I waved a hand as Alan approached me on his horse. His face looked serious.
“Kiara. It looked you had fainted and…what!? What are you carrying!”
Alan had attempted to grab me by the arm, but he caught sight of my earthen master, who was under my arm, and he pulled back in surprise.
“Let me introduce you. This is Horace. He is my new master in magic.”
I realized that I had to introduce him to Alan, and so I held Horace up and made him bow like I was carrying a doll.
“Apprentice, you do know that I am not a stuffed animal?”
“I do know. That’s why I thought you needed an introduction.”
What was happening? Alan seemed to say with a confused expression. He looked behind me and at Cain, as if asking for help. However, Cain only shook his head slowly. Even the knights who were the next to be asked the wordless question shook their heads.
“Lord Alan, it seems that magicians are beings that exceed what we can imagine…”
“Perhaps it because Lady Kiara thinks in such unpredictable ways that she was able to become a magician.”
Alan listened to their words, then looked at me with blinking eyes.
“You, you really…are a magician now?”
He had been watching from afar, and not been able to tell what was really happening. I nodded and Alan’s face showed both relief and worry.
“I see…. So, what you said is really, is really true…”
Alan mumbled as he slowly came down from his horse.
The knight who had followed him also came down and took the reigns of Alan’s horse.
And then Alan walked up to me, and with his face still downcast, kneeled.
“Huh, but why!?”
“Because I have to.”
Alan said plainly.
“I must apologize to you.”
He looked up, and there was a helpless look in his eyes.
I hurriedly gave the earthen doll under my arm to Cain and slid off of the horse.
Cain let out a cry of surprise at having the doll thrust into his hands so suddenly. And while he looked very disturbed, he did not drop it.
“Uh, by apology do you mean…”
“I called you a liar, Kiara.”
That day, nearly one month ago. When I had screamed the truth about my previous life to him.
Alan had not believed me. But there had been something sensible about Cain’s arguments, and so he had silently watched my actions. And with the knowledge that Ruain would indeed attack Everal that came yesterday, I had become a magician, just like I had said I would.
There was no longer any room for doubt that what I had been saying was true. And so Alan felt that he must apologize.
He was an honest man.
But one of lord’s family could not be seen kneeling in front of a servant like this. And so I tried to stop him.
“We-well, that doesn’t matter…”
“No, it does. I need to set things right… Because I have hurt you.”
However, coming down from my horse might have made things worse.
I had reached out to touch his shoulder because I wanted him to stand up. But he grabbed my hand.
In the next instant, he touched his forehead to my fingers…it was a gesture that was reserved for women who were respected.
“I offer my apology to Kiara Cordier. I do not expect forgiveness for this alone. When you see fit, I hope that you will tell me what I must do to be worthy of your forgiveness.”
Alan ended his apology as I stood there, frantic.
“What you must do, uh…”
To be honest, an official apology that was this public and with spectators made it hard to know what to do.
“I really, really wished that you could have done this in private…”
Alan must have felt better now that he had done it, because he now stood up with a smile on his face.
“I did not want to drag it out for any longer. It is too late for me to do it as you wanted, so think of something else that I can do.”
Alan returned to his horse after saying this and announced to his knights and soldiers that they would be returning.
I stood there in shock, until Cain’s laugh brought me back. And so there was nothing for me to do but get back on the horse with him.
“Lord Alan really had you there.”
“Really… You have known him for so long, you could have stopped him for me.”
“Generally, he is the kind of person who immediately acts, once he’s thought of something. I would not have been able to stop him. Besides, I am sure that you feel better, now that it has been settled?”
When he put it that way, my heart did feel lighter now that I knew he did not doubt me.
Still, I didn’t feel like nodding in agreement.
“It is good to be young.”
The earthen doll said lazily. I tried strangling his neck, but he wasn’t a living animal. I was a little bitter that he didn’t seem the least bit in pain.
After traveling for nearly two hours, we were able to return to the area near Everal castle.
We had been searching for the direction that Master Horace was moving on our way out, so the return only took half as much time.
What we saw on our arrival–was the army that was approaching Everal castle, and the Ruain banner.