83. Subtracted from happiness.
When one topic of conversation ended, a new one began. By the time they realized that this repetition was the beginning of small talk, a good amount of time had already passed.
It seemed that the person she thought was at the opposite end of the spectrum was breathing in an unexpectedly close proximity to her, and wasn’t someone hard to communicate at all.
The more they talked, the more both Violette and Rosette felt that their inner selves were similar. No one could have imagined that even they themselves thought they were on opposite sides of the river.
But they thought it because it was only natural.
Violette grew up as a boy when she was absorbing the most things about nobles, and Rosette had tasted that are far from those of an ideal princess. Both of them have something that is out of the frame of a lady.
Although they didn’t share the same hobbies, they both felt that the paths they were taking were somehow similar.
“I have the most trouble when I wear a new dress,” Rosette said. “It seems that my tastes inevitably ruin everyone’s image. ……”
“I know. …… I also find that what I like and what looks good on me are totally different.”
“In that case, do you choose the one that suits you best?”
“Yes, because it’s less conspicuous.”
“That’s right. ……”
Even though the image that is held is the opposite, Violette knew that there is a self that is completed in someone else’s head, and the tightness of not being able to deviate from it is painful. The innocent and pure lilies and the bewitching and gorgeous red roses are not even compliments if there is no real piece of truth in them.
Perhaps it was because the two of them were on the same path, the hardships they have experienced and the barriers that stand in their way were the same. Perhaps it was because they cannot usually talk to others, so it was inevitable that they became talkative to those who sympathize with them.
“I’m glad you say I look good in light colors, because I like this colour too. But if I wear light coloured clothes, I became more focused on not getting …… dirty that it multiplies my fatigue many times over.”(Rosette)
“But it stands out. ……”
Violette could only laugh and sympathize with Rosette, who laughed with a faraway look in her eyes, perhaps remembering that moment.
Such an exchange was fresh to her, who was only bound in a circle, and that was why she was happy.
It was something she would never have been able to talk about before. There were many people around Violette when she was in middle school and soon after she entered high school, but none of them were as free as Rosette. She couldn’t help but wonder what kind of commotion it would have caused if she had talked to them about something like what she was talking about now.
People whose image was destroyed would feel betrayed because their imagination is broken. People who dream of Violette as an empress who relaxes on her power will not tolerate a shred of weakness from her.
So the talk with Rosette was comforting. She felt that if she stayed in the dream where she could gain strength from, she could really be strong.
Now that she thought about it, though, it seemed she was trapped inside her mind to the point to have such thoughts. Not only the people around her, but also Violette herself ended up being swept away by her ideals. When she got to this point, it was no longer a matter of black history. It was a dark period that she wanted to erase from her memory.
“I, on the other hand, don’t look so good in light colors, so I don’t have to worry about that, but it’s hard when I wear…… a corset.”
What people look for in a Violette is sex appeal and glamour without being vulgar. They want a presence that draws attention just by being there. This rarely translates into likability, but then again, people don’t want to be around a Violette who gives off a gentle impression.
That was why Violette avoided attracting attention, but she still managed to stand out in an eye-catching way. She wanted to avoid being conspicuous, but it was still better than being the embodiment of plainness and making a bad impression.
Violette have never liked her appearance. In fact, she hated it. She used to refuse to even look in the mirror. She hated everything that made up who she was, from her blood to her genes.
She couldn’t help wonder when she would become okay with it.
She used to hate her face, her hair that was grey and unattractive and used to get in the way, or wear dresses that she didn’t like.
Why was it not just hell anymore?
(…… because Yulan was with me, that’s why.)
Suddenly, what came to her mind was the boy who was always there with a smile on his face. The formal clothes looked good on that boy. He would always praise Violette no matter what she wore, even the clothes Violette disliked, Yulan would tell they look good in her.
You are beautiful. You are pretty. It looks great on you.
─ ─ You look great no matter what you wear, Vio-chan.
He always praised her with a huge smile that drown out all the other voices. He had never made a sour face, even when everyone looked at him suspiciously for praising something ugly, even when he was out of his ideal of Violette, he never stopped doing that.
So little by little, she became proud of herself. She came to believe that this was who she was. She didn’t like her hair, her eyes, the blood that flows through her veins, or the cells that made her body. But she came to think that it was okay.
Because Yulan cherished and cared for all the things she disliked about herself, all the things she wanted to get rid of. She was able to think that if Yulan said she loves her, then she could only love herself through Yulan.
“……! I’m sorry, I just remembered something……”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s a good memory, isn’t it?”
“The memory you were reminiscing about must be a good memory. Because you looked very happy.”
Violette was at a loss for words when she saw Rosette smiling at her. Even the sound of the fine wind had faded away, and only her words left a clear color in her brain.
Did she have a happy expression on her face? It was for the sole reason that Yulan was there in her memories, because most of her memories were not beautiful in the least.
Violette was the kind of person who wanted to see others unhappy, who wanted to see others die. She was the kind of person who wished for death and misfortune.
In an environment where ethics, morality, and even the law could be discarded, she wanted something so outrageous. But what she remember now wasn’t only her ugly memories.
“Yes,…… I was so happy,…… very happy,…… happy.”
Violette turned her head and covered her face with her hands, it would be natural if Rosette became upset and maybe left her alone. But she did nothing of the sort, she gently stroke her back, which looked as if it was crying.
There were no tears in Violette’s eyes, though. In the midst of her confusion and bewilderment, she was so happy with everything that she didn’t notice Rosette was showing her kindness to her, who was there for her without asking any questions.
She was happy, she was happy, and that is why she felt bitter.
She didn’t know. She didn’t notice. She didn’t want to see anything. She just wanted to be happy.
The happiness, where Yulan would be smiling by her side for a long time.