Right when Kyria, a prominent noble, called out to me—
“I deeply apologize for butting in! A-Albert! M-MAY I HAVE A BIT OF YOUR TIME!?”
—Laura, a commoner, interjected.
A commoner was interrupting a conversation between nobles. To do such a thing was terribly impolite, and showed a total lack of common sense.
Naturally, Laura knew that.
She was completely aware of what she was doing, which only made her all the more tense. It showed as much on her face.
If anything, her tension was proof of her courage to call out my name.
The noble students gave Laura sour looks, their lips curving into scornful smiles.
Just as I was about to respond to her, Kyria, the group representative, placed his hand in front of my face. “Sorry, but Albert is with us nobles. He doesn’t have a single second to spare on a commoner like you.”
The nobles burst into laughter.
With a bright smile, Kyria continued. “Would you be so kind as to make yourself scarce now?”
“U—” Laura grimaced in sadness.
I brushed aside Kyria’s hand and rose to my feet. “Kyria.”
“Hm?” He stared at me with a surprised look in his eyes.
I continued like so:
“Shut up for a minute.” Then, I stared right at his face. “I’m the one who decides whether to lend someone an ear or not. Whether they’re a noble or not makes no difference.”
The atmosphere froze over in an instant after I spoke.
That wasn’t something I should be saying to Kyria Grandor, the one with the highest-ranking family here.
“That isn’t how a noble should be speaking!”
“Apologize this instant, Albert…!”
“Do you mean to say you prioritize a commoner over Kyria, a duke!?”
All of the other nobles began rebuking me.
As if that would make me budge in the slightest.
Laura was more than aware that a commoner shouldn’t get in the way of a noble.
Despite that, she called out my name anyway.
Her actions carried profound weight; I didn’t have the right to just disregard her determination.
“I’ll respect your feelings, Albert,” said Kyria, looking at me. “She is your guest, after all. Do as you please. I simply said what was required of me as a noble, thinking it was what you wanted.”
“…Unfortunately for you, there wasn’t a single moment where I did want that.” I responded and exited the classroom with Laura.
As we were heading toward a bench outside the school building, Laura began speaking in a flustered tone. “I-I’m sorry! While I believe I’m being a bother to you, there’s something I want to discuss with you no matter what—!”
“It’s alright,” I replied with a nod.
I didn’t have a single regret as to how I responded earlier. That was the best choice I could’ve possibly made back there.
Laura was asking me for help; why would I ever hesitate, let alone have any regrets?
We exited the school building and went outside. Last night, the undead had been walking about this area, but now, everything was as usual. It’s almost unbelievable.
While bathing in the rays of the autumn sun, we walked through the school grounds and sat down on a bench.
It’s been a long while since I sat next to Laura like this. I felt my heart become at ease.
Laura seemed to feel a little bashful as well. “It kinda feels like it’s been a while since we’ve been alone like this.”
“It sure has.”
We had seen each other last night, but Firvus and Flin had been there as well…
“Anyway, about what I wanted to discuss with you…” Laura spoke in a low voice, tensing up the once-lax atmosphere. “It’s about Liz.”
“Liz? The girl that had collapsed last night in the school building?”
Laura nodded in response. “I was in that classroom yesterday because I was running after Liz.”
Come to think of it, we had all just assumed that Laura escaped there from the library, so we didn’t ask her for any of the specifics.
“…Although, I believe you were in a different classroom from Liz, were you not?”
“I lost sight of Liz, then I got chased by a Dullahan, so I took refuge in that classroom.”
Ah, that explains why she was going out of her way to look down the hallway when we were going down the stairs after we rescued her.
She must’ve been checking if Liz was there.
Laura continued, “The thing is… What Liz said actually contradicted what I remember seeing.”
“Liz told Mr. Firvus that she ‘didn’t meet anyone’, but she met me. We were a ways off from each other, but while I was walking down the hallway, and while Liz was walking up the stairs—we locked eyes.”
“…Maybe she didn’t know it was you?”
I remember Laura saying that she had all of our classmates’ names and faces memorized, but that doesn’t mean Liz does as well.
The school building was dim, and there were undead roaming all over the place—it wouldn’t be strange if she didn’t catch sight of Laura.
“I don’t think that’s the case,” said Laura, shaking her head. “I started talking with her frequently once the second semester began. I find it highly unlikely that she mistook me for someone else.”
I suddenly realized something. “Sorry for interrupting your story, but… are you close friends with that Liz girl?”
Laura’s body shook with a start in response to my sudden question. “Y-Yes!”
“I see… That’s wonderful,” I said, nodding.
Before I even realized it, Laura managed to form a relationship with someone else—someone her age that she could talk with.
“I suppose.” Laura smiled somewhat bashfully, but immediately after, she made a sad-looking face. “But it pains me to doubt her…”
…If what Laura’s saying is true, Liz’s actions were indeed strange.
If she ended up meeting an acquaintance in a situation like that, grouping up would be the normal thing to do.
Did she lie to not bring up what actually happened?
“Also, she said that she was fleeing from the undead—but I’m bothered by that part of her story, too. When I saw Liz, she wasn’t doing anything of the sort; it looked like she was just walking around.”
She continued on her way even after meeting an acquaintance, and she didn’t even seem to be fleeing from the undead.
Laura must’ve been feeling uneasy about all this.
“Liz has something to do with last night’s commotion—is that what you’re thinking?”
Laura nodded with a meek expression in response. “…Yes.”
She had a bitter-looking expression as she said that.
Thinking about this must’ve been hard on Laura, given how tender-hearted she was. However, now that we’ve noticed the inconsistencies in Liz’s story, we can’t just look the other way.
“…Laura, do you want me to do anything?”
“I want to hear Liz’s explanation on all this… Also, um, I’d like for you to be present for that.”
“Leave it to me.” I nodded vigorously.
“Thank you very much!” Laura bowed her head with a relieved-looking expression.
“I’ll bring Liz to the rooftop at around 1:00 today. It’ll be during class-hours, but this isn’t something I want anyone else to hear…”
We finished talking.
Just as I was about to get on my feet—
—Laura spoke up in a panic.
“What’s the matter?”
“This is a rare opportunity, so why don’t we talk for a bit? We haven’t been talking much recently, so…” said Laura.
Ever since the second semester started, I hadn’t been chatting with Laura. Even our conversation just now was more of an information exchange.
A chat with Laura, huh.
I could go for that.
“Sure, why not.”
After I sat back down, Laura nodded, seemingly delighted.
While eating the bread that we bought along the way here, we merrily conversed.
We had a really great time, and time flew by as we immersed ourselves in conversation.
After finishing up our chat, we made our way to the classroom.
“Albert, I finally found you,” said a male student, approaching us.
It was Blain.
“Sorry, but can I have a bit of your time?” said Blain, giving Laura a quick glance.
Unlike Kyria, he wasn’t trying to be haughty; rather, it felt like he was showing Laura consideration.
“…Alright. Laura, I’m sorry, but—”
“Yes, it’s alright! I’ve already taken care of my business!” said Laura, scurrying away to the classroom ahead of me.
Blain bowed his head to me. “Sorry about that, Albert.”
“It’s fine. So?”
“You see—” Blain nodded and continued, “At around 1:00 today… can you accompany me for something?”
Today’s chap. Can probably get another out later today, but if not, it’ll come out early tomorrow along with recreator. Thanks for reading.