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Tiane keeps coming back.

“Sophia, good morning.”

“Sophia, let’s change class.”

“Sophia, go get me a drink.”

Fetch quest.

“Sophia, since you hang out with that guy Noah, even though he has that sick hobby of pretending to be his brother, I want to know what’s so interesting about him. Oh wait, did you even know that? It’s not exactly common knowledge.”

I don’t hang out with him!

“I have to go meet my fiancé so take care of my cat for some minutes.”

Why did you bring it to class!!

I wanted us to ignore each other, dammit!

After I sit down I notice Matthew staring at Christine.

Worried again? Or maybe…

“Do you want to touch it?”

Now that I look at him better his hands are making slight grabbing motions. So obvious.

“M-Me? No way…”

He turns red and avoids my eyes.

I pass the cat into his arms.

I swear I heard gasping noises from my classmates.

“A-Are you crazy?!” He says, looking too happy.

“Tiane seems to have taken a liking to you.” Alexis casually brings his chair next to Matthew’s table. Were these two close in the game?

He keeps talking without taking his eyes away from Christine. “Tiane and the prince always meet up from time to time, as is expected, being engaged and all. But just between us, I don’t think they like each other very much.”

Back when I played the game I always thought that pairing a girl with a superiority complex and boy with an inferiority complex was a bad idea.

Tiane’s feelings were always left ambiguous. Many times she seemed offended the prince didn’t acknowledge her, but either if that came from pride or love was up to your interpretation.

In the prince’s route, Tiane was especially aggressive. It’s not like I don’t understand. Even if the prince never loved her, the heroine still took her fiancé. Yet, she blamed the heroine of everything bad that ever happened, and that’s where she lost the sympathy the readers still had for her.

“A political marriage, huh…” Matthew continues, “I don’t know what to think of it. Do you have a fiancé too, Alexis?”

“I don’t. A shame I don’t get to call the prince by name.”

“What, you want to marry royalty?” Matthew jokes.

“But, for me, the opposite is the most important,” Without much thought to it, words leave my mouth, “Someone referring to me by name would be where I find the pride at, not the contrary. It means people remember you.”

“You can’t exactly forget the prince’s name... And to casually call a member of the royal family by name is indeed an honor.”

“Perhaps... Honor, huh. But a relationship can’t be only based on honor.”

“Sadly, a relationship isn’t all that is needed. Well, I dislike it too, honestly.”

“I’m sorry for changing the conversation, but I had something I wanted to tell you.” Matthew lays Christine over his desk. “About our outing to the shrine after the exams, if you are going to be in Tiane’s group then we too will be there.”

“We? First time I’m hearing it.” Alexis gives Matthew a look.

“You aren’t against it so who cares.”

“But I’m sure the vacancies will be filled by Tiane’s followers.”

“They won’t.”

“They will.”

“Won’t.”

“...”

“All I have to do is ask them nicely anyway, they will be lenient on me.”

They aren’t lenient on me at all. Fangirls are a scary existence indeed.

Matthew, who seemed to notice the change on my face, raises his hands and gently pats my head.

Are headpats supposed to feel this nice?

I never knew.

Relaxing.

Are they?

Every man should max out this technique, I understood.

I never took Matthew as the big brother type though…

“Ahem”

Matthew takes his hand away, not flustered about what he did, as if it was the most normal course of action to make.

Alexis shifts his attention to Christine and tries to pet her. The cat doesn’t refuse, but after glancing at him once, doesn’t acknowledge him again. Alexis’ cute face fixes into a frown.

No good, it would be rude to laugh.

“You think I don’t see you smirking?” Alexis sends me a cold glare.

W-What is this feeling. I want to be looked at like that again. Is this how being a fangirl feels like?

“Why are you smirking more, does your head work backwards?!”

I am not a fangirl. I am not a fangirl. I am not a fangirl.

“Are you even listening?”

“So she can be like that even without a book…”

“…I’m hearing you guys.”

How rude

 

 

 

Since I had been talking to those two a lot more lately, I expected girls to come and bother me, but unexpectedly nothing happened.

Could it have to do with Tiane?

Either way, this sense of peace, especially with the exams coming, is greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

In the afternoon, Tiane actually dragged me away somewhere. Apparently she invited Noah for tea. I really wish she had dropped that idea.

She had her servants bring food to a stone table in the garden. The food looked so appetizing I almost lost myself looking.

I have more self-awareness than that though.

We sit on the round table. I want to start eating right away, but the tense atmosphere doesn’t allow me.

I wish I could be air.

“To what do I have the honor of being invited?” Noah sips at his tea.

“How long have we known each other? I thought it would do us good to hang out once in a while.”

He makes a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes, “And her?” He looks at me.

“She is good company.”

“I never thought I would hear that from you.”

This cake is good.

“Why would you think that?” She chuckles, “Well, I presume you won’t mind her either.”

What is this cake even?

“Yes, this is a rather interesting group, I wouldn’t pass the opportunity. Oh, right, how is studying going? Have you two got accustomed to the school. I’m a second year already so if you have questions be free to ask.”

“Thank you, I will keep it in mind.”

I gulp down the food in my mouth, “Nothing much, it’s coming along, more or less.”

After a pause, Noah brings up a topic again, “Are these pastries from that one store? How is it called… The one with a blue front...”

“Oh, that one in town?”

What was it called again…?

“Do you know of it?”

“Yes, it’s quite famous. Although it’s very high class so I never went in.”

“But you aren’t from the capital, are you?” Tiane asks.

“No, but I’ve come here from time to time.”

I keep digging at the cake. Nice cake.

“I hope it’s not rude to ask but I’ve been curious. Why are you suddenly letting Christine stay in school?”

I want to evaporate myself.

Noah is the worst partner in crime I could ask for.

“If I had to say anything, it’s because I can. Isn’t it fine to keep something you like close to you? It isn’t as simple as bringing a teddy bear I know, but just for a while… my servants can take care of her. I can also leave her with Sophia if needed. The Principal agreed anyways.”

“Tiane, if you are too mean to her, she won’t like you anymore.”

“…Her?”

“Anyways, you’ve had her for a long time, now that I think about it. A birthday present, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, from my mother. Sophia, that teddy bear was given by your mother too right?”

That’s unexpected.

“It's from both my parents, actually. My mother put the ribbon on it afterwards. I was surprised because my father is the type to give me magic books and such.”

When you crack open a magic book walls and wall of text greet you. It looks boring at first, but there’s so many ways to use magic described in there!

Some have beautiful pictures too!

Aaaa~ and the covers look pretty on my shelf.

“Magic books, huh. You like magic don’t you? Back in the forest you were focused on experimenting different attacks on those bats.”

Geh, it’s that noticeable?!

I pout slightly, “It’s not like I need to only attack in one way.”

“But if you already know what kills them you can stick to it.” She nonchalantly gets back to her tea.

“Hmm, so you are the type who likes fighting. You don’t look the part.”

I want to retort but it’s actually true.

A servant whispers in Tiane’s ear, “But back to the cakes.” She once again puts her tea cup down. “It’s amazing you can tell the store they came from just looking at them.”

“Ah, that’s… I see these ones a lot.”

He means the cakes his brother always buys, I guess. He didn’t even know the name of the store so that must be it.

That reminds me, the fandom used to joke about Michael liking to stuff the heroine with cake.

He was the type to always have gifts ready. Once he knew the heroine wasn’t the type to be amazed by jewelry he started giving flowers and pastries. And one day the heroine went: “I only have so much space to keep food and flowers, more than things like that I would rather have you (as in spend more time with him)!”, and blushed bashfully. It was cute. The next scene was nice too.

Oops I’m getting sidetracked.

“Do you like that store, Tiane?”

“No opinion. I never went there myself either.”

“Realy, I though this one at least you would have gone to.”

“I have… never really been to town myself.”

“Eh, really?” My voice reached a pitch I didn’t intend to, so I cover my mouth immediately after talking.

Where’s the ‘I disguised myself and went to town teehe~’ event!

“That’s a shame. Maybe one day you’ll have the opportunity.”

 

 

 

“I heard the crisis at the border is getting worse.”

Many times, in between countries, there are inhabited forests densely populated by monsters. But normally these monsters don’t leave the place. Lately these monsters have been acting weirdly and attacking people.

“True,” says Noah, “My family is thinking of going there during the holidays.”

“Must be tough. Ah, and wasn’t Matthew from the border? Hopefully the king resolves this soon.”

It won’t be so soon…

 

 

 

We spend a while talking until we finish. Tiane’s servants start cleaning up the table.

“Until later then.” Tiane takes her leave.

“Later.”

As I intend to walk away, my arm is caught and I’m pulled backwards. My arm is locked in Noah’s arm and he brings his head a little above my ear.

“She may have ulterior motives, so don’t let your defenses down when with her just yet.” He releases my arm, “Later.”

I brush the arm he touched with my hand.

Too close.

I’m not looking back at him.

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Rurin

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