Another long gap! But here’s another chapter! And another cliff! But I generally don’t leave cliffs alone! Or will I? Find out next time, on…
Real note though, if you enjoy this story please do consider supporting it on Novelupdates, I really appreciate any comments and reviews.
There were two dining halls located in the first floor of the dorm. The first was built as a large hall, used by most of the students living in the dorm. The other one was a size smaller than the first, but it was for the exclusive use of the upper class nobles. According to the school regulations, on school premises, a person’s status was irrelevant. However looking at the students’ rooms and dining hall, it was clear that the upper class nobles were treated differently after all.
This was the first time entering the larger dining hall for Lilia. Because she normally used the other one, coming here in the first place was impossible. Since that was the case, it was probably natural that the entire room fell quiet when she came in.
Lilia slowly swept her gaze across, through the quieted dining hall. Anyone that met her gaze all flusteredly averted their eyes. Feeling some discomfort, she thought it might be best to give up and go back after all when,
“Lilia, what’s wrong? Come let’s go.”
Came Tina’s voice. Turning around, she met eyes with Tina who was looking at her with a smile. Not avoiding her gaze in the slightest, a cheerful smile.
“Yes, you’re right. Let’s go.”
The corners of Lilia’s mouth also ended up lifting up into a smile. The discomfort and such felt just earlier were cleanly erased and forgotten.
Countless long tables were lined up in the dining hall. Not paying any mind to the hushed atmosphere, Tina headed inside. Finding two seats together, she beckoned to call Lilia over.
Not giving notice to the quietness was probably a courtesy towards Lilia. Just when she was feeling somewhat grateful for that,
“You just sit tight here Lilia. I’ll go to order. Nevertheless, I wonder why it’s so quiet here today?”
Wrong. She actually just didn’t notice anything in the first place.
—Perhaps this girl, is somewhat of an airhead?
—I wonder about that huh.
“Lilia, I’m ordering for you too, so what would you like?”
“I’ll leave it to you. I’ll just have what you’re getting.”
“Got it. I’ll be right back!”
Saying that, Tina headed for the inner part of the dining hall where the counter was. Behind the counter was a crowd of cooking staff, where you ordered and received your food to bring back to your seat. The food in the dining hall was all free of charge and you could ask for more helpings as you please.
Sinking into her seat, Lilia slowly let out her breath. The surrounding students were finally starting to talk normally again. With the attention on her letting up, she could finally calm down.
Incidentally Alisa was not with them. Saying that she didn’t want to be a bother, it seems like the girl headed for the dining hall outside of campus.
Lilia casually looked around. At some point many of the seats in front and to her sides had been vacated. Lightly glancing around, there was a group holding their food trays quickly moving away. They had probably run away in fear of Lilia. She ended up feeling just a tinge of loneliness from that.
—Tina really is a good girl huh.
—Yeah… I won’t become like that though.
—Yeah no I’m definitely not looking for that. That sort of Lilia would be kinda gross.
—I’m really gonna get angry you know?
As she was chatting with Sakura in her mind, Tina returned carrying two trays. Placing one in front of Lilia, Tina sat down beside her. On the trays Tina brought over were two menu items, steaming warm white rice and fried vegetables with meat.
—No matter how you look at it isn’t this treatment a bit too unwelcoming!
—I was under the impression that it was just a difference in rooms… So this is the kind of dinner they have over here.
The food wasn’t even brought to over for them. Looking at the students sitting a bit away from them, their food wasn’t too different from Lilia’s.
“What’s wrong, Lilia?”
At Tina’s question, Lilia hurriedly shook her head. Putting on a smile, she replied that it was nothing.
After offering their thanks for the meal, Lilia’s movements came to a halt. She was lost as to how she was supposed to eat the meal. In the first place, there was no knife and fork. What were these two strange sticks for?
“Ah, perhaps Lilia, you’ve never used chopsticks before?”
“Ahh… That is true. I’ve not.”
“I see… I probably should have asked for something else. What to do…”
“Tina. Let me see how you use it. I’ll learn from watching.”
Tina looked lost for a moment, but quickly regained her focus and nodded. She held the things called chopsticks for Lilia to see. With an unfamiliar holding method, the chopsticks moved with the movement of Tina’s fingers and actually picked up a piece of the fried vegetables for Lilia to see.
Nodding in understanding, Lilia tried to imitate Tina’s movements. Perhaps due to this being her first time it was quite difficult, but after moving the sticks repeatedly she managed to get the hang of it. Just like Tina, she picked up a piece of the fried vegetables and brought it to her mouth.
“Yeah. It’s not bad.”
Lilia nodded in satisfaction, while beside her Tina really seemed befuddled this time.
“Ah, umm… Lilia, you seem to be really clever or… Even though it took me quite a while to be able to properly use chopsticks…”
“Is that so… This thing…”
Moving the chopsticks around, Lilia muttered disinterestedly. She quickly returned to eating.
—Somehow, Lilia you really seem to be a bundle of talent or something… Quite impressive. Maybe it’s because of your good memory?
—My, nothing will come of your flattery though.
—The personality is horrible though.
Lilia’s face twitched at the layering of sarcasm in their conversation. Remembering that there were gazes from the surroundings on her, she quickly hid her expression. She forcibly covered it with a smile.
“How is it, Lilia? The food over here.”
“Well… It really is food for commoners, but it’s not bad.”
She didn’t think that simply frying random vegetables and meat together could make something taste as good as this. It was probably also due to the fact that she wasn’t too familiar with eating such things, but the freshness of the experience was quite delicious. It might be good to come again at the next opportunity, she thought as she carried the vegetables to her mouth,
Sakura’s shriek made Lilia give a loud shout that surprised even herself. Tina stopped moving as she stared at Lilia with her eyes dotted in surprise, and their surroundings were also examining Lilia’s expression wondering what had happened. When Lilia calmed down, driving away the surrounding gazes,
“It’s nothing at all, ohohoho.”
Even she felt that line unnatural, but now wasn’t the time to be worrying about that. Lilia called out to Sakura.
From the time I created that setting, I’ve been wanting to write this scene the entire time.
…It ended up being cut off though.