Chapter 65 – The Storyteller and Knights-in-Training (1)
The sudden voice pulled Max out from her unpleasant thoughts. She turned back and saw two boys dressed head to toe in black tunics looking at her curiously. At their gaze, she instantly straightened herself up, realizing that they were apprentices she had seen several times with Riftan before. The two boys politely bowed their heads as a greeting, hands on their chests in reverence as one would expect from a knight-in-training.
“We’re sorry to have taken you by surprise. We were worried about the Madam being alone, so we had to come and talk to you,” the boy explained, looking apologetic.
“I-it’s okay. Tha-thank you for… worrying about me, I…”
Her eyes wandered to the side, her tongue inexplicably finding difficulty with words to address the young boys before her. A boy with stunning silver hair was quick to notice this, and he introduced himself in haste.
“We apologize for the late introduction. I’m Yurixion Lobar. We are knights in training waiting for our knighthood next year.”
The taller boy next to him also opened his mouth to say, “I’m Garow Livacon. I’m going to be knighted on the same day as my friend here,” he gestured to the silver-haired boy.
Max fumbled with her hands, “I, I am Max, Maximilian… Calypse,” her introduction coming out in an embarrassing stutter. Despite having already known her identity, Yurixion flashed her an amicable smile, as if to reassure her.
“You must have been taking a walk alone,” he continued after the exchange of names had come to close.
“N, no…. I, I was touring the in-inner facilities,” she answered with some hesitancy, fearing the latter would reprimand her/
The boy’s face turned grave after hearing her answer.
“It is dangerous for the Madam to travel alone even if it’s just inside the castle.There has been frequent outside visitors these days and if somehow a mishap occurs–”
“Mi-mishap…?” She asked back in shock, finding the situation quite nerve-wracking.
Sensing their Madam’s apprehension, the boy hurriedly added in panic, “I wasn’t trying to scare you. I was just worried for the Madam of the estate…” then he added in an afterthought, “Ah! If you don’t mind, may we accompany you, Madam?”
Max hurriedly declined with a fervent shake of her head, “N, No. I-I can’t just take your, pre-precious time…”
“Please don’t say something like that! It is an honor for a knight to serve the Madam. We, we may not have been officially knighted… yet we would risk our lives only to save you from any danger,” the boy heatedly expressed.
At the startling amount of fervor in his words, Max took an unconscious step back. Seeing their madam recoil, the boy next to him stabbed him in the ribs as a warning.
“Yuri, Stop exaggerating your words!”
“Exaggerating?! I am deadly serious, I truly would…”
Perhaps realizing his brashness, the boy quickly clammed his mouth shut with some embarrassment. The next time he faced Max, he was a tad calmer.
“Anyways, you can’t go around alone. I can call a guard if it’s specifically my service you find not to your liking,” he gently said.
As much as Max appreciated their efforts, she found it to be over the top to be guarded inside the castle’s safe premises. “It-it’s just in-inside the castle… to-to go that far….”
“Madam, there is no guarantee that the castle is safe! If anything happened to you, Madam, I would be too ashamed to face Lord Calypse on his return.”
The boy’s face turned shades of blue with his rapt reply with the idea of their beloved leader scorning them. As soon as Max was greeted with the sight of the young boy’s crumbing face as if the world was ending, she immediately felt sweat ooze from her pores.
“We-well if, if it worries you tha-that much… then, please…” she finally acquiesced.
Given her consent, the boy’s face instantly lit up. She felt an onset of dizziness at the quick change of expression.
“Where should I escort you to, madam?”
Resigned to her two new companions, she quietly said, “…I-I was on my way to-to the blacksmith….”
“What a coincidence! We were also on our way to the blacksmith. I’ll accompany you there.”
With that, Yurixion took the lead with energetic steps, a more placid Garow following after him with a shrug of his shoulders. It was only after a moment’s hesitation that Max began to trail after them, feeling very awkward. The boy’s passionate attitude was something refreshing to Max, and was a contrast against the callous, taciturn countenance of her husband, Ruth’s bluntness, and the rest of the knight’s indifference to her.
‘He’s probably 16… maybe around 17 years old?’
“Do you have any special business with the blacksmith?” The boy prompted her away from her thoughts.
“My-my business is… when winter comes… merchants said, the-they would come less often so…I-I’m checking if they need a-anything.”
The boy’s eyes brightened, “I see! I was on my way to the blacksmith because I broke my sword while sparring,” he cheerfully pointed to the pointed blade hanging on his waist.
“It’s a bit embarrassing, but this is the second time it broke this month alone. I break it so often that the blacksmith starts nagging as soon as he sees me.”
A slight smile tugged at the corner of her lips. She could tell Yurixion was embarrassed by the faint tinge of red on his cheeks, and while his outpouring friendliness was quite overwhelming, Max could see he was a kind and easygoing person.
“I don’t know when I can reach the tip of Lord Calypse’s feet with my labors. No, rather, if I could amount to the furthest tip of the Lord’s feet, it would already be an immense relief.”
The boy beside him who had remained silent throughout suddenly quipped, “We would be conscripted to the Remdragon Knights next year. Isn’t your goal too low?”
“Garow, you still don’t understand Lord Calypse’s greatness.” He replied with a mild shake of his head. “It’s already a tremendous achievement to reach just the tip of the tip of the tip of his feet. Forget even reaching the tip of the tip of his feet!”
The latter replied with a resigned tone and slightly fed up look on his face. Meanwhile, Max felt enthused at the boy’s blind reverence for Riftan and she couldn’t help but join their conversation.
“Ri-riftan… Is-Is he that outstanding of a kn-knight?”