Next is Ortensia Rosedot and Lucy Blanchett………so it’s finally those two’s turn.”
Lucy and Ortensia stood up as Claudio called their names.
At that moment, a clamor rose up from the audience that hadn’t happened before, and over fifty pairs of eyes instantly focused on the two of them. Lucy scratched her head feeling uncomfortable with all the sudden attention on her, but Ortensia strode towards the stage without pause as if she had not noticed them in the first place. As far as Lucy was concerned, all she had to do was follow after, but she could still feel the eyes of her classmates boring into her back.
“Greetings Ortensia. Hey Lucy, haven’t seen you since yesterday.”
Ortensia crouched down and pinched the ends of her skirt in a beautiful curtsy in response to Claudio’s refreshing smile while Lucy offered him a small bow.
Then Lucy’s line of sight moved to the red-haired student next to Claudio…….the student who was called Conrad before. He apparently seems to have been told about her beforehand, as when his eyes met with Lucy’s, he softly muttered aloud, “She looks normal though.” —”It wouldn’t have been weird for her to be executed for lese-majeste,” were the words that followed shortly after, and upon hearing them, Lucy started wondering what exactly Claudio had told him about her.
“Lucy, this is Conrad. He is my roommate and someone I have known since I was young.”
“Conrad Oxstein. Nice to meet you.”
“Lucy Blanchett. Likewise.”
Conrad extended out his hand, and Lucy grasped it in turn.
Earlier Lucy had given Claudio a small bow while Ortensia greeted him with a curtsy suitable for a young noble lady. Was he offering a handshake now because he noticed that correspondence and was now showing some affection between fellow low-borns? If so, then besides being a friendly gentleman, he is also quite observant. ………Though, the moment Lucy took his hand in hers for a handshake, “Mi~!?” a mysterious cry suddenly came from Ortensia for some reason.
“Well then the both of you can go ahead and measure your magic power. You should already know how by now.”
“Y-yes, of course!”
Lucy and Conrad—to be precise Lucy and Conrad who were still shaking hands—were interrupted from their mutual greetings by Ortensia who was taking her spot to use the sphere. A collective buzz grew in the watching students, and even the teacher were watching her with eyes full of expectation. Lucy noticed all of this, so she fixed her gaze on Ortensia as well so as to not feel left out.
In spite of everyone’s gathered gazes, Ortensia’s eyes were rooted squarely on the sphere in front of her. Rather, it looked like she was taking pride in all the attention being poured on her as she flung back her golden curls over her shoulder and slowly reached her hand out to the sphere.
Then, when her delicate-looking hands finally lay on top of it, a fog once again began floating inside the transparent sphere. It swelled, grew bigger, and began to change color…..then the sphere which was transparent just a few seconds ago went alight with a dazzlingly bright silver color.
It was as bright and beautiful as when Claudio had done it, and half of the freshman who had seen their own lights sat in their seats, silently amazed, while the other half all began to leak cries of amazement. Ortensia, being neither shy nor humble, puffed out her chest in pride as she heard the voices behind her singing her praise and continued to show off her light until she thought they had had enough and slowly took her hand off.
“As expected of Ortensia.”
“Such a thing, I was just having a good day today.”
Ortensia laughed while humbling herself. Well, although the mouth was using humble words, her expressions was as good as ever, and she was clearly pleased with all the applause being showered onto her.
Lucy was also clapping her hands, and Conrad, who was still standing next to her, also started to praise Ortensia.
“Such a strong reaction, I’m jealous. Keep an eye out though, the teachers are sure to call your name in class now.”
“W-well that……. But Conrad, yours was a nice color too.”
“My magical power is insignificant. I don’t even come up to Lady Ortensia’s feet.”
“But it was very nice, brilliantly vivid…….it was a powerful color that suited you.”
“I am honored if you truly think so.”
Graciously lowering his head, Conrad laughed while continuing to praise her.
His shy expression that was a far cry from the dignified look he had earlier had a certain charm to it and could even be called cute. He originally had a fearlessly stubborn looking face, but he suddenly looked younger now, elbowing Claudio in the side, “I was praised,” and even childishly boasting to his friend. In response, “Good Claudio, there is this thing us upper nobles call socializing which you should learn,” Claudio gave his own little joke.
The appearance of those two men casually nudging each other and laughing made the two of them actually appear their own age for once, if not even more reminiscent of two young boys playing around. It was a friendship between men that was refreshing to watch.
Ortensia silently watched the two of them with narrowed eyes, “Mi~……..” before releasing a feverish sigh. —Lucy who overheard that noise looked at Ortensia alarmed wanting to shout out, “It comes out even at such a time!?” ‘Mi~’ is only a single note, yet ‘Mi~’ is only a single note. What could the deeper meaning be?—
Anyway, Claudio turned to Lucy after he was done joking around with Claudio, “Next is your turn,” and urged her on. The audience started getting noisy once again. Of course it was not out of expectation like with Claudio and Ortensia, but more out of curiosity and ridicule at the strange woman who was somehow lucky enough to be acquainted with them both.
It was awfully uncomfortable, and Lucy started scratching her head and wrinkling her brow while trying to ignore them.
“……very, extremely, absolutely, I do not want to do this soooooooooooo much.”
“Everyone’s just interested in you. It’s okay.”
“By the way Your Highness, Your Highness Claudio. Hiiiiiiiiiiiiighness”
“It is both ineffective and pointless to try and postpone the inevitable. The next person is waiting.”
Here, Claudio interrupted Lucy’s words and ignored her dissatisfied expression and forced her eyes to focus on the transparent sphere.
Nobody was touching it, so of course it wasn’t responding to anything meaning it was just an ordinary ball right now. You could easily be convinced it was of nothing of importance when it was like that, and you cannot tell it is a magical tool just by looking at it.
But once you touch it it will react to your magical power and change color…..remembering that sight, Lucy began to think about what it would do for her. It wouldn’t shine beautifully like when Claudio or Ortensia had done it, but she thought that it wouldn’t be as small as Claudio’s had been. Just like an experienced pupil, a big light or a small light, or what about no light at all……
It was about herself—no, it was precisely because it was about herself—that she had no idea what would happen, and Lucy unintentionally gulped down her saliva.
“There’s no need to be nervous, just calmly put your hand on the sphere.”
Claudio called out to her.
“Even if the reaction is small you can still advance, so don’t worry about it.”
Claudio was laughing.
“You are a commoner, so just getting a reaction in the first place is something to praise.”
Ortensia’s high and mighty attitude was flourishing even now.
While listening to each of their voices, Lucy reached out toward the sphere…….and the tip of her finger touched it.
It felt pleasantly cool to the touch yet slightly rigid. Continuing down so that her palm was lying on the sphere, a mist was born, and a mysterious feeling like something was being pulled down her arm and through her palm appeared at the same time. Magical power was being sucked out for the measurement.
She found that she was unable to say anything as that feeling eroded away at her like it was traveling through her blood, creeping up through her until if felt like something was shaking her head. Lucy finally lost consciousness when that incompatible feeling felt like her skull was compressing itself around her brain, like someone was wrapping a soft cloth around it and being squeezed……
A voice shouted out and ran up to tightly grasp her shoulder, and Lucy immediately regained consciousness.
“Lucy, are you alright!?”
“Y-yes……probably, I am okay. Did something happen?”
“The moment the magic tool responded, you stopped moving and froze up like a statue.”
No matter how many times he called out to her, she never even moved a finger, and he had to run forward and grab her shoulders when she eventually collapsed…..That’s why Claudio’s eyes were seriously staring into her, and it was obvious he was neither joking nor exaggerating.
The whole room was quiet underneath the tension that pervaded through the air, but then like a rock thrown into the water’s surface, that tension was broken. Several teachers rushed into the auditorium.
In addition, Ortensia was, “Mi~! Mi~!” packing pieces of chocolate into Lucy’s mouth who was wondering what in the world was she doing. Chocolate is a little too heavy after just waking up, and as for Ortensia, Lucy was wishing someone would stop her.
“Low blood pressure not……..I doooooon’t have low blood pressure, so……..*Mog*”
“*Mog* At least let me chew…..*Mog*”
Ortensia just kept packing chocolate into her mouth, and Lucy soon was about to lose consciousness again.
Before she did, Lucy was eventually able to push Ortensia off of her and swallow the chocolate. Then after taking a deep breath, it was Claudio who was anxiously looking into her face this time. Luckily, he did not try to pack chocolate into her mouth.
However his eyebrows were scrunched together, and worry was visible inside his blue eyes that were focused on her.
“Lucy, are you really alright?”
“Yes, there are no unusual changes in particular.”
“I see. But you should take this opportunity to rest today. Fortunately there is nothing else scheduled today after the measurements, so it would be better for you to head straight back to your room.”
“There is nothing else for us here. Let’s go back to our room and make me a cup of coffee.”
Ortensia returned her chocolate to her pouch while talking over any of Lucy’s objections.
Her attitude was as high as ever, and she started walking away without waiting to hear Lucy’s reply. With things as they were, there was no way for Lucy to voice any of her objections, so in a panic she hurriedly followed after her.
As Lucy left, her eyes wandered the auditorium until eventually landing on a single point……the pedestal that lay atop the stage,
“Wow, what an unbelievable color……”
and murmured that to herself as she left the auditorium.
The inside of the auditorium that the two students had left behind descended into a strange tranquility, and every student was either looking around themselves uneasily or talking with others in hushed voices. In this unprecedented situation, the teachers could not hide their own worries, let alone abate the students’.
“……Claudio, what will you do.”
then, in such an air, Conrad crouched down next to the still hunched over Claudio.
Claudio deeply sighed towards Conrad’s question, “What can I do…….” and directed his gaze towards one part of the stage.
“Nobody will calm down until it returns to normal.”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
The two’s gazes were firmly planted on the sphere. Resting atop the pedestal, it still had colors swirling inside despite the fact that nobody’s hand was on it.
Black and brown and red and blue and green and yellow and……roughly all the colors a person could think of were swirling, mixed together in a strange distortion of light. Muddled together, twisting and intertwining, it left a person cold just looking at it. Disgusting, was the word most of the freshman were describing it.
There was no way someone’s magic power should look like that, and no matter what color it comes out as, it should disappear after a few seconds of the person removing their hand causing the sphere to return to its normal appearance. That was why many of the students and teachers were overcome by fear and uneasiness in this abnormal situation. Claudio ignored all of them however, and gazing at the auditorium entrance, Claudio sighed…..and softly called out Lucy’s name.
The girls’ dormitory was far removed from such an atmosphere. Lucy, who followed Ortensia and returned to their dorm, took a deep yawn after getting back and decided to head to her bed…….*Bzzzt*! and raised a loud yelp as electricity ran through her body.
The stimulus caused her body to numb. Then *Bzzzt*! *Bzzzt*! The electrical shock kept hitting her every time she tried to walk further into her room. It didn’t really hurt, but it still hurt. Moving back to the outside hallway, Lucy gazed down to her room’s floor…..she saw a line of light there, and she recalled the sight of Ortensia standing there with a daunting pose.
Yes, Lucy Blanchett remembered.
Even though this was her room, the area she was allowed to live in was narrow. And then Ortensia saying “Brew coffee as soon as you can!” for a cup of coffee that includes one cup of milk along with a teaspoon of coffee with sugar added to it which ended up tasting just like milk with sugar added to it.