Listening to it at first, the voice sounded like that of someone around the same age.
“Who awe you?”
When Robert answered, the door slowly opened.
And there, the appearance of a young boy made Izeline drop the cookie she was holding. A face she had never seen before but recognized… a character described as an angelic boy with bright golden hair and refreshing emerald eyes.
He smiled cutely, his eyes twinkling.
“Hello. I’m Michael Wilbright.”
As Izeline looked at the lively atmosphere exuding from the boy, she pinched her cheek to check if it was a dream.
It seemed to be reality. He was the sub-male lead who had filled her with excitement throughout the novel.
In a dazed voice, Robert frowned next to her. Even in his eyes, he knew that Izeline was captivated by the charming young man.
“Who awe you?”
Although his voice felt somewhat aggressive, Michael answered cheerfully without a hint of annoyance.
“Nice to meet you. My father asked me to come down here for sword training.”
He then glanced out the window.
“It’s my first time here in Souvri, and it’s such a peaceful and wonderful place.”
With every step he took, it felt like flower petals were fluttering around him. Michael approached the two of them with a bright smile.
“I was preparing to enter the academy, but I postponed everything.”
He stopped in front of Izeline.
As he looked at her round eyes, he beamed as if finding her interesting.
“Father likes you.”
Surprised, she pointed to herself, and Michael laughed as if finding it entertaining.
“You didn’t know?”
“No, I really didn’t.”
At his words, Izeline unconsciously widened her eyes and blushed. In the meanwhile, when he saw her like that, Robert anxiously chewed on his lips.
“Father wants to be close to you.”
Michael said with a pretty smile.
“I like you, too.”
…Oh my God?
She couldn’t believe it.
The boy, like a star in the night sky, was expressing infinite fondness for her. A festival erupted inside Izeline’s mind. It seemed that the person Duke Brioche mentioned as the swordsmanship teacher was Michael’s mentor, and that was why he had come down with his disciple.
But wait, wait…
The most important person seemed to be missing.
“Isn’t your teacher cwoming down?”
“Huh? Hasn’t he come down yet?”
Surprised, it was Michael who was taken aback. He then mumbled, having guessed the situation.
“He must be hiding somewhere again.”
“No, no, no way.”
He waved his hand as if to say it was nothing, returned to his cheerful smile and continued.
“I think there’s something wrong with the journey. He said he would come down first though I should look around.”
Originally, Michael had planned to join the prestigious Stephil Academy, the Empire’s top institution, the following month. However, all those plans suddenly went out the window when he received a request from Viscount Karif.
As a result, the principal of Stephil Academy, who had eagerly anticipated the enrollment of the Ignite Knight Commander’s son for years, was now in a state of frenzy. Despite his attempts to persuade Viscount Wilbright, he couldn’t meet with him as the Viscount was away protecting the eastern border.
And at just six years old, Michael already displayed an elusive demeanor, making it impossible to understand his thoughts. He firmly adhered to his father’s will, stating that he couldn’t go against it.
With the tenacious principal causing delays in Michael’s schedule, the teacher, unperturbed by the commotion, simply whistled and left first.
Still, he still hadn’t arrived…
At that moment, Robert called Michael with a sharp tone. Breaking free from his reverie, Michael forced an artificial smile and directed his gaze toward the young lord—the rumored heir to the Armanty family who was suffering from an incurable disease.
While a sense of pity might have briefly touched his thoughts, he harbored no affection for the child. Concealing his true feelings, Michael replied shortly.
Robert, like a cat with its fur raised, showed caution as he asked.
“How long awe you going to be here? How long are you planning to stay?”
“Well, let’s see. I canceled my enrollment at the academy, so I might be here for about twelve years.”
Robert’s eyes trembled as though an earthquake had struck within him. His mind was thrown into a frenzy.
Typically, the academy’s courses commenced in the first autumn following a student’s sixth birthday, and they graduated in the summer after they turned eighteen. The entire journey spanned twelve years.
While exceptions like mid-term enrollments and early graduation existed, they were rare occurrences and not applicable in this situation.
In any case, there was no valid reason for Michael Wilbright to be in Souvri for such an extended period.
“Maybe… maybe he won’t even show up! Maybe you won’t learn anything and just swing awound a sword here?”
“It won’t be like that.”
Michael scratched his chin with his index finger and continued.
“I was told that arrangements will be made so that I can also study general subjects.”
Although Karif had definitely mentioned it, he had said it so casually that Michael wasn’t entirely sure. He had no information on who would teach him or when it would start.
“We’ll figure it out somehow.”
Seeing Michael shrug his shoulders lightly, Robert nervously chewed on his lips. Still, given that it was done by order of Duke Brioche, there was nothing he could do. Besides, he wasn’t the only one deeply lost in thought, as that feeling applied to everyone present.
With the appearance of the sub-male lead, Izeline began to furrow her brow as she listened to the conversation between the two boys.
‘Something feels strange…’
As far as she could recall, Michael became very close friends with Crown Prince Arsen, who was his same age, during their time at the Stephil Academy. Of course, the original story took place after they had become adults, so it didn’t delve into the details of their academy entrance or their student days.
‘…But still, shouldn’t he attend the academy?’
That way, when the female lead, Livny, appeared later, the two of them would go through inner struggles between friendship and love before drifting apart.
Something felt off.
“Why dwon’t you go to the academy?”
Izeline asked with a seemingly innocent expression. The answer came without hesitation.
“Well, it’s predictable anyway.”
“What do you mean?”
“The students who enter are predictable, and what will happen there is predictable as well.”
Hmm, that might not be the case.
Nonetheless, it was true that he would become best friends with the Crown Prince and later experience intense heartbreak.
Not knowing his own future, Michael smiled casually. He bent down towards Izeline and brought his face unexpectedly close.
“I think it’d be more fun to get close to you.”
Their noses almost touched.
Seeing that scene, Robert’s mouth dropped open before he quickly rushed between them.