Author: lipzoldyck

 

Blink, blink, blink.

 

Eleanor blinked rapidly. The right time to laugh at it like a joke has already passed. It didn’t even sound like a joke.

 

“It seems a little hot in the room, doesn’t it? Shall we wait outside?”

 

At Eleanor’s words, Kaidel smiled and nodded. Walking about two steps behind her, Kaidel snapped.

 

“So what was your first impression of me?”

 

“Honestly?”

 

“Yes. Honestly.”

 

“At first you were a little scary. Just the first few times. You’re tall, and your eyes are sharp. It’s comfortable now.”

 

Eleanor, who had added a few words as if to excuse herself, turned around. Kaidel’s eyes widened slightly as he leisurely followed her.

 

“Don’t get me wrong. I feel more comfortable than before, but that doesn’t mean I’m on par…”

 

“You can do that.”

 

I’ll have to try harder.

 

Kaidel groaned softly inside.

 

Eleanor and Kaidel strolled slowly through the sunny garden. Through the large window, they could see the children sitting in front of the desk.

 

Then, Kaidel said, pointing to the tree swing that was tied to an oak tree.

 

“It’s a swing I’ve never seen before.”

 

“Adrian gave it to me as a gift. When I was little, I really liked the swings here. I would sit until the sun went down.”

 

Eleanor walked over to the swing and sat down. Kaidel casually stood beside her and pushed the four strings. It felt good to feel the wind blowing through her hair.

 

“Excuse me, there’s something I was curious about.”

 

“Mmhm.”

 

“I’ve been spending some time with Hilde lately. I mean, the Princess.”

 

Hilde, she said.

 

Kaidel felt a slight jealousy at Eleanor’s affectionate nickname for her.

 

It was famous these days that the Princess would chase after the Everett siblings day in and day out. He had a slight suspicion that perhaps she harbored a crush on Dwight Everett.

 

“I heard that. But why?”

 

“She told me a lot of things, but among them there were some stories about Kaidel. It’s about when you were at the Academy.”

 

He didn’t think he had nice ones, though.

 

Kaidel’s eyelashes quivered when he sensed the uneasiness.

 

“Can I ask you a question?”

 

Eleanor looked up at Kaidel and smiled softly, folding her eyes. Playfulness twinkled in her eyes.

 

“I heard that when you were at the Academy, you were very popular with the girls.”

 

“Me? No.”

 

“I heard there were presents piled up on your desk.”

 

Kaidel twitched his eyebrows. A look on his face as if it didn’t make sense.

 

“But you put it in the lost and found box without even opening it every time”

 

Kaidel, searching for his old blurry memories, widened his eyes. He remembered that sometimes there were things on his desk that didn’t belong to him.

 

Then that…

 

Eleanor nodded slowly as she watched Kaidel’s feelings pass through his face.

 

“Even if I don’t ask the question, it feels like I’ve heard the answer. I knew you didn’t do it on purpose.”

 

Eleanor let out a small laughter.

 

Kaidel stared at Eleanor as he leaned lightly against the oak tree and stood with his arms crossed. He was happy to see that her tired-looking face had become more relaxed. His mind also relaxed slowly.

 

He opened his mouth, his voice plain.

 

“I wasn’t a very popular student. Quite the opposite. Everyone was having a hard time with me.”

 

Eleanor turned her head in Kaidel’s direction. He smiled and brought up an incident from his school days that he had long forgotten.

 

“Once I had to do an assignment in pairs, and a classmate named Kaplan Connelly became my partner. He was a short, small fellow.”

 

Kaidel calmly explained the situation of the day. Eleanor could imagine the scene only from hearing him talk.

 

“But Connelly was so intimidated that he ran around the playground on a rainy day for hours.”

 

“Why?”

 

“He must have thought it would be better to be in bed sick.”

 

“My goodness.”

 

Eleanor sighed and furrowed her brows.

 

“So how did it go?”

 

“As he wanted, Connelly caught a fever and stayed in bed sick, and I did the work for both of us alone.”

 

“Gosh.”

 

When it comes to group assignments, Eleanor was also an expert.

 

“I went to visit the hospital with flowers, but he just confessed while crying out loud, saying he was wrong.”

 

Eleanor’s eyebrows drooped. It didn’t feel nice.

 

“You must have been upset.”

 

“A little bit. I got used to it later though. Rather, it made me more comfortable.”

 

Kaidel replied calmly.

 

Eleanor reached out and gently caught Kaidel’s arm as if she was soothing him. Kaidel stared down at the little white hand that gripped his arm.

 

“You know what? I would like it if I was paired with you.”

 

“Really?”

 

Although it didn’t look like he believed it, Kaidel seemed very happy.

 

Eleanor spoke, nodding her head vigorously.

 

“Of course. The most handsome boy in school who’s good at studies is my partner. It might be a little hard to focus on the assignment, but it must be fun.”

 

At those words, Kaidel laughed lightly. His eyes bent round.

 

Eleanor liked that he looked completely different when he smiled. The long dimples in the middle of the cheeks, and the faint wrinkles around the eyes.

 

There was a gentle breeze over her hair and the leaves rustled. Eleanor felt her heart, which had been weighed down with stress the whole time, lighten.

 

“I would like it too. Obviously we would have gotten an A+. If there was a better score than that, we would definitely get it.”

 

“Of course we would.”

 

Kaidel smiled as he pictured Eleanor at sixteen in mind.

 

“If I fell in love with you like that and left a present on your desk, you would put it in the lost and found box without even opening it.”

 

“Nonsense. I don’t know if it’s the other way around, though.”

 

Kaidel said firmly. Eleanor tilted her head.

 

“You would hate me?”

 

“No. I would like you.”

 

Eleanor’s eyes widened.

 

“The prettiest girl in school who’s also good at studies is my partner, then of course.”

 

She even has the spirit to take responsibility for getting an A+, so he couldn’t have not fallen for her.

 

Kaidel shook his head with a smile on his face.

 

“And you would be afraid of me. I would be frozen stiff, not knowing how to treat the girl I liked, and you would think I was strange.”

 

“Me?”

 

“Of course you’re braver than Kaplan Connelly, and you wouldn’t run on the playground on a rainy day…”

 

“No!”

 

Eleanor touched the ground with her toes, bringing the slightly swaying swing to a complete stop. Kaidel came and stood in front of her.

 

“I won’t deny that your first impression is a bit sharp. Maybe, as you said, I would be a little intimidated.”

 

Just like when we first met.

 

“But as we talked and spent time together, I’m sure I would have known.”

 

Eleanor looked straight into Kaidel’s eyes, she said.

 

“How kind of a person you are.”

 

Kaidel’s eyes widened. The smile faded from his face. He whispered softly

 

“It would be nice if you were there at that time.”

 

It was words full of sincerity.

 

“The Young Marquis must be lucky to have you as a friend.”

 

“I know, right. Adrian should know that too.”

 

A slightly embarrassed Eleanor took Kaidel’s comments as a joke.

 

“I feel sorry for those who missed the opportunity to make good friends with someone like you.”

 

At her words, he grinned.

 

When talking to Eleanor, Kaidel felt like he was a different person. It was as if his colorless and odorless life was covered with her color and scent.

 

Eleanor jumped off the swing and brushed off the hem of her skirt.

 

“At this point, would Luke and Enna have reconciled?”

 

“I’m not sure. Shall we go in?”

 

Eleanor spoke, heading toward the back door.

 

“They will both realize someday. Realization will take a long time, as it always does, but they’re very lucky to have a friend with whom they can share their feelings with ease.”

 

***

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

It was Lucas who broke the silence that lasted for over 30 minutes. He couldn’t stand the itching of his mouth any longer.

 

“What.”

 

Sienna replied bluntly.

 

“The teasing thing I didn’t know you were in a bad mood.”

 

Sienna blinked slowly at Lucas’ words. Lucas wasn’t messing around, and he didn’t even pick a fight.

 

‘Mmm… Now that he’s speaking like that, I feel more sorry.’

 

In fact, Sienna felt sorry for taking out her anger on Lucas. Her pride made it difficult for her to apologize first.

 

“I’m sorry too. Actually, that day, I was so annoyed.”

 

Lucas furrowed his eyebrows.

 

“Why?”

 

“No matter how hard I try, I always make mistakes. The exam is only a few months away.”

 

At Sienna’s words, Lucas raised his voice as if it were nonsense.

 

“You’re smart. I’m sure you’ll do well on the test!”

 

“I’m not as smart as Demian.”

 

Sienna pouted her lips. Demian, who was quietly doing his homework, raised his head.

 

Lucas, looking back and forth between Sienna and Demian, held his chin and said.

 

“Why do you have to be smart like Demian?”

 

“What?”

 

Sienna looked at Lucas as if he was talking nonsense. Lucas shrugged his shoulders.

 

“You just need to be smart like yourself.”

 

Sienna’s eyes widened at Lucas’ thoughtless words. For some reason, her heart became soft and fluffy like freshly baked bread.

 

“You know a lot of difficult words and you write the fastest among us.”

 

How hard it is for me to fight against you and win, you know.

 

Lucas shook his head. The corners of Sienna’s lips went up slightly.

 

Sienna pulled the chair a little closer and sat down, then she said to Lucas.

 

“I envy you.”

 

“Me? Why?”

 

Lucas tilted his head, as if he didn’t understand. He can’t study, doesn’t know difficult words, and is shorter than Sienna. What on earth is she envious of?

 

Even as he thought so, Lucas’ eyes sparkled with anticipation.

 

“You’re good at apologizing, and at complimenting too.”

 

“And what’s with that?”

 

Lucas replied sternly. He pricked up his ears because it was a compliment he had never heard from Sienna, but he couldn’t believe such a thing. Who can’t do that?

 

“I think that’s something only really brave people can do.”

 

Sienna lifted her chin slightly and nodded approvingly.

 

Lucas’ ears rang. There was a strange persuasive power in Sienna’s gaze. With that look and that tone of voice, if she insisted on calling a potato an egg, he might believe it.

 

Lucas, feeling better, laughed bashfully. Sienna held out her hand to Lucas.

 

“Then we made up, right?”

 

“Of course. You and I are allies.”

 

Allies. Siena and Lucas held hands, and a feeling similar to comradeship ran through them.

 

“Since we were fighting, it’s only in favor of Demi’s brother.”

 

“Because he’s a really smart guy.”

 

“Let’s quickly separate the two of them for now.”

 

Thud, rrrrrr.

 

The fountain pen fell from Demian’s hand, who was listening quietly. Somehow it felt a little creepy.

 

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