Thank you so much for the Ko-Fi support Linda (◍•ᴗ•◍)❤
The next day.
Vivian got on the carriage that was waiting in front of the mansion. Roger appeared while she was putting on the hood of the robe she had brought.
“Is it okay if we just leave?”
Vivian pretended not to, but she was looking forward to this outing. Although some of the land was decimated by the beasts, the evaluation of the Western estates in the past was very good. A fertile land that was good for people to live in, the Western people lived here full of vitality. As Vivian had always lived in the capital, this was all unfamiliar to her, so her heart kept pounding.
Roger, who briefly spoke to the coachman, got into the carriage. The door closed and the carriage’s wheels began to slowly turn, heading towards the village.
“It’s pretty serious.”
Roger, who was opening the window, turned his head at Vivian’s words. As soon as their eyes met, Vivian opened her mouth again.
“To be honest, I didn’t know that I would really come all the way to the estate. Since our engagement is just… It’s just a fake.”
She waited around for a tour of the Western Territory to hide from people’s eyes, but she didn’t really know what she could do with that excuse. Vivian thought it was strange but decided to keep her thoughts to herself.
At her words, Roger slowly blinked his eyes. Not long after, he opened his mouth with an ‘ooh’ look.
“Come to think of it, it looks like I haven’t told Lady yet.”
A cool breeze blew in through the open window and brushed his face. It was a refreshing breeze. Roger calmly opened his mouth, wiping away the dust that was blown in the wind.
“If we successfully complete this mission, I will actually be granted this Western land.”
Vivian stared blankly at Roger and opened his mouth.
He will be given this land. This means that Roger will be the owner of this high-value land. Of course, the land may be sterile right now, but as the Emperor said, if it’s properly managed, the land will come back to life. So, if the value of the West, which has fallen to the bottom, is managed well in the future, it’s reputation will rise to what it once was in the past, or probably even more.
Thousands of thoughts ran through Vivian’s head as she learned that he would be granted the land.
“Then you will need to get married…”
The most difficult thing was the condition of receiving the land. Engagement, which they used to avoid the eyes of others, was a little insufficient in meeting the condition for receiving an estate. The official requirement is marriage.
When Vivian thought that Roger might be marrying another woman, she suddenly felt a stone pounding in her chest. She unconsciously touched her chest due to shock.
As if recognizing Vivian’s doubts, Roger intercepted her words.
“The condition has been postponed because I have no thoughts or plans right now.”
“You mean marriage?”
“Originally, I had to get married to receive an estate, but now I have to receive the estate first and then meet the conditions.”
In the end, the conditions were only delayed, but the fact that he had to marry did not change. Vivian felt a tingling at the back of her head as if she had been hit by something.
What was this feeling, this shock? Why was she so upset that he might get married, Vivian didn’t know.
‘Then what will happen to the dreams?’
In an instant, her mind became a mess. She was forced to reconsider her secret relationship with Roger. Vivian’s face grew serious as her thoughts deepened.
“Is there any problem?”
Roger asked with a faint frown at her reaction. To him, her face must have been so serious. Vivian waved her hand and tried to smile at him.
“No. I just realized that His Majesty really cares about the Lord.”
It’s not that she spit it out to avoid the situation. Vivian realized once more that the Emperor cherished Roger. He chose to entrust the Knights of Eckhart with this mission rather than the Imperial Knights, not to mention the small territory that will be granted as a reward once the mission is completed. They were actions that couldn’t be done if they weren’t based on adoration.
At Vivian’s admiration, Roger made a mysterious expression.
“Well, Rather than caring…”
“It’s because the West is too unstable to leave the land to anyone else right now.”
Roger looked out his window. The land of the West outside the window filled his sparkling eyes.
“Since the cause is still unknown, he seems to feel that the risk is too high to pass it on to valuable people. Even if we manage to fix it, it will be difficult if the demonic beasts appear and run rampant again.”
His words sounded as if the Emperor did not cherish Roger, and instead was using him as a shield. Just like a shield for immediately defending against impending danger.
The purpose of the shield is to prevent danger, so it is made strong, but it cannot be completely safe in the face of peril. Even if he succeeds in defending, he would be wounded and scarred. Roger also said that it could be dangerous at any time.
Clearly, the decision that put him at risk was hard to see as affection. Vivian looked at his complicated expression for a moment.
“Sir Knight, why are you working with His Majesty?”
The Emperor was extremely intelligent and calculating, so he knew how to make good use of the chess pieces next to him. Roger is just one of the Emperor’s chess pieces.
Vivian knows how strong Roger is. Even if he doesn’t compete and even if he doesn’t hold a sword, there are things that only he can see and hear. She couldn’t understand why such a person would insist on staying by the Emperor’s side. Both in terms of rewards and freedom.
His freedom is restrained because he has to stay with the Emperor 24 hours a day. If he joined a group that only prioritizes strength like the mercenaries, he would be able to earn more than the current Knights.
She couldn’t think of it right now, but there must be other drawbacks besides this. Vivian could not judge whether it was worth being with the Emperor, enough to accept it all.
Roger’s gaze, who had been staring out the window the whole time, returned to her. Vivian faced him without averting her eyes. There was silence inside the carriage.
“….. There is someone I want to meet.”
Roger opened his mouth after a while.
“I don’t know how to meet her.”
“So I hope that if I stay by His Majesty’s side, there will be a day when we will be able to see each other.”
It was for a very romantic reason. He had someone to meet, but he didn’t know how to meet that person.
Vivian’s anticipation rose, speculating if it was herself. She wondered what kind of excitement this would be, that he couldn’t help but grow a heart for her. Their relationship has been going on for 3 years.
“Is she a precious person to you?”
He tried to hide it, but the end of his voice softly trembled. Fortunately, it was a short moment, so it didn’t show much.
“It’s just a childhood relationship. In fact, I’m so insignificant that I don’t even know why I’m so obsessed with it.”
“Were you young?”
“I was very young, before I became a Knight.”
Vivian immediately erased her expectations. If it was when he was a kid, before he even became a Knight, it was long before they met. In other words, it was not Vivian that he wanted to meet again.
For some reason, the corners of Vivian’s lips drooped in disappointment. Then came an unknown time. She really wondered who he missed, enough for him to work this hard and stay by the Emperor’s side.
‘…… Why am I curious about this?’
Vivian was embarrassed by her change of heart and coughed lightly.
Meanwhile, the carriage, which had been running for a while, stopped.
“We have arrived near the entrance to the village!”
Outside the carriage, the coachman roared loudly. Roger disembarked first, followed by Vivian and stepped out of the carriage. A loud noise was heard from one side and it made her afraid to set her foot on the ground. When she turned her head, along the wide stretch of road, quite a number of people managed to gather around.
“Is that the market?”
Shops were lined up on both sides. Dusty old tents, cracked stone walls, and rows of stalls lined up selling items. With him in the background, the residents of the Western Territories were exchanging stories with enthusiasm.
Vivian and Roger blended into the gap without a trace. In the first place, there was a lot of movement of people, so their appearance was not noticable. Even when people saw the two, their eyes soon fell.
“Be careful not to get lost.”
Roger spoke moderately and walked ahead. Even if she lost her way, she wouldn’t miss Roger. Because it was easy to find Roger, who was a head taller than others.
It was said that the morale of the people of the West had been broken by the appearance of the demonic beasts and the devastation of the land. However, contrary to the worries, Western people were very energetic. The voices that said hello to each other were cheerful, and the color of their faces selling goods to customers looked good.
Vivian quickly cleared her concerns and followed Roger. The two walked through the crowd and looked around the village for a while.
After some time passed, under Roger’s guidance, the two entered a store. It was a simple place to eat. Unlike outside, it was quiet inside the store.
“It’s already lunch time.”
Looking at Roger who had simply placed the order, Vivian pushed the silver hair that had come out of the hood back inside. She was frustrated, but she couldn’t help it because the color of her hair was quite vibrant. Vivian bit her lip because Roger was looking at her while she did that. Vivian, who was humbled by his gaze, touched her neck and then opened her mouth.
“When will the cracks appear?”
“I think it’s true that the demonic beasts appear because of the cracks. After we dealt with the beasts, they haven’t appeared once, have they?”
Roger nodded lightly.
“What could be the cause? The appearance of the crack and the beasts.”
The talk that was brought out to ease the awkward atmosphere went quite seriously. While each of them was immersed in their thoughts, the food they ordered started coming out one by one.
Vivian, who was holding the fork, stopped. Come to think of it, it was the first time she and Roger were having a meal together, just the two of them. Suddenly, her face hardened, not knowing what expression to make.
On the other hand, Roger naturally pushed the plate in front of her. In the mansion and even here, his attitude towards her was the same.
As he chewed a piece of chopped marinated meat in his mouth, Vivian glanced at Roger. Just three weeks, no, two weeks ago, she wouldn’t have imagined that she would be dining face to face with him like this. Really, she didn’t expect it.
‘I thought we would never meet in the first place.’
Vivian, who was moving her cheeks slowly in thought, widened her eyes.
Vivian exclaimed with a sincere voice. Roger involuntarily burst into laughter at her candid commentary. Vivian was not swayed by his laughter and was busy alternately looking at him and the food. The meal she ate in the mansion was great, but the food in this shabby shop was even better.
“It’s a good land.”
Roger briefly explained why. Only then did Vivian realize the value of the West. It is a place where such great things can be attained even with land that has not yet been properly managed. The land that the Emperor refused to give up on.