Chapter 65 – A One-Time Thing (2)
Professor Lassen withdrew all her inquiries. For the sake of Professor Hewitt’s and Louise’s honor, a notice hung on the bulletin board for a week clearing up a “misunderstanding.” Although the two professors argued for days, it turned out it was what Professor Hewitt had planned.
Louise stepped outside of the counseling office with Professor Hewitt. She let out a deep sigh, the tension releasing from her body.
“Has there been bullying?”
Professor Hewitt asked her a curt question, and Louise shook her head in spite of herself. She didn’t know why she did. Maybe it was a form of trauma. She wanted to hide it.
“You should get treatment.”
Louise bowed her head at the professor’s reply. Apparently, her lies were obvious.
“Thank you for your help.”
“As I have said many times, it was for my honor.”
“I still can’t thank you enough.”
“If you wanted to cheat on a test, you shouldn’t have used such a foolhardy method in the first place.”
“But I didn’t!”
Louise looked up with a hurt expression, but the professor replied steadily.
His voice was impassive. Just like he was calling the sky the sky. It was a natural answer.
…She was happy with the way he spoke.
Louise looked at the professor’s face with a much more relieved expression. Perhaps he would say something strict. He would have a firm voice and a firm face, but at least it would contain some friendly encouragement. Professor Hewitt had solved Louise’s predicament more closely than anyone else…
“My course wasn’t very good.”
I’m sorry. I must be mistaken for a moment. Why was he like this?
“Do you know about the schedule after the exam?”
“Yes, we submit a report on the questions we missed, right?”
This was another one of the Academy’s outdated traditions, a report on what exam questions they got wrong. At the end of the exams, they had to research and solve all the incorrect answers—for every subject. Only those who finished were permitted to enjoy their vacation.
“I will be waiting for your submission.”
The professor shifted his gaze over his shoulder to Louise.
“You should have a medical checkup. Thoroughly.”
Suddenly there came the voices of two people approaching. Louise didn’t seem to be particularly popular these days, and she looked up in surprise.
It was Ian and Simon. Maybe they had been waiting for her since Louise went into the counseling office. The professor, who finished the conversation, disappeared down the hall, while the two young men approached her. She was aware of her worn out face so she clapped her hands and smiled.
“It worked out all right.”
Both of their hands patted Louise on the head at the same time. It probably meant “good work.” She understood them without words.
“What are you two doing here?”
“I was waiting for you first, and Ian is waiting for a couple other people.”
Ian shook his head and muttered incredulously.
“Some important members in the student council are also in the counseling offices.”
It was plural, not singular. What was going on?
“How could I not know that Claire Iris was such a passionate student? I even shared strawberries with her.”
“What happened to Claire?”
“Well, what happened was…”
Ian told her about Claire’s achievements. She became so furious at some students bad-mouthing Louise that she ended up throwing a desk.
“…Claire threw a desk?”
Louise exclaimed, and Ian nodded.
And according to the following explanation, Dean, who had stopped Claire, threw a few fists as well.
“Yes, Dean Crissis.”
Dean Crissis, the embodiment of laziness and annoyance, was in a fight!
“So now the both of them were dragged here together. I hope they won’t be punished too harshly.”
As soon as Ian finished speaking, the door of the counseling office opened. When Claire saw Louise standing in the hallway, she ran towards Louise and hugged her. Meanwhile, Dean Crissis did not have such a friendly reaction.
“You’re a real devil, Louise Sweeney!”
His words were harsh, but she strangely wasn’t upset. It seemed that Louise lit a fire of passion under him.
The trio at the counseling office immediately went to the doctor’s office. The healer, who had been in his position for quite a long time now, was in a temper.
“What the hell happened to this year’s student council? Are all your heads turned wrong?”
The healer treated all three of them with a constant stream of complaints. When he finished, he said,
“This summer will be especially hot, so please don’t bother me.”
What else could they do? The caretaker said the wizard’s weather forecast would be exactly that. Louise couldn‘t stand the heat and would probably melt.
“By the way, Claire, Dean.”
On their way out, Louise looked back at the two.
“You aren’t going to be punished, are you?”
She looked worried, but Claire shook her head.
“It’s nothing. We’re okay.”
Dean twisted his lips and piped up in anger.
“Nothing! We’re in charge of washing all the dishes at the student cafeteria tonight.”
Louise gave a sympathetic frown. Washing dishes was a terrible punishment in this world because there were no rubber gloves or high quality detergent to protect their hands. There was likely to be a mountain of dishes too, dirty with grease and food scraps.
“I’ll join you, then.”
Louise stepped forward, but Claire raised her hands and said they were fine. However, Dean nodded, so Louise joined in on their punishment. Ian also agreed to join them as the head of student council to support Claire and Dean. Then Simon said, “If you’re going, then I’ll go,” and that was that.
After dinner, the five of them started on the dishes in the kitchen behind the student cafeteria. Claire was an aristocratic lady but quickly got the hang of it, while Dean broke three bowls, but he looked unconcerned. Simon’s deft hands were skilled at the task.
“…I didn’t know you were good at this.”
Louise stood next to Ian and looked up at him, who was meticulously wiping the water off a bowl. He must be experienced, considering how carefully he was turning the dish in the white cloth.
“I am a son of the royal family.”
“Of the Kingdom of Washing?”
“…It means I know everything about basic survival.”
“I didn’t know that washing dishes was a necessary skill for survival.”
“That’s why Professor Herto insisted on hygiene. I thought you had that kind of common sense.”
He smiled smugly as if to say, “I know how to boil a used dishcloth in hot water.”
“Yes, I am very proud of you.”
He chuckled despite her false praise.
And he suddenly leaned down.
Before his lips could reach hers, Louise stopped him with a soapy hand.
He grumbled, then turned back to washing the dishes as if nothing had happened. Louise glanced around with a wary expression. Fortunately the rest of them were busy with their task and didn’t seem to notice what had just happened.
“The emergency is over!”
“So it is.”
“Well, don’t sound all sad about it.”
“So you’re not going to accept it.”
Louise sighed for a moment and set down her plate. Why, why was she being so stupid? She couldn’t fool with him then abandon him overnight. Somehow Louise felt like she had turned into a villainess. A terrible villainess who played with people’s hearts. No, Louise was not like that…
She had a problem. Frankly speaking, she didn’t hate Ian. No, actually, she was quite fond of him.
Maybe she had closed her eyes without realizing it that night. Louise nodded her head determinedly. She pulled up her courage from the soles of her feet and said the words she had to say.
“…It was a one-time thing? Okay?”
“So, ah, it’s okay to just do it once, so…”
“Alright. Once a year.”
“Once a…what? What?”
He took out a new dishcloth and had a fresh smile on his face.
“I didn’t say anything.”
“What! Say it! Say it now!”
Louise complained at Ian, but he was only absorbed in washing the dishes with a gentle smile. From the way his mouth crooked upwards he must be enjoying the situation.
Ugh, that man is the real devil!