Chapter Seventeen: Key Items You Can’t Be A Happy Camper Without
“Let’s… Let’s take a quick break…”
“No, I think we better keep going. You’re starting to get the gist of it.”
Lord Gilbert is a teacher from hell. I’m taking dance lessons from him for the upcoming dreaded evening party, but they are not exactly how you’d picture a typical dancing lesson. There’s a twist.
The class’s name should be: How to Dance Blindfolded to Protect Against Living Light Hazards.
I was told that each Princess Candidate would have to dance a piece with Gilbert at the evening party. Since I have neither the audacity to make my escape from the Castle before the event takes place nor the dancing skills to perform, I had no choice but to submit to these lessons and practice obediently.
Of course, dancing being a requisite part of being a noble lady of any rank, I am familiar with the basics. But I can’t even remember the last time I danced at a ball, so it’s taking some time to regain the feel for it.
It’s not that I am clumsy or lack dancing instincts. I’m a girl who likes moving and shaking her body too, you know? But the dancing partner in this case… Yikes.
Even more so, to dance the waltz blindfolded, without visual information, the rest of my body feels like it’s drunk. Even if you cover your eyes, they’ll still roll around beneath your eyelids, you know! As I have said before, my body is blessed with strength thanks to all the daily farm work, but dancing and farming are two very different physical activities. Some muscles I didn’t know I had, has been screaming for a break.
We have been dancing for about an hour. I’m about to bump into the limits of my body.
I shook off Gilbert’s hand from my waist and tottered towards a chair at the edge of the room. Just by having a glass of clear water on it, the side table next to the chair seemed like an oasis in the desert, so you can imagine how tired and dried up I was.
“How are you feeling?”
I’m not too fond of Glenn’s cheekily unconcerned expression.
Moreover, the timing of his appearance is late. Had he shown up a little earlier, I would have been able to take a break before getting this exhausted.
Smoldering with irritation at the wrong culprit, I sipped from the glass of water while sending a death stare at Sir Glenn through a gap between the locks of hair hanging in front of my face.
“The item His Highness ordered was finished just a few minutes ago, so I brought it with me.”
Death gaze effect: zero.
Ah! I probably strained my death-gazed eyes because it hurt a little just now. I wish I hadn’t given in to my dark side there.
When humans get tired, they lose their capacity for patience, their hearts become hardened, and their mood becomes aggressive.
I was lying limp in my chair, like a shapeless Lina-blob, when Glenn walked up to me and held out a velvet box. It looked like the kind that would hold a necklace or another deluxe item of the sort.
It was a nice-looking box, but I was not in the mood to look at pretty things in my drained state. I just shifted my eyes from the box to Glenn, asking with my baleful stare if this box was important enough to interrupt my rest… I mean, my hard-earned break? Sorry, Sir Glenn, but if I’m opening my mouth, it’s only to drink from the life-giving water on the side table.
“Excellent timing, Glenn.”
Gilbert walked briskly to Glenn, snatched the box from the side, and then walked behind me. Outside my field of vision, I heard him opening it and then handling something metallic. In an instant, both his hands came from behind me and moved straight towards my face. Given Gilbert’s hands’ previous offense record on my person, I reflexively shut my eyes and shrugged my shoulders defensively, but then I felt something placed on top of my ears and nose. Gilbert’s hands were then gone as swiftly as they had come.
“Open your eyes. I’m behind, to your right.”
Gilbert placed his hand on my right shoulder to indicate where he was standing. Since I started spending time with him, Gilbert has come to be mindful of not standing in front of me. He also pats my shoulder to let me know where he is, so I don’t have to worry about accidentally turning my head towards him, eyes wide open, and getting scorched again.
I gently open my eyes.
I can see!
I can really see!
I forgot my tiredness and stood up in an instant. I raised my hands to my head. I confirmed by touch that what had been bestowed upon me was a pair of glasses. I began to turn my head and look around all over the place.
The world of fuzzy things blurring into each other was just an illusion! The real world was this clear and distinct and crisp!
Moreover, is this handsome guy Sir Glenn? He is a lot younger than I thought! Wow, so this is what he really looks like.
“Please don’t just look at my face. Allow us to hear your impressions.”
“I CAN’T SEE IT!!!”
Sir Glenn was knocked a complete step back by my sudden scream. You don’t get it, Sir Glenn!
“A-are the lenses the wrong grade?”
That’s not it! The world of fundamental shapes is lovely! I can see the world just fine, but that’s not why I screamed!
Sir Glenn continued to be disturbed as I slowly raised a shaking finger pointed at him as if I was beholding something horrifying.
“Aura! Where is your aura!?”
Panicked, I just grabbed unto Glenn’s shoulders with outstretched arms.
“Why! Why!? Why don’t you have an aura anymore!?”
By the time Gilbert reached from behind and grabbed my arms, my farm work-strengthened arms had turned poor Sir Glenn into a bobblehead doll.
“Calm down, Lina. What about me? Take a look.”
Gilbert turned me around to face him while the now free Glenn coughed and struggled to regain his composure behind my back.
I don’t care anymore!
I must know!
I opened my eyes…
What’s going on!!!
Who is this terrifyingly handsome blue-eyed blonde guy in front of me!!!
What have you done with Gilbert!?
Golden hair playfully swaying in front of his eyes. Azure eyes, which are contoured by long eyelashes. The well-defined nose bridge divides two perfect sets of sharp eyebrows, the refined thin lips and the slightly droopy eyes that are actually super sexy. All the necessary parts are here! They are appropriately placed and installed in what I can only call a work of art.
And isn’t that face looking into mine with eyes overflowing with kindness?
“L… Lo… Lor… Lord Gi… Gil… Gilbert…”
My widely opened eyes forgot how to blink.
“Am I still dazzling?”
“Ye… Yes… Very dazzling…”
I gently turned my face down.
I got embarrassed because he was too handsome and it made my stupid heart go thump-thump. It’s even more embarrassing to think that this ridiculously handsome guy was staring at me with undivided attention.
“Hey, why are you acting so weird? Take another look!”
“I don’t want to! I can’t!“
Please don’t ask me to do crazy things. If I keep looking at such a handsome guy, I will… I will…
As if he knew that one word would trigger me, Gilbert whispered sweet-nothings into my ear that made a chill run down my spine, so I instinctively straightened my back.
“Look! I’m not dazzling anymore, am I?”
What is he talking about? Look at that dazzling smile! Oh no, this is bad, bad, bad! Why does Gilbert look so happy!?
“Try to properly see if my aura is still visible.”
Gilbert softly, but firmly placed his hands on my cheeks, making it so that I was looking straight into his eyes. He returned the look, staring at me intensely.
Don’t do that!
There’s nothing to look at!
I’m just a run-of-the-mill girl with glasses!
“May I interrupt?”
Before I had time to notice Glenn behind me, his hands had swiftly lifted my brand new glasses off my face.
“Sir Glenn! What are you doing! My eyes are going to go bad!”
I broke off from Gilbert’s hold and turned to Glenn, protesting with a terrifying frown. There was a smoky black patch in my field of vision, typical of what you’d see after having looked at an intense light.
I felt oddly calm, however… Finding myself again surrounded by the familiar, ambiguous, blurry world.
“I deserve your scowl, but at least we have determined a key fact.”
What are you talking a… Oh, I get it!
“I can’t see auras when my vision is working properly.”
This whole thing began like this. As my myopia progressed, so did my aural perception. Now I can see that the converse is true; improving my eyesight seals away my aural sight! Interesting!
“These glasses that His Highness kindly arranged for… Too bad you don’t want them.”
No, no, no!
“I will use them with gratitude!”
I said so hurriedly as I snatched the glasses off Sir Glenn’s paws. I hugged them as if reuniting with something precious and bowed my head deeply to leave no doubts about my appreciation. The well-defined, clear-looking world is terrific.
“The person you should be thanking is standing behind you. I wish the glasses also fixed cluelessness.”
I’m sorry. That’s right, Gilbert arranged this, right?
“Thank you very much for making me such a wonderful thing!”
For a while, it seems that I will be able to enjoy myself incredibly just by doing the most ordinary things like taking a walk in the gardens or just looking at people in a whole new light.
“I’m glad you were pleased. Then, from now on, whenever you meet me, be sure to wear your glasses.”
“Eh!? No, that’s a little…”
If he’s dazzling in the literal sense, I have an excellent excuse to turn my face away. But with these glasses, that defense poofs away into nothingness, and I am left fully exposed and defenseless at his figurative dazzlingness. Yes, that’s right. The prince turned out to be dazzling in a whole ‘nother sense of the word. One that I’m not confident in dealing with face-to-face either!
“Make. Sure. To. Wear. Your. Glasses! Got it?“
Gilbert said intently as he squeezed my shoulders to reinforce the point. He left me with no response possible other than…
“Great! Now let’s continue the dance practice, but now with the glasses on. Ready?”
My eye safety had been guaranteed, but my mind and body are mortal too, you know! Shouldn’t we call it a day and let me rest well to prepare for the big event ahead mentally?
“Le… Let’s stop for today. Lord Gilbert, you must be a bit weary?”
“Don’t worry. I can go another hour easily.”
This is precisely not the time to try to woo a girl by showing how good your physical condition is.
I sighed resignedly as Gilbert stepped up to me and held me in dance position again. Resistance was futile. I wanted to keep my face away from him as his aura lasered my retinas.
“Lina, look up. Your pose is awkward.”
I know. I know.
My brain whipped my unwilling body into compliance, forced my spine straight, and raised my face.
“Hey, why are you closing your eyes? You have the glasses on.”
I’m sorry, a part of me won’t stop resisting.
Gilbert noticed every time I acted suspiciously during the dance and insisted that I function as I usually do.
For the next hour, Gilbert, who, true to his word, did not show a hint of tiredness, seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. While all I could think about was the muscular pain I would have to wake up to within the morning. It’s hard to understand what’s so interesting about making me spin like a top.
Come on already.
I’m super tired.