༺ The Pastry Club that Can’t Bake (2) ༻
Carl and Erich were walking silently. Carl was looking around for a quiet place where they could talk, while Erich felt burdened to start a conversation with Carl first. From Erich’s point of view, Carl’s expression looked too serious, so he was struggling even more.
‘A good person.’
Those were the two words that crossed Erich’s mind while looking at Carl. They were words he’d never thought of in his life.
While growing up, Erich had never seen a good person. There was no need to talk about their father, the lord of the house. It was hard for him to make a judgment about his mother, and if someone asked about his brother Carl, it was also hard for Erich to say whether he was a good person or not. Before Erich met Louise, a good person was someone that only existed as an ideal.
The reason why the words came to his mind while looking at Carl instead of Louise was simple. It was because he had a conversation with Louise a short while ago.
Erich really liked the hours before they went to the club room because he could talk with Louise without having anyone interfere between them.
“Do you hate your older brother Carl?”
Louise asked Erich like that.
Erich was taken aback by Louise’s question and looked at her in confusion. She blinked at him, looking genuinely curious and concerned, and Erich scratched his head. It seemed that Louise had noticed how Erich got nervous around his brother, so she became worried.
“No, it’s not that I hate him. It’s just that I’m not comfortable around him.”
“Why? Did something happen when you were little?”
Erich smiled awkwardly at her question. If he had to pick a time when he and Carl had gotten along better, it was when they were younger.
“Nothing happened. Maybe that’s why I find it awkward.”
If something had happened, then maybe he would’ve been able to talk with Carl more, and he wouldn’t feel so awkward around him. However, it was already too late.
“It’s just that the atmosphere around him is too grim. Not only that but after he became a Civil Servant, we weren’t able to see each other frequently. That’s the reason. It’s nothing, really.”
He tried to laugh and brush it off, but his answer seemed to have confused Louise even more.
“Really? Because from what I see, Carl Oppa seems to care a lot about you.”
Now it was Erich’s turn to be confused. One could say that the Krasius brothers were negligent of each other. After he became a Civil Servant, they hadn’t seen each other that often, yet she said that Carl cared about him. Even if it was Louise who said that he couldn’t easily believe it.
“Yes. He seems to be looking at you frequently.”
According to Louise, Carl seemed to look at Erich very often when they were at the club. She said that whenever she saw Carl from a distance around the Academy, he seemed to be looking at Erich. He didn’t express it, but he seemed to always be concerned about Eric.
“When I first met Carl Oppa, he talked to you warmly.”
Erich began wondering if those words were warm. However, Erich didn’t argue because first, it was Louise who said it, and second, he began to have some expectations. What if Carl really did care about him like Louise said?
If so, there was a chance that they’d be able to get along well like normal brothers. That possibility shook Erich’s heart. After noticing his reaction, Louise laughed and spoke.
“I’ve often wished I had a brother, and that’s why I was surprised and happy when he said he’d be the Advisor of the club.”
“It seems like brother unknowingly got a little sister.”
“Hihi, is that so? That’s why I think I would’ve been sad if I heard that the two of you didn’t have a good relationship.”
“Because from what I see, both Carl Oppa and Erich look like good people.”
Erich became speechless at Louise’s words.
‘A good person.’
The words that Louise said while smiling were still roaming around his head. If they were both good people, it would be great if they could have a good relationship. It was just that he subconsciously had trouble getting close to Carl.
However, that wasn’t the case anymore. After Carl joined the same club, he gained the courage to face that trauma and after what Louise said, he began harboring hope that he’d be able to get over it.
‘Thanks to Louise, it seems like I’m going to be able to get over it.’
For years, Erich had avoided Carl out of his instinctive reluctance. Even if they hadn’t talked properly, he was scared of him. But now, he finally got the courage to look at Carl.
Perhaps sensing his change of heart, Carl, who was walking ahead, turned around and looked at Erich. As they reached a quiet place, Erich was about to open his mouth, but Carl was faster.
“Do you like Louise?”
Is this a good person…?
Everything became dark for Erich.
* * *
‘I guess this place will do.’
After searching for a suitable spot, we were able to reach a place where no one seemed to be around. It was a place where we could talk comfortably. I looked around and saw that Erich was about to say something, but I decided to speak first.
“Do you like Louise?”
It’s a harsh and provocative way to start, but I hope he understands. Right now, Erich needs shock therapy to make him stronger.
I don’t want to make him weak… I want to make him strong. What Erich needs is a shocking victory, not a kind defeat.
Unaware of his brother’s intentions, Erich’s mind tried to escape. There’s no way I’d let him do that.
“I thought that maybe there was a deep connection between you two that I didn’t know. But that isn’t the case.”
That would’ve been great because that meant that he had an advantage with memories that couldn’t be compared to the other four.
“You also haven’t expressed your emotions to her.”
Confessing his love increases one’s chances of being rejected, but at least that could make the other person be conscious of him as someone of the opposite gender.
“If there’s no reason to choose you… You know, right?”
You don’t have anything like that. You have to build a connection with her.
Gradually approaching Erich, I placed my hand on his shoulder and made eye contact.
“Among the five, you’re the one at a disadvantage.”
Erich was silent, and his eyes were clouded over. It seemed like he was shocked as I suddenly started to talk about his undisclosed love life.
However, there was nothing I could do about it. Destruction was necessary in order to rebuild something. I’m sure this shock would help Erich. I believed in my little brother.
“…But you don’t plan on giving up like this, right?”
Of course, if I end this conversation like this, Erich may come back with a knife and try to stab me. I won’t die from it, but things will be awkward between us after that. So if I’m going to shock him, I need to inject some hope into him as well.
I walked toward Erich and placed my hands around his shoulder.
“Remember, Louise started the pastry club herself.”
At the mention of Louise’s name, Erich’s hazy eyes turned towards me, reacting immediately.
“You know Louise loves baking, right? You should do it too. Even if you don’t have any baking skills, you should pretend to do it next to her.”
Or maybe, just maybe, Louise will be happy to see Erich’s inexperience and help him. After all, veterans tend to be fascinated by newbies.
“Watch her make it, and if you can’t follow along, ask her. If you get to share the same hobbies, there’s a chance you’d gain an advantage.”
People with whom she has a great difference in social standing and a classmate with less difference, but they share the same hobby. Who would she rely on if she ever had to rely on someone?
As I kept talking, life began returning to Erich’s eyes. Yes, after giving him a shock, new knowledge was also easily absorbed. If I had just talked without giving him a shock, the effect wouldn’t have been this great.
“Actually, a difference in status might work in your favor. What’s the rank of the Naird family?”
“That’s right, Baron. There are only two ranks of difference between our family and hers.”
Of course, this is based on a simple ranking calculation. Krasius is a family that cannot be treated as a mere Earl family. However, compared to the Imperial, Royal, and Saint candidates, it was much better.
Therefore, I could feel Eric’s mind working quickly. He probably saw things from a new perspective. And I added to confirm that since three of the four were foreigners, they’d have to return to their respective countries after they graduated from the Academy.
That day, Erich became stronger.
Now, he’d leveled up from being a pastry club member that didn’t know how to bake to one who can.
After Erich returned to his senses, he looked at me awkwardly, so I sent him back to the club’s room first. If the members ask why he came empty-handed, I told him to just say that the ingredients hadn’t arrived yet.
I was planning to take a bit of fresh air before going back.
Tsk, I clicked my tongue and laid my back on the wall. I’ve been giving him all the advice I can, but I don’t like the fact that I’m in the position of having to give it. It’s not like I told him anything special in the first place.
I can’t understand it. If you really want to win someone’s heart, there’s something instinctive about it, isn’t there?
Not only that, but from what I’ve seen, Louise was a simple person. With listening to her worries, doing things she needed help with, cheering her while she worked, and showing a good reaction after eating what she made, one should be able to win her heart.
But there was no one among the five people who did that properly. Was it true that one’s intellect decreased while in love?
If that’s the case, she would end up with someone lacking intelligence no matter who her partner came to be.
I should probably offer my condolences to Louise beforehand…
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