“There are escorts all around the Elias Mansion.
From now on, just call one of them.”
I wasn't unaware of his dissatisfaction.
A knight needed a master to devote himself to.
A master to be dedicated to with all his heart.
It was the natural desire of knights to happily serve a person who was more superior and respectable than anyone else.
To him, I was just a young lady of the Elias family, who gave him medicine and a little extra allowance.
It wasn't as if I didn't understand his position, so I had long felt the need to change this situation in the near future.
I didn't know that would be today.
Why was each day so difficult?
“Alright, Sir Bernard Smith.
Honestly, I didn't ask you to swear fealty to me.
It's entirely your choice.
But when you decided to become my knight, I thought you'd be faithful to your promise to me, although now I realize that in my hasty judgement I didn't keep in mind that you're a knight.
First of all, we made a promise, so train me for just one more month.
And, of course, escort me.
Observe me for a month and decide if you'd like to truly be my knight.
If you don't want to after a month, I'll leave it.
Naturally, I'll talk to Sir Oliver about the medicine and keep supplying you with it.
What do you think?”
He spoke coldly, as if it was hard to get the words out.
“I'm not asking you to do that.
I don't want that once-in-a-lifetime oath.
Instead, if you feel like doing so, I want you to continue being my knight.
How about it? I don't think it's a bad deal.”
A satisfied smile graced Bernard's face.
Finally, he had found a way to escape from me.
The corners of his mouth rose at the thought that he could lightheartedly leave after a month.
“No takebacks, Miss.”
“Don't take it too easy! Let's go now.
It's getting dark.”
Honestly, I didn’t know what the hell he meant.
But one thing was certain.
I had to prove myself in order to get the future general's support.
Which was in line with the fact that I had to be recognized by the Elias Family anyway.
Next month, when the administrator exams start.
Bernard had to choose me then.
To that end, the person I was about to meet was extremely important.
It was going to be hellishly difficult.
Oceria, the capital city that shared its name with the Empire, had a planned city design, radially structured around the Imperial Palace in the middle.
It was like that in the beginning, but as the years passed, the city grew more and more complex.
The roads were especially complicated because of the newly built walls dividing the boundaries of each alley.
Amongst the back alleys, one of the most famous alleys in the Capital was 'Lackton' street, that I was visiting today.
Although it was originally called something else, the street was now named after who dominated it, which the Lackton gang had done for decades.
This is where it starts.”
Because it was such a notorious place, Bernard also got off his horse, standing at a distance from the street.
I pulled my hood over my head and regarded the street for a moment.
“Now, tell me.
I need to know where your destination is to escort you.”
“The Drunken Dragon.”
“Have you ever been there?”
“What's really going on in your mind?”
It's temporary, but you're still my knight.”
I was serious, but Bernard let it pass through one ear and out the other.
“Do you know why Lackton street is infamous? Even if people die, even if people are abducted, the Imperial Guard can't touch this place.”
“You do? Besides, even a three-year-old in the Capital knows that bar is full of members of the Lackton gang.
Does it make sense for a noblewoman to go there of her own volition if she wasn't crazy?”
“Yes, I know everything.
My ears hurt.
Why are you nagging me so much!”
What the hell is up with you, really? Aren't you afraid?”
“Of course I am.
“Then why are you going?”
“I have you.
My knight! Hehe.
Let's go, Bernard!”
It was crazy, completely crazy.
Without lowering his voice, Bernard grumbled.
He left his horse and the carriage at the stable by the entrance and walked ahead carefully.
As I strode ahead, wondering if what I said earlier had worked, he immediately took a step forward and followed closely behind me.
“But do you know where you're going?”
“Yes, I roughly know.
This place is famous.”
Please lower your voice.
And from now on, follow behind me.
Because if a woman goes first, it's sure to attract attention.
We'll have to pass through this place like rats.”
A manly man.
Admiringly, I sighed and followed, hiding behind Bernard's back.
I knew my body was still going to be seen, but somehow I felt as protected as a thin person would, and it tickled me for a moment.
Perhaps my feelings were readable, because Bernard, pausing in his step, frowned when he saw my face.
“What's with that expression?”
“Oh! I was just thinking about eating cookies with chocolate syrup later.
Come on, let's go.”
When I patted him on the back, he shook it off and walked forward cautiously.
Why was he so serious? Maybe he had a sixth sense as a knight.
The streets of Lackton certainly were gloomy.
There were street vendors, pubs and lodging facilities all over the place, but the faces of the people who came and went were grim or serious.
It looked like they were haunted by something.
Eventually, we entered the centre of Lackton street, where various criminal activities occurred and where crimes were planned and executed.
How long had it been? Bernard stopped for a moment.
Because of that, I slammed into his broad back.
“What? What is it? Is it dangerous?”
Bernard contemplatively looked around the alley.
Because of that, I also scanned the streets, but there was nothing particularly strange.
A few people trodded along the fence.
Nothing unusual was going on, other than the people haggling by the street vendors at one side.
“Ah! Please stand in the corner of the wall over there for a moment.
Don't move and wait until I get back.”
“I was in a hurry to leave.
I took my medicine too late today.
I'll be back as soon as I can.
Please don't move.”
Oh, what? Is that it?”
Before I could finish my words, Bernard put me and his axe in the corner of the wall and ran to the building behind it without looking back.
It amazed me.
How did he become a general with that body? It was a mystery.
Fortunately, I was able to settle in an unnoticeable spot, so I wasn't worried.
‘Settle’ was an inaccurate word.
I just sank down in the corner.
Instead, as I was waiting for Bernard, thinking about how I should make fun of this, I heard a dull sound on the other side of the wall.
What was that?
I didn't want to pay it attention, but the dull thumping noise kept coming and echoed in my ears.
It was definitely a fight.
There was violence as well.
Should I take a little look while Bernard was gone? The most interesting things in the world to watch were fire and fights.
I leaned against the opposite wall and crept closer to the top and poked my head out.
Unsurprisingly, there was a scuffle going on.
It was a one-to-many fight.
In this situation one person was beaten up at random by a group of people.
How did you get caught by these people? Poor guy.”
I quietly muttered to myself and watched the man in a black cape fall to the ground and get kicked.
I literally just watched.
I never thought of helping.
What could I do to help? With this overweight body, and being a woman? It was just a pity, so I only offered my internal moral support.
He's quite well built, and I think he'll be pretty tall when he stands up, but why is he being hit…? There's only three people beating him up…
Does he just look strong? Well, there's quite a few men who look good on the outside, but possess a weak will.”
I was talking to myself.
Perhaps, if the next thing hadn't happened, I'd be watching more excitedly.
But what was it with this wall?
The wall that supported my body collapsed in an instant.
Son of a…!
I struggled with my big butt in the air, moaning and groaning, and got up amidst the crumbled wall.
It was clear that my sides and forearms were sore and the skin was scratched.
As I turned my neck around to make sure it wasn't sprained, I noticed the people staring at me in shock.
I forgot about it because of this ridiculous situation.
The current situation.
Damn it, I'm fucked.
“What's with that boar?”
I know right.
What kind of wild boar suddenly breaks through the wall? Haha.”
“Oh! Oh! That pig.
Are you just leaving?”
I was leaving.
I quietly turned around, pretending to be fine, and walked through the rubble.
I didn't look back.
“Hey! You there!”
I pretended not to hear it.
“You can hear everything! The boar over there!”
What a bunch! A boar! They're full of shit!
But I continued and didn't look back.
“If I catch you, I won't let you go because you're a woman.
No, because you're a pig!”
“Haha, he said ‘pig’.
Dottie is a good speaker!”
It had been ten minutes since Bernard left.
Bernard, that bastard, was still busy and didn't intend to come.
I took a deep breath, made my face as solemn as I could, and turned around.
“I unintentionally interrupted you.
Continue what you were doing.”
“What are you saying?”
'Continue what you were doing.' This pig is crazy.”
I could hear something snapping inside me, but I ignored it.
The people who had approached at the sound of the collapsing wall, looked at the men standing in front of me.
Then they became contemplative and disappeared, holding their tongues and pretending they hadn't seen them.
I messed up.
They're members of the Lackton gang.
I tried to turn around once more.
“I told you to stop.”
Why wasn't he coming? He shits too much!
When I faced them again and looked at them, the three scoundrels snapped their fingers at me, letting out the kind of mean laughter typical of thugs.
I was more than ten steps removed from them.
The man who had been knocked down by them lay motionlessly against the wall.
Is that what I'll look like in ten minutes? No, I couldn’t.
I couldn’t end up like that.
Swallowing, I put on my hood and took three steps forward.
I was terrified by this beggar-like situation, but I didn't show it.
80% of the struggle is finding the courage to start.
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