Tristan, his spirits now restored, has begun to aggressively pursue Esther every day, unaware that all his attempts to make her fall in love with him managed to achieve was annoying her. Whenever something didn’t go as he expected, he would immediately run over to me for advice. This happened so frequently that I had to choose a permanent spot for our meetings in a less popular part of school.
Of course, just because it was unpopular didn’t mean it was entirely empty. I knew that some people would note our frequent meetings there, and carefully governed my behavior to create an atmosphere intimate enough to incite rumors of a reunion—but not enough to turn it into public fact.
“Listen to this, Ilse! I’ve asked Esther out, and she agreed to have lunch with me!” Tristan ran over and breathlessly gave his report.
It’s only been two weeks since our plan was put into motion. Even so, rumors about Tristan and me have already begun to circulate little by little, and girls with more romance-attuned senses started getting excited.
“Oh. That’s great, Tristan. Your sincerity was properly conveyed,” I smiled and congratulated him. That’s interesting. It took two weeks, but Esther finally took the bait.
“Do you think so?! Esther really is a kind girl. She’s going to eat with me tomorrow.”
“That’s wonderful. By the way, did she ask anything about the two of us?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, she asked a lot of questions, like if I made up with Ilse, or what was I talking about with Ilse…”
“She’s pretty easy to understand,” Joshua murmured next to me.
“So, what did you answer?”
“Let’s see… Ilse listens to my problems and is kind to me, just like back when we were engaged.”
“Ufufu. She must have had a very amusing look on her face.”
This was precisely what I was aiming for—And all I had to do to get here was stay patient and act like a yes-man, just like when we were betrothed.
Tristan answered with his usual naive obliviousness and wouldn’t have caught on to something like that in the first place, but Esther must have been quite upset. Too bad. I wish I could have been there to see it from up close.
“Esther must have been worried that she’d ruined things between us. She’s a really good girl, after all. So I let her rest assured and told her that the bond between Ilse and me would never be broken.”
“Tristan, how should I say this… You should probably forget everything you think you know and relearn about the female heart from scratch.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever manage to figure it out.”
I’ve no doubt Esther tried to gather witness reports, which would have told her about the two of us sitting closely and speaking warmly with each other, our faces smiling and our voices too low to be heard by passersby. It’s only natural that she would believed Tristan’s words.
In fact, I genuinely was smiling with all my heart, because I enjoy watching things progress according to plan. Tristan was also doing his best and reverted to his usual upbeat self, so I’m sure the atmosphere looked very cheerful from the side.
Of course, Joshua was always by my side, so we were never actually alone. But Joshua was pretty good at disguising his presence, and more importantly, he was always with me, so no one seemed to pay him any mind.
In truth, my romantic discussions with Tristan were limited to the most trivial, dull subjects he needed help with, but as I sat with him, I could sense Esther slowly appear on the edge of my vision. I guess she can’t help but worry about us. I love seeing people move exactly as I expected them to. It’s like the feeling you get when a new business venture starts turning out as much profit as you’d hoped.
“You shouldn’t let Miss Jones worry and think we’re still at odds with each other. Make sure you explain to her at tomorrow’s lunch that I’m supporting you, alright?”
“Oh, of course. I’m grateful for your advice, so I’ll let bygones be bygones about our broken engagement.”
You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re the one who did it in the first place, so how come you’ll be the one to “let bygones be bygones”? Are you insane?
“…I’m so happy~.”
That’s all I could say. I was barely holding back the urge to lecture the asshole.
“Lady, your face. Scary.” Joshua whispered that simple comment and poked me on the shoulder. Realizing that my face had gone completely still, I hurriedly plastered on a smile.
My ex-fiancé, muddled by love, didn’t even notice the change, his thoughts drifting to god knows where.
“I’d say we’re about a week away from our quarry jumping into the trap.”
“You think? I’d gamble three days at most.”
The day after my last conversation with Tristan, Joshua and I said so and placed our bets on the table in my living room.
“Trista~n! Would you like to come home with me today? Oh, hello there, Ilse! I didn’t notice you were there~!”
Esther had finally stepped into the trap we’ve set up, full of cheerful enthusiasm.
- Plan means Keikaku. You happy, Vitamin?
- I’m not entirely sure, but it’s possible that there wouldn’t be a chapter release tomorrow. If so, I’ll take that chance to decide what to translate next.
- Apparently the separators weren’t visible enough, so I’ve tried to change them in three different ways over this chapter (note the one version that was placed before the chapter navigation buttons).
To be honest, I prefer like the minimal look of the original color, but if no one notices it (or if they’re confused for cracks) then it doesn’t matter much.
Please let me know which one you prefer. I’ll take it into account when deciding with which design to go.