Chapter 10: Together with you
The uninterrupted rain sounds pour between us as the silence sinks in.
…William-sama is a kind person.
Even though it is obvious that it would be better to keep an escort knight by your side for your own safety, he shows me the way to avoid getting hurt, worrying about me, who is no more than a simple knight.
My answer is already decided.
“Please allow me to be your escort knight.”
I say this for a while.
He didn’t react as if he was frozen, but after a few beats he opened his eyes wide in surprise.
He looks at me as if he sees something unbelievable.
“…Didn’t you understand by staying by my side for a week? If you work in this mansion, you will only be isolated with me.”
“That may be true.”
“Like I said earlier, there is no guarantee that I will inherit the dukedom.”
“Are you really understanding?”
“I’m in such a weak position I can’t even get the servants to make me tea. I don’t know if I can protect you in case of an emergency.”
William-sama twisted his face as if he remembered something when he muttered this.
Without answering, I put my hand on the top of the stack of paper on William-sama’s desk.
“…When I first came here, Duke Moore was always facing a book and writing something. At first, I didn’t know what you were doing.”
I picked up one of the stacks of paper and flipped through it.
“Methods of managing territories, characteristics of each region, etiquette, finance, calculation, diplomatic issues, medicine, education, poverty…”
The vast amount of traces of study left in the stack of paper.
“Now I understand. What can be done for the people when you become the lord. How can people become wealthy? You were always thinking about it.”
I walked to the bookshelf and pulled out a suitable book.
If I turned the pages, there were writing on every page without any gaps.
The book next to it, and the book next to that one, too.
The books that were densely written showed his relentless efforts and hardships.
I turned to William-sama.
“Your Grace. Do you remember what you said to me when we met at the water area?”
William-sama twitched at my words, but he silently urged me to continue the story without a word.
“You said to me, who was covered in dirt and wounds, that you respect me for enduring harsh training at the same age as me.”
I remember the gaze of William-sama at that time.
“You are not someone who sees the subjects in front of you as mere ‘numbers’, but rather as living ‘people’. You are a rare human being who can respect and honor others beyond social basin.”
William-sama has the qualities to become a great lord.
But whether or not William-sama actually becomes a lord is not very important to me.
At first, I just wanted to help [William-sama, who saved my heart in my previous life].
You’re a man who works hard for the good of his people.
It’s because you choose to be alone, worrying about a mere knight.
It’s because, like scolding the steward at the water basin, you sincerely face the person in front of you and try to right a wrong.
That’s why I want to protect you.
“You are my lord. I don’t need any other lord.”
I looked straight at William-sama.
“If there is no servant to brew tea, I will brew tea for you.
If being with you leads to isolation, I will gladly accept that isolation.
Please let me know first if you are going to the border. I am used to household chores because I was raised in an orphanage, so I am sure I will be able to help even if I go to the border.”
I plead while hoping my feelings will be conveyed.
“Please, let me be by your side.”
William-sama stayed in place for a while.
And when he leaned back on the chair and exhaled for a long time, covering his face with both hands,
He smiled weakly with a face as if he had lost strength.
“I didn’t expect to be told such passionate words.”
He remained still for a while, but eventually stood up from the chair and came to me, stopping in front of me.
“It’s my complete defeat.”
He, who was a little shorter than me, looked up at my face.
“Leah Flores. I appoint you as my… William Moore’s first escort knight.”
He declares with a dignified appearance.
“From now on, take care of me, my knight.”
He smiled as if flowers were blooming.