Looking back, it was just a brief period of peace.
The next day, the ‘shocking news’ came to find me on her own.
“And, you know, Tristan is terrible~.”
“He always went ‘Ilse would have done this,’ ‘Ilse would have done that,’ Ilse Ilse Ilse Ilse. He was constantly comparing me to Ilse. Isn’t that awful~?!”
Esther was fuming, but I could only nod with no expression.
Just what kind of thought process could have led her to the idea that it’s appropriate for the person who stole my fiancé to report to me why she broke up with him?
It was as if I was looking at a creature from a different dimension.
“And Tristan’s mother is so scary. She made me cry so many times.”
“Is that so.”
“And yet, Tristan completely refused to defend me in front of her~. He said she’s just trying to help me!”
She’s trying to justify herself for some reason, but basically, I think she was already satisfied as soon she cleared the challenge of stealing a fiancé. I knew she would probably get bored of him someday, but I honestly never thought it would only take a month. By now, my babbling friends all said that “the vicious woman casually dumped Tristan after stealing him away, and he’d gotten so depressed that he looks like a mere shadow of his former self!”.
“Are you even listening to me?!”
It was a short break, but valuable study time nonetheless.
Even now, despite having to spare some attention to give Esther my perfectly acceptable responses, I didn’t halt my studies.
I’ve already given up on totally ignoring her. Was she always this tough, to be able to keep approaching me despite being repeatedly driven away? I’ve since come to realize that the quickest way to get it over with was to just let her talk until she’s satisfied.
To that end, I’ve devoted myself to become an expert yes-man, not even making eye contact.
“So anyways~, Tristan—” Oh, for the love of God, just hurry up and go back to your own classroom.
“Looks like I won once again.”
“It’s just a fifteen-point difference. Well within the margin of error.”
“Yes, but all those minor differences accumulate and add up to a considerable gap.”
Standing side-by-side in front of the exam rankings posted in the hallway, I talked with Albert, a close friend and rival.
He was a calm, clear-headed man. Ever since we entered this school, we’ve been competing for the top spot in our grade, and we both recognized the other’s talent.
But recently, Albert’s reputation in my mind has fallen down the drain.
“Ilse~, please listen to my story.”
“Hey, isn’t she your friend? Don’t you feel sorry for her?”
When I unhesitatingly replied to Esther’s latest outburst, Albert smiled and tried to shush me down.
“It’s alright, Esther. Ilse seems to want to bask alone in the glow of her victory.”
“Ehh~, that’s…” Albert gently stroked Esther’s head as she mimicked crying and clung to him.
There was nothing I could do but watch it with blank eyes.
School has already ended, but there was still a lot of traffic in the halls. I wonder if the two of them can act that way because they don’t see it as something they need to be ashamed of, or if they simply have no sense of shame.
It’s been two weeks since Esther and Tristan broke up.
In other words, it’s only been two weeks, yet here we are.
Ever since she came to report on her breakup with Tristan, Esther has been clinging to me and acting as though she was my friend. I guess she’s trying to use me as a tool to attract a new guy again. She probably thinks she could take advantage of all the aristocratic contacts I’ve gained thanks to my work in managing the family business.
And so, Esther had immediately turned all her efforts in Albert’s direction, with whom I’d studied in the library before the exam.
This time, rather than portray herself as the poor little bullied girl, she seemed to be going for the “a friend of my friend is also my friend” sort of cliché. I have no idea how she could have come up with such a brazen plan. Maybe her simple brain had seriously misunderstood my congratulating her for getting together with Tristan as having given her my favor.
At first glance, Albert looked like a nervous, grumpy man with an unapproachable atmosphere. Despite being the eldest son of a prominent family, and despite his good looks, he was feared by all the female students, and the only girl who could talk to him properly was me, with whom he competed for grades. Thanks to that, he didn’t seem to have heard the gossip, and didn’t know that Esther was the woman who stole my fiancé, only to abandon him soon after.
It was no wonder that Esther, who had eagerly approached him, intending to attract, would have a significant impact on his emotions. After all, he had devoted his entire life up to this point to his studies.
“fufu, Esther cries too easily.”
Albert’s cheeks relaxed at her sweet, nasal tone.
“He’s gotten incredibly flirty,” said Joshua, standing next to me as always.
“I wonder if it’s because he has no immunity to women.”
“He acted normal with Lady.”
“Oh, Albert doesn’t see me as a woman.”
“Ahh, he can only see you as a rival to compete with. I see how it is.”
In any case, it seems as though my calm and clear-headed friend had become utterly enamored with Esther.
When I realized what was going on, my fondness for Albert took a sudden plummet.
Once again, Esther’s doing her best to torment the poor translator with her「えぇ～んあるばーとぉ～」.Surely this must break some record for convoluted inflections. She’s basically mimicking a siren at this point. The type that alert before an earthquake, that is, not the mythological ones.