Chapter 63 - Clara
“Do you hate me that much? Can’t you at least give me a chance to live this dream for at least three months? Until our time at the Academy ends?” asked Clara as she sobbed. “Lady Constance will never find out about this. She won’t even come to the festival. There’s no way she will know what happens here! Please! Give me a chance.”
“She’s right! And I am very certain Lady Constance will understand,” agreed Bazel.
“Bazel!” shouted Cladis.
Bazel, despite Cladis’s disapproval, didn’t back down, “You’re the crown prince, your highness. You will become the emperor of our great Duffspe empire in the future. His majesty currently has five wives. I’m sure Lady Constance is ready for that.”
Shaking his head, Cladis replied, “No, you don’t know Ella.”
Clara then quickly ran up to Cladis and held onto his arm. Her teary pink eyes could only see him, and she cried, “She must be ready by now. She is more cold-hearted than anyone out there. She should have visited you every year if she thought of you as you did. Don’t you see that?”
“Clara. She’s too busy preparing for the future-”
“And she must be. She doesn’t understand how you feel! But I do. I know how lonely you are.” Clara then took a small breath and continued, “Just for once. I don’t mind if you use me to ease your loneliness. It will be a memory for me in order for me to move on. Can’t you at least give me that?”
Trying to refuse, Cladis said, “Clara. But this is…”
Cladis covered his eyes with his hand. Although he had to refuse her outright, he couldn’t do that to Clara. Come to think of it, he couldn’t refuse her from the beginning. Coming into contact as if it was a coincidence and pretending their meeting was fate was a scheme many girls used in the past on him. As a result, Cladis became skilled at dodging these girls as they charged towards him. The only one who benefited from this was Ashe, who was too slow to move out of the way and was hugged by these girls before they ran away in shame. Cladis, however, couldn’t do that when he saw Clara running towards him. Not only that, he even reached out to help her from falling down after they bumped into each other. For some reason, he even remembered who she was after that incident.
‘Was she really that special?’ These thoughts raced through Cladis’s mind. He wanted to be loyal to Ella, but he also couldn’t deny his feelings for this girl. After Clara had successfully pulled off her scheme, rumors of her success caused the other girls to try to copy her, only to fail miserably. Unfortunately, Cladis easily dodged them and completely forgot about them. He even heard a rumor of a certain girl trying it over ten times, but he couldn’t remember who she was.
After his friends repeatedly told him that Clara was special, Cladis started to feel like she actually was. He looked at Clara, who was shivering as she held onto his arm. Tears were trickling down from her eyes. If he made her let go, it seemed she would be abandoned forever. He was almost close to rejecting her, but he couldn’t and let out a sigh, “Clara, this is only until our time at the Academy is over. Is that really alright with you?”
“Of course! It’s fine. It’s more than fine! Your highness, I will never let you down. Trust me.”
And she did. She really did well. She found out what Cladis liked and disliked ahead of time and made sure she didn’t cross his feelings. Unlike other women who only want to receive from men, Clara worked hard only to give. As such, Clara was highly popular among his friends. A few of them even met their girlfriends with her help, so they were especially loyal to her.
Three months flew by very quickly. With the Week of Beginning coming up, everyone became worried about Clara. The only ones who didn’t think too much about it were Cladis and Ethan. They were too busy planning their schedules in preparation for Ella’s debutante party. A royal tailor had visited the Academy under special permission to create a party suit for Cladis, and soon it had arrived.
“Your highness, your new suit is here,” said Ethan.
“Ella’s dress has a silver embroidered family seal, right?” asked Cladis.
“Yes. That’s what my brother told me.”
Cladis opened the box to find a pure white dress suit with a gold seal that symbolized the crown prince embroidered on it. Red embroidery was an usual color for the crown prince’s dress suits, but he made a special order to match with Ella’s dress.
“I will hang it up here, your highness,” said Ethan.
“Have the boutonniere hung up too,” added Cladis.
“And here we are, finally going back.”
“Yes. We will finally meet again.”
Satisfied, the two of them smiled as they looked at each other. Just like that, Cladis’s new suit and the boutonniere that Ella sent were hung in his room. It was like proof that they were returning home.
Clara, however, couldn’t hide her sad expression whenever she saw this. Cladis didn’t notice her sadness, and no one dared to point it out to them. An incident happened on the first day of the Week of Beginning.
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