Author: lipzoldyck

 

Anais smiled, looking at Dahlia, who had a confused expression.

 

“Things like this happen because she doesn’t manage the things below us properly.”

 

For a moment, Dahlia felt a shiver run down her spine. Somehow, she felt like she was crossing the legal line little by little.

 

“We will take over this business first. I need to find someone who is fluent in Mözen. Does Dahlia know anyone?”

 

Dahlia quickly shook her head and took a step back.

 

“No. I can’t think of anyone.”

 

“Well, it would be safer to hire someone with whom we have as little contact as possible.”

 

Anais nodded and placed the documents down on the table.

 

“I hope to be ready to announce it in the fall. At that time, she was busy preparing for the Academy exams.”

 

When she thought about Eleanor being embarrassed, she felt like her pent-up stomach was being lifted. Anais, who was smiling softly, looked towards Dahlia and brought up a new topic.

 

“But Dahlia. I’ve always wondered, why do youhate Eleanor so much? I understand that the Morris family and the Everett family aren’t on bad terms. Did Eleanor do something wrong?”

 

Dahlia was shocked and shook her head.

 

“No. It wasn’t particularly like that.”

 

“Really?”

 

After thinking for a moment, Dahlia slowly opened her lips.

 

“It was a relationship that kept getting worse even if I didn’t intend to.”

 

***

 

Dahlia’s bitter relationship with the Everett family began when she turned nine.

 

Countess Morris looked disapproving the whole time she was fixing Dahlia’s headdress.

 

“Lia, do you really need to go?”

 

“Yes, I will go. You gave me permission, but you can’t come and say no now.”

 

“I really don’t understand what’s wrong with taking classes with a private tutor. You were going to return home after graduating from the Academy anyway…”

 

Dahlia pursed her lips tightly. Fortunately for her, she could hear the clatter of a carriage outside her door. It was the Everett family’s carriage that would take Dahlia to the Academy exam hall.

 

Dahlia’s face brightened.

 

“The carriage is here!”

 

“It’s too late to stop her.”

 

Countess Morris sighed and opened the front door wide. Countess Everett was standing at the doorstep, holding her daughter, Eleanor’s hand.

 

Dahlia felt a little shy and half-hid herself behind the hem of her mother’s skirt.

 

“Diane, welcome.”

 

“It’s been a while, Amelia.”

 

“I’m causing such trouble. Thank you for your willingness to give permission.”

 

“What do you mean trouble! Ellen and Dewey also say it’s more fun to go with friends. Right, Ellen?”

 

Eleanor raised her head at Countess Everett’s words. Her sparkling green eyes and fine blonde hair made her look like a doll. Dahlia liked Eleanor at first sight.

 

Eleanor smiled broadly and locked eyes with Countess Morris. She had a mature and confident attitude that was unusual for people of the same age as her.

 

“Yes. Don’t worry, Countess Morris. I will return safely with Dahlia.”

 

“Oh my, how sweet. Yes, Eleanor. Please take care of our Lia.”

 

“Yes. We’ll be back!”

 

Eleanor nodded and held out her little hand toward Dahlia.

 

“Let’s go, Dahlia.”

 

***

 

Eleanor was bright and confident the entire few days leading up to the Aademy. She also knew a lot of funny stories. Although she had some strange aspects, even that looked quite nice in Dahlia’s eyes.

 

At the inn on the way, Dahlia shared a room with Eleanor. Eleanor asked as she rolled around on the bed after dinner.

 

“Dahlia, are you going to study?”

 

“Yeah, the exam is in a few days. I really want to do well on this test.”

 

“Then I won’t disturb you. I’ll be in Dwayne’s room, so study quietly.”

 

Eleanor quietly got up and opened the door. Dahlia jerked her head around.

 

“Aren’t you studying?”

 

“Hm?”

 

“There’s a test soon.”

 

“I’m done. I need to help Dwight more.”

 

Eleanor smiled softly at her Dahlia and left her room.

 

‘Hmm… Eleanor doesn’t seem to like studying very much. I want to take a class together, though.’

 

It didn’t take long for Dahlia to realize that her thoughts were completely mistaken. This was before they even had a list of successful applicants.

 

The exams were over and they were about to return to Bellium. While loading the carriage, an old man with graying hair approached Dahlia.

 

“Eleanor Everett?”

 

“No. I’m Dahlia. Eleanor is over there.”

 

Dahlia pointed her finger at Eleanor.

 

“Thank you.”

 

The old man lightly tapped Dahlia on the shoulder and walked towards Eleanor. She quietly followed him.

 

He stopped in front of Eleanor and carefully opened his mouth.

 

“Are you Eleanor?”

 

Eleanor looked up blankly at the old man in front of her.

 

“Yes. But who are you, Grandfather?”

 

The man burst into laughter at Eleanor’s indifferent voice.

 

“You took the entrance exam the day before yesterday, right? I’m Aster, the school’s principal.”

 

“Ah! Hello, principal.”

 

“Just Aster is fine. I really wanted to meet you. Where are your parents?”

 

Dahlia was surprised. Before her eyes was the legendary scholar, Aster Logostoa. Heads of countries even went to the Academy to seek his suggestions.

 

Dahlia lingered outside the door while Astor, Eleanor, and Count Everett were talking.

 

After waiting for a while, the door clicked open. Dahlia grabbed Eleanor’s hand.

 

“What’s the matter?”

 

“Ah… He wants to teach me directly.”

 

Dahlia’s eyes widened.

 

“There’s no way.”

 

“I think so too. What I wanted to do was just have a normal school life. So I just refused.”

 

“That’s even more ridiculous!”

 

Dahlia’s cheeks turned bright red. Eleanor said, gently cupping her cheek. It was a sweet and gentle tone, as if soothing a child.

 

“Let’s go home now, Dahlia.”

 

***

 

[The first person with a perfect score on the Academy entrance written test is born.]

 

[A Prodigy of the Times. Eleanor Everett.]

 

[Aster Logostoa’s remark that she’s a ‘brilliant person I want to make as a disciple’ is a hot topic.]

 

[Academy’s top student, shocked by declaration of withdrawal from admission.]

 

Dahlia sat in front of the desk and opened the newspaper. For words she didn’t know, she looked through the dictionary and read them carefully.

 

It only took a moment for vague admiration to turn into burning jealousy. Dahlia was too young to process such emotions maturely.

 

All the newspapers were talking about Eleanor. Dahlia took second place behind Eleanor,yet no one in her class took notice of her.

 

“Dahlia, come down for dinner.”

 

Even Dahlia’s parents.

 

“I met Count Everett at today’s meeting. He looked frantic.”

 

“Eleanor gave up her admission, right? She’s a really smart kid.”

 

But what upset Dahlia more than that was that Eleanor had thrown it all away. What was for Dahlia her lifelong dream and her goal meant nothing to Eleanor.

 

“I heard her twin brother passed the exam too? It’s amazing that the siblings get along so well.”

 

“That’s good for Lia. When Eleanor quit, Dahlia became the student representative. Plus, I feel reassured that she’ll have a good kid like Dwight with her.”

 

She didn’t want to be first place, something she got for free. Eleanor wouldn’t even admit her, so there would never be a chance for Dahlia to win her over. A faint shadow fell on Dahlia’s youthful face.

 

***

 

Spring came, and Dahlia entered the Academy. As the semester passed, the name ‘Everett’ was slowly forgotten. This is because she was overjoyed just to get out of her conservative home.

 

“There will be a speech by the graduates. Dwight Everett!”

 

That was until Dwight, a member of the Department of Government Administration, beat Dahlia and graduated from the Academy at the top of the class. Dahlia placed second in both the admission and graduation. The second place winner that no one remembers was her, Dahlia Morris.

 

Even after she graduated from the Academy, the name Everett frequently appeared on the front page of newspapers.

 

[Dwight Everett, Academy 337th Graduation Representative.]

 

[Dwight Everett, passed the Imperial Public Recruitment at the top of his class!]

 

[Eleanor Everett, Proposal of Innovative Educational Methods]

 

[Person of the Month: Interview with Eleanor Everett!]

 

Every time that happened, the newspaper would get crumpled in Dahlia’s hands. Eleanor was still jumping over her as if showing off.

 

The more she thought about Eleanor, the more Dahlia, who had accomplished nothing, felt small. She graduated from the Academy with good grades, and she took care of Duke Izent’s youngest son while he studied and occasionally looked after him.

 

At that time, Countess Morris’ voice was heard from outside.

 

“Lia, everyone is waiting. Come down and greet the ladies.”

 

“I’ll be down soon.”

 

Dahlia answered, picking up her gorgeous, heavy necklace from her accessories box.

 

She was not used to dressing up like a doll and smiling brightly among people. She felt like she was walking in shoes that didn’t fit.

 

‘Eleanor is probably still achieving something with her own efforts.’

 

A dark shadow fell over her face. Her jealousy and inferiority complex were eating away at her little by little. Dahlia knew it, yet she couldn’t help but feel defeated every time she thought of Eleanor.

 

‘I hate myself like this too.’

 

***

 

Lucas was sitting on the sofa in Izmel’s office doing his math homework. Although Lucas tried to concentrate, after about 30 minutes, steam began to rise above his head.

 

Lucas muttered softly.

 

“I don’t want to do my homework.”

 

“What?”

 

At that time, Izmel, who had been working silently, suddenly raised his head. His eyebrows rose sharply, as if something had touched his sensitive nerves.

 

Lucas spoke once again, as if asking why.

 

“I don’t like homework.”

 

Flinch.

 

Izmel’s eyebrows twitched.

 

“Don’t do that. Just like it…”

 

Don’t hate it.

 

Izmel muttered helplessly and lowered his gaze to the document he was looking at. He looked somewhat glum.

 

Lucas looked at his older brother strangely and shook his head.

 

‘Sometimes when I see Brother, he’s strange.’

 

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Comments (1)

  1. Tsk tsk, what a shame. First the maid turn traitor and now Dahlia’s reason, too…