Magic Ring – Part 07


Translator: Kell


“Achoo!”

As it always did, the dark, silent night gave way to dawn, and a bright morning greeted the quiet grounds of St. Marguerite Academy.

As the morning sun lit up the gardens, Kazuya, who woke up earlier than usual, went down to the dormitory dining hall. He greeted the red-haired dorm mother, asked for breakfast, and ate quickly.

He then got up, thanked the lady, and left the dormitory. In his hand was a bag containing a notebook in which he had jotted down his shopping plans.

As Kazuya started walking straight toward the main gate, he heard light footsteps coming from a distance. He wondered who it could be. It was the weekend and still early in the morning. Curious, Kazuya turned around, and the person also stopped and stared at him in surprise.

She was squinting, dazzled perhaps by the morning sun. It was Ms. Cecile.

“Good morning,” Kazuya greeted.

“Ah, Kujou…” Ms. Cecile looked oddly flustered. She tottered up to Kazuya.

“What’s wrong?” Kazuya asked.

“A cold,” she replied.

“Really? You look fine to me.”

“N-Not me.” Ms. Cecile flapped her plump arms up and down. She was clearly rattled. “It’s Victorique. Victorique caught a cold.”

“She did?” Kazuya was stunned. Ms. Cecile was staring back at Kazuya with a look of disbelief.

It was hard to believe that the quiet Victorique, who was always at the conservatory, would catch a cold. Kazuya couldn’t wrap his head around it.

Ms. Cecile cocked her head. “She was wearing a different nightwear last night,” she said. “This big, hard ribbon had come undone, and her belly button was showing, so I fixed it for her. But this morning, she was wobbly with a severe cold.”

Kazuya’s breath caught. He had a good idea what she was talking about.

Ms. Cecile noticed his outdoor jacket and bag. “Oh, you’re going shopping in Saubreme, right? You asked for a permit. Sorry for keeping you. See you around, then.”

“The nightwear you were talking about.” Kazuya quickly stopped Ms. Cecile before she could walk away. “I think it’s the one I gave her. The way to tie the obi is complicated. I’m sure she couldn’t do it properly. I’ll write down how to tie it.”

“Oh!” Ms. Cecile had a terrifying look on her face. Kazuya backed away. “Silly Kujou. If you give someone something unique, you have to teach them how to wear it properly.”

“Well, I tried to teach her.”

“No excuses. Now say you’re sorry.”

“…”

Kazuya stared at Ms. Cecile for a moment, but after only a few seconds, he lost the staring contest and hung his head. “I’m sorry.”

“Write a letter to Victorique, then,” the teacher said with a smile.


Kazuya ran back to his dorm room. He pulled out his writing pad and pen and sat down at his mahogany desk. He wrote down an explanation on how to tie the obi, complete with illustrations. He was about to fold it when a flash of inspiration struck him. He opened a drawer and found a colored pen that he had not used for a while. He then colored the illustrations, light blue for the kimono and pink for the obi, turning it into a beautiful letter that Victorique would be pleased with.

Victorique herself told him that she liked beautiful things. If he made sure the letter looked pretty, he was sure she would like it.

Kazuya folded the letter and put it in the Japanese paper envelope that he had brought from his country. He also put a small golden flower he found from the flowerbed a short distance away from the dorm in the envelope.

“All good.” He nodded with confidence.

He headed to the place where Ms. Cecile said Victorique’s special residence was located. It was hard to imagine Victorique being anywhere else but the library. When Kazuya finally found the place, he studied the labyrinth of huge flowerbeds with a dumbfounded look.

“What’s this?”

He stayed there for a while, then without much of a choice, stepped inside.

After a few steps, he turned back. Not only would he get lost inside, he might even forget where the entrance was.

As he stared at the flowerbeds in wonder, Ms. Cecile arrived. Seeing Kazuya having trouble, she took the envelope from him and said she would bring the letter to Victorique herself. With familiar steps, she disappeared into the labyrinth.

Watching her made Kazuya feel strange, some mixture of sadness and frustration. Unsure what it was, Kazuya frowned and waited for Ms. Cecile to come back out.


“Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!”

Victorique’s head rocked back and forth as she sneezed.

When she woke up, she wondered why the ceiling was spinning, why her face was hot, and why her body felt sluggish. For the first time in her life, Victorique had caught a cold.

She was small and weak, and her body was in no way robust. Since she was a child, she had been leading a methodical and ascetic life, either in her room on top of a tower or in her special residence at St. Marguerite Academy, without going anywhere else.

“Achoo!”

Her long, golden hair bounced up and fell back onto the silk sheets. Victorique was silent for a bit, wearing a pitiful look.

Then slowly, she reached for a tissue paper, and blew her nose.

Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes. She had blown too hard, it seemed. She held her nose with both hands, her shoulders shaking in pain, and stayed still.

The door opened quietly to admit Ms. Cecile.

Victorique turned to the door. “Oh, Cecile.”

Her voice was more raspy and strained than usual. Her cheeks, which had turned crimson, were plumper and seemed a little swollen.

Ms. Cecile entered and placed a pitcher of water, a packet of medicine, and a small glass of milk on the bedside table.

“Oh, I saw Kujou, by the way,” she said.

“Hmm?”

“When I told him you caught a cold, he was so worried. He really likes you, doesn’t he?” She chuckled, then remembered something. “Here’s a letter.”

“A letter?”

“I saw him standing around in front of the flower beds, so I took it. He seems to be in a hurry, so write him back a reply right away.”

“Why is he in a hurry? Achoo!” Head jerking as she sneezed, Victorique regarded Ms. Cecile curiously.

The teacher smiled. “He’s going shopping in Saubreme. His family asked him to. He looked a little excited.”

“Kujou? Excited? The nerve… Achoo!”

Ms. Cecile left the bedroom to tidy up.

Victorique studied the Japanese envelope with some glee. The envelope had a similar rough texture to the kimono she had rubbed her cheeks on last night. After enjoying the feel of the envelope for a bit, Victorique opened it happily. She became even happier as a golden flower spilled out.

With a smile on her red face, Victorique opened the envelope. She was impressed by the beautifully-colored kimono and obi, but then her emerald eyes flashed with anger at the first line of the letter.

It read: “Victorique, are you all right? Teach told me you were sleeping with your stomach out like an idiot. Man, you’re such a dummy. So, this is how you tie the obi…”

Victorique crumpled the letter in her tiny hands.

“Achoo!”

She used the letter to blow the snot off her nose. Then she rolled her small, pearly arms around and threw the crumpled piece of paper against the wall.

“Victorique,” Ms. Cecile called from the next room. “Don’t forget to write a reply for Kujou. He was very worried about you.”

Victorique’s green eyes narrowed in rage.


Kazuya, who had been waiting anxiously, immediately called to Ms. Cecile when she came trotting out of the flower beds.

“How is she feeling?” he asked.

“She can’t stop sneezing. And her face is red.”

Ms. Cecile produced a folded paper from her pocket. It was a pretty piece of stationery paper with a faint image of roses in a birdcage. It smelled sweet, as if it had been soaked in flower-scented perfume.

It was the first time he had received a letter from Victorique. Kazuya waited patiently for Ms. Cecile to leave. Once he was alone, he quickly opened the letter.

It contained one word, written in huge letters.

“Idiot.”

Kazuya’s head dropped.

He felt like an idiot for feeling excited. For a while, he just stood there with his head low, but when he realized that the train was arriving, he turned to leave.

After a few steps, he turned to the direction of Victorique’s special residence, supposedly located on the other side of the overgrown flowers.

“You’re the idiot!” he shouted. There was no reply. He grew more and more pissed. “I got no souvenirs to give to a meanie! You hear me?!”

Kazuya’s loud voice echoed hopelessly.

He thought he heard a faint sneeze coming from inside, but there was only cruel silence afterwards.

Looking over his shoulder several times, Kazuya walked away.



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