Aristocratic Daughters Volume 1 Chapter 5 part 2 

After that, it was time for lunch break as usual.

“Hey, don’t you get lonely eating alone? Isn’t it less fun?”

As I took out the lunch I’d brought to the classroom, Elena hit me with those heartrending words just as she was getting ready to head to the cafeteria.

“I’m a person with feelings too, you know, Elena-san?”

“I, I didn’t mean it in an hurtful way! Don’t get the wrong idea!”

“Well, if you say so… So what did you want to say?”

“Oh, what I meant is… You don’t have to bring your own food, right? If you’re set on having your meal in the classroom, of course you’ll end up alone.”

“It’d be the same if I used the cafeteria, though.”

“How can you forget about me there… I’ll keep you company, I guess. Reluctantly.”

[Hmph!] She turned her face away, but she was offering something truly thoughtful.

“Oh? Then if you start bringing your own lunch too, Elena, we can solve that.”

“Wha, what’s with that?”

As long as there was a risk she could evade me like a spider scattering its young, I absolutely did not want to go to the cafeteria.

So instead of changing my own actions, I’d make her change hers. I threw out that ridiculous argument, but for some reason, she didn’t resist.

She glanced around, blinking rapidly again.

“Are, are you asking me out…?”

“Of course.”

“You’re…not taking what happened this morning seriously, right? The talk about Father wanting to arrange an engagement between you and me?”

“That’s unrelated though, right?”

“You’re thinking of sticking close so you can keep the Lecrerc influence, aren’t you? Something like that.”

She stared sharply as if to say, [Answer me honestly]. But I wasn’t thinking anything like that. No, there was no need to think about it.

(Well, the old me might have thought that way, but–)

“No need for calculations like that. Elena and I are already close, aren’t we? So there’s no point thinking that way, and I don’t want our interactions to be calculated.”

“Eek!”

“Huh, from your reaction, was I the only one who thought we were close!? Oh geez, then what I just said was really embarrassing…”

“I, I do think so too, you know… That we’re…close friends…”

The vigor she had shown before disappeared in an instant. She nodded meekly in agreement.

I felt relieved.

“I, I meant…[Are you not worried about the engagement and trying to get closer to me?] That’s what I was asking earlier…”

“Ahaha, I get it. No need to be embarrassed about it. I’m not taking it seriously either.”

“Grr… You were teasing me like that yesterday too… I’m actually getting mad now!”

“S-sorry about that!”

(She already seems angry though…)

If I had kept playing dumb here, I surely would have damaged her mood even more.

“Oh, fine… Just think about it for now. I’ll come around…three times a week, I guess.”

“You’re allowing that much!?”

“Two times. It’s annoying if it seems like I’m looking forward to it.”

“That’s a shame…”

(Shouldn’t have said anything unnecessary…)

Eating alone really is lonely and not fun at all. I could only regret that she’d decreased the number of times.

“Oh wait, I just had a thought. If Elena eats with me, won’t Sia end up alone? If that’d happen, then the number of times could–“

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

She looked at me in utter exasperation, even though I thought I was just considering the obvious as her master.

“Everyone knows making that girl your enemy means you can’t remain at this school. Sia has the most friends here.”

“I see… You’re right.”

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Surprised by her response, but honestly, there was no room for doubt.

When she pointed it out, I realized it with a start. Considering Sia’s personality and character, there’s no way she lacks friends.

“The only reason you still could go to the academy beside the nasty rumors was because you were a marquess family and the Sia’s master, right? Without those two things, you would have long been crushed by others,” she said bluntly.

“Do you somehow intend to become the ruler of the academy…?” I wondered aloud.

“By giving your friends more freedom, your bonds will surely deepen unintentionally,” she added softly.

Sia seemed gentle, cheerful yet fragile – as if tapping her head would send her floating away like a dandelion.

In a game analogy, she seems easy to gain experience from, but attacking her would immediately summon hordes of allies for retaliation many times over – truly a hidden final boss.

“Sia really is amazing, huh…”

Just as I was reaffirming her incredible qualities,

“Oh, um… Excuse me, please don’t mind my intrusion! Byleth-St. Ford-sama! Luna-Peremmer-sama is calling for you…!”

“Come again?”

One of my classmates fearfully called out to me.

“Luna did?”

When I heard that and looked to the classroom entrance, Luna was there with the same sleepy-looking face, holding three books in both hands and facing this way.

“Thanks for letting me know. You saved me there.”

“Eek! Y-yes sir! Excuse me!”

When I thanked my classmate, he rushed off at the speed of sound.

(Just what kind of rumors have reached that guy’s ears… His fear is unbelievable, but…)

I’m not surprised since I know the situation, but it’s still shocking.

“Welp, Luna called me over so I’ll be right back, ‘kay?”

“Byleth… You knew her!?”

“Why’s that so surprising? Luna goes to this school too.”

I don’t get why she reacted that way, but I say what I’m thinking and approach Luna.

“It’s been a day, Byleth-St. Ford.”

“Yeah, a day.”

Expressionless face and monotonous voice, both hands holding books. It’s a familiar sight now.

“I came here today because I need to speak with you. But before getting to the main issue, may I ask one thing? Something has been bothering me.”

“Go ahead.”

Hearing my consent, Luna turned her head to look at Elena’s direction.

“You two seem close.”

“Yeah, I’d say she’s the one I’m closest with.”

“I see. Elena-san is the one you are closest with?”

“Uh, hmm?”

(Something sounds prickly in her voice… No, maybe I’m imagining it.)

“Is it because you have a family-like relationship with Elena-san?”

“It’s not really that, just she’s the only one who talks to me in the classroom.”

“I don’t understand your meaning. You are a kind person.”

“You forgot, Luna…? I have lots of nasty rumors.”

“Ah, you’re right. My apologies.”

Jokingly saying that, she nodded with a straight face.

“Now I understand. The sympathetic looks directed at me. Do you think I feel threatened?”

“No no, really sorry about that.”

“Please, I’m the one who came to you.”

Luna shook her head lightly side to side. This much small talk before getting to business should be good. To not waste her time, I prompted the main issue myself.

“So what did you need from me, Luna?”

“My answer regarding the invitation you extended yesterday.”

“Huh, didn’t you say you needed one or two days to think about it?”

“I decided yesterday.”

A thought flashed through my mind as we conversed.

[Um, this is hard to ask, but Luna-sama, would you like to…play with me sometime?]

[To briefly explain, rather than playing, you prefer reading books.]

[It’s famously known you decline all invitations saying “Let me read instead”…]

That conversation with troubled-looking Sia.

“…”

I already knew she would decline. Thanks to Sia, I’d been prepared for rejection since yesterday.

So of course I’d also get a bewildering response…

“I accept. Either this week or next is fine.”

“Huh?”

“I said I accept.”

“R-really!?”

“Why are you so surprised? Weren’t you the one who invited me?”

“Well yeah, but I heard you turn down invitations to go out.”

“That’s…depending on time and circumstance. Is that no good?”

“No no, of course it’s fine! I’m really happy actually. I thought I’d be rejected.”

“I see…is that so.”

(Somehow…Luna also looks happy…?)

But her face and voice showed no change at all. Surely I was imagining things again.

“Byleth-St. Ford, I have one request regarding our play date. As I spend my days off reading as well, I don’t know of any places to play. So may I leave all planning entirely up to you?”

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scene transition


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She opened her eyes a little wider, staring strongly. The feeling of “I’ll leave it all to you” definitely got across.

“Ahaha, since I’m the one who invited you, of course you can leave it to me.”

“Thank you very much. Then please decide the date and time as well. I have no engagements other than reading, so I can match my schedule.”

“Got it.”

“Then, I have conveyed what I needed to, so I’ll be going now.”

Luna bowed her head lightly and took a step back, quickly trying to leave.


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