Author: rolypoly

Huh? 

 

At the familiar voice, Clarisse blinked her eyes.

 

Before she knew it, the man she had imagined had disappeared.

 

Instead, Noah stood in front of her, his back to the window. 

 

With a deeply concerned expression, he looked at her closely. 

 

“No…ah?” 

 

“What’s the matter? Are you feeling unwell?”

 

“N, no.” 

 

Clarisse smiled brightly, as if trying to shake off the remnants of her lingering imagination.

 

“Because the ring is pretty. I was mesmerized.” 

 

“Uhm?” 

 

Noah seems to have finally realized the existence of the wedding ring.

 

“Did the jewel on the ring say anything?”

 

“No, the jewel is quiet. It seems like an unspeakable jewel. Just… promising a lifetime to one person feels really cool. It’s romantic, you know.”

 

“Of course Girl can become like that later. If you want.”

 

Noah talks about the future casually.

 

Clarisse really liked this about him.

 

Because no one else would be able to answer like this.

 

“That’s right, Noah too. More importantly, have you already returned from the wizard’s castle? Didn’t you say you might come back tomorrow?”

 

“I was a little in a hurry.”

 

“It’s winter, and the road is dangerous. What should I do if you’re in a hurry?” 

 

“Uhm, I wanted to do that.”

 

He murmured softly, “Somehow, I miss it…”

 

She wanted to ask, “What?” but his question came first.

 

“How has your week been, girl?”

 

“Me? As you can see… Ah.”

 

Before they knew it, the sounds of people outside began to grow louder and louder. They could even see carriages lined up outside through the window.

 

It seemed like people attending the wedding were arriving one by one.

 

“Have you by any chance seen Mr. Belleville?”

 

“Of course I met him, because he was the one who guided me here.”

 

“What? Why hasn’t Mr. Belleville come in yet and what is he doing?”

 

Noah shrugged his shoulders in response to Clarisse’s slightly agitated remark.

 

“It would be better to see it in person.”

 

He kindly opened the door and took the lead as if leading the way into the chapel.

 

Abington was sitting in the very back of the chapel, his cheeks turning red to an embarrassing degree.

 

It made her wonder what could possibly be causing him to be so flustered… 

 

“It’s Uncle Quentin, right?” 

 

Sitting next to him was Quentin, who looked somewhat depressed.

 

Although it would have been difficult to talk to him because of the pitch-black aura emanating from him, Abington, who was oblivious, was firmly by his side.

 

Has the disappearance of the Queen’s absolute backing prompted him to seek favor with successful seniors who have completed their student life? 

 

Anyway, Clarisse decided to go say hello to Quentin. Even if it was just to get Abington out. 

 

…That was the plan, but soon Noah shared a shocking story.

 

“He said he was ‘busy’ and wanted me to do his work for him.”

 

“What?!”

 

“I heard it wasn’t anything significant. Perhaps… would it make Girl uncomfortable if I intervened?”

 

He seemed to be watching Clarisse for some reason, so she quickly waved her hands.

 

“No! It’s not like that. It’s not a difficult matter. Well, not exactly, but…”

 

They pretend to be lovers and follow in the footsteps of the bride and groom.

 

While this may be a lie, it wasn’t such a terrible thing that she couldn’t tell her close friend.

 

In fact, when she spoke to Valentine, didn’t she speak comfortably even though she was fussing?

 

But for some reason, words didn’t come easily to Noah. 

 

‘…What should I do?’

 

* * *

 

Clarisse lied.

 

This is to congratulate the bride and groom on behalf of the test takers.

 

There was confidence in not getting caught.

 

Because it was a very natural thing for Noah and Clarisse to hold hands since they were nine years old. 

 

When walking alongside the bride and groom, if she casually suggested, “Shall we hold hands too, like usual?” Noah would have nodded in agreement. 

 

However, Clarisse’s cunning plan fell apart completely when she met the soon-to-be bride and groom.

 

“Thank you for agreeing to help. Were you surprised to suddenly be tasked with this? Don’t you hate having your time to study taken away?”

 

The cheerful bride in a white dress spoke happily to Noah and Clarisse, whom she met for the first time.

 

“The time is fine, but with things like this, I don’t know who will not be in a precious position.”

 

“Oh my, it’s okay. It’s a cute mask. But your way of speaking is just like our grandfather’s… Do all wizards talk like this?”

 

While Noah was shocked, Clarisse quickly joined them.

 

“I’m fine too! I’m just happy to be able to congratulate you from up close.”

 

“You’re a good kid. I really didn’t want to do it.”

 

“Yes?” 

 

“When we were at the monastery, there was another couple who made the same request. I never wanted to spend time on this kind of thing, but this person…”

 

She patted her husband’s chest as he stood next to her with the back of her hand and laughed.

 

“You came out because he was so stubborn that we had to do it. You don’t even know what the true intention is.” 

 

“True…intention?” 

 

Clarissce squinted at the handsome-looking groom. No matter how she looked at it, it seemed like he didn’t have a true intention behind it. 

 

“That’s.” 

 

She pointed with her white gloved hand to Noah and Clarisse’s hands. 

 

“You have to hold hands, right? That’s what we were aiming for.”

 

“Hmm!”

 

The groom cleared his throat with a slightly embarrassed expression.

 

“If you wanted to hold hands, couldn’t you just do it naturally like usual? But why make such a fuss about it now? It’s so awkward, honestly.”

 

Then she came in front of Clarisse and Noah and asked a question with a very interested face.

 

“Are you two holding hands?”

 

“Oh, that thing.” 

 

“Have you two been dating for a long time?”

 

Clarisse hurriedly looked back at Noah. Of course, even if she did, she couldn’t tell his expression because of the mask. 

 

“No, we…”

 

When Clarisse forced out an answer.

 

A priest standing nearby then informed them that it was time to proceed to the chapel.

 

“…It’s a shame. Tell me after the ceremony. And thank you for taking the time for us today.” 

 

“No, I’m excited to witness the wedding up close. I’ll pray for your eternal happiness.”

 

“Will you? Well then, I’ll pray for both of you to be happy forever as a token of appreciation.”

 

“Ah, that’s…” 

 

She can’t do it.

 

Clarisse just flailed around, unable to even speak to her to stop her.

 

In the end, the sound of music began to emanate from the chapel, signaling that the ceremony was about to begin soon.

 

The bride and groom headed to the chapel first, leaving Clarisse behind, who couldn’t respond.

 

“…I, I’m sorry.”

 

As soon as they were alone for a moment, Clarisse put her hands together and apologized to him.

 

Noah is smart, so he probably figured out what Clarisse was hiding by now.

 

“It was very difficult, wasn’t it? Mr. Belleville said there are no other test takers who can do this.”

 

“It wasn’t really like that. Didn’t we do something similar before?”

 

He was probably talking about imitating a ‘courting gentleman’ in front of the Marchioness of Curno.

 

“That’s a bit different, isn’t it? Don’t you… feel bad?”

 

“A little.” 

 

He was even smiling as if he were having fun.

 

“I feel rather fortunate. Because I don’t have to witness a girl doing this with Abington Belleville with my own eyes. That must have felt really bad.”

 

“I felt bad too. Well, as soon as Belleville let go of my hand, he wiped his palm with his handkerchief…Noah?”

 

Just as Clarisse was telling the story with Abington, red magic was flowing from Noah’s hand and slithering between his fingers. 

 

“Ah.” 

 

He seems to have noticed this only when he followed Clarisse’s gaze and looked down at his hands.

 

“It seems like it’s become a habit.”

 

He quickly brushed his hand to dispel the magic.

 

At that moment, the priest glanced at them from a distance.

 

“I guess we should go too.”

 

“I’m worried that I’m not good enough and that I’m causing harm to Girl.” 

 

“What are you talking about? Noah wouldn’t do that.”

 

At that time, a trainee priest of their age came up to them and handed Noah a gray cape.

 

“I brought it, Wizard Sinnet.”

 

“Ah, I’m sorry.”

 

Clarisse answered on Noah’s behalf.

 

“Noah will wear a robe. It’s the rule of the Wizards.”

 

“I asked the priest to bring it to me. Thank you for doing me a favor.”

 

“Why do you want to change clothes? Is it okay if you do that?”

 

“There is a reason.”

 

The robe fell along Noah’s shoulders and arms. He simply folded the long, large robe and placed it on the trainee priest’s other hand.

 

“Then, please take care of it.” 

 

“Yes, I understand. Thank you for your cooperation in the work of the monastery.” 

 

The priest nodded and hurried off down the corridor.

 

Noah put on his cape and looked back at Clarisse.

 

At that moment, she was startled and took a step behind her.

 

She thought it was because he seemed a little different for some reason. Even though he only changed his clothes.

 

“I took off my robe to avoid being rude. If I go out wearing a robe, won’t I stand out more than the main character?”

 

“That’s…” 

 

Clarisse nodded her head gently. 

 

She couldn’t take her eyes off his hands as she fastened the decorative buttons. 

 

As he focused on fastening the decorative buttons, she couldn’t take her eyes off his hands.

 

Sometimes, the subtle blue veins or the contours of his bones that would occasionally emerge and fade away somehow felt… pleasant. And the tips of the nails were carefully trimmed into a round shape.

 

‘I want to touch it…’

 

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