Chapter 01: Countess Rosenstein
I found the web novel again thanks to a kind reader!
I noticed that the author had made changes to the chapters, and the reuploaded version has more chapters than the previous version, so I have decided to retranslate this project. Hopefully, I should be able to translate it faster this time if the author has kept some things the same and will aim to upload twice a week (or more)!
Hope you enjoy it!
The moment I saw him smile at his lover, it was so beautiful that I forgot to breathe and stared at him in awe.
His smile was enticingly sweet, tender and full of affection.
It was the first time I had ever seen him smile, and it was a side of him that I had never known.
It was beautiful.
He was more beautiful than anything in this world, and I stopped as if I had been struck by lightning.
At that moment, my eyes were for seeing him, and all my senses were for feeling him.
Strong emotions exploded from the depths of my heart; it became a torrent that rose to my throat. It changed into heat and burnt my eyelids.
――― Is this love?
I learnt what it means to love someone; the essence of love that couldn’t be described into words, and not just the abstract concept of love.
I fell in love at the same time.
His smile stole my heart and even my soul.
On the other hand, I was also assaulted with intense regret.
――― Why now?
My feelings towards him were supposed to remain friendly, and never change.
I preferred it that way since I wasn’t supposed to love him.
I am a woman who was taken in because of sympathy, so I shouldn’t feel too much for him.
As a decorative wife, I was supposed to accept their relationship and live with it.
――― And yet, why, why am I feeling this way towards him now?
Even the strongest joy was covered by the blackest sorrow, and it was as if my heart remained black and was torn to pieces.
It was painful, heart-breaking and unbearable.
――― Why did I…
Tears were streaming down my cheeks by the time I had noticed.
The tears wouldn’t stop, no matter how many times I wiped them away.
I ran at dusk because I wanted to run away from everything.
I kept on running even when my breathing got heavy, and my heart started to hurt.
I wanted to get as far away from the two of them as possible, and if I could, I even wanted my soul to disappear from this world right now.
Reference to Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Spargi d’amaro pianto.
Under the dazzling lights of a huge chandelier, a songstress covered in blood was smiling on stage.
She beautifully sang at the top of her voice about love that was proven with death. The mad melody depicted both joy and sadness.
Shed bitter tears on my earthly remains…
And I will pray for you in heaven.
Only when you join me will heaven seem beautiful.
Heaven, to me!
The songstress collapsed on the ground like a doll with broken strings when the chorus sang a sorrowful tune.
The climax was when the fallen songstress is dragged to the back of the stage by a pastor and maid.
In the end, a high-pitched sound like a death agony swelled from her throat.
Is the reflection of her lover, who is not here, reflected in her wide-open eyes?
Her voice was full of sorrow and wrung at the heart of the audience.
When the performance ended, the audience erupted in applause, and everyone praised the songstress for doing a splendid job in singing the ‘Mad Scene’.
In the meantime, the acting continued, and the songstress was held up by the servants while the stairs at the centre of the stage slowly went up as if it was going to heaven.
As the story went on, and the male lead, who learnt that the female lead had died, committed suicide and the play ended in tragedy.
――― I’m jealous.
I also clapped loudly along with the rest of the audience while sighing at the emotion that suddenly grasped my chest.
A beautiful female lead who went mad because she fell in love and died after letting people know how powerful those feelings were.
I also want to fall into madness like her and cry out my love for him without a care in the world while holding onto an illusion, and then die.
Then, wouldn’t this worthless life of mine become a little more decent?
But unfortunately, I wasn’t obsessed enough to go into a frenzy in front of others, nor am I sensitive enough to die from grief.
Most importantly, my appearance is too plain for a tragic heroine.
I’m no match for the songstress.
It is best to fantasize like this and be immersed in the feelings.
I sighed again, deeper than I did before, got up from my seat and left the box.
I walked fast so that I wouldn’t bump into the ladies and gentlemen who were coming out from their private rooms or be called out to by someone I knew and walked down the grand stairs that lead to the hall on the ground floor.
The theatre hall was spectacularly luxurious and was comparable to the halls of the noble residences where frequent evening parties are held.
Although it wasn’t as big as the theatre, it was white and gold overall and had a crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The chandelier shone so brightly that you wouldn’t think it was night.
The dressed-up men and women were absorbed in their conversations, and the smell of perfume and the excitement in the hall made me stop in my tracks.
I stopped halfway down the stairs, hid behind a big vase filled with lilies and sighed deeply.
――― It’s okay.
I convinced myself as I put an arrogant smile and held my fan. I strolled into the crowd of people.
The young ladies, who had noticed me, had curiosity written on their cute faces as they whispered behind their fans.
“Look. It’s Countess Rosenstein.”
The whispers were full of malice.
I slowed down and took my time to walk past the young ladies.
“Is that the person from the rumours?”
“Yeah. She’s that Countess Rosenstein. She has an unapproachable expression on her face as if she is looking down on people as usual. Oh my, she didn’t bring her lover with her and is alone.”
“Lover? Does she have a lover? She doesn’t look much older than us.”
“If I’m not mistaken, she’s 18 this year. She just got married not even a year ago, and she already has a lover. She hasn’t even given birth to any children.”
I received a drink from a passing waiter and stopped to moisten my throat.
As I was doing that, the whispering of the ladies got louder.
“Wow! Isn’t that bad?”
“It’s against the rules. Lord Rosenstein also seems quite angry. But she doesn’t regret it at all and continues to date that lover of hers. I wonder if it’s more accurate to say that she takes him around instead of dating him or pursuing him. The rumour is that the Countess is the one crushing on him and he continues to have an unwilling relationship with her for the sake of money.”
“Wow. Then why doesn’t the Lord divorce her?”
“My thoughts exactly. Such a domineering and arrogant person should just be sent back to her parent’s home. Apparently, her family home is in a really rural place, so she probably won’t be poking her nose into our business and walking around like she owns the place. I’m sure Lord Rosenstein cares about what people think. A year is too short, even if he does divorce her. He’ll at least wait three or four years before divorcing her, don’t you think?”
That was enough for me to hear.
I smiled provocatively at the young ladies, which caused them to raise their voices, “Oh dear!” before I left.
As I slipped through the crowd and returned the glass to a passing waiter, I heard criticism from other people too.
“I heard that the relationship between husband and wife is so cold that they don’t even talk to each other. Apparently, Lord Rosenstein has made his decision and is showering his love onto his blind cousin who lives in the same mansion instead of his heartless wife who has a lover.”
“I wonder when they’ll divorce. I want to introduce my niece to him if they do. My niece has always adored Earl Rosenstein. She’s much more charming and attractive than that lady.”
“Ah, she looks like a terrible spendthrift. She buys a lot of jewellery and dresses and often visits gambling houses. She also gives a lot of money to her lover.”
“She comes from a poor rural noble house, right? She got married into a wealthy family and got spoiled, so she got carried away and does whatever she likes. Honestly, Lord Orpheus is so unfortunate.”
I’m pleased to hear their criticism. I chuckled in my mind since the criticisms were much worse than I’d imagined.
Of course, not everyone criticised me.
There were also a lot of nobles who greeted me warmly.
They crawl around me like ants as soon as they see me, and try to curry favour with their honeyed words.
They ingratiate themselves into my favour like this and will probably try to receive favours through me on a rainy day.
Even though the rumours are true and my relationship with him is getting colder.
I skilfully dodge their greetings and compliments, and looked at them coldly while saying, “Well everyone, have a good evening.”
I was able to watch the opera that I’ve always wanted to watch and learnt that the criticism I received from the world is strong. I don’t have anything else to do here.
I wanted to get back to the mansion quickly and rest, so I looked up arrogantly like a queen, and exited with a smile on my face.
It was quiet outside, and I could smell the unique night dampness in the air.
My nose almost wrinkled from all the perfume smells, so I took a deep breath and raised my face at the sky.
There was a crescent moon floating in the sky; its shape resembled a smile and looked as if it were mocking me, the foolish and silly woman.
――― Laugh if you want to laugh.
I’m not going to cry out in a frenzy, so laugh since this is the only way I prove my love to him in this way.
Laugh at the foolish woman who is going to sacrifice everything for his happiness.
――― Laugh all you want. Cuss all you want.
I got on the carriage and wiped the smile which I had plastered on my face.
I gazed out the window while feeling gloomier than usual; I don’t know if it was because the tragedy of the play was still lingering within me or if it was because I was unusually shaken by the criticism I received because of my actions.