T/N: Hello, hello! It’s been a while! Have you forgotten the story yet? Sorry about that! I have decided to make no promises for schedule, since I seem to have trouble keeping them. But I haven’t given up! And I will do my best to surpass the manga once again! Though, with how many novel chapters are in one manga chapter, that might take a while
I hope you all had a good holiday season and a happy new year! And to my cookie donor, Emma, thank you! The Christmas cookies were scrumptious! Now, without further ado, let’s watch some stuff royally fall apart that stayed decently put together in the manga XD
Things Fall Apart
The time before the big skills test had been cut down to just two weeks before Oswell managed to get ahold of me.
He finally caught me when I was leaving the school building with Ashley today and he is now standing before Ashley and I, hands on hips, grinning in triumph.
“Do you need something from me, Oswell?”
With a frustrated expression creeping onto his face, Oswell steps towards me and delivers a decisive flick to my forehead. And I, rather shocked at this rare form of aggression from him, just stand there and let him. It’s not like it hurt, anyway. Ashley, however, doesn’t seem to share my blasé opinion.
“How dare you,” he cries, quickly stepping out from behind me upon seeing Oswell’s sudden ‘attack.’ Ashley roughly seizes him by the collar and then fluidly proceeds to shove Oswell against the wall next to us. (Has pushing people into walls become his new hobby!?)
Unfortunately, Oswell is much stronger and not nearly as patient as I, so he did not go willingly. All his struggles turn to naught though, as Ashley merely grasps one of his arms, adeptly yanking it behind his back, and then calmly shoves him into the wall again, this time face first.
I can’t help but wonder if Oswell’s arm wasn’t hurt at all with that last move. At the same time though, I have to be amazed that Ashley is able to maintain any semblance of control over Oswell. To have so easily pushed someone so much larger than himself like that, I’m once again reminded of just how strong Ashley really is. One of the servants back at home had secretly told me that Ashley was using the time that I was away at school to train his body. I hadn’t thought much about it when he had said it, but clearly Ashley’s efforts hadn’t been some half-baked attempt at building a bit of muscle, but rather true and meticulous body tempering.
It’s almost unreal seeing such a delicate-looking boy overpowering the much taller and athletic-looking Oswell…. Seeing such rough treatment makes me think Ashley must not like him very much…. Though I doubt he dislikes him as much as he seems to hate Gray-Senpai.
“Agh, that smarts….. This is not how you should be treating an upperclassman, Carlyle,” Oswell says collectedly, despite the bitter smile that is firmly ingrained on his face. He seems to be holding himself back from trying to leverage his aristocratic authority over Ashley. He must have realized that, although Ashley is not one of the nobility, political power means next to nothing to him.
“The only title that is of any importance to me is my title as Cecile-Ojousama’s servant. And so, if anyone dares to harm my master, no matter who or what they may be, I won’t have have any qualms in making them my enemy. I will not hesitate to remove them using any means necessary.”
What cool lines!
Though, rather than focusing on what Ashley is saying, I can’t seem to stop thinking about just how close Ashley’s and Oswell’s faces are. I already have a strong suspicion that the heroine is into yuri…. And now Ashley is showing me this scene that practically screams ‘BL novel.’ Seriously. Their faces are so close together, that I’m sure they are breathing in the same air right now.
Plus, (or maybe it’s because of?) since Oswell is in pain, he’s sweating a bit and his expression looks somewhat…. erotic. Ashley, completing the picture, looks like he’s a Seme1 on the prowl, with Oswell doing his best to resist him with a frigid stare.
I definitely don’t hate this. Actually, if I had to pick between the two, I probably prefer this over Yuri.
“BL…….” I murmur without thinking.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asks Ashley, turning his head to glance back at me. All without giving Oswell even an inch, of course.
“Harm? From a flick? Really? Well, anyway, it’s your master’s fault this time,” Oswell cuts in, refusing to be ignored.
“How do you suppose?” Ashley asks, the brunt of his anger finding a new target as his eyes start to glare into mine. And this time, he does not resist as Oswell carefully extricates himself from his grip.
“We’re this close to the test, and yet that young lady hasn’t done any preparation yet. I’ve been trying to make arrangements for a while now, but every time I bring up the subject she just runs away from me. And she isn’t really great at magic. Since she is my partner, I was planning on giving her my full cooperation to help her out.”
“I mean…….” I stammer, failing to come up with a plausible excuse.
Magic may not be my forte, but I’ve made considerable progress! Sure, my natural talent might be low, but my scores at least are now nothing to scoff at… And of course, it wasn’t like I was planning not to cooporate properly with Oswell. It’s just that I don’t actually want to get a good grade on the test. Oswell has amazing magical ability. And I never wanted to sabotage his scores with my ineptitude…..
But I never felt like putting in any great efforts either. And that’s because for us the test doesn’t really matter. It’s already been decided that we’ll be put into class A anyway.
This test is where the game “Bloody Mind” finally starts, after all. Without a doubt, it will be the stage for the game’s starting event that makes the main character famous throughout the school.
During the test, Leila’s magic will go berserk and she ends up revealing an unbelievably massive amount of power.
Originally, she and her partner had been attempting to create a phoenix in the air, a rather high level feat. Their plan was for Leila to produce a grand flame and for her partner to shape the flame with wind magic, but during her part, Leila’s magic ends up running wild. Her magic power increases suddenly and explosively, sending the assembly hall into a huge panic. And because of that, the test ends up being cancelled.
And although Leila failed to control her magic properly, she did produce a power that is simply unparalleled from within the school so she winds up being the center of attention of the whole student body. This put the teachers in a tight spot though. It was difficult for them to say that she failed the test, since she did display some amazing power, but such a result could hardly be called passing the test, and so they decide to put her in class B.
As for the students who were scheduled to take the test after Leila, they decided that it would be best to place them in the class that befits their scores and abilities as shown on a day-to-day basis during their magic classes.
In the game, Cecile always made fun of her by saying Leila was just “trash from class B” or some other such insults. That means that she… I mean I…. should be placed in class A. When the teachers finally decided the order for the test the other day, I couldn’t help but strike a triumphant pose. I was all too happy that Oswell and I were slated to go after Leila’s team. That means that we won’t have to take the test! And since I’ve managed to take the top spot in my year, with Oswell currently in second place, it’s all but guaranteed that we will be placed into class A.
With this, I can be sure that I won’t be placed into the same class as Leila!
But, it’s not like Oswell knows any of this. The only people who know about this are just me and Gray-Senpai. I made sure to let him know about this event since it would be bad if we didn’t prepare any sort of evacuation plans for the students before the explosion happens.
“We haven’t even decided what sort of magic we wanted to do. This isn’t like you. Don’t you have any desire to do well?” Oswell continues, addressing me this time.
Because no matter how much we prepare, we won’t have a chance to showcase our skills anyway.
“How about changing the color of flower petals?” I suggest halfheartedly.
“Isn’t that just the basics of the basics that even children can do? Last year’s performance by the student council president is a different story but we can’t exactly copy them,” retorts Oswell incredulously.
Ashley seems a bit skeptical at my suggestion as well. His eyes seem to be burning holes into the side of my face, pointing out that I have been able to do that sort of magic since I was 7 years old. They seem to be telling me not to take the easy way out of this.
“Let’s go sit down and actually talk this through. Sorry, Carlyle. I’ll be taking her from you now.”
“How is it that everyone in your year seems to like using such dubiously misleading language? First Ojousama, now you, who next?”
It’s definitely not because we like it! It’s just that we keep using the wrong phrases, so without context they end up sounding kind of weird. It’s not like I’m some sort of pervert who enjoys leading people on.
“Let’s see…. Magic that the two of you would be able to perform right now…. What about creating a clay doll?” Ashley suggests.
“A clay doll?” I ask curiously.
Ashley nods his head.
“You’re allowed to bring whatever materials you need to the test, right? So one of you would prepare some soil and be responsible for creating its body. The other person would then be in charge and imbuing it with floating magic. I know that typically this sort of spell would be considered elementary, but you could probably still receive a decent score on the test since it would be difficult to work together to maintain the human-like shape. You two could possibly put on a play or make it dance or something?” Ashley finishes, lightly placing a finger on his lips and tilting his head in consideration.
The wiles of an intelligent man are so….. so…..
“So sexy! …..Ah, no, that’s not…. sorry. What I meant to say was that’s a great idea. You really are a genius! Always so smart!”
Smirking a bit, Ashley turns to look at Oswell. It’s so rare to see him gloating like this. What is this feeling? Gap moe?2 It’s my first time seeing him make that sort of expression.
“I think it’s a good idea too. Thanks for the suggestion, Carlyle. But that means time is of the essence. Cecile, we need to hurry up and go practice. With just the two of us…..”
Right after saying this, Oswell grabs my right arm, attempting to lead me away, but before I can take even one step Ashley had already grabbed ahold of my left arm, preventing me from moving even an inch. What exactly is happening right now?
“What do you think you’re doing, Carlyle?” Oswell says, giving a good tug on my arm and forcing me closer to him.
“I am in charge of Ojousama’s studies, so please rest at ease. I will help her prepare for her side of things.”
And this time, Ashley is the one who pulls me closer.
“Yeah, but she’s my partner. We need to practice together.”
“I would feel rather embarrassed to trouble you when you seem to have your arms full at the moment, Senpai.”
My arms are really starting to hurt. They feel like they are about to be torn off!
“Is that something someone who put me in arm-lock would be worried about? Besides, if we are going to make a clay doll dance, we have to be able to match our breathing to each other so practicing with just the two of us is essential.”
“In that case, let’s do a play instead. Once everything has been decided, I will make sure to send you the necessary information, so let’s work separately from now on.”
“Hey! You guys! This really hurts! Can you let go of me?”
” “Who?” ” they both ask, turning to me in unison.
“Which one of us are you telling to let you go? You couldn’t possibly be referring to me, correct?”
“I’m being perfectly reasonable! Are you trying to send me away despite that?”
Why are they both so hellbent on doing this!? Is Ashley just that excited to play the roll of the Spartan teacher again and run me through the wringer on my magic abilities? And what about Oswell? Is he that desperate for a good grade on the test….. that we aren’t even going to be taking……
Oh, oh!! The student council president is over there!
Look over here!!! Ahh, don’t just look at me and laugh you idiotic president!
Alright, fine. Time to sink or swim, with whatever means possible.
I quickly shake my right foot free from my shoe.
Now go! Fly shoe, fly! Fly straight and true! Right onto the head of that Idiot-Senpai over there.
“Ohhhhh! I’m so sorry, Kaichou.3 My shoe just….”
After having suddenly caught my shoe with his face, Gray-Senpai walks over to the three of us, my shoe in hand, with a huge vein popping out on his forehead and a forced smile plastered on his face.
(You b*stard! D*mn sh*tty woman!)
(Huh? What’s going on? How are you talking in my head?)
(No way! You can even use telepathy in this world!?)
(Well, if you have my level of natural talent, you can.)
It seems Senpai has managed to master the art of telepathy. I may treat him like an idiot, but I can definitely see how he was able to become the student council president. He was destined to be good with magic seeing as he’s the son of a Duke and therefore entitled to only the best home tutors, but his natural abilities are also top of the line as well it seems. I want to be able to learn such hero-like skills in the future sometime too!
“Beg pardon, Kaichou. Oh! You even thoughtfully brought my shoe all the way over here for me.”
“It was nothing. Now, if that’s all, I’m in a bit of a rush, so I’ll be going….”
“By the way, Kaichou!”
As if I’d let you get away!
Thankfully, another student happened to walk by in that moment, so Senpai was forced to keep up with his honor student façade, even though he would usually be complaining up a storm by now. Such convenient timing, now he can’t leave for the moment.
(Don’t bring me into this. Those two look like they’re out for blood!)
(Please…. Please help me!)
(What do you expect me to do about it!? This dangerous mess has nothing to do with me!)
“M-my arms are currently b-busy at the moment, so would you mind putting my shoe on for me?”
(Put it on yourself! You should be able to put it on even without using your arms!)
“Sure, I can do that.…..That should do it. Well then, I’ll be go-…..” he says, putting on my shoe for me despite all his protests. We are in public after all, reputations must be upheld.
“That’s right! Kaichou!”
(Please, I beg you! Save me!)
“Yes!?” I squeak out, surprised at the sudden interruption.
Ashley looks down on me, bringing his face close enough to mine to cast his shadow on me. I think this is the first time I’ve seen him make this face as well. Somehow, I feel like this one doesn’t bode well for me though.
“Shall we return to the dorms?” he asks me, his tone almost pleading.
“Hey, Cecile, after this we should……” Oswell starts, ignoring Ashley completely.
“Didn’t I already tell you that I will take care of her side of things! Please just leave her alone!”
‘Leave her alone’? Isn’t it usually ‘leave me alone’? Aren’t you supposed to say that sort of thing for yourself instead of for others? No, wait. Before that, just earlier, Ashley! He actually yelled! Agh! If only this world had voice recording technology!
“If you have something you need to tell the president, then I will relay the message to him myself at a later date. Let’s just go back for today. This is a ‘request,’ Ojousama.”
Ashley hangs his head, so I can’t see his expression, but his emotions have seemed rather unstable today.
“Ashley? What’s wrong?”
This is the first time I’ve ever heard him make a request.
He says nothing in reply to my question.
And after Ashley had shouted, both Oswell and Gray-Senpai had gone silent; the former in surprise, and the latter in dismay.
“Oswell, I’ll definitely make some time to practice with you before test day, so I think I’ll go back for today. Sorry.”
(Oh, and Stupid President…. I won’t apologize for dragging you into this.)
(Just say it!)
Who would? All he wanted was to run away. He didn’t even try to help! The darned traitor.
Ashley still has his head bowed, so I just gently tug on his arm and we walk away from the school building. I don’t know if it would be a good idea to send Ashley back while he’s like this. He seems to have calmed down for now at least, but once he heads back to his dorm room he’ll end up running into Rona. And right now, it looks like any little thing could push him right off the edge.
But then again, where else can he go? If I want to bring him to the girls’ dormitory, I’ll have to get permission first.
I continue to deliberate on my options as we walk in the seemingly endless garden in between the school building and the dorms. Just when I am at my wits’ end trying to decide what to do, I spy a conveniently placed bench a little ways off the path and promptly walk over to it and sit down, thinking it’s the perfect place to take a break and check up on Ashley.
“Ashley, look at me.”
“…..Is that… a request?”
Ashley, sitting next to me on the bench, very slowly raises his face up to meet my gaze. I’m a little shocked to see that his expression looks almost exactly like the one he had worn on the first day he had come into my house, right before we had both cried together. Right now, he looks as if he might burst into tears again at any moment. It’s been so long since he’s made such a childish expression.
“I can’t stand it,” he says, and before I can even think he is clutching me tightly in his arms with his cheek buried in my hair.
“For me, you’re the only one I have, Ojousama. ……And yet, you are always trying to distance yourself from me.”
He was already holding me so tightly that it hurts, but as he talks, his arms seem to encircle me even tighter, until it almost feels like I might break.
“I can’t stand it,” Ashley whispers again.
“No one else. I don’t need anyone else, except for you.”
“T…. too tight….. C…. can you loosen your arms a little?” I gasp out, but he just tightens his hold even more.
“And yet why is it? Even though for your sake I’ve strengthened myself, perfected my studies, and polished off my magic skills…. Why are there are still men other than me always buzzing around you who are trying to snatch you away from me?”
At this point, he is clutching me so tightly that I can’t even speak. I feel like I might pass out.
“And even you don’t seem satisfied with just me, always saying President this, or Senpai that….. And there are still more bugs swarming around you other than him…. You are planning to throw me away after all, aren’t you? ….. Are you trying to drive me crazy?”
“Ashley….. thi…s…. hur…ts…..”
“I’m hurting even more.”
My bones are starting to creak in protest. Even though he’s so slender, Ashley seems to be clutching me with nearly superhuman levels of strength.
“When I think that you might be snatched away from me, my heart hurts.”
“Look I….. won’t be snatched away, so really, let me go…..”
Looking startled, Ashley suddenly releases me, murmuring, “Sorry…” just loud enough for me to hear.
“Is there something that’s been bothering you?”
“Yes. I’ve been feeling anxious a lot lately.”
Ashley, abashedly refusing to look in my direction anymore, lets out a small sigh.
“I’ve been having this dream…. A dream where you end up throwing me away, Cecile-Ojousama. And now that in reality there are people who are trying to snatch you away from me, it almost feels like the dream is coming true…..”
“Haven’t I been telling you since forever that I will definitely not be the one to let you go?”
My body still hurts, and lifting my arms is rather hard, but somehow I manage to lift them just high enough to be able to embrace Ashley.
“I promise. For as long as you don’t leave me, I will always be with you.”
“…… Please be mine.”
“I’ll be yours, so at the same time, please be mine. More than anyone else, please be by my side.”
Well, at least until I graduate it will be very dangerous for me to attempt to be in any sort of relationship… and I’m sure Ashley will find someone that he likes soon, so until then….
“Of course. No problem.”
“…..Please don’t forget this.”
I never would have thought that I would eventually regret those words.
T/N: Having read the manga chapter before finishing this chapter, I was amazed by how much the manga left out! I feel like it’s leaving out a lot of Ashley’s most Yandere moments! I wonder if that was done intentionally, figuring that a milder story-line would be more captivating for the readers…. What do you guys think? I know there are plenty of readers that think Ashley is too monopolizing, too rough, too Yandere (lol), etc….. And yet he was still the most popular in the previous poll! I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this chapter’s Yandere moments! And that fun scene where Ashley, Oswell, and Gray-Senpai all appeared at once!
Also, footnotes…. Helpful? Not helpful? Too wordy? Unnecessary?
1“Seme” and “Uke” are terms used in Boys’ love novels to describe the “top” and “bottom” of the relationship, respectively. The top/Seme as far as I understand is typically the more aggressive of the pair, though I wouldn’t quote me on that. Cecile seems to be having quite the little fujoshi moment right there.↩
2I didn’t know how to concisely translate “gap moe” so I just left it as is. In this case, Ashley looks particularly attractive to Cecile because he is acting differently from how he usually does, thus creating a “gap.” Moe, on the other hand, is somehow still more elusive a concept… I would say that when you see someone, especially a cute someone, and your heart gives a great flop, that is “moe.”↩
3For those of you that don’t know, “Kaichou” is the term for the student council president in Japanese. I agonized over this for quite some time, whether to use “Kaichou” or President, and finally decided that President by itself sounds too weird… I considered Mr. President as well, but I couldn’t decide if that really set the correct tone or not, so I ended up nixing that idea as well. Any thoughts/preferences?↩