Chapter 104 – The Last Thing I Want To Do (2)
The sky cleared the next day, as if blessing the students’ return to the Academy.
Ian, who had been under a lot of stress from his work, arrived at the Academy straight from the Lapis estate. There was no flooding in the capital. When he entered the Academy’s gate, the numerous responsibilities on his shoulders left him for a moment. His body feeling lighter, he entered his room which he missed and found a visitor inside.
“We’re not open yet, sir.”
Ian joked and opened the window, allowing fresh air to circulate into the stagnant room. Ian sat on a window sill and swept the wind from his hair.
“It’s been a while, Simon.”
“…I have to tell you something.”
Of course Ian had no difficulty in guessing what it was.
“I couldn’t ask her for a relationship.”
“You’re not surprised.”
“Of course not. My cousin has been treating Louise like a pretty glass bead for some time.”
“Yes, you have. It’s amazing actually. She’s more like tough leather.”
Ian had always admired that.
“Anyway, the former queen liked Louise very much.”
“I was sure she would.”
“Because Louise is charming?”
“No, it’s because her stubbornness is similar to our grandmother’s.”
Yes, they were similar. They could manipulate Simon and Ian with their stubbornness.
“And I have some bad news.”
Simon hesitated, and Ian waited until he could pull enough of himself together.
“…I was found out by Louise.”
“I told you it would happen.”
“I should have listened to your advice.”
“You shouldn’t underestimate Louise Sweeney’s animal instincts. She would joke about the crown prince of this country without any care.”
Ian’s eyes shimmered as he said the word “joke.”
He was curious to know how Louise reacted after realizing Simon’s heart. She was probably quite surprised.
“I should know the changes or reactions between you two, so I can know how to act.”
He quickly changed topics.
“Add a count to the number of times you avoided the rain and ran to the structure.”
“Really? Then ninety-seven…no, that can’t be right!”
“Louise’s new umbrella is yellow.”
“Good. That’s a safe color. Wait, Simon, is there anything else?”
“She’s grown taller.”
“I guess she’s safely on the last train of her growth.”
“She ate a lot of meat.”
“It must have been a great summer vacation.”
From Simon’s way of speaking, nothing seemed to have changed between them. He was still treating Louise like a glass bead.
“And. For the first time.”
Simon added the remaining changes.
“…I didn’t quit on something.”
Then he laughed scornfully. Maybe now Simon would look like a fool waiting for the rain that wouldn’t fall.
“Even though I was able to quit on anything, until now.”
“Well I advised you. Louise Sweeney is like tough leather.”
Simon murmured, and Ian waited patiently until Simon continued. There was no rush. This semester just started.
“Everything has its end.”
Simon spoke softly and swept the desk with his palm. The summer dust clung white in his fingertips.
“Those words are a salvation for me. Perhaps that common truth will apply to this feeling as well.”
Simon closed his eyes for a moment. This feeling was different from anything else he had been forced to quit so far. He would hold on to it until the very end, and at the end of its intensity, he would let it go completely. And it would have deep meaning to Simon.
“It will be the first time I’ve ever quit with my own willpower.”
He expected a natural loss of emotion now that he thought of it. Simon had never had such an experience.
“If my cousin allows.”
Ian slid down from the window frame and stood right in front of Simon. Their eyes, so similar to each others, captured each other’s gazes at a short distance.
“Can we remember this together?”
“The first thing you stopped with your willpower.”
“It’s cruel be alone with your feelings.”
Perhaps Ian was thinking of the time he had to remember his mother’s kindness alone, and so he gently worried about Simon.
“I’ll keep close to my mind, so you can use me whenever you want.”
Ian grinned crookedly, and Simon smiled when he remembered when Louise imitated Ian’s grin and Simon laughed so hard. Louise was brightest when she spoke about Ian. When Simon remembered the date in the rain, he had a question.
“By the way, Ian. What color am I?”
“What does that mean all of a sudden?”
“You said one day. Purple was Louise’s color.”
“…Do you want a color for a boy?”
“Well, then I’ll give you black.”
Ian looked at Simon’s fine hair and spoke with a kind tone.
“Black is a good color. It’s generous color born with all other colors in it. It is well suited for you.”
Simon looked surprised at Ian’s reply.
“I think your assessment of the color black is too good.”
He never thought that Louise and Ian would think of him that way. Perhaps Simon himself had a great misunderstanding about the color black.
“Why wouldn’t it be generous?”
Ian cradled Simon’s head and gave him a simple answer.
“It’s the color of my dear friend.”
The first thing the students did when they returned to their dormitories was rush to the laundry room and wash their bed sheets that had gone damp during the rainy season. Louise did as well, and found a vacancy among the flapping blankets on the clothesline to dry her sheet. She had to make sure that it was hung properly so it wouldn’t get wrinkled, but before she even moved her hands the sheet spread out on the line.
” …I thought there was magic on the clothesline!”
“Do you think the Academy can afford such luxury? There is no such thing even in the royal family.”
Ian’s face popped out from one side.
“I guess so. I was just surprised.”
This time, Simon’s face popped out from the other side.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have surprised you.”
There was a smile in Simon’s and Ian’s eyes. Yes, this trio consisted of two mischievous members picking on the third.
“Did you both come to dry out your bed sheets?”
Both nodded, saying that they had hung theirs in the vicinity.
“You’re both hardworking.”
“Come to think of it, Louise.”
Simon, who was meticulously pulling the remaining wrinkles from her sheet, spoke up as if he just remembered something.
Louise had a wary expression on her face.
“When are you going to return it?”
Louise had no difficulty in understanding what he meant.
His handkerchief. His handkerchief of salvation that helped Louise clean her nose.
“Oh, of course I can give it to you whenever you want.”
Louise pulled out the handkerchief she kept in her pocket and grumbled,
“Are you sure you want this back?”
Simon looked closely at Louise.
“…Did you not wash it yet?”
“I washed it! I washed it, I washed it twice, I smoothed it out and perfumed it. It’s true!”
Simon held out his hand. He meant for her to not say anything more and give it to him.
Louise had no choice but to place his handkerchief on his hand.
Simon took the handkerchief back and patted Louise on the head.
Ian looked questioningly between the two.
“What on earth was in your handkerchief for you to wash it and perfume it twice?”
“I-it’s a secret.”
Louise immediately shut her mouth like a clam, and so Ian looked questioningly towards Simon. Simon looked at Louise for a moment and shook his head quietly.
Thank goodness. Simon was righteously keeping her secret.
“No, actually, it’s something quite incredible.”
Louise quickly pulled him by the arm. The day that the devil found out Louise’s runny nose, he would make fun of her for at least ten years.
“Don’t tell him. Seriously! Please!”
Ian grinned and grabbed Simon by the shoulder.
“Don’t worry, it’s the Prince’s order. ”
“Don’t threaten anyone with your status at the Academy!”
The battle over Simon was quite long, and by the end of this little disturbance, all three of them laughed until they had a stomach ache.
Unfortunately, Louise didn’t win in the end.
“Louise…can you come to the student council room in the evening? There’s something I have to say.”
As Louise was walking with her white sheet, Ian appeared by her side quietly, like he was trying to hide his body behind her blanket. Was it because he was nervous about Simon? Louise nodded as casually as possible. Only then did he ease up and smile.
He touched Louise’s lips with his fingertips with a look of regret.
Oh, this. Maybe he was going to take back the words he left to Louise.
‘When you return the words left in your mouth, you have to return them with your lips, right?’
Louise, excited by the idea, did not forget to brush every nook and cranny of her teeth after dinner.
Evening soon came. Louise passed a long hallway and arrived in front of the lit student council room. After a moment of concern, she knocked, and a voice told her to come in.