Author's notes: I've gotten tired of all these two dimensional portrayals of a pathetic Tomoe Marguerite as the villainess. Hopefully this story will expand on the character we love to hate.
I am Tomoe Marguerite, the betrayer of Otome. What can I say? It was the best possible option at the time. History sided with the winners, and I always played for the winning team. It was pure luck that Arika and her queen managed to save the world; otherwise I would be the famous hero, loved by the minions of all nations.
Father always told me that I should seize what I want. Nothing in the world was free, everything had to be earned and taken. To this day, I live by his word. That philosophy earned me entrance into Garderobe, the most prestigious girl's school in all of Earl.
I knew that nothing was free. I had to work hard for any attention, even from our servants. Every glance, every whisper that involved me was earned through hard work, strength and ingenuity. After all, what good was it to be the third born and only daughter of a noble family in a world where men held power and women existed to give birth to more men?
They say that no one knew why the nanomachines were affected by the Y chromosome, but I knew why. It was to make it more difficult for men to control everything. If men could become Otome, this world would have perished long ago through their wars. Now that a ruler's life was tied to the warrior on the frontline, he had to think twice about going to war. There was nothing like the fear of death to prompt the opening of peace negotiations.
My mother was a shrew of a woman. Born into a servant's family, she found herself working for the Marguerites at a young age. Somehow, she managed to seduce my father and force him to marry her. To this day he resents her for it.
Father is a stern and ambitious man. He made sure we knew that everything given expected a return. We worked hard and competed for his attention. He wanted us to earn our right to the name Marguerite.
When my acceptance to Garderobe was announced to the family, my father congratulated me for the first time. He was happy, but not really for me. I could see the glint of hidden ambition in his eyes when he heard I had applied. Garderobe was a stepping stone. If I could become an Otome, he could rise up in the ranks of nobility. My brothers would have a chance to wed the wealthier bachelorettes, and our family was one step closer to becoming royalty.
I didn't hate them for it. I understood what they wanted. Everyone was selfish, but the best did not show it. The most selfish, beautiful people in this world knew how to hide their desires behind brilliant facades.
This was what I thought when I saw the Graceful Amethyst for the first time. She was intelligent, beautiful and perfect. There wasn't a person in this world who didn't love her. Everything she did seemed so effortless, whether it was averting a natural disaster or rescuing a poor cat on a tree. I admired her. I wanted to be her.
Garderobe was difficult, but not beyond my capabilities. I worked my hardest to become the best. If I could be number one, I could become one step closer to my idol. In the night I would study for hours to perfect the knowledge acquired the day before. In the morning I jogged to boost my endurance for the combat lessons. Though if anyone asked about it, I would deny my extra work and attribute everything to a natural talent. In their eyes I had to be a genius where everything came to me as naturally and gracefully as drinking water.
When the rankings were first announced after the first month, I was devastated to find that I was only in second place. Nina Wong became my new archenemy. I wondered how in the world some girl from Artai could surpass me, Tomoe Marguerite. Unlike so many here, I had drive; I had reason. I was not here to become some threatening ornament for rulers of the world. I was going to become an idol, just like Viola-sama.
In my past experience while competing with my brothers, I had to interfere with their achievements to make mine look better. My father knew of this, but did not discourage it as long as none of us were permanently harmed. He did not do anything unless someone was caught. According to him, those who got caught deserved punishment.
I spied on her, and learned her schedule. I had to find the perfect opportunity to disable my competitor without revealing myself. If she remained immobile long enough, she would fall behind in the physical lessons, the only area where she surpassed me.
Unfortunately, rather than finding an opportunity, I found out more about my rival. She too had drive to become the best. I could see her shy blushing face in the presence of her foster father. She would follow him around like some love struck puppy. He wasn't oblivious to it, I could tell. Instead he would actively ignore her advances, and spurn her to work harder.
She didn't make her hard work a secret. Whenever someone would ask her how to do better, she simply ordered them to work harder or drop out. I had to respect her straight forward personality. It was something that I would never be allowed to have.
Surprisingly, I took her advice. It felt like defeat to surpass her through any dishonest means. I studied more and worked myself harder. At night I would go to the rooftop to practice hand to hand and staff combat. Someday I would surpass Nina Wong.
One night as I opened the door to the roof, I found none other than Shizuru Viola sitting on a ledge while looking wistfully at the sky. She looked down at me from her place above the door.
"My, Marguerite-san is practicing quite late tonight." She knew my name. I was surprised and overjoyed. My idol knew my name.
"I sometimes come up here to relieve stress through exercise," I lied.
"Is that so?" She smiled. Those frightening crimson eyes pierced through me. She knew I was lying. "Is Wong-san the source of your stress perhaps?"
I searched for a response, but was frozen by her gaze.
"No need to answer. I too used to relieve stress on these rooftops when I was a coral. Haruka-san was quite a handful." Onee-sama looked up at the stars. We couldn't see very many; the lights from Windbloom's capital overpowered the weak glows.
"You remind me of myself Marguerite-san. We both need to be perfect in front of everyone, yet we both know that no one is perfect." The moonlight cascaded over her figure as she gracefully jumped down from her spot. She brushed off invisible dust from her dress.
"But you are perfect Onee -sama." I replied. Maybe it would please her, because I truly felt that way. It was impossible for her to be anything but perfect.
"Am I?" The tone of cold irony echoed in her voice. "The Graceful Amethyst is perfect. She can duel in the most beautiful manner, but she only appears to battle. I'm afraid that I am nothing more than Shizuru Viola."
She held my hands up and studied them. "Like you I lost many nights to practicing on these rooftops." Then she held her hand close to my face. "See, these hands are scarred too; people just can't see them when I clutch my blade."
"I'm sorry Onee-sama." I frowned.
"It's fine. You have done nothing wrong." She gestured for me to the center of the roof. "Come, let us practice together." She gave me a genuine smile. It was different than the one I saw so many times on the television screens. From that moment, I knew that I didn't just admire Shizuru Viola; I was in love with her.
Love between the Otome was an unspoken issue. Everyone in the world knew that Otome often paired up together from time to time. Homosexuality was uncommon on Earl, even in the more tolerant countries like Aries, but Otome were the exception. We were allowed to deviate from the social norms, because we were forbidden to copulate with men. Most understood that even young teenage girls felt sexual desire. Thus it remained a well known, but unsaid subject that our rulers decided to overlook in favor of the military power of their countries.
I began to watch Shizuru onee-sama more often. I was always aware of when she came and went on business. It was heart breaking to see her go every time. I cursed Principle Kruger for sending her away so often. If I were in the Principle's place, I'd demand that the fourth column never leave my side.
Yes I knew of their relationship. It was well hidden from the students, but not to the keen observer. Shizuru onee-sama was quite the flirt, but the only one she really teased was Principle Kruger. It made me so angry that Natsuki Kruger could so easily take advantage of my precious Onee-sama.
It became an obsession. Every bit of me wanted Shizuru Viola, and every bit of me knew that I could not have her. Kruger could not appreciate her, not the way Viola wanted, needed. Shizuru onee-sama spoke to me. She genuinely smiled at shared her thoughts, her troubles with me! If I had the chance, I knew she would fall in love with me. But I pushed all my feelings away. They were crushed into the deepest depths of my heart and would have remained there if it weren't for the meddling fool, Arika Yumemiya.
The fool dropped out from nowhere and declared she wanted to become an Otome. It was a joke, who would let some backwater girl waltz into a prestigious school and declare her own candidacy. Yet they accepted her. They let her in over all those other girls who worked hard and studied to become worthy.
Why would some idiot, who bore a striking resemblance to an ant, suddenly become a student at Garderobe? It was insult to those of us who worked hard to earn our place. I couldn't accept it. I couldn't accept her, so I took action.
Forcing a girl from my country to do the dirty work was quite simple. My family outranked hers, and I was number two. She was deathly afraid me, and what I could do. In the end, all the plans failed. The accursed Arika continued in school. She had what I did not, true natural talent for being an Otome. While she could not cook, she could fight, and that was the most important attribute of an Otome.
Even Shizuru onee-sama began to pay special attention to her. It was unbearable. I had to do something to show everyone that Arika Yumemiya was unfit to be a part of our community. I wanted to see her crushed. I wanted to break both her body and spirit.
The raid on the school became my opportunity. For the first time, I was offered true power. There were strings of course, but the conditions were more than acceptable. Like I said, I always sided with the winners and the Grand Duke of Artai was winning. Short of a miracle, there would be nothing to stop his forces from ruling the world.
I became a Valkyrie. Our powers were not as specialized as those of the Otome, but we were more effective since the learning curve of new powers was now eliminated. In my place, I even gained power over my immediate Onee-sama, Chie Hallard. I couldn't help, but taunt Arika during our battle in the desert. Her existence was the last eyesore left preventing my bright future.
It was my chance. I knew Shizuru was concerned for Natsuki, and I used it. If only she got to know me, I knew she would fall in love. I kept her safe, and in place with the promise of finding her beloved.
She smiled kindly at me, though she was under house arrest. But it was a false smile. I could see it, because I had been watching her. We talked all the time. Maybe if I gave her more time to learn about me she would get over Natsuki.
Still she never smiled at me, not really. I grew impatient as she politely spurned my advances. One day I snapped and nearly hit her in frustration. Of course I apologized immediately, but the damage was done. Since then a glint of wariness appeared in her eyes whenever she looked at me.
I couldn't stand it anymore. She knew I was using the promise of Kruger to keep her in place, but she did not move. I increased my advances, and increased my false reports about her lover. She could see it, what I was doing. She could see how much I wanted her.
Finally she let me have her. It was more than I could ever want. It was a fantasy come true, but that was all it was, a fantasy. In my mind, I knew she had no real feelings, that she was using me for some reason I had yet to find out, but I didn't care.
When I saw Shizuru onee-sama standing next to Principle Kruger as they retook Garderobe, I was devastated. The bubble of my fantasy exploded much sooner than I expected. I couldn't handle the truth.
Still I was defeated by none other than that damned ant. The Archduke failed to keep his Harmonium, and I lost everything. My family denounced me after the incident, claiming that I was a traitor and unworthy of the Marguerite name. No one really took them seriously; they did try to convince our leader to surrender to Artai forces out of fear. Well, my family liked to side with winners as well. The only difference was that they couldn't be directly linked to the losers.
In retrospect, I was too involved with my obsession. I fell from grace, and that was all there is to it. I lost my privileges as an Otome, so I was forced to find refuge on the fringes of society. Things happened there that I never want to remember, but I survived. I was a fighter, and that would never change.
I ended up bunking with a pathetic artist named Ishigami. We share a small Volkswagen as a living space. He convinced himself to believe that I was his girlfriend. I managed to persuade him to run for president. Of course he wouldn't win, especially not with me beside him, but I would do anything to see glimpses of my old life once more. Even running into Haruka Armitage as her opponent seemed adequate.
My life as I knew it was over. There are so many things I regret now, but somehow I would move on. There were other ways to earn power and respect. Someday, I would return. Maybe I would have revenge, or maybe I would change. Maybe in some way, I would regain my old life.