Cinders: Some do it to attain higher status or more riches. It's also a way to ensure you aren't alone when you are old.
And sometimes love, or at least mutual respect, plays a role too.
Sophia: You're right. For instance, an ugly girl like me would only attract men looking for status. They would try to climb the social ladder using my back for rungs.
It was the opposite with Mother. She used her looks to attract a man of higher social standing. If you had a penchant for melodrama, you could say she climbed his dead body to be where she is now.
Carmosa comes from a poor family. They had a title of nobility, but they'd lost most of their riches and splendor. The only way for her to advance up the social ladder was to marry, and she was ambitious.
She married an officer who was relatively rich and had a lot of accolades. She probably planned ahead, even there. For all I know, she chose a man who would probably die in battle so that she could marry even higher later.
Cinders: How can you say that? That's such a cruel assumption!
Sophia: Cruel? It's not like she killed him. He would have died anyway. She just wanted something more out of life.
Cinders: It's still a cold thing to do.
Sophia: Cold? Sure it's cold -- it's business! I don't see what's wrong with it. Mother's not dumb. She did what she had to.
Cinders: So back then, was your life as bad as it is now?
Cinders: What? How so?
Sophia: Well, you weren't around.
Sophia: I'm not as pretty, smart or ambitious as them. So naturally, she humiliated me, and Mom didn't disapprove.
Cinders: And now that I'm here, they no longer target you. Is that it?
Sophia: That's exactly it. Mom and Gloria have a new scapegoat, and my life is finally a little better.
Cinders: Oh, I see! So now that you're no longer tormented, you choose to torment me instead!
Sophia: Of course! Nothing personal, but it's either me or you, and I certainly won't be a victim again.
Besides, you should be grateful. Didn't your father shield you from the real world too much? Well, now you get to see exactly what it's like! That's the way of all things -- you're either the hunter or the prey.
Sophia: My, my... And what has made you an expert all of a sudden?
Cinders: That's ridiculous! It's obvious the person you hate the most is yourself, but you have no reason to!
So you make up all these excuses, like you're too stupid or ugly or worthless, when you know it's not true. But it's still an easy way out, isn't it?
You prefer to convince yourself you're nothing, so that nobody will expect anything more from you. You don't have to change or do anything, if you're worthless, after all.
Sophia: And you sound like you're trying to convince yourself that you're all-knowing.
Cinders: You're not worthless, Sophia! You KNOW that!
Sophia: It's almost endearing how hard you try to see good in other people, but you're just being naive.
Cinders: It's not naive at all. I was paying attention when you were talking, an I learned something important. You think you're worthless because you can't measure up to Carmosa or Gloria, but it's the opposite.
Carmosa is a woman of strong influence. It's easy to get drawn in and conform to what she wants. The fact that you've resisted means that you're stronger than Gloria. It means you're stronger than Carmosa.
I'm sorry you had to suffer for it, but that makes you even more admirable.
Cinders: You really had it rough, and I know that left a mark on you, but it doesn't make you worthless.
Cinders. Haha! Trust me, that's the last thing on my mind. You've still been absolutely horrid to me.
But now that I know what happened to you... Well, I just wish that you knew better.
Sophia: Listen to me closely Cinders, because I'm only going to say this once.
I am... sorry... I'm sorry for everything. I'm not promising I'll change, but it's better than nothing.
Cinders: ... Thank you. I'm glad we could speak with each other like this. Maybe this is the start of something better.
Sophia: Don't get your hopes up.
Anyway, it looks like dinner is almost ready, so I'm leaving. Just make sure to hurry.
Cinders: I will.
Sophia: See you later.
Cinders: Wait, Sophia.
Cinders: Just remember that sometimes it's easier to get through tough situations if you have someone on your side.
Sophia: I suppose so...
Cinders: I can't believe we actually had that conversation! That was definitely unexpected.
I think I need some time to think it over. The meal is nearly done anyway. All that's left it to get one of the servants to cook the rest right before it is served.
I really need to get out and gather my thoughts. Everyone is busy, so I'm sure no one will notice if I sneak out.
Cinders: As I thought, everyone is busy right now.
I don't have much time before dinner, but I'm sure I could sneak out and be back in time. All that talk about my mother reminded me that I haven't been to her grave in a long time.
It might be dangerous to sneak out during the day, but I don't know if I'll get another chance. I'll just have to move as quickly as I can.
Cinders: Mother's grave isn't hard to find. It's guarded by a statue of an angel crying gracefully. Father's idea.
Looking at how much pain the angel is in, it's clear that Father took Mother's death very badly. I can't bring myself to look away from the statue.
I'm sorry, Father. The grave must be in terrible condition by now. I haven't had time to care for it.
Wait, the grave is clean! Not just clean, but polished as well. Someone must be caring for it.
???: Step away from the grave!
Cinders: Who's there!?
Cinders: What are you talking about? I'm not a grave robber!
???: Of course you aren't. And I'm the--
???: Hold on. I know you! You're Carmosa's stepdaughter!
Cinders: I am. I suppose you know Carmosa?
???: Know Carmosa? Of course not. But I sure know you!
Cinders: Well, I guess you have an advantage over me, then. I have no idea who you are.
Cinders: Madame Ghede, as in the witch that everyone talks about?
Madame Ghede: So you HAVE heard of me. The stories they tell you are an exaggeration, though. Those half-wits label anything they don't understand as dangerous.
Even more so, seeing as I'm a woman who's smarter than they are. I suppose it frightens them. Although it doesn't stop them from running to me any time they have a problem they can't fix.