1.1 An Encounter with the Prince
“…those are blood-sucking flowers. You’ll get burned if you touch them.”
In the backyard of Fala Rubia Academy, where aristocratic children from all over the country enrolled, Sharina spotted some mysterious flowers.
They were black and had appearances similar to those of bells.
However, when she was about to touch them, a sudden voice surprised her.
“Observe it closely—there are a multitude of thorns on the stem, or needles, to be precise. Ignorant people who try to touch them will get pricked. Once you’re punctured, you might not feel any pain due to the paralytic venom, but your fingers will surely swell. That’s because the flowers are sucking your blood.”
Black hair covered most of the face and stretched to the shoulders. Between the hairs were some barely visible dark green eyes.
From the low voice, it could easily be determined that the person was a ‘he’. However, he was only a little taller than Sharina—besides, his physique only excluded little masculinity. He was carrying some heavy-looking books.
“It probably originated from those senior knights whom went to the demon forest the other day. They did some training there. That’s probably how the seeds got carried here. I’ll report it to the teacher so they can get rid of it. In the meantime, don’t even think of touching it.”
Due to shock, Sharina was unable to move. In contrast, as soon as he finished speaking, the boy turned his heel as if nothing had happened.
He wasn’t only plain-looking, but also frank. Not only that, he excluded a sullen aura, and his image was that of somebody who studied too much. To put it simply, it was quite rare to encounter someone like that in this academy filled with gorgeous, glittering, aristocratic children.
“Y-y-y-y-you—!! Name, your name please—!!”
Right before the boy disappeared around the building’s corner, Sharina finally returned to herself and shouted at his thin back.
A breeze of wind fluttered the boy’s black hair.
His voice was so small, it could be blown away by the wind.
That was Sharina’s first meeting with Riol.
For a long time now, she was disinterested in men.
The picture book of the prince who saved the princess that her mother read when she was young didn’t particularly affect her heart.
She also failed to sympathize with her sister and her friends—whom would always swoon and coo at the sight of this kingdom’s Prince.
Until she reached the age of fifteen, she kept wondering when she would have her first crush.
“Riol-sama~! I made you a sandwich~! Why don’t we eat together~!”
“…You’re the one who made it? What, do you not have chef at home?”
I finally understood—
—the reason was simpler than I thought;
It wasn’t because I wasn’t interested in men—
—it’s just because I haven’t met a really awesome one, yet!
Dark eyes that were covered by jet black fringes exuded gloominess. An inscrutable expression. Physique that lacked masculinity—all of those belonged to Riol; a boy who was so keen on studying, he wouldn’t put his book down for a mere second.
“I did obtain the recipe from my chef, but, I made it myself at the dorm kitchen—come on, dig in!”
A few days ago, at lunch break, Sharina went to the school’s backyard instead of the cafeteria which she frequented every day.
“…what would people think if they saw me accepting a gift from the eldest daughter of the Earl Clydea? Handmade, even! The idea of a Baron’s third son receiving a handmade gift from the Earl’s eldest daughter is just plain crazy!”
“—B, besides sandwiches, t, there are also cookies!”
Over a few days, she had gathered information on Riol. It was said that he was Baron Glen’s third son, who lived far away from the Capital. He wasn’t able to enroll in the academy due to poverty.
However, he scored first place in the writing department’s entrance exam. Thus, he obtained a scholarship and enrolled as an honor student.
The person in question didn’t seem to be that proud of himself, saying “This is but a useless skill. It serves me no purpose whatsoever.”
…although, to me, it sounds a tad bit cool.
“I specially made this so that it wouldn’t inconvenience you in reading~”
Even when he revealed that he was a scholarship student, it was only to tell people that he couldn’t afford school else way.
By the way, the reason they never encountered each other albeit being in the same year was because their departments were different. Riol belonged to the Study of Written Magic Department while Sharina to the Department of Witchcraft.
“By having a little lunch, I’m positive you’ll gain a boost of concentration, enough to withstand the afternoon classes~”
“…I’ll have one.”
Sharina was aware that the cafeteria and stores around the school were too expensive for Riol. Hence, she brought him lunch everyday as a way to express her gratitude—he did save her from that blood-sucking flower, after all.
“I’ll bring you food tomorrow, as well! Is there anything that Riol-sama particularly likes?”
“No, it’s good enough already. All I did is stop you from touching some flowers—what you’re doing for me goes beyond that. I can’t accept this.”
“No—!! Riol-sama is my benefactor—!! Please, let me express my endless gratitude—!!”
The way to a man’s heart was through his stomach—
—in her heart, Sharina rejoiced the moment he muttered, “…delicious.” to himself after a few bites of her sandwich. Her eyes glimmered with joy.
“I’ll bring you cookies next time—!”
She excused herself from the backyard. After all, Riol was using lunchtime to study. If she stayed there for too long, she would end up being a distraction.
Hence, Sharina always made sure to leave after Riol finished eating.
…he didn’t touch the cookies, though.
Well, there was no point in forcing him to eat them, anyway. She had no other choice but to take it home quietly.
“—huh, I caught a whiff of something sweet …it’s from you?”
Sharina, while eating the remaining sandwiches, was in good mood. She was skipping when a person suddenly appeared from behind the shade. She halted by surprise.
“My, I came this far to escape from all that foul smelling perfume—but now, it’s sweets, instead. It reeks to the point of being nauseating.”
A strange man suddenly appeared out of nowhere and started victimizing himself—
—it seems that he dislikes sweet smells, well, okay…?
It has nothing to do with me, though?
“However, it does seems delicious. Alright, I’ll have one.”
Sharina’s eyebrows rose. He insulted her, but then acted as if he were doing her a favor? What kind of attitude was this? Was this some kind of a prank? Anyway, he was still a suspicious man. He might also be dangerous…
“I refuse. I have no cookies to give to a rude person that doesn’t even bother introducing himself.”
What’s with that condescending ‘Ho?’—?
Shouldn’t this be obvious enough?
No matter how much you look at it, isn’t it this idiot’s fault?
“You, do you not know who I am?”
“Unfortunately, I don’t. None of my acquaintance demands me to give them sweets at our first meeting.”
Sharina’s assumption about the state of this man’s head deepened—he has a screw loose… Hence, she vigilantly took a step back.
“Huh… aren’t you an interesting one?”
…yeah, it’s plain and simple—he’s crazy.
“My name is Leonardo. If you call yourself a noble lady, then you better remember my face, woman.”
As soon as the mentally unstable man introduced himself, a magic circle appeared just under the bag of cookies and a small tornado arose—
—the cookie bag soared in the air, out of reach.
“To not know who I am is a grave sin—however, with this, I’m willing to ignore it.”
The cookie bag landed in the man’s grasp.
“Okay, see you.”
“What is wrong with you—!! Give them back—!!”
***T/N: YESSSS, EXACTLY WHAT AMERICAN FAUX NEEDED, WE (I) DON’T HAVE BAD BOY IN OUR VAST (kinda) SELECTION OF MALE LEADS YET!!! FYI, the prince talked using ‘Oresama’ all the time.