Author: lipzoldyck

 

That’s how the strange entrance exam counseling began.

 

Eleanor pretended not to notice the hot gaze behind her back and placed cups of hot drink in front of the children. Lucas, who was constantly yawning as if he was tired, sniffed and asked.

 

“What’s this?”

 

“It’s cocoa.”

 

“I don’t like cocoa, though.”

 

“Try it just once.”

 

Eleanor confidently recommended it.

 

It’s the taste of the artisan who trained for years in the Academy kitchen room. No comparison with ordinary cocoa is allowed.

 

From the perfect ratio of water, milk, and chocolate to the sweetness doubled by minced marshmallows. Eleanor took great pride in her beverage-making skills.

 

“Sienna, try drinking it too. You will like it.”

 

Eleanor said as she placed a piece of freshly baked scone in front of Sienna. Sienna, who had been staring into the cup for a moment, was the first to gather courage and take a sip.

 

She placed a piece of scone in front of Demian as well, and Eleanor asked Sienna.

 

“What do you think?”

 

“It’s delicious! As expected of Teacher…”

 

She didn’t know what the hell was expected, but seeing Sienna like it made her feel good.

 

As Sienna started drinking, Lucas and Demian also picked up theirs.

 

“Wow, what is this? Why is it delicious? I want more.”

 

There was an immediate and heated response from Lucas. Eleanor smiled and shook her head slightly.

 

“There’s still a lot left. Blow on it so your tongue doesn’t burn, and drink it.”

 

Demian didn’t say anything, but he seemed quite pleased as he continued to sip from his cup. Only then did Eleanor put her mind at ease, filled her teacup and settled down on her seat.

 

Anyway, what should they talk about, she wondered.

 

Eleanor’s gaze shifted to Lucas, Sienna, and Demian in turn. Lucas seemed preoccupied with emptying the plate in front of him, while Demian stared down at his cup, making her wonder what he was thinking.

 

In the end, Eleanor spoke first to Sienna, who was looking at her with a twinkling look that was a bit burdensome.

 

“I heard that Sienna’s dream is to become a top student at the Academy?”

 

“Yes! I heard from Uncle that Teacher also ranked first in your entrance exam.”

 

At Sienna’s words, Eleanor glanced in Adrian’s direction. Her eyes met immediately with him, as if he had been looking at her since God-knows-when.

 

Eleanor, slightly embarrassed, immediately turned her head away again.

 

“I see. Are you studying alone these days?”

 

Sienna told her story for a long time. As Adrian said, she was a smart and skillful girl. She has a bit of a sloppy side like a child, but it was obvious that she researched and studied hard in her own way. Eleanor offered a simple thanks and advice.

 

Then it was Lucas’ turn. Lucas was half-swayed, probably losing his concentration.

 

“Is Lucas preparing to go to the Academy, too?”

 

As soon as she asked, Lucas’ face instantly became dark.

 

“Everyone says I have to go, but…”

 

Lucas opened his mouth with a very serious face.

 

‘But?’

 

Eleanor, who grew serious at the same time, tilted her head and waited for Lucas to speak. Sienna and Demian’s gaze also turned to Lucas.

 

“I hate studying.”

 

“…?”

 

“It’s not fun.”

 

Eleanor’s mind froze at the overly simple answer. Sienna, who was looking at Lucas with a similar expression to Eleanor, whispered a question.

 

“Is this person really the Prince?”

 

“Yeah. I’m the Prince, what?”

 

“Hnngg. Nothing.”

 

Sienna avoided Lucas’s gaze and picked up a strawberry, putting it in her mouth. She chewed for a while, but she seemed to have noticed that something was wrong with the nuance of Lucas.

 

“Hey, Pink Hair. Just now, what does that mean?”

 

“I told you it’s nothing.”

 

“Nothing, you said. Do you think I’m a fool?”

 

“Ah, the Prince isn’t a fool, so you can think of it on your own.”

 

Lucas and Sienna began to bicker.

 

“Lucas, Sienna. Stop fighting and get along well…”

 

The voices of the two children rose even higher, as if they couldn’t hear Eleanor’s voice. It was all the more difficult because Lucas wasn’t in a position that could be treated carelessly.

 

Restless between the two, Eleanor touched her throbbing forehead.

 

‘I didn’t take the bribe, though! I still can’t throw away all my spirit…’

 

Eleanor, who suddenly recalled the entrance exam from her previous life, got goosebumps.

 

‘No matter what happens, I have to finish it today.’

 

***

 

The three men sat around a small table in the corner of the drawing room and watched the whole scene.

 

Adrian watched with a little nervous look as his nephew and the Prince were bickering, and Izmel smiled at whatever was so fun for him.

 

Kaidel, who was looking at the Crown Prince with a dissatisfied gaze, suddenly asked.

 

“What brings Your Highness here?”

 

“I came for exactly the same reason as you.”

 

Kaidel’s face hardened at Izmel’s words.

 

“I want to find the best teacher for my younger brother, isn’t it the same as yours?”

 

“Is that really the only reason?”

 

“Do I need another reason?”

 

As expected, he had other reasons.

 

Izmel muttered inwardly and shrugged his shoulders sullenly. Kaidel’s eyes narrowed slightly.

 

“Of course, I also really wanted to see my second cousin, who had lived like a wooden stone all his life, and the Lady, whom the Young Marquis, who has consistently refused the passionate love attacks of the ladies, relied on.”

 

“What on earth…!”

 

“Coincidentally, isn’t the Lady the sister of my youngest aide? It’s meant to be.”

 

Kaidel completely forgot that Dwight Everett was the Crown Prince’s direct aide. This was natural, since the only thing he paid attention to in the article in the first place was the description of Eleanor.

 

“Did you forget? The Young Marquis must have known it very well.”

 

At Izmel’s words, Adrian nodded coldly.

 

“Yes, that’s right.”

 

“Dwight seems to care a lot about you”

 

“The three of us, including Ellen, have been close since childhood.”

 

Adrian replied with a soft smile. However, there was a strangely cold side to his gaze as he glanced sideways at Kaidel.

 

“Did you hear that, Kaidel? I’m telling you so that you know that the fight against you has started.”

 

Izmel, who nodded his head a few times, looked at Kaidel and spoke playfully. He could have put on an annoyed expression, but he was deep in thought.

 

“But there really is no way to tell who it is between the two of you. I assumed it wasn’t just a rumor, yet it was true.”

 

“Your Highness!”

 

“That…”

 

“It’s late. What’s the point of getting angry after you’ve already been caught?”

 

Izmel laughed and went on leisurely.

 

“There is definitely something special about the Lady. How interesting. I fully understand why the two of you were attracted to her.”

 

As soon as he spoke, Kaidel’s aura instantly sharpened. Adrian, who didn’t lose his polite smile, also had a strangely sunken look in his eyes.

 

Izmel, who had been observing the two of them with interest, withdrew his mischief and sighed.

 

“Leave those blasphemous gazes. I really didn’t come here because I had different reasons.”

 

His gaze returned to Eleanor, who was trying to center herself among the three children.

 

“…At least for now.”

 

***

 

As the two bickered, Eleanor addressed Demian with her words.

 

“Does the cocoa suit your taste? Aren’t they too hot?”

 

Demian gave her a small nod. Eleanor tried to talk about this and that, but Demian kept his silence with his back straight.

 

“Demian, are you willing to take the Academy Entrance Exam?”

 

When the topic of the Academy came up, he even stopped expressing my intentions by nodding his head. Demian’s fingertips holding the cup showed enough strength to turn white.

 

‘Is it a sensitive part?’

 

Eleanor quickly realized that the topic was sensitive to Demian and turned to another topic.

 

“Does Demian have any hobbies? Something that makes you happy only by thinking of it. I like to take care of the house. I wanted the place I’m staying to stay to feel cozy and warm.”

 

Demian, who had been looking down as if he was uncomfortable the whole time, relaxed little by little as Eleanor casually continued another story. Random remarks seemed to help.

 

“It’s a lot smaller than the Duke’s residence, right? So there isn’t much to see, but the gardens are quite worth seeing. I took care of each and every one of them.”

 

To be honest, she couldn’t even remember how she treated an eight-year-old boy. In the first place, Eleanor didn’t have much experience dealing with children of this age.

 

‘I was in charge of them for about a year and a half for the first time. Since then, I have only taught high school students…’

 

Eleanor shook her head away from the sudden thought of the faces of the students she was teaching.

 

“Ah, ducks live in the pond in the backyard. I didn’t bring and raise them on purpose, but I think they came in accidentally while living nearby.”

 

She had seen students who were shy and silent countless times in her previous life. There were many students who simply took time to express their thoughts in words.

 

However, what Eleanor felt while watching Demian was a little different. Demian wasn’t bad at expressing his thoughts, it seemed that he chose not to.

 

“I will introduce them the next time you come. They’re very noisy, but the ducklings are really cute.”

 

“Can I come see them too?”

 

Sienna interrupted Eleanor’s words to Demian. Then Lucas, whose mouth was sulky, added a word proudly.

 

“There are many other animals besides ducks in the Imperial Palace.”

 

“You must be very happy.”

 

As if Sienna wasn’t interested, she replied insincerely.

 

“Unlucky Pink Hair, you’ve never been there before. You can’t come.”

 

“Wow, what a shame.”

 

It’s only been an hour since they met. The two seemed to have become perfect enemies.

 

Lucas’ face was as red as a tomato, as if he was angry that his attack didn’t work at all.

 

Eleanor, whose spirit had shrunk, glanced in the direction where the Crown Prince was sitting. He just watched the two children arguing, smiling as if he was having fun.

 

“Well, Sienna. You can come and look around any time.”

 

“Woww!”

 

Sienna smiled broadly and clapped her hands. Lucas, who was displeased, pointed at me and asked.

 

“What about me?”

 

“Of course, Lucas can come, too.”

 

Lucas’ face brightened a little. Lucas, who slipped his arrogant smile at Sienna as if asking if she had seen that, said excitedly to Eleanor.

 

“Alright. Then I will also invite the Lady to the Imperial Palace.”

 

“Pardon? No, it’s not necessary…”

 

Eleanor’s kind smile cracked.

 

“I was treated to something delicious, so I should treat you as well.”

 

“I’m just glad you enjoyed your meal.”

 

Just go. Please just go.

 

“As expected, do you like a nice dinner? It wouldn’t be a bad idea to enjoy lunch outdoors. You don’t have to be shy.”

 

Lucas turned around and asked the Crown Prince for his consent. It was, in effect, driving a wedge.

 

“Brother, it’s okay, right?”

 

Ah, please.

 

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this chapter is sponsored by Aris (1/5)

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Comments (1)

  1. “Adrian watched with a little nervous look as his nephew and the Prince were bickering, and Izmel smiled at whatever was so fun for him.”
    *..as his niece