Author: alyalia

It was inside the tent of Marquis Hood. Marquis Hood was pondering what he had just heard.

 

“Duke Krow. How could you! Huu.”

 

He let out a low sigh and leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes. He seemed to need time to think. But he didn’t have any time.

 

Shrug. Someone entered his tent. Even if he didn’t open his eyes, he could feel the presence of someone entering. Marquis Hood then opened his mouth. “I’m a bit tired now, so come back later.”

 

However, Marquis Hood eventually opened his eyes when there was no answer or sign of leaving. “I said come back later—!”

 

Marquis Hood’s eyes widened. “You! Why are you…”

 

Alice smiled brightly and said, “Long time no see, Father.”

 

Marquis Hoot touched his forehead as if he were in trouble. “So you’re really coming here.”

 

Alice asked with her eyes wide open. “Did Father know I was coming?”

 

Then Marquis Hood glanced at Alice and sighed. “I had been observing you since you sang the song about Baroness Devit. Even Robin couldn’t handle you,”

 

He said as he pointed the chair across him, “Sit down. Let’s listen to your resolution.”

 

The corners of Alice’s mouth went up. “Thank you, Father.”

 

* * *

It was inside Madrenne’s tent. I sighed in relief after hearing from Alice that the conversation with Marquis Hood had gone well.

 

I thought he would make a fuss by blaming me again, but the more I got to know him, the more he was different from what I expected. I revised my judgment about Marquis Hood. He was a man who could be communicated with.

 

Then Madrenne came in, making a fuss. “Oh my god! Baroness! There is a hot spring a short distance from here! Let’s go there, okay? I feel uncomfortable because I haven’t washed properly for the past few days. Okay?”

 

Alice’s eyes sparkled at the word ‘hot spring.’

 

Unfortunately, I had more things to discuss with Charter. Because there was something to be expected about the future movement of Duke Krow.

 

“I have something to discuss with Charter, so count me out.”

 

At my refusal, Madrenne didn’t ask me to join again either.

 

“I see. Then, except for Baroness, Lady Alice will go with me, right?” When Madrenne turned her head to ask, Alice was already packing her things.

 

“Why don’t you quickly pack your things?” said Alice.  

 

Madrenne was fed up with that attitude. It seemed like this lady’s temperament was as impatient as our lady’s. 

 

“Bein, do you want to come with me too?” Madrenne asked without even looking at him.

 

Even though he was the baroness’s aide and she was the baroness’s maid, there was a clear difference in status even though they were commoners. But Madrenne never treated him with respect only because of his position. Even if you served baroness, I served her first. Do you think I’m afraid of being pushed by a rolling stone? 

 

Bein also gave up being treated with respect by Madrenne. He had no intention of being treated like that in the first place, so he had no regrets.

 

“I’m okay.”

 

It was to his advantage to not get involved with Madrenne as much as possible.

 

Leaving the excited women behind, I headed to the commander tent with only Bein.

 

“There is no one?”

 

Charter wasn’t there. I asked a soldier passing by about Charter’s whereabouts.

 

“A little while ago, he drove the horse, saying he would be patrolling the area.”

 

Thinking that it must be a change of heart, I nodded. I talked to Bein, who stood behind me. “Shall we take a walk for a while?”

 

“Yes, I shall do that.”

 

I laughed at Bein’s respectful treatment. “You don’t have to be so rigid. I’m not such a strict person, am I?”

 

“Yes, I understand.”

 

However, Bein’s attitude remained unchanged. For him, it was best to avoid the whimsical noble in the first place. He knew from long experience that he shouldn’t listen to nobles immediately. And usually, those words were right. I shook my head as if I was fed up with his attitude. 

 

After walking for a long time, I saw a shallow hill a little away from the camp. Having gone up the hill, I patted the seat next to me and said, “Sit here.”

 

“It’s okay. I will stand on this side.” Answered Bein.

 

I narrowed my forehead at Bein’s still distant demeanor, then said, “Don’t make me speak twice.”

 

Bein sat a little further away than I pointed out as if he couldn’t go beyond more than this. Then I asked with a satisfied smile. “Can you talk about yourself?”

 

At my question, Bein turned his head and looked at me. “What should I talk about?”

 

Looking at the plain in the distance, I opened my mouth. The strong river flowing along the plain sparkled in fading light. “Just anything is fine. Anything like the story of your parents or how you’ve been living.”

 

Bein paused for a moment before opening his mouth. “It’s just a dull, boring life.”

 

Then I replied. “I wonder if it’s really a dull and boring life. I’ve always wondered what the world outside the mansion was like and how others lived.”

 

At my words, Bein turned his head, looked at the plain, thought for a moment, and soon began his story. “I was an orphan. I don’t remember when I started being alone, but my memory began when I was already done.”

 

I just listened quietly.

 

“It was just such a young orphan’s life. Life of begging, eating if you were lucky, and starving if you were unlucky. Until being independence, many children of the same age gathered together and lived together, looking after each other.”

 

Bein closed his mouth at the end of that remark.

 

What? Is that all?

 

“Why did you start wearing glasses?”

 

When I asked, Bein thought about how he should tell this momentarily and began talking again. “I was about ten years old when people dragged me into an alley. At first, I thought it was because I looked weak and easy, so I built up my strength. But women weren’t the only ones who molested me. None of the orphans in my group suffered anything like that, but I was the only one.”

 

I interrupted Bein and asked. “What? Are you saying that you’ve been molested since you were young?”

 

Instead of answering my question, Bein continued talking. “One day, I asked the man who dragged me in. I asked him why he was doing this to me, and he said, ‘Didn’t you seduce me with those eyes?’ I was perplexed.  What is wrong with my eyes? I managed to escape the man and returned to my group and asked my friend. Are my eyes weird?”

 

I asked, leaning my body forward. “So what did they say?” I was very curious about the story, perhaps because I wasn’t the only one who felt that Bein’s eyes were strange.

 

“They say these eyes look seductive.”

 

I screamed in surprise at the unexpected answer. “What? Not like rotten fish eyes?”

 

At this, Bein glanced at me with a displeased face and said, “Yes. They said my eyes look seductive, not like rotten fish eyes.”

 

“Huh.” I sighed. “People don’t have good eyes. How can they say your eyes like that?”

 

Baroness’s eyes are the ones on your toes! Bein barely held back those words as they were about to climb up his throat. Instead, he said this. “Baroness seems to have a different perspective than others.”

 

It was a perfect answer from Bein, who had honed his social skills. I was suspicious of something but decided to move on for now.

 

“That’s why you started wearing glasses.”

 

“Yes. Since I happened to pick up old glasses, it’s definitely lessened, but it hasn’t changed my starving life. So I decided to learn how to write in order not to get hungry. As an ignorant child, I worked as a servant for a certain scholar for three years in exchange for only learning to write.”

 

I screamed in surprise again. “What? Three years? You mean letters that can be learned in just a week?”

 

Bein’s head swung around. Did she say it just took a week? Even I, who is a genius, can’t learn like that.

 

In fact, it took a week and a half, about nine days for me to learn letters, but I lied and said it only took a week. Well, isn’t this fun bluffing like this? I shrugged my shoulders as my eyes met Bein’s.  

 

Bein looked at me with suspicious eyes and soon shook his head and continued. “The scholar deliberately didn’t teach me well, so I secretly read books and learned by myself for two months. After that, as I liked books, I lived as a servant at the scholar’s house while pretending to learn writing.”

 

“I see. You’ve had a hard time. How did you get to meet Teil and Heili?” I didn’t care about Bein’s suffering, so I asked what I was most curious about.

 

At this, Bein smiled. “It must have been when Teil was seven. He was a little guy begging around while holding his younger sister’s hand. At first, I thought of them as just common street orphans. But they’re a little different.”

 

“Different?” I couldn’t resist my curiosity.

 

“Well, would you imagine him pickpocketing using his younger sister as bait?”

 

“Pickpocketing? When he was only seven?”

 

Bein chuckled as if recalling that time. “Yes. When Heili baits people with her innocent face, Teil steals their wallets from behind.”

 

“That brat. As expected, he’s been bad from a young age.”

 

As I expected, Teil was no ordinary child. Wait, I didn’t even know Heili was even more amazing. Brother and sister thieves armed with naivety enough to break people’s vigilance!

 

“I could have just laughed it off, but I was worried about him. It was also unfortunate that he committed crimes with his younger sister in order to make a living. All of the children could be in big trouble because of that. When I thought about it, I couldn’t bear to see them being like that.”

 

The consequences of commoner orphans committing crimes were obvious. Orphans were the lowest rank among the weak. With no one to protect them, they often disappeared without even mice or birds knowing about it.

 

“That’s why you took them.”

 

“I couldn’t take them.”

 

“What?”

 

Bein raised the corners of his mouth as if he enjoyed my reaction and said, “He said he didn’t like it. I was rejected.”

 

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