༺ Monologue – Interlude (3) ༻
Inside the narrow booth, a fascinating video was playing on a box that she had never seen before.
Various colored lights were twirling and amidst the loud music that echoed in her ears…
Dorothy and Isaac held a microphone together, dancing to the rhythm as they sang.
It was the coin karaoke from Isaac’s world.
And while she was doing that, for some reason, her head moved on its own.
Once to the left, then once more to the right. Two more times again in the same pattern.
Shortly after, a familiar voice faintly pierced through the sound of the music.
[She is sleeping quite de… She didn’t wake up at all…]
Ah, this was a dream.
As soon as she realized that fact, her consciousness was instantly sucked back into reality.
There was no way for her to know, but the fact that her snoring had stopped was proof that she had awakened from the dream.
Utter darkness; she could only see pitch-black. A coy voice penetrated her hazy mind.
It was Ella’s voice.
And the voice of a man could be heard; it was Isaac.
Dorothy suppressed a gasp. Ella noticed that reaction, but she pretended not to and continued her conversation with Isaac.
‘President is here.’
Dorothy felt the urge to play a prank as soon as she woke up.
While Isaac is off guard, let’s abruptly shout to startle him. After all, he was easily surprised, so it was fun to tease him.
[Oops, it’s time for me to do other things. From now on, no matter what you do to Dorothy, I will have no idea.]
Even if it was Dorothy, who didn’t like using her brain, she wasn’t a fool who couldn’t understand the hidden meaning underlining Ella’s words.
Come to think of it, except for the time on the Floating Island, Isaac had never approached and made physical contact with Dorothy first.
Of course, she didn’t think someone as upright as Isaac would do something scandalous while she was asleep, but…
Was it because of Ella’s words? Peculiar fantasies and a subtle sense of anticipation began to sprout within Dorothy. It was an irresistible force.
For some reason, Dorothy wanted to keep pretending to be asleep.
Somehow, this atmosphere was….
‘Not bad at all…!’
Honestly, it wouldn’t matter too much if he acted just a little scandalous…!
Her heart trembled and heat rose to her face. A pleasant chill ran down her spine.
A rare genius. The greatest powerhouse of Märchen Academy. Dorothy, who was often labeled as such, was just an ordinary girl who had become aware of love.
Moreover, this was a secluded place inside the Josena Forest; a hideout filled with nostalgic memories of just the two of them.
To be honest, she had secretly hoped that they would get intoxicated by the strange atmosphere here…!
Completely stiff, Dorothy let out a shallow breath. She felt a tingling sensation all over her body and she became far more aware of Isaac than usual.
A creak. Did he get up from the chair?
‘Where are you going?’
Isaac moved somewhere.
The splashing sound of water could be heard. It seemed like he was washing his hands and face.
Eventually, Isaac returned to Dorothy’s side, sat back in the chair, and let out a deep breath.
Dorothy couldn’t gauge his emotions because she still had her eyes closed.
‘He must be staring holes in me.’
It was the first time she felt such a clear tingling sensation due to someone’s gaze.
Ah, right. How did she currently appear to him?
She worried that her hair might be a mess. Were there drool stains on her mouth? Could it be that her condition was a complete mess?
Her skin quivered. Just as she was thinking about such dilemmas…
Isaac started to stroke Dorothy’s hair. Reflexively, Dorothy inwardly bursted in exclamation.
An extremely gentle touch, as if treating something very precious. Had she ever so keenly felt the emotions of a puppy who loved being petted by their owner?
Her body trembled, as nervousness surged like a storm. She was incredibly embarrassed, her fingers and toes tensed up, but still, the instinctive desire to be enveloped in his touch held her entire body still.
It felt so good that it was hard to endure. It felt like her body might hunch in pleasure.
“I managed to finish well thanks to you.”
“Thanks, Dorothy. Truly.”
He addressed her casually. Moreover, in a subdued voice.
Sometimes when Isaac addressed her casually, Dorothy’s head would flinch.
How was it so enchanting whenever the young man, who used honorifics every day, spoke informally without permission?
All her nerves were already on edge, but he just had to stroke her hair and whisper to her in such a sweet voice; it was enough to make her giddy with ecstasy.
Though Dorothy wished to enjoy this moment a bit more…
‘Urrrghh…! I can’t endure much longer, President…!’
It was excessive how much her body did not feel like her own anymore.
Of course, just because she couldn’t endure it did not mean that Dorothy knew what to do; after all, she had never had any experiences with boys in her life.
“Senior, you’re awake, right?”
Right then, Dorothy’s heart dropped.
A lamentation seeped out of Dorothy’s mouth. She opened her eyes slightly and made eye contact with Isaac, who was gazing down at her serenely.
As the strange tension eased, the awaiting sense of shame rushed in like the wind. Dorothy turned her back to Isaac, covering herself up to her nose with the blanket.
A heavy silence followed.
Soon after, Dorothy hesitantly raised her torso; her expression seemed to indicate she didn’t know what to do. Her face was completely dyed in a bright red.
Although Dorothy could easily control her expressions, as she always wore a smiling face like a mask…
There was no way she could know how to calm the fiery flush on her face.
“Y-you’re here, President!”
Suddenly, Dorothy smiled excessively and unnaturally raised her tension.
“Senior, aren’t you hungry?”
“Uh, yeah! Uh, I feel absolutely famished…!”
To dispel her embarrassment, Dorothy put her entire soul into responding with exaggerated reactions.
“I’ll go cook some stew.”
Isaac got up and headed to the kitchen.
Dorothy pulled the blanket up and buried her face into the pillow.
In the face of the novel emotions she felt due to Isaac, she was nothing more than a shy girl.
* * *
I already knew that Dorothy had woken up. It seemed like her purpose was to surprise me.
It didn’t matter too much. After all, I just wished to express my gratitude without any pretense.
‘It didn’t seem like I made the right choice, though.’
I didn’t expect Dorothy to show such nauseated reactions of refusal… I should definitely refrain from such actions in the future.
“Meat stew!! Is there chicken too?!”
Now, she was acting just as usual, as if nothing had happened.
Look at this kid trying to be considerate by pretending not to know. How heartwarming.
After preparing the meat stew, I served it into two bowls and went up to the rooftop with Dorothy, courtesy of her starlight magic.
The winter wind was chilly.
And the snow-covered clouds, painted in the colors of night, continued to gently sprinkle snowflakes.
While deploying an [Ice Curtain] to block the cold wind and snowflakes, I handed Dorothy a bowl of warm stew and a spoon.
We covered ourselves with a thick blanket and used a fire elemental scroll to make a makeshift campfire. How should I put it… It felt quite cozy and comfortable.
And just like that, we made small talk, chatting briefly, until…
“We have a lot to talk about, right?”
Dorothy’s question followed.
‘The time has come.’
I had endlessly pondered while spending time in the academy and exterminating demons.
And the scenario I had envisioned was to only provide information on subjugating the Evil God to the most trustworthy people at the right time like I had done with Kaya.
‘I thought that the so-called right time would be after the Alice subjugation, though.’
Before that, revealing my secrets prematurely seemed like a double-edged sword.
It would be the same, no matter how trustworthy someone was. It would be troublesome if something questionable was revealed when I didn’t have any control over it.
However, Dorothy had even found out that I came from another world. I found myself in a position where I had to disclose secrets that I had never intended to reveal.
On the way back, I had finally finished agonizing over what parts of the truth to reveal.
Now that it had come to this, I decided that Dorothy would be the very first person to whom I would confess my most important secret.
“Yes, well… I do have a lot to say.”
Let’s not mention the status window or the original scenario of ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱; it would only throw her into confusion.
In this winter, not a single insect chirped. Only the crackling of the flames created by the fire elemental scroll could be heard.
In this cozy atmosphere, I began to quietly tell my story.
Just like that, I told her the most essential contents, keeping it as simple as possible.
Silence. At some point in time, the once steaming meat stew had cooled down.
Dorothy had her head lowered slightly, deep in thought. Her psychology was unreadable due to her starlight mana.
My story probably wouldn’t fully register with her right away. I waited for Dorothy’s reaction, quietly staring at the now cold stew.
“…So that’s why you trained so hard.”
As expected, Dorothy didn’t doubt my story in the slightest.
In the first place, she could analyze my emotions and detect lies. I hadn’t lied and we had built a trustworthy relationship over time, so it was only natural for her to believe me.
But still… her acceptance was way too easy, wasn’t it? It felt like she knew my goal from the very beginning. The recent remark felt as if she had prepared the answer in advance, making me feel incredibly out of place.
“Your reaction is more subdued than I expected.”
“Nihihi, I already knew you were hiding something tremendous. I was mentally prepared, you see. As expected, the President did have something, after all.”
…It somehow sounds like a lie, but there isn’t a way to prove it.
I had no intention of interrogating Dorothy because of baseless intuition. Besides, it could just be my imagination, so let’s just move on quietly.
“I have a lot I want to talk about, but… I’ll get to know it slowly. Honestly, my head already feels like cramping up from what you said just now.”
It was understandable. If I was Dorothy, I would probably feel the same way.
“But it’s like a fairy tale. A story of a Hero defeating the Demon King.”
“The plot is similar, I guess.”
“Then, the President is the Hero, right?”
It was a grandiose title that somehow made me chuckle.
Time passed silently for a while. It felt like both of us were pondering what to say.
Dorothy finished her thoughts and extended her fist with a faint smile. Almost as if she was trying to reassure me.
“I’ll help you. Let’s destroy the Evil God together.”
Suddenly, I recalled the Trial of Frost, when Dorothy told me we should tear down the world.
Compared to then, her voice was much calmer, but at the same time, it reassured me greatly.
I extended my clenched fist, meeting hers.
And Dorothy smiled brightly, proclaiming the formation of the Hero’s Party.
* * *
Bartos Hall, a palace-like building In the center of Märchen Academy.
In the dark Student Council room, only the faint glow of a small lamp on the desk enveloped the surroundings.
There, a female student with long golden hair repeatedly tapped the desk with her thin fingers.
A black and white checkered choker around her neck and black and white earrings on her ears.
Her presence alone made the air in the Student Council room heavy with tension.
[Alice. About the Disruptor.]
In the darkness, a fat purple cat sat comfortably on the reception sofa, emanating a mysterious blue light from its eyes.
Phantom Cat-Cheshire. The magic beast grinned, openly revealing its white teeth.
[As expected, are you thinking that ‘Isaac’ is the right one?]
After receiving that question, the light gold-haired female student, Alice Carroll, stopped tapping the desk.
Her cherry blossom eyes looked out the window. White snowflakes were still pouring down from the night sky.
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