In the midst of the tense atmosphere, Ionius was the one who caught me up on the situation.
His eyebrows were furrowed.
“I want you to stay calm, and listen.”
Okay, okay. I get it. If it’s that important, do you need a drum roll as well?
Calming my loud, rapid heartbeat, I waited for Ionius to continue.
“Today after school, someone pushed Lila Carneille down the stairs. And they’re suspecting it’s you.”
I shouted in surprise.
I was surprised about hearing Lila being pushed down the stairs, but I was even more surprised about being suspected, as if I was bashed over the head from behind.
Because I’ve been in the basement with Darius this whole time, of course, it would have been impossible for me to have pushed Lila.
Putting that aside, I asked about Lila’s condition. I was flustered, and to calm me down, he answered,
“Seems she just sprained her wrist. Nothing life-threatening.”
For now, I breathed a sigh of relief, my hand on my chest.
But I wonder why they think it was me.
“Seems that Lila herself doesn’t know who pushed her down. So Alois and His Highness started looking for culprits.”
“Alois. And even His Highness…”
Why is this happening?
For something that I’ve only seen happen in games to occur, and pushing someone down the stairs, isn’t that bullying?!
And then, having decided on the number one suspect.
“…Anyways, they suspected Katerina at first.”
Because Ionius is partial to Katerina, he wasn’t able to hide the disgust on his face. Most likely, his face would have been even more annoyed when someone suggested that it was Katerina.
“She was crossed off since she was at the salon at the time, and had many witnesses. They’ve more or less been asking about the culprit’s appearance, so they’ve also been asking for testimonies. So Bern thought to prepare some bad testimonies, but well, it’s not going so well… Alois jokingly said that Katerina might have ordered someone else to do it.”
“They’ve been doing whatever they can to pin me as the culprit.”
While wrinkling her nose unlike that of a lady, Katerina tightly gripped her fan.
Meaning, because Katerina had an alibi, they thought that she had someone else do it, and that’s why they suspected me…
“Don’t tell me they think that someone is me?”
Their silence says it all.
“The other party is saying that they found your handkerchief at the scene of the crime. Furthermore, there have been no testimonies of anyone seeing you after school had ended, so they’ve been suspicious of you.”
Just to make sure, I searched my pockets and confirmed that I still had my handkerchief. Thank god, it’s still here. If this had been missing, I’d be in so much trouble.
Ah, but it wouldn’t be a big deal to the other party even if I had my handkerchief with me.
After hearing the story, I don’t think Alois and everyone will change their mind about who really pushed Lila.
…Wait, isn’t that even worse?!!
“Treating not just me, but even Lizia, as criminals, and to His Highness, that man! …Moreover, Lizia! You’re the same as always. Where were you at a time like this?! Even if I were to deny them, I couldn’t do anything about the lies spreading around since the person herself wasn’t here!”
Without holding back, Katerina raised her voice, but slowly, her voice gradually filled with bitterness.
With the school cut off from the outside world, rumors of sensational events like this quickly spread and gets exaggerated. It wouldn’t be a surprise if a portion of the school already thinks that I was the one who did it.
Even if the rumour of me pushing Lila were groundless, she was sad for me.
Finally accepting the seriousness of the situation, I was covered in cold sweat all over.
“…When I was playing around with Darius in an underground storage room, we couldn’t open the door.”
“And you’ve been there ever since?”
“Yes… Bern went to look for me.”
If I was really convicted as the suspect, I wonder what would happen to me. Bern, and Katerina…
I felt disconnected from my surroundings, as if there was a wall around me. There was an intense buzzing in my ears.
“Why were you playing around in a place like that?! You’re not a kid anymore!”
But the truth is that I wasn’t playing around. Even if I told you I was invited by Darius, no one would get it. D-damn! I’ll remember this, Darius!!
“Y-you’re definitely right.”
“Anyways, can Darius testify about that?”
If he doesn’t– because he doesn’t know what Bern would do to him, he’ll frantically agree.
Bern said he had to talk to Darius about something. He probably asked him whether or not Darius had anything to do with this turn of events, and if he wasn’t involved, as to what extent he’d cooperate.
That’s what my intuition tells me, but even so, it’s unlikely that Darius was cooperating with Alois and the rest.
Wait a minute, is this why Bern was really angry earlier?
“Are you okay, Lizia?”
Helena rubbed my back in a gentle manner.
Thanks to her, I calmed down, and then I noticed that the glass of water I’d been holding was cooling down.
Katerina, Ionius, and everyone else were angry at the fact that I was being made into a criminal.
And Bern was coming soon.
As I thought that, I suddenly felt some feeling come back to my legs.
It’s fine. It’ll be fine. I have to be strong.
Pulling myself together, I started organizing all the information.
“In short, the other side is insisting that I was ordered by Katerina, and pushed Lila-san down the stairs, with my handkerchief at the scene of the crime as proof.”
“What’s the proof that the handkerchief is mine?”
“It had L.R. initials on it.”
I see. There are a lot of people with the initials L.R., plus I’m close to Katerina. Plus at one point, there was that irritating rumor about Lila stealing Bern away from me.
Moreover, the only people who’ve publicly confronted Lila was us.
This whole turn of events looks more and more like they’re trying to use me to ruin Katerina and Bern.
“But that couldn’t have been my handkerchief.”
“Can you prove that?”
“Yes. That’s cause all my handkerchiefs are initialed with L.B.”
At that moment, the tense atmosphere inside turned weird.
If this was a manga, everyone would have huge question marks over their heads.
Katerina was the one who asked what I had meant by that.
I answered with great confidence.
“Bern had a phase where he got into embroidery, and made me give him everything that I had brought with me to school. By the way, it seems like the B in L.B. is for the B in Brunsmeier, and Bern.”
No one made a sound. Ah, I also thought, ‘How is that gonna turn out?,” you know? It’s not as if I could just reject them, seeing how much effort he put into them.
I suddenly became embarrassed at how confidently I declared that info. While curling into myself in embarrassment, I opened my handkerchief and showed it to them.
“I still have it with me…”
“Wow, it’s true.”
Seeing the carefully sewn Brunsmeier seal, the once serious mood completely changed, with everyone wordlessly donning a relieved expression.
Then Bern appeared with great timing, and everyone looked at him softly.
That’s Bern for you. Always the one to break the mood, regardless of what it is.
I was to return to my dormitory for the time being. Surrounded by Bern and everyone, we left the Fifth Building.
This feels like a president being escorted by his own personal security team. Though you could also say I look like a criminal being escorted off by guards.
Katerina had asked Bern about the handkerchief, but it feels as if the Hidden Student Council members really do trust him, and are loyal to him.
Most of the members are those that had incredible difficulty climbing through the ranks, even if they themselves were great people with noble ranks and relatives. Bern scouted them and gave them a one in a million chance to promote themselves to someone high up in the Royal Palace.
Actually, as soon as Helena, a third year, graduates, it’s been decided that she’ll be an apprentice secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Despite what his motives were, Bern is someone they can’t help but admire and give thanks to.
What I’ve been doing so far wasn’t for nothing. That’s what it seemed like. And because he’s now helping others after all the twists and turns, he’s surprisingly able to do some good in the world.
“Lizzy, be on guard tonight, and stay in Katerina’s room, okay? Katerina, you think you can have Helena and your bodyguards be on guard?”
If it wasn’t for the situation, it would have turned into a fun pajama party. After this whole situation is over, I should invite everyone.
The more I thought of fighting against this troublesome situation, the more motivated I got to think of fun things.
But if I were to become groggy like back then, then I’ll just let it take its course.
Walking as I earnestly encouraged myself, I saw a crowd of people around the girls’ dormitory.
Wow… I definitely have a bad feeling about this. ‘I don’t know anything about what’s been happening~’ The developments so far have been giving that kind of feeling.
We came closer to the blocked entrance, and as soon as they had noticed us, the crowd suddenly parted.
Surrounded by people, like that of a dance hall, there at the front of the entrance were two people, having waited to confront us.
“Hey, been waiting for you, Lizia Rietberg.”
With a snake-like, sly grin, Alois Donitz took one step forward. The step he took was graceful, as if saying that the party was just getting started.