“I have some unpleasant news.”
Ian delivered the same information to the student council as he did Louise. The room stilled at once.
“As you all know, during the first half of the year our student council achieved a return on our given budget.”
It was because of everyone’s undertakings that the council made more money, leaving the budget provided by the Academy in good shape.
“I really appreciate your hard work. The dean was happy too.”
They earned money from selling flowers, ink, and paper. There was a moment of self-satisfaction on everyone’s faces.
But what did this have to do with unpleasant news?
“We did a survey of the students during the wrong answer report submissions.”
They had prepared a questionnaire on what to do with the student council’s excess budget. Louise herself also wandered around the classrooms carrying a tall pile of papers.
“As you all know, I’m the head of my year and I had very little to write on my reports.”
The look in everyone’s eyes seemed to say, Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that, Mr. President.
“We collected and organized the questionnaires. There were various opinions.”
He opened a nearby file that looked to be a summary of the survey results.
“The most popular opinion was to better enable the students to sneak out to the shopping center, but the dean would not allow it.”
“I wonder if you could sneak a ladder on the wall.”
“A lazy person with no intention to climb over the wall themselves doesn’t deserve to go to the shopping center.”
Other people sitting near Ian nodded emphatically. They seemed to be convinced, so Louise did not argue.
“The second most popular opinion was to improve the safety on the dormitory roof.”
Claire raised her hand.
“I don’t think we have the budget to do that. It’s quite expensive to hire a contractor.”
Ian gave a smile.
“There’s nothing to worry about. The Academy had agreed to pay for the difference, thanks to the magical word ‘safety.'”
“I forgot that every time His Highness walks there he needs to watch out for his friend’s safety.”
Claire smiled as she touched Louise’s long hair.
“It’s hard to forget. The cost is expensive, but it’s all about using your words.”
Dean put his chin in the table and mumbled,
“Then for the sake of the mental ‘safety’ of the Crown Prince, I would like to get rid of the exams.”
“Absolutely not. Then I wouldn’t be able to take first place. I love putting my name above others.”
“Louise Sweeney and the President should have entered the same year.”
He wanted to see the two most grades-obsessed students clash head-on.
“That’s a dangerous remark. Louise and I would study until our butts turned flat and Claire Iris would end up taking over the top spot.”
Ian smiled at Claire. The two were good friends, but they were also competitors. The result was always Ian’s victory, however, he was always wary of Claire because she still took second place without getting too excited about studying.
“Anyway, construction will begin through a reliable contractor the dean connected me with.”
Several members clapped their hands in warm conclusion. Now students would be able to freely and safely use the rooftop space.
In the softened atmosphere, Ian added in a gloomy voice:
“During summer vacation.”
A hush fell over the room. Everyone imagined ominous words that would follow.
“It would be unacceptable if the client, the student council, was not there during the construction process.”
“Well, hold on, President. I have to go back to my family during vacation…!”
A student raised his hand and quickly raised an issue.
“I know, I know. Not everyone has to stay behind.”
Some sighed with relief.
“I will remain as a representative.”
Ian turned to look at Louise meaningfully. Louise recalled what he said yesterday while handing over a piece of tomato.
“I wish you could stay.”
“You’re the one I’m closest to.”
He wasn’t wrong about that.
“And according to a letter from Mrs. Sweeney, both of your parents will be away from their home a week or so.”
“They never told me that…Wait, why are you exchanging letters with my mother?”
“Because Mrs. Sweeney is like a mother to me too. It’s my filial duty to always worry and say hello.”
“I didn’t know my brother was this polite.”
“That’s because your eyes are inverted. Anyway, it’s better to stay here a little longer then go back to the mansion where you’ll be alone. Your mother agreed.”
“She said yes?!”
“Of course, she said it was fine for you to stay only if you wanted to. You have the right to choose your own course of action.”
“Oh. But I wanted to get home soon…”
She really wanted to see her parents again.
“I know. That’s why I said it would be unpleasant news for you.”
Louise’s face turned crestfallen. Why was Mother leaving just as Louise was returning? It would be quite a big problem if both her parents traveled when there was a greenhouse full of work.
“What’s going on?”
Louise could not help but be worried for a moment. Although her parents seemed happy and relaxed on the surface, she knew there were some tensions brimming underneath. Her father was sometimes threatened by her mother’s family. Her mother was disowned because she chose her commoner father, and as a result, Louise did not know her relatives from her mother’s side well. Maybe they don’t want to know about Louise either.
She hoped the complicated circumstances on her mother’s side don’t make it difficult for the two. They loved each other so much to kiss each other lightly in front of Louise every morning.
“You don’t have to worry about that.”
He answered Louise as if he knew what she was thinking.
“I’ve been looking into it because I was worried too, but nothing’s wrong.”
Unsatisfied with her still downcast expression, Ian took a large piece of tomato from her plate and stuffed it in her mouth.
“Maybe when I graduate, I’ll quit being the crown prince and be an intelligence gatherer instead. Don’t you think I’d be good at that?”
Louise smiled a little and nodded at his joke.
She thought about it for one night. Would she go back to the mansion and be alone or stay at the Academy for another week? Louise thought she would have more time to think about it, but she supposed that she would have to come up with an answer now at the student council. Louise raised her hand.
“I can stay.”
Ian nodded in thanks.
“Okay, how many more will stay?”
“If Louise stays, so will I.”
Claire raised her hand, but Ian shot her an anxious look.
“Claire Iris, are you sure?”
“Why not? Can’t I?”
“It’s not that you can’t…Anyway, I’ll leave the personal questions until after the meeting. Anyone else?”
Dean raised his hand sulkily.
“I’ll get nagged to death if I go back home.”
Louise stared at Dean for a moment. Come to think of it, it seemed like Dean always followed Claire everywhere she went. He wasn’t one for motivation, but he joined the student council because of Claire. Louise was sure they shared a lot of classes together as well. And if one looked closely, the pair always ate together, and when Louise was unable to make it to a new semester party, he came to pick Louise up because Claire was sad. And now, he had been silently sitting in this meeting without saying a word when suddenly he raised his hand after Claire did.
Oh my god. This guy!
‘From all the evidence he likes her!’
How did she just realize? He said they were childhood friends, so it was only natural that they didn’t think of anything else when they saw each other. But now Louise knew. A childhood friend can sometimes change.
Just like with Louise, for example. She kissed her childhood friend for the first time. Did it count as a real kiss? She wanted to think of it as a kiss of comfort, but when she reflected on the mood of the night she didn’t think so.
…What kind of useless thoughts were in her head. What mattered was that Dean Crissis liked his childhood friend Claire Iris.
Louise gave a sly smile towards Dean, who shot her a scowl in reply.
What a cute little fellow.
*TN: I have a few announcements for y’all 😄
Firstly, here is an extra chapter of MLVF as part of a Patreon special 😄
And as a thank you to my WordPress readers, I’ll be holding a drawing! To enter, you only need to comment on a chapter of The Male Lead’s Villainess Fiancee or Return of the Female Knight. Each comment equals one entry, with a maximum of ten entries per person. The contest period will end on Monday June 10, 8pm EST.
Three winners will each receive 3 chapters in advance of the story of their choosing! This contest is not for patrons subscribed to my Patreon, and they will not receive chapters ahead of their tier.
Hmmm…what could this be?
Click below to my Patreon to find out!