*tweet* *tweet*……..Lucy woke up to the sound of birds chirping outside her window.
When she opened her eyes, there was Ortensia’s sleeping face reflected in her eyes. Her normally sharp eyes were closed, and she was breathing ever so slightly through her thinly opened lips. The usual high-handed atmosphere was missing now, leaving behind only a lovely young lady. Her golden hair spread out across the white sheets, and Lucy couldn’t help but to stretch out her hand and inspect the beautiful strands, intertwining in her fingers.
It was soft, slippery, thin, and altogether well-groomed. As Lucy enjoyed running her hands through it repeatedly, watching it all slip through her fingers, she felt something strange. Sure enough when she looked, Ortensia’s eyebrows were moving ever-so-slightly, and a small voice let out, “Mi~…….”
Lucy immediately pulled back her hand, afraid that she had accidentally woken Ortensia up. While Ortensia’s eyes remained closed, her arms slowly started to move up, coming to Lucy’s face and cradling her cheeks.
*Munya* *Munya* Her hands started moving like she was kneading bread, squeezing and massaging Lucy’s cheeks.
Although this certainly wasn’t painful, Lucy fought through the awkwardness making her not want to say anything, and
“Lucy, it’s okay………..you’re okay……”
she swallowed whatever words she was going to say when Ortensia started talking in her sleep. It was then that she finally realized her pillow was wet.
Lucy had been crying while she was asleep. When she realized it was so, tears once again started to overflow, but Ortensia’s wild hand movements on Lucy’s cheeks wiped them away as they came.
She must have been doing that throughout the night. Although this situation made her feel like saying sorry and more than a little embarrassed, Lucy couldn’t bring herself to push those hands away. So instead Lucy took a small breath, putting a stop to those ever-flowing tears, and slowly closed her eyes once again.
Lucy’s wake-up time was about an hour before Ortensia’s.
This was because it was Lucy’s job to prepare breakfast, the coffee, and lay out the clothes Ortensia would be wearing that day.
More than anything Lucy was always fixated on making the hot coffee. She had been repeatedly told, “Bitter,” and had already compiled dozens of different recipes she had used to try and track the correct ratio. But this morning would be different. Today she was determined to enact the idea she had thought of earlier in class.
She would try it today and record the results. There was also the matter with Ril, so she had no idea what would eventually happen to her. There was no room for hesitation. It would be too late if she forgot the idea because she had waited.
First Lucy prepared a cup of both hot coffee and hot milk that she now held in both hands. Of course the hot milk had been cooled to an appropriate temperature–what most people would describe as lukewarm–while the coffee was steaming.
She would put in two cubes of sugar into the hot milk before putting some in the coffee as well.
She had continuously added sugar into this cup of coffee until now, but this time she would make a jump. She would continue to add more sugar into the milk until the point where it was completely saturated and a muddy mess formed at the bottom of the cup.
Lucy was complained to every day about how bitter the coffee she made was, so she continuously decreased the amount of coffee in each drink until she was only putting in a third of a small spoon into the hot milk. Yet it was still too bitter for Ortensia, and Lucy narrowed her eyes as she remembered Ortensia yelling at her yesterday, “Make my coffee properly for once!” At that time Lucy had responded, “Then how about I have you drink your coffee black next time?” but any of those mischievous thoughts evaporated as Lucy remembered her friend’s face that morning.
Now it was time to take the small coffee spoon and mix the coffee into the hot milk……without, Lucy put the spoon back into the coffee as it was.
The hot milk was still hot milk. There was not even a drop of coffee in it. It was genuinely hot milk.
‘Ortensia would complain if she was given this, saying she was being bullied’ Lucy thought to herself, but those thoughts were interrupted by the sound of her room’s door opening. What came out was Ortensia whose golden locks cascaded down her shoulder as she did her usual tired habit of rubbing her tired eyes with the back of her hand mumbling, “Pumi~…….”
“Ortensia, good morning.”
“Did you hear how loudly the birds were chirping this morning? As expected even if I told”
“Eh, complain? To the birds? Well, I don’t mind……”
Lucy wasn’t sure how one was supposed to complain to birds, but if that was what Ortensia wanted to do, there was no reason to stop her.
So since Lucy gave her mild approval, Ortensia went back to Lucy’s room once again tiredly rubbing her sleepy eyes.
There was a soft *clack* sound from the window being opened. Of course, since magic to prevent falling had been applied to every window in the dormitory, there was no worry of anyone falling out even if their sleepy-eyed. That’s why Lucy was able to prepare breakfast without worry as a loud, “Mi~!” came from her bedroom.
Unfortunately she was unable to decipher what this ‘Mi~’ meant. Was it a ‘Mi~’ of scolding or perhaps a ‘Mi~’ of intimidation? Either way Ortensia came back out of the room with a refreshed look, carrying the atmosphere of someone who had just finished all their work.
“I tried telling them to stop crowding around the edge of the window.”
“Thanks for that.”
Receiving a bit of encouragement, Ortensia moved to her seat.
Lucy then placed a ‘cup of hot coffee’ in front of her. Inside that cup was a pure white liquid. It is natural that her coffee was pure white as there wasn’t a single drop of coffee inside it.
Taking her coffee in hand, Ortensia lifted the cup to her mouth and took a sip. Lucy was intensely watching her to the side, but Ortensia didn’t notice such a thing.
“At last you have been able to produce the taste of the Rosedot house.”
Ortensia nodded satisfied.
Lucy collapsed to her knees without saying anything.
“It is just as I taught you up until now. I was in trouble because I couldn’t remember how exactly my cooks made it for me, but I can now drink a satisfying cup of coffee every morning…….Mi? Lucy, why are you holding your head?”
Mi? Mi? Towards Ortensia’s curious gaze, Lucy released a large sigh, and replied, “There’s nothing wrong.”
The two girls sat together at the table and ate their breakfast with their coffee–of course there wasn’t any coffee to be had inside Ortensia’s cup of coffee. Then just as they started, they were both made to look up as they started to hear a very small sound. It wasn’t a single storke but rather a small, continuous rattle that was actually leaving behind a rattle. There were actually small ripples forming in the two girls black and white coffees on the table.
It wasn’t a violent jerk or scream that would cause somebody to scream or panic, but it was enough to surprise the both of them. However, a low groan rising up and cutting through those low vibrations soon followed, causing even the running water to tremble.
It wasn’t a human voice. It was impossible to think of it as a beast’s shout either. That intimidating voice most certainly belonged to a much larger creature…..
A cold sweat began to form on Lucy’s forehead, and just as a second roar caused the whole room to tremble once again, a small, echoing voice cut into the air.
“This is a message to all students. Those still outside with return to their dorms immediately and wait inside their rooms until it has been stated otherwise. For those of you whose roommates do not return…..”
The voice of the school headmaster repeated that highly urgent message several times. However there was none of his usual lightheartedness to be found in his voice, and that message just served to make the air in the room even more tense. This was clearly a grim situation and Mi~………Ortensia’s eyes were anxiously darting around the room right when a silver bird appeared in her hand. It was a spell for reconnaissance, and just as a few similar birds flew past their window, the one in Ortensia’s hand flew out, its wings catching the wind and sailing forward.
Meanwhile the constant tremors had not yet let up, and that low roar from before would occasionally mix itself right in.
Ortensia soon released a small gasp from her lips. Wondering if some information had finally come from that bird she had released, Lucy’s eyes urged her to get over her astonishment and say something.
Hopefully those loud roars from before were not Ril’s.
For example, this might all just be an irrelevant incident where a larger than normal bear that lives in the forest had somehow entered school grounds.
While repeating those empty wishes to herself, Lucy’s heart was throbbing painfully with each new roar as the worst possible outcomes continued to interrupt her wishes with violent delusions.
Lucy waited for Ortesnia’s next words while restlessly trying to calm herself down. Ortensia muttered that she couldn’t believe her eyes as a tinge of fear began to form on her face. She then covered her mouth with one of her hands and muttered,
At that moment, Lucy cried out the name of the pet she loved and jumped out of the room without giving Ortensia a chance to restrain her.
The chair fell backwards as she jumped to her feet, and she hit the table as she began to run, knocking over her cup and spilling the still undrank coffee all over. But right now Lucy had no time to care about that, and she definitely couldn’t afford to take the time to write down the amount of hot coffee she had brewed that morning in her notes.