School Arc – Chapter 8
The fifth and sixth year joint dance lesson, even while designated as a『lesson』, was actually closer to an event.
A written invitation is delivered in the name of the school head prior to opening the exhibition, and even on the day when the exhibition opens, we’d have free time after dinner.
The location was a small hall at the 『guest house』.
The『guest house』was the name used among the student population, this building’s official name was the Culture and Arts Building of the Royal Magical Academy. Why the students used a name that wasn’t even remotely close to the original name, was because its image of a lodging facility for outside guests was strong.
In fact, the facilities that were contained in this building were an archive that collected rare books related to magic, a large hall for theatrical companies from the royal capital who were invited to do public performances twice a year, a small hall used for dance lessons and such, guest rooms for visitors’ use, and so on.
By the way, inside the school, this building is a very popular test of courage spot, especially for male students .
If spoken well of, it gives off a feeling that there’s a history behind it. If spoken ill of, that ancient building tickled students’ hearts.
And, above all, 『an archive that collects rare books related to magic』. This was it.
Not only was it terribly suspicious, it was a room that aroused all sorts of imagination. All the more, since students fundamentally do not enter the rooms.
For that reason, rumours that stimulate students’ curiosity and fear regarding this building do not die out.
They say several students that have done the test of courage in the past have gone missing. It looks like the howlings of a terrifying monster have been heard inside the building – no, wrong, the thing they heard was the sobbing voice of a child. It seems like there’s a mummy in the guest hall’s archive. What are you saying, the mummy is in the innermost room of the basement. I hear the mummy is the mummy of a demon king!
As might be expected of a magical school, even the seven wonders (to be precise, there wasn’t seven though) was abundantly preposterous in variety. What’s that about a ‘mummy of a demon king’? That idea of a demon king turned mummy was fantastic.
By the way, in the surrounding countries’, much less our own country’s history, the times a 『demon king』or the like having made an appearance in the past was — zero. Its existence appeared only in stories.
Moreover, the mummy in the archive they’re talking about is probably the misunderstanding they made of the man that had been employed for over sixty years, Mr. Hemlock the librarian, who’d turned eighty last year.
The misunderstanding was about his appearance. When talking about an eighty-year-old grandfather, anyone would end up thinking of a wrinkled old man, but in reality, they’d only see him as a forty- or fifty-year-old man in the prime of his life, at most. There were these occasionally exceptionally strong people with magic, the type of people who looked considerably younger than their real age. Even his mind was young. If I were to say how young his mind was, it was young enough that he’d woo me, a person who visited the library for the teachers’ errands. Well, even though I say ‘woo’, he’d only invite me to tea in a gentlemanly fashion. There, the lip service was probably a mere association of it, though.
I strayed off-topic.
What was important was the joint dance lesson.
Consequently, it was about the love events together with the capturable characters that was to happen with the game heroine, Lily.
That afternoon, when I tried asking Lily in detail, I came to know how low Lily’s encounter event consumption rate was.
At the moment, it looked to me that as far as Lily was concerned, the first person she would have a lot of contact with was Shade. While this was my own brother, it was expected.
Since they also take a lot of the same lessons in the same school year, I learned they’d quickly come to be in greeting terms with each other.
Since even the game’s encounter event for『Shade 』and 『Lily』 was an event where, having an interest in Lily, Shade had come talk to talk to her, it’s probably fair to say this was cleared.
But, when I tried asking her if they get along well, Lily’s answer was:
『No. Not particularly』
She returned this with a blank look on her face. He talks with the other female students in the same way, nothing more to it, was the explanation.
Next, also of the same year as her, was Ru Xiang. In regards to him:
『 Every time I see him during lessons, I think, ‘what a beautiful person’』
To start with, from what she tells me, she has never personally talked to him. This had a slightly inevitable reason, Ru Xiang basically never moves alone.
The young man named Oria, gangly and too insipid for some kind of 『guard』, follows him around often.
This young man named Oria, was a point that I had on my mind. Actually, this young man was nowhere to be seen in the game. For instance, even though the names for Art’s male cousin, along with the boy’s entourage and the like were never disclosed, they still made an appearance inside the game. And yet, the existence of the young man, the only one acting as Ru Xiang’s guard, that was not in the game, was in here. I believe this was a slightly strange topic, though…
Well, my memories related to the game were also sketchy, and I couldn’t remember well without a trigger, but, to begin with, the time in the game and the current one differed in many ways.
At any rate, the times where Ru Xiang is all on his own were limited to things like when he was in class or doing the tasks of a dormitory prefect. This meant the 『good old shoujo-manga-esque bump in the corridor』 encounter event for 『Ru Xiang』 and 『Lily』 was unlikely to happen.
After that was the lower year, Art. In regards to him:
『I’m not familiar with the person』
I-is that so?
Of course, she knows his name from conversing with me, though. And so, somehow, I ended up fussing over Lily.
But, well, isn’t it fine that she doesn’t particularly get to meet Art? After all, speaking of the encounter event for 『Art』 and 『Lily』, the dreadful impression was bad. I’m not sure whether『Art』, who took along his entourage as always, was poking his nose into『Lily』 who had an unusual history, or came to challenge her. Caused by a lacking imagination, it was an event where he decided ‘common people = poor’ and hooted at her.
These days, even elementary students wouldn’t take such a lousy approach.
Well then, if that’s the case, this means that Lily’s favored choice will inevitably end up becoming Wolf.
Well, to begin with, it didn’t mean there was a firm promise that Lily had to choose from among those four people, though. No, but, I hated the thought that Lily and Wolf might end up liking each other. Frankly, I wanted to give a warning to the two as soon as possible. Since I am Wolf’s fiancee, wouldn’t I have that right to do so? But, while nothing has happened, just how hasty would placing constraints be? Or rather, isn’t this no longer at the level of being called jealous? But once something does happen, it would be too late…
(But, the 『Wolf』 in the game and Wolf, my fiance, are not the same. Wolf is an earnest person, he wouldn’t abandon me, his fiancee, without warning)
Only when I thought of it that way did I somehow regain my calm, I’ll just end up feeling sad thinking of things like 『Wolf』 and 『Lily』’s love events in the game.
The 『Lycoris』 in the game was honestly a third-wheel. When I was also playing, I often thought “I really hate her”.
(It’s kind of depressing…)
All of a sudden, I ended up in thought.
I like Wolf. Although a word like 『love』is exaggerated a lot, at any rate, I thought, ‘isn’t it that I have fallen in love with Wolf?’. It’s difficult for me to lose him.
Even if I was suddenly told to cancel the engagement, I wouldn’t consent to it. Giving my blessings to the pair’s happiness was something I simply couldn’t do.
Since I was already heading towards the same madness as the game’s『Lycoris』, could this have been arranged as a step forward?
Does the fact that I fell in love with Wolf mean I was heading towards a path of destruction?
That supposition makes my heart contract.
The time of the dance lesson came.
The dresses, in hues of each individual’s own liking, drew a picture of the waltz.
In the commonly deserted hall of the guest house, at the moment, were riots of blooming flowers that were doing nothing but dancing and smiling.
Of course, the male students were also present in shirts donned in unfamiliar ties, and wearing shoes unsullied by mud.
Since the leisurely triple meter dance was basic, almost no one among the fifth and sixth years found it difficult. At any rate, those who were weak at picking up the rhythm, and even those who were weak at moving their bodies, became in some way or the other, unexpectedly good when they enthusiastically practiced just this much. Everyone’s faces were shining with festivity.
Lily, who was wearing a new dress of emerald green which matched the color of her eyes, took her partner’s hand with a slight nervousness on her face. It was the first time she’d gotten a written invitation, and having nothing but this humble dress, she had on a strained smile; however, not only was the color of the dress’s bright and gentle impression matched well enough to say it was meant for her, her footwork was pretty good too.
Her dance partner was Wolf. Since his reflexes were quite used to it, under the teachers’ instructions, he often linked arms and practiced with girls in the lower year who were not very good at dancing. Dancing with men who were skilled at taking the lead was the best way for beginners that had no confidence in themselves to improve. It was something that I, who’d been dancing with Wolf since before coming to this school, knew very well.
Speaking of which, I was present in my ever unchanging evening wear rouge dress. When I had danced a series of dances with false cheer, I then quickly grew tired and exited from the dance floor. After speaking with the teacher for a while, I gazed at the dance floor. And so, right now, that meant I had been gazing absent-mindedly at Wolf and Lily’s dance.
（A cute couple with a height difference…）
Even though I thought ‘stop thinking about it, stop thinking about it’, I ended up thinking about self-torturing thoughts.
Once the song was over, everyone retired from the floor. After Wolf and Lily exchanged a few words, only Wolf walked in my direction.
I waited for him to come closer while being somewhat nervous.
The very first thing that Wolf, who had a somewhat serious expression, said was this.
「Lycoris, I have something I want to ask you about」
With a sombre expression, I lost my mental battle.
‘What is he going to say?’, I wondered, my heart pounding.
「 Today’s dance partner – that is – whatever made you pick one out?」
Not understanding what I was just asked about, I tilted my head.
Today’s dance partner? Is he talking about Lily? Ah, no. Wolf was asking about me. My dance partner today? I wonder, who was it again?
「Sorry, Wolf. At any rate, I guess I was in the mood that I wanted to move my body today… Was there someone I was dancing badly with? 」
「Oh, I see, is that what it was?」
Since Wolf smiled with a cute face that I couldn’t easily bear to look at, I, who was somehow worrying myself, felt like an idiot.
After all, just now, Wolf got jealous at my dance partner. Usually, when I’m directed by the teacher, there wasn’t anyone else I danced with aside from Wolf and Shade.
「Hey, Wolf. This is a serious question I’m about to ask, so I want you to also answer me seriously」
Wolf nodded with a serious face.
「Wolf, do you believe in fate?」
This time, it was Wolf’s turn to have a question mark floating on his head.
「Perhaps I should say fated partner – for instance, someone who, if you love, will make you happy, like it was decided from the start… no, I have to say it more simply, right? For instance, as a person fated for you, although that person is strong and positive, that person somehow has a fragile side… how should I put it, a person you feel that you can’t leave alone」
At that point, Wolf, who seemed to finally understand, nodded.
「… that would be you, wouldn’t it?」