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Translated by Momo. Edited by Mary <3
A few days later...
"Here, Huey. Say ‘Aaaahn~’ “
"Wait, s-stop it, Leanne! There are other people around us!"
"Oh, so you won't eat it? But I worked so hard on it..."
"Please don't make such a sad face... I'll eat it."
"Really!? Okay, ‘Aaaahn~’!"
"What is that?"
Leanne and Huey, who had just transferred not that long ago, were acting all lovey-dovey in the school cafeteria. They were surrounded in an atmosphere full of love while feeding each other food from Leanne's handmade lunch box.
Gilbert and Cecilia huddled around a small round table and observed them with a bewildered expression.
"In the end, Leanne didn't appear for that event, so she didn't actually proceed onto Dante’s route, right?"
"Yeah. I’m glad that happened otherwise it would have evolved into a kidnapping attempt.”
Gilbert turned his neck to face her after suddenly hearing some wildly dangerous words again.
"If Leanne just followed Dante’s route after that event, she would be kidnapped in retaliation for Dante trying to leave the organization."
After Dante figured out that he liked Leanne, he immediately tried to cut ties with the assassin’s guild. However, they wouldn't let him off just like that, and Leanne was taken away as retaliation and also for ransom.
"In that case, Dante will go rescue her if the favourability level is high enough, but if the previous scenarios were just a little bit amiss, the storyline might go astray and Leanne would either be killed or both of them will die."
That was the point in which even the most experienced gamers would inevitably reach the ‘bad ending’. Besides, in this world where neither the favourability level nor route paths were visible, the difficulty was way above that.
"To begin with, the game producers didn’t want Dante’s route to be completed in a single try. But here we have but one life to live!"
"Well, it would be nice if we did avoid it. We still have to deal with the fact that Dante discovered you’re a girl, so we can’t just focus on that."
"Oh, that may not be necessary anymore."
Just as she began to explain it, she decided to shut up. She knew Gilbert would be enraged as soon as she said anything about the deal. This stepbrother who doted on his sister would flip out if Cecilia was exposed to the slightest danger.
"Yes, I’m asking ‘Why?’ Unless...No way. Did you..."
Gilbert became suspicious of his stepsister’s attitude and began to question her.
A reverberating voice was heard. Then, a sudden impact came from behind. Cecilia, who was unexpectedly pushed forward, turned around and saw a smiling Dante. Oscar stood behind him.
"Are you going to have lunch now? Can we join you too?"
"It's okay though..."
Just like the other day, Dante put another table together right next to where Gilbert and Cecilia were sitting, then he sat right next to her. It only took him 5 seconds to finish all arrangements. His technique was so fast that both Gilbert and Oscar couldn't even say a word.
"Aah, Cecil chose pasta today. I was also thinking about trying that."
"……Is that so."
He approached her and closed in the distance between them a bit unnaturally. Cecilia looked at him with a perplexed expression.
"Hey, Dante. What are your intentions?"
Cecilia whispered to Dante before Oscar and Gilbert, who looked at them suspiciously, could interfere.
"Mmm, I said it before. I’m very interested in you, Cecil. It's the first time a girl tried to strike a deal with someone like me. I want to become closer to you."
"...Are you making fun of me?"
"No. I'm the one having fun."
"Isn’t that the same thing!"
”Haaah”, she sighed.
However, their deal was still up and it was unlikely that Dante would harm Cecilia.
"Actually, I came up with an interesting game this morning."
He suddenly stroked the top of her knee, making her jump and tremble.
When she glared at him, Dante laughed amusedly.
Oscar and Gilbert were seated a bit away from Dante's line of sight, but both of them stiffened after hearing Cecilia’s shriek.
Dante stifled his laughter.
"See, it's really interesting. I really wonder why?”
"Nothing. It’s fine if you don’t understand it either, Cecil."
This time he stroked her from the shoulder following a line to her neck.
"--ngh! Dante!! That’s ticklish!"
"Sorry, sorry. My bad again."
It was an apology lacking sincerity. He even said it while waving his fingertips to the side, towards her flank.
"Wait, don't touch my sides like that! It tickles--"
’CLANG’ The sound of tableware colliding echoed.
Right in front of them, Gilbert and Oscar both pierced the meat on their plates with their forks at the same time.
Oscar stood up and grabbed Dante by the scruff of his neck.
"Dante, it seems you're not going to be able to focus on your meal. Let me sit there instead."
"Let. Me. Sit. There."
Dante repeatedly blinked his eyes while looking up. And then, he suddenly laughed.
"Jeez. I can't help it since Oscar has requested it. If you wanted to sit next to Cecil, you should have said so earlier!"
"What?! That’s not--"
"Okay, it’s fine. Here you go. You’re welcome--"
Dante proceeded to sit down next to Gilbert, waving his hand.
And then Oscar sat next to Cecilia.
Dante was still jokingly laughing while holding his stomach. Apparently, Oscar and Gilbert’s reactions had entertained him very much.
Cecil(ia) was relieved after seeing the change in the sitting arrangement. She lightly pulled Oscar’s sleeve.
"Thank you, Oscar. You only did that to help me out, right?"
"W-well, after all, I kinda brought Dante along..."
"It was really helpful, Dante wouldn’t stop teasing me..."
At that moment when Cecilia acted a bit bashful, Oscar's cheeks reddened.
While watching that scene, Gilbert silently tore a piece of bread with his hands.
"Maybe…Are you feeling jealous?"
Dante looked at Gilbert. He seemed to be enjoying the situation and looked forward to his reaction.
Then, there was just the sound of Gilbert’s tongue clicking inside his mouth.
Dante decided to fan the flames.
"Cecil! Your friend is so scary! Does he usually click his tongue out of nowhere like that?”
In a bad mood, Gilbert continued to eat, ignoring Dante's words.
"He’s not scary. Gil is a very good kid and you shouldn't be afraid of him at all.”
"You guys are really on good terms."
That was just said by Oscar. Cecil nodded.
"Yes, that's right. I love Gil!"
Gilbert muttered, slightly touched. Dante poked Gilbert's side.
"Why are you looking so happy now?"
"So noisy! This f***ing shameless b*stard."
“Cecil! This guy just called me a ‘f***ing shameless b*stard’."
"Huh? Gil wouldn’t use such rude words."
"Yeah, he's the kind of guy who really cares about his manners. He definitely wouldn’t use those words towards a senior."
“What? Why would even Oscar defend him?!''
Dante complained in a strained voice.
In the end, one could say that the four of them had a fun meal.
It was also enjoyable when their usual lunchtime consisted of only Gil and Cecilia. But for Cecilia, who hasn’t been introduced in any social circles and had almost no acquaintances, she hasn’t been able to enjoy a lively mealtime with friends since her past life.
That evening, Cecilia looked out of the window from her dormitory room after her shower. The stars sparkled in the sky, and the wind stroking her cheeks was warm. After the midterms were over, they could enjoy a cheerful summer vacation.
"Waaah, it was fun today!!"
After mealtime was over, they also studied together for the tests. The studying session was really meaningful and productive and she didn't feel nervous like the other day.
"I don't know what Dante is thinking, but everything turned out well! The midterms don’t seem so troublesome anymore! Everything is sailing smoothly! Every--...thing?”
Her mind suddenly snapped out of those perfect delusions. She was reminded of a certain fact and hung her head.
"Oh no! Leanne didn't fall in love with any of the targets yet! I shouldn’t be only worried about the other stuff! Well, the midterms are definitely important, but--...Aaargh!"
At least they succeeded by preventing the kidnapping attempt, which probably meant that they avoided entering Dante's route. Rather than trying to help and support Leanne through Dante’s route, she achieved it by butting in and disturbing the whole event.
"Well, that’s only considering that everything will follow along with the game’s scenario...But I really wish this would at least go accordingly. Otherwise, both Leanne and I would be in serious trouble...and-- Mmm?”
Under the impression she heard a weird noise, Cecilia peeked down at the dormitory building. She could discern a shadow shuffling in the darkness as it headed towards the girl's dormitory on the other side.
"That...could not possibly mean..."
Driven by an unpleasant premonition, Cecilia picked up the wig she had left on top of the bed and ran out of her bedroom.
Thank you for reading!
Let me know in the comments if there are mistakes to edit or if you have any suggestions!
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