3.2 After School Date
“—Riol!!! Thank you so much!!! I love you!!!”
“…I gladly receive it—only your gratitude, though.”
Sharina spent the whole day with her mind far above the clouds. Before she realized it, all her classes had already concluded.
After school, it was finally the time she had been waiting for.
As soon as she left the building, she found him reading near the flowerbed.
True to his words, Riol was waiting for her. She rushed towards him.
“…Oi, why’re you sitting down? Aren’t we going to go home?”
Before Riol could close his book, she already sliding next to him.
“B, but, if we walk from here to the dormitory, we’ll arrive right away!”
“Won’t you get into trouble if you don’t return soon?”
“I want to stay longer with Riol!”
“Don’t say such foolish things, let’s go home, already…”
Sighing, Riol picked up his book and stood. He headed to the dormitory.
After passing the school’s gate, he turned right.
“Stop glancing around. Don’t look at the dormitory, either. Just leave the school gate. Act normal.”
Sharina chased after Riol, who kept walking, and stayed in line with him.
“Okay, let’s go somewhere. Wherever is fine. We’ll kill some time there and then go home right away.”
Although it was sudden, she had no questions. Or more like, no time to even come up with a question—
—after all, who cares about such trivialities? A DATE!!
It’s a date—!! I’m being invited on a date—!!
“Let’s see, let’s see~ where shall we go, I wonder? I heard from a friend that this new café near the school is very good! Oh, but there’s also a bookstore nearby!”
“Those are fine. Let’s hurry.”
As if escaping from something, Riol grabbed Sharina’s hand and started walking fast.
A flower garden instantly expanded in Sharina’s mind.
“Listen, the Prince’s carriage is parked in front of the slope near the dormitory. He has been waiting there since this afternoon.”
…it’s literally an escape.
“Moreover, the direction the carriage is facing is strange. It’s not facing the dormitory, but the school gate. I’m pretty sure he’s been waiting for you all along. Hence, before that could happen, we shall escape to town and later take a detour to return to the dormitory. We’ll use the back gate.”
“Eh? W, why would he, eeeh—?”
“Isn’t it obvious? He wants you to ride the carriage with him—and if that happens, not only would it attract jealousy and bad rumors, it might also develop into a scandal. In short, you’ll be well-known throughout the entire academy, and not for a good reason. Seriously, that Prince …I truly can’t fathom what’s going in his head. We have no time, let’s leave before he notices us.”
…we’re literally escaping from imminent danger…
“B-but, no way he’s waiting for me! He could also be waiting for another girl, or a friend…”
“Isn’t it another way around? Girls wait for him. Besides, is there any girl who’d dare to make a prince wait? Moreover, if he’s waiting for a friend, is there a need to lie in ambush on the slope like this? Using process of elimination, you’re the only possible answer.”
“Oooh. I see.”
For a mere noble lady, wasn’t he very persistent? Should she quit calling him ‘Cookie Thief’ and start calling him Stalker instead?
“—however, thanks to that, I can go on a date with Riol!”
“As if—! It’s not a date! It’s just leisure. I invited you because you made cookies for me, only for me to reject them…”
Riol started walking again. Sharina couldn’t see the expression behind his bangs, but she knew he felt sorry.
“…this afternoon, he mentioned it, didn’t he? ‘Cookies with amazing color’. It could only mean that the culprit who robbed you of your cookies was the Prince.”
“Ah, right. Sorry for not telling you sooner.”
…Come to think of it. She never mentioned about the thief being the Prince.
Yesterday, Riol spoke to the possibility of that, but they dismissed it because Sharina didn’t know the Prince’s face. Now, everything was confirmed.
“That’s why… you being noticed by the Prince, part of it is also my fault.”
It’s not your fault at all—! But Sharina was cut before she could finish her sentence.
“I shall accept the responsibility. Stay by my side as much as you can until everything cools down.”
“Of course~!! You needn’t tell me that~!!”
Mhm, this situation is good enough.
Hence, that easily, Sharina abandoned her previous idea of convincing Riol that it wasn’t his fault.
“Let us hurry to the café! We’ll stay there until dark, Riol! Even better, let’s stay there all night! Let’s see, let’s see, which café let you stay until dawn…”
“That’ll just bother other customers…”
In the meantime, Sharina joyfully approached the café.
Unfortunately, the signboard informed them that it would be closed at 9 o’clock in the evening, so they couldn’t stay there until the next morning.
“Even if it’s open 24 hours, there’s no need to stay there until morning, right? We’ll leave before dark.”
It seemed that Riol could guess what she was thinking through her face. She was scolded.
“It is a shame, but due to our circumstances, we have no choice but to stay here until the last minute before closing—“
“—I’m sorry, Mr. Clerk, she’s just joking. Ignore her. We’ll go home right after we have our drinks.”
The clerk’s face was twitching.
There was about five hours before closing.
Riol took care of the rest, and thanks to that, nothing major happened. They arrived safely to their seats.
“A cup of tea is good enough. After that, we’ll stop by the bookstore for a bit, and wander around a little. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury to wait for hours—the same thing applies to him.”
“Huh…? Who are we waiting for? ‘Him’?”
“…the Prince. Don’t forget the sole reason we came here in the first place.”
After opening the menu, Riol spotted a matcha and his eyes, which were of the same color, gleamed. Of course, Sharina didn’t fail to notice that.
“By the way, He refers to people as cats—is that supposed to be cool?”
“It might also be that he’s waiting for you to get angry and say ‘I have a name, it’s Sharina Clydea!’—which would make you sound desperate for him to call your name.”
“Roger. I’ll remember not to respond like that to that for the rest of my life.”
She didn’t want anyone to overhear her bad-talking the Prince, so she purposefully changed the way she referred to him. In the end, Riol ordered matcha and dumplings, while Sharina ordered black tea and a cake.
“That’s right. What if tomorrow, we go to school earlier than we did today? It’d be troublesome if you encounter that again.”
In the end, the Prince’s nickname too, ended up as neither Cookie Thief nor Stalker but ‘that’.
“By the way, why does That refer to Riol as ‘Black Rat’? Does Riol have nothing to say against it?”
“Different from ‘Cat’, I think calling me ‘Rat’ is his way to look down on me.”
“I see… he sure is the worst.”
—meanwhile, during the same time…
“Fumu. To make me wait this long, that Uniquely Furred Cat sure is brave.”
“This is weird… her classes should’ve ended long ago.”
In front of the slope leading to the dormitory, a single carriage was dignifiedly parked, hindering the passage of other students.
“Shall we go on ahead? Your Highness’ precious time is being wasted on that girl…”
“It’s fine. Sometimes, it’s fun to wait.”
Numbers of students passed by the carriage, however, the student the passenger was waiting for didn’t come. The school had started to empty.
“Fumu. I see that the girls are swarming around us.”
“We must be careful not to get too close.”
The Prince’s carriage was adorned with the royal coat of arms, furthermore, it was drawn not by normal horses—but unicorns. Even from a distance, the carriage was a sight to behold. Everyone knew immediately that it belonged to the Prince.
Such a carriage was parked there, waiting for someone.
The girls kept glancing at the carriage, hoping for just the slightest glance from the Prince. Some of them pretended to have some unattended business in the dormitory, or pretended to have forgotten things, just so they could pass again by the carriage.
“Don’t look so disinclined. I just want to observe that Cat for a little bit.”
“No… but, in my opinion, it’s very likely that she pretended to not be interested in Your Highness in order to attract Your Highness’ attention. By all means, Your Highness, you should just leave that girl alone.”
“It’s you who’s being too skeptical. This is just my token of gratitude for the sandwich. Don’t worry too much.”
Now, not only girls, boy students too, were swarming around the carriage.
In the meantime, Leonardo imagined what would happen if he were to open the door for a certain noble lady. Wondering how that Uniquely Furred Cat would react, a smile tugged on Leonardo’s lips.
“She’s too slow. Even from the school’s windows, it’s unlikely for her to miss this carriage…”
“Maybe she’s in the library, that’s why she hasn’t notice yet.”
Leonardo Randall Ulysia Elgacia never failed to be everyone’s center of attention ever since he was born—hence, he found Sharina’s lackluster attitude to be fascinating.
He didn’t believe that she truly wasn’t interested in him.
Hence, it never occurred to him that the royal carriage would be ignored upon notice.
***T/N: …Umm, Riol??? You sure you enrolled in ‘Research on Written Magic’ department, and not ‘Research on Shoujo Cliches 101 in Literary Form’ department? Those analyses were too spot on LOL.
…and Prince? No means No, okay?
Everyone! Let’s partake in a drinking game! Drink everytime Sharina say “I love you”! –///ends up getting her stomach pumped by the end of the series///