“This is where the wolf appeared,” Henry-Oniisama says, guiding us to the spot that the wolf was first sighted within the academy.
…..I look around, but there doesn’t appear to be anything particularly special about this place.
The trees here are just like all the rest towering in the back of the school grounds.
“Maybe they left something behind,” Gilles murmurs, scouring the forest floor for clues.
I doubt it.
Gilles sounded more hopeful than certain, so he must also realize there’s a small chance of finding anything.
I can easily imagine that the wolf was moved here with magic, and such a spell wouldn’t have left any traces.
If this really was caused by people originating from the Duelkis Kingdom, they’d certainly know the layout of the academy well enough to manage at least this much.
“Let’s take a look around too,” I suggest just in case, looking over at Henry-Oniisama.
A troubled troubled expression crosses his face.
“I know this doesn’t mean much coming from me, but….
don’t do anything dangerous, okay”
“……I’ve already been put in danger plenty times before.”
“But this time we’re messing with foreign powers.
Let’s just trust Duke to take care of things.”
“Not the king, but Duke-Sama” I ask, searching his face.
“Henry-Oniisama, did Duke-Sama say something to you”
At my question, he seems slightly anxious somehow.
“What did I do now” I hear a deep voice laughing out from behind me.
…..As always, he sure shows up with impeccable timing.
I slowly turn to look towards the newcomer.
“Nothing, I’m sure,” I say coyly.
Duke-Sama looks amused for a moment, but then as his eyes flick around, taking in the scene and my own expression and his gaze turns stern.
He doesn’t say anything further.
His clear blue eyes just stare straight into mine.
“……We’re investigating the wolf incident,” I say after a few moments of silence, unable to bear the pressure of his gaze any longer.
At my words, Duke-Sama’s eyes widen perceptibly.
At the same time he jerks his head to look over at Henry-Oniisama.
“Didn’t I tell you not to say anything to her about this”
“Don’t look at me.
Ali was the one who brought it up.
You know how she is,” Henry-Oniisama says, raising his hands defensively.
“And you should know how dangerous this situation is.”
But if you want to complain, take it up with Eric.
How was I supposed to know he’d blurt it out like that” Henry-Oniisama says a bit bitterly.
…..In other words, because they didn’t want me getting caught up in something dangerous, these two tried to purposely keep me in the dark.
I’m pretty handy in a tough situation! Sure, with one eye now I might be a bit weaker than I was in my prime.
But still, I’d be a valuable asset in any emergency.
Tell me what you know about the wolf incident.”
It’s too risky this time.”
“It’s me we’re talking about, right I’ll be fine.”
“You really think I’d willingly let the woman I love throw herself into danger” Duke-Sama asks, his serious eyes seeming to pierce through me.
I can feel myself losing my nerve under that exquisite gaze.
Why Why am I always so weak when it comes to this man’s eyes
I let out a small sigh.
I may be stubborn sometimes, but I’m no fool.
“…..So you’re saying that the risk this time is incomparable to anything we’ve faced until now”
Duke-Sama continues to look at me, but doesn’t reply.
“Does the king know” Gilles interjects.
“……No,” Henry-Oniisama says, shaking his head.
To think that even the king doesn’t know…..
Does that mean that Duke-Sama is investigating this incident on his own
It really is true that ignorance is bliss.
The more intelligent you are, the more you’re forced to focus on unpleasant things.
It makes me wonder if intellect is really a blessing or if it’s actually a curse
It truly is so much better to be oblivious sometimes.
But even so, I can’t help but want to continue learning.
There’s so many amazing things out there that I still don’t know about.
How could I just let them pass me by I want to know! To experience them for myself.
I guess that’s just my nature.
“There is still one more thing that I’d like to ask about.
Are there any people outside of this country that know what Liz-san is”
“That, I still don’t know,” Duke-Sama says, his brow furrowing.
Very well, then I’ll be taking my leave now.”
As I am turning to walk away I hear Duke-Sama softly calling out to me.
It’s just my name.
It’s obviously nothing special; I’ve been hearing it for years! And yet… why does hearing it make my heart flutter
I turn back to look at Duke-Sama and see him staring straight at me with eyes filled with gentle affection.
“Someday, I hope you’ll let me hear your feelings.”
His tone is serious while his eyes bore earnestly into mine.
For a moment, we just look at each other, but then he turns and saunters away.
It had been my intention to make a grand exit, leaving him in my dust, but he beat me to it.
Just what do I have to do to win against this man
Wearing a dumbfounded expression, I can do nothing but watch him walk away as I ponder the meaning behind Duke-Sama’s parting words.
My feelings about what I send a quick, questioning glance over at Gilles.
From my expression, he seems to understand instantly what I must be thinking about.
“You can be scarily insightful and wise sometimes, but when it comes to love you’re such a child,” Gilles mutters, rolling his eyes in exasperation.
“Can I make the same request Ali, do us all a favor and tell Duke your thoughts,” Henry-Oniisama blurts, laughing gaily.
Alicia, you’ve never told Duke about your feelings even once…..”
“Always professing his heartfelt feelings without knowing what Ali thinks of him….
what agony must he be going through”
Hey, isn’t this two against one That’s not fair.
“The popular, perfect, handsome prince is being toyed with by such a wicked villaines–” Gilles freezes, clapping a hand over his mouth as if he could stuff the word back in.
…..Too late, Gilles~ I heard it loud and clear.
I can feel a huge, triumphant grin already spreading across my face.
At the same time, the look on Gilles’s face is simply priceless.
His expression is so stiff and I can practically see his cheek spasming with the effort to keep the embarrassed scowl off his face.
To think the time would come when the High-and-Mighty Gilles would call me a villainess with his own two lips…..
What a truly delightful day.
“Ali, you have got to be the only young lady who’d smile like that after being called villainess to her face,” Henry-Oniisama tells me dryly.
With a solemn expression, Gilles nods his head vigorously in agreement.