YCKTML Chapter 27
In the middle of the mountain, a vast flatland looked like it had been carved out of the mountain. The carriage made a smooth stop there.
In carriages that had arrived before us, ladies in colorful dresses were escorted by their knights or partners.
For a moment, I hesitated to get off. It was a matter of great shame for a noble lady to open and exit the door on her own.
It was an inconvenient and useless rule, but I couldn’t afford to get ridiculed and had no choice but to follow.
But who’s going to escort me right now? Lia got down first and looked around.
“Lia, escort me.”
“Wait a minute, ma’am. Please wait a little longer.”
I didn’t care how I got down, whether by Lia’s hand, a coachman’s or air, but I guess it wasn’t the same for Lia, who had worked in the Palace for a long time.
I was getting annoyed by the slight wait when I noticed a familiar face. The man, whose blond hair fluttered in the wind, looked at me and immediately turned towards me.
I could hear the ladies whispering in surprise.
The fact that the Ducal heir of Clifford and his wife, who have just gotten married, were not on good terms with each other was old news.
Rupert certainly boasted his outstanding beauty as a male lead, but to me, he was just a nice-looking, disgusting sculpture walking around.
He left Baron Verezian’s funeral right away, so he must have arrived before me. Chloe was nowhere to be seen.
Rupert reached out to me for the first time in his life. Of course, he was also a high-ranking nobleman, so his hand was outstretched, and his posture was not awkward, but the fact that Rupert was doing it made it a curious sight.
When I just stared at him, he gritted, “Aren’t you going to get off?”
Many eyes were on us, so I grabbed his outstretched hand and stepped forward. I glanced at Rupert and saw him smiling, looking pleased.
When I followed his gaze, and surprisingly I saw Enoch walking up the mountain through the grass. Did you walk all the way? How did you get here so fast?
At that moment, Enoch looked like he wanted to approach Rupert and me, but instead, he turned and entered the Imperial Knights’ barracks.
I was only going to let him drop me off the carriage, but Rupert escorted me ’til the end and took me to the barracks assigned to me.
What was going on? Where was Chloe?
I was curious but stopped myself from asking. I wasn’t really interested in her well-being.
Rupert didn’t just take me to the barracks; he also went inside. As he tried to take off his outerwear, I looked at him in surprise and said, “W-what is this? Don’t tell me we’re staying in the same barracks?”
“What if we are?”
As soon as he said that, I walked past him and toward the entrance behind him. However, Rupert grabbed my arm to stop me.
“I’m kidding. But would it be so unreasonable for a married couple to share a room?”
I knew that Rupert had a change of heart, but I didn’t understand why he was suddenly acting so friendly.
“Why did you come in then? What do you need?”
“To give you this,” he said, placing something shiny on my hand.
“What is this?”
“Can’t you see? It’s a brooch.”
“Why are you giving this to me?’
It was a brooch with brilliant obsidian jewels in it.
“The brooch has the effect of keeping monsters from approaching,” as he spoke, Rupert coughed a little. At first glance, he seemed shy.
I was about to return it and say I didn’t need it, but I decided against it because it would be better to have something.
What, were you giving this to me instead of the ring?
But even after he gave me the brooch, he didn’t leave and instead frowned at me. I then realized he was staring at my pendant.
Not guilty, I snapped, “What are you looking at?”
“I’ve never seen that necklace before, but it looks like a ring.”
I was annoyed that it had something to do with it, but I held it back as much as I could so as not to ruin my mood by arguing with him.
“It was originally a ring. I’ve been riding a carriage for a long time, and I’m tired. I want to rest… If you have nothing to say, would you please leave?”
He was silent for a moment, then moved on as if nothing had happened.
“Well, Chloe said she was feeling unwell and took a break… At times like this, you must be a fragile woman, too,” Rupert mumbled before leaving.
What did Chloe’s motion sickness have to do with me being a fragile woman? Of course, Erin was also a bit fragile, but what did that have to do with motion sickness and women!
I couldn’t help but scream at him in my mind, and I unpacked my luggage with Lia, who was following me.
I must have thrown the brooch Rupert had just given me on the bed. Lia picked it up and said, “I’ve never seen this brooch before. Should I place it back in the luggage?”
“Hmm… No, give it to me.”
I wasn’t that cautious in the first place, but I didn’t want to run into monsters tomorrow.
Honestly, I was worried. Monsters were commonplace in this world, but to me, they were no different from aliens.
I didn’t like that Rupert gave it to me, but I decided to keep the brooch.
Rupert left Erin’s barracks and headed into the large barracks in the middle. It was where the warriors participating in this hunting competition gathered, inspected their weapons, and set up areas.
As he entered, the noisy barracks became quiet for a moment. Soon after, a nobleman who knew Rupert raised his hand to greet him.
“Lord Clifford! I’m sure you’ll win first place again this time. Well, you never give us a chance to catch up.”
“That’s right, I was planning to get first place this time and propose to my lady, but you’re ruthless!”
Among the whining and complaining nobles, Rupert smiled politely and took a seat.
Soon, the commander of the Imperial Knights would appear and briefly explain the area and precautions. Although this hunting competition has established itself as a social event, its main purpose was to reduce the number of monsters in the vicinity.
Therefore, the strategies discussed here were quite important. While everyone was talking and murmuring amongst themselves, someone walked in.
Then the knights near the entrance began to kneel.
“I greet His Highness, the Imperial Crown Prince!”
When Rupert realized who it was, his face hardened, but he quietly knelt with the rest of the men inside the barracks.
“Be at ease. Don’t worry about me and just focus on getting good results.
A young swordsman looked at Enoch with a look of disbelief and asked cautiously, “…Is Your Highness also participating in this competition?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll do my part. I won’t be a nuisance to you.”
“Hahaha. Your Highness, you don’t have to say that.”
The young man laughed awkwardly but looked at him with a slight sneer.
The Crown Prince had not participated in this competition in the last few years. Instead, he stayed at the command headquarters to guard the barracks or only look around the low-level monster haunting areas where he went with the ladies.
Everyone knew he was a brilliant wizard, but monster-hunting required strong stamina and physical strength.
Enoch was slender compared to the big, muscular men in the barracks.
‘Someone would need to take care of the Prince when he falls behind, so what are you saying, you won’t be a nuisance? No, it’s not like this, but if you take this opportunity…’
Blinded by prejudice, the young swordsman thought so.
But Rupert was different. He clenched his teeth and thrust a sharpened sword into its sheath. As he struggled to manage his expression toward Enoch, the Crown Prince approached him.
“Rupert, you’re here, too.”
“Yes, Your Highness. Please sit here.”
Rupert stood up from his seat, and Enoch sat down and smiled. At first, the knights and noblemen were quiet as they carefully eyed the Prince, but they soon relaxed when Enoch acted informally.
In the midst of the hustle and bustle, Enoch spoke casually to Rupert.
“You don’t seem worried about me. I’m going to participate in this competition, believing that you will protect me.”
Rupert remained stiff, but he smiled slightly as he answered, “If Your Highness decides to participate, I am well aware that we’re no match for you.”
In fact, Rupert had seen the true face of the Crown Prince when they were younger.
A horde of demons was chasing them then. Finally, Rupert got overwhelmed by the numbers and decided to give up and run away.
But when he turned around, Enoch was standing there, looking at the crowd of monsters.
Rupert called for him, but Enoch only waved his hand, signaling him to go, but he did not move. Until then, Rupert didn’t think Enoch was that strong.
Just as he debated whether he should go back and save him, he saw it.
He still couldn’t forget the horrifying sight of Enoch unleashing great magic against the countless monsters, and water, fire, and lightning striking from the sky, engulfing them.
Rupert had seen many wizards, but it was the first time he had ever seen anyone cast a spell in the blink of an eye without shouting a single incantation.
And that day, Rupert was severely rebuked by his father, the Duke of Clifford, because he almost ran away and left the Crown Prince.
If Enoch were to use magic as he did back then, these numerous participants would have to go home without seeing a single monster.
Feeling Rupert’s gaze, Enoch smiled and lowered his voice, “Don’t worry, I’m just going to take a look. If you behave yourself, I won’t take your place.”
Rupert bowed, but he had gripped his sword so tightly that his hand had turned white.
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