Leah Flores’s Devotion – I May Be a Mob Knight, but in This Life I Will Definitely Protect Duke William with All My Might! – Chapter 4

Chapter 4: The Boy with Chestnut Hair

The training of the knight squad was extreme.

We ran to the point of breathlessness, were mercilessly pounded in striking practice, were awakened with water on our faces if we fainted, and slept like mud with aching bodies at night.

The training facility after training was full of corpses.

As expected, the knight apprentices one after another decreased.

One day, on the way to the water point to wash dirty clothes after training, something wriggling in the bushes in the back caught my sight.

(…? …what could it be?)

If I looked carefully, I saw a boy with chestnut hair frantically scavenging around the bushes with a desperate face.

(It looks like he’s looking for something…)

It’s already late today, and I have to wash my laundry.

My legs are also wobbly after training.

It’s probably best to pretend I didn’t see it.

… even though I think so.

Once I saw the boy’s tragic expression, I couldn’t ignore it.

“Hello, good evening. What’s wrong?”

When I spoke to him, the boy looked up as if surprised.

“Sorry for suddenly talking to you. But, because you seemed to be in trouble … Did you drop something?”

The boy stared at me as if he were examining me, but then he gave a deceptive grin.

“Yeah, it’s nothing. It’s not a big deal.”

Then he glanced at the laundry basket I was holding in my hand,

“You’re going to the water hole, right? Don’t worry about me and go.”

He said and waved his hand fluttering.

“…if it’s not a big deal, why are you crying?”

When I said that, the boy opened his hazel eyes wide and touched his cheek as if he had just noticed his own tears.

I put the laundry basket on the ground and squatted next to the boy.

“Hey, let’s search together. It will definitely be faster to find something if we search together than if we search alone.”

I spoke to him.

The boy was silent for a while, but eventually whispered,

“…I dropped a present from my fiance.”

“A topaz brooch she gave me saying, [It’s like the color of your eyes].”

Words dripped from the boy’s mouth.

“I used to look at it during tough training sessions, but someone who saw that scene had a wicked idea and snatched the brooch from me.”

“I see.”

“If I tried to take it back, the other person got angry and we ended up fighting, and then he threw it out the window.”

“I see.”

“I rushed over to search for it, but I couldn’t find it. I’m also too tired from training to move well.”

“I see.”

“I’m just…so tired.”

The boy had a terrible complexion, and his eyes were vacant.

“…It’s okay, we’ll definitely find it. Let’s search together.”

As I whispered this, he contorted his face and quietly waved his lashes, shedding tears.

“…Thank you…”

It was difficult to search for the brooch.

We searched not only through the bushes but also on the grass around us, but we couldn’t find it.

(This is going to break my bones…)

I thought this as I stood up and stretched.

I felt like there was something glinting at the edge of my vision, so I approached the shrubbery.

“Ah! Could this be it…?”

A brooch with warmly colored jewels was caught on the shrubbery.

“Hey, is this it?”

I called over to the boy, and as soon as he saw the brooch, he shouted,

“This is it!”

He cheered.

“Great! Then I’ll go now.”

I said this and turned on my heel.

“Ah, wait a minute!”

As I turned at the sound of the boy’s voice, my feet slipped for some reason, probably because I was tired from training.

I tried to catch myself on reflex, but I was unlucky because there was a shrub nearby, and my clothes got caught on it.

I fell at the base of the shrubbery, hearing the unpleasant sound of my clothes tearing.

“Ugh…”

“H-Hey, are you okay…?”

I heard the boy’s worried words as I held onto my aching body and stood up.

I was about to say that I was okay when…

“Ah…?”

I heard the boy’s unintentional, almost surprised voice and his curious gaze, and when I looked down at my own body…

“?!”

When I collapsed earlier, my clothes must have torn dramatically because my neck and chest were exposed.

If I had been wearing clothes, the small bulge would have been small enough to make an excuse like “It’s just muscle.”

However, now that I had no protection from my clothes, my chest, illuminated by the moonlight, was enough evidence to be judged as female.

I quickly covered my chest.

The boy was looking at me like that, but then he asked me,

“I’m sorry if I’m wrong. Are you…a girl?”

You asked me that.

“…Ah…”

I aimlessly wander my gaze, desperately trying to come up with an excuse.

(What should I do? How can I safely get out of this situation?)

My head is spinning and I can’t think clearly.

“…I won’t tell.”

As I lower my head, I lift it at the sound of his voice.

The boy with chestnut hair was staring at me with quiet eyes.

“I won’t tell anyone that you’re a girl.”

As I stare at the boy, unsure of his intention, he whispers to me with conviction.

“I don’t think you’re trying to do something bad. There must be some circumstances…?”

Without thinking, I nod at his words.

“Even though you must be tired from training, you crawled on the ground to search for the brooch with me, a stranger. I don’t believe in repaying kindness with enmity.”

The boy holds out his hand to me.

As I take his hand and stand up, he takes off his shirt and gives it to me.

“For now, wear this. It’s not a great shirt because it’s dirty from training, but it’s better than nothing, right? The shirt in your laundry basket looks even worse…”

Feeling apologetic, I thanked him and put on his shirt.

He watches me do this with a gentle expression.

“I haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m Riley. Riley Morgan. What’s your name?”

“My name is Leah Flores. Just call me Leah.”

“Leah, huh? Nice to meet you, Leah.”

Riley offered his hand and I shook it.

“Well, it’s getting late. As a thank you for helping me search for my brooch, let me help you with your laundry.”

I accepted Riley’s offer and we washed the laundry together.

“Ah, I wish we had magic right now.”

Riley grumbled as he scrubbed the dirt.

“Really. Magic would come in handy.”

“I know magic and superpowers don’t exist in this world, but it’s still fun to think about what we could do if we had them.”

I thought about the protagonist, Charlotte, who could understand the language of animals.

In this world where magic and superpowers don’t exist, her existence is abnormal.

I wonder how she is doing now.

“…Hey, are you listening?”

“What? Sorry, what?”

“You weren’t listening again, were you! The instructor said….”

“Fufufu… Yeah, I figured as much.”

We chat and wash the laundry occasionally.

We became good friends and laughed together on our way home.


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