Ch. 135 I Was Scared (2)

It was Professor Lassen!

Stella ducked her head and hid behind Professor Hill. If Professor Lassen found out that she left the infirmary and was neither attending classes nor working on her statement, she would definitely get into trouble.

“Hello, Professor Lassen.”

Professor Hill’s voice was steady, to Stella’s surprise. She had expected his usual timid stammering.

“How are the preparations for the forum with the Imperial Research Institute going? Any problems?”

Stella gripped Professor Hill’s coat as Professor Lassen’s voice drew nearer.

“No problems.”

“The dean wants no mistakes.”


“This will be a great opportunity for you, as you have strong connections to Lassen.”

“A great opportunity for me…Yes.”

There was a hint of disdain in his voice, but Professor Lassen didn’t seem to notice.

“I’ll look forward to it, then.”

Professor Lassen’s voices receded. She seemed to be returning to the faculty room in a hurry, and the pair stood frozen until she was out of sight.

“Oh my god, I’m sorry! Just grabbing you all of a sudden…Did I hurt you?”

Professor Wayne Hill turned around and started fussing over Stella, and she let go of his coat.


“Well, I, sorry…”

Stella realized that he was apologizing for grabbing her wrist. However, thanks to him, she didn’t run into Professor Lassen.

“Well, then…”

Professor Hill’s jabbering faded away and he began to walk again. What a strange professor! In the blink of an eye he went from confident to meek.

The pair of them passed several students, the cafeteria, then began climbing a somewhat steep ascent.

“That’s the caretaker’s strawberry field.”

He pointed towards an open field, though there were currently no strawberries.

“So the flowers I received are strawberry flowers?”

He shook his head.

“No, I just wanted to point it out to you.”

After taking a short rest in the strawberry field, Professor Hill began to walk again.

“Do we really have to go up this hill?”

“…You don’t want to?”

He looked back with some regret.

“O-oh, it’s just that I’ve never been here before…”

“It will be fun. I promise!”

He flashed a bright smile and excitedly began to climb up the hill. What on earth was this? Stella just wanted to know the name of the flower, and now they were climbing up some unknown place. Still, the leaf-strewn path wasn’t too objectionable.

Basrak, basrak.

Stellar’s pace was a little slower, and her feet kicked up the fallen leaves every time she took a step.

“Are you tired?”

He seemed concerned about her slow pace.


She tried to say she was fine, but she was out of breath due to the lack of exercise. She hoped she didn’t seem weak.

“We’re almost there. Oh…here…”

He wiggled an arm inside his sleeve and stretched it out to Stella.

“Would you like to hold on to this?”


Stella stared at the drooping white sleeve.

‘Professor, how timid are you…’

He’d be even more flustered if she refused him here, so she grabbed on to the clothing. They looked a comical pair, but Stella found the going easier as the professor tugged her upwards.

Finally, the ground leveled out. The professor didn’t say anything, but Stella knew they had reached their destination. The red flowers she was looking for were blooming right at her feet.


There were no trees around here, and so strong sunlight bathed the petals. Perhaps that was how they got their brilliant red hue. The wind stirred the flowers, and that was when Stella relaxed. In spite of the cool weather, she had a light layer of sweat on her.

“Did they come all this way…”

“Yes, perhaps. If they brought you these flowers, they would have.”

Professor Hill answered her clearly.

“It must have been difficult.”

“Very difficult.”

When she heard that last word, she remembered her situation.

“…Are you tired?”

Stella shook her head automatically, but Professor Hill didn’t seem satisfied. He remained silent, as if he were still waiting for an answer.

“I…I don’t have the time.”

Stella finally spoke.

“I have to try to get my family’s name back before I become an adult.”

If she could not restore the Lapis family, the noble name would be lost in history, or perhaps the name would be granted to someone else to carry on. There have been a number of times in history when ownership of a name was transferred to someone else.

“I’ve always wanted to be great…”

Stella bit her lip and tightly held on to her sleeve.

“And I keep going until I’m exhausted…”

She did everything possible— she worked hard in the library, built relationships, and took classes even if they were difficult.

“…Why do I seem to be drifting away from being a good adult? Why is it getting farther and farther away?”

A teardrop splashed on the red petals. Stella lowered her head and staredat the red flowers in front of her. She didn’t really care what they were called. What she wanted to know was what the person thought when they picked them for her, and what they thought when they left them for her.

“Everyone usually returns goodness with goodness. But then goodness is sometimes returned to bad, even when it’s not deserved…”

Stella just looked back at Professor Hill. The following words would be the answer to “What were the flowers for?”

“This is a good deed to my malice.”

The professor patted Stella on the head.

“You are a smart student.”

“If I were really smart, then maybe…”

Then maybe it wouldn’t have turned out like this.

“Miss Lapis is a smart student.”

He repeated himself.

“To me, you are a good student. You are sincere and full of curiosity.”


“Well, my opinion doesn’t always mean anything, but you know…”

He looked around sheepishly as he struggled to find his words.

“If you want to stop crying…I could give you…man, this comforting thing isn’t working, but, uh—”

He stopped rambling and finally pulled out a crumpled handkerchief from his coat pocket. He then seemed to notice its grubbiness and withdrew it. It was in no condition to be given to anyone. However, Stella reached out her hand.

“You can give it to me.”


“The handkerchief.”

Professor Hill stepped back in surprise.

“Well, it’s in no good shape for a lady.”

“My handkerchief is worse.”

It was wet from when she wrapped up the flowers.

“Yes, but…”

Professor Hill held out the crumpled handkerchief awkwardly, and Stella reached out her hand again.


Professor Hill gave it to her, praying that it didn’t smell strange. Stella patted away her tears and looked back at the red flower garden. Now she really was curious about the name of the flowers. Professor Hill would answer right away if she asked, but she decided not to. She had come to understand what he said. Following a question and being given an answer were different things, but she knew for sure what was important.

“I can’t respond to goodness with malice. I can’t live like that.”

The professor looked at her as she gazed at the flowers.

“I shouldn’t have given back malice…but I was scared.”

“You were scared?”

Stella nodded her head.

“I might never have the opportunity to change again…”

If she gave malice, she may live forever in someone else’s malice.

“I don’t want to miss this chance to be good. Ah, look, Professor. It’s pretty isn’t it?”

Stella smiled from the bottom of her heart as she took in the sweet scent of the flowers.

“…very pretty.”

Wayne Hill seldom omitted the subject in his sentences, but Stella didn’t notice. Only the red flowers knew the compliment was not for them.

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