Clutching the rope tightly with her trembling hands, the woman heaved her last breath.
Her ashen skin was filled with bruises, burns, and wounds that her past self had endured. Although her appearance mattered as she was the Duchess, Ilya could care less about the scars on her body. She neither felt pain nor regret for making herself succumb to such torture.
That was the only form of consolation she had received despite the failures she had encountered.
There wasn't anything that could make one loathe the Duchess.
Duchess Ilya von Bismarck was the ideal noble in the public's eyes. She always made sure to listen to the woes of the common men, willingly receiving their unconditional love at the same time. A lot of young nobles, and commoners alike, aspired to be as demure and virtuous as her. They cheered her name for her valiant efforts in resolving the problems faced by the Empire.
Her quick actions to save the people served as the greatest security for the citizens. She wasn't afraid to unveil the wrongdoings of the corrupt and greedy officials. The Duchess even used her body as a shield to protect a commoner in the worst ambush that happened in the capital of the Empire.
But it was all for nothing.
That very Duchess was now driven to a corner.
Ilya had no strength to open her mouth, much more stand.
Still, she persevered.
For the reason that she desired her own salvation.
One would think that Ilya was the most afraid at that time in her life. Yet that wasn't the actuality at all. The Duchess had long considered her emotions as the whispers of the devil. She could harvest emotions, only to throw them away right after.
Candles and smoke pipes littered the carpeted floor. An entire array of rusting blades were dumped in the corners of the room and on her bed. Piles and piles of rotting foods made the air unbearable to breathe. But most worrying of all, no amount of light could enter the room.
Her room was like the inside of her mind.
Somber yet disheveled.
Ilya chose to embrace the dark. It was the only companion she could embrace without feeling a sliver of guilt.
The Duchess' legs were trembling all the while she kept her balance on the creaky wooden cabinet. The rope that she managed to tie on the chandelier -- using the remainder of magic left in her reserve -- was ready to be bear the weight of her act of self-indulgence.
Ilya put the noose around her neck and tightened it. She then took the first, and possibly the last, step towards her coveted freedom.
'I have to do this. It's my only chance. I can't let myself be a burden once more.' Ilya bit her lip, trying to stop her lips from quivering. Thereafter, she closed her eyes and let go of her foothold.
'This is my last chance to do the right thing.'
On the 11th month of the 399th year of the Imperial Calendar proclaimed by the Bacharoth Script, Duchess Ilya von Bismarck's death would soon inaugurate a revolution.