Chapter 16 – Core
Translator: Skye Editor: thursdays PR: sj_myself
“So… Er, did Commander Raphlet touching you help?” Helio asked, unable to withhold his curiosity.
As someone who had witnessed her screaming and trembling after a dream firsthand, it was hard for him to not be surprised.
He scrutinized her face. Even after giving him the information relating to the monsters from her recent dream, Yuriel’s face looked completely fine.
It didn’t seem like she was lying, as she genuinely looked all right. In fact, there was a shine to her face, like she had woken up from a very deep and pleasant dream instead.
Feeling his gaze, Yuriel met his eyes and gave him a bright smile. There was also the fact that Raphlet’s complexion looked strangely good as well, which left a bad aftertaste in Helio’s mouth.
Both Yuriel and Raphlet’s faces were glowing.
No matter how he saw it, Raphlet’s face didn’t look like the face of someone who should have a sore arm from stroking someone’s head for two hours.
It was suspicious. Helio was well aware of when men had that particular look on their faces.
But apart from his personal grievance against him, Helio was also aware of Raphlet’s finicky personality, so he didn’t think anything intimate happened between them, however…
“You must have been worried about me, Sir Helio,” Yuriel interrupted his thoughts, smiling at him.
It was an innocent and pure smile, as if she had completely forgotten about how they had fought over their clashing views of Raphlet.
As he stared at her smile, Helio had an inkling as to why Raphlet’s face slightly seemed to hold more human emotions as of late.
Just like Helio had said, a short break was given to all divisions after the latest subjugation. It was around the time Yuriel finished her fourth subjugation and the season was transitioning into autumn.
The efficiency of the subjugations had increased as there were no casualties since Yuriel started participating and they no longer wasted manpower unnecessarily, but there was no automatic solution to the fatigue that piled up from successive battles.
The only thing that could help everyone’s exhaustion was rest. In consideration of the heavy fatigue that burdened the knights after consecutive subjugations, a month-long break was granted.
Even though it was officially a break, it could still end at any moment.
If a monster appeared in the capital or if there was a site that needed an urgent dispatch, all knights had to return to their posts. As a result, all members of Albraca were prohibited from leaving the capital during their break.
“Am I really getting my own gun, Raphlet?” Yuriel asked excitedly. They were currently in a building that was mostly devoid of any other individuals. Though Yuriel took part in the subjugations, she didn’t participate in the training sessions.
It would be a miracle if she could even hold a sword with both of her hands, let alone slice the belly of a monster. Fortunately, the newest weapon developed before Yuriel joined the order was suitable for her to use.
It was a new weapon that was only issued to commanders. Ironically, it wasn’t very efficient for commanders to use. Its range was short and its firepower wasn’t much. As a result, it was of little help to commanders who mainly fought in close combat. It was faster for them to draw and swing their swords than to pull out a gun and aim.
But it was something that would be of considerable help to Yuriel.
Raphlet loaded the gun he had received from Helio and said, “You’ll be given one after you’ve gone through and pass the necessary training. If it looks like you can’t handle a gun properly, then we can’t give you one.”
All the guns that had been issued to Raphlet were of considerable size, inevitably forcing him to lower his head to Helio in order to obtain the smallest gun they had. He handed her this gun after setting up the targets.
“How’s the weight?”
“It’s manageable. I think I can comfortably sh–”
“Don’t point the barrel towards your body. And don’t ever point it towards other people either.”
“Oh, is this the barrel?”
“Don’t look in it!” Raphlet shouted, flabbergasted.
He reached over and took the gun back from her when he saw her staring down inside the barrel, with her finger on the trigger.
He then released the safety device, aimed at the target, and pulled the trigger. A loud shot rang out throughout the empty training ground.
Raphlet explained in a gruff voice, “Though it’s not often used by commanders, it’s still a weapon. You can easily blow off a man’s head or a monster’s with this. There have been cases where people have accidentally shot themselves in the foot or hurt the people around them.”
That target plate he aimed at had traces of bullets piercing through it.
“Ah, I guess so…”
“Have of you ever used one bef… No, of course you wouldn’t have.”
“Yes, I’ve only seen and heard about it. But Sir Helio easily pointed this at other people’s heads. I see he wasn’t supposed to be doing that.”
Noticing her curious hands wandering near the gun, trying to touch it, he pushed them away before continuing. “After you fire, the barrel will heat up considerably. Be careful not to touch it.”
Firing until he used up all the bullets, he stopped Yuriel when he saw her trying to load it.
“When it comes to using a gun, your body’s overall strength and stamina play a key role. Go and take a lap,” he said, face expressionless as he lowered his gun. Though she had seen many knights running laps around the training grounds, this was the first time Yuriel had ever gotten an order to do so herself.
She was dumbfounded.
“Right now? You want me to go run a lap?”
“If you don’t return under three minutes, you’ll get one more lap. Start.”
Yuriel became flustered and Raphlet took out his watch, as if to show her that he wasn’t joking. Seeing the second hand of the watch begin to move, she hurriedly put her gun down and ran, only to be stopped by Raphlet’s stern voice.
“Why are you leaving your gun behind? You need to get used to its weight, so it should be a given that you should always carry it with you when you’re running.”
Yuriel, who had only taken about five steps, returned with a teary face and grabbed the weapon.
“Does the t-time start now?”
“30 seconds have already passed.”
“That’s unfair, Raphlet!” she shrieked as she ran around the training ground.
As he watched her run off without looking back, he lowered the hand holding the watch.
The corners of his mouth crept up into a smile when he saw her running hard.
After her training, Yuriel was sprawled out on the ground, stretched out without a care for her appearance. After running, she had been forced to do sets of push-ups and sit-ups.
She thought her stamina was relatively good due to her maid lifestyle of waking up early in the morning and going to bed late, but exercising like this was a whole different story.
After using muscles that she normally didn’t exert to this extent, it felt like her body was screaming.
Immediately after push-ups, she had to fire her gun, run at full speed, and then load the gun again.
The training ended only when the sun went down. It had been so intense that she wondered if it was even necessary to go this far. Her thighs and arms were particularly sore.
Lying down and looking at the sky, Yuriel dusted off her clothes before she raised herself to sit upright. Meanwhile, Raphlet was cleaning and reassembling the gun she had been using.
“It’s important to stretch your muscles, so please come to my room after you take a bath and I’ll show you how,” he said.
Yuriel quickly rose to her feet when she saw him rise with his bag. Since he had been helping her train in this place full of dirt and dust, it was obvious he was planning on washing up as well.
If that was the case, then she didn’t have time to be loitering here like this.
One of the duties of a personal maid was to prepare her master’s bath and assist with their bathing.
It was a given that the maid skillfully prepare what was needed before their master even asked. It was also important to identify their master’s individual tendencies because each person had different likes and dislikes.
As for Raphlet, he was not someone who would snack on something while taking a bath, nor was he someone who would request a massage.
Thus, all that was needed was a servant to aid him in washing his body.
Returning to her room, Yuriel changed out of her dirty clothes, washed her hands, and tied her hair up before heading for Raphlet’s bathroom.
It seemed he wasn’t here yet.
Using her finger, Yuriel first checked the temperature of the water she would use to fill the tub. In the Mogris duchy, the maids had to manually fetch and boil water to fill the bath, but here, there was a faucet where purified water poured out from with just a simple touch.
The bathroom attached to her own room was equipped with this luxurious device as well.
In order to maintain the warm temperature of the bath, she adjusted the faucet so that a little bit of hot water trickled out continuously. She then got up and placed a towel next to the tub.
The door opened when Yuriel finished up all the preparations.
Raphlet, who was about to come inside, stiffened when he saw her.
“Come in, Raphlet. I finished preparing the ba–” Yuriel welcomed him warmly, but stiffened herself, though it was due to a different reason.
It was because she saw something odd embedded in his solid chest.
“Leave,” he said stiffly, naked from the waist up.
“Wait, Raphlet. Th-that scar on your chest…”
“I said leave.”
He forced her out by pushing her out of the bathroom.
Yuriel gaped like a fish out of water, eyes blank as she recalled what she had just seen.
It had looked like something was lodged in his chest.
Yuriel turned back around, fists unclenched, but she saw that the bathroom door was closed.
That something in his chest was definitely a core of a monster.
T/N: dun dun dun.
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