Valia wanted to tell him from time to time. Whenever she breathed, whenever the sun shone, and whenever the wind blew; she wanted to tell Schuden that she loved him
Her feelings had overwhelmed her. On almost every waking moment, Valia wanted to tell Schuden that she loved him. Yet, despite that, she did not have the courage to do so. She only had the urge to express her love to him, and she was afraid that, one day, this urge of hers would reveal her tightly hidden heart.
And because she knew she could not hide it, she wanted to finally confess on the most perfect day. That day was today. She was restless and excited, and she thought it was silly to plan a confession, but she could not help it.
‘I should send Sir Robin back from the entrance.’
Valia had no confidence in confessing in the presence of others. If Robin was there, for some reason, her face would turn as hot as it was in the sunflower field. Valia walked diligently, vowing to send Robin back near the entrance.
The steps of the noblewoman and the knight slowed down when they were near a place where the crowd had noticeably decreased. They were quite far from the annex and moderately close to the glass greenhouse.
Valia’s eyes turned towards the sound she heard. When holding a banquet at a noble’s estate, the yard area would normally be considered as a bit of a secretive area. Namely, it was a hotspot for hot-blooded men and women to have physical affection with each other.
But the sound she heard was more violent than expected. To feign ignorance at the scream of a woman heard nearby would be to disgrace her life experience as an escort lady-in-waiting.
Moreover, this is Garth Castle.
Valia called Robin.
For a time, Robin would regularly call Valia by other titles except for ‘madam.’ Valia asked without taking her eyes off the source of the sound.
“How many people can you fight alone?”
Robin stood stalwart, he was more sensitive to the presence of others than Valia. He seemed to hear something Valia had not heard.
“I can beat about 30 regular knights easily.”
“What about just noblemen?”
“300 civilians is easy for me!”
Valia smiled a little. It seemed that it was not a rumor that every one of Garth’s knights had such tremendous strength. Valia walked straight to the source of the sound.
“…I told you, I don’t want it!”
“Then why did you follow me out here? Didn’t you follow me because you already know?”
“How many times do I have to say it? No! You guys are really crazy…”
“Yeah. Let’s go crazy while I’m at it.”
The man chuckled.
“By any chance, don’t even think to go home and turn us in. Do you think we took off your mask first for no reason? If you don’t want to see the fall of the House of Baron Wicks, stay put.”
The woman’s face turned white. Valia frowned slightly. She had seen the name House of Baron Wicks on the noble list that Paul brought her.
The list was included with a general evaluation. The House of Baron Wicks was a decent baron family due to its loyalty. But it was only a baron family, there were no outstanding knights in the family, and it had no power or authority. The aggressors must have taken off the woman’s mask on purpose to see if they could touch her or not.
‘And there’s even two of them.’
Behind the man who was taunting the woman stood another man with his arms folded. His smiling lips were exposed under the mask.
Then, the man suddenly felt being watched and turned to the side. The man straightened his back, no longer leaning into the woman.
“What? Who is it?”
The man was surprised but soon grinned when he found the other couple.
“Are you here to find a place too? This area’s occupied. Turn left over there, the yard is very wide, as you know.”
It was ridiculous that he was being generous with someone else’s yard. Valia was very annoyed. What was worse, the man even scanned her outright.
The man kept his eyes on Valia for a while, especially on her chest. He had dirty looks in his eyes.
‘She’s so fine.’
If it was not for the big guy standing behind Valia, the man would have wanted to grab her wrist right away. Seen under the flowy silver sleeves, Valia’s body looked very thin. And more than half of her face was hidden under the mask, but seeing her exposed elegant lips, he thought she would be pretty even without the mask.
‘Should I follow them and do something after that guy is gone?’
The man planned to take off her mask to check her face. If she looked like a lady or a noblewoman from a powerful family, he could just run away.
The man was Thierry Georgia, the eldest son of Viscount Thierry. He messed around with several ladies like this and had even worked hard to memorize almost all the descriptions of the Southern nobles to continue to enjoy his vicious hobby.
Had Thierry been a good judge of character, he would have guessed that the dress and diamond tiara Valia wore today were of extraordinary quality.
However, Thierry Georgia, who had only been thinking about what to do with women every day, has neglected to develop such a noble-like view. As he was planning one thing or another in his mind, Thierry suddenly wondered.
‘Why aren’t they going? Oh, I see.’
Valia’s eyes were on Lady Wicks. Thierry’s younger brother, Craven Georgia, also seemed to have noticed Valia’s gaze.
“What? Young Lady Wicks, do you know her?”
Lady Wicks looked at Robin and Valia alternately with a shiver. Of course, she did not know her. She seemed so scared that she could not even answer. Craven made sarcastic remarks.
“I don’t think you know each other. Just go, lady. You don’t want to see this.”
“She says no.”
Valia approached Lady Wicks. It was more ridiculous up close. Her mask had been forcefully taken off so her hair was tangled and her dress was crumpled.
Thanks to the light of the crystal ball, Valia could see that her wrists were red even from afar. They seemed to have grabbed her wrist and dragged her away. She would find herself bruised the next day.
Valia pulled Lady Wicks’ arm lightly. Her arm was trembling. When Valia sent Lady Wicks behind her, Craven’s eyes were badly distorted.
He wanted to raise his hand like his usual habit, but he managed to hold it in because he was bugged about Robin standing behind Valia. Instead, he put on a tough-looking face.
“I have had enough of this! She danced with me!”
“Irrelevant. At the present moment, she says no.”
Craven looked dumbfounded.
“Which female knight are you? Or are you a female baron? Or perhaps a female viscount… Err, but you don’t look the age.”
“Then what about you? Which male knight are you? A male baron? A male viscount? You can’t be a male count.”
Craven was at a loss for words for a moment. So was Thierry.
Even wearing a mask did not hide the natural atmosphere. They looked down on her because they thought she was a gentle lady based on her elegant gesture and calm walking, but the speed of her using informal speech was unusual.
‘I have never seen madam do that before.’
Robin was also flustered. The Valia he knew was a shy lady who was always bright and would frequently have her face flushed.
‘…She must be very angry.’
Actually, Valia was not very angry. She had come across those who behaved like this several times even when she was an escort lady-in-waiting. Valia was just doing as Carl taught her.
Valia did not learn tactics as Schuden often suspected, but she learned a few ways to win a power struggle by the way of a mercenary. As a mercenary, Carl consistently taught Valia from an early age.
[There’s no need to be respectful to louts. Valia, just speak down to them.]
[If you give those people any respect, they will think of themselves as great. Then, they’ll act up more. Got it?]
Valia nodded, loving her little hands. For mercenaries, that was an implicit way of winning a power struggle.
Valia was a granddaughter who listened well once she was taught about it. Ever since she became Marchioness Garth, she had only seen people groveling before her and had not had a chance to speak down to anyone. But she had never forgotten what she had learned.
Moreover, Valia hated these cowardly men.
Thierry, who was only rolling his eyes cunningly, gave Craven a wink. It meant to deal with them moderately. Upon understanding Thierry’s instruction, Craven flicked his fist threateningly. But his expression was not very good.
‘He dares to boss me around when he’s just standing behind me.’
Craven was displeased at Thierry, who hid behind him every time and would only give orders. But there was nothing else he could do now. First, Craven glared at Valia. He thought she looked brave because of the man behind her, but Craven was also not the small type.
‘Oh, I should have told him not to hit her face.’
Thierry expected Valia to be very beautiful. His twitching smile did not last long.
The moment Craven tried to put his hand on Valia, it was all over. It was precisely like a flash.
Craven collapsed and let out a groan. His arm was bent in a strange shape. Though he tried to swing at Valia, Robin had easily broken Craven’s large hand before he could do so.
Robin gritted his teeth.
‘Where does he think he’s putting his hand on?’
A case in which there existed a presence that poses a physical threat to the escort subject. In this scenario, the knight is able to act first without the requirement of a direct order from their escort subject.
‘What? What was that?’
Thierry could not believe it even after seeing Craven fall down. Robin was clearly standing behind Valia.
But he appeared like lightning and knocked down Craven. Thierry opened his mouth blankly and then stepped back little by little.
It was only a loss for him if he tried to do something to a powerful man whom Craven could not even do anything to. Thierry ran away with cuss words in his mouth.
A while later, Valia learned about Craven’s name. She found out after taking off his mask. Valia thought that since he took off a lady’s mask as he pleased, it would be just if his face was exposed as well.
Lady Wicks looked pale when she saw his face. She said he was the second son of Viscount Georgia. Vague speculation and direct identification were another matter.
Valia mentally noted the name that should be permanently removed from future banquets.
“I think we’d better get him out of this ball. You know where Paul is, right?”
That was something Valia wanted to say when she saw people causing trouble at a banquet.
“Yes, I saw him at the entrance to the annex.”
“…Get me out?”
Craven’s face turned white. Only a few people had the authority to send out guests who came with the invitation—the masters of the family. And today’s masquerade was a banquet held under the name of Garth.
There was only one young woman who could decide to send someone out randomly at a ball in the House of Duke Garth.
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