Dressed in her knight department uniform, Irene stood at the bus stop for the first-year girls' dormitory.
'It's already Friday.' She used to live a mundane life, but lately, the days felt too long.
It was because of her fiancé, Theo.
Jingle, jingle─ The distant sound of the circulating carriage began to reach her ears.
The carriage was still not visible to the eye, but '…Will he be there today?' Her head reflexively turned in that direction.
'Why am I like this?' Up until now, my daily life was simpler than anyone else's.
People around me often asked with serious expressions, “What do you even find enjoyable in life?” I rejected countless proposals from my classmates to go on group dates.
I turned down the passionate confessions of classmates, seniors, students from other departments, and even assistant professors.
My engagement announcement was brief and without a single picture, and I didn't mention my fiancé's existence to anyone at the academy.
But, not too long ago, a classmate confidently confessed his love, declaring he would become a greater person than Waldeurk.
Of course, it was absurd.
The Waldeurk family was a prestigious one.
If I unilaterally broke off the engagement, something unpleasant would surely happen.
I'm sorry, but I couldn't accept that feeling.
Not that I wanted to, anyway.
So, I kept my distance from others.
While my classmates enjoyed the fresh romance of being new students – going out to eat sweets together, joining clubs to flirt with handsome seniors, and going on group dates with other departments – I spent my time since entering the academy sweating at the training ground, except for when I was sleeping.
Dormitory, classroom, cafeteria, training ground – I didn't go anywhere else.
There was only one reason for living such a simple life: to enter the Imperial Royal Knight Order.
The top graduate of the knight department is granted the right to join the Order immediately and unconditionally.
If that happens, I might have a chance to break the engagement that the family arranged three years ago.
'Waldeurk…' My fiancé Theo's family, the Waldeurks, had influence not only within the empire but also across the entire continent.
My family, the Aslan, was also a prestigious knight family, but only within the empire.
In comparison to the prominent Waldeurk family, it was insignificant.
In other words, breaking off the engagement using ordinary means was impossible.
But, my fiancé Theo was a complete failure.
An utter mess.
According to my research, his grades were at the bottom of the class, so he would likely be expelled soon.
If that's the case…
if I establish a firm footing within the Royal Knight Order, wouldn't breaking off the engagement be possible? Fortunately, there was hope.
My barren life had given me a reward.
Last semester, I was at the top of my grade.
I didn't become complacent.
On the contrary, during the two-month break, I stayed in the dormitory instead of returning home and practiced my swordsmanship.
Two weeks had passed since the start of the semester, and most of my classmates were still buzzing with stories about their various experiences during the break.
However, I had no such rosy memories.
All I could recall was wielding a wooden sword alone in the training hall, trying to forget the deep-rooted feelings I had for him.
It was a lonely and desolate time.
I wanted to scream out my hardships to someone, but I held back my emotions and continued to swing my sword.
As a result, now everyone—professors, instructors, classmates, and seniors alike—knew me as someone who wouldn't bleed a drop even when stabbed.
One professor even wiped away tears, saying, “I've never seen a student as hardworking as you in all my time as a professor.” But I'm not like that at all.
It's all because of him, Theo.
'Why was I so naive?' The first time I saw him was at our engagement ceremony three years ago.
I fell for him at first sight.
That was when I first understood the meaning of the phrase, “a person shining with light.” His eyes, shining like rubies, seemed to hold a universe within them.
Even when he stood still, he managed to turn me, a tomboy, into a coquettish girl.
Back then, he was widely regarded as lacking in many ways to be a hero, but I didn't care.
In fact, I liked it.
I thought I could change him.
When I thought about changing him, I even let out a foolish, giggling laugh.
In my heart, he was a shining knight and prince.
But as I grew older, I faced the truth I had desperately tried to ignore as my rose-tinted glasses fell off, revealing his repulsive true nature.
Changing him was too difficult—no, impossible.
When I first faced the truth, I locked myself in my room for a week, crying and refusing to eat.
He was the worst of his kind, steeped in hypocrisy.
A man beyond redemption.
I ripped apart the hero in my heart.
Yet, my feelings for him didn't disappear.
In the depths of my heart, he still shone faintly.
But the human heart is strange.
The feelings I had for him, which refused to fade away, shrivelled up in an instant after an incident seven months ago, while I was waiting for the academy entrance.
'Why does he still bother me so much?' I thought that the hero I had ruthlessly torn apart in my heart was reduced to dust.
I believed that my heart, once burning passionately, had turned to ashes.
But every morning, I looked forward to the chance to see him all day.
Whoosh! The sound of the approaching horse-drawn carriage snapped me out of my reverie.
The wind blew, and I boarded the carriage, leaving my windswept hair as it was.
'I wish he weren't here.' Contrary to my wish, my eyes instinctively drifted toward the rear seat where he always sat.
There he was.
Theo, in the same spot.
'He's reading a book today too.
Where is he going? His bag looks heavier than usual today.' It was fascinating.
For the past three years, he had tried his best dozens of times, claiming that he had finally made up his mind.
But despite his lip service, he couldn't maintain it for longer than three days.
It was hard to find someone less persistent.
But today marked the fifth day – a personal record.
He seemed to be waking up early in the mornings too.
Moreover, last semester, I never saw him on the circulating carriage even once.
'Why now? Why all of a sudden? What on earth for?' [We will now depart.] Everyone at the stop had boarded.
Creak, creak─ The circulating carriage began to move.
Including me, there were five standing passengers.
The only empty seat was next to him.
But as he was known to have a terrible personality, no one sat beside him.
Of course, I didn't sit either.
Actually, I didn't want to.
If I did, he might think that I had forgiven him.
'…I've moved on from you.' As I stood, I looked at him.
Before I knew it, staring at him reading his book had become a habit.
I turned my head and openly stared at him.
I didn't know if he was absorbed in the book or lost in his thoughts.
After all, since Monday, he hadn't even glanced at me.
But then, “……!” Our eyes met as he looked up.
Whack! I hurriedly turned my head away.
It was an instinctive reaction.
'Ah, ah, ah…
What do I do?' I was mortified.
My face heated up in an instant.
Embarrassment made my heart pound.
'Huff, huff…' After about five minutes, I had somewhat calmed down.
…By now, he should be reading his book again.
I glanced at him.
“!!” He was still looking at me.
I was taken aback.
It was like when I saw a ghost as a child and cried my eyes out.
But…turning my head away like before would be too obvious.
He might think I was conscious of him.
So, I didn't turn away and met his gaze.
His eyes, as red as rubies, were heavy and somber, just like when I first fell for him as a child.
His dry expressionless eyes seemed to say, 'I've moved on from you too.' For some reason, I felt like crying.
But I held back.
I couldn't embarrass myself any further.
I'd rather die.
As I held back my tears, “……Sit.” I heard his clear voice.
“……Huh?” He was talking to me.
He was looking straight at me.
Once again, this stop is in front of the Hero Department.
Please make sure to take all your belongings when getting off the circular train.] I stuffed my major textbooks into a large bag and stepped off the circular train.
Today was the long-awaited Friday.
The day we would set off to collect the Hidun Pieces.
She is really intimidating.
I thought I would keep my distance, but she stood there, seemingly contemplating ways to kill me, while glancing at me every day.
It was impossible to ignore her.
I felt like I should start a conversation.
Not having a proper topic in mind, I invited her to sit down.
Fortunately, Irene sat next to me.
However, as soon as she sat down, she stared at me sharply, without uttering a word.
It seemed as if there was dark fury hidden in her eyes.
They say that a predator can suppress its prey just with a gaze.
I truly felt the desperation of the prey.
I couldn't say anything either.
No matter how much I dislike it, it's not like she should stare at me like that just because I tried to start a conversation.
Seriously, Theo, what did you do wrong? I don't even know since it was before I joined the academy.
“Huuu…” I took a deep breath to calm myself down.
Then, I checked my wristwatch.
As I had anticipated, it was 8:40 AM.
I should hurry.
Noctar would be waiting for me to help him with the problem he didn't understand.
You'll Also Like
Cultivation: Start From Upgrading My ComputerChapter 47 September 3, 2023
The Most Popular ComedianChapter 65 September 3, 2023
Red Envelope Group of the Three RealmsChapter 1986 September 1, 2023
Reverse DomesticationChapter 39 September 2, 2023
The Taste Of Apple JamChapter 9 August 29, 2023
Using Gacha to Increase My Companions and to Create the Strongest Girls’ Army CorpsChapter 84 August 28, 2023
Weird Live Broadcast: I Can Deduce EndlesslyChapter 100 August 28, 2023
In Order To Meet You, BelovedChapter 35 August 28, 2023
Disciplinary CodeChapter 65 September 4, 2023
The Cat TransformationChapter 27 August 26, 2023
ChemistryChapter 61 August 25, 2023
Active JK Idol Seems to be Interested in Me Who is a Free Person.Chapter 32 August 25, 2023