School Arc – Chapter 3
Arutad Brugmansia was – a glamorous handsome blonde youth. With huge, light brown doe-like eyes, he was a lump of charm. His feelings show up on his face immediately.
His nickname was Art. Though the game users appointed the nickname 『Bakalt』. 『Baka』+『Art』+『Cult』, with that, it was 『Bakalt』.(1)
Why ‘cult’ was in it, was because inside the game, Art’s entourage would just follow his directions no matter how silly or inhumane of an act it was.『Do they do it even with logic?』『No, these were already fanatics, and you should probably call it as it is』, thus, it seemed this nickname marked an end to that debate.
『Art』was extraordinarily hedonistic, he didn’t have sufficient self-control. Although, he was remarked as an idiot, strangely enough, he also had a clever side. To say the least, excelling at manipulating people was worrying.
Inside the game, whether it was planning for a party, dressing someone up, dressing fashionably himself, or even supporting love, he would do it for the fun of it. Gambling, taking drugs, bullying, and killing small animals were also the same things to him.
The first time I met him, I recalled him from inside the game and thought, 『it’s over』. In front of such a fearsome opponent, there was nothing else I could do.
The unique thing about Art, among all the capturable characters, was that a serious past wasn’t even alluded to. Even in that area, he was said to be an idiot type as well. In fact, both his parents are in good health and it seems not even a rift was there, the youngest child of the six siblings held a somehow heartwarming setting. Well, he might have turned weird from being spoiled too much at present, though.
At any rate, there wasn’t even a trauma he had to overcome. If this was about his self-restraint, it could be a matter of how he could be endowed with it. Like embedding a microchip into his brain.
Fortunately, though, I honestly don’t know whether to say if it was good or not.
Art was a boy who was terribly picky with people. Since I’m the daughter of a duke, he listens to the things that I, his senior, says well enough.
But, even though I say he listens, it was to the extent where he’d feel inclined to return a response like「eh~~」 or 「don’t wanna」 to my scoldings. Though not quite satisfactory, since the notion called the hierarchical system got into his head, I was treated as the boss.
I put it upon myself. Without fail, I decided that this crafty, tyrannical child had to be domestica– educated.
That was meant as a joke.
At least, for Art, it was certain he thought people who held more authority than him had to restrain him some way or another. There was the matter of Solana-sempai’s request for help and, fortunately for me, a dependable fiance and a little brother was there too.
Solana-sempai = the effort from Art’s home. After a long journey returning home, it looks like she surrounded Art and persuaded him. Telling him, 「if you listen to what Lycoris-chan says, you won’t go wrong. If there’s anything worrying you, go consult it with her」
No, that was pretty troublesome though, sempai.
Leaving the child’s education to the school’s hands, much less, to a single student’s, was a practice I’d really like to end.
It was that very Art, who rushed over after seeing us from a distance, coming into view.
Taking his entourage along with him in droves.
And then, speaking to me.
「Long time no see~ Lady Boss. Were you lonely without me?」
Bak… Art uses the nickname「Boss」 even with Wolf. In his head, dorm leader = boss, it seemed. Incidentally, he referred to Shade as『Sempai』.
「… haven’t I asked you repeatedly to stop with that way of calling?」
「Why not? It’s spot on, isn’t it?」
「If you keep something like that up until you reach the high society of the royal court, I’ll have to use everything I can to drive you to stop, won’t I…?」
My grudge was muffled out by a somewhat frightened Art,「It’s not like I meant anything bad by it. Right guys?」, he said, talking to his entourage behind him. Moreover, the simultaneously nodding entourage was a lot of five people today. The breakdown of which was two guys and three girls.
Art’s entourage, which sometimes increases, decreases, or swaps people, fundamentally didn’t approach us to talk. They’d only meet our gaze and lower their head. ‘Was there even some kind of agreement going around here?’, which at first I doubted, but it seems there was an agreement. I don’t even get it.
Only one person amongst the members talks to us when necessary – a boy. As Art’s male cousin, he was almost regularly at Art’s side. You could probably call him a watchdog, but I don’t believe he was actually carrying out that role. He simply watches after all.
「In the first place, why did you come here, Art?」
「You’re only a fourth year, you’re not a dorm prefect yet. Go stand in the students’ line!」
「I’m a associate prefect, you know!」
「I know, but… we’re fine without the associate prefects coming here today」
「Don’t wanna! I wanna be here too!」
「I can’t give just you special treatment you know…」
I was seized by exhaustion.
He didn’t understand the reason why he’s not being given special treatment.
He didn’t know why we’re ending a fun thing like this.
At such a time, Art faced us and asked『Why?』. The difference with those words compared to when a small child was asking because he wanted to know, was that there was irritation involved. 『Up till now I’ve been excused for everything I did, so why won’t you guys excuse me?』was the sort of irritation he had though.
Every time I heard this, I pondered. For three years, I’ve watched him from relatively up close. But I honestly couldn’t understand him even a little bit, could I? The belief that we’d become a little friendly as we talked – wasn’t that nothing more than just my delusion? I mean, as proof of that, didn’t he just go as far as to question my reasonable words with a『why』?
I was still stumped on how to reply, when Wolf and Shade drove the sulky Art off, sending him back to his seat. The group following him from behind was, as always, completely silent.
I heaved out a sigh.
And right then, I noticed the faint scent of drifting agarwood.
「Pardon the delay」
Politely saying it in that fashion and lowering his head in a beautiful gesture was Ru Xiang.(2) The owner of this agarwood scent.
Matching his movements, his straight, glossy black hair swayed. His unique hairstyle, which was cut in a way so as to put layers at the side of his face, suited him quite well. Just by him being there, it was like a one-of-a-kind world had been created. His white clothes of slightly unusual construct was delicately embroidered with a silver thread. A young boy with an exotic air around him.
Well, it’s troubling whether the term “young boy” that I ended up saying was enough. Wolf and Shade were already clearly endowed with physiques of young boys, in spite of this and in comparison, Ru Xiang was slender. Though, with a tall, slim figure and a perpetual serene smile, it was evident that he was transitioning from a young boy to a young man.
After Ru Xiang reported the students’ situation to Wolf, he very quietly entered into our circle.
He was another one of the dormitory prefects. And, another one of the game’s capturable characters as well.
His birthplace was unclear even within the school. A person of particular noble character had been the only explanation provided.
Inside the game, there was a scene where 『Ru Xiang』talked about his mother. Saying, she was a degenerate. An extreme woman. A person who concealed all her wants. A person who had been referred to as decline and destruction.
He had a strong complex towards women. He considered loving their womanhood, not just about sexual desire, but even as far as simple attachments, as vile. Having a partiality towards inorganic substances which didn’t have desires, when he became troubled with a fondness towards the heroine, immediately, he went as far as to consider killing her while she was still beautiful. However, with all his might, he never acted on it.
He had been the only character inside the game who truly didn’t give off a violent aura. The sick part of him – the quick aggressiveness – never did materialize. The only time his route turned bizarre, was when he made a remark to the heroine saying 『the things that you like, I want it gone』. Even with that, since his route was gentle even for a story, no matter what choices were picked, the heroine does not get killed nor does anyone else die for that matter. At least, none as far as I remember.
The Ru Xiang in front of me right now was an earnest student.
Enthusiastic to learn, well-mannered, and a firm protector of the law. Even though there were times his earnest side clashes with Shade when they don’t meet a compromise, there wasn’t a situation wherein he held a grudge against me, whom was that guy’s older sister.
Even now, he lightheartedly called me 「Lycoris-sempai」.
I probably shouldn’t be off guard.
The heroine — 『Lily』 had appeared in school, which means, the time of the game had begun.
(1) BAKA + ARUTO + KARUTO = BAKARUTO.
I thought of something to westernize it: Dolt + Alto + Cult = Dault. But let’s stick to Japanese so I don’t go off.
(2) Ru Xiang(瑞香) : his name is taken from the flower of Daphne.