“Congratulations, Princess Ilyrana! I must admit, I am quite jealous of you right now,” Naomi says, pouting playfully.
While Layla, Zakira, and Maya have no particular reaction to my decision (they already knew I was going to choose between the two Elven princesses), the same could not be said for Leena and Ilyrana.
Ilyrana is visibly shocked— she probably didn’t expect me to choose her after the angry and (somewhat) rude behavior she showed me. Leena, on the other hand, still has a faint smile on her face— her expression hasn’t changed at all. But somehow, her eyes look scarily dark and empty— and they’re sending chills down my spine.
“While it’s unfortunate, I recognize and accept your decision, Jacob,” Zakira says solemnly.
“On a totally unrelated note, I would like to inform Princess Ilyrana that I will be making a formal visit to the Elven country as well— right after we’re done with the magical tournament. I suppose there’s no problem with that, right?” she asks, raising her eyebrows.
Ilyrana frowns at this.
“A formal visit? Is it sanctioned by your father?” she asks doubtfully.
“Of course, it is,” Zakira answers promptly. “If you want, I can show you the official papers.”
“I was merely asking. You’re most welcome to visit our country whenever you want, Princess Zakira,” Ilyrana says coolly, finally reverting back to her calm self.
So, this is what Zakira meant when she said that she will be able to help me out in certain ways and keep me safe.
“Interesting… You know what? I suddenly feel like vising your country as well, Princess Ilyrana. I will be coming along with Princess Zakira after the tournament,” Naomi jumps in on this, smiling innocently.
The corner of Ilyrana’s mouth twitches. She is getting a bit irritated now.
“… You’re welcome as well, Miss Naomi. And I thank you for not trying to visit us unannounced this time. We nearly declared a state of emergency the last time you came,” she says, her lips getting thin.
“Oh, don’t mention it,” Naomi says, waving her hand as though she’s doing her a favor.
“By the way, you’re being too quiet, Princess Leena. Isn’t this the right time to say— whatever you want to say?” she says, turning to Leena suggestively.
But it doesn’t seem like Leena is paying any attention to her. Her eyes are transfixed on me, looking fierce.
“Come upstairs with me, Jacob. I need to talk to you privately,” she says in a toneless voice, standing up all of a sudden.
“Why don’t you talk to him here, Princess Lenna? Rest assured, none of us will interrupt your conversation,” Zakira says immediately.
Though Leena doesn’t reply to her either. She just strides to the stairs, heading straight up.
“I will— I will be back in a few minutes,” I say, standing up as well.
Zakira tries to stop me, looking concerned. But I hold up my hand to tell her that it’s okay.
Moving upstairs, I notice that the door of my room is wide open. So, I enter inside, only to find Leena standing next to my bed— looking absolutely livid.
“Close the door,” she says quietly.
I gulp down the saliva in my mouth, doing as she says. Clearly, she was suppressing her anger downstairs. And I have a bad feeling that it’s about to burst.
“J-Just listen to me, Princess Leena. I was—”
“Why would you do this to me, Jacob!?”
As expected, she starts the moment I close the door, not even letting me say anything first. Even though her voice is still not very loud (obviously because others would hear her otherwise), the anger saturated in it is quite frightening.
“Do you even know how humiliating that was for me!? All the while, I was bragging to Ilyrana about how close we are! That our relationship is more than what it is between a student and a teacher— we’re friends!” she says, her eyes reddening.
“I was even confident enough to tell her that she stood no chance against me, her invitation will never get accepted. But still, you went ahead and choose her over me! Is that all what I meant for you!? Just a medium to learn magic and discard when you find someone better, someone more useful!?
“I never thought you will turn out to be such a horrible person!” she finishes, finally breaking down and starting to shed tears.
Fuck… I never imagined that I will see a princess cry— let alone be responsible for it.
Leena takes a second to wipe her tears, and I immediately cease this chance to speak.
“But I was going to choose you! Honestly! But at the last second, I remembered something that forced me to change my decision,” I tell her desperately.
“F-Forced you?” she asks in a heavy voice, looking up in confusion.
“Yes! Do you recall what happened on the last day of my training!? After I was done showing you all the spells that I’ve learned?” I ask.
“Yes, we were talking about Ilyrana and then Zakira showed up—”
Leena stops speaking, her eyes widening and her cheeks getting flushed. Due to today’s excitement, she probably forgot what happened that day.
[Oh, shit! You’re talking about the—]
[Damn… I cannot believe I forgot about that as well. It’s extremely lucky that you didn’t, though. Nice going.]
“You see? This is why I choose Princess Ilyrana. I figured that if I go the Dark Elf kingdom, there’s a chance that, through magical means, someone will find out about the physical contact we made,” I tell her.
According to what Zakira told me, Leena would have to face severe consequences if this happens (as she was the one who touched me). But still, I cannot disregard the possibility that the blame might get pushed on me— which will probably result in my death.
And so, there’s no way I could’ve risked going to the Dark Elf Kingdom. With all things considered, that’s even more dangerous than going to the Vampire country with Zakira.
“I-I am… I am really sorry for getting angry, Jacob. I accused you without even thinking properly. You’re right, it’s highly likely that they will find out about— about what happened,” Leena says, looking down awkwardly.
Not only her anger has vanished, but she also looks downright ashamed. Though, just like the other day, there’s a note of nervousness in her voice as well.
“It’s okay, I understand. What matters is that I remembered everything on time, and didn’t choose you. Otherwise, after declaring it in front of everyone, it would’ve been impossible to withdraw my decision,” I say with a small shrug.
“I cannot thank you enough for that, Jacob. You don’t understand how big of a trouble you saved me from,” she says gratefully.
“But… I don’t think I deserve to ask this anymore, but why didn’t you choose Ilyrana and not Miss Naomi? After her disgraceful defeat today, she definitely detests you,” Leena asks, looking confused.
“I know, but I don’t trust Naomi for certain reasons,” I tell her truthfully.
And with a sudden stroke of genius, I add—
“And anyway, I want to spectate with my own eyes what’s waiting for Ilyrana once she returns home. After all, she did get defeated by me, a low-level human. Some interesting things are bound to happen,” I tell her.
Now, this is definitely not the reason why I choose to go with Ilyrana. But well, looking at Leena’s face, the effect of my words is imminent, and just as I expected.
Her lips slowly curl up into an unmistakable, yet strangely creepy smile. I can tell that she’s vividly imagining what I just said.
“Jacob, just so you know, you are my favorite person,” she tells me, looking ecstatic (and— don’t tell me— a bit shy?).
“And yes, I have decided to go to the White Elf Kingdom along with you and others— there’s is no way I can miss what’s about to happen there.”