There are times when you can’t come to an understanding
There was an uproar after we returned to the castle.
The Margravine had been wounded. Even if she had been dealt scrapes and small injuries before, the former queen had never been hurt so badly that she could barely walk.
Margrave Vain’s surprise was especially great.
He was always composed on the surface, even when calling for doctors to treat his wife, dealing with the wounded, collecting information on the strange actions of the wind wolves, ordering the examination of the prisoner, but he did all of this without leaving her even once.
Everyone could feel his iron will to never leave her, and it was most moving to see. But it also caused everyone in the castle to grow that much more tense as they went about their duties.
Even after the treatment had finished, Margrave Vain refused to leave her. If anything, Madame Beatrice seemed a little troubled by this, which was quite amusing.
“There is nothing left to do but wait for it to heal. It will not heal any faster because you are nearby, my dear.”
Even as he fumbled over his words, the Margrave refused to move, and so everyone decided that it was best to just leave the two alone.
We had finished giving a general explanation of the situation, and Alan and Sir Wentworth had already left the room. The handmaid’s, Maia and Clara seemed to be ready leave as well, and I decided to go with them.
Night had fallen now, and I thought I would try to go and eat while I still could. Just as I was thinking such things and moving towards the hallway, someone grabbed my wrist.
I turned around and saw Alan with a grim expression.
“Wait, Kiara. I want to ask you something.”
I see how serious he is, and nod.
He then took me to the top of one of the castle towers.
The sentries who stood guard were stationed in the much higher bergfried towers, so this tower wasn’t regularly occupied. Which meant it was nice and quiet.
It was unlikely that anyone would overhear your conversation here. But the sudden arrival of nightfall across the sky made the air here feel very chilly.
Alan had reached the corner of the tower room first and turned around just as I had finished climbing the steps.
“First, I must say. Do not roll up your skirt like that. Do no show your legs to others. I feel as if you have very little concept of what it means to be embarrassed!?”
“Ahh… That first, huh.”
Seeing Alan’s hard face in that dim light, even I felt a sense of guilt.
“Umm, I am deeply sorry to have made such a strange display. I have sullied your eyes. But, would it be possible to keep this a secret from Madame Beatrice…”
Every time I tried to recollect memories from my past life, I would start to forget the moral values of this one. As it were, I had nearly lost any sense of embarrassment at the thought of a shortened skirt. However, I was aware that it was considered immodest.
And so I apologized but asked him to keep it a secret from Madame Beatrice, as I did not want to lose my position as her handmaiden. Alan blinked in surprise.
“Well, I doubt anyone would want to see the legs of some woman they weren’t interested in?”
It was that thing. You may be curious of the secrets of a girl you fancied, but the secrets of a girl you did not, that was only a nuisance. Something like that.
And so I had felt that Alan had been forced to see something that he would rather not. I was trying to be considerate.
“…You are being considerate in the wrong direction.”
“Huh? I was quite sure that even men had legs they wanted to see, and legs they did not?”
“What kind of distinction is that?”
“Surely, one would prefer to see the legs of a girl who was pretty? Why Lord Alan, you are of an age to have quietly seen a leg or two from a girl. With that in mind, my legs tend to get swollen and would surely not be favorable to…”
“It is not strange…! And first of all, I’ve never seen the legs of another girl even if I wanted…! No, this is wrong! I am not discussing an issue about the superiority of one’s legs!”
He was making frantic denials. But Alan, you do realize that you’re blurting some rather strange things? No, I’m quite glad to be amused by them.
In any case, he had denied it, and so I decided to apologize again in order to stop him from embarrassing himself any further.
“So, this is really only a condemnation from a perspective of manners? I am terribly sorry.”
“…Somehow, I feel it might be dangerous to compare our perceptions in detail, and I will leave it at that. Also, don’t tell Reggie.”
Why was he bringing up Reggie all of a sudden? I think as I tilt my head to the side. Well, it wasn’t something I wanted to tell him in any case… But it was a dire situation, so it was likely that he would forgive it?
After all, I had to wear boots outside. Even if the hem of my skirt was above my ankles, it was still too long to be able to run in. Would it have been better to have tripped over my skirt and become food for the wolves?
But it was too obvious to say, so I just nodded.
For some reason, he then sighed deeply.
“Well, to the actual issue then.”
I unconsciously straighten my back at those words.
“Why did those wind wolves chase you and you alone?”
I give Alan an answer that I had prepared.
“Um, I don’t really know. Perhaps it was because I looked the weakest.”
I was the only one on the scene who did not carry a weapon. Even a wolf would have recognized I was an easy target. And so I attempted to use that as an excuse.
I had used obstacles, avoided running long distances and devised a plan that used everyone who carried weapons, but it was also true that I wouldn’t have lasted a second had I been actually attacked.
But Alan did not look convinced.
“I don’t think so. If it was weakness alone, they would have all fell on mother when she was wounded. But the wind wolves didn’t do that. Even then, their eyes were set on you. And I think you acted with that knowledge, you knew that they were after you. You would not have thought of such a plan otherwise.”
He laid it out quite plainly, I had no choice but to stare at the ground and confess.
“I think, those wolves…had drunk the same thing that the failed magician had.”
“The failed magician?”
“I can feel it, slightly. Whenever I am close to a failed magician, it becomes difficult to breathe as if I have a fever, it feels very strange. At first, I thought it was because I was nervous at meeting someone for the first time. But I felt it when those wolves showed up. They stared directly at me. I feel that it must be it.”
“So, you are not completely sure then?”
“There is no one who is knowledgeable about magic here, much less any books. Of course, I do not know. It is only my guess…”
Alan closed his eyes as if thinking hard.
“I had Reggie research it as well, but nothing definite has come up.”
“So even he hasn’t…”
Reggie’s name was enough to make Alan give up this pursuit.