A Noon Meeting Too…….!?
This story begins a few hours ago.
“I was hoping to have dinner together with you.”
There was a man and woman pair who had watched Conrad invite Lucy to dinner from one corner of the school.
“No way, Lucy and Conrad are…..?”
It was Claudio who was completely unable to hide his surprise. Beautiful blue eyes with astonishment written all over, he was watching his best friend and junior talk to each other with a serious look on his face.
Standing next to him was Ortensia who spoke with an uneasy voice, “Mi~……..” while peeking around the corner. She was trembling slightly with down-turned empty eyes.
The two of them were heading to two different places, but they ended up meeting each other by chance. Then by some small miracle they came across Lucy and Conrad talking with each other…..and then hurriedly stopped after hearing their previous remarks.
“Dinner……just the two of them, without us”
Claudio was muttering out his thoughts aloud.
No, there was really nothing to think about he realized. The two of them were just talking about having a meal and there was nothing strange about that after all–until Conrad stressed the part about “Claudio and Lady Ortensia especially cannot know.” It is obvious that there is a more intimate emotion there like that…..
However that feeling of not wanting to admit something that he knew was obvious, it made Claudio scratch his head. Whenever Conrad had invited another female student out previously, Claudio had always felt mischievous while peeping on him and enjoyed teasing him about the matter later on. So rather than that feeling of mischief, why was there a rock in his gut now?
While Claudio was busy figuring out his own emotions like that, Ortensia, “Mi~!………….Mi,” was busy working through her own emotions. Seeing Lucy’s actions, “Mi~!” she cried out in indignation, and after seeing Conrad……..”Mi,” she murmured while embarrassedly thinking about him. The emotions were deep despite the simplicity behind the “Mi~”.
Anyway, even though Lucy and Conrad had already parted, their two eavesdroppers were still rooted in place staring at the area they had been standing in before the two of them slowly turned their gaze on each other. “My, President Claudio.” “Ortensia, you are looking as beautiful as ever.” The two greeted each other, oblivious to the fact that they had walked there together.
Soon they nodded their heads together as if they had come to a decision. A beautiful man and woman, each with hair like golden silk, they looked as if they had jumped right out of a painting when standing together like that.
“Ortensia, do you have any prior engagements tonight? If not, would you care to go for a walk with me?”
“I would be honored.”
The two of them shared a large smile. But for some reason, things felt just a little off, and even the girls who love to watch Claudio from afar and harassed any girls who talked to him out of jealousy found themselves running away with their tails between their legs when they saw him like that.
Then time passed and soon the surroundings became dark.
Under that night sky was Claudio and Ortensia who were stealthily following after Lucy and Conrad were following after Lucy and Conrad using nothing but starlight to light their way.
Keeping a reasonable distance so that they wouldn’t be noticed, they used magic to erase the sound of their own voices and footsteps while amplifying their targets’ so that they could be heard. Needless to say, the small lights they used after entering the building were also muffled to avoid giving themselves away as well.
Meanwhile, the two people they were following were leisurely traveling forward. By the way, Ortensia, who doesn’t even like to turn off the light in the corridors outside her room, was bravely pushing through despite her trembling body and crippling fear. She really was a maiden at heart.
“*Ku…..Why is he revealing old stories about me while walking through school at night……..Conrad, he is holding a grudge against me!”
“Well, Claudio, you were feeling lonely in a room by yourself?”
“No, I don’t get lonely by myself, but you know, it’s only natural for a student to be living in the dorms…..”
They were walking through the halls while making small talk.
Then after confirming they were in front of the room that Lucy and Conrad had entered, Claudio and Ortensia shared a look.
It looked like an extremely ordinary classroom. But there were no lights on, and it was so quiet that a person would naturally believer there was nobody in there……..so it clearly wasn’t ordinary.
“What’s this, are they using a barrier?”
“Wouldn’t it have been easier for them to just put up a large cloth instead?”
Neither of them could hide their shock looking at this classroom that should have nobody inside.
Claudio has the highest magic power in Liztena Magic Academy, and Ortensia is comparable to him, so a hastily constructed barrier like this was nothing to them. With just a little focus they could see light peaking out from underneath the door, and the voices of those people inside were leaking out as well. Taking just a moment, they could tell around how many people were inside by the shadows and number of different voices–a fact that made them both let out a deep breath in relief.
But the question still remained what all of these people were doing inside a room hidden behind a miserable barrier. That’s why Claudio and Ortensia shared another look at each other as if to confirm each other’s thoughts on the matter,
“What are you doing at such an hour!”
“All of you criminals are under arrest!”
and vigorously barged into the room…….
“Claudio, what are you doing here!”
and the sight of several students including Lucy and Conrad staring wide-eyed in surprise surrounded by numerous different dishes. So, uh, what is going on?
“In other words, every once in awhile we want to eat some lower class food as well.”
“The dishes inside the cafeteria are delicious, there’s no doubt about that, but you know”
“Eh, no depth in taste? Well you’re right, but it is rude to talk about how deep the taste of the food is when your mouth is full of it.”
“So you all gather regularly to share some lighter foods that you are more used to. But a lot of these foods and drinks I’ve never seen before……”
“I am a noble, but I’m low-born and really only ever ate the same food as commoners. Most of us grew up eating this stuff, but it’s no surprise royalty has never seen it. Still, it’s good to eat stuff like this from time to time.”
“Eh, foreign substances have been mixed in? No way has there………aren’t those just tomatoes? By the way Ortensia, why have you been eating since awhile ago?”
was the conversation the four friends shared.
Next to them lined up on the desks were a number of foods never before seen inside the Liztena Magic Academy cafeteria before.
Thin slices of meat packed into cheap bread next to dark and lightly seasoned side dishes. The meat was seasoned only with a thick sauce baked over a fire, and the vegetables were older and less crispy. It would be hard to say it looked delicious and could be chalked up as pointless flattery if you did. The cutting method was uneven and disjointed showing off that they had been mass-produced to be sold in large quantities. The same could be said for the ingredients as well of course.
Inside one sandwich made from cheap bread was some cooked bacon with cheese and a cooked egg dropped in the middle. Ortensia and Claudio were stunned seeing the slapdash cooking thrown together, and they were even more surprised to find that this egg sandwich was still eaten with your hands instead of a knife and fork. —Of course after taking a bite, the two of them quickly got over their shock and started chomping away at it.—
Anyway Claudio–after finishing off every crumb of this newfound cuisine–let out a sigh after looking Lucy and Conrad. He next turned his gaze towards all of the other students as well, but their faces all inevitably fell rather than meet his gaze.
“Eating all of this separately is your individual freedom, the academy has no right to restrict that. But sneaking into the school building at night like this…..”
After all, Claudio was unable to follow through with his lecture.
Originally as the student council president he would have chastised them for this, but knowing what he did, the words wouldn’t come out. A wrinkle formed in his brow and he crossed his arms to think.
A strange air descended onto the classroom as everyone saw the state Claudio was in, so Lucy spoke her piece on Claudio’s behalf.
“In that case, where are you saying we should eat?”
“…..Lucy, please don’t mercilessly poke the issue while we’re agonizing over it.”
“It’s my nature.”
“Ah, that is how you are. ………yeah, that’s right.”
Claudio shrugged his shoulders with a small mutter.
Actually, no matter how he is asked, he cannot give an accurate answer. All the students gathered at this place can be said to belong to the lower class of the Liztena Academy hierarchy, and they would already be looked down on by the higher ranked students. If it was discovered that these students couldn’t even fully appreciate the high quality food that the academy had to offer, how much worse could it get?
That was why they were hiding. Putting up a meager little defense to help keep their peace.
As the student council president, and as a member of the royal family, it would be folly to completely ignore this disparity and only berate them for their minor transgression.
“Well, I’ll overlook you sneaking into the school building this time, just be sure to get an official to give you permission the next time.”
“Claudio, we cannot get official permission.”
“I don’t normally use my name or throw around my authority too much, so if I just have a few words with them, the academy’s side should have no problem giving you a positive response.
“………The Formal Society for Worshiping Claudio Barek.”
“Lucy, knock that off.”
“Would The Certified Claudio Barek Night Fan Club be better?”
“Lucy, you don’t need to forcefully involve me in this.”
Claudio admonished her with a few pats on the head, and while Lucy closed her eyes in comfort,
“The Ortensia Rosedot Officially Recognized Night Fan Club.”
she changed the plan.
Claudio was relieved that the target of the name had switched to someone else, and Conrad thanked Claudio for his kind offer. Meanwhile all the other students who were relieved that things looked like they were going to be settled stiffened at the sudden name being forced upon them, and after seeing Ortensia confidently nodding to approve the formation of her own fan club, you couldn’t really blame them.