Chapter 113 – Historical Kiss (1)
Here were the list of worries in Louise’s head:
Ian and the court officials.
Dean and Claire.
Louise was briefly surprised that “Next semester’s grades” did not make the list, but she couldn’t bring herself to worry about that when classes hadn’t started yet. Fortunately, that meant she would be able to focus on her present concerns, such as the student council—as usual—and their terrible tradition of making the top student serve them.
“Thank you all for meeting here on such short notice.”
The student council members were gathered in Claire’s dorm room, sitting at the bed, desk, or floor.
“Why here instead of the council room?”
Claire closed the window curtains tightly as she answered.
“It’s an emergency meeting.”
The curtains blocked the sunlight, dimming the room and leaving the atmosphere relatively cool and calm.
“Wait…what about the President?”
One boy noticed Ian’s absence.
“I excluded him for security reasons.”
Everyone nodded in agreement. Ian these days was a security liability. Everything he heard and saw was recorded in history, and he received steady taxes and magical protection.
“He is actually the problem we’re going to talk about today.”
Claire stretched her neck from side to side to alleviate her exhaustion.
“As you all know, it was the court officials who requested to make a record of the President. The Academy accepted, but not only to bring light to the President’s life.”
” …But to boast about the Academy too.”
Dean Crissis rarely spoke at meetings. Everyone had a moment of surprise because what he said was also quite accurate.
“Yes, that’s right.”
Claire cleared her throat and continued.
“The Academy offers a wide variety of classes, and the number of books in its library rivals that of the Royal Library. It could be considered a golden age. And of course, the students abide by the high standards as well.”
And so, the Academy wanted to show off the excellence of this institution through Ian’s perspective.
“However, as the President was taking on the appearance of ‘The Romantic Prince Enjoying A Stroll In The Moonlight’, he stopped yesterday evening as saw something nearby.”
Claire touched her forehead for a moment. Louise thought it was because Claire had a headache, but when she looked closer she realized it wasn’t the case. Claire’s ears were red, probably out of embarrassment.
“And the President saw–?”
Louise urged her to continue. She wanted to know what had happened that made Claire so flustered.
Claire’s voice was a barely audible whisper, while she covered her face with her palm.
Several students echoed the word at the same time and Claire spoke more clearly.
” …The President came across a couple kissing while out on a walk.”
“Well, that must be a historical kiss now.”
“It was recorded. Fortunately, no name was entered.”
Then wasn’t that alright? The Academy didn’t specifically ban relationships.
“Anyway, the dean was very uncomfortable. Even though there’s plenty on the record about the many Academic activities, a scene involving kissing would be a distraction.”
Most definitely, Louise thought as she rested her chin on her hand. The future scholars poring through the dull records of the Crown Prince’s life would definitely find a kissing scene welcome entertainment.
“Besides, it’s not good for the students either. This time the President didn’t say their names, so it wasn’t on the record. But if he called out to them by mistake…”
Everyone was horrified for a moment as they realized the repercussions.
“They would remain forever in history as ‘The Ones Who Were Kissing In Front Of The Crown Prince.’”
What a terrible achievement. No amount of good work would be able to cover that up.
“So the dean consulted closely with me on this issue and asked me to share it with the students.”
Louise looked troubled.
“So we can’t make a notice and we’ll have to tell them ourselves?”
If the Academy put out a ‘No Kissing’ notice, the court officials would write that down too.
Claire looked around the room of students with deep regret.
“If you’re in a relationship or have friends in a relationship, please give them a discreet warning.”
The room was quiet, as no one said who they knew.
Fortunately, the meeting ended in an amiable atmosphere. Claire put forward the students’ “right to know,” which played a big role in giving her legitimacy.
“The students have the right to know that there’s the possibility of a bad situation.”
Everyone nodded at Claire’s explanation. It was their duty to warn the students in advance, as it could be a problem for their families if their names ended up where it didn’t belong.
And so, the student council decided to work for the students’ right to know, even though it would be somewhat humiliating to say to them, “Don’t kiss while the court officials are around.” How would the students feel when they heard that? While they might be embarrassed at first, they might become even more desperate to kiss. Humans craved something more when it is banned. The council hoped that their warning wouldn’t backfire.
‘Well, come to think of it.’
Louise looked at the students coming out from the meeting, and her thoughts fell on another subject.
‘When was the last time we…kissed?’
The word “kiss” kept circling her mind. The forehead kiss didn’t count, as that was a heartfelt blessing.
‘Was it during summer? In the drawing room before he left for the Lapis Estate…’
He had leaned in deeply towards the couch Louise was sitting at.
“Because now there’s no chance.”
He even complained that there were no opportunities to kiss, and that they would have more at the Academy. Louise sighed deeply.
‘There are no chances at the Academy. He’s a liar and a devil!’
After a moment of grouching, she jumped and quickly added an excuse.
‘Of course, not that I’m sorry about it. Ever! I’m just pointing out the fact that he was wrong!‘
She didn’t know why she desperate to explain to herself. It had been so long since their last kiss. It was unlikely that the honorable Crown Prince would do so anyway. Last time they secretly met in an empty classroom, and it didn’t happen.
‘I don’t miss it! I’m just–’
After pacing for a moment, the thought she had earlier came back to her head. Humans craved something more when it was banned. So, Louise’s strange obsession with kissing was because of that. So she just wanted to rebel!
“I hope no one goes around kissing as a useless act of rebellion.”
From Louise’s side came Claire’s worried voice, and Louise was startled and answered quickly.
” …I, I mean no one should.”
Louise mumbled and quickly changed her words. Claire grinned.
“I’m surprised. I never thought Louise would have to hold back from kissing while the court officials were here…”
Louise immediately regretted denying it so forcefully. It sounded like a confirmation to anyone’s ears. Claire pushed the remaining students out of her room and hurriedly locked the door. With only the two of them left inside, Claire sat next to Louise with an expression of curiosity.
“Where did my Louise go?”
“I didn’t go anywhere.”
Louise sat back and shook her head, but Claire moved in a little closer and grinned meaningfully.
“Uh, Claire, don’t look at me like that…”
Louise had a broken conscience. Not long ago she overheard Claire’s secret, and the right thing to do was confess. But Claire also had a lot on her plate at the moment, and Louise was reluctant to tell her the truth.
‘And the President said he loved me, but…we didn’t kiss.’
That was what was worrying her, but she didn’t want Claire to set aside her pain for Louise’s needless problems.
“If there’s anything you want to talk about, just tell me.”
Claire touched Louise on the cheek and spoke kindly.
“W-well, I’d love to talk to you but…”
“You want to?”
“I can’t get my head organized.”
“Is it a matter about love?”
“Yes, it is.”
“It’s the same with me, in fact.”
Claire smiled and Louise felt light enough to speak.
“You said you were engaged, right?”
“Yes. I have a family match.”
She didn’t look happy when she answered. Of course, Louise hadn’t been happy about it either.
“He’s a nice person. In some ways…it’s a good match.”
In a normal situation Louise would’ve asked “Do you like him?” But now, she couldn’t bring himself to say it. She knew that Claire wouldn’t like a man that kisses other women.
“Is there a bad expression on my face?”
Claire prodded Louise when she didn’t say anything, and Louise nodded reluctantly.
“Actually, there was. Sorry.”
“Thank you for your consideration, but it’s okay. The one who needs to settle the issue is not me.”
” ….It’s not?”
Louise asked the question quietly although she knew the answer. She didn’t want to hear the answer though. She just hoped that Claire would be able to untangle the complexities in her mind.
“The problem is with the other man. Though it’s a little weird to call him a man…”
“Perhaps he really isn’t focused?”
“Well, not exactly, but there is that when it comes to men and women and thinking about the other person. Sometimes I can’t know for sure because he’s too close…”
“So close that you couldn’t see it?”
“More like I didn’t want to see it. Maybe. I don’t know what to do now.”
The wedding was only half a year away.
“…Maybe from what little I saw.”
“You resent it?”
Louise looked on concernedly. Claire noticed that her source of worry included Dean Crissis as well.
“I don’t really blame Dean.”
When Claire said his name, Louise felt ashamed. She wanted to continue to ignore her guilt.
“It’s okay. You know, Dean is the only one so close that I can’t see him properly anyway.”
“If there was anything to complain about anyway…then maybe…”
Claire touched her lips for a moment. It was natural that Dean couldn’t give up his lingering feelings and acted that way towards her. She didn’t know what to do. The fact was, she said something from the corner of her heart that she should never say.
“I think I was happy.”
” …but it’s a small feeling.”
Claire grabbed her sleeve and smiled weakly.
“I’m already carrying enough weight.”
Over time, that small soft thing might crumble under that crushing weight.
She spoke as if she were just beginning.
“Would you give me a hug?”
Louise already grabbed Claire before she could even finish.