Chapter 137 – My intellectual agitation as an adult woman
Two weeks had now passed since the World Trophy ended.
After enjoying a special one week vacation, I returned to work, where I was showered in praise by my coworkers.
I was commended for my efforts and promoted to Mithiril rank.
I also got a raise in my salary, and was given even more responsibilities.
And while I was happy about all of it, I also felt like I was in a bit of a slump during the last few days.
I found myself spacing out at work, or forgetting to do the chores I did quietly in order to avoid being fired.
One of the magic devices I was working on even exploded, and Ms. Leticia grew worried about me.
I wasn’t able to finish eating at the dining hall that I was a regular at, causing everyone to wonder, ‘She has only eaten three plates today’ and ‘Is she dying…?’
I knew that I had to pull myself together, but the problem was that it was difficult to do that.
“If anything, you were doing too much work before. So even now, you are working as much as most.” They would say such kind words to me, but I could not accept it.
This was my dream job. I was able to use magic as much as I wanted. And so I had to concentrate more.
I suppose the issue was that my mind was being used for other things.
I was a simple person, who lived while thinking about magic and little else. So this was a strange feeling.
‘I love you, Noelle.’
The night in the hospital.
The warm bed sheets that smelled of vanilla.
Being pulled towards him and hearing those words whispered.
He was stronger than I thought, and his body was big.
For a few seconds, it was like a different person.
(What was that?)
Of course, I had read my share of romance novels, which allowed me to experience such things. Still, only a child would take that seriously.
(He must mean as a friend…!)
We were the best of friends. And it was natural for such close friends to love each other.
Yes, it was a rather passionate way to convey it, but if I was that important to him, then I should be happy.
(Oh, dear. He really does like me too much.)
I tried to sound exasperated, but blushed a little.
(Well, I like him too. He’s a good friend, after all.)
It did not make me feel bad. However, there was another possibility that entered my brain.
(B-but, what if… It really was meant romantically…?)
I knew that it was ridiculous.
We had been friends for so long.
I almost felt bad for even thinking about it.
(Still, the situation and nuance was so…)
But if it was true, that gave rise to so many other questions.
(Since when? Was I the only one who thought we were just friends? And he actually loved me like that?)
However, there had been no signs of it at all.
(Well, I can be quite dense…)
I could not deny the possibility that I had become so absorbed in magic, that I failed to recognize all of the signs that he was smitten with me.
In short, I’m stuck in something like a quantum magical paradox.
Just like I would not be able to tell if a cat was eating food in a box unless I opened the box, I would have to look inside of his head to know if he had feelings for me or not.
(If he just liked me as a friend, then we could continue as we always have. But if his feelings were more romantic…)
I looked outside of the window and thought.
(What am I supposed to do?)
At a glance, it might seem like a good situation to be in.
Luke was the heir of a great house. My mother would be overjoyed if I were to become attached to him.
‘Well done! You did it, Noelle! Our future is now secure!’
She would be at least three times happier than she was when I talked to her about my achievement in the Royal Magicians Order.
Luke was a good man, and it wasn’t like I had any real objections to him in that way.
(But it’s also because he is the heir, that his family and relatives would react very negatively to such a thing…)
There were risks that came with cross-class romance.
Some people ended up losing their privileged positions, and ended up living while being ridiculed and hated by others.
Was it right to allow him to do something so dangerous?
(But more importantly, did I even like him in that way?)
That was the real question that I could not find an answer to.
When you’re in a relationship, I heard that you have to go on weekly dates and exchange letters.
(…Honestly, that sounds very tiresome.)
I was no good at household chores, and pretty worthless outside of the workplace.
Ideally, I would want to dedicate all of my free time to magic.
(Could it be that I’m not suited for romance?)
The shocking truth.
It was true. For twenty years, I had lived happily, feeling completely content without a single romantic event happening to me.
(In my case, I would surely be happier reading a magic book than going on a date…)
Considering I was a young woman, perhaps there was something odd about me, if I cared more about magic.
But when I talked to Misha, who I was close with at work, she said, ‘That’s not odd? I happen to like cats more than men.’
“Men are childish and stupid. Also, they talk to their former girlfriends behind your back and will cheat on you. They are complete trash that have no reason to exist. It is no wonder that you are more interested in magic.”
Well, clearly someone had wounded her.
After she lectured to me about the lowly creatures, she would mutter tearfully, ‘Why…do I have such horrid luck with them…?’ And I had to waste some time trying to cheer her up.
“Thank you. I’m glad I have you and my cats.”
I sighed with relief.
After hearing her boast about her cats, I returned from my break and realized that something was different.
There was tension in the air.
Everyone in the Royal Magician Order headquarters was stunned, showing that something very unexpected had happened.
“What is it?”
Asked Misha in a serious voice. And then someone from the 4th unit replied.
“His Highness the crown prince has arrived. Apparently, he wants to talk to someone.”
“Someone from the royal family…but that has never happened before.”
The others gasped.
“Usually, the person who they wanted to talk to would be summoned. Why would they do this if they knew that it would cause an uproar?”
“Perhaps creating a scene is part of their purpose. So that everyone knows about the connection.”
“Well, I suppose the prince wants to talk to one of the Magus magicians then?”
“Aye. It was Captain Bisente Sera and Captain Morris Haydenstam who were called.”
“But why them?”
“I suspect that they might want to hear their opinion about the rumors that a dangerous biological weapon was used in the assassination attempt that occurred in the southern countries.”
“It certainly makes sense to hear from two experts in the fields of healing magic and magical pharmacology.”
“At the same time, they are demonstrating outwardly that they are on high alert in order to deter others. It’s the kind of quick response befitting His Highness, who is known for his wisdom.”
I listened as the others talked.
Apparently, it was linked to various political intentions.
(It sounds intelligent and interesting! I want to join in!)
If I said things like evidence, consensus, and something like Darkfire Blizzard, would I be able to blend in well?
But as I was waiting for the right time to join in…
The two suddenly turned to look behind me.
I turned around and saw the vice captain of the 3rd unit.
Ms. Leticia, who I was very fond of.
“Be quiet. Ms. Noelle. Follow me.”
She said as she held a finger up to her lips. I then followed after her.
We then went up through the emergency staircase, which had fewer people, and proceeded to the upper floor.
After confirming that there was no one around, I whispered.
“Keep calm and listen.”
Ms. Leticia said as she stopped and turned towards me.
Her purple hair swayed as she grabbed me by the shoulders.
“The prince wishes to speak to you, alone.”