Chapter 57: Sleeping Faces
Standing in front of a heavy door.
This is the front of the office of the Captain of the peacekeeping troops, located in the middle of the garrison.
Overwhelmed by the pressure from the door in front of me, I involuntarily hold my breath. The knight who led me here lightly knocked on the door.
“Sir Maurice, the Captain of the security team has arrived.”
A dignified voice echoes from inside the door.
As the guide knight opened the door with a creaking sound, a well-built man in his prime looked at us from behind the desk.
“It’s been a while, Flores. No, now it’s Captain Flores, right?”
The Captain of the peacekeeping troops, Leo Maurice, speaks to me in a dignified manner.
I bowed on the spot and opened my mouth to greet him.
“It’s good to see that Captain Maurice is well.”
As I said that, Captain Maurice narrowed his eyes as if reminiscing.
“His Grace, no, his Lordship now. Has it already been seven years since I recommended you as Your Lordship’s first guard knight? Time flies.”
He slowly stands up.
“Come on. Let’s talk in the drawing room.”
Following him, I also started walking towards the back door.
“So. What’s the story, Captain Flores?”
He asked me that as he firmly sat down on the chair. I involuntarily swallow my saliva under the pressure.
(…I must not be afraid. When considering the future, the cooperation of the peacekeeping troops is essential. I must somehow persuade Captain Maurice.)
I put strength into the hand I was holding and began to speak.
“I will speak straightforwardly. Would you consider holding regular joint training sessions between the peacekeeping troops and the security forces?”
A deep wrinkle appeared between Captain Maurice’s eyebrows.
(As I thought, it won’t be easy.)
Just as I thought that,
“Why do we need joint training?”
He asked the most reasonable question.
“When there is an emergency deployment, if the peacekeeping troops and the security team are not coordinated, they will expose the lord to danger. It is a proposal based on the idea that we need to deepen cooperation and prepare for when the time comes.”
Knight Commander Maurice strokes his white beard, which is starting to mix in.
“You’re saying that we should divide each knight’s training time and hold joint training?”
“Yes. It will be too late if “we cannot protect the lord” in an emergency situation.”
“Hmm, you’re strongly advocating for it… Almost no situations in which it is necessary to go directly to the lord. Things are going well with the current system. Even so, you think it should be done?”
I clenched my lips at those words.
I want to somehow hold joint training because I know the scenario of “You and The White Rose”.
However, there is no way to explain it.
It’s ridiculous to say that I know the future, no one will believe it.
“…Even if things have been okay so far, there is no guarantee that they will continue to be okay.”
The voice I finally squeezed out sounded extremely rough.
“I don’t want to regret anything in an emergency situation. I want to do everything I can if possible.”
Saying that, I directly looked at Captain Maurice.
“Is the current lord that important to you?”
He murmured softly.
Without hesitation, I nodded at those words.
Captain Maurice looked at me as if to gauge my determination, just as he did seven years ago, but eventually he let out a sigh and relaxed his shoulders.
“[There is no guarantee that things will continue to be okay] is a very reasonable statement… Fine. I will help with the joint training.”
“…Thank you very much!!”
I heard that and deeply bowed my head.
“You decided to hold joint training?! Damn… Captain Flores, you’re too stoic…”
Johnson’s eyes roll back as he hears my story upon returning.
“I’m sorry, but this is already a done deal. I’ll ask you to help with the preparations, Johnson.”
When I said that, he looked at me with a resentful expression.
“Captain Flores, am I not being overloaded with various tasks? I’m not as busy as Captain Flores, but I’m about to collapse.”
He taps my shoulder while looking at me intently.
“Yeah, I’m sorry for overloading you with work. Next time, I’ll take you to a place with delicious meat.”
He shines his eyes at my words.
“Meat?! Meat?! Captain, I definitely heard it right!!”
He shows his delight openly at the mention of meat.
(He’s easy to handle and grateful, but to be caught by meat like this… I’m worried he’ll be tricked someday.)
I’m suddenly worried about the simplicity of my subordinates.
As if noticing my gaze, he clears his throat and tries to fix his appearance.
“Well, for now, let’s say next time… By the way, Captain.”
“Hmm? What’s up…?”
As I’m confused by Johnson’s sudden serious expression, he approaches me closely.
“I think there’s something strange about my job.”
I hear that and blink my eyes.
“Is there something dissatisfying about your work…? Did something not go according to my plans?”
As I said that, he shakes his head.
“It’s not about not going according to plans… It’s about how to lead, or something, it’s like a handover for the next Captain. What’s going on?”
I close my mouth in response to his question.
Johnson continued to press me.
“It’s as if Captain Flores will disappear in the near future. What are you worrying about?”
I widen my eyes and then put on a smile.
“… Ha ha, Johnson. That’s a misunderstanding.”
I give him a thin smile as I look at him.
“It’s okay. I won’t disappear.”
“William-sama, would you like to take a break? I brought some tea.”
At night, I call out from outside the door of the duke’s office. When I open the door while wondering why there is no response, William-sama is sleeping with his head on the desk.
I quietly put the tray of tea on the edge of the desk.
(It’s not surprising, because he’s been working hard lately… I’ll wake him up in a little while and move him to the bedroom.)
Thinking that, I put a blanket on William-sama’s back.
I gaze at his handsome sleeping face illuminated by the lighting.
[It’s as if Captain Flores will disappear in the near future.]
Johnson’s words from earlier in the day came back to my head.
(His words hit the mark. I’m making arrangements so that I can disappear anytime.)
I reach out and trace William-sama’s white, smooth cheek with my finger.
(No matter what, I must protect William-sama, and then… someday I will not be able to hide the fact that I am a woman. I must leave him before that happens.)
I remove my hand from his cheek.
(Even if I can be by William-sama’s side like this for a while, eventually…)
In the flickering light of the candela, I gazed at William-sama’s sleeping face for a while.