“Did I ever say you couldn’t?” Leonida shrugged, turning back to her desk indifferently.

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“I mean now, not next year.”

Those words successfully attracted her attention.
She looked back up at Kaon, arms folded.
“The person who hates troublesome things is now volunteering to go to the monster forest.” Her tone was bitter.
While she knew that her brother was not aiming to be the head of the duchy, he was still acting uncharacteristically.
“You’re doing things you’ve never done before because of that girl.”

“That’s not it,” Kaon snapped back, instantly regretting how hasty he sounded.

‘How is she going to deal with monsters if she trembles in front of a small and cute puppy?’

Alessia had never seen a monster and yet she was still trying to fulfill her responsibilities valiantly.
He, on the other hand, was wearing himself out with worry.

“If you just use your heart, you’ll understand.”

Leonida stared at him, shaking her head.
“I don’t think I told you to use your heart.”

“What are you talking about? My heart has always been my own to use.
Anyway, please grant me permission.”

“Oh, it really is your heart talking, I see.”

“No, it is not.
Stop being ridiculous,” Kaon grumbled.

Did she not know what kind of person he was? It was almost disappointing.

‘As a Ferdinand and a knight, what else is more important to me than the elimination of monsters? Also, it’s so rare to get a mage who’s enthusiastic about working.
Is it so unnatural that I want to help?’

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And… Alessia was his fiancée.

It was still unclear whether their engagement would end in an annulment or a marriage, but he wanted to do his best, at least for now.

He asked again, “So, will you allow me or not?”

“Don’t even think of skipping training.
Ask for permission from the inspection party leader.” Leonida sighed.

“Thank you, I’ll be leaving now!” Kaon ran out before his sister changed her mind.


“Leonida gave her permission.”

“Yes, so I’ve heard,” Commander Alain replied, looking a little surprised.
“It’s not going to be difficult to allow it, but regardless, there’s only less than half a year left until the next.
Do you have a particular reason why you want to start inspecting early?”

“…Well, the Ingelos girl will be joining, so as a Ferdinand, I can’t just stay still and let her go unsupervised.” Kaon made it a point to remember that that was the excuse he would be using from then on.

“I see.
I heard that she will start in autumn after she has completed some training and education.
You can join her by then.”

“Thank you for your understanding, Master.”

“Don’t mention it.
I’m proud that you have such conviction.
Your parents would have been too.”

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Kaon cringed a little, but the assertion wasn’t wrong.
His conscience was clean.

“It would be better if you attended training more often, then.” The gray-haired commander’s tone was gentle but exasperated.

Kaon bowed his head sheepishly, feeling some shame.

“Still, I’m glad you’re growing up nicely.
It has not been too long since the former duke passed away, and I remember you being a bit lost at first.”

The words were sobering.
He’d always been playing hooky and refusing to practice his swordsmanship.
It was not an overstatement to say that he had been the epitome of laziness.

“When you started training under me, I felt bad that I couldn’t be a big help to you.”

“How would that be Master’s fault? I myself am lacking.”

“A teacher must support their students—if their students have shortcomings, they must lead them.
The failure to do so is the teacher’s fault.

It was hard to face Alain directly.
Even more so because Kaon wasn’t really a good student even at present, and wouldn’t be even in the future.

“Don’t look so guilty.
I have never been disappointed in you.
On the contrary, you have always made me feel anticipation.”

“Please don’t exaggerate.”

Now that I’m older, I’m tired of flattery.
It is only that I can still see the boy who sparred with elite knights at twelve years old.”

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It was a good time.
A time when he could wield his sword with no worries.
When he didn’t know that his blade could threaten his sister’s position instead of just his enemies.

“Before this old man dies, you must become a swordmaster and surprise everyone.”

“How can I even reach that level?”

“I assure you, no one can do it except you.”

Kaon laughed bitterly.
He couldn’t bear to tell his master that such a day would never come.


A few weeks passed, and the two had not talked much.
If they ran into each other, they only said their greetings.

There was no particular reason for it.
Alessia did not ignore him, nor did he avoid her.
It was just what it was.

Unlike in the beginning, when she was always in the room, she became busy with training.
Kaon was in the same boat as well, so it was really just a coincidence.

So when he saw Alessia in the dining hall he was about to enter, he was a bit embarrassed.
Outdoor training ended early due to the scorching weather, so he came to eat relatively early.

Also, she was wearing a hat again.
Each time he saw her, she was wearing one from Deborah’s boutique, the current one being a large, feathery, and flowery affair.
The designs were the type to overwhelm the wearer, but Alessia seemed to like them.

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All her hats were that way, colorful and bulky.
They obscured her face, not just because they were distracting, but also literally.
Her small face was sometimes covered by lace on both sides of the hat, or by feathers, like now.

‘But her clothes are so simple.
I guess it really is just a matter of taste.’

It suited Alessia somehow, and even if it didn’t, there was no reason to criticize her.

“Kaon!” She waved her hands happily, eyes forming twin crescents.

He waved back awkwardly.

“What are you doing at this hour? It’s time for training.”

“The day was so hot that our activities were inevitably finished early.
We’ll continue in the evening.”

“Oh, it’s not easy to get away from that.”

“Unfortunately, yes.”

The two sat facing each other.
Before long, appetizing dishes decorated the surface of the long table.

“Wow, Kaon! Look at this!” Alessia pointed to a plate on which there was a roast turkey.
Its skin looked crispy and juicy at the same time.

‘I’m sure it’s great, but why is she pointing that out in particular?’

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