No matter how strange the noises I heard were, it’s still my backyard after all.
What’s there for me to fear
Besides that, my body was slowly adjusting to my inner strength.
My outer strength—that is, my muscular strength—was still lacking, but it’s not to the point that I’d be frightened of some strange noises.
With a chuckle, I picked up the wooden sword that was lying on the ground nearby.
“Is this a spare”
“May I use it”
“What will you do with it”
Instead of answering him, I set down my shawl on the ground and picked up the sword.
As I grasped the light sword, I realized how long it’s been since I held one in my hands, so I felt a little sentimental.
No, come to think of it, it hasn’t been that long.
I held one the other day to demonstrate the basics of swordsmanship to him.
However, that was just to show him the proper form.
It wasn’t like that today.
With one swing, the wooden sword in my hand cut through the air.
A shrill sound followed closely behind the sword’s movement.
And it’s as if there was an afterimage.
Then, I slowly turned my wrist, which made the light sword twirl in my hand.
As I turned the sword and warmed up, Cassion’s eyes grew sharper.
This was the reason why it’s easier to interact with people who were quick-witted.
Even if I didn’t say anything, he understood and got ready.
I tapped the sharp side of the sword on the heel of one shoe, then I spoke.
“Do you really have to ask I’m going to help you train.
Bring it on.”
* * *
The sharp edges of the wooden swords clashed and brought out a loud noise.
Even though they were smoothly carved, the two swords collided and roughed up their wooden grains.
The swords that clashed forcefully separated.
Cassion’s feet on the ground were pushed back a couple steps.
His thick footprints were engraved on the wet, dewy ground.
In contrast, Rosetta stood poised in the same place.
Her slender wrist seemed even thinner than the sword she was holding, and he couldn’t help but wonder just where her strength was coming from.
“Your wrist is weak.
When our swords clashed earlier, your wrist kept bending back.
Your elbow, too.”
Even though they had matched blows several times already, her voice as she explained remained steady.
Without any shortness of breath.
She pointed towards Cassion’s elbow with the tip of her sword and swung in that direction.
Although he could clearly see the trajectory of the tip of her sword, it was difficult for him to avoid it.
His stiff elbow creaked away from the attack, but her sword instead thrusted towards the area near his shoulder.
Right next to his shoulder, to be exact.
And, as it was, right next to his face.
Cassion let out a gasp as he looked back at the polished wooden sword.
‘If these swords were real, you’d be dead already.’
Rosetta had said these words many times during the short sparring session already, and it seemed to echo in his ears.
It’s already his tenth loss.
Thick beads of sweat trickled down and soaked the ground as though they were drops of rain.
Rosetta pulled back her sword with an unimpressed expression.
“There’s no flow to the movements of your wrists, elbows and shoulders, that’s why you’re all stiff instead of flexible.
Swords should not be wielded with force alone.”
At Rosetta’s words, Cassion immediately tried to turn the sword in his hand.
Just as she said, the way he moved with the sword felt awkward.
Actually, he’s not making any progress during the official training sessions.
He was known to be a knight with a common background, and he suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
No, truthfully, it was laughable to even call him a knight.
Others would no doubt mock him for attaining the position of ‘escort knight’ just because of his connections with the ducal princess.
Cassion knew this.
If he was in the other knights’ shoes, he also wouldn’t like to see someone like him enter the ranks.
However, he had no will to argue with anyone regarding fairness, equality or anything like it.
All he had to do was to protect someone’s life, then he could endure any bitter gazes just to do what he needed to do.
Even still, it was detrimental to his progress that no one wanted to spar with him.
Someone who’s like a scarecrow who could only stand still was someone who wouldn’t be able to train properly.
There was also a limit to any moves he could come up on his own.
No matter how elaborately he tried to imagine, he wouldn’t be able to know what it felt like to trade blows—when one force met another.
However, as he clashed swords with Rosetta today, he realized his shortcomings one after another.
And, he was excited.
It was the first time he experienced such fulfillment as he found out what he was lacking.
Through this experience, if he could find his weaknesses, if he could shake off the things that could one day kill him…
It was so fun how he could now pinpoint his shortcomings and gradually train to overcome them.
On the other hand, he also felt that it was a shame.
Once tomorrow came, he’d swing this sword alone once again.
‘Right, I should just try to do as much as I can today.’
He felt apologetic towards Rosetta as her sleep was disturbed in the middle of the night, but he wanted to spar as much as he could.
For the sake of familiarizing his body with this sensation.
However, his body wouldn’t cooperate with him properly.
As he was trying to practice a better flow to the movements of his arm while turning the sword in his hand, Cassion grimaced at the sudden pain that flared up.
Rosetta had been watching from some distance away, but the moment she heard his faint groan, she approached him in surprise.
“No, I’m fine.”
Cassion shook his head and hid his hand behind his back.
Of course, there’s no way Rosetta believed him.
“What do you mean, no Let me see.”
One pale hand grabbed the man’s wrist and dragged it back forward.
When the sword was left to fall to the ground and she opened his palm, one glance was all it took to see just how full of wounds his hand was.
Without a word, Rosetta stared at Cassion’s hand for a while.
Rough, unseemly hands.
Unlike her own pale, delicate hands.
“This is nothing.
“You’re not fine.”
A stern voice immediately answered him, as if rebuking the bluff he tried to stick with.
Rosetta let out a short sigh and let go of the sword in her own hand.
“That’s enough for today’s training.
Since it’s like this, you should take tomorrow off as well.”
“You have to.
Listen to me.”
A cold voice cut off the man mid-sentence.
Cassion looked down at his hand for a moment, then he, too, let out a shallow sigh as he nodded.
After this, Rosetta took out a handkerchief and wiped his injured palm gently.
Every time the smooth, soft cotton cloth touched his wounds, Cassion’s nape turned red.
“The knights don’t spar with you, do they”
Her golden eyes remained directed at the palm of his hand as she spoke.
“Then, it’s better for you to take a nap.”
“Take a nap instead, then meet me at night to spar with me.
I’ll fight you.
Ah, actually, scratch that.
Why don’t you just skip training there altogether”
Chuckling at the second time he asked the same question, Rosetta lifted her gaze slightly, and so their eyes met.
“You don’t have to stick around there if they’re not teaching you properly.
It’s a waste of your time.
Why don’t you just come and train here at that time Leave it to me.”
“But if I do that, they’ll have a worse impression.”
“You don’t have to worry about that.
Our goal is something else entirely anyway.
Besides, once you’re officially appointed as an escort knight, then you’ll never have to see them again.
Rosetta was right.
The moment he was appointed as an escort knight, he would no longer need to train with the other knights.
Even if he were to bump into them occasionally, he wouldn’t be looked down on any longer since he’s secured himself a position.
However, what he cared about was something else.
They’ll have a worse impression of you.”
Beneath the quiet sky, Rosetta blinked at those calm words.
If I do something wrong, I don’t want anyone to condemn you for bringing me in.”
It was a voice that held no embarrassment.
This guy, really.
Dazed, Rosetta blinked a few more times, then she took the man’s injured hand and began to chuckle.
It was a short, cheerful peal of laughter.
Rosetta held Cassion’s hand for a long while and laughed to herself.
Gradually, she stopped laughing and shook her head.
“That’s what I like about you.
I like that you’re good-natured.
But you know, I don’t really care about something like that.”
Still filled with mirth, her voice flowed through her red lips.
She grinned and whispered.
“I like people who are nice, but I’m not interested in being nice myself.”
The hushed voice contained not one ounce of falsehood.
* * *
The two sat side by side on a small hill.
Two wooden swords were down on the ground, and one muddy shawl was stretched out like a rag.
The night sky, to which they were looking up at, was still beautiful.
“How’s your magic training going”
“Not bad, I think.
It’s just… I have no clue how to use it practically in a real situation.”
Cassion was training his magic every single day.
House Valentine was a knight’s family, so there were no magic teachers here.
The only teachers he had now were books.
Rosetta glanced at Cassion’s side profile, listening to the insecurity in his words.
Among all the people I know, you’re the best genius out there.”
“…Is that something you saw in the future you foretold”
“Yes, it’s in the future that I saw.”
“Then why did I die If I’m such a genius.”
It’s because he’s a good-natured genius.
And a weak-willed genius as well—that was the answer.
However, Rosetta chose to say something else instead of the truth.
“Probably because you never met me”
It was a playful tone.
So, Cassion had to know that it was a joke.
However, he didn’t say anything back.
He knew it’s a lie, but on the other hand, it sounded like the truth.
Really, the night sky was beautiful.