Author: lipzoldyck

 

These days, Lucas has a problem.

 

‘She tied her hair really high today.’

 

Since they fought and reconciled, he kept glancing at Sienna.

 

“Why do you keep looking at me?”

 

“Me? I’m not, though.”

 

What’s more problematic is that Sienna keeps looking pretty!

 

Her cherry blossom-pink hair was pretty, and her big, sparkling eyes were also pretty. He thought she was tall and cool, and her chubby cheeks were kind of cute.

 

‘Nonsense. Something is strange!’

 

Not anyone else, but Sienna Blake. This wasn’t normal.

 

‘I’d rather that be Marianne Bassett, whom I met in dance class…’

 

An arrogant devil, a tone as harsh as a tree bark, and a fierce competitive spirit that’s scary. Her personality, which had been annoying to begin with from the day he first saw her, seemed to be fine these days.

 

No, she even looked pretty cool.

 

“Time flies so fast that it’s already summer. From now on, I’ll just have to devote myself to studying until the exam.”

 

Sienna crossed her legs and flipped through the book pages, muttering. Lucas, who was looking at Sienna while lying down on the desk, asked.

 

“What is ‘devote’?”

 

“Focusing your mind on just one thing.”

 

Devote.

 

Lucas muttered the newly learned word over and over again. Devote. He thought it was a pretty cool word.

 

According to what Sienna taught him, Sienna is what Lucas is ‘devoted to’ these days.

 

As he was blinking with a complicated expression, Sienna tapped Lucas’ arm and spoke.

 

“You should study too.”

 

“Another nagging.”

 

Lucas wrinkled his nose and puffed out his cheeks.

 

“Then you’ll fall down, though?”

 

“It’s exciting.”

 

“Demi and I might have to go alone.”

 

Flinch.

 

Lucas’ half-closed eyes flashed open. That just wasn’t possible.

 

He vividly pictured Sienna and Demian having a great time at the academy, and himself in the Imperial Palace, surrounded by a flirtatious nanny and grumpy grandfathers.

 

Sienna glanced at Lucas and added in a calm voice.

 

“I want the three of us to go together. I want us to enroll and graduate at the same time. If you fail, it’ll be troublesome.”

 

To think that she wants to go with him. To think that she wants them to enroll and graduate at the same time!

 

The corners of Lucas’ lips slightly rose. With a slightly flushed face, Lucas asked as if to confirm.

 

“Really…?”

 

“Right. So, while you’re at it, memorize at least one more word.”

 

“Got it.”

 

Lucas quickly stood up. A passion he had never felt before began to burn within him.

 

It was the moment when a temporary alliance was established between studying and Lucas.

 

***

 

There was someone who was watching this with joy, and it was Eleanor.

 

‘Hoo, Luke likes Enna?’

 

Cute fellows.

 

Eleanor grinned at the children. Even though she tried to pretend not to know, the corners of her lips kept rising.

 

Perhaps inspired by Sienna’s words, Lucas participated in class with a more active attitude than anyone else today. Kaidel, who arrived a little early and was watching the class, was surprised.

 

“Lucas is a little different than usual.”

 

“There were circumstances for that.”

 

Eleanor smiled and gathered up Demian’s books and handed them to him. Kaidel took it lightly with one hand.

 

“About Demian…”

 

Kaidel asked cautiously and Eleanor shook her head. Demian still hadn’t recovered his condition.

 

“Still, I think he’s a little better than last week.”

 

“Thank goodness.”

 

Eleanor, who was following Kaidel in steps, asked with a grin.

 

“I heard you’re going on a business trip to Mözen next week?”

 

“Right. But I won’t stay long.”

 

“Then Demi…”

 

“Fortunately, my maternal uncle is home.”

 

In one of Kaidel’s hands was VIP tickets for the most popular play in the Empire these days. Jonathan, the butler, had worked hard to save it for him.

 

Before leaving on a business trip to Mözen, Kaidel decided that he would definitely ask Eleanor out on a date. Although it seems like everything has already been revealed, he wanted to convey my feelings properly.

 

What should I say? Should I just hand it over naturally?

 

That was when Kaidel clutched the small, thin ticket in his hand. Eleanor quickly turned around at the sound of people coming from behind her.

 

“Ellen.”

 

Adrian was approaching the two, smiling softly. Kaidel’s face was crumpled as if he had chewed on a bug.

 

“Rian?”

 

“Your Grace the Duke is there too.”

 

As he came over to see the two talking, Adrian widened his eyes, shamelessly pretending to be surprised. A vein appeared on Kaidel’s forehead.

 

“I thought you were very busy these days.”

 

“I came here because of work at the merchant. I have something to tell you.”

 

Eleanor immediately nodded her head at the mention of the merchant work.

 

“Then, Kaidel, please be careful. “I think I need to talk to Adrian for a moment.”

 

Eleanor lightly waved her hand and walked away with Adrian. Kaidel glanced down at the ticket in his palm.

 

“Adrian Blake…”

 

While Kaidel was grinding his teeth, Adrian walked through the garden with Eleanor, feeling great satisfaction.

 

“Is that true?”

 

“Yes, I’m relieved. Actually, the financial situation is much better than before… So, you too, please feel at ease.”

 

Eleanor was overjoyed at the news Adrian delivered.

 

“But the problem with the worksheets still remains. I’ll think more about what to do.”

 

“Don’t push yourself too hard.”

 

Adrian’s heart began to beat faster when he saw her smiling so wide that her eyes closed completely. When Eleanor smiled, sparkling sunlight seemed to pool around her.

 

Although it was overwhelming for him to see her like this alone, he felt a little sorry for Kaidel. In fact, it was a smile that was as if he (Kaidel) had brought it back.

 

‘He has to endure that level of pettiness.’

 

The guilt quickly disappeared as the summer breeze blew.

 

“Ah, you know what?”

 

“What?”

 

“Luke seems to like Enna. It’s so obvious, and if you look at him, he’s so cute you’ll die. I feel like my heart is melting.”

 

Eleanor jumped, clasping her hands together on her chest. A happy smile appeared on Adrian’s lips as he watched it.

 

That’s how I feel when I see you.

 

Adrian swallowed the words that were up to his chin. If Eleanor had heard, she would have swiped her arms and said that she was getting skinny.

 

“Sienna said she wanted to enroll and graduate with him, and he studies very hard, you know? It went so well. Lucas is really smart, but the problem is that he can’t be bothered to study.”

 

“Really?”

 

“I’m not sure how Sienna feels.”

 

“Life at the age of nine isn’t easy.”

 

Eleanor smiled and nodded at Adrian’s words.

 

“Sometimes when I look at the children, I imagine what they will be like when they grow up. Lucas and Demian will take after their brothers, right?”

 

Then they both will be really handsome.

 

“I think Sienna will grow up to be really lovely. Other parts of her seem a lot like her mother, but every time I look at her eyes, I feel like she takes after you.”

 

Eleanor said, looking intently into Adrian’s eyes.

 

Those eyes are so pretty no matter when you look at them. His golden eyes filled with summer light were as beautiful as the sun.

 

“To me, they all just look like babies, but they will grow up in the blink of an eye, right? Just like we did.”

 

“Maybe.”

 

Adrian nodded his head in agreement.

 

“Will there come a day when Lucas and Sienna like each other and get together?”

 

When Eleanor asked, Adrian narrowed his eyes with a, hmm.

 

“I’m not sure. We’ll have to wait and see…”

 

Adrian continued, looking at Eleanor.

 

“Somehow he feels like me, and it makes me want to support him.”

 

Eleanor tilted her head.

 

“Well… You and Luke are a little different.”

 

“How?”

 

“I can see what Luke is thinking on his face. But not you.”

 

“Hmm.”

 

“And when you were Luke’s age you were busy running away from me. Don’t you remember?”

 

Eleanor said with a grin. Adrian scratched the back of his head in embarrassment and made an excuse.

 

“Right.. Because I didn’t know anything back then.”

 

Eleanor suddenly asked, seeing Adrian’s ears turning bright red.

 

“Then what about when you were seventeen?”

 

“What?”

 

“Were you at an age where you didn’t know anything even then?”

 

Adrian blinked his eyes as if he had no idea what was happening. Only then did Eleanor realize what she had said, and she shook her head in shock.

 

“I just spat it out. No need to worry about it.”

 

***

 

But if he doesn’t worry about anything, he’ll worry more.

 

Even after Adrian returned home, he couldn’t shake off Eleanor’s words. He muttered softly as he lay in bed and looked up at the canopy pattern on the ceiling.

 

“Seventeen… What happened then?”

 

Seventeen was a time that remained vivid in Adrian’s memory. It was a time when he was suffering from the feeling of being led helplessly while he tried not to like her.

 

During vacations after the semester, he spent time with them either at the Everett family home or the Blake estate. After wandering around the mountains and fields all day with Dwight, when they were covered in sweat, Eleanor carrying a large basket came looking for them.

 

When the vacation ended and the semester began, Eleanor always sent long letters…

 

“Letters.”

 

Adrian suddenly stood up. He strode across his room and began rummaging through his desk drawers.

 

Where did he put them?

 

After opening every drawer he could reach, he found a pile of letters tied with string in the bottom drawer of the desk. He had collected everything he had received during his time at the Academy.

 

Adrian pulled the end of the ribbon to untie it and looked at each letter.

 

[By Eleanor Everett.]

 

Nine out of ten of the letters were from Eleanor. He thought they came often back then, but when he put it all together, it was really quite a lot.

 

Adrian selected the ones that came after the age of seventeen and placed them on the desk. That alone formed a small hill.

 

“Did this many letter come?”

 

Adrian unfolded the one on top.

 

[It’s been pouring rain here all day. I hope it’s a clear and sunny day without a single cloud where you are. I don’t mind this weather, but you like running around like a rabbit outside on a sunny day.]

 

Adrian’s lips drew a soft line.

 

[They say no news is good news. But if I don’t get a reply from you, I feel discouraged. Sometimes I get angry and want to punch you in the back. I’ll forgive you though. It’s true that I talk too much.]

 

Adrian was deep in thought. Did he reply to this letter? If he hadn’t done that, he wanted to smack himself in the back.

 

[There are so many things I want to tell you. What I want to hear from you too. I want to ask you what you ate today, what you were thinking about, and whether you were joking around with a pretty girl.]

 

Adrian’s eyes widened slightly. It may be a crazy idea, but this must be…

 

[I always think of you. I worry about you and miss you. I wish you would think of me half as much as I think of you. I will wait for your reply.

 

With love, Eleanor Everett.]

 

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