A month of sleeping had definitely decreased Eliza’s strength and stamina. Her body didn’t move the way she wanted it to, and it felt heavy. Since it’s come to this, she actually wanted someone to lend her a hand, but there was nobody that did so.
All she could do was support herself against Rashiok, and proceed almost at a crawl.
And so, she arrived at a small pond close by to the garden. The poisonous hemlock that had killed her family was still growing greenly under the sunlight, and entered Eliza’s field of vision. Although there were also bright floral colors to be found here during the summer, right now it’s already past mid-autumn, and there were only drab brown and green colors to be seen.
This pond has been minimally affected by humans. Without paying mind to that, Eliza walked around the edges of the pond.
This pond was currently treated as a water reservoir only, and it was created long ago to complement the garden.
It was built even before the mansion existed, from a time long long ago.
That’s why, there were still traces of people from long ago left around this pond. The right side of the pond can be seen from the mansion’s garden, and various trees’ shadows fell across the pond water, and below the trees were some stones here and there. Eliza plopped herself down onto a flat tree stump.
There was a slight sound as the water rippled slightly from the wind which was also swaying the grass, and other than that all Eliza heard was her own heartbeat.
Although the air was chilly, thanks to Rashiok lying down beside her and warming her up, she quickly forgot the coldness in the air.
As she sighed, Eliza stopped to look at a certain location. Her line of sight was directed at the base of a tree, where there was a polished stone that was a little less than half her height.
It was a gravestone.
Although there was no name engraved on it, nor was there a body actually buried under it, it was still a gravestone.
Eliza reached out and brushed away the dust on the gravestone with her fingers.
Rashiok had carried her to the mansion, leaving Kamil’s body behind, and this is the first time that she’s come back here to this pond. She hadn’t forgotten the person that this gravestone belonged to, it’s just that she had gotten tied down by all her emotions and feelings.
“-It’s been a while. Sorry for not coming all this time.”
Eliza began talking to the gravestone in a small voice. Of course there was no reply. Since gravestones are meant for dead people, she didn’t expect any replies.
“……I let an important person to me die. All because of my own foolishness.”
Even so, Eliza kept talking to the gravestone, all by herself, alone. Even though her fingers were getting dirty from wiping the gravestone’s surface, she didn’t care.
“Kamil…… You’ve become such an important person to me……”
There was only the rustling sound of the autumn wind blowing through leaves in response. The sound echoed everywhere, while Eliza silently thought to herself for a little bit.
“I had always thought that if I trusted people, I would be betrayed and lose my life, but now I know that I can’t live life without trusting in people. ……Or maybe, I should say that I felt it would be better to die rather than be betrayed.”
After saying that, Eliza fell silent for a moment again. She lowered her gaze to escape the harsh glare of the sunlight.
“……Thanks to all this, I’ve remembered various things in my dreams that I’ve long since forgotten. Even though I have all these memories, just what has all this become……”
She was saying all these words with no force behind them. There was no intonation to her voice, and it was obvious that her voice sounded empty.
Right now, Eliza’s heart is still being ruled by her thoughts of the departed. When Eliza had been woken up by Ratoka shaking her that much and shouting in her ears, she had actually been quite pissed, but right now she’s actually not that different from when she was asleep.
After losing Kamil, it was like there was a big hole inside her, from which her emotions and feelings had fallen out of.
“……I’ve slept for quite a long time. I finally woke up because that boy shook me so much. I guess I should call him Elise. Kamil, you’d asked me just what I was doing before, giving him that name so similar to mine, someone he hates so much. It was so that I could create another girl named Elise…… Just exactly what was I doing, I wonder. Rather than something like that, I could have been doing better things……”
Eliza almost sounded like she was whimpering, and fell silent again. She recalled again the crying face of Ratoka when he had woken her up.
Even if someone comforted her, or encouraged her, Eliza’s foggy world still wouldn’t clear up. Her sleeping all this time, had probably been a form of escape. At the very least, she didn’t suffer while she was asleep, she wouldn’t feel sadness or guilt or anything else. Even if it was deceiving, it was still a kind of peace.
It was Ratoka’s explosion of emotions that had finally dragged Eliza out, forcing her to face reality again.
Although Eliza had thought that Ratoka was pretty smart for his age, it seemed that he’s also a bit emotionally underdeveloped for his age as well. Maybe she has to change a little how to deal with him, but she couldn’t come up with any ideas currently.
In her previous life, she had no experience in dealing with children whatsoever, and in this life, she also has nobody her own age as a friend either. She had no understanding of how children’s emotions were supposed to develop, and in the first place she herself lacked expressive emotions, so Eliza was completely lost on this.
Eliza looked away from the gravestone, up at the sky.
The blue sky hadn’t changed at all, whether Kamil was alive, or when he died, it remained the same.
“……Being born into an otome game’s world, I had thought that it would be more fun. I reincarnated as a noble girl villainess, but why did it turn out this way?”
While muttering that to herself, she dragged herself over to Rashiok and climbed on his back.
The only creature listening to Eliza’s monologue all this time was her draconis, who finally cried, “kuu-on” in return.
End of Act 1, Part 4