A Fairy Tale for Villains - Chapter 19
Chapter 19 – Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow
For a while, I couldn’t say anything and just stood there, silent. Eventually, strength left my legs, and I dropped to the floor without any fight left in me.
Water flowed down my cheeks, but at that moment, I couldn’t distinguish whether it was sweat or tears. All I could think of were Benya’s words. That rotten project of a villain really didn’t know how to treat people well. Did he have to say things like that?
Did I mean that little to him? To them?
In a rush of anger and disappointment, I vowed to myself on that moment that I wouldn’t care about them anymore. I would ignore whether they became villains or not. From that moment on, I would stray from the path I had been trying so carefully to tread on.
I sent a silent prayer to my mother, the Duke, and the Duchess, asking them to please forgive me… For I couldn’t do this anymore… I…
Tsk. Did he come to give me the carrot after giving me the stick? Or did he just come to check if I was hurt by what he said? Either way, I still had to acknowledge him. I stopped crying like a baby and raised my head. His expression seemed so different from the ferocious look he had a few moments ago.
“I’m sorry. Stop crying.” Benya said, looking repentant. His voice held none of the strength of a while ago. Wait, what did he just say?
Did he really say he was sorry?
My eyes widened in disbelief. This was the first time I ever saw him looking so mellow, and it was such a shock that I almost forgot that he was the one who made me cry.
Benya continued to stare at me as I tried to recover from the shock of his apology, and he smiled bitterly. “I’m sorry for venting my anger out on you. Here, let me help you.”
I couldn’t believe he was displaying this sort of attitude toward me. Benya offering help in any capacity was a miracle in itself.
We focused on washing the clothes in silence. After stepping on the laundry soaking in the bathtub, we used toothbrushes to scrub the clothing and helped each other squeeze the water out of the cleaned pieces. Only after we finished all of the dirty laundries did we stop to rest.
Both of us stumbled out of the bathroom and slid against the wall, slumping down to sit on the floor.
“Damn, that was tiring. So… How do we dry them?” Benya turned to me, exhausted.
“The only place where we can do that is the library,” I told him quietly.
It was the only room large enough to hang all these clothes on and where air could easily circulate. What would we have done with all this laundry if we hadn’t cleaned the library?
Benya took off his wet shirt, breathing roughly as he leaned his head on the wall. This was not the behavior expected of a member of the aristocracy, but it was better than getting heat rash. He was sweating so much that his silver-gray hair was soaked and a bit tousled around his temples.
“We seem to be doing everything that we never needed to do before after coming here.” He commented.
“Yes. No one would believe us if we told them about this.” I smiled half-heartedly.
“We’d be lucky even to be able to tell anyone about this,” Benya muttered.
… Those sentences were full of implications. I hesitated for a moment, pondering about the choices available to me, before carefully asking a question.
“You know, about what you said before… You said you were venting your anger. What did you mean by that?” I looked at him from the corner of my eyes, gauging his response.
“You already know that.” His response was curt.
Of course, I could make an educated guess, but I wanted him to confirm my suspicions. I stared at him and fanned myself with my hand. Benya slowly blinked as he stared back, his expression an incomprehensible mix of weariness and detachment.
I gave him a gentle nudge. “Someone might come through the mirror door right now.”
“Yes.” He nodded.
“They might come tonight, or maybe tomorrow.”
“That’s right.” Benya nodded again without a change in his expression.
“… Or maybe a month from now.”
I was staring at him as I spoke, and our eyes met. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel despair or exhaustion, just indifference at this unfair situation.
“Do you think maybe your relatives…” I trailed off. I intended to ask Benya if he thought his relatives had malicious intentions toward him and his siblings, but I stopped myself. Benya probably caught onto what I was going to ask, but he didn’t scold me, and we just stared at each other in silence.
The bell rang, signalling prayer time. From where we sat, we could hear the large and small bells in the tower all ringing together, the sound so close that we could feel the rooms vibrating everywhere.
Today Estelle didn’t run upstairs to hide on her bed, nor did she get under the table. Instead, she sat next to me calmly, her eyes fixed on an old book titled Teacups and Conversation.
There were no sounds in the room except for our breathing, the sound of pages being turned, and the tolling of the bells. We were all focused on our books as if we were under a spell.
Everyone must be having the same thoughts by now, but we were all trying to think up excuses to ignore reality while wallowing in our suspicions.