Volume 1 > Undeniably A Villainess
Chapter 7 - Madison Academy (1)
The Corliss Household ate their last meal together for the year. Their dukedom was too far from the Capital after all. Added to the fact that Madison Academy was a boarding school, they couldn't live in their mansion in the Capital.
"Time sure flies. Here, daughter. Have some duck. Didn't you say that you love ducks?" her mother placed a roasted duck on her plate. It was the legs. And it's so damn sexy.
'Sexy. But I never said I love ducks...'
"Jade, you did well for teaching your sister," Suzanne turned to her son.
"A pity she could only understand so much."
There's only less than a week until the start of classes at Madison Academy. She could not avoid going there, the plot stage. It was an unwritten rule for the children of nobility to study there for four years.
Most noble children were homeschooled until fifteen, for safety reasons. Studying at the academy serves as their official debut to society as active members.
Aside from noble children, commoners can also study in Madison Academy. The prerequisite was to possess excellent aptitude.
The academy became a place where these youths could start making connections. To pave way for a better future.
'Sigh. It's not like I'm planning to be a ruler or something.'
"Father, can I not go? I am not going to inherit the dukedom nor do I have any interest in governing," Coco pouted.
Seeing her father's disapproving gaze, she became quick witted for once, "And I don't want to be separated from father and mother. I love the both of you very much."
She really do. In this otome game world, she treated her family as the only real thing. The maids, butlers, who cares about those mob?
Her adoptive family have always treated her as an outsider. To have a loving family who spoils her made her heart feel warm.
They really loved her. Or maybe she's just receiving the love that was supposed to be for the real Colette. Every time she realizes that, she couldn't help but feel multiple needles pricking her heart.
"Colette, even if you say that, you have a lot to learn from school. Friends. Your friends will be there. How many years has it been since you last saw them?" Her father's gaze became gentle.
However, she couldn't tell them that Colette never had a real friend. From the dream she had, what she saw was a meek young lass that even lower ranked children of nobility preyed upon. Back then, they were merely children who don't have a clear concept of ranking. Coco, who was watching from afar has a clearer understanding.
Colette was wronged. But Coco couldn't do anything but be a bystander. Unable to make any changes to an event that already occurred.
"It would also be a good place where you can find your future husband. Your father and I met at the academy, too," Suzanne gave Dale a subtle coquettish gaze.
'But you told be to be careful about boys and to not get pregnant the other day...'
'Women. They sure are complicated creatures,' Coco thought, without remembering that she was already half a step to womanhood.
"Who will want to take her as a wife?" Jade beautifully dissed her.
"Ha-ha-ha. I laughed a lot. About three," Coco rolled her eyes.
It was a profound action. The Eva in her memories always do that. Maybe she picked her habit.
Of course she wouldn't admit that she was irritated of Jade, the same way Eva was irritated at her. Despite that, they were still good friends. The mysteries of friendship.
"Milady, if you want to attract my attention, then you've succeed." Coco beautifully imitated Jade, raising her hands to kiss an imaginary maiden's hand. Then, she shot her disdainful gaze at her brother.
"Y-you! Where did you get that?" Jade looked ashamed. Oh, the intense blush on his face. It was funny to look at.
"Father, Mother. Jade uses that line to break the hearts of many ladies. I know. I exchange letters with some of my friends in the Capital, right?"
'White lies. I learned it not from those letters but from the game. It was Jades's signature line.'
But exchanging letters held some truth. The original Colette did sent letters. Coco, on the other hand, cannot be bothered. Those were fake friends anyway. And not hers but Colette's. She did not want to steal more things from Colette. Family and riches were enough, although she did not do it intentionally.
If she surrounded herself further with people who knows Colette, then she would truly be Colette. A living shadow who cannot be herself.
Suzanne scowled at Jade, disappointed at his attitude towards ladies.
"Why can't you be like me? I've always been faithful to your mother. I don't even glance at other ladies," Dale preached with an obvious intention to gain some handsome points from his wife.
Coco closed her eyes, unable to tolerate seeing her parents flirt with each other.
'Acting like newly weds, pei!'
In that manner, they spent their last meal together.
"Goodbye," Coco waved her hands at her parents as she boarded the train.
Specifically, the private train carriage of the Corliss Household. It was attached to the train going to the Capital. This way, they only have to travel two days instead of five if they were riding a horse carriage.
The travel via train was still that long because it will stop from station to station, attaching the carriages of other nobles going to the Capital.
"Goodbye, daughter," her parents waved back.
Suzanne became teary eyed, "My daughter is all grown up. I don't want to be separated from her. Colette has never been apart from us since she was born."
Dale wiped her tears, "Hush. I am also reluctant to part with our daughter. Who knows how many suitors our beautiful daughter will attract? Hmp. Jade, you better guard your sister very well."
"Don't worry father. Once those suitors—if anybody was blind at all—discovers her real self, they will avoid her on their own," Jade said while sulking, jealous that their parents were only worried about her.
"Eh~ Are you actually jealous?" Coco poked his waist.
Seeing that her words did not irritate his as much as what she expected, Coco added, "Milady, if you want to attract my—"
Jade covered her mouth desperately, "Stooop!"
Coco laughed loudly, forgetting to keep up the appearance of a proper noble lady. Jade also lost his bearing, struggling to prevent Coco from speaking further.
"Attention esteemed passengers. Regal Rails will depart in a minute. Please board your carriages now."
Black smoke steamed out of the the train's vent. The Corliss siblings boarded their private train carriage while bickering.
As soon as their figures could no longer be seen, Suzanne sent glares to her husband.
"Look at our children! They started behaving badly. They must've inherited their attitude from you."
'There is no way they got their attitude from me.'
"Yes, yes. It is my fault."
"Before, we still have a perfect daughter. But because of her near death experience, she became... like that," Suzanne had a look of melancholy. Clearly, she missed the daughter who took after her.
Dale felt bad, seeing his wife sad,"It's all because of puberty."
However Suzanne could not recall that puberty makes children strange, in the brain. As a mother, she never wanted to believe that their children were stupid. One was bright when it comes to academics but excessively cares about his beauty. The other one used to be fine but now... She was better off not speaking.
"We failed in parenting, husband."
"Wife, child raising is a trial and error."
Dale casted an ambiguous gaze to his wife, "Even if we failed two times, we can try again."
"You... Naughty husband," Suzanne glared, her face heating up.
"...try," the other meekly said.
Whether they succeed or not will depend on their perseverance.
Unaware that they've been deemed as failed products by their parents, Coco and Jade sat comfortably in their luxury carriage, watching scenery change as the train made its way to the next station.
"Sigh. Without us, mother and father will be lonely," Coco lamented.
Brother and sister. Both were clueless that another Corliss child might be born soon.
"Jade, isn't our luggage a little bit excessive?"
Coco's gaze was drawn into the loads of baggages inside their carriage. The majority was hers.
"What do you know? We are going to stay at the academy for a year. We will be invited to parties, take part in balls, and live independently. Didn't you notice that there isn't a single servant with us?"
Coco finally realized what was strange. The interior of the carriage was, without doubt, deserving to be called a private carriage of a nobility. However, something was lacking.
"Oh. You're right."
'So this is why it's so boring. I don't have maids to play with.'
"Jade, why don't you make face while dancing? A synchronized face and body dance!" Coco clapped at her improvised plan.
"Not happening," Jade's attention was on the book he was reading.
"Tch. No fun."
Disappointed, Coco just watched the scenery. She couldn't help but be amazed. Town centers have similarities with medieval and classical Europe. And unlike modern earth, there were more trees in this world, Vestia.
She learned a lot during the three months of brain torture with Miss Sinclair and Jade. One was that this world, was called Vestia. In history and geography, it was the same with Earth on the early stages, but diverted at some point. It's like a parallel world where the decision made by people from the early Earth changed. Because of the change in major decisions, the path to development strayed from what was in history. The map was the same, however the names and culture in each places have slight differences.
The country where they were in was called Althea Kingdom. It's placement in the map was somewhere in Europe. As for the country equivalent, there was none. Territorial borders were not the same with what she had known.
Due to the changes in history and major powers compared to its parallel world, the primary language used in her country was English instead of other European languages. It's a good thing. Else, she won't understand a single thing.
Coco was amazed on how an otome game world could be so detailed, like it was a real world.
'Eva worked hard with the backstory.'
Most of the details never made it to the game.
Mixed emotions. Coco was in a state of mixed emotions. Vestia was a strange world but it held some similarities with Earth, which made her less homesick.
'Vestia. Althea Kingdom. Alisdair. Capital. Madison Academy.'
Of all these places, only one was familiar to her. She knew it like the back of her hand.
The stage where Heartstrings: Sweet Lullaby began.
*Later that night in Corliss Household, Master's Bedroom*