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Chapter 7: The Magic Turmoil (3)

Aris Winslet was extremely uneasy. No, it was more than just unease.

Over the past month, her heart had no choice but to become increasingly desolate.

It was all because of nothing else but Prah’s betrayal.

That single fact felt as if it had punched a hole in her chest.

Apart from Prah’s betrayal, her life at the academy remained the same. Although there were noticeably more sympathetic glances than before, Aris Winslet was not someone who much cared for the opinions of others.

Ruslan, Johan, and Diana had tried to comfort her over the past month, but their consolation could not heal the wounds in her heart.

After all, her relationships with them, formed at the academy, were barely in their second year. Not that she intended to belittle these connections; they had given her many happy memories over the past year.

It might have been too brief a period to call ‘memories,’ yet there was a reason she could only think of them that way.

The memories accumulated over the ten years she had cherished were now nothing but horrific recollections.

Prah had betrayed her. Prah had attempted to assault her.

Aris still couldn’t believe it.

Initially, she couldn’t even fathom the idea of someone harming her. As the proud daughter of the Winslet family, she had excelled in magic and academics. She was confident she had done nothing to warrant hatred from anyone...

Yet, the problem was that her dearest friend had harbored romantic feelings for her.

And those were feelings bordering on twisted obsession.

Aris was quite sensitive to people’s emotions. She had realized at some point that Prah had feelings for her. It was unmistakable.

At some point, Prah’s gazes towards her had become uncomfortably intense.

This was an unprecedented trial for Aris. She didn’t want her relationship with Prah to sour.

Had Aris reciprocated Prah’s feelings, it could have been a strand of a very happy story. Unfortunately, she had known Prah since they were too young and naturally couldn’t perceive him in a romantic light.

So, she deliberately ignored his feelings. That was the only way this relationship could continue.

And that choice led her to a horrific situation. The courteous and kind Prah she knew was now trying to assault her.

It became a colossal trauma that struck Aris’ psyche. For the past month, she had been far from her usual self.

She couldn’t sleep properly either. Merely attempting to sleep would bring back that moment as a nightmare before her.

She had gotten to the point where she had to force herself to sleep through the use of sleep magic.

Anyone could see that Aris was in a terrible state right now. Her pale, haggard appearance looked like she could collapse at any moment. Compared to just a month ago, she seemed like a completely different person.

‘Why. Why would he do such a thing?’

That was the only question she could ask herself.

When it first happened, Aris wanted to erase all memories related to Prah. She wanted to declare that he was no longer a friend, not even an acquaintance.

She didn’t even want to hear others badmouth him. She wished to erase all events related to him as if they never happened.

But she couldn’t bring herself to do it.

How could she erase it? Erasing the happy 10 years she had lived, the happiness she had felt... That was too cruel a task for her.

Her heart pounded because today, she would finally face him.

The betrayer who had betrayed her.

The classroom was as noisy as usual. She greeted Ruslan, Diana, and Johan with a forced smile.

“Hello, everyone.”

But they knew. They knew Aris wasn’t truly smiling.

Aris was aware of their sympathetic attitude, but she subtly shook her head. It was a silent signal that she was really okay now.

Especially today, she couldn’t afford to show any weakness. Today was the day Prah would finally return to the academy.

Aris had hoped that Prah would just leave the academy for good, but that didn’t happen. So, she had to face him.

“Are you feeling a bit better?”

“Um, I think so.”

“He’s coming back today. If he tries anything strange, tell me.”

“I doubt he would. After the punishment from his family.”

“You never know with him.”

“Well, I wish he would.”

Ruslan looked puzzled at her words.

“What? Why?”

“It would finally allow me to let go completely.”

“...Aris.”

“I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine at all.”

“It might be possible. But I’ll get better. Really, Ruslan, Johan, Diana. So, don’t worry too much.”

As they were quietly chatting, the back door of the classroom opened, casting a silence over the room.

‘He’s here. Prah.’

Aris muttered to herself.

She was, in fact, a bit curious. What kind of reaction would he show her?

If it was as painful as flogging had experienced, and according to her father, his back was completely shredded, would he harbor hatred towards her?

It was a ludicrous thought, but considering the Prah she saw that day, it seemed possible. The obsession he harbored for her was not something that could be diluted by merely a month.

She sneakily turned her head to look at Prah. His light golden hair and eyes of the same color.

The color she once praised as warm as the sunlight remained unchanged before her.

However, now she felt no emotion seeing the color she once admired. It was a strange feeling to look so impassively at someone she once viewed with such warmth.

Surprisingly, she felt no hatred or desire for revenge. It was just a feeling that whatever his condition was, it didn’t matter to her.

Did Prah feel her gaze? He turned his eyes towards her for a moment.

And then... the same impassive, indifferent gaze that Aris had, met hers. A gaze devoid of any interest, like a glass marble.

Ironically, that gaze was a shock to Aris.

‘Why?’

‘Why are you looking at me with those eyes? Why such an indifferent look?’

The gaze Prah gave her after a month was shocking in a different way.

‘After trying to do such a thing to me, now you have this indifferent gaze as if it doesn’t matter?’

And that had to be more intense than any concern she had shown towards Prah before. It was as if his gaze completely excluded her existence, showing utter indifference.

Could those eyes really be so cold? It wasn’t a mere figment of her imagination to feel a strangeness in the gaze she had known for a decade.

He truly seemed to have not an iota of interest in her. No guilt, misplaced affection, or desire... None of these were reflected in his gaze.

It was just like the way one looks at a passerby on the street. Aris felt her hands trembling slightly.

‘Why are my hands shaking? It’s Prah who’s in the wrong, and wouldn’t it be better if he just stopped caring about me?’

It was inexplicable. Why was the victim trembling at the perpetrator’s indifference?

She couldn’t understand the reason.

Ruslan, Diana, and Johan were glaring at him fiercely from the side, but he casually averted his gaze, clearly uninterested in them anymore.

Ruslan was about to rise in anger at the moment, but he couldn’t. A lecture was about to begin, and he thought it was actually better for Aris if Prah no longer showed any interest in her.

“I’m fine, Ruslan.”

Ruslan nodded sternly as he saw Aris, trembling, gently grab his arm.

“It’ll be okay soon.”

As she repeated this like an incantation, Ruslan vowed to himself that someday he would bring Prah Lancel to justice.

“Right.”

“Let’s not bother, we’re strangers now. Don’t start a useless fight. Since Lancel is behind Prah... it will only bring you harm.”

“I know. But if I get the chance, I’ll give him what he deserves.”

“Yes.”

As the lecture began and the professor entered the classroom, Aris pondered why she was trembling and why she was shocked, but couldn’t find the reason throughout the lecture.

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