Chapter 39: After a Difficult Time
When we moved into the visitor’s bedroom, the ropes around my hands and legs were untied and my hands were finally free.
Since I had to take off my dress to receive medical treatment, the two men left the room and Renee treated the wounds on my neck and back.
The dress I was wearing was bloody and dirty in places, so I borrowed a change of clothes from Victoria’s closet.
Renee helped me into the borrowed dress and Orpheus returned.
She retrieved the bloodstained dress and left the room.
“How are you feeling?”
Orpheus walked over to me as I was sitting on the bed. He stretched out his hand and stroked my cheek.
“I’m okay. It hurts a little, but it’s not too bad,” I felt a little embarrassed, so I answered while looking and he said in a calm voice, “I see.”
“… Where’s Claude?”
“He went to check on Victoria.”
“I see. ――― Um, Orpheus.”
“Thanks for saving me.”
You showed up when I was about to give up. You rescued me from despair.
The back of my eyelids heated up as I felt happy and loved at the same time.
“… By the way, how did you know I was here?” I asked with a slightly trembling voice.
Orpheus didn’t seem to mind and answered indifferently, “Because of Renee. She saw you leaving through the servant’s doorway and thought it was suspicious, so she followed after you. Diana and Marion were freed, and you were captured instead, so she restrained the man who had come to deal with the two who had escaped and made him tell her who he was working for.”
“Deal with the two who had escaped…?”
Orpheus sat down next to me and nodded.
“Diana and Orpheus saw the kidnappers, so they were probably going to kill them to keep their mouths shut.”
Cold sweat trickled down my back.
How can that be?
Diana and Marion might have been killed if Renee hadn’t been there.
I had assumed that they wouldn’t go to the trouble of catching the two after they had let them escape, but it seemed that I was wrong.
In any case, I have to be thankful to Renee.
They were saved and I’m alive because of her, the excellent guard.
“But you’re reckless. Marion told me what you did… I can’t believe that you would act so foolishly.”
“… I’m sorry.”
“This won’t end just because you apologise. If we hadn’t saved you in time, then you would be dead right now.”
I shrugged as I was scolded in an unusually harsh tone.
Orpheus was angry. Really angry.
The cold air drifting from next to me felt horrible and I couldn’t give him any excuses.
“I should have forced you home instead of letting this happen. I didn’t want you to hate me, so I pretended to be understanding, but that was a mistake.”
“But… even if I had returned to the Rosenstein Mansion, that man would have thought of some other way to kidnap me. He even lured me out by using Diana and Marion as hostages.”
“How do you kidnap someone who can’t even step out of their room?”
So, if he had forcibly taken me back to the Rosenstein Mansion at that time, then… would I have been put under house arrest so that I would never be able to escape again?
I was getting more and more frightened and couldn’t reply, then I heard a sigh.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not going to give you anymore time to think about it. Whatever your intentions are, I have no intention of letting you go, and I’m not going to divorce you.”
A strange urge burst from within me when I was about to tell him that I wanted to start over with him again.
“Say, Orpheus. Do you like me?” Immediately after I asked this, his blue eyes widened to the point where they almost popped out of his eye socket, and a sigh escaped from his nicely shaped lips.
“Of course, I do. I like you. I love you…”
“Then may I touch you? I really want to touch you.”
When Orpheus nodded, I gently touched his puzzled white face with my hair.
I stroked his cheeks like he had done to me earlier and brushed his black hair from his forehead.
I traced his shoulders, arms and chest.
I felt his body and contours.
“… Can I give you a hug?”
It was frustrating to wait for an answer, so I put my knees on the bed and hugged him as if covering myself with his body.
Orpheus told me that he loves me, so I thought that I didn’t have to ask for this.
His body was bigger than mine and motionless like a statue, and I hugged him as tightly as I could.
Our pulsating heartbeats overlapped with each other.
“Lewis,” I whispered his real name into his ear.
The name that I never had the chance to call and was tucked away in the back of my mind for a long time.
“… You remembered?”
“Yes, I do. It’s your name after all.”
Neither Diana nor Juris knew his real name. He had only told me.
A name that was so precious and lovely wasn’t easy to forget.
“I love you. I love you. I love you more than anyone and anything.”
“I’ve made up my mind. I’ve decided to stay by your side from now on…”
Orpheus probably didn’t hear the words that I had uttered after that.
Unfortunately, there was a knock on the door.
“Your sister is awake… Ah, sorry, my bad.”
Claude had returned, and I quickly pulled myself away from Orpheus.
However, he had seen the whole thing, so he teased me, “Were you in the middle of something?”
“Uoah… I’m sorry to hug you at a time like this.”
“It’s alright. I’ll have you hug me later too.”
I was puzzled and Orpheus said with a thorny voice, “Your Highness.”
“Isn’t a little bit fine? You’re a narrow-minded husband. It’s not fair for you to hog her all to yourself. I was the one who was supposed to rescue Phelia, but you got a head start and pretended to be a prince in shining armour.”
“Ophelia is my wife. It’s only natural for me to rescue her before anyone else.”
“Hahaha. That’s funny of you to say. You’ve been neglecting her this whole time and didn’t care for her at all.”
“Umm… Claude and Orpheus.”
I timidly stepped in between the two of them, hoping to stop the exchange that would intensify if I had just stood around and watched.
“What is it, Phelia?”
“What’s wrong, Ophelia?”
Both answered almost at the same time.
They were so in tune with each other that I thought that they might actually be able to get along.
However, they obviously didn’t seem to get along. One of them was blatantly frowning while the other was clicking his tongue.
Half-astonished, I suggested that I would like to go and visit Victoria, and they both surprisingly nodded, probably because they were feeling displeased.
Victoria was lying on the bed in her room.
However, she shook off her nanny’s restraint as soon as she saw us, sat up and smiled firmly.
“Sister, you’re here.”
I gently hugged her petite body.
“Thanks for helping me. How are you feeling? Does your head still hurt?”
“I’m fine. It’s just a little bump. ――― Hey, Sister. What happened to that man?”
“We handed him over to the guards who came,” Claude answered.
“He’ll be going for attempted murder, kidnapping and confinement.”
Claude leaned against the wall with his arms crossed as he stared at Victoria.
“He’ll probably be stripped of his title too.”
“Hmph. I see. Serves him right.”
Victoria laughed ironically and everyone except me looked surprised.
“Serves him right, you say…? Your father was arrested, but you’re alright with that? This house will be destroyed.”
“I’m not alright with it or anything. He committed a crime. He deserves to be arrested for that. I hope he never comes out.”
“Victoria-sama,” her nanny scolded her in a small voice, but she turned her head away.
Claude smiled wryly.
“Perhaps you hated your father?”
“Yes. I loathe him. I even smashed him on the head with a flower vase because I hate him so much.”
Victoria’s smile was very charming, and the fact that she was unfazed by the news of her father’s arrest showed just how much she hated him.
“Oh, so that fragment was from a vase? By the way, did you know that Ophelia was injured by that?”
“What? Injured by that!?”
“It was just a little cut, it’s nothing serious.”
“Of course, it was! You had blood all over your back!”
Even Orpheus said too much…
It was hard to calm Victoria down as she turned pale and apologised.
I rubbed her back and she kept crying even though I told her it had already been treated.
When she had calmed down, she asked Orpheus and Claude how they knew her sister was here and what had happened to the people who were outside. She nearly slipped off the bed when she found out that Claude is a prince.
“What!? P-Prince?! This person is?!”
Claude smiled at her impressively as she looked at him as if he was lying.
“It sounds as if you want to say something else. What is it you want to say?”
“Eh, ah, I, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to sound like that… Sister! How the hell do you know him?! Why did the Prince come to rescue you!?”
“Well, a lot happened…”
“I want to know everything!”
It would take a long time if I had to explain everything, so I told her that I will tell her everything later to calm her down. Then, I had Claude and the nanny leave the room.
I had something that I wanted to tell Victoria and Orpheus.
When they left, I honestly told them that the man had said that my real father wasn’t him, but Orpheus’s foster father, Ernst.
“He said that he had never slept with my mother, so there was no way that he could have a child with my mother. He said that I was the child between my mother and Ernst-sama, the person who she loved. I don’t have any proof, but it didn’t seem like he was lying…”
『You’re that man’s, Ernst’s, daughter. You can tell straight away from the colour of your eyes. They’re blue, an even darker blue than Louise’s. It’s an annoying colour, just like Ernst’s. They make me want to kill you.』That man had hatefully said.
Your eye colour is the same as your father’s.
He seemed a little sad for some reason.
“Sister and I were never sisters,” Victoria was the first to break the silence.
She was stunned by this surprising revelation.
“But wait. If that’s the case, then wouldn’t that mean that Sister and brother-in-law are actually biological siblings? That’s why you both have black hair and blue eyes, and your auras are somewhat the same…”
“I guess you could say that we’re siblings, but we’re actually not related,” Orpheus denied this before I could even speak.
“We didn’t make this public, but I’m adopted. I’m not Ernst’s biological son. So, our marriage isn’t incestuous. ――― Ophelia, what do you want to do now? If you want to change your family register and come forward as the official Rosenstein heiress, then I can help you.”
“No!” I shook my head, stating that wasn’t what I wanted.
It’s enough to know that I’m not that man’s daughter.
I still have mixed feelings, but now I can completely cut him out of my life.
From now on, I don’t have to be tied down by that nasty thing called ‘blood’.
I will only look forward.
“I don’t want to change my family register or be a heiress. I just wanted you two to know this. From now on, I will always be your wife, Orpheus, and I will always be your sister, Victoria. That will never change.”
Then, we took a carriage and headed to Claude’s mansion.
It was already late at night, and someone had proposed that we stay the night at the Lagerfeld mansion, but I didn’t want to stay in a house with nothing but gloomy memories, so I had them prepare the carriage.
Orpheus wanted to take me back to the Rosenstein mansion, but he reluctantly agreed to go to Claude’s mansion when Claude told me that Diana, Marion and Claire were waiting for my return at his mansion.
I wanted to take Victoria with me, but she couldn’t be moved because she had a head injury, so I asked her to stay behind and told her that I will come to pick her up at a later date.
The officials that Renee and Claude had brought with them also stayed at the Lagerfeld mansion to help with the aftermath.
It was two hours after the date had changed when the carriage arrived at Claude’s mansion.
The entrance hall was still lit, and the old butler greeted us. The gatekeeper had probably told him that we had returned.
Rushed footsteps drowned the sound of his voice. Monica, Susanna and Claire rushed into the entrance hall.
They had woken up and were waiting for us.
But they didn’t give me time to be moved.
They were making a big fuss.
“Ophelia-sama! How can you be so reckless!?”
“Ah! I’m so glad! I’m so glad that you’re alright!”
“Why didn’t you say anything?! Why do you always disappear by yourself?! Why are you wearing a bandage around your neck!?”
I was surrounded by the three maids. One was angry, one was happy for my safety and one was crying. All three of them were talking at once, so I couldn’t even answer them.
I tried to apologise but Monica barked, “We’re not done talking just because you’ve apologised!”
I asked Orpheus and Claude for help, but Orpheus just kept quiet since he thought that I deserved this, and Claude turned away and held his laughter in.
I stood frozen in the middle of the chaos and I heard my name being called from somewhere else.
At the top of the stairs leading from the entrance hall to the second floor stood Diana, Marion ――― and even Juris.
Juris was holding Diana’s hand as the three of them rushed down the stairs.
“Madam, I’m glad to see that you’re alright.”
“Juris… I’m sorry I caused an uproar. ――― Diana and Marion, I’m glad to see that you’re both alright.”
“It’s thanks to you, Madam. You let us escape.”
The three agitated maids moved aside to let the three of them pass.
Ah, I wanted to see you.
The next thing I knew, I was surrounded by the people who I wanted to see again.
My heart felt warm, and I was so happy that I was speechless.
Diana reached out her hand to touch me.
I took her delicate slender hand, stepped forward and said, “I’m here.”
She cried while clinging to me and put all her strength into the arm that was around my back.
“You’re an idiot. You’re a moron. You’re such an idiot to use your own life as a shield.”
Diana and I called each other’s names in a friendly way while hugging each other.
“I’m sorry for worrying you, but I’m glad you’re okay. It’s nice to see you again.”
As I was patting Diana’s back, Claude said, “Isn’t this a bit different?”
“… What do you mean?”
“I was expecting her to be evil, but she’s more normal than I had expected. Ophelia is definitely more beautiful though. I don’t know why you all were on her side. You all have bad taste.”
Diana’s shoulders, which had been shaking slightly, stopped shaking, and an awkward silence filled the air.
Orpheus frowned, Juris turned cold, Marion looked offended, and the rest of the maids were completely frozen.
“Juris, right? You, too. Why don’t you just get with her if you’re brave enough to glare at a royal member because you like her even if you don’t know who I am. Phelia can’t move forward if you don’t. She holes up in her dark room, puzzling over what to do with you two. Poor thing. If you want to make it up to Phelia, then hurry up and get married. You’re the only man who wants her anyway.”
What is he saying―――?
I glared at Claude since there were things that could be said and things that can’t.
But as soon as his eyes met mine, he smiled brightly.
“I’m doing this for you, Phelia.”
“Your Highness, we have different statuses,” Juris said.
“I’m a servant and she is ―――.”
“This has nothing to do with status!”
Diana turned towards the bitter Juris and screamed, “Status doesn’t matter! How many times do I have to tell you for you to understand?!”
When Juris opened his mouth in confusion, Claude interrupted again, “Woah, a lovers quarrel? Give me a break, it’s the middle of the night.”
I stopped Claude, who was laughing like a child who had successfully pulled off a prank, when I realised that things were going to go out of hand again, “Don’t complicate things. They’re going to get married anyway.”
“We made a promise. ――― It took me a while, but I’ve made up my mind. Diana and Juris, you’ll keep your promise to me, right?”
Diana said she would marry Juris if I start over with Orpheus.
So, I’m going to ask the two of them to marry.
“… You forgive me?” Diana said anxiously.
“Of course,” I nodded.
“Well, I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re getting married after all. Orpheus-kun, do you approve of this?”
“I want them to get married as well. I want them to be happy together.”
The hall fell silent again, but it wasn’t an awkward silence like before.
Marion was in tears; Monica had her hand over her mouth in amazement and Susanna and Claire’s eyes were sparkling.
“What’s with this charade? It’s like I’m watching a ridiculous play.”
Claude shrugged as if he was fed up with this, then he scratched his bed hair, “Well, whatever.”
“Now that we know that Phelia is safe, and we’ve had our emotional reunion, let’s get some rest. I’m tired.”
“… I’m sorry, Claude. I’ve caused you a lot of trouble.”
Claude stood beside me and patted my head as if he was comforting me.
“I decided that I will do anything for you. ――― Susanna and Monica, show Lord Rosenstein and his cousin to their rooms. Marcel, you show Juris to his room. And, Phelia, you’re alright with staying in the detached building, right?”
We all stayed at Claude’s house on that day.
We all went to the rooms that were assigned to us.
When I entered the detached building, I was greeted by the nostalgic scent of roses.
Red, white, yellow, pink and orange.
The number of roses had dwindled, but the roses that Orpheus had given me were still blooming with vivid colours.
Perhaps sensing that I was too tired to stand, Claire helped me change without saying anything.
When she saw that bandage around my back, she screamed, but she didn’t ask me any questions.
I’m tired ―――.
It’s been a traumatic day.
I was kidnapped, carried off, made up with Victoria and then that man took me something shocking. I was strangled, and when I was about to give up, Orpheus came to my rescue along with Claude and Renee.
It was wrong for me to think that no one would like or love me.
There are many people who accept me, and they welcomed me warmly even though I’ve done a lot of selfish things and caused them a lot of trouble.
I can’t stay awake anymore, I’m tired ―――.
Too many things happened in one day and both my mind and body are tired.
My headache had been really bad since earlier, and I don’t think I’ll be able to think about anything else tonight.
I said goodnight to Claire and dived into bed.
It didn’t take me long to close my eyes.
My mind drifted to sleep.