Inside the big cabin with the canteen and the kitchen, there were a few long tables set up for the students to come eat at any time, with long benches instead of chairs for seats.
The whole place was empty, except for Adam sitting on one side of a table… and Julius right next to him, fingers laced under his chin, both sitting on the side facing the door.
But even if they weren’t sitting like that, his long, green hair was unmistakable.
Rika was the first to say anything the moment they walked in.
“Whoa, when did you get here?”
Julius turned to look at her and the rest of them from the corner of his eye.
“Miss Dumas, Miss Lovecraft. Good morning.”
Ren frowned, answering first despite being the only one left out of his greeting.
“How did you get here before us? I thought you were still asleep back at the cabin.”
“I saw you two walk out of the cabin through the window. Then you ran into Miss Dumas and Miss Lovecraft. I also noticed Adam Stoker was heading towards the main cabin on his own, so I thought it would be nice to keep him company. I simply didn’t want to interrupt your lovely conversation with the girls, so I bypassed my manners and my greetings, and headed straight over here.”
“You thought it’d be nice, huh, you snake.”
“My bad, let me say it again in your language: hisssss.”
Julius was not amused.
Emma raised her hand suddenly.
“I’m gonna go get food!”
Rika composed herself away from her childish snake impression, patting Emma on the back.
“I’ll help you.”
They both walked away to the far end of the cabin where the kitchen was, stocked with cheap supplies and raw ingredients.
Julius scoffed, following them with his eyes until they went past him, then landed on Ren who stayed behind.
“Oh, my. What’s that look for, Ren Dahl? Aren’t you going to join us?”
Ren didn’t feel like answering.
He looked at Adam, who was already eating quietly, completely unfazed by his surroundings.
Julius had somehow decided to sit next to Adam as opposed to across from him, which was already pretty odd, but Ren knew this was also probably part of his plan to get close to Adam, too.
He said nothing, and sat across from them.
Julius opened his mouth to address Ren one more time.
“You both sure had a busy night, didn’t you. Why, even in my sleep I could hear you whispering nonstop in the dark. Are you friends already? What were you talking about?”
“So it was all smalltalk? You were simply getting to know each other?”
“Understanding each other? Getting closer? Opening up?”
“Or perhaps you found some common interests that—”
“I don’t like you,” Adam suddenly interrupted.
Both Julius and Ren were taken by surprise.
They looked at Adam, who was staring directly at Julius with his dark, unreadable eyes.
Ren tried to say something, but Adam kept talking to Julius without sparing a single glance to Ren.
“I don’t want to be your friend, and I don’t want to get to know you. So don’t talk to me.”
Julius was speechless.
He blinked a few times, but once the spark of surprise faded, he was back to his usual calm demeanor.
“Oh, goodness. Where is this hostility coming from?…Dahl. What did you tell him?”
“That doesn’t matter,” Adam answered instead.
“Oh, but it does matter to me,” Julius crossed his arms and leaned back. “Did Dahl poison your head with his lies?”
“He told me the truth.”
“Oh, did he? And what exactly is this ‘truth’ he told you?”
“I know you’re trying to get close to me for your own selfish reasons.”
Julius’ eyes went wide.
“My. That is a bold accusation.”
He turned to look at Ren in front of him again and continued in an accusatory tone.
“And it sounds like something someone who’s trying to have you all to themselves would say, doesn’t it? To keep anyone else from approaching you.”
Adam seems to react to that.
Julius as usual has a good way with words.
Ren shakes his head, and finally feels the need to defend himself.
“I’m not you, Julius.”
“No, you’re not. You’re worse, because you always hide what you’re really thinking.”
Twirl twirl twirl.
“I must say, well played, Ren Dahl. Get to him first, create distrust, keep him to yourself… hah, and I thought I was moving too fast, yet here you are, with the chess move of the centur—”
Julius suddenly yelped, his head yanked back by Rika, who was carrying a tray of food in one hand, and had something tangled in Julius’ hair in the other.
“You never shut up, do you?”
Julius quickly turned to look at her, holding his head in both hands, appalled.
“Augh!? What– what did you do!?”
“I rolled your hair in my fork like spaghetti.”
Rika lifted her hand to show him her handiwork, pleased.
Just as she said, she was holding a fork with a roll of Julius’ hair on it, snickering.
“Take it off!”
Rika started unrolling it as Emma also made her way back with her tray.
Ren felt relief at the girls breaking the tension Julius had slowly created, but his heart started racing again the moment Emma casually sat next to him.
He cleared his throat, addressing Adam.
“Ah, right. I forgot to introduce them earlier, but this is Rika Dumas, and this is Emma Lovecraft.”
Adam looked at Emma, who sat right across from him.
“Nice to meet you!”
Emma cheerfully replied.
Adam looked at her scarfing her food for an uncomfortable amount of time, as if trying to figure something out.
Then, it was like a lightbulb went on in his head.
“Ah?” Emma tilted her head, replying with her mouth full.
“You’re the girl that Dahl—”
“Hey,” Ren immediately interrupted, standing up. “I… I think I’ll go find something to eat, too.”
Rika sat down next to Julius - once she was done untangling her fork from his hair.
“Good idea, man. We should finish up before the rest of the students get here, otherwise waking up early woulda been for nothing. ”
Ren nodded, and walked over to the kitchen.
Julius continued eating his meal, grumbling, clearly upset at Rika.
“Oi, Julius. relax. It was just a prank.”
“...You’re certainly not very lady-like, are you, Miss Dumas.”
“I’ve heard that before.”
“You didn’t even apologize.”
“I’m sowwy?” she said in a monotone fake cutesy tone.
This only upset Julius even more.
“There is not an ounce of decency within your entire body, is there.”
“Hey, I resent that. I can be decent—I’m wearing clothes and all.”
She leaned closer to him, pulling down the collar of her hoodie as she broke into his personal space.
“Unless you’re saying you want me to be indecent? You want me to eat my breakfast in the nude? Perv.”
Rika had taken a gamble that Julius, instead of getting upset, would actually get flustered.
She was right.
The moment she saw his face flare up and quickly turn away from her, pointedly trying to ignore her and focus on his food instead - that’s when she knew she won.
He sighed, exasperated.
“Why do I bother reasoning with the likes of you,” he mumbled under his breath.
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