"Kaoru, what are you doing? Hadn't I explained it to you so much already?! If you involve yourself with the villainess, bad things will happen!"
Behind Lady Yuria Sakurada was the heroine, Ms. Miu Yuuki, and a row of new students. What an amazing scene.
"Yuria, are you still saying such stupid things? You even won over the new students, on top of that. Besides, you've never used the cafeteria before."
"I don't think it's good to discriminate just because they're new students. They're not different from the internal students. Everything’s not about good pedigree and wealth."
The new students were inspired by Lady Yuria Sakurada's words. They were also brainwashed by Lord Katsuragi's words yesterday.
This somehow feels dangerous. No, Lord Katsuragi and Lady Yuria Sakurada were just amazing. The words of those with standing were just that momentous. Probably.
"Reiko Kujouin! You may have Lord Souju in the palm of your hand, but I'll protect this school. I intend to fight no matter what you do. Lord Souju, I'll definitely save you."
She said and looked at Lord Souju pitifully. On the other side, Lord Souju was on the verge of exploding, from not only having his rice ball taken but also being treated as a brainwashed victim in need of rescue. His eyes were quite terrifying and awfully cold.
I resolved myself.
"Sou! I'll make plenty of rice balls next time, so please eat as many as you'd like!"
I called him Sou. I, a dirt-poor girl, called Lord Souju Sou. What a huge impact.
"Rei, you called me Sou!"
He broke out into a smile. It seemed that I had managed to restore the atmosphere. Lady Sara was too angry to move, though she was trembling.
Alright, now I needed Lady Yuria Sakurada and her party to exit. Yes, and the one leading them away will be Lord Katsuragi!
"Lord Katsuragi, about the matter of the apology you mentioned previously, I would like that you don't take me but Lady Yuria Sakurada to the café. Please treat her to some dessert. We cannot have her make any more of an uproar in the cafeteria. What do you think?"
My proposal was thoroughly strange. There wasn't any benefit in it for me. Furthermore, Lord Katsuragi would be treating ten people for eating just one rice ball. I was the opposite of the Tale of the Straw Millionaire. I wonder if Lord Katsuragi would accept this absurd trade.
"OK! If Rei says so. Alright, everyone, follow me. I'll treat you."
"Kaoru, what are you saying? Lord Souju, you're also being weird. You're all being tricked by that woman!"
"Yes, yes. Yuria, you're coming too!"
When Lord Katsuragi winked at me, he led the group of new students headed by Lady Yuria Sakurada to the café in the salon. Serenity finally returned to the cafeteria.
"Rei, will you really make rice balls?"
"If you're fine with such rice balls. They're truly just ordinary rice balls, Lord Souju."
"Not Lord Souju. Call me Sou!"
I only called him that to restore the atmosphere. It was not something I can call him normally.
"S-S-Sou. No, I really can't. It's discourteous."
"No can do since it's not discourteous."
Lord Souju had on quite the indifferent face, but his pressure was something else.
Lord Souju's mood improved. On the other side, Lady Sara had yet to quell the anger she felt towards the words and actions of Lady Yuria Sakurada and her group.
"Yuria Sakurada and Kaoru Katsuragi must face divine punishment!"
"Sara, you can't say such dangerous things. It was precisely because of Lady Yuria Sakurada and Lord Katsuragi that we met and became friends. If that Lady Yuria Sakurada didn't have her delusions, we might have never gotten close to each other."
"They say to turn misfortune into fortune, but I just cannot bring myself to forgive them."
Our lunch break ended with Lady Sara's anger never settling. In the first place, all of this wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been reluctant to eat in the salon,
The fifth period was English. A fine, elderly lady by the name of Prof. Koda was in charge. The class was entirely in English. However, when Lady Mary, Ms. Fuki, and I still lived with each other, we often had conversations in English, so I had no problem.
That was what I thought, but I was laughed at by the foreign ALT in middle school for my suspect English. “HAHAHA!” they laughed. Because they laughed in such a loud voice, I really thought it was strange.
The English that Lady Mary spoke would inevitably be suspect. There was a blind spot, but because I was busy with nursing Lady Mary, I could only speak suspect English. The English that I, who was dirt-poor and hardly left Hanaoka let alone the country, spoke. How embarrassing.
The text prepared for us was the first section of T.S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land: "The Burial of the Dead."
The poem starts with "April is the cruellest month." No matter how much it was April right now, I wouldn't choose this poem. Wouldn't a brighter poem have been a better selection? Wordsworth's "Daffodils," for example, was lovely.
Speaking of daffodils, I recalled garlic chives. I got irritated whenever daffodils grew next to garlic chives. You cannot be fooled by such adorable flowers! Garlic chive flowers were not only cute but also edible. Such a wonderful and excellent flower.
Naturally, you could visually see the difference between daffodils and garlic chives. But, you know, even though they bloom nearby, daffodils were inedible. Doesn't that irritate you? Did they think that they could be forgiven just because they were beautiful? Exactly. Because they were beautiful and poisonous, daffodils were allowed to be admired despite being inedible. What a devilish, little existence!
As my mind began filling with thoughts of garlic chives, the teacher called on me. Prof. Koda was an elderly lady but her back was straight and her posture healthy.
I was instructed by her to read the beginning of the poem.
I read it in the English I directly inherited from Lady Mary. It was suspect and I would be called cheeky since I was so poor, but this was the only way I could speak.
"What wonderful Received Pronunciation! It's highly-dignified and very good. Everyone, please follow her example."
I didn't notice as I was angry at daffodils, but Prof. Koda had the same pronunciation as Lady Mary.
I see. I was acknowledged by my brethren.
The one called upon next was the heroine, Miu Yuuki, and she read fluently.
"Oh, that is all."
Prof. Koda was cold. I think Prof. Koda could have praised her a bit more. Was it because her pronunciation was different from mine? After that, the other new students read the poem. Prof. Koda's criticism was relentless. I was the only one she praised. This was very uncomfortable.
When class ended, the new students stared at me from a distance and were whispering something. It was mostly related to the teacher's evaluation in the class earlier. I was only praised because my pronunciation was similar to the teacher's. It wasn't strange for them to feel wronged.
I pretended not to notice their gazes as I prepared to go home. Lady Sara and Lord Souju called out to me that we'll be going home together today as well.
It felt so reassuring when I wasn't alone.
Lady Sara and Lord Souju walked together with me as if to protect me. As expected, we didn't want to see Lady Yuria Sakurada on our way home. I didn't care about being called a villainess, but I wanted to limit the number to just once a day.
When we passed through the school gates, I said my farewells and attempted to leave.
But, I was once again boarded in the car. Just like yesterday, they said that the train was dangerous and they'll send me home.
"It's already fine. My anti-molester strategy is water-tight!"
"When did you buy security products? Show me."
I took out a safety pin from my pocket.
"It's this. I can stab the person with it."
The two froze.
"I think that's dangerous."
"Yeah, that's no good."
Right, stabbing someone with a safety pin was accompanied by a risk.
"There's a risk of being infected by a bloodborne disease, but if I pay attention to the stabbing tip, I should be fine."
After stabbing with the safety pin, I could possibly stab my own finger. However, depending on the stab's location, I think that the possibility would decrease. I believe it would be fine to stab the person in the thigh and not remove the pin. In the first place, if the pin wasn't removed, there would be little to no blood drawn. And even if some blood did come out, it would only be a little and the fabric of the person's pants would probably absorb it.
When I explained such, the two sighed.
"Rei, molesters aren't only inside the trains, you know. We only went to Hanaoka for the first time yesterday, but it's dangerous to walk when there's no one around. You could be easily thrown into a car and kidnapped."
It was true that I would certainly be easily thrown into a car, given my current situation.
"I have been walking by myself for the longest time. It's nothing after all this time."
"Isn't that simply because you haven't been met with such a situation until now? Just entertaining the thought that you could be kidnapped sends shivers down my back."
"Yeah, even if you said that you've been fine so far, that doesn't mean you will definitely be fine in the future. There's no guarantee, after all."
There truly was no guarantee, but I think that can't be helped.
"Grandfather told us that he wants us to see you off. He probably wants to repay your grandfather. Do you think you can listen to the wish of an elder without many years left?"
"Right. If he knew of your existence yet didn't do anything in return before he died, he can't rest in peace."
Their grandfather looked to be very hearty and lively, but was he suffering from some kind of illness?
"I do appreciate the kind offer, but I really do feel embarrassed. Um, if my performance really has value, then, er…"
It was only an amateur's performance in the end. It was presumptuous for me to believe that it was worth an escort home. I would regret saying something so embarrassing.
"Exactly! Let's do that! We'll have the next party in that Western-style manor. Please do your performance at that time."
Lady Sara clapped her hands together and expressed with her face that it was a good idea.
"Then, that should be fine, yes? We'll have Takaoka send you again."
"We want to accompany you back, but we have something to do today. It's a shame."
By no means! I couldn’t have these two waste any more of their precious time for my sake.
Starting today, I would be commuting to school via car.
Mr. Takaoka would be sending me home today, but it appears that someone else would do it tomorrow. Thanks to my late grandfather, I could commute to a luxurious school like a high-class lady in a car. Even though I'm dirt-poor, I could commute by car!
Thank you very much, my grandfather in heaven! How did such an adored gentleman marry thatLady Mary? It truly was a mysterious wonder. Was it, perhaps, a political marriage?
In the end, I had Mr. Takaoka take me all the way home.
Mr. Takaoka smoothly opened the door for the dirt-poor me. While I did feel sorry, this was Mr. Takaoka's job. I thanked him and got off the car.
When I did, two men dressed in suits came towards me from the direction of the landlord's place. I prepared myself as they addressed me.
"Are you Ms. Kujouin? I'm Hayashida from Sakurada Online. I have come here upon request from President Sakurada. We could talk outside, but I would prefer to talk inside your house. Is that fine?"
"Mr. Hayashida, you said house, but this looks more like a shed."
The men who let out such obnoxious laughs and had such arrogant attitudes were employees of the company run by Lady Yuria Sakurada's family.