First Year First Semester – Q of Hearts (Part 4)
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’.
You know, people have mentioned that Camille is smart because she’s a genius in magic. However, it’s been mentioned in the memo that her nature is one of someone who is fundamentally above average in all aspects, but can never get really good at anything. Could it be that as compensation for her magical talents, the universe has robbed her of her other mental facilities?
Today I came to the forest together with Royce-sama and Achille to have a picnic.
Beatrix of the Diamonds faction is accompanying us as a guide. It seems that she’s familiar with this forest.
Royce-sama… When did you get so friendly with Beatrix?
I think it was probably after that girls only gathering, but that he became close enough with her to invite her on a picnic is surprising.
When I mentioned this, “Camille, won’t you have fun being with a girl friend?” he replied to me.
Certainly, it’s just as he says. What, did he invite Beatrix for my sake? Royce-sama really is so kind, huh?
“Camille, Achille, please look after me as my guards today.”
“Please leave it to me!”
Royce-sama is sparkly and lovely today as well. The light clothing he’s wearing for the picnic really suit him, huh!
When I stared at Royce-sama as though eating him up, breathing wildly, Achille stood in front of me and blocked my view.
“Camille, your robe is going to get caught on branches, you know? It’s because you’re wearing something like this even though we’re going on a picnic…”
“But… If you say ‘magician’s uniform’ then it’s a robe…”
It’s the clothing I always wear to work, so just putting it on puts me at ease. It’s already gotten to the point that I feel uneasy going out without it.
“Take it off.”
“You’re wearing clothing under the robe, right? Today we’re walking in the forest, so the robe will get in the way. So take it off.”
Achille slipped in behind me and easily pulled off my robe.
Under my robe, I’m wearing a long black vest, and shorts. Under the vest is a grey, shoulderless shirt. This is also my work-wear.
Even like this, I can move around just fine, but like I thought, I can’t calm down without the robe.
“Camille… Do you not have any clothes besides those?”
“Of course I do. The robe also comes in red, and as for the underclothing I’ve worn them in a variety of colours before, and…”
Achille looked at me with an astounded look.
“…Let’s go shopping next time.”
In the end, my robe was confiscated by Achille.
While crunching fallen leaves, we headed to the depths of the forest. Our destination was a lake within the forest.
There we’d eat, and then we’d head back.
“Not that way, Camille. Over here.”
To stop me from heading in the wrong direction, Achille grasped my hand.
Because I stumbled with bad timing, I fell into Achille’s chest.
Even though he’s dainty for a guy, Achille easily caught me without staggering.
Suddenly, the time when Achille held me and told me that he liked me crossed by my mind, and my face grew hot.
Achille thinks of me in that way, doesn’t he? He likes me as a member of the opposite sex…
While I was at it, I even recalled the incident at the girls gathering, and I was even more shaken. Even though it would’ve been fine just to say that Royce-sama was my type…
The face that appeared in my mind, was Achille for some reason.
Aahh, all of that was completely because that guy did something so raunchy to me! T-, To kiss me like that!
Achille’s wondering voice snapped me out of it.
While I was stuck in thought, the whole time I was being held by Achille.
“Sorry… It-, It’s not-, -hing.”
I leapt out of Achille’s arms in a panic.
Because I was feeling awkward, I turned to gaze towards Royce-sama, and found that he was having fun chatting with Beatrix.
It’s rare that Royce-sama is that close with a girl. Even though he normally deals with noble daughters quite blandly, and never lets them into his personal space…
Up until now, except for me, he’s never been especially close to any women. Even if they’re a girl that’s close with me. Déborah and Désirée are a good example.
…What’s with this uncomfortable and hazy feeling in my chest?
I’m sure it’s because of the overeating I did at dinner last night. I mean, it was the cream cheese pasta that I like.
I was hungry for it despite myself, and was even gluttonous enough for seconds. I’m reflecting.
I decided to breathe in the fresh air of the forest and refresh myself.
Even though I say it’s a forest, right now we’re walking in a relatively less dense area, so there’s a lot of sunlight. Perhaps because people walk this way often, there’s a path large enough for several people to pass though.
There are flowers blooming on either side of the path.
Whilst looking around for flowers that seem like they’d be good for magic experiments, I continued heading into the forest.
We finally reached the lake.
We left when it was the morning, but right now it isn’t even noon yet. It seems that we got here faster than I’d have thought.
By the lake was a clearing, and I could see the sky properly. The weather is good today, so the water in the lake is calm as well.
At a place a little distance away from the lake where the ground was flat, we immediately began spreading out lunch boxes made by Royce-sama’s maids on the cloth we were using as a picnic blanket.
Inside the large, but light lunch boxes were sandwich-ey things made from various foods stuffed in a baguette-like bread, and in another lunch box they even had fruits for dessert. It looks delicious.
Because I’m always eating high class-ish food, eating this type of food is a great change of pace.
We began to eat while drinking the magic tea that Beatrix brought. Today as well, it was a tea with fatigue recovery effects. It’s just right for a picnic. Magic tea sure is convenient, huh…
I picked two baguettes. One was a roast tomato and cheese sandwich with something like basil in it, and the other was a sandwich with roast apple and caramel sauce, with something like custard cream mixed in.
I don’t know where the fullness from yesterday night went, but I immediately began devouring the baguettes. Dessert was something like strawberries, something like grapes, and something like mangoes. I keep saying “something like” because I’m finding it hard to declare confidently that they’re exactly the same thing.
The foods in this world are extremely similar to those in my old world, but I can’t say that they’re exactly the same. The strawberry-like fruit has no hairs growing from the seeds after all, and there’s no calyx either, and the grape-like fruit don’t grow in a bunch either. As for the fruit like a mango, there’s no seed or skin, and it’s a flashy and rainbow coloured.
Of course, these all have their own names as well, but they’re complicated so in my head I’m just giving them the names of fruits from my old world.
“Camille, there’s cream around your mouth, you know?”
Achille wiped my mouth with a napkin for me. He does it skilfully, like a mother.
The fact that the only one he takes care of this much is me, is something that I only recently realised. No, to begin with, there’s no one but me who does childish things like getting cream around their mouths though.
The weather is good, and the temperature was nice and warm, and even though it was in the middle of a picnic, I became sleepy.
To fight back the sleepiness, I tidied up the lunch boxes, and went on a walk around the lake.
Fortunately, it isn’t that large a lake, so it doesn’t seem like it’ll take me too long.
Royce-sama and Beatrix were getting along well and having a conversation while drinking tea… Hmm?
If I look carefully, for people who were getting along, Beatrix seemed a little withdrawn. Royce-sama was smiling incredibly happily though.
“C-, Camille… Suddenly standing up like that, are you going somewhere?”
“A stroll. I’m just going to walk a lap around the lake, so I’ll be right back.”
“M-, Me too…”
For some reason, Beatrix looked like she was making me an entreaty with hers eyes. Maybe she needs the toilet.
“Well then, together with Beatrix-…”
“I’ll come with you, Camille. It’d trouble me if you wandered off somewhere weird again, after all… And Beatrix-sama, while I’m gone, could I trouble you to look after His Highness? We won’t take all that long, so it’d be great if you could enjoy the lake after we come back.”
Achille cut off my offer. Is he feeling sleepy too?
But geez, even I won’t get lost just walking around the lake.
“Mn, that sounds good.”
Before Beatrix could reply to Achille’s slightly overbearing proposal, Royce-sama answered for her.
“Achille, Camille, you two go on ahead. I’ll be fine.”
“…If you say so, Royce-sama.”
Though I felt dissatisfied with the way this conversation went, I decided to take a walk around the lake first.
“Then I’ll be going first, Beatrix. I’ll leave Royce-sama to you, okay?”
With my hands joined with Achille’s, I began slowly heading towards the shore of the lake.
We were at a place with flat ground and a little grass growing, but after walking for a little while, more and more trees started to appear.
But there was a small path between the trees due to people walking there, and the path seemed to lead all the way around the lake.
Each generation of students may have walked along this path like we are now.
“A picnic once in a while isn’t bad, huh?”
I looked up at Achille who was next to me. Achille was walking with a peaceful expression, still holding my right hand.
The area around the lake is peaceful. All I could hear was the sound of leaves blowing in the wind, and occasionally the songs of small birds.
“We’re always passing here through the sky, so a picnic is fresh. Achille, you haven’t done this sort of thing much either, right?”
“It’s because you’re always flying through the sky, Camille, that you can’t remember the paths on the ground. Really, don’t even think about taking a stroll in the forest by yourself, okay?”
“It’s fine. If I get lost, I can just fly.”
Achille looked astounded by my reply.
When we had made it halfway around the lake, suddenly a strong gust of wind blew. The leaves of the blowing trees danced in the air.
“Wah-, what a strong wind.”
I unconsciously shut my eyes, and Achille pulled me over as though covering me.
“Are you okay?”
“I-, I’m fine… Thanks.”
Even though I said I was fine, Achille wouldn’t move away.
On the contrary, one of his hands began fiddling with my hair… It’s ticklish, you know?
When I spoke up, lost, Achille finally parted his hand from my hair.
“There were petals stuck to your hair, you know?”
In the palm of his hand were small flower petals of a slightly deep pink, that he had picked out of my hair.
Lovely flower petals blown in the wind from somewhere.
“What, so it was because of flower petals? I was surprised.”
Isn’t it your fault for making me wonder what was going on, because you suddenly started touching my hair? Because of Achille, my heart is beating violently again.
I’m just chatting with Achille normally, and being alone together is something that happens all the time.
But then why is it that when I’m alone with him nowadays, my heart will just suddenly start pounding?
“Just what did you think it was?”
Achille asked me teasingly with a smirk. He kinda seems like he’s in a good mood.
As if I could say it, that lately I’ve been repeatedly interpreting what he does as a continuation of that shameless thing he did to me.
Because the embarassment was just too much, my reply ended up curt.
I’m not sure what was so funny, but Achille was chuckling away. As if my heart had been seen through, the embarassment in my heart just kept piling up.
There’s no mistake that by the time I was led by hand back to Royce-sama and Beatrix, my face was as red as a boiled octopus.
Author’s Note: It was a coordinated play by Royce and Achille.