76 – Return to me, Lingering Feeling
It was now the fourth day after our return. The slight anxious atmosphere had finally settled, and we had completely adjusted to our daily routine.
I was ready to do the final trial that I had completely forgotten about.
After school, when there were few people in the hallway, as they had all gone off to their clubs or committees. I was standing in front of a certain door.
At least five minutes had elapsed since I arrived. My desire to avoid going inside was being reflected in my legs, which showed no sign of wanting to move. Really, I did not want to go in there.
I didn’t want to go in, but I must go in. It was so bothersome to me, but it would only get worse if I ignored it. I couldn’t let that happen.
I made my decision and knocked on the door.
“Who is it?”
“Mariabell Tempest. May I come in?”
The familiar voice made my ‘caution’ gauge jump up. It was familiar, but not the voice I had wanted to hear. It made me want to leave, but there was no use trying to leave once I had already said my own name.
This is an otome game. Where’s the save and reload function?… I had felt such annoyances many times until now as I opened the door.
The first thing that I saw was the person who had spoken to me. I wasn’t surprised, but there was still a disappointment. I wanted to have somehow been wrong, but the person who was sitting there was exactly who I expected.
“Hello, Prince Runa. I’m sorry to disturb you so suddenly.”
“I don’t mind. I heard about the matter of receiving the answer for the invitation from Julius.”
“Thank you… is Prince Julius not here?”
Presently, there was no one but Runa and me in the room. I was happy that Tuvalu wasn’t here, but I couldn’t say I liked being alone in a room with Runa either. Ideally, neither of them would be present.
“Julius and Thomas are working on each departments directory. Tuvalu and Seeka are at the teacher’s office.
What terrible timing I had. This was just my luck. Things weren’t too bad since Tuvalu wasn’t here…no, it was still the worst.
“I’m sorry to disturb you while you are busy. Shall I come back at a later time?”
Translation, I want to come again later, so may I go now?
“No, I don’t start working until everyone returns. You don’t have to worry about that.”
I wouldn’t worry about something like that. If anything, I wanted him to say that I should leave because he was busy.
“Please have a seat. Will you have tea or coffee?”
“…Tea, thank you.”
Yes, I failed to escape. If it had to come to this, I might as well just say no and leave.
As I sat down on the sofa just like I had the first time I came here, the butler appeared without making a sound and offered me a delicious looking cup of tea. It was honestly scary how he could erase his presence like that. If only he would learn the significance of having your presence sensed by others.
“So, what will you do? You are welcome if you choose to…”
“I am very sorry…But I came today to reject the offer.”
I have been apologizing nonstop for a while now. Even if I hated it, this was still a prince that was in front of me. There were many princes at this academy, but Craine was without a doubt, the biggest country. The academy itself was on Craine soil, so their power was not to be underestimated.
The thought of displeasing him was frightening in itself. And I was here to reject an offer! But it wasn’t
“…I expected this.”
“Julius had told me that you were likely to say no.”
“Is that so…”
Thank you, Julius. I am suddenly much more fond of you than I was before. Though, I now felt even more guilty about rejecting the offer.
“Do you mind if I ask why?”
“…The student council are representatives of the students. I feel that it is irresponsible to enter it without adequate preparation.”
The prepared explanation comes out smoothly. Yes, that was good. Though, the whole thing was a lie.
The real reason was that I did not want to be around possible love interests. Especially, Tuvalu. That would be torture. But still, there was a monstrous gap between the face I put on and my true feelings. But perhaps this was a good skill to have in navigating the world.
“…Oh, I do not think that it is something so grand.”
“Nevermind. I understand your reason, as unfortunate as it is. I am sorry to trouble you.”
“Ah…no, I am sorry for not being able to help.”
He had mumbled something that was too soft to hear, but I let it slide as he did not want to tell me. Not that I was all that curious about it. It was not good to know too much about potential love interests anyway. That was the most important thing I learned at camp. The second most important thing was the importance of friends.
“It is nothing for you to worry about, Miss Tempest. It was we who have involved you without proper consideration.”
His expression hardly changed, but his words were always straightforward and with no lies. He was completely different from Tuvalu who seemed to have meanings behind hidden meanings. He could learn a thing or two from Runa, since he adored him so much.
“Thank you. Well then, I will…excuse myself.”
The others might return if stayed here too long. Like Tuvalu or Tuvalu and Tuvalu.
Though, I did want to see Prince Julius… I would just have to ask Prince Catalia about it later on. They seemed to get along, and asking a third-year student will probably be a good idea.
I stood up and bowed. My feet felt much lighter, now that a weight had been lifted from my heart. Or was it just me?
In any case, it didn’t change the fact that I felt much more cheerful now. I think I would stop by the gardening club and tell Keito about this.
Such were my thoughts as I reached for the door. But…
Just before my hand touched the doorknob, there was a click as the latch opened from the other side.
“I’m back no-… Ahh, Mariabell. You’re here.”