The Tenth Chapter – As a Knight
April Fools. This is the actual chapter 10. I’ve had interest in continuing this but life is a bitch and being busy means no motivation. I’ll see what I can do in the future, but that’s something nobody knows. In the meantime, you guys can read whatever translations are coming out now, while I try to catch up and eventually redo the old chapters. Cheers.
The ringing bell signaled the lunch break, and with that, the practice exercise was put on hold.
Bernard spoke to Lazarre, saying that he wanted to talk to him before lunch. The two of them headed to Lazarre’s office.
“So, what did you want to tell me?”
“What I wanted to tell you was…”
From his bag, Bernard produced the documents he received from Ernesto, as well as the leather bag of gold.
“A request from Ernesto Barthelemon, a member of the second prince’s bodyguards.”
Lazarre received it with a suspicious look. His brows furrowed as he started reading the contents of the paper.
“What in the world is this guy trying to pull?
This was the first time Bernard had seen the ever-calm Lazarre be irritated. That said, he wasn’t really surprised by the reaction.
“I can’t believe he’d try to take in the daughter of the Le Verges family as a mistress. Does he not have the chivalry to take her in as his wife?”
“Yep, it’s unbelievable.”
It wasn’t that the taking in of mistresses by nobles was unheard of. However, in the view of Lazarre, who was brought up in an austere household, it was an act deserving of the highest scorn. Of course, Bernard thought much the same.
“If I knew it was going to come to this, I should’ve given her my support earlier.”
“There’s not much we can do at this point.”
Agnes’ father had incurred the wrath of the king. If one were to rescue his daughter, their standing in high society would plummet.
“So, what should we do?”
“I’m going to go hear what this Barthelemon guy has to say myself. Orlellian, are you going to come with me?”
“No sir, I’ll pass.”
He didn’t state that his reason for not going was because, whenever he heard Barthelemon talk, he wanted to punch him mid-sentence.
“Then, I’ll be heading out.”
“What is it?”
“Why don’t you head out after lunch?”
“No, I’m heading there now. …I’m not a very patient man.”
Not trying to hold him back any longer, Bernard watched as Lazarre left. All he could do now was pray that things wouldn’t go further south.
Wrapping up his day after finishing his afternoon exercises, Bernard headed to the office.
On top of the desk was a memo from Lazarre, saying he left early. While thinking that this was an unusual occurrence, Bernard put the memo in the box of unimportant matters.
Since all of the office work had been taken care already, Bernard decided to go home himself.
Repair work on the mansion had started, and materials were brought in through the front garden. As work had ended for the day, a cloth was covered the materials.
When he entered the house, Jijil greeted him.
“Welcome back, Master.”
“Good work today.”
After asking her to prepare the bath and undressing his top before handing it over to her, Bernard headed to his room.
“Oh, right. Master.”
“What is it?”
“Miss Agnes said she wanted to speak with you.”
“Has she gotten over her cold?”
That being the case, Bernard ordered Jijil to send Agnes over to him.
Sitting down on a long couch in the room, he let out a loud sigh. He was relieved that he was finally in a situation where he could listen to her side of the story.
A few minutes later, Agnes arrived. Hearing her light taps on the door, he ordered her to come in.
Agnes was wearing a one piece dress that appeared to have been brought with her from her house.
After being offered a chair, Agnes bowed her head deeply before picking a seat opposite Bernard, this time around.
“I am very thankful that you took time out of your busy day to-“
“There’s no need for formalities. So, what did you want to talk about?”
“Ah, right. I wished… you… thanks.”
Right after she started to talk, a banging noise came from the door. Jijil arrived with some tea.
“Mrs. Jijil, I’ll take care of the tea.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Please leave it to me.”
Agnes received the silver tray.
Shocked by Agnes’ swaying upon receiving the tray, Jijil immediately propped up the bottom of the tray.
“Hey, are you okay?!”
“Yes, I’m… fine.”
On top of the silver tray were a pot full of black tea, cups, saucers, little jars of sugar and milk, and a plate of cookies, nothing more. She was swaying from holding merely that.
Bernard watched in amazement as he thought about how weak of a woman she was.
“Miss Agnes, Master Bernard drinks his tea with one cup of milk and three cubes of sugar.”
Having the fact that he had a sweet tooth be revealed, Bernard became embarrassed.
While he turned his face away in embarrassment, his desk was completely set.
Agnes poured tea into the cup with a very serious expression.
After that, she put in the milk and sugar. All the while, she squinted her eyes while looking at the small jars.
That expression was exactly the same as the one Bernard had seen in the evening party five years ago.
Banging his hand on his desk, Bernard stood straight up.
Surprised, Agnes dropped the jar she was holding in her hand.
Fortunately, it was the jar of sugar, and the contents just spilled out onto the plate of cookies.
As for the situation at hand, Agnes narrowed her eyes and looked down. It was a harsh expression, similar to that of scorn.
The target of the expression was not Bernard, but that of the sugar scattered about the desk.
After confirming that all of the sugar had spilled out, she lowered her brows and looked up at Bernard with an apologetic look.
“…That’s nothing to worry about. Answer my question.”
There was only one reason she would squint while holding items up to her eyes.
He asked her nervously.
“Does your eyesight… happen to be bad?”
Agnes opened her eyes wide. Lowering her head slowly, she nodded.
With a thump, Bernard leaned back onto his couch. That was the moment that speech, her actions, and her conduct all made sense.
Agnes had not looked down upon Bernard with contempt.
He realized that she was just trying to look at the face of someone far away.
The misunderstanding of many years was finally resolved.
“I am really sorry. I had intended to speak about it at some point but…”
“No, it’s fine.”
The reason had come to light, but his brain had yet to comprehend the situation.
Because of his own misunderstanding, he had employed Agnes as a servant and had gone and done something outrageous. He became deeply troubled.
Regret washed over him as he thought more and more that he really should have just handed her over to Lazarre.
Seeing Bernard’s face contorted in distress, Agnes did the unthinkable.
Getting up all of a sudden from her seat opposite Bernard, she came around in front of Bernard, and kneeled in front of him.
Putting both of her hands on her chest, she entreatingly appealed to Bernard.
“I beg you. Please let me remain here.”
“I do admit that my eyesight is not very good, and I am not accustomed to a servant’s duties at all. However, I will do my best!”
“No, even if you say that…”
“I wish to repay the favor that Sir Orlellian extended to me. O-On top of that, I have nowhere else to go…”
Asserting this in a quivering voice, tears started flowing down Agnes’ face. Bernard thought that now, he was the villain.
Though he wondered what he should do, the answer stayed out of his reach.
“…Let me think about it for the time being.”
“Yes. I apologize for stating my selfish desires.”
Thinking there was no need to give a quick response, he deferred his response by an hour.
Carrying the tray, Agnes gave one bow before leaving the room.
Bernard simply continued to stare at the closed door.
Without having come up with an answer, it was already a new day.
As usual, he got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to work.
The first matter he attended to was having a talk with Lazarre.
When he opened the door, he spotted Lazarre, elbows on desk, his hands supporting his jaw, grim expression on his face.
The atmosphere wasn’t one where he felt comfortable asking what happened the previous day. But, after confirming it was Bernard who had entered the office, Lazarre started talking on his own.
“It was a bit soon, but I went and listened to Ernesto Barthelemon’s story yesterday.”
“I had to accept his request to search of Agnes Le Verges.”
Because he had expected Lazarre to reject the request, Bernard was shocked.
Wondering what could have happened, he waited for Lazarre to continue his story.
“If I had to describe Barthelemon in one phrase, I’d say he’s a low-life bastard.”
“I… agree completely.”
Lazarre had understood everything about the person, Ernesto. But then, why did he take the request? The mystery intensified.
First of all, Lazarre had wanted to know why the request had been made to the “Third Special Assault Force” that he led. The response was quite shocking.
“That bastard called our battalion a group that wastes time doing practice exercises.”
He had said that he had taken it upon himself to pick Lazarre’s small group out of the assortment of bigger special assault force groups.
“He said that, in a way, it’s because he’s afraid of being found out by the king.”
“Seems like it.”
“It seems that he hasn’t made a request to any group other than ours yet. Obviously, it’s forbidden to use one’s money to use knights for one’s motives. But, if we rejected his request, Barthelemon would obviously go to another battalion.”
“Did you take this request for the purpose of not searching for Agnes Le Verges?”
The aim was to pretend to take the request, while not actually searching for her and ultimately ignoring the request.
He was relieved that Lazarre hadn’t been swayed by money and the chance for prestige, but he quickly realized another problem.
“What if this request is discovered by the higher-ups?”
“At best, I’ll get demoted. At worst, I’d lose the right to be a knight.”
Bernard pointed out that if Lazarre reported the money and paper to the higher-ups, it’d be over for Ernesto Barthelemon.
“You’re right. The rotten knight would be gone, and peace would return to the bodyguards. But what would happen to Agnes Le Verges’ honor?”
If the second son of a Marquis were to be put on special trial, it’d be a matter of time until the reason was divulged.
If that happened, Agnes would be greeted as a mistress, and the rumor that she was to be locked in a basement would be spread in a moment. That is what Lazarre predicted.
“I cannot save her. That’s why, I at least want to defend her honor…”
Incredulous, Bernard listened to Lazarre’s speech, and put into words his biggest question.
“Captain, why would you go that far for some random stranger?”
“That’s we should do as a knight, isn’t it?”
– Save the weak, hold honor in high esteem, and vanquish evil.
The image of a knight weighed heavily upon his mind.
Violently striking his chest, Bernard suppressed his pounding heart.