Updated: Jul 4
Tara sets a another knight straight but encounters some unexpected trouble when trying to find Bernard.
This chapter is dedicated to Han, thank you so much for your support!
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Episode 29. 85.5kg (2)
The crowd's gazes turned towards where I gestured. Peter also looked down.
"What about my boots?"
"They're clearly not from the Cavalry or Navy."
“You must be mistaken… All knights wear the same boots." One of the knights next to him shot back, as if correcting an error.
"That's not what I'm saying! The estate is paved, so there's no way to get muddy here, but your boots are covered with mud! It hasn't rained in a few days, so it's impossible to get that dirty, even in unpaved areas."
"There are places in the estate that aren't paved."
"The colour of the dirt is different! Most of the dirt in the unpaved areas outside the estate is dark red!"
"Ah! But the mud on his boots is pale yellow!" Peter exclaimed.
"Yes, that colour is common in the South. I know because I've been there before."
I had been there before. When I ran away after first realizing I had transmigrated into The Ocerian Chronicles I had collapsed from hunger in an area with similarly coloured dirt.
"Recently some knights were sent to repair the fortress in the southern Galatisco area, so that must have been your command post. You belong to the 2nd Infantry Division, correct?
The brown-haired knight, who had been standing there and staring blankly at my words, suddenly responded, "Why is that important?"
"Why? I was just wondering if I was mistaken."
“Wh- what do you mean?”
The knight gulped, his throat bobbing.
"I see. So this is the standard of discipline I should expect from our knights! I'm curious, is it acceptable to be so blatant and sarcastic while addressing a noble daughter of your House? That’s so different from the code of chivalry I know. Well then!" I announced loudly.
"Ah... That's..." His face paled.
My experience as a writer in Korea was coming in handy, and this young, vibrant brain and body made it so easy! The words came to mind so quickly.
"Never mind, I'm busy! Peter! Let's go find Bernard!" I cut off the knight’s words, turned around and briskly walked away.
No matter how much Bernard grumbled, at least he was honest!
<Thursday. Four days before the written test. One day before the embarrassing incident.>
The Elias Family Head's Office.
"They accepted it? So quickly?
"Yes, my Lord. The knight sent by the Second Prince came and delivered it himself. He sent a detailed schedule and a list of requirements for the knights we're sending. Here!"
Sir Nate Paloa the Knight Commander of House Elias presented a document to Lloyd bearing the seal of the Phoenix Knights.
There was a list of over 10 requirements written on the document.
[Requirements for Knight Recruits]
[- All knight recruits must have had their qualifications for at least 2 years.
- All knight recruits must have at least two experiences on the battlefield.
- All Knights must obey all orders issued by their Commander, the Second Prince, for the duration of their service.
- All Knight recruits must obey all rules and regulations of the Order of the Phoenix. In the case of any violation of these rules, such as desertion or insubordination, they will receive the same punishments as regular members of the Order.
- Personnel will be recruited from the infantry, naval and cavalry divisions.
- All recruits must be diligent and competent.
- Knights will not be permitted to bring personal servants.
- All recruits will be expected to manage their own personal armour and weapons.
- All Knight recruits will have their salaries paid by House Elias.
- The dispatch of recruits will be renewed on an annual basis.]
"That rotten bastard! So many requirements! How much money will all this cost!?"
"Around 20% of House Elias' annual military budget."
The Count grimaced at Dylan's words.
"Damn it. Is that bastard serious?"
"Did you think he would refuse?" Dylan asked, tilting his head.
“I half expected it. But since the Palace accepted it without any issues he appears to have His Majesty's confidence.”
"True. But it’s almost a declaration of war, now he needs to be wary of the First and Third Princes."
"Well, that's a given. At least I've demonstrated our Family will not pick sides. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but at least there's no risk of our Family getting caught up in the hurricane building in the palace. Sir Nate!"
Nate, who had been quietly standing by, responded immediately, "Yes, My Lord?"
"Send an official letter to our territories throughout the Empire and recruit people that meet these requirements. Please also go to the knight guilds on the outskirts of the Capital, we need to maintain our ranks."
"Yes, My Lord!"
Shortly after Nate left the office, the Count handed Dylan a stack of papers.
"Yes, I've put together an account for her and already moved some of the shares when possible."
Dylan was shocked the Count had opened an account for Tara. A platinum mine in the West Gollucus mining region had also been registered in her name.
"No need to make a fuss about it. It's only one mine. It's less than 10% of the assets my other children have."
"But, a platinum mine..."
Dylan cut off his words at the Count's annoyed gesture.
The platinum mine in question had not yet entered full-scale operations, it had been evaluated by experts and it was determined that it had considerable reserves of metal.
“After the written exams, simply transfer 5,000 gold to her account.”
5,000 gold? That was more than the value of two large local mansions. That amount was nothing to the Count, but he had never bestowed such a large amount on any of his children.
He was willing to do so much? Was he already satisfied enough with her conduct to give her that much attention?
"Your other children will not be very pleased."
"Well, they're bound to feel a bit slighted. But it's small compared to their wealth, it's an incentive to do better, and if this is too much for them they lack the capacity to be an Elias."
"But a mine to start off? Isn't that too fast....”
"She helped with both the alcohol prohibition issue and the request for knights from the Second Prince, she has earned this much as a gift."
"You've already made up your mind?"
"Ha, this is nonsense. I'm not being hasty. Are you truly going to object to this paltry amount?"
Dylan shut his mouth at the Family Head's firm response. Lloyd had already made his decision. He had no chance of changing his Lord's mind on the matter.
“...No, my Lord. Of course."
"Ah! Also make sure to pay all the taxes on all the assets I'm gifting. If that proves problematic, the meaning behind the gift will be tarnished."
"Ah! Yes, My Lord!"
Internally, Dylan was astonished.
He never expected the Count, who tried to evade taxes at every opportunity, would ever say such a thing.
It was proof that he was opening up to Lady Tara.
<Friday. Three days before the written test. The day of the embarrassing incident.>
After asking a few questions, I found out where Bernard was.
"But still, Miss, it's not a good idea to come here by ourselves. Why do you keep refusing to bring a guard?"
"Bernard won't like it. He won't want to show his face if we come with a knight he knows."
"But what if something happens? Besides, it's not an Elias family carriage, it's a hired carriage..."
"Sir Dylan says it should be okay. It's a very safe area because there are plenty of knights coming and going. The family carriage would be too conspicuous. I want to move quietly! Besides, we have Peter."
Peter sat across from me, he had been staring out the carriage window this whole time and his entire body was strained with tension.
"...But he's so frail. Can he even hold himself steady, let alone protect us?"
"I can hear you big sister."*
Aww, he called her big sister. How sweet!
Ever since what happened at the training yard two days ago, Peter had been bothersome and constantly followed me around.
However, despite his blunt speech, his cute sparkling green eyes looking up at me every day had slowly eroded my resistance.
We both came all the way here because we were both Bernard’s students and Peter insisted on coming.
Wow… I never expected I would be joining forces with an 8-year-old kid.
Beth looked out the carriage window and shuddered. "Ha... Do you hear that? Hmm? What's that sound? Miss, it must be raining!" She said, quietly changing the subject.
The tap of rain on the carriage roof drowned out all sound.
"Haaa... It's raining hard! I didn't even bring an umbrella, so we might be in trouble."
As soon as Beth finished speaking, the carriage suddenly stopped rattling. It jerked to a sudden halt, as if it struck something, and then the entire carriage tilted to the side with a loud crack.
"Ack! H- Help!"
My body leaned heavily towards Beth and I almost fell underneath the seat. Likely due to my own carelessness.
Peter pulled my heavily leaning arm with all his might.
"Haa... Th- thank you, Peter."
On the other hand, Beth dropped her bag and cloak, grabbed a hold of the wooden handles attached to the top corner of the carriage, and closed her eyes tightly.
The carriage shuddered heavily, jerked and recoiled before coming to an abrupt stop.
"I'll get out."
Peter opened the door and hopped out, but Beth was still clinging to one of the wooden handles like it was a lifeline.
"...Beth, we're not going to die. Let go."
"There must have been an accident. That surprised me! Are you all right, Miss?"
"That's what I was about to ask you."
It was very noisy outside. The sound of creaking, rain, and people shouting mixed together into a distracting cacophony.
Thump! The door of the carriage opened and we heard the hiss of rain. Shwaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Peter looked up at us, soaked by the downpour.
"Miss, the carriage fell into a hole and the wheel is broken. They say we need to get off here."
"Ah. Okay, okay. Beth, let's get off."
“Ahhhh! Miss! Don't go out there! I don't have an umbrella!"
I simply ignored her words and walked straight out of the carriage.
I raised my hand over my head to try to block the rain, but to no avail. I was soaked in an instant.
I was wearing a dark green dress, so it fortunately wouldn't turn see-through...
The road outside the carriage was chaotic beyond imagination.
Our broken down vehicle blocked the narrow road. Other coachmen peered through the rain and shouted, "Get that carriage out of here!"
Knights gathered under the eaves of the Knights' Guild building to watch the commotion.
There weren’t many people outside the carriages, except for those who went into the buildings to escape the rain.
The old coachman, soaked by the rain, came up to me, "Oh dear, Milady. Please go there and stay out of the rain. I'll get the carriage out soon."
He ran towards the wheel of the carriage which had fallen into the rut. Peter trailed after him.
"Miss, come here! Come on." Beth said. She ran towards the eaves of a nearby building, expecting me to follow.
Shwaaaaaaaa... The rain continued to fall.
It showed no sign of stopping, and the vehicles still gathered behind the broken carriage, men shouting and horses neighing.
The locals could run over to help, but the coachmen behind us didn't bother leaving the safety of their seats due to the torrential rain, and the few nearby knights simply stood under the eaves of the buildings and watched.
Was it because it was a hired carriage? That might be why. If it had been a carriage from a noble family they may have assisted in hopes of a reward... Hmm. No. Even that might demand too much chivalry in this downpour.
Undecided, I glanced between Beth standing underneath the eaves, and the carriage wheel on the congested dirt road.
"Oh, whatever. I'm already wet anyway."
I ran straight towards the wheel stuck in the pothole. I was so drenched that my skirt wrapped around my legs making me stumble.
I couldn't lift the carriage by grabbing the horse's reins, so I headed towards the harried coachman and held onto the stuck wheel alongside him.
Peter and the coachman stared at me, it looked like their eyes were about to pop out of their heads.
"Oh, my God, Milady. What are you doing?"
"Don't worry about me, just pull it out."
"But you're a noblewoman, so please, wait over there."
"I'm already completely wet and this is more important. Let's get this out now."
I assumed that this would be like that one time I had to push my SUV after it slid into a snowy roadside ditch. And that would become the source of all my problems.
Editor's Note -
*The specific word Peter uses here is 'noona' which means 'older sister' and is a common way that younger males in Korea address older female friends. I debated a bit whether to leave it as 'Noona' since this is a Korean novel, but decided to translate it directly and explain here instead. - Here is a basic explanation about how noona and other similar forms of address are used in Korea.
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