When I returned to where Bern was while carrying a tray with my meal on it, I saw that we had an unexpected guest.
The school’s cafeteria was separated into two floors. There was no particular reason why, but the second floor is for royalty and third-year students, while the first was for the first and second-years. That’s because the second floor was half the size of the first floor.
Which is why I was surprised to see His Highness Edwin, who’s always on the second floor, here on the first floor, and moreover, he was talking to Bern.
I had forgotten that they were friends.
For some reason, His Highness came to ask Bern to eat together with him.
“I know you’re happy your fiancée’s here, but you should eat with us upstairs every now and then. There’s someone I want you to meet.”
Speaking of which, it’s been close to a month since I came here. As expected, Bern would take a seat beside me, and then the two of us would eat together. It seems that before I came here, he had been eating together with His Highness and the rest.
Of course that would make His Highness lonely. ‘Okay, okay,’ I thought. I’m a woman with a big heart, of course. Despite still having the desire to keep him to myself, I won’t do that.
“Bern, you should go.”
Bern made a bitter expression despite appealing to a big-hearted woman like me.
“Lizia-sama, how about coming with us as well?”
Smiling wryly at Bern’s lack of interest, His Highness suddenly proposed that idea.
“Then let’s go.”
I was going to refuse immediately, thinking it impossible for me to have lunch with royalty, but another side of me thought, Ah, but wait.
His Highness had said he wanted us to meet someone. It’s probably Lila. Then that means this is my chance to talk to Lila.
That made deciding much easier.
We went up to the second floor and were lead to a table.
This is my first time being on the second floor. While the first floor was like a hotel’s conference room, the second floor felt like an expensive restaurant.
Sure enough, there at the table were Lila, Alois, and Johann. Then came His Highness, Bern, and the mob character, me. It can’t be helped that anyone would feel heavy having to join this sparkling atmosphere.
Wait a minute, is this a congregation of showy hair colors? What’s with having blonde, light blue, and red here? Black hair is rare in this world, while brown is the most common. Because of that, I feel close to the brown-haired Johann.
His Highness introduced Bern and I, and I nervously sat down in front of the elliptical table, in between Johann and Bern.
Johann had a baby face and a cute, puppy-like countenance, but because his family had always been knights, if you looked at him carefully, he’s wonderfully muscular.
When Bern and I appeared, he had a nervous expression.
I asked why Johann was here, despite being in the same year as me.
Apparently, since his grandfather was His Highness’ swordsmanship teacher, they’ve been sparring partners ever since they were kids.
In between His Highness and Alois was Lila, looking at me with a delighted expression.
“Nice to meet you, Lizia-sama.”
“We’re in the same year, you don’t have to add the -sama.”
I smiled, desperately releasing an aura of wanting to be friends with her.
“Then, uhm, Lizia-san?”
“Can I call you Lila-san as well?”
“Yes! …Since I always eat lunch with His Highness and Alois-onii-sama, I’m really happy that another girl came.”
“Are you saying guys are messy?”
“I didn’t say that.”
Lila puffed her cheeks at Alois in banter. ‘She’s so cute,’ I thought. In fact, instead of the usual come-hither feel, Alois was directing a love-filled gaze towards Lila.
Feeling a little anxious, I glanced at Bern.
Not having any interest in the exchange in front of him, Bern was instead seriously pushing away the green peas and carrots with his fork. I was relieved for now, with him being his usual self.
If this was the same as the game’s scenario, he would have fallen in love at first sight with Lila. I wonder what I would have done if that was the case.
After that, idle chatter came up instead, like favorite lunches, or talk about school. Mostly amongst His Highness and the rest.
To be honest, they were all so perfect, I felt really out of place. I mean, if a newcomer suddenly came into their circle, of course they’d feel this way.
Bern was going at his own usual pace, regardless of whether he was listening in or not, and had diligently been moving his green peas to my plate. Because there was nothing else for me to do, I returned them to Bern’s plate.
As we were engrossed in our honorless battle with the green peas, I was surprised at Lila’s apologetic voice, and my hand stopped moving.
“We got so caught up in our conversations, we made Lizia-san bored.”
Even though I had nothing against Lila, because of the sad look in her eyes, I felt guilty and was flustered.
“N-no, that’s not true.”
For some reason, the mood became weird, but at that moment, lunch ended.
The only thing I ended up with during today’s lunch was a bad taste in my mouth, and a plate full of green peas.
“Yo, Forever Alone.”
“Woah, there he is.”
Appearing with a rude greeting, Darius sat in the chair in front of mine.
“What happened to your watchdog that’s always sticking to you?”
Darius is bad at dealing with Bern, so he only talks to me when I’m by myself. It’s true that because he’s gloomy, big, and has unreadable expressions, he looks scary. I get you.
“I don’t know.”
“Haha. I know what happened. His Highness and Carneille stole him.”
“He wasn’t stolen. They just borrowed him.”
This loud man is Darius and an annoying friend I made here at school.
We were paired up in dance class by chance, and while we were both trying to purposely step on each other’s feet, we hit it off pretty well. We talked about times where we put the blackboard eraser above the classroom door or the time we ate wild strawberries growing from behind the school building.
Despite his bluish silver hair and violet eyes giving him a mysterious and cool aura, he’s a good person deep down and somewhat cheerful. Though in the beginning, I was put off by him since he had three piercings in his ear.
Another thing is this guy’s one of the love interests.
It’s not as if I haven’t been doing anything this past month.
He is Count Wehner’s legitimate child and the little brother of the mistress who gave birth to the Second Prince.
Because of this, for the sake of his sister, he attempts to overthrow Edwin by encouraging the other love interests to side with the Second Prince.
It’s not as extreme as Bern’s plans to assassinate His Highness, but he’s also a villain.
Huh? It feels like I’m only befriending villains… Hahaha! It doesn’t matter! I don’t mind!
“That sounds like the words of a sore loser.”
Because he pissed me off, I ate half of Darius’ burger.
But, even if you call me a sore loser, because of the circumstances, I can’t do much about it.
Ever since that day, Bern was always being invited to lunch by His Highness. Of course, I was invited as well, but not wanting to create another weird atmosphere like the other day, I could only watch as Bern got dragged away. It seemed like Bern didn’t want to either, but we both can’t just say no to His Highness’ invitation.
Because of that, I’ve been sitting by myself with Darius coming over, picking a fight with me.
As I was fighting Darius over the side dishes, Katerina and Ionius, who were also members of the Hidden Student Council, passed by.
“Oh my, Lizia. And, Darius-sama was it?”
“Darius Jill Wehner.”
“Katerina Ema Brunsmeier. Where is onii-sama?”
“His Highness invited him.”
As soon as Katerina heard the words ‘His Highness,’ she made a funny face. It’s probably because of Lila.
“If it’s fine with you, would you like to eat together with us?”
And because of that, the me who was all by herself just a few minutes ago, was all of a sudden surrounded by lively chatter.
“What was her name again, Viscount Carneille’s daughter?”
Whilst having an enjoyable lunch, Katerina suddenly dropped a bomb on us, and I unintentionally dropped my fork. It seemed like she didn’t want to let us end lunch on a cheerful note.
In fact, Katerina’s eyes look dangerous right now.
“It’s Lila Carneille.”
“I see, what do you plan on doing to this Lila-san?”
Irritated, Katerina destroyed her dessert pie with her fork.
To the side, Helena, who had mentioned Lila’s name, showed a regretful expression on her face. Helena, currently a third-year, was a Baron’s daughter, as well as Ionius’ cousin. The both of them were Katerina’s chaperones.
“Even though he doesn’t eat lunch together with me all that much.”
As expected, Katerina is angry at Lila.
That’s true. Even though Katerina is His Highness’ fiancée, they barely talk to each other. On the other hand, even though Lila has only been at school as a Viscount’s daughter for a month, they’re always eating together.
Because of Katerina’s high pride, it’s safe to say that she doesn’t like this sudden situation that came about.
“Even before coming here, it seems that Lila had been close to Alois Donitz, and Johann Drexler. I didn’t think she’d use that to get close to His Highness. Is it because she fears nothing, or is she just really ignorant…”
“Don’t say bad things about Carneille-san, Ionius.”
I turned to look at her while thinking, ‘Is she friends with Lila?’ Hesitating because of her surroundings, she continued in a whisper.
“Because she’s a Viscount’s daughter, friendly, and a kind person, there are a lot of people that like her.”
“Would a friendly and kind person steal someone’s fiancée away?”
I kicked Darius’ leg from under the table since he was loud and acting like a first-grader. Immediately, he kicked back. Damn you.
“Dunno… I mean, she’s also involved in a lot of scary rumors.”
“We can’t tell anybody yet, as we are still trying to investigate them.”
If it’s the Hidden Student Council that’s investigating it, then it can’t be good.
While trying to remember the duties of the Hidden Student Council I was told about after the entrance ceremony, I felt vaguely anxious.
The school was like a smaller version of aristocratic society. Because no one watches over them, there are kids that do stupid things. At first, we collected information to prevent problems before they could arise, but because we have connections with someone from the Royal Palace, we’ve started providing them with information.
Because of that, for quite some time now, the Hidden Student Council has become a place to get a chance to promote yourself to the big shots. Most of the members are barons or viscounts.
To be honest, I’ve run out of excuses for how such a club was approved.
From the outside, it’s an art appreciation club, but even the adviser knows what we’re really doing. Plus, he’s responsible for getting in contact with that person from the Royal Palace.
It’s so crazy, for a club like this to exist here at school…
By the way, Katerina isn’t involved with that part of the Hidden Student Council. She’s not that good at negotiations, and it’s not necessary to join in on that.
In the end, Ionius and Helena never told me about the rumors.
I’ll try asking Clarissa tonight. Ah, but both me and her don’t have many same-age friends. If I asked Darius, he’d probably just tilt his head to the side. He’s such a useless guy.
If it’s Bern, he might know.
As soon as I looked to the second floor, I heard Lila’s clear and beautiful voice.
At that moment, for some reason, the words were painfully stuck in my throat.
I wonder if I’m worrying too much?
Although Bern doesn’t look too interested right now, sooner or later, he’ll start ignoring me to eat lunch with Lila and the rest. If he were to feel something for Lila…
Darius was worried as I painfully rubbed my chest.
You know, I’m glad that you’re worried about me, but it’s not because I’m choked on something? That’s why I don’t need water. No, as I said, I don’t need it.
As he pushed the water towards me, I told him I was fine. It was pretty obvious just now that he was enjoying himself.
“Ah, you’re probably feeling depressed that you have to eat by yourself again.”
In the meantime, Darius, I’d like you to stop with your irritating expression of course that’s meant to say, ‘It can’t be helped then, I’ll eat together with you.’
“My, is that true Lizia? If that’s the case, we’ll freely come and eat with you as well.”
Ah, Katerina is glaring at the second floor with increasing hate.
As I indistinctively replied with, ‘Ahh’s and ‘Ohh’s, I felt lonely as I vaguely realized I only had one person’s portion of green peas on my plate.