First Year First Semester – Q of Hearts
Note: Please don’t read it in the little pop-up for the reader. For some reason it doesn’t reflect my later edits (which I often make a lot of after publishing), so please click ‘view original’.
Why do the places called ‘school’ all love exams so much?
Even though it was right after taking the entrance exams, as soon as we started out the semester, we were given some incomprehensible “First Test”.
You want to know? You really want to know…?
“Camille, this isn’t the time to be spacing out, know you? You’re taking the supplementary exam, aren’t you?”
Ruthlessly, my fiancé disclosed my current situation.
Achille, you bastard, why do you know my results? And moreover, you even know about the supplementary exam! Each and every time, just where does this childhood friend of mine get his information from?
“God, I’ve already gotten into the school, so general education is just unnecessarryyy!”
“…If your marks are too bad, you might get expelled you know?”
“My magic exam schools are good, so it’s okay!”
“…If you pass the supplementary exams, as a reward I’ll buy you the newest edition of the magic items dictionary, you know?”
“The new edition of the magic items dictionary!? The one that’s super hard to get a hold of?”
“I have a connection.”
“Achille-sama! Please let me try my best!”
“Well then, let’s go to the library. Right now.”
I obediently nodded, and was brought to the library by Achille.
We passed through a hallway on the way that had the top 10 achievers names posted up. …I’m really glad that they don’t post up the names of those who need supplementaries.
Hatefully, Achille is the top of the whole general course for the test.
Third place for the magic exam as well, and altogether number one… As expected, he’s become higher spec than when he was in a game. Royce-sama has reasonably good results too.
I’m number one for the magic exam, but all of my general curriculum subjects were fails, so my combined results were tragic.
There’s one more person who tied top in the magic exam but… it was somebody unexpected. Just like me, they smacked out a perfect result. I didn’t expect that they would be magically inclined though…
“You can do it if you try, Camille.”
“Even if you say that…”
“For a while there’ll be less work, so of course you’ll be putting that time into studying, right?”
Despite the library being quite large, there were few people.
The whole student body comprises fifty or sixty people, so you can tell just how many people need to study right this instant.
During this period, there’s no demand for a library.
“Camille, let’s go sit over there.”
Achille and I took up seats in a corner, far away from the reception. It’s a place that makes it difficult for the other students to see us.
It seems to be Achille’s own way of showing concern by making sure my exam failure isn’t exposed to the other students. Or it could be that he doesn’t want people to know that his fiancée failed.
“Okay, open up your textbook!”
For the sake of the new edition of the magic item dictionary, I have no choice but to study.
I gathered my determination, and opened up the massive textbook. First up is the subject that I’m less bad at, the history of this nation.
History sure is hard to remember, huh? There are too many people with the same name. Back when I was in high school as well, there were all these Fujiwaras and Tokugawas, so I had a hard time…
“Camille, for this question…”
Achille began explaining to me. His explanations are really easy to understand, so once I’ve heard it once, I won’t make a mistake a second time.
It’d be nice if I went through things with him each time I learnt something new, but getting lost in my magic research and job, before I knew it, the day of the exam had come.
“Achille, you’re close.”
“If I don’t sit closer, I won’t be able to teach you, right?”
How do I say this? Isn’t he kind of sticking too closely to me? Last time when we studied, I don’t think he was this close, but…
I mean, his left hand! Achille’s left hand is on my waist…
“Camille, are you listening? Look, you aren’t concentrating at all.”
“I am listening, you know? Your lessons are easy to remember… They’re Spartan, though.”
But I might not be able to concentrate…
No good, if I fail this supplementary exam as well, I’ll end up stuck with supplementary lessons.
Won’t the precious time I have to enjoy magic get cut down? Already, I’m cutting down my work time for my studies…
I don’t want my work time to get cut down. When I talked to Aimée about this before entering school, she looked at me with slightly disapproving eyes, and said “You sure are father and daughter, aren’t you?”.
I asked Otousama to increase my workload, but I was rejected… It looks like I have no choice but to put effort into my studies.
Achille is quite patient, and is willing to teach me. He’s cutting down his own free time.
Even someone like me feels sorry about that.
“Achille… I’ll pay you back for this later, okay? You’re always helping me with my studies, so I’m quite grateful to you.”
“There’s no need to thank me. After all, looking after you isn’t something that started just now.”
He’s completely right… I’m feeling exceedingly sorry about all this.
“I don’t hate being alone together with you like this, you know?”
“But because of that, time spent on yourself is getting cut down.”
“This is time spent on myself though…”
“As if that’s the case!”
“You’re not the one who gets to decide that, Camille. I’m the one who gets to choose what to do with my time, after all.”
Today, Achille is being overbearing in various ways.
There’s no choice.
I’ve given up. If we end up arguing, somebody like me has no chance of beating Achille.
“Phewww, it’s over~!”
Somehow or other I managed to get through the material for all the subjects in the supplementaries. After this, all I need to do is review the material by myself.
The night is already about to begin, and it’s pitch black outside the window. There’s nobody left except the library staff.
“You sure tried hard. With this, you’re fine for your supplementaries.”
“Mn, thank you Achille. You really saved me… Supplementary lessons wouldn’t be funny.”
“That’s right, it wouldn’t be funny. If your time got taken up by something like that, I’d be bothered after all.”
“As for the pay back that you mentioned, is it okay if I make a request?”
“…? Of course.”
Suddenly, Achille who was sitting in the seat next to me forcefully pulled me over with the left hand he had wrapped around my waist, and hugged me.
“Fuwah-? Eh-? Achille?”
What’s going on? For him to suddenly cling to me… This hasn’t happened even once before.
“Camille… I like you.”
Heh? L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-Like? ‘Like’ as in that like? That one? Not this one? He doesn’t mean this ‘like’, but that ‘like’, right?
E-, Even I’ve had a boyfriend before in my past life, okay!? We broke up in just two weeks, though. We did nothing but hold hands, though!
But I at least have enough ability to distinguish which “like” he means, okay?
This is the “Affection Plus Friendship”-type “like”. …Right?
“Umm… Achille, this…”
Achille’s cobalt eyes are narrowed lustfully and peering in on my face. What does he mean to do by turning on his passion on me at full force? Use it somewhere else.
“Like I said, I’m claiming my reward.”
I see! So Achille is taking a non-physical reward out of kindness. Then just this time, I’ll take him up on his words.
“If it’s just this, you can hug me as much as you want, you know? I don’t think that hugging someone like me is anything near enough of a thank you, though.”
Achille has bcome quiet, still hugging me. He looks kind of discouraged… Why?
So he really is dissatisfied with someone like me as repayment? Even though he should have just done something like this whenever he wanted.
“Even though I already told you that I was fine with you. Even though I said that I liked you… Why won’t you believe me?”
For some reason, Achille is in a bad mood.
“How many times do I have to confess before you’re happy? Why do you immediately write things off with the words “someone like me”?”
“There’s no way that I’d help a girl each and every time with her studies if I didn’t like her, right? Camille, just what on earth do you think I am?”
A saintly childhood friend with deep feelings of friendship. Was that wrong?
“Camille, you’re too dull. I thought that you were gradually noticing, but you’re showing no signs of noticing at all…”
I started feeling awkward, and clumsily averted my eyes. I don’t know what kind of face to make. I mean, it’s Achille, you know?
Up until now, I’ve shown him all my worthless and pathetic parts. I can guarantee that I’ve worn him out.
“I got engaged to you because I like you, and those feelings haven’t changed even now.”
“Even if I’m your fiancé, if you don’t want to then I won’t do anything, okay? Your feelings take preference, and… Or so I was thinking, but I’m sick of doing nothing but waiting. I’ve reached my limit. There are rude bastards who are trying to take you from the side too, after all.”
I couldn’t really hear the second half, but Achille telling me that he likes me in that way is… I somehow understand. I ended up understanding.
Which means that all the kindness up until now was for that reason as well? Helping me with studying today as well…
“…That’s my line. How long do you think this took?”
“You have bad taste huh, Achille?”
I can tell that my blood is rushing to my face. My face is probably redder than it’s ever been. If I didn’t insult him, I don’t think I’d be able to stand from the embarassment. With my face still hanging, I’m frozen like a statue.
Even if I try to run, Achille is tightly holding onto my whole body.
He slowly called out my name. In a voice that’s sweeter than I’ve ever heard it.
What is this? It’s earthshatteringly embarassing, you know?
“Raise your face?”
“N-, No way!”
My face is absolutely red right now. As if I’d show such a pathetic face to this guy!
But my resistance was futile, and my chin was forcefully raised by Achille’s hand.
“Let go… -!”
“Huhu… Your face is red.”
Achille’s expression looks incredibly happy. Is my pathetic face that amusing?
“Gee-… Stop, that’s embarassing.”
“It looks like… I have a bit of a chance, huh? Right, Camille?”
As if I’d know! Please, just give me a break already, and stop looking at my face!
It’s no good, I’m at my limit. I don’t think I can bear this nauseatingly sweet mood anymore. Alright, let’s escape!
“T-, that’s right! I suddenly remembered something incredibly important that I have to attend to!”
I began speaking in a loud voice.
Achille is grinning. Damnit, in psychological warfare, I have no way of winning at all.
“If it’s something important, then it can’t be helped, huh? I’ll walk you to your room.”
“Umm, I can go by myself, so… Let’s part here.”
“I’ll walk you to your room.”
He’s pushing it with a smile. There’s no need to get into work mode in a place like this, so geez!
In the end, it was impossible to disrupt Achille’s pace, and because there was arguing, I let him see me to my room.
Author’s Note: The tables have turned.