22.1 Unchanging Everyday
Three weeks had passed since the duel.
“Riol! Good morning! Look forward to today’s lunch, okay? I tried making a sandwich using baked rice instead of bread!”
“…can you even call that a sandwich anymore?”
At their usual meeting point, the intersection between the girl’s and boy’s dormitories, Sharina waved her basket proudly.
She was very confident of the sandwich she had made for Riol today.
“In fact, this rice was harvested last year. Astraea sent it with instructions on how to cook rice. I was quite active in watering the rice fields, so it’s not an exaggeration to say that my feelings for Riol permeate within each grain.”
“You’re exaggerating. Last year, we hadn’t even meet, yet.” Riol casually retorted.
“Love can transcend through time—!”
“The fact remains the same even if you say it full of dignity like that.”
He also remained as cool as ever. She also thought their meeting place was cool. She felt overjoyed her daily life had returned.
For some time after the duel ended, there was an uproar.
First and foremost, Leonardo, the First Prince, was stripped of his right to the throne. On the day the King and the Queen returned from their excursion, the royal palace entered a royal fuss.
The disbandment of Rose Garden, the attempted banishment of an aristocrat due to personal circumstances, the unauthorized use of a banned national treasure, the duel, and the curse that came with it.
There were so many things that the first prince had done, so many cruel things, it was impossible to let bygones be bygones.
The King, who had received reports of the situation during his trip, immediately disowned Leonardo upon his return.
“Speaking of which, since that Prince is no more, there’s no longer any need for us to go this early.”
“Then, shall we adjust the time to Riol’s liking? Personally, I like going early because nobody is around, yet.”
“Well, I’m used to this schedule too, so we don’t need to change anything.”
However, it seemed that only part of the royal palace was in an uproar. The other part proceeded according to procedure, regardless. However, this was only a few, very influential, houses, like those of the former Rose Garden’s members.
Surprisingly, all but the Ariarose Family had become anti-Prince, and had been secretly conducting talks on how to cause Leonardo’s downfall.
“Thank you very much, Riol, I love you!”
In fact, the already doubtful high-ranking aristocrats, who witnessed the Prince’s sudden order to disband Rose Garden, gave up on him the moment he challenged a student to a duel.
It dawned on Sharina, what Riol meant by the other side giving them the solution himself.
Suffice to say, the Prince had self-destructed. Such a cool term.
“I love you, Riol. Ever since the first time we met!”
“I already said I know…”
However, according to Riol, the high-ranking aristocrats were trying to use said duel to take aim at Leonardo’s legitimacy.
Despite the fact that he was the third son of a poor countryside Baron, he was an aristocrat. To basically force him into a duel that guaranteed him banishment if he lost was too brutal of a punishment. Not to mention the fact the Prince did so because of personal reasons.
At the same time, it became a powerful enough case to contest Leonardo’s right to the throne. ‘The Case of Tyranny’.
That was why Sharina was eerily out of touch when she was imprisoned in the Royal Palace. She thought it was nice that they were sensible enough to try and stop the Prince.
In fact, many of them also tried to duel him after becoming anti-prince(s). Albeit on the contrary, even if Leonardo lost, the consequences wouldn’t be as dire as losing his legitimacy to the throne.
“What about your feelings, Riol?”
“Eh? Well, it’s a nice morning.”
The Ariarose Family, who was almost blinded by their bias regarding the prince—the oblivious nobles—the oblivious students who were but children—
…one by one, everyone was waking up.
“Riol, you know what I’m really asking, right?”
“…you also know the answer already, right?”
Although some significant changes had happened, Leonardo was disinherited, albeit he would still live a modest life in the Royal Palace for a while.
“I don’t know! I don’t know unless you tell me!”
“At this point, you should already know about it well enough, already!”
Of course, it also occurred to her, that the high-ranking aristocrats were using Riol as a sacrificial pawn. But, since Riol didn’t seem to be angry at that, Sharina could only bear her annoyance. Riol also stopped her from making any accusations because it could be baseless.
“Once—! Just say it once—!”
“Last time, I already told you!”
Sharina quickly chased Riol, who sped up his steps. She grabbed his arm.
After the impact of the duel had finally settled down, such was their routine every day.
“Why, Riol! Even though last time you said it just fine!”
“T, that time was—! At that time, it’s because of the excitement from toppling over an enemy. I was swept away by the atmosphere… now, I’m back to normal!”
Just when she thought her feelings had reached him at last…
Since that time, Riol had never spoken that word again…
“S, so, it was just because of sheer excitement…?”
Still, there was no way Riol would lie. Since things had calmed down, it might be her chance to confirm his feelings. Then, confess—!!!
“Certainly, people do absurd things whenever they’re swept away by the atmosphere… things that looked good immediately become weird the moment you regain your usual calmness… just like how the imitation sword I bought at a family trip out of sheer excitement appearing disturbing the moment I returned home…”
“Stop there. What use is there for an imitation sword to be in a Countess’ possession?”
“Since it was made of wood, I could also use it as a clothesline. That time I re-dyed my dress, I used that to dry the dress.”
“You’ve been using it until quite recently—!?”
***T/N: GEEZ GET MARRIED ALREADY YOU GUYS GEEZ DAM YU RIOL JUST SAI IT MA BOI, IM DYING HERE.