To my dearest cousin,
My beloved Camilla, it has been far too long.
How are you finding life in Mohnton?
In the royal capital, there are still many rumours floating around about you. In the newspapers, it’s written that you’re already in the first stages of pregnancy, dear cousin, is that true? If it’s so, then I’m delighted for you.
But I can’t help but wonder… Will you give birth to a human? Or, perhaps, tadpoles?
Anyways, it has been a full week since you left for the Duchy of Mohnton, my dear cousin. And by the time you receive this letter, I suppose another three days must have past?
By then, Prince Julian and Liselotte will have been formally engaged. Liselotte has received all manner of jewels and dresses from Prince Julian, every time she appears in public all the ladies sigh at her stunning beauty. I’m sure that being so beloved only makes her more charming.
Speaking of being loved, are you not the same? How is life alongside Duke Montchat? I am sure that you are feeling beloved and beautiful. Even if he may look like a swamp-dwelling toad, love is still love, after all. Perhaps, in time, you will attain a type of beauty suited to the swamp, dear cousin. Whenever I talk about it with my friends, I confess to them that I’m most envious of you.
My dearest cousin is married to Lord Montchat, a duke and a distant member of the royal family, after all. You may have become despised by Prince Julian and abandoned by uncle and aunty, but perhaps it was all for the best. My cousin was able to meet a partner who truly matched her perfectly.
Surely no one can interfere in the true love between Lord Montchat, the ugliest man in the world and my cousin, who is hated by the whole world. You compliment each other perfectly. Prince Julian doesn’t seem to have forgiven you at all, but that’s a mere triviality now that you can rely on your Lord Montchat.
Oh, yes, I just can’t help but be envious of you. Actually, I myself decided to get engaged the other day.
My partner is to be Damien, from the house of Count Gunther. It is rather embarrassing to admit as his status carries much less weight than Duke Montchat, but he is still the heir to a county. He is a kind person with a handsome face, though a little on the lean side. But although he’s such a nice man, he’s very popular with the women, so I do tend to get awfully jealous. I suppose that’s something you don’t have to worry about much with Lord Montchat?
…..I’m sorry, I just can’t help but envy you so much, dear cousin. It seems that I can’t help but think about my cousin all the time. Just what kind of amazing life are you leading out there in the bogs? I just can’t help but wonder.
In any case, once I get married myself, may I go and visit your lovely home, cousin? I’m sure by that time I’ll have plenty of stories from the capital to tell you. I’d also love for you to meet my husband as well. Ah, but, when we do visit, could you please have Lord Montchat wear a name tag? Otherwise, I might mistake him for a common toad.
From your adorable cousin,
Have you received any letters from uncle and aunty? The two of them fawn over me so much, I worry that they may have forgotten about you, cousin. I did say to them that they ought to write, but… No way, by any chance, could their letters have become lost in the post?
After staring at it for a long while, Camilla tore the letter into pieces as if it were garbage.
Opening that envelope in the first place was a mistake. For a long time, Camilla and Therese have been something close to enemies. Since Camilla had always been so sharp-tongued herself and prone to disparaging others herself, it only makes sense that someone who despised her so much would be laughing to the point of tears at her circumstances.
But, even though she knew who had sent the letter, she had still opened it because she was so homesick for the capital.
It has only been ten days since she left. Camilla’s position at the Montchat estate was truly some half-hearted thing, merely a pending candidate for betrothal. Although she’s staying in a guest room, she isn’t inconvenienced and the room itself is treated with great care, but she feels something of a wall between her and everyone else.
Especially because it seems that the bad rumours from the capital are beginning to trickle into the distant Mohnton territory.
The elderly servants glare at her, whilst the younger ones stare at her as if she’s some sort of clown. Gossiping maids will talk and giggle to each other about her, even knowing full well that Camilla can see them. It’s also the case that the maids are loath to wait upon Camilla, usually pressuring someone else into doing it. There are also a few people who show outright hostility to Camilla, including Gerda.
In remote Mohnton, Camilla has no close maid to confide in and no friend to rely on. Although the room may be good quality, the bed is unfamiliar to her and nothing on the shelves belongs to her. Clothes that she had never worn before. Humid air and strange winds.
No matter how much she strained, she couldn’t see even a shadow of the capital as she looked out the window. For Camilla, there is no comfort.
And her cousin’s letter just drove it all home.
Even though Therese should know Camilla well ―― Rather, it’s because she knows Camilla so well that she could make the letter so piercing. Therese, who hated Camilla from a very young age, was probably beside herself with laughter right now.
Her cousin, Therese, was described as cute and adorable by all. Even Camilla’s own parents seemed to dote on Therese more than her. On the other hand, anyone who she saw as an enemy or happened to earn her ire would be driven into a corner, as she used her charms to turn everyone against them. Therese’s enemies would always be isolated in the end, without hope of escape.
Since Camilla was so strong and prideful, not falling to Therese’s schemes, she had always considered her a true eyesore. She must be enjoying Camilla’s current predicament even more than Liselotte was.
And, just like her words had implied, Camilla hadn’t received a single letter from her parents. Surely, they were still doting over Therese instead.
For Camilla who is ridiculed and not missed by anyone, it must seem like the perfect ending for a villainess that the newspapers desired. Nobody cares about Camilla’s own feelings. Nobody pitied her.
Camilla closed her eyes. She stood in the third-floor room in the Montchat household that she had been given. She breathed in deeply from the damp marshy air that flowed through the window.
She bit her lip for a moment. She inhaled slowly, not letting an inch of breath escape. Then, grasping the letter she had torn,
“UAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!! I HATE THIIIIIIS――――――!!”
Camilla screamed through the window. She threw the letter outside to the garden below. The torn pieces of paper caught in the wind, scattering about.
“Just why do you hate me so much!? I didn’t do anything to deserve this!?”
She simply loved Prince Julian. So, she came into conflict with Liselotte. She may have said some harsh things and used her position to approach the prince. But, that was all.
She didn’t hurt anyone. Everyone simply accepted it as truth that she had sent thugs to attack Liselotte, but she had never even dreamed of doing anything like that.
Confronted and condemned, driven from her home, separated from her parents and friends and finally, as an apparent act of mercy, forced to marry a grotesque man. Did she deserve this? Isn’t she just being made into some kind of sick joke for people to laugh at?
“Take a good look! Isn’t this what you wanted to see, me marrying a thing like that!?”
From the room in the manor atop the hill, the land was quiet leading all the way to the nearby town. All she can see is a gardener far in the distance, but otherwise, there was no one. Nobody there to hear Camilla’s cries.
But, Camilla didn’t care whether or not anyone heard her. How could she stop this quaking in her heart, if not by shouting? Of course, she wasn’t thinking about the consequences.
“But just you wait, I’ll be the one laughing in the end! Liselotte, Therese, even you, Prince Julian!!”
Therefore, she will do everything she can to leverage the power of the slow-witted Alois’ blood. No matter what, she won’t accept any excuses, and she won’t be abandoned again.
She won’t be naive anymore. Their faces will be twisted with regret and frustration once Camilla shapes Alois into a respectable man.
“I won’t lose so easily――――!!”
Camilla yelled out into the sky of that strange land.