21. Things that Change
I talked with Cyril about the committee in the hallway as lunch break was about to end. After a short chat, I tried to return to the classroom when suddenly, someone called my name. I stopped.
“…Are you on good terms with Cyril?”
“Eh? At least, I don’t think we’re on bad terms…”
The person who stood there was none other than Philip. I couldn’t hide my surprise. After all, he was from a special class. It was odd for him to be standing near the regular class. When I was pondering what he wanted to talk about, he asked me such a question.
He suddenly became silent. What was more, we were standing in the middle of the corridor. Why would he come to the general class in the first place?
The girls who noticed his presence in the corridor swooned. It wasn’t like I couldn’t relate to them. Philip was annoyingly beautiful as always.
With that in mind, I stared at his overly neat features and immediately averted my gaze. I, I just didn’t want him to see my fed-up face.
“…I want you to empty your schedule for the next weekend.”
Without waiting for my reply, he just left.
While staring at his back, I sighed deeply because I couldn’t comprehend Philip.
“What a weird dream.”
I had a nostalgic dream. I felt like I rarely dreamed about the time I was still a student. When I remembered those days, my recent happenings felt like a lie.
“Good morning, Milady.”
“Good morning, Selma.”
“Today, you’re scheduled to go to Duke Laurenson’s house. As such, you need to have breakfast and get ready as soon as possible.”
It was as she had said. I had been invited to the duke’s house that day. I received a letter from Philip, he said that he needed to ask me something directly. I didn’t know what that was, but the appointed time was before noon. As such, I had to prepare immediately.
After breakfast, I sat before the dresser. While tying my hair, Selma looked terribly happy for some reason.
“Lady Viola was originally beautiful, but recently, she has become even more so.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, it is.”
Hearing what she said, I looked at my reflection in the mirror. Had I changed?
My long, shiny, violet hair and big, round, eyes of the same color had both been inherited from my mother. The color was quite rare in that kingdom. Everyone said I resembled a beautiful amethyst. I also liked them.
However, when I stood next to the beautiful Philip, there was time when I thought having such an unusual color was meaningless. I was ashamed to admit that at times, I could be both shallow and vain.
“Surely, it’s thanks to Lord Philip.”
“Women who are loved and complimented a lot will become beautiful. I have met a lot of cases like that these days.”
“T, that’s not—”
Even after I had immediately denied it, Selma only said, “You needn’t be shy.” However, I still couldn’t help but mull the fact that I was loved.
Honestly, I could no longer think that all of Philip’s words and actions were lies and acting. His voice, his facial expression, and his words of love—they felt real.
My feelings for him were changing—I was aware of that. It was true that I used to not be good at dealing with him. Despite so, lately, I found myself to be happier when I was with him.
However, there was still no evidence that what he was saying was true. If he was actually lying, and I fell for it… that was exactly what I was terrified of.
I never even expected for Philip to love me in the first place. In fact, I had always thought he hated me.
“I don’t recall when, but I’ve always loved you. It’s such that if you were to tell me to die, I’d comply right away—that’s the extent of my love for you.”
Suddenly, I recalled those words of his. Heat immediately gathered on my face. I shook my head to shoo away the memory. Selma got angry at me, I had messed up my hair again.
“Welcome, Lady Viola.”
Upon arriving at the Duke of Laurenson’s house, I was guided to the garden. The weather was fine that day. It seemed that we’d have our tea outdoors.
However, Philip seemed preoccupied handling some sudden visitors. I told him not to mind me, and decided to take a stroll in the garden until he came.
It was when I was walking alone, enjoying the beautiful, colorful, flowers which filled the garden. The garden itself was several times larger than my home.
“Vio-chan has run away!”
When I heard such a voice, I was surprised.
If I wasn’t mistaken, they mentioned something about Vio running away.
What the hell was that?
I went towards the source of the anxious voices and discovered that the servants were busy searching for something.
I hesitated to call out to them, so I decided to ask a nearby young man who seemed to be a gardener. I had never seen his face before. A newcomer?
“Good afternoon, um, who’s Vio…?”
“Don’t you know, Lady? Vio is a parakeet that Philip has kept since he was a child. I, myself, have never seen that bird, though.”
I had visited that place ever since I was a child, but that was my first time hearing that. A parakeet named Vio, which was owned by Philip.
“What kind of parakeet?”
“It’s a she. She speaks well and has a lilac-like color.”
It also seemed to be purple. I couldn’t help but be worried about the parakeet, especially because it reminded me of a particular someone…
Once I met with Philip later, should Vio have been found, I’d love to see her. With that in mind, I continued to walk through the garden again.
At the edge of my vision, I saw a cute little bird perching on a tree branch. It was purple, alright. I wasn’t familiar with birds, but it looked like a parakeet.
“Could you be, Vio?”
“I, I’m sorry, V-Vio-chan, it is…”
When I called her in a lackluster manner, the bird answered like a terrible swordsman. Shocked, I ended up using an honorific towards a parakeet.
I beckoned for her, and she flew straight to me and perched herself on my arm. Looking closer, her color was very beautiful. The face was also adorable.
I was glad she was found. The servants seemed to be in trouble. When I was about to return her to the servants—
“—Vio, you’re also cute today.”
“Vio, I love you.”
Suddenly, Vio started talking.
***T/N: I see that dude is that awkward ever since school days… Also, he got a bird!? I don’t care what species it is, Philip = Diluc is confirmed!
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