Chapter 19- A new solicitation arrived.
The next morning, Lithia left the village at sunrise.
She was still too small to ride a horse, but she seemed to be traveling with a female knight.
So how did she come to be with Ren yesterday? She evaded the eyes of Weiss and the others and came running on her own while everyone was checking the situation after taking a break near the bridge leading to the forest.
(She had too much guts just because she couldn’t wait to see what I could do.)
Ren was thinking by the bridge where Lithia had run out of control.
Nearly half a day had already passed since he had seen Lithia off, and the sky was already a shade of madder red.
He hunted little boars today, but the knight stationed in the village wasn’t here so he had to carry the little boars with him by himself.
So Ren was on his way home alone.
From a distance, the sound of hoof beats stamping on the earth could be heard.
“What is it?”
As far as Ren knew, the only people who came to this village with the sound of hoof beats were the knights of the Clausel family.
This had an effect on him, and the image of a group of people leaving the village in the morning flashed through his mind.
“No way, that tomboyish saint is —-!”
Ren stopped and braced himself.
It was impossible, but he anticipated it and grew tense.
As he was doing so, a group of people on horseback finally came near him.
However, the visitors weren’t people Ren knew. The armor they were wearing didn’t have the Clausel family crest on it; instead, they were wearing armor with another family crest engraved on it.
Ren who is startled gets instantly surrounded by the group, creating an odd sight as they look down from their horses.
One of the knights asked Ren who was still startled in an intimidating tone of voice.
“Are you from the village ruled by the House of Ashton?”
The one who seems to be leading speaks to him through his helmet.
The tone was so intimidating and forceful that if I didn’t answer, he would have drawn his sword on me right away.
What’s with these guys?
Ren, who was becoming wary, had no choice but to answer.
“Yes, but …… who are you people?”
“Hmm… that’s just right.”
The man repeats in an even more arrogant manner.
“We carry a letter in the name of Viscount Givens, which he has approved. Now, show us to the Ashtons’ residence.”
Ren was perplexed, as was to be expected.
The other party was not from the Clausel family, as he might have imagined, but he had a question mark in his mind when he heard that they were sent by the Viscount, who’s even higher in the line of succession.
(Viscount Givens was, I believe—-)
I had confirmed that he was a Viscount when I was a frequent visitor to the archives.
The road to Clausel is to the east, but the estate where Viscount Givens lives is to the northeast. Both are about the same distance from this village, but the cities are quite different in size. Givens is, after all, a viscount, and he’s said to control a larger city than Clausel.
“What are you doing? Why don’t you show us the way?”
The arrogance of the other party was only going to increase at this rate.
Ren had no choice but to show him around.
“I’m sorry, sir. I’ll show you to our family’s mansion immediately —-“
“Hmm? Our mansion?”
“Yes. My name is Ren Ashton. I’m the only son of the current head of the family, Roy Ashton.”
Then the group sent by Viscount Givens looked at each other.
They nodded to each other and the man who had just spoken addressed Ren once more.
“Rejoice, the Viscount has a message for you as well.”
The tone of the knight who had just exchanged words becomes calm. The knights around him seemed to have lost their thorns.
But what in the world does the viscount, who is not a close lord want …….
Ren calmly asks, so as not to seem rude.
“You wish to have a word with me as well……?”
“Yes. He said he would love to take you on as his servant. I’ll tell you the details at your residence.”
The knights surrounding him start to walk their horses in response.
Ren, on the other hand, soon had a twisted expression on his face so that no one could see.
(I don’t know what’s going on anymore.)
Too many things have happened since yesterday.
As Ren approached the farm road with heavy steps toward the mansion, the villagers all turned their heads and looked at him.
When he returned to the house, the knights of the Clausel family, stationed in the village, greeted him and the visitors with surprised expressions on their faces.
Roy and Mireille were also surprised, as they had been yesterday.
However, they remained calm and invited only one of the representatives from the first rank into the room where Roy was recuperating.
Ren wasn’t present, but stayed with the knights of the Clausel family.
The place is the garden of the mansion, but Ren decides to ask the reason because the situation seemed a bit unsettling.
“Ren-dono. What’s the matter?”
“…… why are you all angry?”
“Well, that is…….”
The knight who was asked the question was at a loss for an answer, and the other knights helped him out.
“Hey, we can talk about it.”
“In some cases, Ren-dono shouldn’t be a stranger in this business. Even Weiss-sama wouldn’t reprimand us if we told him.”
‘I can’t be a stranger’, these words remind me of what Viscount Given’s messenger had said to me.
He wants to make me his servant.
(Then everyone is too angry because of that.)
The answer to the question is immediately uttered by Viscount Given’s messenger, who come out of the mansion in a flash.
“Ren Ashton, there you are.”
The knight who had ordered Ren to guide him on the bridge connecting the forest to the village spoke.
As he approached Ren, the knights of the Clausel family involuntarily braced themselves.
The knight of Viscount Givens, who saw this, snickered and spoke.
“Hmmm. I’ve already spoken to Roy-dono, but I have something to say to you as well.”
“Yes, what kind of business do you want with me?”
“As I told you in the forest, the Viscount thinks highly of your abilities. He would very much like to bring you into the family.”
Ren was at a loss for an answer.
The answer itself was a resounding “no,” but I wasn’t sure if it was right for the son of a country knight to say it.
“…… that is…”
“You’re not going to say no, are you?”
Ren raised his eyebrows slightly in response to the man’s strong tone.
From the viscount’s point of view, a single knight is nothing more than a weakling who will fly away if wiped.
I wasn’t happy about being hit with that fact and at the same time, I wasn’t happy about the obvious flicker of coercion.
On the contrary, I even wondered why we were the only ones who had to pay attention to him.
“What do you think? Answer me.”
Ren chooses his words, thinking this can no longer be fooled.
“I am only the son of a country knight……. I have neither the status nor the ability to serve the Viscount.”
This response seemed to be a bit like looking down on Baron Clausel, but fortunately, the knights serving the Clausel family were looking on without moving an eyebrow.
On the other hand, the knight who relayed Viscount Givens’ words continued to talk proudly.
“Don’t worry. The Viscount is not a man who judges by origins. Besides, he has heard that you have defeated the Thief wolfen, and he has asked you pay him a visit.”
Hearing this, the knights of the Clausel family rushed forward.
“I am sorry. Ren has already been invited by the baron himself.”
To be precise, it was his daughter Lithia who had invited him.
But the difference was not so great as to warrant correction.
“You are of the Clausel family, are you not? But you’re only inviting him and have not gotten a reply yet, right? If that is the case, there shouldn’t be a problem if we invite him.”
“But that’s not the point. This village is under the rule of the Clausel family.”
“Oh? Is the Clausel family is saying the same thing to those who wish to serve the great emperor? There are many knights who serve in the Imperial City who were not born in the Imperial City.”
“It is not a problem. But If you want to invite Ren-dono, you should talk to us first.”
Ren listened attentively to the heated conversation.
“No matter the difference in rank or faction, there must be curtsey. As a servant of the noble Viscount Givens, I’m sure you would understand.”
“Hmm……… I understand. I’ll be back.”
He walked away as if he had no idea what was going on. He was followed by his fellow messengers, who had left the mansion later.
They mounted their horses, said to Ren, “We’ll be back,” and rode away.
Their departure was surprisingly simple.
(What a brute……!)
If he’s a noble, nothing can be said back.
How unreasonable, I thought to myself.
“Ren-dono, I would like to talk about what I just said. I’ll explain in detail at the mansion, where Roy is also present.”
“By that, do you mean the matter you were all so upset about?”
“Yes…..It seems to me that we should inform the Ashtons of the situation.”
The knight stationed in the village said.
The knight stationed in the village urged him to return to the mansion, and he followed his lead.
“But then again, there’s something suspicious about it.”
“Yes…… because this matter is likely to have a lot to do with factional strife.”
When Ren said something about the situation being suspicious, his cheeks twitched as he felt that he seemed to be swearing even more than he thought he was.
The steps toward Roy’s room were faster than usual due to his impatience.