YCKTML Chapter 30
On the first morning of the hunting competition, I woke up earlier than usual, even though I slept late last night.
I couldn’t sleep any longer, and I went out alone without waking Lia. I brought the bow–much lighter and smaller than a real bow, really– they’d handed out to the ladies yesterday.
To kill time, I went out alone and shot an arrow at a wooden pole. I shot ten arrows, none of which reached the target.
Erin Spilet, you definitely didn’t learn archery… I walked towards the tree beside the poles to pick up the arrows. As I bent over, something that looked like a small fruit fell on my head. Then I heard someone giggling.
I looked up and saw a man sitting on a tree watching me. I felt like I had seen that dark brown hair, purple eyes, and mischievous expressions somewhere.
Oh, it was the young knight dancing with Marchioness Raphael last night.
I would have talked to him, but I had nothing to say to someone who laughed at me without saying anything. So I just picked up the arrows and turned around.
“Oh!” The man jumped off the tree and spoke to my back. “Lady…! You’re the Lady who got challenged to a duel yesterday, right?”
I turned around and replied, “So what if I am?”
With a smile on his face, the knight hurriedly approached me. Judging from his youthful face, he looked three or four years younger than Erin or Enoch.
“It’s just I’ve never seen a Lady say that before.”
“Ah… Right. Did you not want to hear it?”
“No, it was great! Well, I should start by introducing myself. I’m Count Damen Rosen. Duchess Erin Clifford?”
A Count, huh… If he held that title at a young age, he had either made outstanding achievements or lost his parents early. Probably the latter, like Erin.
The thought saddened me, and I unconsciously softened.
“It’s nice to meet you, Count Rosen. Marchioness Raphael must have told you about me,” I replied with a smile.
Damon knelt in front of me and kissed the back of my hand.
“That’s right. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to greet you, Lady. Please feel free to call me Damon.”
He reminded me of a big dog. How cute. I grabbed his hand to help him stand up and asked, “Alright, Sir Damon. But I thought you had something to ask.”
Damon then kicked the floor once and looked at the bow and arrow I was holding. “Um… Can I teach you? I’ve been watching you, and it’s so frustrating.”
That’s what you wanted to say? How much time did we have before the start of the hunting competition?
After thinking about it, I nodded. “If only for a moment.”
Damon grinned. I was the one who would be gaining from this, but somehow I was the one giving permission.
“First, put your legs shoulder-width apart… Secure your arms so they don’t shake.”
I did as he told and raised my arms, then pulled the bowstring. However, the arrow merely grazed the wooden post and flew to the ground.
“Hmm, hold on.”
Damon tilted his head in contemplation before holding my arm from behind. He held my one hand to hold the bow firmly and the other to pull the bowstring together.
The arrow, which moved away with the sound, struck the middle of the wooden pillar.
I’d only succeeded because of his help, but I was happy nonetheless. Damon clapped his hands and said, “Good job! Could you have a talent in archery?”
I was flustered to have only succeeded when he helped me. Then, while we smiled at each other, Rupert walked out from behind Damon.
Puzzled, Rupert looked at Damon and asked, “What’s this?”
“What? She’s learning archery.”
“Why would you do this with a kid like this…”
Rupert eyes Damon from head to toe. What an arrogant male lead. I stood in front of Damon and blocked his view.
“Sir Damon, I’m sorry. Teach me again next time. That’s it for today.”
Damon was behind me, so I couldn’t see his expression, but he walked away without saying anything.
Rupert scowled at Damon and muttered, “Ah, maybe that’s your taste… young men like him?”
Dumbfounded, I couldn’t think of a response. Then before I could say anything, Rupert glanced at me with a strange look and walked away.
He probably thought people in the world were the same as him.
The hunting competition was in full swing. Well, “full swing” would be exaggerating it.
Noblewomen sat on horses, and men, their partners or knights most likely, escorted them as they held onto the reins.
I sat sullenly on top of the horse. To my surprise, Rupert escorted me and guided the animal I was riding.
Unlike at the banquet, married nobles were together with their spouses. Well, we didn’t look that different from them.
I hadn’t seen Enoch the whole morning. It was a little disappointing, but the Crown Prince probably had things to do.
But where was Chloe?
When I looked around, I spotted her in the back with a knight escorting her. Looking at the way they interacted, they seemed close.
But didn’t Rupert mind that Chloe was so friendly with other men?
Deep in thought, I suddenly heard a blunt voice speak. “Don’t think about anything else and look ahead.”
I glanced down at Rupert.
Then I heard someone running. Judging by his brown har, it was most likely Count Damon Rosen.
“Madam, I hope you catch at least one.” Damon raised his two fists to cheer me on.
If I could have it my way, I wouldn’t want to face the monsters, but I smiled at him anyway and said, “Thank you. I’ve listened to a special lecture from a wonderful knight, so I’ll do my best.”
Then suddenly, Rupert interjected, “Sir must have come as an escort here, so can you leave my partner alone? You don’t deserve to be a knight.”
Damon scratched his head with a troubled look on his face. “But my partner is… Countess Kalina.”
As I looked towards the direction Damon was pointing, I saw a woman skillfully riding a horse. She had a long sword around her waist and a large bow on her back, unlike the toy bows they gave to the ladies.
In any case, an escort seemed completely useless to her.
She looked so cool. If I had that level of skill, I wouldn’t have had to be dragged around by Rupert like this.
“Is that why you’re causing trouble here and there? Do you want to continue acting childish?”
“Hmm, Lord Clifford. I’m just saying hello. Then, I’ll see you later, Madam.”
When Rupert was becoming visibly upset, Damon quickly backed away and ran in the direction his partner had disappeared.
Why was he standing there like that? All I could see from above was the crown of his head covered in blood hair, but I could somehow feel it burning with rage.
“Why are you so mad at Sir Damon?”
I didn’t ask because I cared. I just wondered if there was a reason he seemed to have a bad relationship with the Rosen family.
Then Rupert turned his head and looked at me. Oh my.
“I just don’t know. I thought it was the Crown Prince, but this time it’s a young man. Are you the type to change your mind so easily? Which one is it?”
His response flustered me. I could somehow understand why he’d be suspicious of my relationship with Enoch, but what did Damon do? I’d only met him today.
But rather than correcting it, I’d rather let him misunderstand. Even though this was just a contractual marriage, I wanted him to feel it, too.
How did it feel for you to see me having an affair in front of your eyes?
“Well… The Crown Prince is handsome, and Sir Damon is cute. They each have their charms, so do I have to choose one?”
Seeing Rupert’s crumpled face, I knew I achieved my intended purpose.
“Among them, why am I…” Rupert mumbled.
“What was that?”
He didn’t answer, and I didn’t bother to speak anymore.
He silently guided my horse, wary of everything. I haven’t seen any monsters yet.
The road gradually diverged into several paths, and the people went their own ways. I didn’t even notice which direction Chloe had gone.
The birds chirped softly. What did monsters look like? According to what I saw in the book, the small amount of magic that flowed through the ground created monsters.
Ordinary beasts were influenced and turned into monsters; thus, new species were born.
In the northern provinces, there were many monsters because of its strong magic. These monsters wreaked havoc, attacking people and eating livestock.
That’s why the Imperial family held annual hunting competitions to control the monster population.
Ordinary rabbits are gentle and timid, but rabbits that have become monsters are ferocious and aggressive.
That… That rabbit-like thing over there, was it a real one or a monster? A lady led her horse along with a knight.
The lady fired an arrow at the rabbit-like creature but missed. And at that moment, the small, fluffy bunny jumped up with a bizarre cry.
Want to read more? Head over to Ko-fi to access the next chapters.