“D-Don’t Be so Shameless!”
The academy decided it would hide Lucy and Ril’s circumstances.
Be that as it may, Ril’s existence was already made known to many students who had sent out reconnaissance birds, and many other students sent out rabbits that were able to confirm that Lucy had also been there. Luckily the students’ reconnaissance magic wasn’t able to pick up noise, but rumors had already begun to circulate.
So the headmaster made a general announcement declaring Ril as, “A subspecies of a bird”. Lucy found Ril in the forest and secretly kept him, but Ril was found and got caught up in a riot with a group of armed men who had intruded on school grounds………or something like that was the scenario. It seemed impossible, but that was because it was impossible.
But whenever somebody would ask Claudio or Ortensia, they would both smile, and
“That’s how it is.”
“What’s there to doubt?”
There was no such thing as a person who could tsukkomi that answer. When the second prince and the daughter of the Rosedot family say something like that with such a scary smile on their faces, everyone judged this was the kind of topic they should never mention so long as they valued their lives. The combined intimidation of the two created a level of societal disparity that couldn’t be surpassed in over a million years.
So Lucy’s protections were quite powerful, and she was able to return to classes and live her life as if nothing had changed from before. Ril was also set up in a home of his own behind the school building, peacefully waiting for Lucy to come visit him during her break times.
“Some scholars will come to take a look at him eventually, but they won’t cause any problems. They’ve been prohibited from harming Ril in any way, and I already told them they can get Ril’s cooperation by stroking his head or scratching his chin.”
Lucy was relieved at Claudio’s news who was happily talking with her as Ril lay in front of them both.
Lucy was on her way to see her friend after school when Claudio and Conrad invited her to talk with them. In addition, somewhere along the way Ortensia magically appeared out of nowhere, following closely behind Conrad.
She had appeared as if everything was normal, and her face looked like everything was normal. But when Claudio started talking to Lucy next to Ril, she circled around with Conrad, playing with Ril on the other side of his huge body. Ortensia had taken to Ril shortly after their meeting having subconsciously accepted him as ‘originally a cat’. The forest was a dirty place, but it was filled with the sound of Ril’s cat-like purring.
From the bottom of her heart Lucy felt that this peaceful time was a good thing.
Although Ril’s existence was hidden as a subspecies of bird–with a little coercive argument–the people from the institute wouldn’t just let this go. If the two of them were to get caught, they would be forced to return to the research facility and that hard environment……it made her briefly consider escaping somewhere together with him.
But Claudio was able to pull her thoughts back to the positive. After talking to his father the king, he had gained the authority to completely oversee this case. He had already talked to the men who had come before and took care of all the arrangements concerning them.
As what some would expect from Claudio Barek, but to Lucy, he seemed just like any other student. That’s why she was left stunned as she watched her life slowly become calm and steady due to the ability that shouldn’t have belonged to an ordinary student.
“Thank you Claudio, for all your hard work.”
Lucy once again thanked him with all her heart, but for some reason he answered, “It was quite tough in a different sense,” while his face turned a deep shade of red.
—The fact that Claudio had asked Lucy to go to the party together with him had spread across the academy before that day had been done, so of course it is reasonable to understand that the news soon went beyond the boundaries of the academy grounds and made it to his family as well. There was also the fact of how far Claudio had gone to protect Lucy. They might be royalty, but the king is still his dad, meaning that when Claudio went home, he had to suffer through a barrage of, “What kind of girl is she?”, “What kind of girl is she?” at every opportunity the king had. It was the type of talk people wouldn’t expect from the royal family, and it gave Claudio a level of embarrassment he just couldn’t bear.—
But of course Claudio couldn’t admit to that, so when he saw Lucy’s curious eyes on him, he faked a cough and looked away. He waited for his cheeks to cool down a bit, but when he finally turned to look at Lucy who had yet to stop staring at him, the blush in his face flared right up again.
“Claudio, what’s wrong?”
“Then why is your face so red?”
“What is it?”
Rather enjoying having him call her name, Lucy became even more attentive to Claudio’s face. His cheeks all the way up to his ears were red, and for some reason even his golden hair was starting to look like it was going to blush soon.
His blue eyes were darting this way and that as if he were going to look for a way to escape, but “Lucy,” he still quietly called out her name.
“……..I’ve already talked to my family. I gave up my right to inherit the throne.”
“There were a number of people who thought I should be king, but I’ve always thought it would be best for my older brother to take over. As long as I can help him and this country out, then that is enough for me. I don’t want to fight some pointless fight, and the interior splitting over whether they should support me or my brother for the throne would be a star example of a ‘pointless fight’. So I told my father my intentions and officially abandoned my inheritance right……and instead”
Lucy’s eyes were encouraging him to go on, a fact that made the impossible happen and caused Claudio’s face to shine an even more vibrant red as he looked back at her.
“I don’t need the throne or anything like that, so instead………I want to be with the girl I love, is what I told them.”
His words took Lucy’s breath away, and she felt her own cheeks flare up.
“Who is the girl you love,” was a question she wasn’t going to ask. No matter how many times she would lose her memory, she would never be that obtuse–although you could probably create a mountain of the emotions and feelings she had felt for friends and family she had long forgotten.
But that wasn’t important right now. In other words, when he say, “The girl I love……”
“Lucy, let me escort you to the party this year. And then the next. And the one after that. Stay together with me.”
Claudio stated his feelings head on, causing tears to gather in Lucy’s eyes.
She wanted to nod her head right away, but she held that feeling back. Right along with the want to shake her head and run away.
“Claudio, I don’t deserve having such a thing said to me.”
“What are you saying? Don’t be stupid.”
“I-I…….I remembered. The reason why I’m like this, the reason why I lose my memories, it was my choice…….”
Claudio couldn’t swallow Lucy’s words, but he stopped himself from saying anything more and silently listened.
This was a story the happened long before Lucy carried the name Blanchett. She was born as an ordinary commoner who couldn’t use magic……No, it would be stupid to say that she was an ordinary commoner. She was poor, living in an area of an eastern country that had been abandoned by the rest of the country. She lived a poor, strange, lonely life.
And in the end, her parents sold her off. She didn’t know the price. Thinking back on it, that transaction was probably illegal, but for the longest time the memory that haunted her dreams was of her parents selling her to the research facility. And although they were the type of scum who would sell their child like that, the simple fact that it had happened was a heavy, painful point on Lucy’s life. She was quite pessimistic when she was young.
That’s why she made the choice to forget. If she was going to be able to use magic in return, then that would be enough.
Let’s forget my parents’ faces, their voices, and everything else that’s unnecessary. Let’s fill up my memories with nothing but beautiful magic. Those were the thoughts that occupied her mind throughout every single experiment until the end.
“That must have been the memory I used to constantly keep my book waterproof and safe. Now that I’ve lost that, I remembered for the first time…..”
“Lucy, you are……”
“I thought there would never be anything in my life I would want to remember. Everything that’s happened was because of my choices, and those choices will cause Claudio constant troubles in the future…….”
Lucy began mumbling to herself, lost in her own head causing Claudio to shake his head and sigh……..and then place his hand on top of her head. *Pon* *Pon* *Pon* He began patting her head, and the tears that had been collecting in Lucy’s eyes quickly dispersed as her eyes narrowed in comfort and her heart squeezed.
“You can forget about those painful memories. It would be far more meaningful if you would remember your life with me from now on.”
“…..But, even things about Claudio could be forgotten…..”
“Good. It will be fun thinking up a number of ways to get you to fall in love with me each time.”
Claudio gave Lucy a bright smile, making it Lucy’s turn to turn away shyly.
“Of course. Who do you think I am?”
“……..Who are you?”
Lucy made a mischievous smile and laughed when she saw Claudio’s surprised expression.
After seeing what she had done, Claudio began laughing with her as his hand continued to *Pon* *Pon*. But gradually, his hand began to slow, and rather than patting her head, he began stroking it instead. Then his hand moved down, caressing her cheek. His thumb traced the line of her eye, wiping away the remnants of her tears from before making Lucy narrow her eyes slightly.
Claudio’s enjoyable expression had unexpectedly transformed into one more gentle, but his blue eyes looked different from usual. There was a lustrous fever held deep within them.
His thumb that had been stroking the outer corner of her eye slid down her cheek and traced the outline of her lips. Lucy’s eyes turned away, but her heart was pounding louder than it ever had before. She didn’t refuse, she couldn’t, but she wasn’t sure what to do next.
Lucy had lost her memory, but she was naturally curious about what experience she had of romance in her past. Her heart was acting so violently now, so perhaps this would be her first kiss?
“…..Lucy, I don’t mind you forgetting my name. I’ll tell you my name and make you fall for me as many times as it takes, so please, forget when you’re standing right next to me.”
Claudio brought his face closer to hers while softly making his plea. Lucy wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do, so she shut her eyes tight, and a soft feeling was pressed against her lips.
She kissed him back, hoping her actions would make up for the words that wouldn’t come to her. Lucy reached out, clutching Claudio’s clothes as he pulled back, his blue eyes focused intently on her lips.
A deep sigh of ecstasy escaped from Lucy whose eyes had grown hot as her heart began to reach its limit. The she quietly responded, “Yes,” and placed her head on Claudio’s chest while his hand began gently stroking her head once again.
Conrad, who happened to see the sight of the two of them kissing and holding each other, quickly turned away to try and let Claudio and Lucy have their sweet time together.
Seeing your friend having such a sweet kiss was irritating. But the other party was Claudio, and just imagining the kind of retaliation that would be served if it was revealed he was accidentally seen……… Thinking that way, “Let’s not do anything,” Conrad completely erased the previous scene from his mind and refocused on the sight directly in front of him………..Ortensia about to go around to the other side of Ril.
“Lady Ortensia, I don’t think you should do too much”
“Mu, you don’t need to push yourself. Conrad already got to pet him…….”
“Eh, the other day? I was just curious”
“Then, it’s, it’s okay for me to do it too. He was originally a cat right? Then as a cat I’m sure he greatly enjoys being pet like this.”
Ortensia made her appeal and continue to walk towards Ril’s head.
Fortunately she was still preoccupied with this subspecies of bird in front of her and had not noticed the sweet lovers located behind it. If she were to learn how those two’s relationship was progressing, she would undoubtedly get angry and start buzzing around them like a mosquito yelling “Mi~” “Mi~”. Lucy would respond with a joke, saying something simple like, “You got in my way,” but Claudio would………. Conrad shuddered at the easily imaginable scene that played through his head.
He had to avoid that outcome somehow. And to do that, he had to keep Ortensia’s focus directed entirely on Ril.
“Lady Ortensia, why don’t you come over here and pet this part some more? He’s really soft and pleasant to the touch over here.”
“Well, I suppose…….softly…….”
Ortensia was enraptured in the sharp contrast of Ril’s hard scales and soft underbelly.
Ortensia’s concentration was eventually broken though when a relaxed Ril made a low *Nya* in a good mood. “Mi~!” Ortensia let out her own cry in turn.
“He said Nya! He’s a cat after all!”
“That’s great. Petting it from right here will be fine.”
“Eh, well I suppose it’s alright. I was originally afraid I………Mi-Mi~?”
While continuing to murmur her Mi’s as ever, Ortensia continued to gently pet Ril.
Then, she raised her face up calling out, “Hey, Lucy,” and Conrad immediately regretted his over-confidence. He thought that so long as she was petting Ril, she wouldn’t look over towards Lucy. This plan had almost immediately fallen apart.
Even more unfortunately, at the moment when Ortensia looked up at them, they were kissing each other once again.
“Hey Lucy, I think this child is hungry……Mi~! What are you doing!? We are still on school grounds!”
That’s no good! Ortensia began shouting, “Miiiii~!!” and began shouting at Lucy and Claudio from overtop Ril’s body. The poor dragon that had been reduced to subspecies of bird turned his head over, making a sad look at the pair of sweet lovers who had broken apart. Moving away from the previous sweet air as if it were natural, Lucy grabbed Ril’s arm and gave him a wry smile.
“Sorry Ril. I came here to play with you, but I ended up leaving you alone. Let me make it up to you.””
“Kissing inside the academy……Ril, let’s dangle Lucy off a tree branch as punishment! Mi-Miii~!”
“……..Conrad, let’s have a talk.”
As expected, Claudio walked over and patted Conrad’s shoulder, a scary smile spread across his face.
Conrad let out a heavy sigh, taking only a sideways glance at his shoulder before focusing on Ortensia in an attempt to escape Claudio’s frigid gaze.