchioness.”
Countess Betty pretended to be concerned.
Her eyes widened as the Marchioness gasped for air.
Countess Betty set aside her embroidered handkerchief and spoke, interpreting her reaction.
“How audacious. They claim she mocked the other ladies by bringing up the late Lady Windrose.”
“Yes. Honestly, was she ever in a position to be invited to the royal ball in the first place? We’re all aware, Marchioness. Young Lord Brahamdorff does not bestow his favors on anyone.”
Today, Countess Betty’s tone was especially sharp.
“She couldn’t stand a casual discussion about her unfortunate circumstances, so she created such a commotion. It’s so absurd that I can’t even talk about it. My poor daughter returned in tears.”
That was most likely her true sentiment.
Even though she typically claimed not to know in front of Marchioness Windrose, she couldn’t stop once she started.
“Oh, that sensitive child must have been so hurt…”
“What is the child’s situation?”
The voice of Marchioness Windrose trembled.
Countess Betty clicked her tongue and spoke, interpreting this in her manner.
“Well… Your Grace is wonderful and always sees the best in people, even supporting someone like Lady Elodie. But, honestly, what makes Lady Emilia so remarkable?”
The Marchioness took a deep breath.
“Even now, she’s counting on Lord Brahamdorff’s favor. Once that’s gone, it’s all over. She’s been surviving off the Windrose’s charity… No, please accept my apologies. She resembled a parasite.”
“A, a parasite?”
“Perhaps it was a little too blunt for someone as sweet as you, Marchioness, but honestly. You should have made Lady Emilia more aware of her predicament. She wouldn’t be so arrogant if she knew her place.”
The Marchioness appeared to be frozen, unable to speak.
Her respiration was laborious.
“Do all nobles have the same rank? She had no land or title and wandered around like a wanderer until you took her in. Isn’t she, in some ways, worse off than a commoner?”
Countess Betty proceeded before the shocked Marchioness, clearly intoxicated by her words.
“Even if she’s making her debut as a lady and getting all this attention, it’s all a ruse. What kind of noble is she if she lacks respect, money, and dignity? There are lines in society that should never be crossed and those that should never be crossed. You should have told her, Marchioness, but you were too nice…”
The Marchioness sensed a void within her.
“But you raised her as a child alongside Ophelia. So, she must have mistakenly believed she could hold her head high in front of decent noble ladies. You see, this is the issue…”
Me, being kind to her?
When others referred to her as a parasite clinging to House Windrose.
Emilia smiled with dull eyes, devising horrible words for herself, but offered her handkerchief in the end, came to mind.
Her eyes were transparent black, like tinted glass.
Thin, but seemingly capable of absorbing any color into its depths.
She had known all along.
Her thoughts became blank.
Had she always been perceived in that light?
Was she always treated this way…?
With quivering hands, the Marchioness grabbed the hem of her gown.
A buzzing noise invaded her head like a swarm of flies.
The facts were unmistakable.
There had been a tea party in the palace, and Emilia and other rich ladies had gotten into a fight.
Ophelia’s name has been mentioned…
She was aware of the presence of the tea party.
Elodie had been prepared for it.
But that was the end of it.
She had not heard anything else.
The Marchioness stared blankly.
‘But Elodie never said anything to me..’
When the Marchioness asked Elodie whether anything had happened since the palace tea party, she paused before smiling pleasantly, as she often did.
‘Yes. Everything was in order.’
Is that all she said with a smile?
“I bring this up because that audacious girl seems to influence Lady Elodie negatively.”
“Our daughter was distraught and crying, but she was still concerned about Lady Elodie. It’s one thing for Lady Ophelia, who couldn’t help herself, but for Lady Elodie… She has such a bright future ahead of her, and you rely on her more than anybody else, Marchioness.”
She had no idea she was being compared to anyone.
She had purposefully avoided further investigation.
The Marchioness’s lips quivered.
Countess Betty reached out to her again after noting her pale face.
“Marchioness? Are you feeling sick?”
After their paths crossed again following the debutante ball, she didn’t look for Emilia’s news.
She never asked anyone to look for her.
She purposefully turned a blind eye.
Because if she had known, would she have pursued her?
Gone to her, clutching her skirts and sobbing?
Clung madly to her, only to be rejected by her again?
What if she despised her and never came back?
What if her actions shattered her affection for Ophelia?
Just a little longer, just a little longer, until her rage subsided, and then…
Ignoring was the same as not knowing.
Even if she hadn’t realized it, it was dishonesty.
She remembers the sin of neglecting that child back then.
She assumed it was her fault.
She was convinced that others would not follow suit.
It was a misunderstanding.
Everyone stayed quiet in front of the often sick and kind-hearted Marchioness, but the sins she was unaware of were already plenty.
Countess Betty’s eyes appeared strange.
She had dismissed her as simply chatty and impetuous but not a nasty person.
She thought she liked Ophelia.
She believed her kid would be a good companion for Elodie because they had similar relationships.
Irenne’s tongue was rigid and barely moved.
Her body was stiff as a wooden puppet.
Countess Betty’s words were loaded with scorn.
“A parasite living off the charity of the Windroses.”
That child had lived hearing such words back then?
Her vision became jumbled.
She was dizzy.
Emilia was always the little girl who hid her apple-red cheeks and brooding dark eyes from Irenne.
Even though she was quiet in her youth and became more so later in life, she was always a child to her.
She used harsh words to keep her in line out of affection and devotion.
Because she would never be able to be like Ophelia.
She shouldn’t be there.
She couldn’t hate herself as much as Ophelia did.
She couldn’t forsake her daughter, who hadn’t lived long.
‘I warned you, Mother. You would be sorry.’