Arriving at the classroom, Rineri was the first to knock twice and open the door. Allenorus, who was at that moment explaining a term of history, looked to the door with a disappointed look, until he saw bandages and stopped teaching, walking up to Rineri.
“What happened, you seem to be in a poor state? Did anything happen on the way- Oh Shii is here too”, Allenorus said, looking in the hallway, before pushing Rineri back out and standing with both Shii and Rineri in the hallways.
“U-uh it’s a long story but nothing serious~” Shii replied nervously in Rineri’s stead to Allenorus with a hideously nervous smile. He was extra worried in case their secret is seen through by any chance… which would be a call for inevitable expulsion…
“We had a little run, being competitive… Ending with a tough fall, which you can see the effects of…”, Rineri blurted out rapidly, having a certain good alignment with lying about wounds… He had some scars before from failing magic, which he hid from his foster family.
“Ah… You should know that coming late is a grave mistake and a permanent mark on your records… I’ll just write a note, but be on time—it would be a waste to miss this chance, surely for you Rineri… You have nothing to return to, since… Now get to your places before I make you two a scene for the rest!” He raised his tone during the last sentence, opening the door again and walking to his desk.
“Y-yes! Our apologies!” Shii quickly followed up and entered the classroom with swiftness as his heart pounded harder and harder. Gazes fell on him with even greater curiosity after the classmates heard the loud commotion outside the classroom—some of them from familiar faces.
“Y-ye…”, Rineri barely spoke out, looking face down as he swiftly wandered to his desk and became the definition of silence. He knew what he meant, since his foster family took a big loan to allow Rineri to attempt a year in this school; being expelled would mean it was for nothing and probably mean his last year to be in a good standing…
Once more, the classes resumed with the presence of the day’s two eye-grabbers. Some gossiped, some questioned but thanks to the generosity of Allenorus, Rineri and Shii were ‘saved’.
Ring, ring, …. The bell rang, indicating that lunch time had come. The break before didn’t have much time to it since Rineri and Shii were asked by Allenorus to stay and catch up with the missed part of class. Now at lunch, they were excused to leave and allowed to freshen themselves up with a ‘fine’ meal…
Among the arrays of lunch tables, the two troublemakers sat on a solitary pick as they faced each other in preparation to discuss what comes next.
“Now, on to the important part”, Shii told Rineri in a serious tone as he grabbed his backpack, “either you or I will have to deliver the food everyday.” He said as he tapped his backpack—indicating that he had smuggled something of the relevant topic in there.
“Y-yeah… I’ll take some today too, w-we should perhaps switch t-ti-ime to t-time?”, Rineri proposed, having not really a good match with sneaking things in. As he took out his little bag, having left his bigger one for heavier days. Grabbing hold of some bread, he put it in, which was fine as a lot of students stored bread for the next break.
“You go today, I’ll keep watch and try to keep the gossip low. Is that okay?” Shii responded to Rineri with a question. He opened his bag and swiftly passed on a few more items to Rineri—packaged noodles, some chicken, and rice.
“Got it...” said Rineri while taking all the items, closing his bag and leaving for his dorm. His steps were normal, however his posture looked nervous but that owed some fit to his wounds and bandages, which masked away his nervousness.
Shii—at the time of Rineri’s departure—had only eaten 2/3 of his lunch. Just as he had resumed eating, another problem fell upon his table as his sight captured the existence of Ikene who was nearby alone.
-“Can I trust to have a conversation not from my initiative next time hehe~”- The previous words of Ikene echoed through his mind, forcing him into a decision that would sustain his reputation from receiving any further damage.
He waved over to her in an attempt to openly display his initiative. Ikene responded instantaneously upon seeing his wave and walked over towards the now fully lone lunch table of Shii.
“Oh you actually upheld your commitment, mister trouble~” was the comment she said after reaching his table. However, as part of her very nature, it was much more of a joke and tease than an actually insulting comment.
“I’m not trouble! Well, I am slightly so, but only this time…” He replied quickly even after recognizing that it wasn’t meant towards him seriously.
“Oh.. So? Did you duke it out with Rin or something?” Ikene asked Shii after sitting down at his table to face him straight forward.
“We duked it out but not violently. We were more of…competing I guess in a show of agility”. Shii explained as he recalled the memories of last night, allowing him to express genuine emotion, “Or so it was until we got ahead of ourselves and tripped off the stairs hideously”, he continued with a soft sigh.
“That's… Boys be boys I guess~ now now… You are hanging round-a-round our Rin more... Do you happen to know some secrets?~”, she whispered closely to his ear after leaning in, ending with a smug little smile.
Shii fell silent for a mere half-of-a-second before immediately trying to respond with composure,
“Not really… I can hang out with him but we’re not really that close yet”, he responded teasingly in hopes to shift the flow of the conversation in his winning favor.
“Oh oh- Are there any others you would like to get closer with-”, she took hold of his arm and whispered straight into his ear, trying to get a certain reaction. She knew that if he’d randomly push away, the whole cafetaria would react…
“I-I don’t particularly mind. It would be nice to have friends…” Shii spoke after gasping from the sudden move. He tried fairly hard to maintain his composure but the efforts of a near-adolescent human could only go so far—his voice stuttered and he blushed ever so subtly.
“If you ever have the need to study at later hours, you could alwa-”, just as she tried to get out with a teasing suggestion, her eyes fell on Violet… Who sat at the table behind—something was visibly going wrong between these two…
Even more embarrassed, Shii leaned slightly back and changed the subject,
“H-have you eaten your food yet? The break is going to end soon”
“I forgot...” She started as she pulled his hand to her and gently smiled, “Can I eat you?~”, she continued even though her tone didn’t really make it seem like a joke—it was, at least partly.
“Calm down, it’s still weeks off before the national event-” Shii—trying his best to keep his composure—replied, referring to the Cannibal game of the school competition. “But anyway, you can have the noodles. I didn’t eat them”, he told her and used his left arm to pass a package of noodles on the table towards her.
The lunch session continued further with some more little teases, until Nscar came by and picked Ikene up to catch up with—indiciating to Shii that he had even less time to finish his own food as class was about to begin.
Rineri had arrived at the door of his dorm, opening the door with a slight bit of anxiety since he just left her here. But as he saw through the gap of the door and saw her asleep on his bed, the feeling of relief but also haste came into play.
“I need to… Do what?” he blurted out, unsure of what actually was to be done right now. He needed help, but he couldn’t get Shii again. The rays of sun and noise of their surroundings reduced the quality and depth of the girl’s sleep, giving the shy Rineri a better advantage at approaching her but it hadn’t solved the problem completely while the food had started to get cold…
“Nmmm”, the girl muttered, her body turning to Rineri as her eyes were open. Tilting her head, she started to sit up straight and rub her eyes. Throwing her legs off the bed, she stood up and started walking to Rineri, who had now frozen in place.
“Y-you are u-up… Oh—good… I…I got food!” he initiated and opened his bag, grabbing out a random article, but before his hand left the bag he felt warmth, turning his face he noticed the girl was hugging him. His shyness faded a bit, as he instinctively patted her head, having a random name come up in his head…. Charlotte…
The classes of the day resumed once more with their stresses now settled. However, they still maintained not only boredom but newfound stresses and surprises from the events Shii and Rineri faced during the execution of their plans...