Chapter 38: True To One’s Desires
Ergnade guided us to our rooms, and as soon as he carefully closed the door behind him and exited, Claudia couldn’t contain her excitement anymore and jumped on top of a bed.
At Claudia’s sudden, eccentric action, both of the women from Cyril village jumped. It was too sudden for them.
Claudia buried her face in the sheets, rolled around, and wrinkled the sheets. Stop, you’re going to make a mess of my bed……
“Ahh…… Being a knight, it’s so dignified and beautiful!”
With her face still buried in the bed, Claudia made such a comment. I was amazed and speechless, and just looked at Claudia with a strange feeling. She really likes the idea of being a knight way too much.
“……You two, it seems that the room to the right of this one will be yours for tonight, so please stay there.”
I don’t know whether I should say the two women were amazed or frozen solid, but I ordered them to their room, and sighed deeply as I was now left alone with Claudia.
“Claudia-dono, your spear fell over.”
Claudia, who seems to have returned to her senses, raised her face. At the same time, she saw her favorite spear that had fallen down onto the floor, then she saw me and my amazed expression, and she got off the bed, realizing the way she had been acting.
“Please fix the sheets properly.”
As I sat down on a chair in front of the desk by the window, I sighed again as I was tired, and stretched. As expected, riding a horse for three days straight to get here with a six year old’s body, I’m sore all over.
After I took a glance at Claudia to make sure that she was fixing the sheets, I looked outside the window. For defensive purposes, the window had iron bars. On the other side of the glass, I could see the ramparts that were considered the national boundaries. It’s made basically the same way as this fort, and there was a gate that was currently shut on the tall rampart walls.
On the other side of the rampart, is the Densel Dukedom. This place is on the frontlines of defending our country, seeing this for myself, I felt some tension as well. Something might happen at any time, just as I was bracing myself –
“Nooo, why can’t I get it nice and straight like the maids do!?”
Suddenly, Claudia’s idiotic voice interrupted my thoughts. I couldn’t help but collapse on the desk, losing the strength in my arms to prop myself up.
It seems that Claudia was struggling with the bed sheets, and because it wasn’t going well, she was getting frustrated. Before she could rip the sheets, I hurriedly stopped her and told her it’s fine. Claudia still seemed worked up and dissatisfied at the situation, and she turned and faced me, and spoke up seriously.
“Erin-dono, please let me remain here and guard you after all.”
“It’s Eliza. No.”
“Sorry, I got it wrong again. ……I think it was a good idea to say that those two were our maids. But if I’m not here because I have to escort them back, who will Eliza-dono leave things up to here in the meantime?”
I wonder if it’s because she came in contact with an actual knight, she’s even more insistent than usual. However, it’s useless even if she begs me with those puppy eyes of hers. As Claudia stared at me with those blue eyes of hers, resembling a cat, she tried to overwhelm me with her feelings.
“Of course I can leave things up to the soldiers, and I can take care of myself. Claudia-dono, you’re a guest that’s been entrusted to me by the Rolentsor family. You really shouldn’t be here at such a dangerous place. It’s the same for those two women as well. Since if they stay here they could be in danger, I’m requesting this of Claudia-dono.”
“……I give up. Got it, I’m sorry. I’ve been too selfish.”
Claudia’s head was drooping down, and just like that she went and laid down on the bed. Because it was so rare to see her quiet like this, even though her being quiet was great for me, I couldn’t help but ask her a question.
“Claudia-dono, why are you so enchanted with the idea of being a knight?”
Like a spring, she suddenly bounced back up. A smile popped up on her face like she was blossoming, and she was looking at me with sparkling eyes. At the great change in her, I asked myself mentally if I had spoken prematurely.
“Thank you for asking, let me tell you!”
……And my answer was, I had indeed been too hasty.
According to Claudia, who was actually acting somewhat embarrassed, she started from an episode in her early childhood about her having no talent in anything whatsoever, apart from martial arts and military arts, and wanting to be recognized by her immensely talented older brother.
Her prowess in battle was indeed strong, so with her abilities, she would have a place in Arxian society. Her academics were terrible and she wasn’t eligible to learn territory management as a girl that wasn’t likely to inherit, but she was treated equal to boys with regards to military arts. Claudia proudly said that her parents had a saying, if you have the free time to be sewing, you might as well be strengthening your spear skills instead, it’s considered normal in her family, although it’s still rather unusual for an Arxian girl to possess such high combat skills.
Her older brother, who was probably worried about Claudia’s lack of interest in anything girl-like and her lack of self-confidence, seems to have told her that she had the talent to become an amazing knight. It seems that he used to be cold towards Claudia because his younger sister had been better with the spear than he was, but in the end he seems to have managed to swallow his pride and encourage his little sister. It was an interesting story in its own way, I listened to it in silence, only responding occasionally to let her know I was paying attention.
“My older brother is a splendid knight now! I admire him so much!”
Claudia’s eyes were starry like those of a maiden in love, it’s just that what she was dreaming of was running around a battlefield, becoming a knight. In front of her overflowing hopes and dreams, I could only give a small sigh.
“Come to think of it, Eliza-dono, don’t you have any?”
Claudia’s cheerful face looked at me expectantly, and she asked me a question with no context at all. This time she didn’t get my name wrong, how rare.
“Do you have anything you’re aiming for?”
“Right now, I’m aiming to become a great domain lord.”
“That’s not what I mean….. Mmm.”
It seems that it wasn’t the answer she wanted to hear, and she furrowed her eyebrows as she was thinking.
“That’s, um…… Rather than what you want to be, is there something that you absolutely have to become?”
Claudia seemed to be trying her hardest to come up with the right words to say, but after not getting the response she wanted twice in a row, Claudia began clutching her head and muttering, trying to think of what to say.
“Um um um…… Uh, as an example, what does Eliza-dono want to do?”
“Want to do…… Right now, I want to help the new citizens adjust to their new village as soon as possible. After that, I want to get the church to return to the domain……”
“Isn’t that part of your work as a domain lord?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“But that’s not what I mean……”
Uuu, her muttering had changed to whining. With her face between her hands and a silly expression on her face, moaning and whining, she looked ridiculous, ruining her appearance even though she was a beauty. It felt like a travesty upon my eyes, so I averted my eyes and looked outside the window.
“……Other than things related to your domain, doesn’t Eliza-dono have anything you want to do?”
After a while, Claudia finally managed to think of something to say. Other than things related to my domain……?
Mmm, as I went over the things I wanted to do in my head one by one, every one of them had to do with being a domain lord or being a noble. It was to the extent where I began admiring myself, for my lack of selfishness in not having anything I wanted to do for myself. Finally, Kamil’s face suddenly came to my mind, but I immediately got rid of him by shaking my head.
Claudia was seriously looking at me with an incredulous expression on her face. Wanting to get married to someone would be considered pretty ordinary, and among all the things that people wanted to do, for her that so single-mindedly wanted to become a knight, it might be a little hard for her to understand me.
“……You don’t have any desires?”
“I don’t think that’s quite accurate, either.”
“Although I’m aiming to become a knight, I’d also like to eat boiled eggs until my stomach bursts, or be able to use magic like monsters can, I have plenty of wishes unrelated to me becoming a knight. Is there really nothing for you?”
I tried to think of something specific, but I was still unable to come up with anything. I shook my head, and Claudia scratched her head.
“Hmm, as I thought, you don’t have any desires.”
This time I didn’t deny it, and just shrugged. The fact that I’m not completely selfless, I know perfectly well myself.
I have a wish as well.
– I want to be forgiven. Someone, anyone, in any way, even though I don’t deserve it, can’t I be forgiven, I’ve always been wishing for it.
To have no desires, of course that’s not possible.