Theirs is a family of hedgehogs. The closer they get, the more they hurt each other.
So they learn good manners and wear their charisma like a cloak and a mask before stepping into the outside world: they're still young, too young to have done anything too shameful or regrettable and even their smallest mistakes are, if not forgotten, at least forgiven, because they're elites and they are still inoffensive. The world loves Kinzo Ushiromiya's brilliant, beautiful children.
The people that swarm around them like flies – looking for a favor or benevolence or something else – have so much more love to offer them than their own parents… They admire Krauss' self-confidence and see his arrogance as a fitting trait for a future leader; Rudolf is charming and the most handsome, and the layer of honey coating his words is so thick that nobody notices his slyness until it's too late. Even Eva, so unladylike in Kinzo's eyes, is admired by many for her strength and quick wit.
Rosa is the youngest and her home, her world is already filled with so much grandness when she's born that she feels inadequate. What can she do that her siblings can't? So small, so alone… what can she do?
In the secluded universe that is Rokkenjima, she watches her siblings as they do not hesitate to shove their quills into the tender sides of another: in their mouth, in their eyes, in their chest almost where you can feel a heart beating. They're all hedgehogs, after all, and they all deserve this. Closeness is a weapon to hurt each other, not a means to seek warmth.
Rosa doesn't understand this cruelty; it scares her. She knows, however, that there is at least one thing that ties her to her brothers and sister: a desperate longing for that warmth that they can't, won't offer to each other. Rosa watches as Eva and Krauss struggle to obtain their father's approval and she knows it's useless. Rudolf, in this, is much more similar to her: he searches for this one precious thing outside of the snake nest that is the mansion.
More than anything, Rosa wants to be loved and learns to survive in order to achieve this dream: her fear becomes her strength, the years go by and she learns to dance and skip around fights, hatred and arguments. Her siblings look down on her and she does nothing to change this: it doesn't make her life easier, better, but at least it's more bearable.
Because Rosa hates Rokkenjima, she falls in love with drawing and her friends, their laughter, their warmth. With them, she discovers Japanese landscapes she didn't even know existed up until that point. (She takes pictures of these places and her friends and when they have all disappeared from her life she can still find them in a box full of photos and love letters after many years, and every time she looks at their smiling faces printed on glossy paper, she regrets opening that box and once, when the melancholy and the tears turn into fury, she even destroys half of its contents.)
As a child, Rosa draws castles, princesses, heroes – a beautiful world that Eva says doesn't really exist outside of fairytales, but to Rosa it doesn't matter: it's not the dragons or the spells that she wants, but the princess' happiness and surely, happiness is something that must exist in this world. Why would people live otherwise? There is hope in her mind and in her heart, and as she waits she keeps drawing: cute things, pretty things, people she likes – the perfect life that's waiting for her somewhere.
Her siblings are bitter creatures, and hate is a bottomless cup: they pour and pour onto others but also drink from it without ever stopping. In the meanwhile Rosa draws and hopes.
Like almost every first love, hers doesn't come true. A broken heart hurts even more than a slap or a scolding, she learns. Slowly, she regains enough strength to smile and fall in love again and again someone breaks her heart, and again she licks her wounds and comes back to life like a phoenix to love again. She can't give up. Hope is all she has.
It's all Rosa has, and eventually it runs out and disappears like her dreams.
The years and her bad blood turn her into another hedgehog, a Medea who longs for someone long gone and wants her child to return to her womb and never come out until her face won't cause Rosa any more pain.
She is a bitter creature, and hate is a bottomless cup: she pours and pours onto others but also drinks from it without ever stopping.
In the meanwhile Maria loves and hopes, because love and hope too are like bottomless cups and maybe one day Rosa will remember this.