The Third Story – Unexpected Reunion
Note: So I’m pretty sure wordpress destroyed my spacing for sentences/paragraphs in the last two posts but it’s too much work to go back and fix them, so sorry. I’ll try to keep future posts properly spaced, though.
TL Note: I forgot about the existence of the word, “soiree,” so I’ll be using that to describe “夜会 (evening party)” from now on. Maybe I’ll go back and fix the past posts some day far in the future…
Agnes Le Verges would never be involved with his life again – or so Bernard thought, until an unexpected reunion happened.
It would be fine to say it was a fateful encounter.
That day, after finishing work, Bernard was changing from his knight’s garb to his civilian clothes in the dressing room.
He put on a wrinkleless dress shirt and wound his tie around, and though it wasn’t the latest fashion, he put a jacket around his neatly maintained padded undershirt and then put on his trousers. To finish it off, he wore an overcoat on top.
From when he was a child, Bernard faithfully obeyed his parents’ statement, “In the Imperial City, pay attention to your attire.”
Among the knights, there were many who wore livery during commute, and it was even permitted. But, thinking it would be unbearable to get caught up in something troublesome outside of his working hours in a place he wasn’t familiar with, he came and went in civilian clothes.
After he finished changing, while walking down the corridor of the barracks, he encountered his superior officer, Lazare.
“Hey, good work.”
“Good work to you too, sir.”
“What, are you going on a date right now?”
“No, that’s not it.”
Lazare, who was not aware of the obsession of Bernard, who had just been transferred to the barracks, had, upon seeing him dressed neatly for a knight, misunderstood him to be going out to see a woman.
He denied it immediately.
The thirty-five year old Lazare was the second son of a certain noble and was married with children. He said his family was living quietly and comfortably.
“Anyhow, that said, that was a good chat.”
“It’s not something like that.”
Human relations at the workplace were important. In passing, he was relayed an invitation to please attend the squad’s drinking party on the weekend.
“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Waiting for his superior to get going, he once again started to go home.
Holding his copper bracelet that was the proof of his knighthood in one hand, he tried to pass the guardhouse, but–.
“I beg you! Somehow, even if it’s just one glimpse.”
“No, no! Meeting with anyone outside of the family is prohibited!”
For some reason, a woman who wanted to visit a knight was arguing. However, as far as Bernard was concerned, it was just something trivial.
So this kind of thing happened from time to time.
After soirees and such, people like women who fell in love with good-looking knights at first sight would come to see them.
Though it was obvious, private meetings and the like were not allowed during working hours.
While thinking that it was pitiful, he passed while flashing his bracelet that served as proof of knighthood and quickly passed by the woman and the knight.
But, an unexpected situation unfolded.
For some reason, the knight who drove away the woman restrained Bernard.
“Sorry, but the woman said she wanted to talk with you-”
The one she longed to meet was Bernard.
While thinking what in the world she liked about him, he saw the woman peeping out behind the knight’s back.
Concealing herself with a brown handkerchief, she was wearing a worn out one piece.
Though the north wind seemed to pierce her skin, the only thing that was covering her shoulders was a thin overcoat.
In her hand was a basket. While it was covered with a cloth, he knew it contained alcohol.
At a glance, she was dressed like a country girl, so he was startled when he looked at her face.
She had hair that glittered like gold, eyes that were blue like jewels, and white skin.
Additionally, she was a startlingly beautiful woman.
–Agnes Le Verges.
Bernard became dumbfounded at the figure in front of him that shouldn’t be there.
“U-Um, it seems like your working hours are over, so from now on…”
Saying that, the knight on guardhouse duty went back to his post.
Tilting his head while contemplating what exactly she came here for, he realized it.
Bernard had gone to seize her house. Thus, she must be resenting him, he thought.
Whenever he glimpsed at Agnes, she glared at him with an intense look.
He had confidence that, like he thought, she had come all the way here just to complain.
Even so, his mind was in turmoil.
Is it alright to tell the arrogant Agnes off, or should he pity her unfortunate circumstances?
Looking at her current appearance, she looked way too different from when he had met her in soirees and such.
Agnes, who had stopped glaring, started to talk in an almost inaudible voice.
“U-Um, a-are you not Sir Bernard Orlellian?”
He wanted to say she had the wrong person.
But Bernard, who did not like to lie to others, told her that it was so.
“Please pardon me for coming with such an appearance.”
Well I guess that’s what happened, Bernard thought.
They had taken out all of the expensive articles inside the mansion.
Thus, out of all of Agnes’ many dresses, she only had that one dress left.
Once again, Agnes squinted a little. Upon seeing that, Bernard remembered his irritation.
What the heck was her business with him.
He restrained himself from clicking his tongue.
“I-I, um, don’t have anyone to rely on, or anywhere to go…”
He noticed her shoulders trembling.
Thinking that maybe she had come seeking revenge after all, he let out a huge sigh.
He thought that it would be nice if she would just complain or hit him already. However, as if she were choking on her words, she hung her head in shame.
The silence hung over them.
Bernard was thinking about staying silent and going home when he had an epiphany.
It was modest revenge against Agnes, who had possessed a harsh attitude.
Today was very cold.
He thought that they should settle this quickly.
Agnes, upon hearing his voice, quickly raised her downcast head.
While her reliant face momentarily gave him a pang of conscience, he continued to talk to her in those conditions.
“–If you have nowhere to go, I’ll hire you as a servant at my house. I’ll provide all of the necessities.”
Bernard’s epiphany was to make the natural born noble girl Agnes do servant work.
Though even he himself thought that it was spiteful, here his resentment of many years finally exploded.
Being pitied by a poor noble would surely humiliate her.
While scoffing at her, he looked down at the woman who had pitiful circumstances.
On the other side was Agnes, who looked at Bernard’s words with a flabbergasted expression.
It was a listless face that the always resolutely spirited woman would absolutely not show other people.
For him, just seeing that was success enough in getting revenge.
Bernard proceeded to press Agnes further against the wall.
“Decide right here, right now. Because even if you come back later, I’m not going to hire you.”
With a thud, Agnes dropped the basket she was holding. From inside, bread and baked sweets and such came out.
As all of the goods were cheap things that were sold in the poorer parts of town, Bernard thought it was unusual.
Without stopping to worry about the dropped basket, she just continued to look up at Bernard’s eyes dumbfoundedly.
It became tougher to continue to look at Agnes as her eyes clouded up with tears of sadness.
Bernard could not become a villain.
Thinking that this was unpleasant, he was going to apologize by saying that from now on, he would not bring this up, but–.
“Hey, after all-”
“I-Is that the truth?”
“That, you would hire me.”
Bernard could not quite comprehend what in the world she was talking about.
“After this, I was going to take my mother’s memento to a pawnshop.”
“Yes. It’s shameful to say, but I have run out of money.”
It turned out, Agnes’ circumstances had driven her further into a corner than Bernard had thought.
She had said that she was happy that she did not have to part with her mother’s memento.
Bernard became more and more confused.
“I-In the first place, what did you come here for?”
At that time, Agnes noticed the scattered about contents of the basket that she had dropped.
She squatted and started to pick them up in a panic.
“I’m sorry. Today, I wished to give Sir Orlellian my gratitude.”
Seeing Bernard’s reaction, Agnes tightly held the basket against her chest.
“Even if you say it’s your gratitude, to only bring bread, pastries, and alcohol…”
She had spent what little money she had left to buy this to show her gratitude to Bernard.
Continuing, she murmured that she was very sorry that this was the best she could do.
Whatever could this gratitude be for, was the question rising in the back of his mind, but with a crash, the next thing he heard extinguished those thoughts.
“–This favor, I will definitely pay back with all my might.”
Agnes suddenly burst into tears after saying that.
Bernard was unable to process this development that he could not have even imagined, and he just looked down at her with his eyes wide open.
–Why did this happen!!
While he thought that in that way.