“Ah… It wasn’t enough.”
“Also, moving your body adds strength to your voice. You should anticipate and control the subtle changes.”
“I’ll try my best.”
Hessa looked at them with an expression of amazement. Rather than swordsmanship training, this feels like… assassination training?
As soon as Leticia and Eberhard were promoted to lesser knights, Rosaline slightly changed their training. The training to prevent Rosaline’s attacks would remain the same, but they would also attack Rosaline.
There was no way they could match her with straight attacks, so they had no choice but to take advantage of her carelessness. As a result, the gestures of the two lesser knights subtly resembled assassins.
Knowledge is power, and they began to realize the truth in this saying. Leticia and Eberhard sometimes looked at the people passing by and thought, “Oh, a gap.” or “I can kill them now.” They realized the optimal situation and time to attack people as they muttered. After a few innocent servants and knights were taken by surprise, the two people tried not to spill words casually.
Hessa, like his predecessors, was attacked several times a day. Not only by Rosaline but also by Leticia and Eberhard. But Hessa had a far better sense of the wild than his predecessors, who had been like baby deers when they first started. Leticia and Eberhard’s attacks were blocked 8 out of 10, and Rosaline’s attacks were also detected at a high level. Blocking was another matter, though.
What Hessa lacked was authentic swordsmanship. Rosaline comforted him by saying she was like that at first, too. She said he learned basic swordsmanship from Raymond, and Raymond, who was next to her, said he learned it from his father. The atmosphere became subtle because Marquis Cimmaron, who happened to be passing by, said that he had learned from the previous marquis.
Basic swordsmanship had been transformed into a family secret that had been handed down for several generations. Hessa nodded his head solemnly and told the older Marquis Cimmaron that he would work hard to make sure no one was hurt. The marquis was pleased and stroked Hessa’s hair.
Strangely, Raymond, whose family was intertwined, taught Hessa diligently along with Rosaline. Thanks to this, he was improving day by day.
Rosaline and Leticia, who had been repeating the assassination drill a few more times, were startled by the sound of the bell announcing the hour and stood up from their position. She had an appointment, so she did her hair, but she completely forgot about it because she was training. Hessa was also surprised and quickly grabbed a basket of snacks that Rosaline needed to take.
“Be safe, Sir Rosaline, Sir Leticia.”
The boy just watched as the carriage completely disappeared from sight. The noisy space became quiet. Hessa rubbed his stiff eyes a few times and stretched his arms upward to loosen up the stiff body here and there. After studying until late at night and repeating the schedule of waking up early in the morning for several weeks, fatigue seemed to have accumulated.
I boiled jam in the kitchen and forgot to put it off! Hessa started running frantically.
Hessa learned his work incredibly quickly in less than a month. From the tasks entrusted by Rosaline to the little things ranging from how to make her hair look beautiful in various ways.
Out of the tightly packed 24-hour day, the only time he could subtract was sleep, so mistakes began to increase in contrast to the recent decrease in sleep. The other day, he broke the teacup that Raymond gave to Rosaline, and was heartbroken once because he had lost essential documents.
Even when boiling jam this time, Rosaline had lingered behind him and let out a hint of anticipation, so he must not burn this. When he began to think of the scene where Rosaline was crying as she tried to eat the jam above leaving the bottom of the burn intact, his heart became impatient.
Hessa paused and looked around. No one was in sight. Although the delegation from Balta was a concern, this was far away from the castle where the guests were staying.
When he started running again, magical energy wrapped around his legs. The heavy feet became light as if they had been released, and he widened the distance and sped up before turning around and crossing the wall easily.
When he landed on the floor and ran forward, Hessa felt the presence approaching quickly from behind. He instinctively twisted his body, but the person behind him pressed Hessa first.
His face hit the floor hard, and his head rang. His mouth was covered, and the back of his neck was grabbed and crushed. Not knowing exactly what the situation was, he broke out in a cold sweat. Hessa, who was trembling, heard a low laugh. It wasn’t uttered by the person holding him.
Shruk. Someone walked closer. A man’s shadow was cast over his face. Hessa shifted his gaze from the ants crawling on the gravel. He saw a shoe in front of his nose. It was not a common style in Illavenia.
“Oh, you must be surprised.”
It was a kind voice.
“Let go, Asun.”
The hand that was pressing behind his back was gone. Hessa shuddered over the floor and raised his torso. When he looked up, he saw a man adorned with golden jewelry, smiling happily. He was someone he had seen from afar. The firstborn son of Balta, Haqab Hwi Livita.
“… Balta’s first son… Agh!”
Haqab put his hands under Hessa’s armpits and abruptly raised him up, and the boy let out a short scream. The man smiled kindly.
“Your face is a little hurt. Are you okay?”
“… Yes. It’s okay. Thank you… for your concern.”
“I’m sorry for being harsh. I was surprised by the suddenness. I didn’t expect to see mages in Illavenia.”
Haqab showed a welcome look as if Hessa was his close brother. His hands were kind as he brushed the dirt off his cheeks. Hessa only blinked in bewilderment. It seemed that Haqab, Prince of Balta, was right. He was confused because the behavior before him contrasted with the evaluation that he was a bad guy, a killer, and a scary guy.
“You must have suffered a lot as a child because this place is ferocious to those with magic.”
At the sweet words that seemed to lure him in by giving him candy, Hessa…
‘What’s with this nonsense?’
He didn’t fall for it at all because of the possibility that a person who approached with a smile might be more dangerous than a person who frowns and looks down on others. Hessa knew from several experiences. Haqab who read the boy’s warning grinned.
“Let’s talk first… Young Hessa.”
A name that had never been told came out of the mouth of the stranger. Hessa’s eyes widened.
Today was a visitation day to the mansion of Marquis Cimmaron in the capital. With the window open, a gentle breeze came into the carriage. Rosaline looked out, her arm resting on the window sill.
She hummed in a good mood, and Raymond sang with a messed up lyric. Venison stew, buttercream sandwich, steak in fruit sauce, blah blah. The song, which merely listed the names of the foods, was even excellent thanks to the singer’s skill. The carriage rattled and ran as if dancing to the absurd song.
The mansion of the Cimmaron was magnificent. It had an antique feel as it was an old building, but it was meticulously maintained, so it looked nice. In the garden spread out in front of it, a fountain and flower beds welcomed visitors in harmony without being tacky.
Rosaline thought of the mansion of the Radwiell family in the capital. It was nothing more and nothing less than a truly assorted, large house. The Cimmaron’s mansion was pretty, and she was envious. Raymond waited for Rosaline to watch. No, he explained excitedly, dragging her around.
There’s a statue of a bighorn mountain goat in the center, but only one horn is new. I broke this while riding it when I was young, so I just made this part new and attached it, chuckled Raymond. He thought Rosaline, too, would like to ride it. Leticia said “no” with a straight face even before she asked. Raymond also quickly came to his senses after realizing her intentions. And Rosaline, who looked at the statue of a bighorn mountain goat as if she had lingering feelings, was dragged by the man and woman.
[Remember that “Cimmaron” is originally “of Bighorn Goat”]
The butler, the maids, and other servants were waiting, and when the trio approached, they bent down.
“Welcome. Our Cimmaron March welcomes your visit.”
It was a dignified attitude befitting a march with a long history.
Leticia was in awe, then screamed at the sudden roar.
With the sound of something exploding, colorful petals and pieces of paper fell from the second floor. Leticia stared stunned at the rain of flowers that suddenly began to fall, then moved her gaze back to the first floor.
The maids and servants, who had been politely clasping their hands in front of them until earlier, began playing with instruments they got from who knows where. There was also a metal instrument that split the beat with a clap. The servants played vigorously, moving their bodies and swinging their heads. In the middle of the frenzied music concert, only Rosaline and Leticia stood there.
On the stairs up there, someone slowly came down, singing a song. It was a man who looked exactly like Raymond.
The song resounded magnificently. Just like the man, women and men in colorful costumes appeared in harmony. Their work could be inferred from the simultaneous closing of their eyes and stretching arms.
The man approached with slow steps and put a crown on Rosaline. The song was still going on. Leticia stood at a loss, not knowing how to react.
Leticia anxiously searched for her boss. It contained an earnest meaning that since this is your house, you should do something about it. Paper scraps and flower petals obstructed the view, and the sound of musical instruments made it hectic. After looking around for a while, Leticia’s face hardened.
Raymond, who she had been searching for, was playing happily among the servants. Sensing Leticia’s gaze on him, Raymond nodded. He seemed to understand her mind.
“Oh, my older brother.”
You didn’t understand at all, Leticia sighed. I wasn’t wondering who the man was—Wait, who? Your brother?