The Air is Just Something You Breathe In
“Yulan! You’re only about to have lunch now?”
“Yeah, I had to help someone and it took some time… can I sit here?”
“I’m fine with it, but…”
Violette stood up and tried to find another vacant table, but Yulan stopped her while holding a tray in one hand. The table was wide enough for one or even three more people sitting there. They wouldn’t feel cramped with Yulan joining them.
If Violette was eating alone, she would nod without any hesitation. She often had lunch with Yulan. She could even call it ‘the usual thing’.
But now, not only Violette was sitting here.
Yulan glanced at Claudia’s stiff expression and Mirania’s strained smile. Seeing her evasive gesture, he knew what Violette wanted to say even needing her to voice them. He plastered a friendly smile and opened his mouth.
“May I share a table with both of you?”
“Ah, yeah… I don’t mind.”
“Thank you very much.”
Yulan’s voice was cheerful, as if he was in a good mood. It sounded a bit unnatural for Violette, but she stopped thinking about that since Yulan was mostly acting like this when he was with her as well.
Yulan took the seat next to Violette like it was only natural. Having Yulan’s lunch lined up with Violette’s, it became even more transparent that she ate a lot less than him.
“Vio-chan, you’re only eating sandwich again? If you don’t eat properly, you won’t have enough stamina, you know.”
“I look like I eat less because my gender and physique are different from Yulan. I also eat my vegetables properly. There’s no problem with my nutrition.”
“That’s all thanks to Marin-san’s effort, right?”
“I know it, bull’s-eye.”
But then, Yulan didn’t say anything else and respected Violette’s will. In the end, he was also soft on her.
The friendly exchange that took place in front of Claudia gave him a heavy shock. After all, he usually had complex feelings for both of them. Yet, Violette wasn’t aware of his discomfort, and even if Yulan noticed, he didn’t care.
This area had been attracting attention from the start, but everyone became even more curious with Yulan’s appearance. Even so, only Yulan and Mirania noticed the crowds’ gaze.
There was a thin bizarre sense of tension that made everyone in the cafeteria held their breath. Ordinary people wouldn’t dare to approach them.
“Hey Yulan, call me if you already get a seat… eh, what’s with this lineup?
Even so, there was a lucky insensitive person who jumped in that place.
The person who appeared with a puzzled look was Gia, Yulan’s friend who Violette just met a few days ago. Like his laid-back atmosphere, it seemed like he didn’t understand the situation between the four people with complicated relationships. To be honest, Violette also wanted to ask what was happening here.
“Err, Gia… what is that?”
“Huh? Of course this is my lunch.”
“I’m not asking that…”
Gia casually answered, but what Violette wanted to hear was not that.
Since he came to the cafeteria, it was clear that he wanted to fill his stomach. But Gia’s tray and the things on it were far from Violette’s common sense.
He had one tray in each hand. Meaning, he was holding two trays. There was a pile of wrapped bread there. No, two piles.
Violette really wanted to ask if he planned to eat all of them.
“You buy too many again… I don’t care if you can’t read it, okay?”
“This much is not a big deal.”
“I’m not worrying about your stomach, but the time.”
“It’s still fine, right? We’re just going to be a little late.”
“I’m saying that because it’s not fine, so make sure you won’t make us late.”
Gia took a seat and put the trays on the table. The clanking sound was smaller than Violette had expected. Probably since he was only eating bread, the tray was lighter than how it looked.
The weight didn’t really matter in filling a stomach, so the amount was still abnormal no matter how Violette looked at it.
“…Huh? Vio-chan, you know Gia’s name?”
“Yeah. We exchanged names when I relayed my message to him last time.”
“I didn’t tell you?”
“I never heard of this.”
After making sure Violette wouldn’t notice, Yulan’s leg kicked Gia’s shin. It wasn’t painful since he only kicked him lightly, but Gia immediately noticed that Yulan was in a bad mood.
Gia commended how Yulan thoroughly made sure that Violette wouldn’t notice a thing. As expected from Yulan’s best friend, Gia didn’t even blink at how he suddenly changed his behaviour. He knew that the brunette would never show this side of him to the people he cared more than anyone.
Decided to pay no mind to Yulan’s kick, Gia said something convenient.
“But it’s unfair if only I know Princess Violette’s name, right?”
“First, do something with that nickname.”
Violette found it a little unusual to see Yulan experated by the laid-back Gia. Usually, Yulan always acted like a faithful dog wagging his tail around her. Yet in front of his trusted friend, his tone was considerably more unrestricted. In fact, his behaviour towards her was special. He was generally quite rough with anyone other than her. But in comparison, Yulan was more open to Gia in his own way.
“Then how should I call her? How about I call her ‘Vio-chan’ like you?”
“Why do you have to go that far…”
“Do I look like someone who’ll call her ‘Violette-sama’?”
“But that’s the norm.”
“I don’t know that kind of norm!”
As Gia talked, he opened the wrappings of the breads and ate the pile of foods on his trays. He acted like it was nothing special, but seeing someone eating this much in this academy was strange. To be honest, he might be the only one.
Moreover, he was currently eating in front of two top students of this academy. Even if Gia was also a royalty, Violette wondered if he wasn’t a bit nervous since Claudia and Mirania were still his upperclassmen.
“Rather, what does the person herself think? Princess Violette, how should I call you?”
“…First, what’s with that ‘Princess’?”
Yulan and Gia referred her as ‘Princess’ like it was natural, but she was only confused. She didn’t remember doing something that would make Gia call her as princess. Plus, Violette was the duke’s daughter.
“You don’t have to mind that. I just used it because I didn’t know how to call you when I talked to Yulan.”
“Is that so…?”
“…Yeah, kind of.”
Yulan affirmed, but he was being evasive. Even if Violette demanded explanation from him, she was sure that he wouldn’t tell her anything. If he wished to tell her the reason, he would tell her from the beginning. If he was lying, then he wouldn’t make her realized something was fishy.
That means, Gia’s explanation was roughly true, but something was a bit different. Even so, voicing out that difference was hard. Violette decided to believe so.
“Well… People mostly call me as Violette. Only Yulan calls me with a nickname.”
Majority of the people called her as Violette or Violette-sama. Even the minority like Mirania called her Miss Violette. It was impossible for her parents to call her with a nickname, and Maryjun who called her the most used ‘Onee-sama.’
In the end, as far as Violette knew, only Yulan used a nickname when calling her.
“I’m fine with however you call me. Violette or Vio is okay. Please refrain from calling me as a princess, since it’ll be misleading.”
Calling someone who wasn’t the princess of the royal family could create a suspicion on being petty. It might created another misunderstanding since usually a man treated his beloved woman as a princess… Even if Gia only used that nickname with Yulan, Violette wished to clear any misunderstandings it might cause.
“Hmm… Then, I’ll call her as Vio-san. It’s easy to call, and I also use honorifics. Yulan, you don’t have any complains, right?”
“I have complains, but not in your reasoning…”
“You’re really narrow-minded.”
They leaned in to each other and sneakily had a secret talk. Looking at their banter made Violette smile, but she couldn’t hear what they were talking about. It wasn’t surprising, since Yulan intended to do so.
Yulan looked dissatisfied for a while, but he didn’t expect Gia to make him happy since the beginning. He decided to just accept the situation and moved his thoughts to Violette.
The sharp look Yulan had for Gia until now suddenly disappeared, changing into the smiling face of faithful dog that Violette always saw. Happy, fun, soft, and cheerful aura floated around Yulan. Gia wondered if it was only his imagination that small white flowers seemed to flutter around his friend.
Ignoring Yulan’s speck of happiness, Gia suddenly returned to his thoughtless self.
“By the way, are these two guys Vio-san’s acquaintances?”