Chapter 26: Discoveries and Prospects (Part 1)
Weiss sent several knights to Clausel once Licia’s condition was confirmed.
Of course, this was to inform them that their return would be delayed.
It was also three days later that Licia’s health began to settle down.
However, her high fever and headache had not subsided, and her body remained listless.
Still, she had recovered to the point where she was able to speak a little and understand the situation she was in.
“Miss. Ren-dono is here.”
“……Yes, tell him to come in.”
The time was past dusk.
Licia called Ren when she was feeling better and waited for him to come so she could have a conversation with him.
When the knight opened the door, Ren and Licia , who was lying on the bed, looked at each other.
(…… her cheeks are still bright red)
Licia was lying on the bed, and Ren noticed her pale face and somewhat weak appearance.
“Ren-dono, As I’ve told you before , it’s not a disease that can be passed on to others so rest assured”
“Yes. I’m fine.”
“I’ll be outside, so please call me if you need me.”
The baroness, a saint, and the son of a knight who serves the baron’s family were left one-on-one.
Ren had always thought that aristocrats were very wary of the company between men and women.
He was puzzled by the meaning of being left alone in the room, but considering their age, it was probably more insolent to think something could happen.
(I’m sure that’s the case.)
After convincing himself of this, Ren approached the bed where Licia was.
“—-I’m sorry. “
When she saw Ren standing next to the bed, she apologized at the outset.
She bows her head once, and when she raises it, her eyes are slightly moist with tears.
She had a sad look on her face that conveyed her regret, unworthiness, and apology.
Her appearance was different from before, and her voice was gravelly and unreliable.
She was about to bow to Ren, but he hurried to stop her.
“I don’t need an apology! So please stop bowing!”
She didn’t stop even after he stopped her.
So Ren, feeling disrespectful, reached out with both hands and placed them on her shoulders.
At this point, he was surprised by Licia’s high body temperature, but relieved that she had stopped and let go of her hand.
‘I’m fine. My father and mother aren’t bothering me.”
By the way, Ren had heard from Weiss that Licia was growing apologetic.
She was strongly remorseful for having rented a bed and fallen ill as soon as she arrived, even though she had come to this village of her own free will.
I am sure she is feeling sorry for me now.
“You still look —- ill, but I’m relieved to see that you seem to be getting a little better.”
Ren sat down in the round chair beside his bed, saying a few words to change the subject.
(By the looks of things, I wonder if she called me over just to apologize.)
If so, we have nothing more to talk about.
But I felt it would be impolite to leave so soon after arriving.
Ren, who had no intention of staying long with Licia, who was still not in her best form, began to think of just the right topic to talk about.
“I’m sorry about Viscount Givens, too. I know I have caused you a lot of trouble.”
Licia opened her mouth and spoke again, this time with an apology.
“…… I’m sure you’ve heard from Weiss already, but this time it was also an outing for us to show our intentions to Viscount Givens.”
(No, he didn’t.)
“So we were going to visit more villages than usual, and we were also going to take a detour from this village back to Clausel. We were going to let people know that Clausel is united by having me, a …… saint, tour the territory.”
This was about as far as the Clausel family, a neutralist family with no close relatives, was able to go.
The Clausel family, which is neutral and has no close relatives, could only do so much.
Even if it was a weak resistance, it was not really a resistance at all.
“Even though it was supposed to be that …… really, I hate …… feeling so pathetic.”
Licia hugged her knees, her shoulders shaking slightly.
Her muffled voice began to be laced with sobs.
“I never even beat you ……. at this rate, I’m just a little girl who caused trouble.”
‘A spar is just that, a spar. If we had fought seriously, it might have been me who would have lost.”
“…… You’re comforting me, aren’t you? But now I’m only ruining my late mother’s reputation.”
Ren learned for the first time the fact that Licia’s mother had died.
At least that should have been after Ren was born.
(Then it would have been natural for her father to visit Clausel, but she had no memory of him ever leaving the mansion.)
I tried to recall my memories from when I was a baby, but I still had no memory of Roy leaving this village.
Licia sees Ren’s profile, secretly thinking, and realizes.
“When Clausel went into mourning, my father informed the knight in charge of villages, like your father, that they didn’t need to bother showing up.”
“……How did you know what I was thinking?”
“Somehow. You’re surprisingly easy to understand.”
“I’m sorry,” he apologized in an embarrassed tone.
“Don’t worry about it.”
“I heard that when my mother found out I was a saint, she was so happy she jumped up and down. I’m told she said on the day she died of her illness that I was going to be an amazing person.”
Licia looked proud as she spoke of her mother.
‘I’ve only seen my mother’s face in portraits, and I don’t know her voice. But every time I put on that outfit and fought, I felt like my mother was cheering me on.”
“Are you talking about the outfit you wore when we sparred?”
“Yes. Mother was born into a family of knights who worked at the imperial castle, so she often wore that kind of clothing from a young age.”
It was a memento, so to speak.
For Licia, it was the perfect attire for a spar since it helped her get motivated
“—- but it was all a bit empty.”
Ren felt that he understood the mind of Licia a little better now.
She had been called a saint and had high expectations of her, and in addition to her desire to live up to those expectations, she also had strong feelings for her late mother.
She therefore found great significance in confronting the boy, Ren.
At the Clausel mansion, she was sometimes told that she was not putting in effort by not training with anyone other than Weiss, but this was the flip side of her ambition and impatience at not being able to fight with someone stronger than herself.
“But don’t worry. I won’t bother the Ashtons anymore.”
“I’ve talked to Weiss. I’m really, really sorry that I’ve made things so hectic for you so many times. I will apologize to your parents later.”
After all, this girl is noble.
Knowing the fact that her thirst for growth was not for herself, but for her late mother and everyone who expects it of her, Ren had to think so too.
However, it’s hard to watch Licia now.
She is pure, as pure as silver without a single speck.
I think that’s why.
“—-The next time you’re here, please bring me a magic tool to make fire. Of course, if you have any surplus, that would be fine.”
Ren, who thought to himself, “What am I talking about?”, did not want to see Licia’s grief any longer.
“What do you mean?”
Licia looked up.
Her eyes were red and swollen from crying.
“I thought it would be useful to have a magical tool that could make fire in the earthen floor,”
“But… I’m saying….. Next time…..!”
“I meant the next time you’re here.”
“Look..! I’m saying I wouldn’t come because I don’t want to be a nuisance!”
Naturally, Licia was puzzled.
“Besides, you’ve……been avoiding my presence, haven’t …… you?”
(…… can’t deny that.)
“If that’s the case, it means I’m a nuisance.”
“I’ve had a lot of thoughts about it, but I want you to think about it, ojou-sama”.
“I think that any person would be perplexed if they were asked to spar with someone who came out of the blue…….”
That’s not the best reason, but it’s also what I really think.
Licia did not expect to be scolded in this situation, and she stiffened as she stared up at Ren.
Ren, on the other hand, looks at Licia and smiles.
It was a gentle, mature smile that unintentionally made Licia feel like she could rely on him.
“Don’t you think so too, Miss?”
“…… think so.”
“I’m glad you agree. Next time, if you could contact me in advance whenever possible, that would be fine. Also, I’m never going to leave this village, so please don’t forget that. I’ll be happy to accommodate you as long as it’s within the village.”
After saying this, Ren got up from his round chair.
“I’ve talked a little too much. I’m afraid It will worsen your condition so I’ll be leaving now”
“Wait, wait! What you just said, are you really…..?
“Yes, but let’s talk about this another time. I think it would be better to talk about it slowly after you get better.”
Ren started walking and headed for the door.
Licia almost reached for his back, but held back, while feeling eager to do so.
Ren turned around in front of the door and was about to leave.
Just before he did so, Licia remembered.
“I’m sorry but can I borrow a pen and ink later……? I’d like to write a letter to my father.”
Apparently, she had paper and envelopes.
Ren started to go towards an old desk in a corner of the room.
But Licia told him, “Not today,” and he decided to just tell her where he kept his pen and ink, just in case.
“There’s an accessory box on the desk with my pens. You can use it anytime you want.”
“…… Oh, thanks.”
“No problem. Then I’ll take my leave.”
With one last smile, Ren headed for the door, turned to face Licia, and bowed.