20. The Training Grounds
At the corner of the royal castle.
I went to the training ground set aside for the knights.
The weather was nice from the morning. It was very refreshing.
The air was clear and the cool autumn breeze felt good on my cheeks.
I walked for a while until my field of view opened.
A large training ground could be seen in the distance When I found a person I wanted to meet, I flushed.
He didn’t notice me because I came without telling him anything. After all, I wanted it to be a surprise.
I had baked too many sweets, my basket was heavy. However, I didn’t mind. My footsteps felt light.
“Ricardo! I wanted to see you!”
When I dashed towards him with a full-blown smile, Ricardo dropped to the ground when I was about 100 meters away from him.
Holy… this is super fun.
“A, are you alright? Are you that happy to see me?”
“F, Flores!? What are you doing in a place like this!?”
I approached Ricardo who was clutching his head in tears.
I had never seen Ricardo like that. Likewise, I had never been so happy to see him.
Ricardo overfilled with emotion to see me that he cried.
What a way to start the day!
“Did you get hurt when you were thrown by Ryan? I’d be happy if you were.”
“How noisy! Don’t you dare approach me!”
The person who I wanted to meet ran away screaming. It happened after only a few tens of seconds of us meeting.
…While I was dejected, I could hear laughter from behind me.
The man I actually wanted to meet had arrived. I suddenly smiled.
“Good morning, Flores. You seem to be enjoying yourself early this morning.”
“Yes, it’s been a refreshing morning.”
“This is my first time ever seeing you so happy. By the way, the knights are also very pleased.”
When I was told to look around, many smiling young men saluted me.
I felt a little shy.
“The effect of the penalty has proven to be tremendous. Ricardo will never approach you again.”
“It’s all thanks to you. Thank you very much.”
“No, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Flores. By the way, Flores smells really sweet.”
“Oh, right! I’ve baked these for you! If you like, please eat them with everyone!”
I gave Ryan a basket full of baked goods. His eyes beamed as he thanked me.
“I ran as fast as I could, so maybe they got a bit messy…”
“I saw. Your legs were fast. I was impressed.”
“It was as if I had feathers on my legs. I wish I could have spoken a little bit longer with Ricardo, though.”
Ryan frowned as his shoulders sank.
“…Didn’t you come to see me?”
“Of course. Isn’t that obvious?”
When I pointed the obvious, Ryan, who was a bit sullen, laughed happily as a crimson hue appeared on his face.
“Let’s forget about Ricardo. You look good in that armor, Ryan.”
“Is that so? Isn’t it a little scary for women? Don’t I look menacing?”
“That’s just your mind. To me, you look reliable.”
“I’m glad. I’m relieved to hear that. Thank you for your opinion. I’m looking forward to eating your food. Please take a look around if you’d like. My training will start soon—I hope you don’t mind.”
“I understand. Thank you. There are quite a few people on the premise.”
About ten women were already sitting on a bench for spectators. They were yelling the names of their desired knights while excitedly waving their hands.
“They’re either a family member or a lover of one knight or another. …The same applies to you, Flores.”
“Eh? Do you mean, I’m Ricardo’s…?”
Ryan coughed when I said that an oblivious face.
Afterwards, he looked apologetic.
“No, mine… I’m sorry.”
“Ah, uh, it’s alright.”
“I have tried to correct it, but to no avail. I’m sorry for bothering you.”
“I, it isn’t a bother at all! I should be the one apologizing for causing such a misunderstanding in the first place…”
“I don’t mind at all…”
“—Captain Clifford, it’s time! Please come back!”
“…Well, it might not be interesting because we’re just having a meeting, but take your time.”
Called by his subordinates from a distance, Ryan returned to his group in a hurry.
Thus, I moved to the bench for visitors.
Training would begin immediately.
Like Ryan, several captains who had removed their helmets would train the dozens of knights on how to wield a sword.
Occasionally, there’d be a mock battle.
A sharp gaze.
Ryan was behaving unlike his usual self. My heart was pounding was like crazy.
There was no trace of a man who liked sweets from a while ago.
Ryan was full of such unexpected sides like that.
It was obvious that all women would like him.
With such anxiety in mind, I glanced at the surrounding women. They were sending passionate gazes towards their respective partners.
—That’s probably what everyone thought of their crush.
I became embarrassed when I realized that.
Apparently, I was the only one focused on Ryan.
I was sure I was the only one who found Ryan to be that dazzling.
Not to mention, he was such a generous person. He didn’t mind if he was mistaken as my lover.
…Should I keep getting along with him?
What if Ryan’s soulmate were to appear? Should I withdraw to avoid creating a misunderstanding?
If that happened, I’d be happy for him. Regardless, dark emotions swelled within me as I fell into self-loathing.
I believed my wish for Ryan’s happiness to be genuine…
…I was sick of my shallowness.
I had always wanted to see Ryan’s masculine figure. Nevertheless, I decided to leave after about an hour.
It’d be a problem for a woman who wasn’t his lover to watch him from the beginning to end.
I had to practice withdrawing from now, at least.
Therefore, I’d leave the training ground to remind myself of that.
Only once, I looked at Ryan.
He looked truly gallant, I wanted to swoon.
As I thought, I wasn’t merely imagining it.
He was truly a wonderful person.
Once he met his fated person, he wouldn’t even notice someone like me anymore.
I sighed, and followed the path to the store.
What should I do once I got home?
Even though it was supposed to be a day off, I decided to open my store. Hopefully, it’d distract me.
It was supposed to be a fun day, but why was I so depressed on the way home?
Love was such a hassle.
I never knew it’d be so hard to control my emotions.
When I returned to the store, I wasn’t motivated. Eventually, I stayed in my home on the second floor and dejectedly went to sleep.
Ryan was the only person that came to mind when I closed my eyes.
His manly profile that I had just witnessed.
His strict but warm guidance towards his subordinates.
Then, his smile and bashful expression, which I saw many times.
I wanted to keep seeing them, but one day, those expressions would belong to someone else.
As I thought that, bitterness tore my chest.
***T/N: AHAHAHAHA I DIDNT EXPECT HER TO GO SETTLE HER SCORE WITH RICARDO FIRST LMFAO
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