Author: rolypoly

“T, that can’t be possible!”

 

When asked by B, that Noah might have a lover, Clarisse started to deny it without realizing it. 

 

However, when Eugenie asked, ‘Why is that so?’, there was no answer. 

 

Clarisse herself didn’t know why she ended up denying it in the first place.

 

“T, that’s.” 

 

Still, she continued vaguely and finally came up with an appropriate answer.

 

Why did she convince Noah that she would never have a lover?

 

“If that’s the case, I…No, there’s no way Ms. A wouldn’t know. Because they are the closest friends.” 

 

“Secrets exist even among close friends.”

 

Clarisse couldn’t refute it. She also had a secret from Noah.

 

“Uh…” 

 

It seemed that Eugene noticed the awkwardness, as she shrugged her shoulders and also informed about other assumptions. 

 

“Or maybe Mr. B has another woman that he wants to impress.”

 

“A woman that…he wants to impress? Does that mean he has someone he likes?” 

 

“Yes. But since nothing is certain yet, he hasn’t told his friends about it.”

 

Clarisse nodded her head slowly, ‘I see.’

 

Eugenie expressed her hope that A and B would get along well, then inserted the timeline she had perfectly organized a little while ago into her notebook.

 

“Hey, by the way.”

 

Valentine, who had been listening to their conversation for a while, looked back at Clarisse, resting his chin. 

 

“Did you say that Ms. A’s friend’s friend consulted with you about her concerns?”

 

“T, that’s right!”

“…Did you have a friend who was close enough to consult you about their concerns?”

 

“What does the prince think of me?” 

 

“No, it’s not like that. Hey, Eugenie McLeod, do you want to receive counseling about concerns from her?”

 

He looked back at Eugenie across the table, tilting her head crookedly.

 

Eugenie, who was taking out a new workbook, quietly raised her head and answered.

 

“Yes.” 

 

“…What?” 

 

At this, Eugenie immediately looked back at Clarisse. 

 

“I’ll come to your room later. When I’m ready to open up.”

 

Clarisse was a little surprised, but nodded quickly. 

 

“Anytime is fine for me. I’ll always welcome you, so please come anytime.”

 

“Thank you.” 

 

With Valentine’s mouth slightly open, he looked at the two of them. 

 

“McLeod, are you really doing anything to deny what I say?”

 

“I answered ‘yes’ to the prince’s question. You may or may not know, but that’s a typical expression of affirmation.”

 

“Ah, please understand the intention of the test taker!”

 

“I repeat, the prince is not a test taker.”

 

Eugenie lowered her gaze to the workbook again.

 

“I’m serious, that kid always wins. Got it? You’re my friend too, so you must never lose to that kid.” 

 

Valentine also suddenly became enthusiastic, straightened his posture, and immediately picked up his pen. 

 

Clarisse looked at them in turns as they studied with fearsome momentum, then thought, ‘They are strangely similar, after all.’ Then she laughed a little. 

 

After finishing history study with a sense of satisfaction, Clarisse gathered her books and notes before getting up from her seat for a moment.

 

“Aren’t you studying?”

 

When Valentine asked with a grim expression, Clarisse answered with a frown on her face. 

 

“I’ll do it in my room.”

 

In truth, as she spoke, Clarisse couldn’t help but wonder if Noah’s light had returned slowly. 

 

“I’ll go first.” 

 

Clarisse briefly greeted Valentine and Eugenie before stopping by the study room for a moment. 

 

With the thought that Noah might be somewhere, she glanced around, considering that he often stood out easily, dressed in his white robe, regardless of where he was in the monastery. 

 

‘It’s not here.’

 

Indeed, if he had come to the study room, he would have likely come to Clarisse and Valentine first. 

 

He was also somewhat awkward at being close to other test takers.

 

Clarisse quietly left the study room and went up the stairs. 

 

Noah’s robe was seen in the middle of the second floor hallway. It was near Clarisse’s room.

 

‘I guess the light has returned!’

 

Clarisse quickly ran up the remaining stairs.

 

When she had just a couple of stairs left. 

 

“No…!”

As Clarisse called out to him, she quickly pressed her lips together in the middle of her sentence. 

 

That was because Noah was with another test taker.

 

Indeed, this is a monastery, and it’s quite natural for test-takers to converse with each other.

 

Besides, isn’t Noah a person who achieves excellent results? Naturally, everyone wanted to become friends with him.

 

No, even if it wasn’t anything in particular, it was a good thing that Noah had a lot of friends.

 

‘It’s a good thing.’

 

Seeing the girl peeking through his robe smiling brightly gave her a strange feeling. 

 

‘It feels… kinda… unpleasant, too?’

 

Clarisse quickly shook her head at the question that suddenly came to her. 

 

‘It’s not that I don’t like it, I just…’

 

She just remembered the answer Eugenie gave a little while ago. She said that Noah didn’t hold Clarisse’s hand because he had someone he wanted to impress. 

 

‘Could that someone be…’

 

Clarisse looked at the girl who was still intently talking to Noah.

 

“Pretty…” 

 

They seem to be around the same age, but there is also a part where they seem strangely mature.

 

‘What am I doing?’

 

Staring at someone while contemplating various thoughts was incredibly rude. Clarisse made a conscious effort to avert the lingering gaze and descended the stairs with shaky steps.

 

Why are her steps slowly getting heavier as she heads towards the first floor? 

 

‘I’m embarrassed, why am I so selfish?’

 

Clarisse is trying to make new friends besides Noah, and she can’t be happy together when he forms new relationships.

 

“Haa.” 

 

After coming down the stairs, Clarisse sighed so much that her shoulders slumped. 

 

The slightly dizzy feeling seemed to lighten up a bit, perhaps thanks to the fresh air flowing in from the central garden. 

 

“Girl?” 

 

At that moment, startled by Noah’s call from right behind, Clarisse let out a squeak of surprise.

 

“N, Noah?!” 

 

The test takers passing by also looked at us in surprise, so Clarisse quickly bowed her head to them and apologized.

 

“…I’m sorry.” 

 

The test takers quickly lost interest and headed to their respective rooms, rubbing their tired eyes.

 

“…Ugh.” 

 

As Clarisse played with her hair out of embarrassment, Noah apologized again in a quiet voice.

 

“Sorry, Girl. I didn’t mean to startle you.”

 

“I, I know.”

Clarisse tried to speak as normal as possible.

 

That was such a strange thing.

 

It was ‘normal’ now. 

 

But she has to make an effort to speak ‘normally.’

 

“Girl, what happened?”

 

“No?! Why?” 

 

“That girl…”

 

“I, what did I do?”

 

As she asked that question and looked directly at Noah, Clarisse finally realized her mistake.

 

She said she was trying to speak the same way as usual, but she wasn’t even looking at Noah properly.

 

‘I’m so stupid, really!’

 

Clarisse forcibly pulled up the corners of her lips. She hopes he doesn’t notice this awkwardness.

 

“I’m not sure why you’re acting like this all of a sudden, but it’s clear that Girl is desperately hiding something from me.” 

 

“It’s not like that! I’m not hiding anything, and if anyone’s hiding something, it’s more likely to be Noah…”

 

“I? To Girl?” 

 

“Ah, really.” 

 

Clarisse covered her face with her hands for a moment. It was indeed difficult for her to lie to Noah.

 

“…Well, you know.”

 

Clarisse barely lifted her eyes and looked at Noah. The cheek that was touched by her hand felt a little warm for some reason.

 

“Last time at the wedding, Noah…You didn’t hold my hand.” 

 

“Ah.” 

 

He seemed to recall the past for a moment before nodding his head.

 

“That, that has never happened before. I wondered why… that was happening.”

 

“I didn’t know you were worried about that. If Girl feels uncomfortable, I apologize…”

 

“No, no! It’s not uncomfortable.”

 

Clarisse couldn’t bear to look at Noah any longer, so she secretly turned her gaze towards the garden.

 

“Maybe Noah didn’t want to hold my hand because you wanted to impress someone else…”

 

“Do you mean…me?” 

 

Noah’s response seemed to imply that he couldn’t see himself in such a position, so Clarisse quickly snapped at him. 

 

“How about Noah? You’re handsome and kind!”

 

“A girl’s sentiments are by no means universal. Especially if Girl wants to look good, such a person is…” 

 

He paused for a moment.

 

He seemed to be contemplating an answer for some reason, so Clarisse waited for the rest of his words with a somewhat impatient heart.

 

“…N, no. Such a person…”

 

“Noah, you stuttered.”

 

Clarisse’s eyes became sharp.

 

“Really! Who could I impress at that wedding venue in the first place?”

 

“Well… that’s true, but…”

 

Because there were no other test takers there besides them and Abington.

 

“Then, did I misunderstand?”

 

“You hit the nail on the head, girl.”

 

Even though they hadn’t exchanged any particularly amusing words, for some reason, hearing his firm answer made Clarisse want to smile. 

 

“Well, you see, then why didn’t you hold hands that day…?” 

 

When trying to ask why he held out his handkerchief.

 

A small ball of light flew in between them as they faced each other.

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