chapter 15

“James, head of the 2nd Knights division, greets you. How did the princess come to this humble place?”
A middle-aged knight with a nice mustache asked about Elena’s intention to visit.
“I’m here because I’m just taking a walk at my feet as I can. Did I interrupt you?”
“Is that possible? It’s just an unscheduled visit…”
Elena smiled at him.
“Go ahead and finish your work. I’ll have a cup of tea quietly and go back.”
“Do you mean you have t-tea time here?”
Instead of answering with a small nod, Elena gestured, pointing under the luxuriously dense Zelkova tree. Then the maids straightened out the cloth and set up the tea and cookies they brought. Elena sitting gracefully savored the tea and glanced at the expression of the four women.
“Wow.”
“Uh, oh…”
All four women’s mouths were half open. The physical stamina of the knights, who took off their tops and exercised their smooth muscles, excited the women who opened their eyes to the opposite sex.
“Anne, isn’t it nice to see?”
“What? Wh-what are you talking about?”
Elena answered back, savoring the tea.
“You’re being so cheeky. How do you explain the redness on your face?”
“Tha-that…”
Anne stammered and was at a loss what to do. She didn’t know Elena would ask so blatantly.
“What’s the point of playing tricks on ourselves?”
Elena, who put down the teacup, looked at the knights.
“Your eyes are looking good. Hey, do you see the knight holding the tree? His body also looks very desirable. What about the abs? They all look so nice.”
“Y-you’re right. They’re all handsome.”
“Right? Well, Anne, you talk this time. Which of them looks the best?”
Anne hesitated and pointed to a knight.
“T-the one in the corner. He looks like a sculpture.”
“He’s not bad. You have a pretty good taste in men.”
The maids of honor were also women. Just as aristocrats and the four Grand Dukedoms had a romance, the maidens could imagine that it would not happen while looking at the knights.
‘That’s enough blindfolding.’
Whether men’s bodies were good or not, Elena was not interested. It was just a remark made to appear to be a snobbish woman who tried to steal the bodies of knights.
‘I’m sure you belong to the 2nd Knights Division…’
Elena was looking for someone anxiously.“Ice Knight Hurelbad.”
Three years from now, Hurelbad became the second knight of the Knights of the Second Division at the youngest age and became the most recognized knight in the Empire. Not to mention his outstanding swordsmanship, he had a cold appearance that made you unable to read his emotions, so people gave him the title of the ice knight. Only two years after that, Hurelbad had been called one of the three swords defending the empire.
The first sword, Barisa, the founding sword handed down in the Imperial Family.
Second Sword, Knight of the Ice, Hurelbad.
The third sword, the wild wolf, Ren.
Considering that the first sword is a real sword, it is irrelevant. It’s safe to say that Hurelbad, along with Ren, are the highest swordsman of the empire. Elena was working hard to get him.
‘He should be here. Why can’t I see him?’
Elena drank tea to moisten her thirst with nervousness.
“L-look at that. What kind of face is that?”
The women, who reached the spot where Anne pointed out, opened their eyes wide and saw the knight.
“…!”
Elena took a short breath. White skin that didn’t get tanned in the sun, dark green hair, looked a little young, he exactly matched her memory of Hurelbad.
“I’m sorry to say this, but he’s gorgeous. To the point where I’m jealous as a woman.”
“Really. I think he matches great with the expression ‘beautiful.’”
She could not take her eyes off Anne’s frank appreciation. Elena couldn’t deny the word. In fact, Hurelbad had a more appropriate appearance to just say that he is one.
Elena put the teacup down on the pedestal and stood up. She walked gracefully out of the shade of the tree and across the middle of the parade ground. The knights couldn’t take their eyes off Elena, who suddenly stormed in.
Elena approached an unnamed knight who was training with a lot of sweat nearby.
“Y-Your Highness the Princess.”
The bewildered knight quickly became polite.
“I couldn’t sit still watching you from afar.”
“What? What do you mean?”
It was when the knight, which did not understand what Elena meant, slowly looked up.
“Hyuk.”
The knight took a breath without even realizing it. Elena took out a handkerchief embroidered with the symbol of the Grand Dukedom and wiped the sweat off the knight’s forehead. Elena said, looking at the knight standing out with a tingling look.
“Because of your enthusiasm, the Grand Dukedom still exists as of today.
I will always have a grateful heart.”
The knight was so moved that he couldn’t speak. Elena’s touch, the
sincerity of the words, was conveyed, making his heart flutter.
Elena wiped the sweat off the foreheads and chins of some knights.
Then she walked before Hurelbad.
‘You have no idea how much I missed you, ice knight.’She wanted to shake hands with him because she was glad to see
him, but she held it in. Instead, she replaced the untranslatable
welcome with a fascinating smile that shook the social world.
“…!”
Hurelbad’s face that he met her eyes turned into embarrassment. He looked beyond Elena’s profound gaze, the corners of her lips, and her eyes that seemed to be sucking him in. Hurelbad was at a loss with the seductive smile. He was completely out of his mind.
‘He’s still young.’
Is it because he was three years younger than his past life? Hurelbad was somehow immature. She couldn’t erase the feeling of him being immature. On the other hand, Elena’s smile was fatal.
“…”
Hurelbad did not know the true nature of the flames that were pouring deep into his heart like an active volcano. He was overwhelmed by the beating of the heart and the confusion of the opposite sex. Nevertheless, it was very impressive to see him bite his molars tightly so that he wouldn’t collapse. There may be a momentary disruption, but he showed a willingness not to lose his composure.
Elena enjoyed the reaction of Hurelbad, who was briefly troubled. It felt like she was peeking at the side of the ice knight that others didn’t know about.
‘I’ll leave for now.’
Unfortunately, Elena turned around with a smile with her eyes.
Excessive attention was bound to poison. It was better to refrain from doing anything that would cause Leabric’s suspicion until she made herself completely her own person.
“It was an accidental visit, but I was very impressed with you all today. There are many strong, honorable, loyal knights. So, I made up my mind.”
Elena put her delicate hands on her chest. She took a deep breath as if calming down her overwhelming expression and looked back at the knights.
“It’s late, but I think I’ll finish the appointment within a few days. It will be a proper appointment.”
“F-finally!”
Expectations were high on the full face of the knights. Who is Princess Veronica? She is the heir to the Grand Duchy, which may take over the great power in the future. Being such a direct knight of Veronica is a very glorious and honorable affair, so any knight had no choice but to covet.
“I was so sorry… that I didn’t have a chance to know how great of individuals you all are because I wasn’t feeling well.”
The atmosphere of the knights became solemn. The princess, who returned after battling the disease for several years, was pitiful, but her heart was very kind.
“I want to find out now. So please come to the appointment ceremony. That way, I can see and judge with my own eyes, and then I can appoint a knight.”
“Y-you mean yourself?”
“Yes, I’ll do it myself.”
Elena’s firm answer embarrassed James a little. Elena’s declaration was unconventional. Major issues such as appointment of a direct knight are dealt with in accordance with the procedure. Even if it was a senior ceremony, it was just a formal event, and direct knights were often decided in advance.
“I’m already excited about who will be my knight.”
Elena’s eyes, smiling open, were on Hurelbad. As if I were aiming at him. And Hurelbad’s poker face, which didn’t know the meaning of the gaze was slightly distorted.
***
Unimpeded by Elena, Leabric handled the work at an alarming rate.
“I can’t believe I’m taking two days to finish in half a day. If it was on schedule, I would have already checked the date of the birthday.”
The Grand Duchy was busy preparing for the birthday banquet of the first Duke Rosette, a week away. As it was a celebration in memory of
the founder of the 1,000-year-old empire and the founder of the most noble family in the current empire, there were many things to pay attention to.
Knock, knock.
Leabric’s forehead, which had been breathing for a while, was frowned.
“This is Loreche.”
“Come in.”
Leabric pressed her temple. She seemed to have become unknowingly sensitive due to Elena’s insufferable behavior.
“Sit down.”
When he sat on the sofa, Leabric immediately got to the point.
“Lord Loreche, please be a knight of the princess.”
“That’s what I wanted.”
Loreche said he would do it without hesitation. It was not an easy decision for him, who is a proud knight, to serve Elena as a master even though he knew she was a substitute. Nevertheless, he actively accepted the situation because he wanted to make up for Elena’s missing parents.
“On the surface, you’ll have to show loyalty to the princess. And you may have to keep an eye on every move and sometimes control her.”
“Don’t worry. Could I ask you a favor before I carry out the mission?”
“That’s unexpected. Lord Loreche has done everything I asked. Go ahead.”
“Let my lord the Princess Veronica… wash away my tarnished honor the day she returns to her place.”
He served a fake princess. If he didn’t know, he would have been able to do so. The work for the Grand Dukedom was done, but the order was quite disgraceful for the knight. For that reason, Loreche hoped to kill the fake princess with his own hands someday.

Notes

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