School Arc – Chapter 14
The recklessly-stated rumours were rapidly embellished through hearsay.
Eventually, the rumours that『Lilium Valley was involved in causing the injuries』 and the like, were told as if they was true.
Some of the students ended up getting frightened by this rumour.
The new students, in particular, who still hadn’t gotten used to dormitory life, raised their unease, and some girls ended up crying, so for the prefects and I, it was chaotic.
While trying to calm the girls down by soothing and humoring them, I was worried sick about Lily.
In the end, though it was inexcusable for me to do so, I snuck away, leaving the new students in the care of the prefects. When I headed towards Lily’s room in a quick pace, sure enough, I had a problem of my own.
「If you’ve caused harm to people by using magic for your own self-interest, then you’re not fit to be a student of this school」
The voice that said this to Lily, and which resounded all the way outside the room, was a familiar one. A person in the same year as me, that is to say – a final year student by the name of Viola. In the previous year, she was also the person that served as a prefect together with me.
Even though she’s a little quick at jumping to conclusions, she’s intense when she makes up her mind. When I said it that way, it would seem like she’s a person that wasn’t appropriate as a prefect, but, coincidentally, Viola was a woman that was both diligent and helpful. Since her grandfather was a multimillionaire, he was awarded the position of a baron, but it couldn’t be inherited – a life peer, as one would call it. The fact that she, who never had high standings if we’re talking about her social status alone, became a dormitory prefect, meant her appointment was largely due to her own wit and popularity.
I drew in a slightly long breath to calm down. If my opponent is Viola, I had to get her to understand without agitating the situation.
Although Lily’s room was blocked by the curious onlookers, I still managed to see the situation inside.
There were three people who were confronting the owner of the room, Viola and her two friends. From a step behind Viola, sending a relentless look to Lily, was a brown-haired female student. If memory serves me right, her little sister was part of Art’s entourage. Maybe she couldn’t sit still with her little sister injured, but coming to a lower-year student’s room as a trio to yell at Lily was cruel all the same.
「...I... didn’t use magic at that time...」
Even though it was in a soft voice, Viola’s friend had to raise her own voice in order to drown out Lily’s resolute reply.
「As if I’d believe you! Don’t you know that everyone present there was injured? Everyone, that is, except you, Lilium Valley!」
Her agitated voice was shrill, turning a deaf ear to Lily’s words. It seems this one is even harder to crack than Viola.
「Excuse me. Would you kindly let me pass.」
When I raised my voice, everyone stared in my direction. The curious onlookers all had on a look that said『oh, dear!』 and apologetically opened a path for me.
When I stepped into the room and met their gazes, Lily cast her eyes down in a complicated look. I didn’t expect that reaction to sting, but at any rate, right now, I had to do something about this commotion.
「First, I’d like someone to explain why, as final-year students, the three of you are causing a commotion at a place like this」
I turned back from Lily, facing Viola and her group.
Taking into account the trio’s personalities and power dynamics, I believe persuading Viola would be the best course of action.
But, I wonder if she’d decided to visit this place before taking a bath. Her golden hair was still in a flawlessly vertical roll that hasn’t changed at all since morning. I’ll be saying it once again, her golden hair was in a vertical roll. Maybe I’ll say it one more time: GOLDEN HAIR. VERTICAL ROLL. 𝒊𝐧𝒏𝘳𝙚α𝙙. 𝘤𝗼𝐦
She is the most dazzling beauty of the magical academy. Her golden lashes should’ve absolutely had a weak claim compared to black hair, but even at the best of times, her big violet eyes more than stood out for it. Since it looks like around five matchsticks can be put on it, I’ll certainly try testing it out someday. (1)
With an impressive pointed nose, she unyieldingly displayed a mix of confidence and cuteness. Her stature wasn’t tall, yet, due to her dignified behavior, she had presence.
「As a final year student, Lilium just arrived at this school, so I merely thought to explain the significance of using magic to her」
「Even if that’s the case, there’s no need to have three people, is there?」
Looking as if I hit her where it hurt, Viola glanced behind her.
Although she had a slight tendency to be reckless, she wasn’t someone who’d form a clique just to show someone contempt. She probably ended up driven to righteous indignation after seeing her friend in tears.
「That’s... certainly as you say. Doing things in this way wasn’t right」
It seems Viola had quickly reflected on her actions.
When I nodded and said “great, great”, pleased with myself, I was given a tense glare by Viola.
「But having said that, did you clearly understand why we came here after circumventing you, the dormitory head?」
「There’s a rumour within the dormitory」
「If it’s the rumour about Lilium, then I know about it. It’s completely unfounded」
「It isn’t just that. There’s also a rumour related to you. And if you ask me, that rumour may be even more serious」
My eyes widened in surprise and Viola nodded as if to say ‘it’s just as I thought’.
「It seems you are not aware of it. The rumour goes like this:『Dorm head Lycoris is covering for Lilium Valley because she’s a very close friend. Since there is partiality, she probably won’t hand down fair judgment against Lilium 』」
I listened to those words, feeling bitter.
The curious onlookers watched over, holding their breaths, wondering how I’d answer Viola’s words. When I observed that situation, I could tell that the rumour that Viola voiced out had circulated as common understanding among the girls.
Naturally, there was an occasion that came to mind. During the incident when the glass fell today, I had called out to her with a『Lily』. Even if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t be strange for someone to notice, perchance, that Lily and I were meeting in the dormitory’s library.
It was sensible for the girls to call it 『favoritism』. And, since they decided I couldn’t be counted on, they probably got Viola to carry out the responsibility instead.
「So, would you mind explaining?」
Although I looked at Lily as Viola pressed me, she remained looking down with whatever thoughts she was tormenting herself with. For the time being, I conveyed what I must as the dormitory head.
「...regardless of a friendship between Lilium and I, I would like to amend the 『guilty until proven innocent』attitude」
After looking around, I glanced at the brown-haired student standing behind Viola.
「Lilium’s magic aptitude specializes on healing. I doubt she’d be able to break the glass」
「T-that’s because... Lilium’s power is... special...」
And, as if to say that adequately explained everything, that was all she said. I understand she was worried about her little sister, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to blame Lily.
「If you’re saying we should press this crime on Lilium for that reason, then wouldn’t that way of thinking no doubt be『guilty until proven innocent』? This is precisely why we should consider the conduct fitting for magical academy students. Right now, we’re no different from those people in history who forced the cause of all disasters upon those who own magic」
Although it was long before this country we have today, our ancient history had a past of persecuting those with magic. For those possessing magic, history was never told without it.
Even the girls, who had been looking on curiously, collectively hanged their heads in shame upon my words. However, Viola alone, was different.
「I understand what you said. Even I believe that storming into an underclassman’s room is imprudent. But, I hadn’t heard a single answer. In the end, is there a friendship between Miss Lycoris and Lilium Valley? Was it not because you kept it poorly hidden, that a rumour like this emerged?」
I was taken by surprise when she hit me where it hurt. Certainly, having come this far, it would look more suspicious to hide it.
「Without a doubt, Lilium– Lily is my friend」
Upon my words, the students buzzed with chatter.
...well, I don’t think it was that surprising. Maybe they found it strange that someone actually became friends with me.
「She’s an important friend, that’s why I believe her. But, I won’t force any of you to think the same. I only want you to calm down」
After saying that, I snuck a glimpse at Lily, curious about her response. If she’s angry, I’d been thinking of whole-heartedly apologizing, but she fixed her wide-open, fresh verdure eyes in my direction. I couldn’t perceive her gaze as angry. Bewilderment, and if that wasn’t just my conceit, joy, colored her face.
It’s honestly been a very long time since I properly met her eyes.
Although there was a troubling turmoil going on, since it felt like I got through to her after so long, I felt glad.
I relaxed, letting my guard down, but, as if pouring cold water over my heart...
A change happened.
Suddenly, without any prior notice, the color in Lily’s eyes changed.
That wasn’t a metaphor.
From the bright fresh verdure, the color seemed to congeal to a dark green.
Startled as I was, in front of me, Lily cowered, trying to press down her own eyes with both hands.
「...Stop! Don’t come! N-NOOOO!!」
In a tone different from usual, Lily shouted. Startled, the curious onlookers, including even Viola, watched Lily closely.
「Run away! Lycoris!」
Even if Lily pleaded frantically for me to do so, under these circumstances, there’s no way I can just leave her behind and run away.
While I don’t really understand what’s going on, I instructed the students to leave the room.
「Viola, could you go call a teacher?」
「Y-yes. I understand」
I waited until she ran out of the room, then, just as I approached Lily’s side, with a crash, the glass windows in Lily’s room shattered. Although I stood prepared, recalling the incident that happened during the day, the glass piece did not rain on me.
Instead, as if it didn’t care at all about the turmoil that happened, a small lapis lazuli shadow elegantly came diving into the room. Appearing from outside which was already shrouded in darkness, was, what shouldn’t have been in the dark – a small bird.
In front of my wary eyes, it abruptly changed appearance.
In the next flicker of a moment, standing there was a deep blue-haired figure possessing beauty that wasn’t human. Its eye color was a dark green, closer in color to black. Earlier, when Lily’s eyes changed, the color was just like this. The clothes wrapped around its body was somewhat anachronistic, it looked to me like that profile was artificially molded and the colors that joined together were sculpted.
But, what was most alien to me was that the scenery opposite him could be seen through. He was semi-transparent. He wasn’t a spectre though. I knew this man’s natural shape.
With a chill running down my spine, in my mind, I shouted.
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