“When this expedition is over, would you consider taking care of the North for a while?”
Leilda asked, and Reigraine replied dryly, twisting the end of his long hair with his small finger,
“What are you trusting me for?”
“I’ve been stuck in the castle for a while now, and it’s getting boring.”
He toyed with the end of his long hair with a small finger.
As soon as Scheuer and Leilda locked eyes, Leilda’s golden eyes gleamed.
“You’d prefer to be on that side too, right?”
In Scheuer’s mind, her mental calculator worked quickly. If Leilda took care of the North, it meant he wouldn’t be going on the expedition himself.
Scheuer didn’t hesitate to reply,
“Of course. You’re quite versatile in magic, and you have a broad mind.”
Leilda held up his index finger, saying,
“Oh, you’re better at communicating than the Duke.”
“So, how long do you plan to stay?”
Leilda tapped his chin in thought.
Scheuer shook her head with amusement.
“That might not be enough. I was thinking of expanding the garden. You mentioned earlier that you sensed magic here, aren’t you curious?”
Leilda hesitated, his soft cheeks trembling as if contemplating something, and then extended another finger.
“Hmm… alright, two weeks.”
“Alright, a cool four weeks!”
Scheuer clapped her hands and cheered,
“Wow, thank you!”
Scheuer’s lively response had Leilda raise his shoulders with a triumphant attitude. While they were talking, Raygraine, with a curt tone, interrupted their discussion,”
Let’s conclude the meeting here.”
There was a secluded garden, neglected and overgrown with weeds. Only the area surrounded by an intricately carved fence was untouched by the wilderness. Scheuer inquired of Celly, “
Is this for aesthetic purposes?”
“Oh, that was carved directly by Lord Naveed. It has to be beautiful, you know.”
Scheuer appreciated the effort, even if it was somewhat futile. During a break, a few knights approached her, carrying hammers. They greeted her and one of them asked,
“Scheuer, have you seen it?”
Scheuer looked at the elaborately carved fence and answered,
“I thought it would be fine if it was just roughly carved, but it’s so well done.”
The knight explained,
“It was easy. Oh, I brought the wooden sword you requested, the one you used in the last tournament.”
Scheuer accepted the wooden sword and asked,
“Is this the one I used during the last tournament?”
The knight confirmed,
“Yes, it is. I left it aside that day, so I’m certain.”
She handed the sword to Celly, who carefully wrapped it in a cloth.
“This is also going to be placed in a display cabinet, right?”
“Yes, that’s the plan. When will the display cabinet arrive?”
“It’s a custom order, so it will take a bit of time, but it should be here within three days. Should I hurry them?”
“No need to rush. It’s a display for my trophies, so ask them to make it carefully.”
The knight inquired,
“Lady Scheuer, is there anything else you’d like to check or fix? Please let us know.”
“Is the area for planting camellia trees too large? Let’s reduce it by just a couple of steps. We need to plant other things too.”
Upon her request, the knights promptly dismantled the fence and reassembled it according to her instructions. One of them measured the distance and asked Scheuer,
“You are going to plant camellia trees, right?”
“Yes, and as it’s the first one he’s given me, it should be memorable.”
The knight commented,
“It’s wonderful. When you gave me the wooden sword for the first tournament, I still have it in my room.”
Scheuer expressed regret,
“Really? I wish you’d come up a little earlier.”
The knight replied,
“It’s been five years. Coming up alone would have been dangerous.”
“Then let’s talk about it later when Lord Raygraine is going for the expedition.”
The knights admired Scheuer, praising her for her incredible skills in combat. They recounted their observations of her during the tournaments and her use of her blade. The information they shared was valuable, as it had not been described in the novel. Scheuer, clad in Raygraine’s winter robe, listened with a smile as they spoke.
Beyond the large arched window, which offered a clear view of the garden, faint laughter from outside mixed with the sounds of work in progress in Raygraine’s study. Lightly pressing the fountain pen in his hand, Raygraine seemed to be lost in thought. In the midst of his work, Leilda fiddled with something and touched upon what was bothering him.
More precisely, he didn’t seem pleased with what was bothering him and poked directly at it.
“Scheuer Nettria, wasn’t it? She seems to have quite the personality. If someone saw you two, they might think you were family.”
Raygraine responded with a dry tone as he handed over a document.
“I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but she doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that we’re strangers.”
Leilda insisted, as if the answers were not to his liking.
“Wasn’t the meeting ended too quickly? It was less than half the usual time.”
“Do you have more to discuss?”
Leilda pressed on,
“What about the expedition force?”
“As soon as preparations are complete. It’s scheduled for tomorrow morning.”
Raygraine couldn’t understand why Leilda, who usually avoided these meetings at all costs, was clinging to the estate like this. She had even engaged in idle banter with Scheuer.
The mansion had been strangely bustling since she arrived. More so than usual. Raygraine was baffled by why Leilda seemed to want to stay at the estate. What was more, he was chatting and joking with Scheuer.
Having heard enough, Raygraine firmly set his hard fountain pen on the table and inquired,
“Why aren’t you returning?”
Leilda, while sitting in his chair and lightly swinging her legs in the air, replied in a nonchalant tone,
“What’s the point of leaving? You and your lot are coming back to the mansion anyway. I’ll just stay here and wait for you to return with Scheuer.”
Raygraine stared at Leilda with an expression that seemed to say, ‘You’re not normal,’ and then he responded,
“What’s wrong with you?”
Leilda, who had been lightly swinging her legs, had a cheeky smile on her face and stated confidently,
“Why go back? She’s going to return to the center eventually. I’ll just wait here with Scheuer until you both come back.”
Raygraine, observing this, couldn’t help but mutter,
“You’re something else.”
Leilda didn’t like leaving the tower and going outside.
He was someone who rarely attended the meetings, only making the journey 12 times a year, unlike others who traveled by carriage or foot. What’s more, he would disappear as soon as the meeting concluded. He had always been capricious, but his reason remained consistent: he found the meetings bothersome.
“I’d be grateful if you attended the meetings.”
“Why? Is curiosity about magic a virtue?”
“Nettria herself claimed that she has no interest in swords.”
“But you won’t think I’m only interested in swords. Well, of course, the main reason was Duke Sevigny.”
“She also said she has never used a sword to bloom flowers. There’s nothing you desire.”
Leilda tilted his head with an innocent expression, resembling a child. His actions, with his mouth slightly covered by the robe, felt insincere. His time in the tower had left him pale, but the pure look of his skin gave her an innocent aura. Raygraine, with a stern face, looked at him and asked,
“I don’t know what kind of reaction you’re expecting, so just say it.”
In response to his question, Leilda flinched and muttered with a pout,
“I don’t know what kind of reaction I want.”