Chapter 54 – Childhood Trio (1)
The full-scale examination period had begun. As the days passed the students began to look more and more fatigued as the professors became hardened and strict. But Louise Sweeney was still having a perfect day today. The exam questions were as expected. Her pen point flowed smoothly and ink smudges never stained her papers. And, her meals were so delicious she wanted to praise the management lady.
And another wonderful thing happened. It was about Stella, the world’s much-loved heroine.
“Is that true, Stella?”
Louise forgot about her rudeness and grabbed Stella’s hands. Stella looked embarrassed by Louise’s unexpected enthusiastic response, but she soon smiled gently and nodded.
“Oh, yes. Luckily, that’s what happened. Professor Lassen was kind enough to–”
“You’re so lucky. It’s only natural that Stella would go to the president’s–I mean, crown prince’s–party!”
Louise squealed excitedly.
“I thought it would be difficult not knowing anyone, but I’m glad you’ll be there.”
“I’m so glad. Now I’ll be able to see the illustration moment that I missed out on the last party!”
“…The what moment?”
“Oh no, just–you know what, I just meant when you and the president danced together…that’s what I meant.”
Louise smiled awkwardly, scratching her head.
“Anyway, how are your tests going?”
Louise answered straightforwardly.
“…You must be on top again.”
“That’s the goal. If I don’t, I’ll probably get angry.”
“I can’t imagine Louise getting angry.”
Louise always tried to fight back against her evil instincts. She smiled, swallowing an unspeakable answer. For a moment she recalled Professor Wayne Hill words. Didn’t he say that students sponsored by Professor Lassen had to be at the top of the class? Then Stella may also be under some pressure from her professors. In that sense, Louise’s efforts to become the top student made her a bully. The villain would be the villain.
Louise felt a little sorry. The good grades belonged to Stella…
Feeling a little guilty, Louise wanted to help the other girl in any way she could. Somehow.
“So Stella, have you decided on a gift?”
“Yes, you can’t go to a birthday celebration without a gift, can you?”
“Yes, that’s true.”
“How about a letter?”
“Yes, a heartfelt letter. If you say congratulations from the bottom of your heart, I’m sure he’ll be happy.”
Stella looked doubtful.
“Do you think it might be too simple…?”
Why didn’t she believe Louise? This was all based on the original story.
‘Although in the original, the villainess Louise had ripped apart Stella’s letter.’
The current Louise had no intention to do that. On the contrary, she would guard the letter so it would come to no harm.
“I never thought a letter could be a gift. Thank you for the suggestion. I’ll think about it.”
As they talked, their conversation was interrupted when a professor walked into the classroom. Louise glanced at Stella’s red hair and smiled at her. This would correct the original novel’s twist. Stella’s heartfelt letter didn’t reach Ian in the original novel, but now it would this time. Louise’s heart was brimming with excitement. Who said that Louise Sweeney was the villain when she was doing such a good thing?
…Of course, she was sorry to be taking the position of top student.
Anyway, after receiving Stella’s beautiful letter, Ian’s heart would melt at her sincerity and would fall in love with her in not time. Then Louise, who brought the two together, would have made magnificent achievement. Stella and Ian would be sure to regard Louise as a dear friend. Oh my god, to be a close friend of the crown prince and the crown princess. It may be only a matter of time before the unjust tax imposed on the Sweeney family would be amended.
‘There’s no other flower path like this…’
Louise grinned as she imagined her perfect future.
However, Louise remained on the alert. One might say that she learned a lesson several times from her painful past of being betrayed in the original story and in reality. First, Louise needed to confirm that the gift Ian wanted was a letter. Fortunately, the opportunity came to her not long after.
The night she spoke to Stella, Ian invited Louise and Simon to come to his room. Normally Louise would retort, “Are you out of your mind asking for a get-together during exams?” but this time she accepted his invitation without protest and arrived at his room half an hour early.
“I didn’t expect you so early.”
Ian spoke after he opened the door and looked down at Louise in surprise.
“You have a face like you’re up to something something.”
“How did you know?”
“I have been your friend for years. What? Did you put glue on the dean’s hat?”
“I wouldn’t do such a bad thing! I’m not a villain!”
“That’s a disappointment. I’m interested in a villainess Louise Sweeney. Come in anyway. “
He stepped aside, and when Louise entered she blinked in surprise at what she saw inside. His room had transformed into something like a child’s wildest hopes and dreams. The bed and the desk where covered with small plates, on each of them a little frosting or a slice of cake.
“Amazing, isn’t it?”
“It’s incredible. Were you picking a birthday cake?”
“I just said I’d like a bitter and sticky chocolate cake.”
The baker sent various samples, saying, “I must know how bitter and sticky it must be.” In addition, he also sent completely different samples of cake and frosting, in case something else suited Ian’s taste.
“That’s why you called for me and Simon?”
“Yes, eating something like this alone is horrible. Though now we have a problem.”
Ian looked around the chairs, the desk, the floor, which were crowded with plates. There seemed to be nowhere to sit. Even if it was exam period, Ian felt a little worried about squeezing his friend on the floor after receiving his invitation
“Do you want to sit on the windowsill?”
“It’s okay. I’m used to sitting on the floor.”
“But I care. I have only two friends in my life, and I won’t put them on the floor.”
Louise smiled. From these little considerations, Ian was a pretty decent person.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to find anywhere else to sit for me.”
Louise hopped on the windowsill, careful not to stir up any dust.
“You’re very nimble.”
“I thought I would need to pick you up.”
“According to our agreement, you can’t touch my back anymore.”
He sidled up Louise’s left side, looking a little remorseful.
“Why not? Even when we dance touch I can’t touch your back?”
Louise shook her head vigorously, casting a sharp glance at the slender young man sitting next to her.
Louise glanced down at the hem of her dress. It was dangerous to allow him more territory. Louise’s stupid heart would misunderstand and become sick, and she didn’t want to be swayed by such feelings now. He would be consumed by the monster that was Louise’s life and romance, while only wanting to think of one person. However, she didn’t want to target Ian. It couldn’t happen. She knew the question, and couldn’t say the wrong answer.
Louise shrugged lamely and smiled. Ian had an questioning look, but Louise didn’t give a particular answer.
“I’d like to ask you something.”
Louise turned and looked straight at Ian.
“I knew it. You didn’t arrive half an hour early for nothing.”
“Am I so heartless?”
“Sometimes. What is it?”
Louise deliberated on how to ask this, but in the end she decided to use the simplest and easiest words.
“What do you want for your birthday?”
Ian looked at Louise with a slight surprise. Was that an unexpected question?
With a puzzled look on his face, he corrected one thing.
“I apologize for saying you are heartless.”
“I’ll take it. So what would you like as a gift?”
He remembered his previous birthdays, which were nothing more than a forum for various diplomatic activities, using his birthday as an excuse. Although he received a lot of gifts, they chosen based on what made the giver more noticeable and not what was to Ian’s taste.
“That’s a tough question.”
“I’ve never heard such a question since I was born. I feel like a normal kid.”
Ian chuckled. He heard that ordinary children got one wish for their birthday, which was why birthdays were remembered as a special and beautiful day. Ian thought about what he wanted. Even if his birthday was to be used for political purposes, he wanted to protect the birthdays of ordinary people. Ian was quiet for a moment.