Chapter 41 – Let’s watch together
The next day, I went to the garrison with Dad, Brother, Ciel and Aiden. Originally, they were supposed to go there separately at a later day, but because Ciel was also interested in the Closch estate’s garrison, he decided to join us today.
Mom looked like she wanted to protest, however she didn’t stop me like she did before. She seemed to be thinking about the promise she made while I was sick.
Our two carriages would be in convoy as we’d go to the garrison. Brother, Dad and I would be together, while Ciel and Aiden would ride the other carriage.
I couldn’t help but take a glimpse at Ciel’s face as he followed Aiden into the carriage. For some reason, he looked gaunter and more exhausted than he did yesterday.
It was similar to how he would look whenever he’d come back home from one of the unreasonable missions he kept being saddled with in the past. Without noticing it myself, my eyes kept gravitating towards him.
His condition’s like this seemingly because of a lack of guiding… Evidence enough were his bloodshot eyes and the dark bags under those eyes.
Shouldn’t Seo-yoon have guided him by now? In the novel, the saintess would guide Ciel right away. And I remember this distinctly because the saintess gave guiding that was with direct contact, not just radial guiding. The scene was quite steamy.
When I had read that part of the novel for the first time, I wasn’t yet aware that the second male lead was Ciel, but I still felt so uncomfortable for some reason. I couldn’t help but tear off and crumple the pages that depicted that scene.
While we were in the carriage, Brother and Dad talked to me about something, but I couldn’t get Ciel’s face off my mind.
I was so happy and relieved that I managed to get through last night, but now, as soon as the next day came, I didn’t know how I should feel.
The garrison was at the edge of the fief, so we had to stay in the carriage for a little while.
And, the first sight to be seen the moment we arrived was a poorly maintained building.
So obviously made with feeble materials, the guards’ quarters was a precariously built structure made of just wooden boards. Nails were sticking out here and there, and the windows didn’t have glass—they’re just boarded up, and through which, the wind rattled.
With my mouth gaping open, I was completely baffled. I knew that Dad and Brother never excused themselves from night duty, and they sometimes stayed here to sleep.
Then, the second thing I saw was wide training grounds. Though they didn’t invest much in the guards’ quarters, the training grounds were different.
The ground was not a dusty dirt floor, but a dense and wide lawn. Even if people would collapse from training, their fall would be cushioned to some extent.
And over there, the fitness center looked much sturdier and cleaner than the quarters could ever be. There was a variety of training equipment inside, and there were also well-maintained weapons displayed in rows.
“You’ve put a lot of attention to the training grounds.”
Ciel murmured quietly, noticing the same thing I did.
Scratching his head abashedly, Dad answered.
“I don’t know if it would be enough in Your Grace’s perspective, but this is the best we could muster.”
“You’re here, Captain!”
At that time, the guards lined up side by side and greeted us loudly.
“Captain, Lieutenant, good morning!”
The way they’re so disciplined in their actions reminded me of how I had been in the past.
“Young Miss, it’s nice to meet you!”
Their voices now became louder than the first greeting that was made to Dad and Brother. Then, Brother stepped forward and rebuked the guards.
“Don’t greet my sister in such a haphazard manner. If Rin gets flustered, will you take responsibility? One look at you guys is enough to get her scared, but what are you all doing, raising your voices like that!”
From where I was though, nobody else’s voice could compare to how loud David’s was.
In any case, I didn’t mind what David said and went on to greet the guards.
“I am always grateful to you all. I’ve always wanted to greet the members of the garrison who serve to protect our fief and our people.”
“Ohh—! Her voice!”
They had been lined up so neatly until now during their greetings, but their formation soon became disorganized as they became rowdy.
Then, Dad took a step forward.”
“Now, now. We’re here with a special guest. Of course, my daughter is a special guest as well, but here are two people who traveled far just to come to our territory. This is Duke Leopardt, and his younger brother, the Young Duke.”
At the very mention of ‘duke’, the faces of the guards changed quickly. Everyone’s heads flitted sharply towards the direction of Ciel, who they looked at with such fired-up gazes.
As they were behind us until now, both Ciel and Aiden came forward to say their greetings.
“The Closch estate’s garrison is famous amongst the knights. Indeed, just as I’ve heard from the rumors, this is a remarkably dependable knight order.”
Ciel’s words weren’t just for flattery. After all, the garrison was only called a garrison due to a certain standard that couldn’t be met, but in truth, they were all bona fide knights.
“Your Grace the Duke! With all due respect, may I speak!”
One of the guards came forward and spoke to Ciel.
“Your Grace’s exploits and reputation is well known to us as well. While you are here, please allow us to spar with you, sir!”
“That’s right! When would there be another opportunity such as this, sir!”
“Please spar with us, sir!”
They had gotten a bit calmer just now, but the atmosphere soon turned rowdy once more. All of the guards looked at Ciel with such admiration in their eyes.
He responded to their challenge with a smirk.
“One on one? Or will you all fight me at once?”
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