Conrad, Why………Something Like This……….
“Lucy, would you going out together with me tonight?”
And so it was the day after she created the wreath that Lucy was called out to by Conrad. She was on her way to pick up a few things from the store when he appeared seemingly out of nowhere and struck up a conversation with her.
Lucy nodded her head towards the sudden invitation as she had no reason to refuse while asking, “Tonight?”
“I was hoping to have dinner together with you.”
“I don’t really mind.”
“That’s good then. Oh, but please make sure that nobody else hears about this.”
Although Lucy’s eyes were clearly asking why, Conrad never answered her, instead surveying the area around them to make sure nobody could have possibly overheard them.
Although it is just a story about having dinner, isn’t his expression a little too serious?
“Especially Claudio and Lady Ortensia. Please move so as the two of them won’t notice.”
Conrad pushed forward despite Lucy’s curiosity, and she was nodding her head before she even realized it.
Upon seeing her agreement, Claudio’s expression lightened up, and he excused himself with a laugh while yelling back, “Be sure to come hungry.” His expression was quite different from his usual dignified look and resembled more like the smile of an innocent child. Watching him walk off as if he was enjoying himself, Lucy tilted her head to the side in confusion, but she would be lying if she said she wasn’t feeling just a little excited while repeating the word, “Tonight.”
That night Lucy brought Ortensia her dinner, “Mi~……” and although Ortensia was watching her suspiciously since Lucy hadn’t made herself anything, she was able to quickly give out a fake excuse before leaving the room.
Although Lucy held doubts in her mind for why Conrad insisted that, “Claudio and Ortensia must especially not know,” she didn’t know anything about what they were doing anyway to say whether or not it was necessary. ‘By the time I get home, will she be upset about the time, or will she already be asleep?’ …..While thinking aloud, Lucy passed through the dormitory entrance.
The surrounding area had already descended into darkness, so there was nobody around the school building to ask any questions. Still, since she didn’t know what she was doing, she wouldn’t be able to answer those questions anyway. Grabbing the collar of the robe she wore to try and hide her figure from any other possibly errant students, Lucy lightly ran to the meeting place Conrad had told her.
“Lucy, I’m over here.”
And at one corner of the school building, Conrad had called out to her, waving his arms around before putting out the small light he had been carrying to help her locate him.
“Was everything all right?”
“I was able to come out for the time being. Ortensia was suspicious, but…..”
“We can figure out an excuse by the time we’re done.”
Taking one last look around him to see if there were any other people nearby, Conrad continued on into the school building, Lucy trailing after him.
As expected, the school building at night was deserted, and even the stealthy footsteps the two were taking echoed loudly in their ears. The air was also quite chilly, and along with the darkness, an ordinary girl may even be too afraid to walk. There was no way that Lucy would cry out, “Kya, scary!” but she was definitely having a hard time walking.
She couldn’t see. Rather than being frightened about possibly seeing a ghost which may or may not exist, she wished she could just see her feet.
“Lucy, why not just light up your feet?”
“I-I’m okay……. because it would be better for me to fall down than use magic…….”
With Lucy barely managing to not trip over her own feet while walking with her hand pressed against the wall, Conrad laughed a little saying he couldn’t bear to watch anymore, and created a small ball of light in the palm of his hand.
Its size was only about the size of a person’s thumb, and let alone being described as dazzling, whether or not it could be called a proper light would be put into question. Yet that small glimmering globe gently floated down, flickering slightly as it made its way to Lucy’s feet. It was not enough to illuminate a person’s vision, but it could at least help a person not trip.
Lucy thanked him for the light while marveling at the little ball,
“Even I can do something like this,”
and Conrad responded with a bitter smile.
“I have a small amount of magic power, but I can still use magic. Well, it’s a bit embarrassing, and certainly not something to be proud of in this academy.”
So laughing masochistically.
But his magic power is certainly low even by normal standards, and his family status is comparable to his magic power. Not high.
Still he is able to hold an attitude with Claudio as a friend, so he always appears to be a pleasantly fun person who always works hard without feeling the effects of his status. When Lucy asked if he had a similar relationship to His Majesty or the first prince…..Conrad resolutely shook his head and looked at her as if she was crazy.
It seems that Claudio is the only person he has such a close contact to, and the absolute care must be taken with the rest of the royal family along with other high aristocrats such as Ortensia’s Rosedot House. Just from his tone, you can tell how low of a position the Oxstein house really is in.
“Both His and Her Majesty are kind to me while the first prince treats me like I was his own little brother, but they are still royalty. No matter how intimate I become with them, I never forget my place and respond with the utmost respect.”
“What about Claudio?”
“That’s different, I’m thoroughly preparing a resistance.”
Lucy patted Conrad’s shoulder with a small, teasing laugh. The glaringly obvious difference in social status between the two was buried underneath the certainty of their friendship.
Conrad went on to say that the two of them had known each other since they were young, and when he decided to enter Liztena Magic Academy, Claudio had invited Conrad to be his roommate. Rather, he had talked as if the two of them becoming roommates had already been agreed and decided upon.
“Originally their was a single room hut arranged for him. The school always talks about equality in all students, but they figured there would be no problem when it came to royalty. So, the school tried to prepare separate lodging just for Claudio outside of the dorms. It was a luxurious room for one that nobody would complain about having, and it even came with an exclusive maid.”
“As expected of royalty…..”
“But when he heard about it, Claudio began to cry saying, ‘Why do I have to be put in such a lonely environment……?!?’ He was complaining about his special treatment.”
Conrad laughed while remembering those days a year ago.
Apparently Claudio had told those in charge of his admission, “I want to be treated the same as all the other students,” and remembering it, Conrad laughed again saying, “All of their faces were seriously shocked, like they’d just seen someone murdered.”
It was treatment suitable for the royal family, but Claudio wanted none of it.
What would Claudio’s reaction be if he knew this story was being told? Would he call Conrad a liar? Perhaps complain some more about the people who tried to put him by himself, or he might possibly just laugh about it all as if it were a big joke. Or maybe he’d be shy…….Imagining all the possible reactions that Claudio could have made, a small smile spread across Lucy’s face.
As the two proceeded through the school building, Conrad would occasionally replenish the magic power for the light at Lucy’s feet.
The light would gradually burn through the magic power supplied to it, but it never lost its place floating in the air. Honestly, Lucy became quite curious about it after awhile, and as they were walking, she would purposefully nudge it with her foot to see what would happen, and as the light grew weaker, she marveled as it softly started blinking until eventually going out completely.
While Lucy was getting herself excited about just how convenient such a light was, Conrad made another, denying that it was all that useful. But since he was currently lifting that light up and using it to illuminate her feet, Lucy felt it was at least useful for her.
“It doesn’t leave any residue after going out, it is not hot, and there is no worry about it starting anything on fire. It is far more convenient than a lantern.”
“You shouldn’t be comparing lanterns and magic…..Oops, we’re here.”
Conrad stopped his feet in front of an ordinary looking door.
Unlike the lecture hall where Lucy usually receives her lessons, this looked to be an ordinary classroom. But since it was already late evening, there wasn’t the usual bustle of any classes going on, and the lights certainly were not on. There was no sign of anyone being here, and there was certainly no indication of why they had to sneak into the school this late in order to get here.
Or so Lucy’s gaze was saying, but Conrad looked back at her seeming somewhat happy and said, “Lucy just can’t see it.” He was looking a little embarrassed yet proud at the same time. Wouldn’t this be the same as a small kid being praised for their good work?
“I’m using barrier magic right now. For the moment, it looks like a quiet classroom to anyone else. For the moment.”
“Why all the subtle phrasing?”
“…..Because the people inside are all individuals with low magic power. It is only through everyone’s hard work that we can keep this barrier erected.”
Saying so, Conrad opened the door to the classroom which looked like nobody was inside.
What is a magical barrier? Why are you using such magic for a classroom so late at night? Why do we have to gather so deeply into the school? Why did you bring me here……?
Lucy had a number of questions swirling through her head, but she asked none of them as she obediently walked through the door into the dark classroom after him…..and couldn’t believe her eyes as she saw a number of students there inside. A light was on, and everyone was talking with each other. Is this not a completely different sight from when they were in the corridor?
“Conrad, what is this?”
“They all have low magic power in the academy, and of course their statuses are low as well.
Conrad raised his hand to greet everyone, and a stream of, “I’m the same,” and “You don’t say,” came back. However, it was clear that nobody was to be rejected from here.
There were students of both genders here, and in addition there were differently colored buttons on their capes and robes showing that students from every grade were here. Even when Lucy looked around, she could find no real similarities between the students there, so it really was just a gathering for people with low magic power.
Meanwhile, one of the male students who were seated near the front of the classroom had spotted Lucy entering as well. Turning his gaze on to Conrad, he asked, “What is she doing here?”
“Everyone probably already knows, but this is Lucy Blanchett. She is a freshman from the general class.”
“There is nobody who doesn’t know about the girl from the magical power measurements incident. But why did you bring her here?”
“It seems like Lucy traveled around the country before coming here.”
Don’t you think so? When Lucy was questioned as such, she nodded her head.
Although it was not a trip she could recall, in her bag was a map that she had with Liztena Magic Academy listed as her final destination. From there was a line drawn across numerous countries with the names of places and people scribbled all over it. Her departure point was a country in the far east labeled, ‘Research Facility’, and from their she crossed over mountains and seas………..She was honestly impressed that her past self had traveled so well.
“Lucy, do you remember your dissatisfaction with the food in the dining room?”
The topic had suddenly changed, and Lucy was starting to feel a little embarrassed.
However, just as Conrad said, she had certainly felt dissatisfied with the food in the cafeteria recently. Her brain is telling her it is delicious, but her tongue is screaming out, “Not good.” Lucy couldn’t really understand what she was saying, yet every other student in the room was nodding their head as if they did.
Apparently, she had done something to be acknowledged by the students in the classroom as each one started to pat her on the back and, “Welcome,” greet her while shaking her hand.
A ginormous question mark had formed over Lucy’s head, everyone else was acting like it was the most natural thing in the world. All she had done so far was confirm that she was well traveled and had found something dissatisfying with the food made by the kitchen. Even so, everyone was returning her incredulous stare with warm eyes.
She really didn’t know why.
When Lucy tried asking what this gathering was for, the students parted, allowing her to see a large group of desks that had been crowded together, forming a simple cross shaped table.