31. The Stars in the Night Sky
There was a horse in front of the building.
The horse shook its mane as its nostrils flared up.
Grave jumped on the horse and straddled it.
He held the bridle in his right hand and reached out to me with his free hand.
When I saw the horse’s face, I got scared a little.
The fear seemed to be apparent on my face.
Grave asked me.
“Is this your first time riding a horse?”
“I’ve never rode a horse directly. I’ve rode horse-drawn carriages, though… I’m generally not good with animals…”
“Is that so? How surprising.”
“I don’t know what you were expecting…”
“Haha, I see. Well, it’s alright. I won’t go too fast.”
Grave reached out to me again.
Because I was a little scared, I took a deep breath to calm my mind.
I took his hand, and Grave pulled me up.
When I straddled the horse awkwardly, the horse moved a little—probably because of the added weight.
“Are you alright?”
In a panic, I reflexively hugged Grave’s body.
I immediately recalled what Rigard had said.
“You’ll probably experience more shaking once the horse starts galloping. Therefore, hold me as firmly as possible.”
Grave’s back filled me with relief.
“Then, let us depart.”
With the clicking sound of the bridle, the horse neighed.
The horse started galloping and gradually moved faster.
It went slow because we were still in the city, but I could already feel the vibration.
“Oh, if it isn’t Grave! Where are you going with the girl?”
“Really? Or are you going on a vacation?”
As we passed people along the way, we answered their queries.
Grave was popular.
It was a bit embarrassing to be seen with him.
The cityscape seen from above the horseback was different from usual.
When we encountered the citizens, they always looked up to talk to us—it felt kind of fresh.
I felt like I had grown taller.
“We’re leaving the city, so I’m going to increase the speed.”
“A, alright, please…”
We went out the city gate and straight up the road.
Grave fluttered the bridle, causing the horse to gallop faster.
As the horse switched from walking to running, the shaking got more intense and rocked my body.
“I, it’s really shaky…”
“Indeed. But, if you hold onto me firmly, there’s nothing to worry about.”
Even so, I was scared. It was my first time, after all.
I clung to Grave’s back and closed my eyes in fear.
I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear the sound of us cutting through the wind.
The windy sensation was unlike anything I had ever felt before.
I was a little curious and tried to open an eye.
The surrounding scenery flowed and vanished in the blink of an eye.
The speed with which the trees and grasslands passed one after the other made me realize how fast the horse was going.
Although I had ridden in carriages several times, I never bothered to look at the scenery. I also couldn’t feel the wind inside the carriage. Thus, understanding the speed was difficult for me.
Now, I could feel various things against my skin, and my chest was throbbing.
“Once you get used to it, the wind feels good, doesn’t it?”
“Yes! I was surprised, but I’m no longer scared.”
“That’s great. I will teach you how to ride a horse next time.”
“Yes. It’ll be convenient if you’re able to ride a horse.”
“Okay! I will be in your care!”
I was full of anticipation for the fun that awaited me in the future.
Afterwards, the horse had galloped for a while.
On the way, we stopped at towns and villages to rent rooms at inn with reasonable prices.
Fortunately, due to the good weather, we weren’t hampered by rain and wind.
Noon, on the fourth day after our departure—
—we arrived at a small village that was said to be the closest to our destination.
“H, how cold…”
“This place is really cold. It will be a problem if you were to catch a cold, so please wear the coat whether you like it or not.”
“G, got it…”
The coat was heavy but warm.
The cold pierced my skin to the point that it felt painful. As such, I didn’t care if I had to wear the heavy coat.
“I… I’m not good with the cold, it seems…”
“It’s to be expected. After all, you work in a hot smithy. As such, you might be more accustomed to the heat rather than the cold.”
“It seems so…”
“By the way, this area is part of the snowy mountain domain, isn’t it?”
Riding a horse past that point would be a hassle.
We left our horse in the village and walked towards our destination.
A part of the mountain was already visible. The distance wasn’t too far.
However, it seemed that we’d need to camp for the night.
After we left the village, the sun started to set. We progressed an extent before taking out some tools from the big backpack carried by Grave. Then we setup the tent.
Grave was very skilled at it. Perhaps, he had done that many times.
Before I could lend him a hand, it was already finished.
“Are you cold?”
It was actually more than a little bit cold. Still, I should be alright once I got inside a blanket.
“Get some sleep. It’s going to be tougher starting tomorrow.”
“What about you, Grave?”
“I’ll keep watch for a while.”
With a simple barrier, there was no need for us to worry about being attacked my monsters.
However, it seemed that it’d take about an hour for the barrier to start functioning.
“You can sleep with ease. I shall look at the stars.”
Grave looked up towards the sky. I followed suit.
Countless stars gleamed in the night sky.
I could see the moon illuminating the world of night and the stars shining with their hardest.
It was so clear.
“That’s right. It looks good because there’s no light. As for why, it’s because the sky looks clearer in cold places.”
“Is that so?”
There was nothing around—only Grave and I.
The stars in the night sky illuminating the world of night were much more beautiful than the ones I saw in the royal capital.
***T/N: Yo Grave, for your first date, that place is too extreme, yo.
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