Chapter 16 – Take Off Your Clothes And Lie Down (1)
Despite Louise’s shocked gaze Stella didn’t get up immediately. Louise was a little worried. She was afraid Stella might have gotten hurt when she fell down. Stella was the precious heroine of the world, even though no one else knew it. She had to be kept safe. Louise was sorry she intruded in on the illustration.
“I’ll be fine…Ugh…”
However, it was Louise who wasn’t all right. She tried to move her arm but then cried out when pain shot through her joints. Stella quickly pushed herself up with a look of fright on her face. Louise remembered another passage from the novel.
“Stella quickly pushed herself away, her face bright red. She was embarrassed that she fell off a ladder and was holding on to a stranger. Thankfully she was unhurt. Stella looked at the person who had caught her.”
‘I never thought I’d see this from the point of view of the male lead…’
Louise gazed up at Stella kneeling above her. Her face was tight with apology.
“I’m sorry! Are you alright?”
Louise wasn’t alright, but she tried to play it off coolly.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“You’re Louise Sweeney, right? You were the one at the top of the class…”
“Yes. And you’re Stella Lapis?”
“I…how do you know?”
“Just in passing. I saw your name as a student librarian on the librarian’s desk.”
Louise tried to shrug her shoulders but a severe pain shot through her back.
“Please wait, I’ll go and get someone.”
She seemed to think she needed some help. In the original story, Ian had stripped off his shirt to check his own body for any bruises. Louise couldn’t do that here and the uniform would’ve been difficult to take off anyway.
There was the sound of approaching footsteps. Still lying on the floor, Louise raised her head at an angle to see who Stella had brought.
It was Ian.
Louise was taken aback. She felt like she could scream with rage. What kind of hero missed the timing in saving the heroine so that the villainess had to do it instead! He was clearly being negligent about his duty. Their eyes met. Louise yelled at him without realizing it.
“Why are you here now!”
And soon as she said those words she regretted it. Realistically, Ian wouldn’t have known Stella would fall from the ladder. To Louise’s surprise he did not argue back that her reaction was absurd or unfair. He came close and knelt in front of Louise.
His expression was unfathomable. He seemed angry somehow, and scared.
No way. He was jealous that Louise got to Stella first. No, it was more than that. He was a man who was extremely possessive over Stella.
“Nevermind, it’s nothing.”
Ian needed to apologize for his late appearance, of course, but that was an apology for Stella, not her.
“Can you stand up?”
“Uh…you mean me?”
It felt strange that Ian was talking to her when Stella was standing right behind him. The original Ian would have made a big deal over Stella falling off the ladder, but now that she was looking at him…
“Hold on for a moment. You’ll have to go to the infirmary.”
He seemed genuinely concerned about Louise.
Louise studied Ian’s face slowly, blinking her purple eyes. She didn’t think it was her mother or father wearing a mask of Ian’s face.
“Why? Did you hurt your head?”
“My head is fine.”
“That’s a relief. That’s your only good point so you have to take care of it.”
Of course he chose this time to be insensitive.
“You’re hurt. All the primary care in the Academy is in the infirmary, so we need to move right now. We need to check how far you can move. In the worst case scenario, we’ll have to ask the temple for help.”
“Don’t make such a fuss about it, just say it right. Can you walk?”
He frowned at her uncertain answer.
“Hold on to me.”
He held out his arm and Louise shook her head.
“I can stand up by myself.”
She put her hand on a nearby bookcase, trying to prove it. She bent her legs and started to pull up her body, but she groaned in pain. It seemed like Stella’s body was too much for Louise to handle. Finally, Louise managed to sit up.
“Look, I’m good, okay?”
“So says the person who gets up making a noise like a monster that’s about to be born.”
“I did not!”
Louise shook her head but she flinched at the intense pain she felt under her neck. Ian’s expression changed from one of mischief to that of concern.
“You’re a distressed patient, and the infirmary is quite far from here. In addition, the magic healer will be away for dinner soon. “
In other words, they had to move quickly. Louise nodded slowly.
“I’m glad you understand the situation. Then I will begin the transportation.”
Transportation? That was a strange choice in words.
He closed the distance between the two of them. Her aching body didn’t even think of escaping. Not just because she was hurt, but because the touch of his fingertips seemed to make her freeze up. He wound his arms around her shoulders and thighs, and soon she was lifted up. She held on to him with all her strength.
“Wait, Your Highness, this is…!”
Louise’s protest had a note of panic in it, but Ian only responded with a warning.
“Stop squirming. I might drop you.”
She could feel the strength in his arms and hands holding her body. He turned in a hurry.
Stella caught Ian’s collar. He turned around, and Louise’s were drawn to Stella. Stella’s eyes were brimming with tears.
“I’m sorry. Because of me…”
Louise tried to give her a reassuring smile. She somehow still felt sorry for Stella.
Stella couldn’t finish her sentence. She had such a sweet, gentle heart. Louise was at least a little relieved that she had a good interaction with her, even though her body hurt like hell.
“Please let me go.”
A cold voice interrupted the warm atmosphere between the two girls. Louise quickly looked up at Ian and was shocked silent at his expression. Ian was fixing Stella with an icy glare.
“Didn’t you hear that we had to move quickly?”
Stella let go of her hand in embarrassment. Ian turned around swiftly and starting walking again. Stella apologized again in the background, but he didn’t acknowledge it.
Ian’s reaction was strange. Although Ian and Stella wouldn’t be together just yet, they had still fallen in love with each other at first sight. Even if they had argued in the beginning, they acknowledged each other before developing their relationship into lovers.
‘I don’t think I’m…’
No, it couldn’t be. What are you thinking, Louise Sweeney? It couldn’t be.
“How’s the pain?”
Ian asked kindly, tilting his head downwards to look at her.
“I knew you would say that.”
The edge of his mouth cocked up. He increased his pace, and Louise knew the students passing by them were staring at the two of them.
This was not good. There was no doubt that there would be a rumor going around campus by the end of the day. A rumor that could lead Louise to ruin.
“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure the rumors don’t spread,”
he said in a reassuring voice. How did he even know what she was thinking?
“I didn’t know you could deal with rumors.”
Ah. Knowing how to handle rumors was basic knowledge to a member of the royal family. If rumors got out of hand, it could be a knife that kills them.
Louise said honestly. In addition, as student council president it was his job to help students in need so there shouldn’t be any weird gossip.
“Of course, if you let me know who you don’t want to be misunderstood by, I can handle things more clearly.”
Ian tried to adjust his grip on her and she felt a small pain shoot through her.
It wasn’t too bad, but she still gave out a small cry in surprise.
He apologized with a frown and hurried his pace.
Louise closed her eyes for a moment. The spring sunlight glowed through her closed eyelids. Being transported as a patient wasn’t so bad. She wasn’t being swayed and jolted like she would be in a carriage.
Louise was conscious of the warmth surrounding her body. Whether it was out of friendship or worry or a council president’s duty, it was kind of him to share that warmth. Louise still hadn’t forgotten that he didn’t always have that luxury. She knew how precious it was.
she mumbled a little without opening her eyes. Maybe he didn’t hear it. She waited for his teasing words in reply, but there were none.