“Should I go back and find it for you now if you need it right away? It’s nearby anyway.”
“It’s alright. It’s not that crucial. I simply happened to recall that when I saw you, Lady. Anyway, it appears like you’re on your way home. Do you mind if I accompany you?”
Without realizing it, I was staring at Caleb because of the unexpected offer.
Because Caleb and all the other knights left the Knight’s quarter later than I did.
That’s why I’ve never left the building with him before……
Despite the fact that Caleb once led me to the front gate of the Knight’s quarter.
“You may simply decline if it makes you uncomfortable.”
“Oh, no!” It’s not because I’m uncomfortable, but you usually leave much later than I do, don’t you? So I assumed you’d return to the Knight’s quarter.”
“I normally leave the Knight’s quarter about this time, but we probably crossed paths today due to the knight you just met.”
I remembered Herschel’s presence late at Caleb’s comments.
Ah, I was caught by Herschel and talked with him, right?
I wasn’t sure how long it had been, but given my normal homecoming time, it would be quite late.
“Ah, yes, I see. I made a mistake.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“By the way, I’m heading to the carriage station by the back door……”
“I’m the same.”
It wasn’t until Caleb’s response that I grasped what was going on.
That’s right! We lived near each other, didn’t we?
Count Van Der emphasized that it was an expensive place, and I even bumped into him this weekend and forgot about it!
“Then, since we’re both going to the same place, should we walk together?”
And a dozen minutes later, I was having second thoughts about what I had said.
‘No, it would be strange if I said I regret it.’
Since I didn’t have much of a choice.
The Palace was split into east, west, north, and south sections, and each section had gates with carriage stations.
This was due to the fact that, with the exception of Imperial Family members, no one could ride in a carriage inside the Palace.
After allowing several young ladies to enjoy horseback riding within The Palace, it was a ludicrous regulation, but that was the principle.
As a result, all of the nobility had to get off the carriage before entering the palace, and when they returned, they went back to their family’s carriage, which had been waiting at the carriage station in advance.
Caleb and I reside in the same neighborhood, and because we had to take a carriage back, the roads eventually overlapped, so I had no choice but to comply.
It was, nonetheless, unsettling to walk silently without saying anything.
It’s not because I dislike Caleb, but because I kept staring at him without realizing that, and it made me anxious. …. Just, why on earth is there a carriage station existed in a situation like this?
We arrived at the carriage station while walking and protesting the palace’s principles.
It was when I went looking for the carriage that I had to ride, feeling a weird sense of liberty at the prospect of finally being able to let go of Caleb.
‘There’s no carriage……?’
When I looked around, everything was the same. There was no sign of the carriage.
I was mortified since this had never occurred to me since I began working with the Royal Knights.
“Lady Oreu? Is there a problem?”
“I can’t find the carriage. I always ride it here every day……”
Why wasn’t it here?
As I stamped my feet in impatience, a guess suddenly came to my mind.
Was it because I came out a little later than usual because of Herschel?
Maybe because of that, right?
Otherwise, there was no reason for a carriage which used to be here everyday wasn’t here right this moment.
But even if it’s true, he shouldn’t leave me behind!
Of course, the distance from the palace to the mansion was not that far, so I could walk if I want to.
The problem was I never walked from the palace to the mansion, so I had no confidence I could get home by walking.
“How about riding with me in my carriage?”
“It’s nearby anyway, so I hope you don’t feel pressured.”
“But I’m sorry to do that…then let me ride until we get out of the palace. I could rent a carriage there.
“There won’t be a rented carriage at this time.”
How can a rented carriage stop operating this fast?
It was shocking news for me, who understood the rented carriage as a taxi-like concept.
No, I mean if I can’t get a rented carriage then I have to walk…… What if I got out there and there was no one for me to ask directions for?
The more I agonized, the more my mind was leaning towards Caleb’s suggestion.
Argh, I don’t care anymore. Since he was the one who offered it to me, I should take it this time!
“Then, please do me a favor.”
Caleb nodded willingly and led me to his carriage.
“Please, get in.”
I looked at the black carriage that Caleb had opened the door for.
The carriage with two swords crossed on its surface was really big and luxurious.
I thought the carriage that Count Van Der provided me was pretty good, but compared to the one that Caleb was riding, it was considered a toy.
‘I can’t believe I let someone who usually rides this kind of carriage get on a rented carriage……’
The thought of a small, cramped carriage made me reflect on myself even if I didn’t want to.
Not long after I got in the carriage, Caleb came into the carriage.
He sat across from me and said.
“I told the horseman to stop by your house first, Lady.”
“You know my house, Lord?”
“I remember taking you there last time.”
That’s right, he did. Why couldn’t I remember things like this while remembering other things well?
Feeling embarrassed for no reason, I pressed my knees with both hands.
“I would like to ask you something, can I? It’s about Lord Themis, who talked to you earlier, Lady.”
I wondered what Caleb had to wonder about Herschel, but I nodded.
I think it would be better than just being silent.
“Is he the knight who you said tried to court you before, Lady?”
Keugh! A shrill squeaking sound came out.
At the same time I was grateful that I wasn’t eating anything now. Otherwise, I might be spouting the contents of my mouth head-on to Caleb.
“Well, that’s true, but did you remember that?”
“Maybe it was impressive enough that I eventually remembered it.”
Well, it was quite interesting enough to be remembered.
I thought he didn’t remember Herschel. He did remember him after all.
“I think he refers to you as Miss Lena. Am I right to hear that?”
“Yes, that’s right. I said it before.Lord Themis and I have known each other since I was in the theater. Maybe that’s why he keeps calling me by my stage name.”
“You don’t mind being called that?”
“Lord Themis has been calling me like that since we first met, so I’m used to it. And actually I still feel unfamiliar with the title ‘lady’, so I find it more comfortable.”
“May I ask why you think so?”
“There’s no particular reason, and I think it’s because I’m not used to it yet. When I was in the theater, I hid my identity, so everyone called me Lena or Miss Lena.”
“After hearing it, I understand why you think so, Lady. You said it’s still awkward to be called Lady, so can I call you another way?”
“If it’s any other way…Are you trying to call me Lena, too?”
“If you allow me, I’d rather call you by your given name than your stage name.”
If it’s my given name, then is he referring to ‘Elena’?
It was an unexpected offer, but I didn’t mean to refuse it.
There was no other intention. He was just trying to do it in consideration of my awkwardness.
However, it was surprising for him, not anyone else, to ask that……
I glanced at Caleb. Somehow his face looking at me felt stiffer than usual.
I think he’s nervous.…?
Of course it was just my assumption. There’s no one in the world who’ll be nervous about just letting people call by their given name.
Well, it doesn’t matter if I allow it.
“Please call me whatever you like, Lord.”
Caleb wouldn’t open his mouth, as I thought he’d call my name right away.
Instead, he puts his hand around his mouth and tilts his head slightly.
It seemed like he was thinking hard and hesitating.
‘Is it because he doesn’t remember my name?”
I don’t want to doubt Caleb’s memory, but I think that was plausible.
He called me Lady Oreu every day, so he may not remember my name.
“Well, Lord Egon? If you don’t remember my name, I can tell you.”
At my words, Caleb took off his hand around his mouth, looking a little surprised.
“I’m sorry. It’s not because I don’t remember, but because I’ve never called a woman’s name before so it doesn’t come out easily…….”
“There’s nothing to be sorry about. But you’ve never called a woman’s name, Lord? Not once?”
“Because I don’t have any sisters and female cousins……”
Oh, come to think of it, Caleb didn’t pay any attention to any other women until he met Vivian.
If it wasn’t Caleb who said that, I’d continue to doubt it, but I was convinced enough because my opponent was Caleb.
So, am I the first person he called by given name?
In a way, it tickled my heart that I would give him the “first” even though it was nothing. Ah, I shouldn’t be like this
“I see. I thought you hesitated because you didn’t remember my name. But it was all my misunderstanding.”
“How can I not remember?”
It was small compared to the volume of his usual voice, but my name could be heard clearly.
Just like the sound of my heart beating.
“I remember for sure.”
As if he hesitated to call my name, he called my name again.
That call, oddly enough, lingered in my ears for quite some time.
Even when I get home.
Even when I go to bed.
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