At Rosetta’s question, Cassion finally raised his heavy body.
As he held out the fan in his hand, he shook his head.
“No, it’s nothing.”
“Your face looks a little red.”
At the nonchalant reply, a sharp observation was uttered.
The flustered Cassion gulped down a short breath and avoided her eyes.
“It’s probably because I moved too much.”
He replied in a very awkward manner, but the answer itself sounded plausible anyhow.
Rosetta narrowed her eyes for a moment.
Then, she nodded and murmured.
It is hot out.”
As the date was close to the middle of July now, the weather had shifted from the early summer to the full brunt of midsummer.
Even as noon had already passed, the blazing sun and the humid air were sweltering.
It certainly wasn’t a good day to move your body actively.
As she stuck her head out of the shade, she could see the searing sky.
After the sky, Rosetta looked at the flushed-red Cassion, and then towards Diana, who was panting while holding her sword in one hand.
She was in the middle of catching her breath, but at the short call, Diana raised her head.
The answering voice was lively.
It was very different from how she was during their first meeting.
The first impression of Diana that Rosetta and Cassion had was that she was feisty and rebellious, but…
As soon as she pledged her loyalty, Diana quickly became like a puppy.
A beagle, to be exact.
‘It’s definitely a different image than how she is in the original…’
A quiet, shadow-like henchman.
Wasn’t that Diana’s supposed archetype
‘Is it because I took her in before she became an assassin’
Or maybe because she now had a ‘guardian’.
In the original novel, Leo was the benefactor who cured Ria’s illness, but he was a far cry from being Diana’s guardian.
But right now, Diana had acknowledged Rosetta as her ‘guardian’.
Like a shade against the scorching sun.
A person to trust with a heavy burden.
That’s why Diana must have felt much lighter and relaxed compared to her original characterization.
Speculating by herself about Diana’s lively change, Rosetta beckoned the person in question.
As soon as she saw Rosetta’s slight gesture, Diana threw the sword aside and skipped right over.
The sword flew in an arc, then stab, it landed blade down onto the ground.
Like the grave marker of an unnamed man who died in the middle of nowhere, at a savage landscape.
Three gazes turned towards that spot in unison, then looked back at Diana’s face.
“You called me, Princess”
She had a cheerful expression as she blinked her sparkling eyes.
Someone let out a sigh of admiration.
After the short bout of silence, Rosetta urged Diana and Cassion to sit down as well.
Logan relocated my teacup to the side to make way for where the two would sit down.
If they trained excessively while the sun was beating down that strongly, then it’s not too bad to skip out.
It would do a lot more damage to them if they end up with heat exhaustion or a heatstroke.
There was less than a month left until the match that would determine whether he’d get to stay as an escort knight.
If he were to get sick, he’d need to take a few days off.
That would be detrimental to his progress.
As Diana and Cassion sat down, Rosetta poured cold tea into their glasses.
The large ice in the pitcher had already melted more than half its original size so it was small now, but the tea was still cold.
Rosetta looked at the two individuals at each of her sides who were gulping down their tea.
She turned to Diana and spoke.
“How’s the training going”
It was the same question she asked Logan a while ago.
However, they were teaching two different subjects.
By nature, of course a guardian should listen to the opinions of the teachers who taught different subjects.
“He’s improved from when he first sparred with me.
He couldn’t even read my movements and got hit at the back of his neck.
As it is, after just a month of training…”
At the unhesitating evaluation, Cassion glanced towards Diana.
Though she didn’t seem to notice.
She trailed off as she thought about it more, but her expression soon changed as if she had come up with the right words.
“As it is, after one more month of training, I don’t think he’ll need to roll on the ground when there’s an ambush.”
The moment Diana finished her harsh assessment, Rosetta watched Cassion’s reaction as her own eyebrows twitched.
Anyone would be able to guess that when Diana said, ‘rolling on the ground,’ she was referring to last time’s ambush.
That was to say, when Cassion rolled on the ground and hid.
To say something like that right to the face of the person himself, it would definitely strike a chord.
However, not a hint of agitation could be seen on his face.
“…Are you saying that I’ll be able to help, too”
On the contrary, as though he didn’t care at all about how it was worded, he only asked Diana a question like this.
“You’ll be able to help, but… Maybe it’s still convenient for me, or Mister Logan or Milady if you do hide”
Cassion’s light expression subsided after hearing the callous critique.
He looked at his open palm and immediately nodded without a word.
It’s obvious what he was thinking, and at this, Rosetta smiled furtively.
‘Probably, you must be thinking that you want to get stronger than you are now so that you can help the three of us.’
Rosetta sipped her tea with a discreet smile on her lips.
“Then, what do you think about Maxwell’s chances of winning in a one-on-one fight after a month”
She volleyed the question over to Diana after the sip of tea she took, and in response, Diana thought about it while her eyes were shining.
“It depends on the opponent, but if we’re talking about an assassin… I believe the chances are forty percent, Milady.”
“Forty percent, you say…”
So then, there’s a sixty percent chance that he’d die.
As she muttered to herself and weighed the odds, she turned her gaze lightly towards Logan.
Recognizing the unsaid question, Logan shook his head.
“In terms of magic… It seems to be about seventy percent.”
“Then the average is fifty-five percent.
That’s a bit tough.”
The odds were too uncertain.
But Cassion needed to be Rosetta’s escort knight no matter what…
“You did mention that there’s less than a month left until the test, right For him to be an escort knight.”
As though to stab at her already taut anxiety, the question was thrown.
Indeed, by none other than Blanca’s right-hand man, Logan.
Rosetta responded with a nod.
“Yes, it’s less than a month away.
The opponent he’ll contend against will be decided within this week though.”
At the mention of ‘opponent’, Cassion froze.
It concerned the matter of who he’d be facing against, so he’s probably nervous about it.
Glancing at the tense man, Rosetta added leisurely.
“Maybe it’ll be someone from the fourth knight order.”
“The fourth order…”
Cassion repeated through thin lips.
The look in his eyes clouded over, and he soon looked uncomfortable.
Tension and irritation.
Resentment and nonchalance.
It was natural for him to have a mixed reaction.
Because the fourth order was where he was stationed and was supposedly training with.
And the people he was with in that place all snickered at and disregarded Cassion.
They didn’t let him join the training sessions, but when he did attend, he was treated like an invisible man.
The fourth order was composed of knights who had been serving the duchy for about two or three years, or even less.
The condition for Cassion’s sparring opponent was ‘a knight who’s been appointed only two years ago’, so it was natural that it was going to be someone from the fourth order.
Nevertheless, as soon as it was mentioned that he was going to face one of the people there, the terrible things that he had to go through in that place seemed to hit him hard.
In the silence that stretched before them, Rosetta watched Cassion’s hardened expression, then she asked quietly.
“Does it bother you”
The black eyes, which were unfocused in the air, turned towards the person who asked him.
There, the golden eyes that met his gaze curved gently.
“No, it’s not like that.
His words stopped there.
Cassion’s lips opened and closed as he thought about it, but he soon continued.
There was a soft smile on those lips as well.
The three other people around him nodded at his honest answer.
They all knew about why Cassion wasn’t training with the other knights and was instead training secretly here in this clearing.
So, they all fully understood what was on Cassion’s mind.
Though it was ironic, all three people didn’t really mind that he was being ‘ostracized’ and such because of their own personalities, but just because they weren’t characteristically like that didn’t mean they didn’t truly care.
Well truthfully, Cassion wasn’t all that hung up on the ‘ostracizing’ either.
All his life, he’s been perpetually surrounded by malice, and living amidst tension and anxiety was the norm for him now.
Since he lived while his life was constantly being threatened, this kind of immature bullying was nothing but a child’s prank for him.
What truly annoyed him was that, because of their dirty tricks, he was being put at a disadvantage.
He could have gotten stronger at a faster pace, but he couldn’t.
He could have been properly training, but instead he lost precious time.
So, their petty spite was getting on his nerves.
“Then, shall we go and see”
The elongated silence was interrupted as Rosetta’s voice flowed in.
The three other people turned to her in unison.
Rosetta shrugged and tapped her teacup.
“You mean, to spy on them”
The quick-witted Diana asked back, and Rosetta nodded in response.
“We have to find out just how good the opponent would be, and then let’s make the perfect plan.”
The mention of a perfect plan sounded like a significant proclamation.
However, Rosetta simply lifted her teacup calmly and took a sip.
Of course, beyond those round, curved eyes, she was hiding a sharpened glare.
‘That fourth order of the knights…’
Just how great were they.
What a great lot they were, to have ignored Cassion that much.
Her red tongue flicked inside her mouth.
As her tongue swept through her cold mouth, the temperature gradually turned warmer.