Chapter 33: Summer vacation has ended, and a sense of turmoil is looming
“Letty, here you go.”
It happened when we returned from the zoo and were getting off the carriage in front of the Marquis’s house.
Camilo handed me a paper bag, and I was surprised but accepted it.
“Eh? What’s this for?”
“Just thought it would be nice to have something as a souvenir.”
He said it like it was nothing and smiled, and my heart swelled again painfully.
I had wondered when he had gone shopping, but I never expected it to be a gift.
“Can I open it?”
As Camilo nodded and pushed me forward, I took out the contents of the paper bag.
What appeared before me was a stuffed toy of my beloved Kusakaba.
“Wow, it’s so cute…!”
I couldn’t help but exclaim with joy, then realized my unbecoming behavior and clamped my mouth shut.
This is the stuffed toy that I thought was cute while looking at it.
It’s just the right size to hold in my arms, and I found the round shape and green fluffy fabric very attractive.
But since it would be cumbersome to carry a parasol and, above all, I was afraid of looking childish, I gave up on the idea.
“How did you know I wanted this?”
“I was just watching you. I could tell because your eyes were sparkling.”
Camilo smiled at me with affection, not teasing.
What is this feeling of being on unsteady ground, as if floating on clouds?
Even though I was embarrassed that he could read my mind, I felt truly happy from the bottom of my heart that he noticed and gave me a present.
“Thank you, Camilo. I’m really happy. I’ll treasure it.”
I hugged the plush toy with a peaceful expression.
I will never forget what happened today, that’s for sure.
And so, in my room, a Kusakaba plush toy is sitting on display.
After locking eyes with it, I packed the green lump into the corner of my leather trunk.
“It might be a little cramped, but bear with it for a while.”
Summer vacation is over, and now I am returning to Alania Academy.
I hesitated whether to leave it behind because it’s important, but seeing its round silhouette always soothes me, so I decided to take it with me.
I put on my plain blouse, tied my usual pigtails, and put on my glasses, ready to go. Then a maid came and lifted my trunk for me.
When I left the room and headed for the entrance, my whole family had gathered there.
“Letty, I’m going to miss you! Take care of yourself.”
Otoo-sama hugged me tightly while holding back tears. It was painful.
“Letty, take care of yourself. You don’t have to work too hard.”
My always cheerful Okaa-sama looked a little lonely too. Oh no, I can’t handle it. When I see that face, my tears start to well up.
“Onee-sama…are you leaving?”
When I looked up and met Sam’s rosy eyes, which were starting to well up, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed.
“Sam, take care…! I’ll be back in winter.”
The siblings hugged each other tightly, crying their hearts out.
I won’t worry about Otoo-sama looking lonely and dropping his shoulders behind me. After all, Okaa-sama will comfort him by patting his back, so it’s not a problem.
Now, in this country, there is something called a magic train.
It is a huge lump of iron that runs on magic, and it is a vital means of transportation for a wide range of people, from ordinary citizens to nobles.
If you ride this magic train, you can arrive at the nearest station to the Academy from the center of the capital in about two hours, which is very convenient.
By the way, since I am a daughter of a prestigious noble, I’ve reserved a first-class box seat.
I was looking forward to this short trip with my friend, as it was always a pleasure to share the same seat with Alondra.
“Alondra, it’s been a while!”
When I opened the door, Alondra was already sitting in her seat.
A smile spread across my face at the sight of my long time friend. However, Alondra, who was supposed to be talking about her fulfilling summer vacation when we last met, seemed a little off.
She had a serious look on her face, as if she was troubled by something. She’s always difficult to read because she has a stoic expression, but I’m not the kind of person to overlook the unusual behavior of an important friend.
“Leticia, long time no see.”
Even in the greeting, there was no vigor in the voice. I became worried and gazed carefully into her aqua blue eyes while taking a seat in front of her.
“How was the zoo? Did you get to see the hippopotamus?”
“Alondra, what’s wrong?”
Ignoring her question and replying with one of my own, Alondra stared at me for a moment before letting out a small sigh and showing a wry smile.
“…I talked to the witch-dono and heard a lot of interesting stories. It was a meaningful time.”
With a creaking sound, the train began to move.
I couldn’t bring myself to look at the gradually increasing scenery, and instead waited for my friend’s next words with an unusually serious expression.
“To cut to the chase, Miss Yserra might be a witch.”
I was so shocked that I couldn’t even reply immediately.
Leaving me behind without saying anything, Alondra continued to explain calmly.
“When Miss Yserra met the Crown Prince, her eyes seemed to darken a little. Her eyes are naturally dark, so I thought it might be a mistake… but I was curious whether there was some connection between Witch’s dark magic and that. So I asked the Witch, and it seems that when she activates powerful magic, her eye color can turn black.”
Yserra-sama is a witch…?
Come to think of it, when we met during summer vacation, she said she had something to ask the witch, who was an acquaintance of her grandfather. Was it about this?
Did Yserra-sama use magic when she met Prince Agustin?
There is only one witch spell that can be used in that situation.
“That’s right. There is a possibility that His Royal Highness the Crown Prince is under the spell of Miss Yserra’s brainwashing magic.”
I opened my mouth in surprise. I must have looked stupid, but I didn’t care anymore.
“Shh, keep your voice down.”
Alondra put her index finger to her lips and admonished me.
Her gesture was unusual and cute, which brought me back to my senses a little.
“Wait a minute, then…!”
“In your first life, the Crown Prince might have been brainwashed too.”
I managed to successfully shout in a low voice this time, but the shock didn’t seem to dissipate.
Is it really possible?!
“I mean, if that’s the case, isn’t it too easy? Prince Agustin is supposed to be a genius with one of the highest magic capacities in the country, right?”
“The magic of witches is of a different quality from regular magic, so the amount of magic capacity doesn’t matter. That’s why witches are strictly limited in their use of magic, and unauthorized use of brainwashing magic can result in the highest penalty, even execution.”
Yes, that’s right.
The power of witches is a threat. That’s why by applying the highest penalty and binding them with invisible threads, society was able to mitigate the sense of fear that permeated it, and witches were finally able to conform to society.
According to Witch-dono, it seems that brainwashing magic requires the emotions of the person being targeted. In other words, if Prince Agustin didn’t have feelings for Miss Yserra from the beginning, it wouldn’t work out.
“The emotions of the person being targeted…”
I think that was probably the case.
Prince Agustin wouldn’t pick up a handkerchief from a regular student. But perhaps he picked it up because he was already fascinated by Yserra-sama’s beauty when they passed by each other.
“So, does that mean Yserra-sama liked Prince Agustin that much to do something like that?”
“I don’t know. I cannot understand the hearts of people I haven’t talked to.”
Alondra shrugged with disinterest, but I couldn’t help but be curious.
If Yserra-sama thought so highly of Prince Agustin, then I must have been quite a hindrance to her.
It’s possible that it was her doing that drove me to the extreme punishment. It’s a terrible thought, but in a way, it’s amazing how determined she is.
“Leticia, you’re thinking something sweet (naive ) again, aren’t you?”
Alondra admonished me with a squint of her aqua-colored eyes. Ugh, how did she know?
“This is a serious matter related to overthrowing the country. It’s no longer a time to be leisurely thinking that those two should just get engaged if we don’t know what Miss Yserra is thinking.”
“That’s true. However, if we make a fuss about the royal family being brainwashed by witches without evidence, there’s a possibility that we could be arrested for disrespect…”
It’s the worst situation where it’s incredibly difficult to move, even if it could become a very difficult situation.
Just as I was at a loss for what to do, Alondra smiled slyly.
“We will find out whether or not he has been brainwashed. Let’s ask Camilo-dono and His Highness Elias to help us.
…Excuse me, Young Lady?
It seems like you’re just really excited about the possibility of seeing witch magic up close?!
Well, it makes sense. Seeing is believing, and maybe it’s necessary for us to investigate on our own first.
“This is getting interesting. I don’t care what happens to the Crown Prince, but a brainwashed King is no laughing matter.”
“Alondra, you’re always like this.”
As usual, Alondra laughed while casually twirling her loosely tied pale pink hair.
At that time, I didn’t even realize that troubles were coming from another place.