A Rose Dedicated to You - Chapter 21
Diana collapsed abruptly and looked like a doll.
A broken doll who had fell in a rose maze.
The sight of her flowery hat slipping off, her skirt fluttering and her white hand reaching out to me seemed extremely slow.
The petals of the yellow rose danced in the wind and chased after the falling Diana.
I thought that it would be great if the frustration and displeasure inside of me exploded when I saw a precious person to me get hurt in front of my eyes.
I used Diana for my selfish goal of divorcing Orpheus.
――― I’m sorry, Diana. I’m sorry.
I knew that she would never forgive me, but I continued to pointlessly apologise in my mind even though it would never reach her.
Why am I apologising ――― it’s obvious.
I wanted to lighten my sins by apologising. I wanted to get away from my feelings of guilt.
I wanted to believe that I’m an average person who can feel guilty and judge right from wrong.
I wanted to believe that my heart wasn’t seeped with evil.
“Ah,” a faint groan escaped from my mouth.
Orpheus was running desperately towards us. I’ve never seen him look so desperate. I felt like this was the first time that I’ve seen him run.
This person really does love Diana, I earnestly thought at a time like this, then noticed that my way of thinking and sense was different from the ordinary person.
I’m not normal. I might be broken somewhere.
Or, I might have been abnormal from the moment I was born.
I’m crazy enough to hurt my beloved’s love so that I can achieve my goal.
――― That’s why no one loves me. I’m not needed if there’s no reason for needing me.
My heart beat loudly. I wanted my soul to disappear from this world.
I wish I wasn’t born at all. I was attacked by intense regret.
Orpheus ran up to us at an alarming speed and stopped Diana’s body from hitting the soft lawn.
“Are you alright?!”
Diana didn’t know what was happening and whispered before her eyes rolled, “Why are you here?”
Orpheus looked scary when he saw Diana. He gently supported her back as if he was handling delicate glasswork and stood her firmly on the ground.
“I, I’m okay. I’m okay,” Diana repeated after she recovered from the shock of being pushed away and smiled.
“I got dizzy because it was too hot and lost my footing. I wasn’t injured since you caught me, Orphe. And nothing hurts. So, I’m fine,” Diana thought Orpheus hadn’t seen what happened and said to protect me because she didn’t know that Orpheus had been standing close to us.
Did she think that she could deceive him if she said I hadn’t done anything wrong and it was her fault?
She didn’t even know that the person who she was trying to protect was being glared at.
“Diana, you ―――,” I opened my mouth to criticise the soft-hearted Diana, and saw that her maid was running this way.
She had probably watched us in secret because she was worried about Diana being alone with her love rival. She turned pale and looked awful as if she had just been hit badly.
“Ah, Diane-sama! I’m so glad! I’m so glad that Master made it in time!”
“Marion? That voice belongs to Marion, right? Why are you here…?”
“I was worried about you, and hid behind a tree so that I can come running if something were to happen… Ah, Diane-sama! Horrible, terrible! It’s horrible of her to suddenly push you! Even though you can’t see! You only wanted to apologise to her!”
“You’re wrong, Marion. Ophelia didn’t push me!”
“You were pushed away by me,” I declared in a low tone, and everyone closed their mouths.
Orpheus looked around as if he was searching for something, Diana’s eyes loitered, and Diana’s maid ――― Marion Kirst turned red in anger.
I sneered at them as they stood petrified, and said in contempt, “Honestly, what an annoying woman. Acting like a goody-goody, and making me into the villain by acting like a tragic heroine. What’s with the ‘I just staggered, and fell’? You said that because you knew that Orpheus had seen what had happened, right? Your value goes up if you protect me like that. As expected of Diane-sama, the servants are complimenting you for protecting the good-for-nothing wife.”
“That’s how you made everyone hate me. The servants hate me and isolate me. You’re seriously annoying and unpleasant. I wish you would just hit your head and die already.”
“Wh-what are you…!” Marion stepped forward to protect Diana, and her fists were shaking.
“Aren’t you hated because of your actions?! It’s not Diane-sama’s fault! Diane-sama has always regretted what has happened, so she tried to apologise to you. How dare you behave this horribly!?”
“Shut up you insolent maid. Talking out of line even though you’re a servant, do you want to get fired? Know your place. If you want to show off your incompetence, then do it elsewhere. You’re an eyesore.”
“I don’t need to know my place! If you want to fire me, then just do so!”
“Marion! Stop it!” Diane chided as her expression changed, but Marion continued arguing as blood had gotten to her head.
But, a dry voice slipped through and stopped her, “Marion.”
“I’ll leave Diana to you,” Orpheus said with an indifferent expression that made it hard to tell what he was thinking. Marion grinded her teeth in frustration and stood beside Diana.
Diana sensed that things weren’t peaceful and said, “Wait, Orpheus,” but Orpheus didn’t reply back to her.
“Why did you push Diana?”
I saw that his blue eyes were shaking in anger, but I glared back at him without flinching and calmly spoke selfishly, “It’s not my fault. It’s Diana’s fault for making me angry.”
“I’m asking you why you pushed her.”
“Orpheus, are you angry?”
I widened my eyes as if to say I didn’t understand why he was making such a face, and he frowned.
I blinked several times, then pretended to notice why he was angry for the first time and pouted.
“So, you are angry. You’re horrible. You’re trying to blame me even though I hadn’t done anything wrong.”
I felt like the heroine of a tragedy.
I’m good at acting like a woman who believed she was always right.
A woman who couldn’t be reasoned with, and never admits her mistakes.
A woman who didn’t listen to any arguments, and shrilled and screamed when heavily blamed.
――― I’ll play a clown until the end.
I raised my ugly, distorted face and stared at him with eyes of hatred.
“Why are you on Diana’s side?” Those words exploded with fury.
“Why are you always like this!? We were so close, weren’t we?! I always behaved myself and even told you that I liked you! So why are you never on my side?! Why do you always blame me?! Even though Diana said a lot of things that made me angry!” I screamed as if I’d gone mad, and Diana and Marion froze like they were stone statues.
Marion returned to her senses because she felt like I would be a danger and took a step forward to protect Diana.
Orpheus’s frown deepened, and his lips pursed tightly together.
“It’s always like this! Everyone’s on Diana’s side and makes me out to be the villain! I hate it! I loathe it! I wish she would die! I wish she would get hurt and suffer!”
I don’t want to hear what anyone says. I don’t intend to listen to their words. ――― I covered my ears to express my intentions.
Since everyone had become silent, my voice resounded so much that I hated it. My ugly desire continued to echo in my mind.
――― He’s going to hit me.
She saw Orpheus raise a hand in the corner of her eye and thought.
I said something I shouldn’t have. Orpheus is extremely angry.
That’s why he’s going to hit me.
I bit my teeth so that he could hit me at any time. I prepared myself mentally so that I can defend myself even if I fall.
I’m used to being beaten. I’m used to it, so I won’t get hurt.
I won’t scream. I won’t cry.
――― It’s okay. I’m sure I’ll be fine.
“That’s enough, already. Stop it.”
Orpheus didn’t hit me with the hand he had risen. He grabbed my hands which were blocking my ears and looked at my ugly face. Then, he whispered in a gentle voice that made my heart pound.
I understood when I saw him up close. His blue eyes weren’t shaking in anger, but in an emotion that was close to sadness.
“It’s painful to see you hate me and behave in a way that’s not yourself. So, please stop.”
Hot air drifted about as the wind blew. It blew through the gaps of the rose maze and made Orpheus’s hair and the hems of Diana’s and Marion’s skirt shake.
The breeze brushed against my cheeks comfortably, and I knew I was sweating.
“Apologise to Diana. You used Diana so you can hate me. You pushed her and ranted. Those actions are unforgivable no matter what your intentions are.”
“No, she doesn’t need to.”
“Marion, be quiet.”
Diana stepped forward.
The scene reflected in my eyes clearly, but I couldn’t understand what was happening. It was as if time was only passing for one person, and I was being left behind.
I thought about Orpheus’s words and desperately tried to understand what he meant, but a voice told me it didn’t matter. So, I stopped thinking.
――― No, that’s not it.
I understood. I knew exactly what he had meant the moment he had spoken.
I didn’t want to know, I was deceiving myself. I was trying to fool myself.
If I accept his words, then I’ll break down; my actions and the painful days I had to endure would become meaningless.
“I wanted it. She was punishing me. Ophelia soiled her hands to lighten my guilt. She might have used me, but I don’t care. Since I was the one who had tortured her and drove her into a corner. I made everyone hate Ophelia.”
The wind stopped, and there was a sullen aura in the air.
“Stop,” I weakly stopped Diana, who was trying to ruin everything. I breathed quickly even though I didn’t want to, and bluffed.
“I haven’t said anything, so don’t decide things on your own. Don’t speak nonsense.”
――― Play along if you want to be happy.
I had said those things so earnestly, but Diana never agreed. She stood frozen with a puzzled expression on her face and muttered, “I’m not in the position to say anything.”
“We two should talk. No, please talk to each other. Please, Ophelia. If you don’t want me to decide things, then talk about it yourself. If you won’t, then I’ll confess everything here and now.”
Why are you saying such things?
Do you not want to be happy? Didn’t you want to be by Orpheus’s side?
Why are you doing this when I’m trying to grant your wish?
“I found out about it.”
I didn’t ask what. I couldn’t ask when I saw her delicate eyes look lonely.
Even though I could usually cut off a conversation and leave, I couldn’t build up the willpower to do so.
My lips wouldn’t move, and my feet were sewn to the ground.
“Orpheus, you should tell her properly as well. Don’t be afraid, be brave. ――― Marion, your arm.”
“Take me away.”
Diana grabbed the maid’s hand and said her love rival’s name with red eyes like a rabbit, “Ophelia.”
Her light blue eyes couldn’t see, but she was looking straight at me.
“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”
――― Don’t go. Change your mind. Don’t leave the mansion. Stay by Orpheus’s side.
I pushed you, so you must realise your feelings and grant your wish. Juris also wants this.
Please, don’t go.
I reached out.
However, Diana smiled sadly, turned around and left with Marion.
She left the rose maze and walked far away under the sunlight.
I looked down and was stunned when I saw the petals scattered at my feet. They were yellow rose petals without a single flaw.
Why did things end up like this?
Things have been doing so well, so why did I fail? Why wouldn’t Diana cooperate with me?
It would have gone well if we had worked together. Everyone would have been happy.
A drop trickled down from my forehead and hit the grass.
It’s hot. Come to think of it, it’s scorching. It’s cold, but it’s hot. I can’t stop sweating.
When I went to wipe my forehead, a white finger stretched out faster and brushed my forehead. It wiped my sweat away.
When I looked up, I saw Orpheus looking down at me quietly. His expression was cold, as if he didn’t feel any heat at all.
He took out a handkerchief and wiped the sweat on his hand before presenting it to me.
“Let’s go back.”
I wonder if I should accept or decline.
I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t have anything to say to him.
I’m not looking for understanding, but a unilateral declaration from Orpheus. I don’t need any kind words or sweet smiles.
Let’s get divorced ――― that’s all he has to say.
I don’t know if he didn’t want to hear what I wanted to say, or if he knew that I had nothing to say, but he took my hand and started walking. He forcefully took me out of the rose maze.
I had a premonition and was very afraid.
If all the things I have built are collapsing, then it would be better if I wander around the maze forever.
I could dream that Orpheus is smiling happily and endure the pain.
I don’t care if I remain a foolish woman.
I don’t care if I’m hated.
――― It’s terrifying.
Even though the warmth from my beloved’s hands was warming my cold hands, it didn’t drive away my anxiety and fear.