Chapter 14

It’s nothing, you’re in denial.
(2)

Leto has been weird these days.
It was the same case today when I met him.
I stared at Leto’s black eyes and said, ‘I like you, today.’ but he turned his head away and nodded.
It was different from the usual Leto who would normally respond harshly and warn me not to say nonsense.
It wasn’t just that.

The same thing happened today when we took our Polmions and headed to the  lecture.
He didn’t say a word to me and kept avoiding me.

Is he mad at me? But I never did anything to make him angry……

‘……..’

Even during today’s major class, there was a problem.
There was a task that had to be done by pairs.
Naturally, I thought of Leto as my partner and wrote down his name but I suddenly realised the large gap between Leto and I.
Leto was smart and knew a lot of things.
I, on the other hand, didn’t know much since I barely succeeded entering here.

“How did you get here?”

Leto, who was unaware, said something.
I was almost exposed there.

‘No, I’m still friends with Leto.
Yes….It’s fine.’

Wait, let’s switch and think about it the other way.
If a dumb and strange kid clings onto me–……I’m the worst.
Don’t tell me that Leto hates me more than I thought he did? 

……I was trying to save my life, but it seems like I’m going to be killed first.

‘I’ll have to restrain myself in the future.’

I belatedly repented.
I stared at Leto who was stroking Crunch’s head with an indifferent face.
Suddenly, Crunch wiggled his stem excitedly at his touch.
At this moment, I became envious of Crunch, the Polmion.

“It’s completely different from when it ate your finger last time!”

The Professor exclaimed while looking at Crunch.
Since half an hour ago, the Professor had been giving lectures while only facing Leto and I.
After the Polmion accident, we were the only students left.
During the class, which completely felt like a private tutor session, Leto and I focused hard.

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“By the way, Bree.
Have you named your Polmion?”

I shook my head in response to the Professor’s question.
Come to think of it, I really haven’t thought of a name.

“How come? It’s growing well, but it’s not receiving any affection.
There’s no intimacy like Miss Arsene and Crunch.”

“…..Oh, I don’t know what to name it.”

I stared at my Polmion silently.
I took this class, but I still didn’t know how to interact with my Polmion.
Even though I haven’t named it, I thought everything would be fine if I watered it and gave it sunlight……That was probably not a relationship.

When I stroked the Polmion, it crouched awkwardly before moving its head away.
For some reason, the Polmion resembled Leto.
We became friends, but we still had a distance between us.
Was there something wrong with my method?

“It would be better to give it a name first.”

“Name it?”

The Professor nodded.
Name it.

“Alright, that’s all for today.”

After the Professor announced that, we left the greenhouse.
We went back to the dormitory and placed down our Polmions before heading towards the cafeteria.
I guess I should get a little closer to Leto.

Just when I vowed to give Leto three sausages today, he turned away from me.

“Where are you going, Leah?”

When I asked, Leto replied without even glancing at me.

“Library.
I’m sorry, Briseis but you have to eat by yourself today.”

After saying that, Leto headed towards the library.
But there was a bigger problem than that….Briseis? Apart from Leto, everyone called me Bree.
Leto was the only one who called me by my full name.

Of course, it was better than before when he never called out my name at all, but there was still a sense of distance.
I wanted Leto to call me ‘Bree’ more than anyone else.
Leto was getting farther away.
I guessed it was only my illusion that we had gotten closer during the ball last time. 

‘…..No, I can’t let this happen.’

* * *

“This time….are you really going to propose?”

The gardener asked, staring at me who was trying to purchase a bouquet of flowers.

“No, I feel like things got awkward with my friend.”

“….Oh my, nothing has improved.”

The gardener sighed and grabbed the flowers in my hand.

Before I could even ask for them back, the gardener had already placed the flowers back to their original spot.

“Is it the same friend from last time?”

“Yes.”

“You didn’t go to another florist shop to buy them flowers, did you?”

The gardener looked at me sceptically and asked.

“No, I gave them a letter.
A five-sentence letter.”

“That’s a relief.
Then, what’s the problem?”

“Actually, there’s a lot.
I….I think I keep getting in their way.
Also, they’re probably annoyed with me.
And….Truth is, they actually hate me, but I keep clinging onto them.”

“No wonder they hate you.”

The gardener stated the truth.
I was inwardly grateful for it but it also stung a little.

“Your friend is a man, right?”

“Ye….No.”

He is, but not at the moment. When I said that, the gardener stared at me with an even more dubious look than before.

“No, it’s a woman.”

Since he’s a woman now, then let’s just say it’s a woman first.

“Well, then, why don’t you be honest? Why did you want to be friends with her?”

If I don’t get close, he’ll kill me.

“The problem started from there.
It’s not something I can say for you.”

The gardener stared into my heart.

“It’s not good to give flowers blindly.”

“Why?”

“These flowers are beautiful but they also contain poisons.
Depending on the situation, flowers may show beauty, but other times, it displays poisons.
And you only have poison, Bree.
Why don’t you give her something she likes instead of flowers?”

“…..To be honest, I don’t know what she likes.”

In the novel , the was nothing that stated what Leto likes.
Oh, if there was one thing he longed for, it was love.
The problem is that I didn’t know how to give that love.

Then, I remembered someone who might know what Leto likes.
Should I ask that person? When I composed myself, the gardener smiled and simply nodded. 

“Alright, give me that.
Only buy flowers when you want to propose to someone.”

I left after thanking the gardener.

* * *

Beside the main building, where the Magic Department was located, stood the Arts Department.
Even though it was lunch period, I could still hear the sound of music from the instruments the students were playing.
The issue now was how to find Kazen Adelis in this huge Arts Department.

Leto and Kazen were childhood friends.
Wouldn’t Kazen know what Leto might like? As I carefully entered the Arts Department, I was startled by the sound of choruses that were sung loudly by the students.
This was a completely different place from the Magic Department.
If the Magic Department was full of children wearing lab coats and conducting experiments, this was the hall of music and fantasy.

The walls were decorated with portraits and landscape paintings, whereas the floors were filled with posters.
Not only were there a lot of practice rooms, but a variety of instruments were available as well.
Now, where would a student who plays the violin be?

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It was then.
A beautiful melody echoed from the many sounds.
Naturally, my steps headed towards it.
A practice room could be seen at the end of the hall.

“Bree?”

“Kazen?”

“What are you doing here?”

Kazen stood inside the practice room.
Once he noticed me, he immediately stopped playing and approached me.
I didn’t know he would recognise me so easily! I thought I would be able to spot him easily from his prominent face, but I never imagined that Kazen would find me first.

He was holding a violin, indicating that he was practising right after finishing his meal.

“It’s about Leah.”

“Well, shall we head inside and talk?”

Kazen led me inside the practice room.
It was a spacious room with black grand piano in the middle.

“What’s your favourite song?”

“……I don’t know much.
Oh, maybe there is one.
I like Puccini’s songs.”

“Okay, I’ll play it for you.”

He placed his chin on the chin rest, took a deep breath and moved the bow.
Shortly after, my favourite Puccini song was played.
The light and playful melody began to emerge from Kazen’s fingertips and the tune filled the entire room.

As expected, the performance was perfect without a single flaw.
I soon began to forget my purpose here and focused on his performance.
Kazen’s fingertips didn’t disappoint.
He performed passionately until the end and once he lifted his bow, I immediately applauded.

“That was amazing!”

“Did you fight with Leah again?”

He placed the violin down and approached me.

“That’s not it…..Is there anything that Leah might like?”

“Well.
I don’t know what she likes, but I do know a lot of things she hates.”

Kazen said with a coy smile.

“What is it?”

“Needlessly clingy, ignorant, loud and chattery people.”

…….That’s me.

“I’m joking.”

“That joke wasn’t funny, Kazen.”

At my words, Kazen smiled lightly in apology.

“Oh, I remember something she likes.”

“What is it?”

“She likes books.
Ever since she was a kid, she’s been reading a lot of books.
Every single day.
That’s why I was often compared to Leah.
I despise books with a passion.”

That was unexpected.
I thought Kazen would definitely like books.
Kazen stared at me with a bright smile and asked.

“Do you like books, Bree?”

“Me?”

I was obsessed.
Books have been my go-to since I was young.
Regardless of the genre, I would randomly read everything.
When I nodded, Kazen patted me on the back and said ‘Good’.

Great, now I can get closer to Leto by recommending a book!

“Thank you, Kazen.”

As I got up to head towards the library where Leto was, Kazen called me.

“And Bree?”

“Yes?”

“…….If you want to get closer to Leah, why don’t you approach her with pure intentions?”

“Huh?”

What did he mean by that? I tilted my head.

“Your intentions, Bree.
The ultimate reason for wanting to be friends with Leah.”

His words stung me as if I had been stabbed with a needle, much deeper than the gardener’s words.

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