First Year First Semester – J of Hearts – Mansion
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’.
Heyyy, French people. If I mess up any names, would it be okay if you commented and told me? I’m being pretty irresponsible with my googling, so I’ve already gotten two names wrong before. Thanks (:
His Highness Royce’s kidnapping incident was treated as more or less concluded, and we guarded His Highness to the castle.
We boarded various carriages.
It would be faster to fly on a broom, but because there were a lot of knights who couldn’t use magic, we ended up travelling on ground. It seems that the knights all hurried their horses and had come running here. It was probably quite forced.
Because the guards for His Highness on the way back were specialised knights, Camille and I were relieved of our duties.
Because knights had a strong sense of self respect, they wouldn’t leave the duty of guarding to we who were nothing more than His Highness’s hanger ons.
Even amongst the knights themselves, they were always kicking and fighting for a better position, so it can’t be helped I guess. As long as no harm comes to His Highness, I don’t really care, but I’m a little worried.
Far from cooperating, Knights also holding each other back… It’s a sad thing that they aren’t heading in a direction where they try to strengthen each other.
When it comes to my managerial position, I’d like to think that we don’t engage in such pointless quarrels.
Camille and I rode in the same carriage.
Count Tito and his daughter Claire were in cells in carriages for prisoners.
The carriages were borrowed from a nearby noble. It would certainly take quite a long time to bring some all the way from the castle.
Camille was starting to doze off in the seat opposite mine. She seems like she’ll fall asleep any moment now.
We were allowed to ride a carriage as well, but strictly speaking we’re borrowing a carriage. Having Camille ride a carriage in this situation is much too risky.
While moaning for some reason, Camille was frantically trying to keep her eyes open.
It’s probably a given that she won’t sleep until she knows that Royce-sama has safely arrived at the castle. In that respect, she’s been a conscientious one since a long time ago.
Since there’s no other choice, I speak to Canille. If I speak to her, she might wake up.
“During the events this time, I’ve been thinking.”
“Nn… Thinking what?”
It seems like Camille’s consciousness is returning a little.
“Camille, you consume too much.”
She woke up after hearing those words.
“Certainly this body’s consumption rate is bad, and I immediately feel hungry again, but in exchange I have the benefit of not getting fat-”
…To say “this body”, it’s almost like she’s talking about somebody else’s problem.
“Not that, Camille, I’m talking about your magic power. I’ve been thinking this since I see it from up close, but when you use magic, you spend more than necessary and let off a lot of wasted mana. Like that, you’ll suffer mana exhaustion again, you know?”
At the count’s mansion, I got injured saving Camille after she blundered.
Seeing that, Camille repeatedly used healing magic before my eyes, but… though she has a lot of power in magic, accompanying that is too much wasteful discharge of magic power. As a result, she suffered mana exhaustion.
Even though she’d normally be able to use more magic, to be unable to utilise her full power because of her magic power shortage when the time came, is too much of a waste.
“I’ll try my best to take care. After all, I can’t use magic in an efficient way like you can, Achille…”
It’s not that you can’t do it, but that it’s annoying so you simply don’t, isn’t it?
Camille is sketchy with absolutely everything. You can see it even in the way she uses magic.
Paying no heed to magic power, and firing off huge magic again and again.
“Even though your magic knowledge and technique is towering above everyone else, the way you use your magic power is crude, so it’s really a waste, isn’t it?”
Camille made a difficult expression.
“By the way, isn’t there some trick to using magic power efficiently?”
This is also one of Camille’s habits. She immediately starts drifting towards convenient methods.
Trying to gain the maximum effect through the minimum effort can also be taken as a good point, but when it comes to her, her biggest motivation is because she can’t be bothered.
She really can’t be helped, huhh…
“It’s not that hard, you know? Shall I teach you?”
“Is that really okay?”
It’s probably unconscious, but when Camille looks at me with those sparkling eyes, it’s cute enough to kill.
However, I musn’t be fooled by that. When the topic turns to magic, she always makes that face.
I restrained myself.
“Of course. You’re always teaching me in magic after all.”
The reason I’ve been improving in magic so quickly is not only because I’m being taught by my father. It’s because Camille always showcases practical and unique modified spells before my eyes as well.
And, because she cheerfully imparts that knowledge onto His Highness and I without reluctance…
“But you teach me schoolwork in exchange, don’t you?”
That’s nothing more than the fact that if I leave her alone, she won’t study at all, so there’s no choice but to teach her.
As expected, having the daughter of a marquis stay an idiot would be pretty bad right? Or so I was thinking, so I poked my nose in, and the result was that I ended up in the present situation, stuck with the job of acting like a private tutor. It’s also the truth that it’s a good excuse to be with her, so I’m fine with it though.
This time, it’d probably be fine to treat mana control as part of her studies as well. Camille is conscientious only in these regards.
“Well then, we’ll do it in addition to studying. I’m worried. Finding out that without knowing it, you even got involved with forbidden arts… It seems like one day you’ll do something that you can’t take back…”
I’m honestly worried about this.
Before I knew it, in some place I don’t know, Camille’s been stocking up on knowledge of forbidden arts.
She probably intruded on the royal palace’s archive or something on her own.
Even if a door is heavily locked with difficult to dispel magic, she’s a lock picking expert who’ll easily dispel it. That acts as a good impetus for her to arbitrarily open and close doors in the royal palace, and go in and out of various places.
From now on, I’d better keep an eye on her, or else…
It looks like His Highness will be giving her permission to the forbidden archives, but when she goes, I’ll come with her.
Camille always, always, does what she pleases when she’s in deserted places…
Tired from my one way feelings, I ended up wanting to sooth myself a little.
So I decided to poke at Camille just a little. She’s given me plenty of good reactions so far, so she’s someone worth poking at.
“So, Camille. When am I going to get a reply to my confession? I’ve been waiting the whole time since then, but…”
I moved to her side.
…What’s with that stupid sounding reply? With that, Camille sank into thought about something.
“…Camille, are you spacing out? Are you planning on pretending this didn’t happen?”
“Nah, but I mean, I’m your fiancée, so isn’t that kind of conversation unnecessary by now? Or so I was thinking.”
I wonder if in Camille’s mind, just having the title of “being engaged” is enough, and our feelings don’t matter.
“Even though I told you my feelings? Are you saying you’re fine with a loveless marriage?”
I know what a real political marriage is. My two parents are like that.
My stepmother who gave birth to children out of duty, and desperately tries to have her own child become family head.
My father who, being overwhelmed by that kind of woman, felt that being around her was oppressive, and so went outside to have affairs.
Is it fine even if we become like that?
“No, like I was saying, it’s not that, umm…”
…It’s Camille though, so perhaps there’s a good chance that she’s just not thinking anything.
Or rather, that’s probably the correct answer.
…Is this reaping what I sowed?
Because Camille grew up, and her circumstances changed accordingly, I panicked and used the title of ‘engaged couple’ to keep her surroundings at bay.
All while leaving her feelings behind…
I’m sure that this is the compensation for that.
“Honestly, I regret mixing up the order. I don’t regret getting engaged to you, Camille, but making sure of your feelings first would’ve been the correct order, huh?”
Her large, raspberry coloured eyes widened.
“If you stay quiet, I end up misunderstanding it in a way that’s convenient for me, you know?”
“I mean, even when I hug you or kiss you, you don’t resist at all, right?”
Honestly, I think I have a chance.
Lately, Camille has been acting bashful and embarassed a lot around me, after all. Her behaviour is like that of a normal noble’s daughter of her age.
I’m properly being viewed by her as a member of the opposite sex.
“I-I-I-If I told you frankly that I was rejecting your confession, what would you do?”
Camille’s voice was getting agitated and shrill.
That she lets her unrest show like that is adorable, and it’s relieving that I don’t have to read what’s under the surface like with other people.
“Then I’d continue putting in more effort until you looked at me. I’ve already waited ten years, so a little more is nothing, right?”
But, I’ve waited that long already, so Im starting to want a reply… Is what I’m really thinking.
Camille turned bright red.
“T-, Then what would you do if I accepted?”
“Then it’d be mutual. We’d openly behave like lovers.”
“I… do I like you, perhaps?”
…Is that something you’d usually ask me? Would it be okay if I intentionally took that as an affirmative?
“…Even if you ask me, I’m stumped, you know.”
Camille looks like she’s fretting about it. Her expressions are rapidly changing about, so I don’t get tired of watching her.
I wonder if there’ll come a day when she loves me…
I do feel somehow or other that I have a chance, but it might be early for Camille who’s still like a little kid. Does this need to take more time…?
While I was worrying about this, I met my eyes with Camille, who surprisingly was suddenly looking hard at me.
It looks like she wants to say something.
“Ah, Achille… Um, you see,”
“Y-, You see. Umm, that’s… ermmmm…”
Whilst fidgeting, Camille began looking into space.
Her preface was too long, but because she was giving her all, I stayed quiet and watched over her.
“I-, I also… might like you. It’s surprising when you hug me, but I don’t particularly dislike it, after all.”
Her voice shrank during the second half, but I heard it all.
If you tell me that while averting your gaze with all your might, you lose your credibility you know…
But we’ve known each other for many years, so I understand that she’s just earthshakingly embarassed.
The ones who would understand this, are probably… just His Highness and I.
“I said it, okay!? I properly replied, okay!?”
“With this, this conversation is fini-…”
“With this, we’re openly in love with each other, huh!”
Our levels of enthusiasm are a little different, but we can deal with that step by step…
And, I have no intention of letting the conversation finish like this.
I finally got a chance to hear the words I’ve been longing for from Camille’s mouth, after all.
“You, like me?”
“Like I said, I’ve already said it, haven’t I!?”
“Do you like me?”
“…I, I like you.”
As usual she’s averting her gaze with all she has, but her face is as red as a boiled octopus, so she’s probably saying this from the heart.
“Well then, can we kiss?”
“GUFUO-! Geho, gohoh-”
Why did she choke there?
…It’s Camille, so I guess it can’t be helped, huh? Honestly, she really is an expert at destroying the mood.
I love that kind of Camille even so, so there’s no way I can be shaken by this degree of coughing.
I’m prepared to accept her no matter how she is. It’s been ten years now, after all.
My first move is… interpreting that coughing as an ‘okay’, you know.
“I see, I see. So it’s okay, huh. Well then, I won’t hold back.”
“GEHO, GEHO-! Eh? Achille, I haven’t said a thing ye-… Nnnnnn-!”
Even though her mouth says various of things, when I actually kiss her, she goes docile. She says that it’s just being frozen from shock, though. There’s no real resistance either.
When it comes to her, if she really didn’t like it, on top of going on a rampage, she’d even start go berserk with magic, after all.
“Nn, Camille… so cute.”
“Hyaa-…! Nn-, Achille.”
Right now, there’s nobody but Camille and I in the carriage, and His Highness the peeping expert is under close guard and can’t freely move about.
Going by the speed of our carriage, we might reach the castle around noon tomorrow, huh…?
Knights who came to pick up His Highness, good job!