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   “Do you actually mean that?”

   Theo questioned me, holding a teacup in one hand.
   Hearing a loud clatter, I looked up to see the teacup had landed in the saucer, and nodded.

   “Is it something to be so surprised about?”

   “You really do, don’t you?”

   Theo smiled in disbelief, and exhaled gustily like he was sighing.
   The more he revealed of himself, the more it became apparent that he was actually quite sarcastic. I’d spoken my mind and asked him straight out, but it wasn’t anything he needed to laugh at me for.

   You won’t be forgiven! You hurt the princess, you know. You seriously bruised her tender feelings.

   I was merely poking around a little, asking about Lutz and the maid.

   Hilde Kramer had long, flaxen hair, and veridian green eyes. She was a beautiful, gentle girl. When she blushed and cast her eyes down, it tempted you to protect her. The briefest appearance of her sweet smile shot arrows through the heart of guys who loved the ingénue type.
   Such a cute girl was trying her best to make conversation with him, you know? Disregarding my suspicious self, if it had been a normal guy, it would have been strange for him to feel dislike.

   Like the Lutz from the game, if he had been a healthy young guy, he should’ve naturally been been moved by her kindness. Yet, why was he so stubbornly rejecting her?

   When I asked Theo, Don’t you think he wants someone to understand him? we get to the original scene. I don’t get it.

   “Ah, Lutz, you came at a good time.”

   Lutz was a little late to arrive, finishing up his errands, so Theo brought him into the conversation.

   “Huh?” Pause. “What?”

   I wonder if I’ll get ridiculed again. Even though I’m supposed to be the princess. I looked away a little, preparing a cup of black tea for Lutz.
   It may not sound convincing for the princess to be making tea, but with the maids backed away, and Klaus devastatingly useless at these sort of things, the duty was left to me.

   “Has a maid been acting very friendly with you lately?”


   Whoa. Things suddenly got chilly in here. All it took was one look to see a storm brewing.
   Lutz’s eyes became daggers, and his brows drew together sharply; even his voice became completely flat. If I were the recipient of his anger, it would’ve broken my courage.

   “The princess finds it rather strange for you to reject the maiden so adamantly. ‘Doesn’t he want someone to understand him?’ she asked me, you see.”

   How was that? Theo’s eyes asked, looking very entertained.


   In a heartbeat, Lutz turned his sharp gaze on me. Scary!!!
   Why was he glaring at me with such force?!

   Just like Theo, he was probably feeling the same exact feelings of disbelief. Finally, Lutz sighed and he insulted me to my face, “Are you a fool?”
   I couldn’t even retort.

   Strange. If there was a reason why he was avoiding Hilde, then I wanted to find out what it was. Why was I getting made fun of by these two? I couldn’t understand them.

   How unreasonable! I thought, placing a cup of tea in front of Lutz. He thanked me, wearing that sullen expression the whole time. I gave him dorayaki next, and the crease between his brows cleared and he became happier.
   When it came to putting Lutz in a good mood, there really was nothing as effective as sweets.

   “Hey, you. Even someone like me has the right to choose.”

   Got it? he declared in an angry voice.

   “That’s riiight. If someone had been starving because they were never fed, they would probably take a bite out of the treat in front of their eyes, but,” the know-it-all Theo started to say.


   What was he talking about?
   Treat? Was he referring to Hilde?

   At Theo’s words, Lutz nodded and turned to stare at me.

   Since when did the stagnant pools of his eyes become so clear? My face was reflected in his indigo eyes, an empty canvas the morning star shone brightly across.*

   After staring at my face for a short while, Lutz averted his eyes, and reached for a snack. He finished off the sentence, “Who would go after poisoned meat when they’ve been stuffed to the max with first class treats? They’d be a fool,” and took a bite of my handmade dorayaki.

   Huh? It wasn’t a metaphor, but a direct expression? By first class treats, did he mean the dorayaki? Perhaps Hilde was also trying to win him over with food, but…
   Tainted meat? There’s no way a person would eat something like that.

   Could it be? Has Lutz noticed something fishy behind Hilde’s kind façade?

   I wanted to ask him what made him so suspicious of Hilde, but before I could open my mouth, Lutz muttered in blank amazement, “What is this, delish!” and stared at the dorayaki, eyes rounded.


   I was happy he thought it was good, but right now I wasn’t trying to have a chat with him about dorayaki.

   “So soft and moist! Hey, tell me the truth, what is this thing? The filling is really weird. It’s not jam or cream. It’s sweet but not heavily so, it’s seriously too good!”

   Heeey, Lutz. The princess is trying to have a serious conversation with you right now.
   It’d please her more than anything. Read the mood. The mood!

   “Lutz. The princess looks like she wants to ask you about the maid?”

   “That’s not worth my time. This is more important, don’t you think?”

   As if!
   Hey you, when you compare your future to dorayaki, you’d rather choose dorayaki?!

   I pressed my forehead, waiting for the headache to pass.
   Next to the dorayaki-entranced Lutz, Theo was looking at me with gross amusement.

   You damned secret sadist…

   Pushing my disgust out of the way, I asked Lutz, “You like it that much?”

   His eyes lit up, unusually so when they were always half-closed with disinterest. What a great sweet tooth.
   Poison couldn’t bring that out.

   “I’ll make it again next time. I’ll change the filling.”

   “No need. This tastes better than jam or cream.”

   He really liked the red bean paste.

   Cold dorayaki for the season would be delicious, but…the icehouse, how could I get permission to use it? Looking at the wondering face of Lutz, I hit upon a solution.


   I struck the palm of my hand with my fist.
   Even if I can’t use the icehouse, there was a refrigerator right in front of me!

   “Heeey, Lutz. You wanna try making frozen sweets with your magic power?” I asked.



   Lutz’s and Theo’s eyes became perfect circles in synchrony, and they stared at me with their mouths wide open.

   “Frozen sweets?”

   “Right! All the I need is fresh cream, eggs, and sugar. No worries, I’ll make sure to get permission from Miss Irene.”

   Miss Irene looked strict, but she wasn’t inflexible. She liked anything that amused her, and if I told her it would make good practice, I’m confident she would permit it.
   If I wanted to make real pastries, fine control of his magic power would be necessary. He would need to keep it a continuous, uniform temperature, so I’m sure it would prove fairly challenging.

   When you think of it that way, don’t you agree it was a great idea?
   Lutz can train his magic, and I can eat ice cream!

   While I was lost in fond memories, Lutz said in a withering voice, “Hey, you.** Are you planning on turning me into an icehouse?” His head was hanging down so I couldn’t see his expression, but his shoulders were shaking.

   Oh, crap. Did I make him upset?

   “If Lutz is an icehouse… Then am I a stove…?”

   Theo was covering his mouth with his right hand, head also bowed down.
   Like Lutz, his shoulders were shaking as well.

   Oh…! Now that he mentioned it, I also had an oven right next to me.

   If my inner voice were to leak out right now, they probably wouldn’t hesitate to yell at me. Keeping my mouth shut, I ransacked my thoughts.

   Did I say something rude? It hadn’t been my intention to make fun of them. On the contrary, I thought they had great abilities.
   Apologizing might be the only right thing to do.

   “Lutz, Theo, I’m—”


   —sorry, I murmured, but my voice was drowned out by their loud honking.


   I froze, taken aback.
   They were roaring with laughter, their bodies bent forward. Sometimes they’d cough violently in the the middle of their booming laughs.

   “Hey, icehouse!”

   “Hey yourself, stove!”

   They pointed at each other, calling each other those names, until their labored breathing became serious.
   These…these assholes!

   “You two…”

   “Pr-princess, you’re the best!! Capturing the wizard with the greatest level power, and using him as an icehouse…!!”

   “This is too ridiculous! Just a few weeks ago, you were saying you were afraid of us. Isn’t your sense of danger too underdeveloped?!”


   I did say I was afraid of their unknown powers, so even though Lutz was making fun of me for having a bad memory, I couldn’t refute him.
   My face stiffened. So I’m the worst for capturing two genius wizards and treating them as arefrigerator & an oven. Ending the dorayaki topic, we were supposed to switch to the maid. The fact that we seriously moved on to desserts instead may have made me too miserable to say anything.

   But you know, they didn’t have to laugh that hard.

   “You’re heartless…”

   “So-sorry. Princess.”

   If you laugh when you apologize, you definitely won’t be forgiven!

   These assholes really had no intention of apologizing!

   My foul mood dropped to the pits, and turned away from them in a huff. Call me a brat if you want to. I am a brat. I’m a 10 year old bishoujo!

…I’m very sorry, I got carried away.

   “This will make you feel better.”

   I raised my head in astonishment when Lutz leaned in close to gently pat my hair, a rare smile on his face.
   Considering it was this tsundere, my eyes opened wide at seeing that gentle expression.

   “Look. Because you’re like that, our stomachs are already full. Got it?”

   “Right, right. We’re satisfied, so we don’t need anything else.”

   They said it kindly, trying to console me, but I couldn’t feel myself calm down.
   I wondered what they meant, saying that their stomachs were full, that they were satisfied? Iwondered, but I didn’t have luxury of exploring those thoughts deeply.

   First things first, I needed to take care of the danger in front of me.

   “Lutz, could you stop patting my head immediately?” I asked him seriously, and he stared at me in question.

   It wasn’t about me trying to hide my embarrassment, or because I hated being treated like a child.

   “Klaus’s blood thirst isn’t completely hidden.”

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