SETP Vol. 1 Chapter 21
Chapter 21 – The Sea
A few minutes later, Feli came out of the restaurant.
She did not seem to be in a hurry.
She probably realized I needed some time alone; I couldn’t say for sure, but she knew that I was not the kind of person to use restraint with my words.
She approached me, coins jangling in her palm — probably change — as she looked at me blankly.
“Your Highness, you put down way too much for a meal’s fee.”
She then took my hand and put the change in it.
Since we were outside the restaurant, she returned to her usual way of addressing me.
“You didn’t need to give the money back.”
“What vassal would ever pocket their master’s change?”
That’s true, I didn’t tell her to keep it after all, so giving it back would be normal in this situation.
I thought that she really was serious and peeked at the change.
I left four silver coins, and now in my hand there were three silver coins and some copper coins.
“Head maid, you paid for your part of the meal out of your own pocket, haven’t you?”
“What about it?”
“I was just wondering how serious you were.”
I put the coins in the pouch I kept in my trousers’ pocket.
“If Your Highness meant to offer me a meal to deepen our relationship, I would regard it as a man providing for a woman and would gladly accept it though.”
I couldn’t hold my laughter.
Feli spoke, knowing well that there was no way that was the case and I would definitely deny it.
“Unfortunately, I don’t fall in love with strong women. If you can accept us deepening our relationship as master and servant, let me pay for both next time.”
I had no intention of falling in love with anyone from the start anyway.
Standing where we were would get in the way of any passersby, so I decided to start walking in a random direction.
The word “strong” stood for many things.
Mental strength, muscular strength, anything. If it was enough, the same thing could be said about anyone.
Those guys would often think that they had to protect others before anything else. That was probably the reason why most of them rushed to their deaths, without a thought about the people they left behind.
That was the reason why I didn’t like strong people.
I didn’t like strong women.
“Is there somewhere you want to go?”
“Normally, that’s a question a vassal should ask their master, not vice versa.”
“Since I don’t leave my room much, I can’t think of any way to pass the time, except sleeping.”
Even Feli found herself laughing bitterly at my words.
I would leave my room sometimes to visit the florist, but that was it.
Having to ask her opinion was a natural result.
After thinking for a short while, Feli mentioned a place very typical for the kingdom of water Rinchelle.
“How about the sea?”
“The sea, huh.”
“It’s really beautiful. No less than the garden.”
“…hmm. Let’s go then.”
Diestburg was a landlocked country, so I had no contacts with the sea.
Fish and seafood were supplied by traders, but I had never seen the sea with my own eyes.
“I’ll go ask for directions then. Please wait a moment.”
Feli then ran off. I looked at her go and —was reminded of an old friend.
The conversation just now probably triggered it.
A girl who loved pranks and made no efforts to hide her affection.
—Incredibly weak, yet kind to anyone, so everyone felt the urge to protect you.
That’s how she said I was. She was a strong woman.
A strong woman who, despite me never asking her for help, went and died to protect me.
That’s why I didn’t like strong women.
<<Hahah….I’m glad I could protect you…I like you, ***.>>
Her last words, which she said while laughing, lingered in my ears.
I couldn’t forget them, even now.
I remembered her name very clearly too.
“….you don’t look alike at all.”
Why did I see Tiara in Feli?
I didn’t know either.
Their personalities were completely different and Tiara was much stronger.
Even so, looking at Feli reminded me of Tiara.
Maybe it meant that Feli felt like she exposed the same kind of risk Tiara had. That’s the only thing I could come up with.
”I have to be careful…”
I would not allow anyone to die in front of me ever again.
“Someone else got here before us.”
We walked for less than an hour.
A few kilometres from the restaurant, there was a spot overlooking the sea.
There was a white lighthouse and some kind of embankment.
A man was sitting on it, fishing.
I remembered seeing his clothing somewhere before.
“How’s the catch today?”
“As bad as they come, r— Y-Your Highness!?”
The man answered me, but his surprise took over halfway.
He was clad in the uniform of the Diestburg royal knights.
“Didn’t you have to escort my brother?”
Before Feli could start yelling at the man, I asked him the question with a chuckle.
The knight probably realized that the infuriated-looking maid was approaching and looked a bit awkward, but he put down his fishing pole and started talking.
“The captain and 30 knights are guarding Prince Grerial, while the rest are scattered throughout the city on patrol, or well, I should say on a walk, or better yet we’re free…”
“So you’re fishing.”
The voice was finally heard.
Her tone was faintly accusatory.
It was Feli’s voice, of course.
“I-I’m patrolling the sea…”
“I hope you can fish up some dangerous individuals then.”
Feli sounded very angry.
We were spending time in the same relaxed way, however.
If the knight was entrusted with escorting my brother, but skipped on his duties to go fish I wouldn’t let him go scot-free myself, but as that was not the case letting him go wouldn’t be a problem.
I sat next to the knight.
The knight surely wanted to change the topic somehow, to avoid Feli’s incoming preaching. That definitely made him much more perceptive than usual.
“Your Highness, since when have you been carrying a sword?”
Do you not have a shred of delicacy in you?
Feli probably intended to scold the knight thus, but very few were aware of my circumstances. For most, the “Trash Prince” was just a slob of a prince that would never even hold a sword. That was all they thought of me.
“You have a seat too, Feli. The wind feels really good.”
I motioned her over, and she sat. Ultimately the knight, Feli, and I were sitting on the embankment in a row.
I managed to stop her anger, at least for the moment.
I thought that the reason why I covered him was probably that I felt a sort of kinship in his skipping work.
“You asked when I started carrying a sword, right? Since we arrived in Rinchelle. Feli kept nagging me that it’s dangerous, so I had to. It’s all appearance, but I’m carrying it.”
People armed with a sword and people unarmed. Anyone would say that the latter category would be more likely to be assaulted. I made up the reason on the spot, but it sounded plausible.
“Haha, that’s rich. I too thought that this town is suspicious though. There’s no harm in carrying a sword, even if it’s all appearance.”
The knight grabbed the fishing pole and cast it again.
Feli looked annoyed that he would dare to continue fishing, but I didn’t feel insulted at all and let him do it.
“What did you think of the city, Your Highness?”
The knight glanced at me while slowly bending the fishing pole.
I just had a meal at the restaurant and walked around a little.
Even so, I noticed something.
“It’s not exactly lacking in liveliness, but I can’t say I felt much of it. It’s not lifeless either, though.”
“The calm before the storm. Don’t you feel something like that?”
The knight replied with a smirk, as if my answer was something he expected.
“Are you saying that something is going to happen?”
“Of course not. I could never say something so ominous to Your Highness.”
However…the knight continued.
“Being alert for potential risks is important. Your Highness, who never used to hold a sword, is now carrying one. When subordinates like me see it, they will be surprised at the change and become more focused.”
I looked to the side and saw that Feli was nodding too.
This knight had a way with words, I thought.
“Please stay alert, Your Highness. Never forget that we are not in Diestburg now.”
“Consider your warning accepted.”
“If I was useful to Your Highness, then fishing here was worth it.”
Apparently, no fish were caught: the hook surfaced from the sea, empty.
“How about this, then?”
The knight took the sword he had laid next to him with his free hand.
“A bit of sword training. I might not look like it, but I’m actually a platoon commander.”
The knight’s words caused Feli’s expression to tense up.
The knight probably thought that the reason was his intention to give sword training to me, who swore to never hold a sword, but the real reason was different.
“…I will be happy to provide Your Highness with any sword training.”
“That’s right, I’d sure prefer to have a woman as a partner rather than a burly man, even if she’s a bit older.”
I felt a sharp glance piercing me from the right.
It really felt sharp enough to kill someone.
“Well well, looks like you two get along really well.”
The knight quickly took the opportunity of Feli glaring at me and stood up. He had already put away his fishing pole and equipped his sword at his waist.
“I would hate to bother you anymore, so I’ll be taking my leave now.”
The knight scurried away like his life depended on it.
He was skipping work, after all.
He was so upfront about it that I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Come on, that’s fine.”
I stopped Feli from chasing after him and lay down on the embankment.
The cloudy sky cleared up a bit, showing patches of blue here and there.
“I’m a bit tired of walking. Let’s take a rest here.”
Feli was my escort after all. Even if I was actually stronger than her, she would never abandon her duties to give chase to the knight.
She eventually stopped walking.
“Though, I hope I won’t have to wield my sword.”
I spoke while feeling “Spada’s” presence at my waist.
Being, in a way, a part of me, it always felt like a powerful presence to me.
Feli replied with a sad look on her face.
“I really hope…that time won’t come.”
She whispered faintly, a voice painted with melancholy.