48. A Secret
When I, who was still seated, was thinking about something, Phil turned around and extended his hand towards me.
“Before my pursuit arrives, I’d like to drink tea with you.”
“…I just baked the sweets this morning. I thought that it was too early, but it turns out my timing was good!”
“Is that so? How lucky.”
Phil joyfully laughed.
His face was as pure as a child’s. I laughed as I took his hand.
Alves sighed as he let his horse drink water.
In response to the report from the shepherds, the inspection was probably cut short. He rushed all the way from the outskirts of the territory.
There was still time before noon.
Phil’s pursuers would most likely arrive after a bit. I wondered if my brother was going to resume his inspection.
When I stood up and calculated the position of the sun and the distance to the planned inspection site, Phil, who assumed the role of a knight, pulled the horse.
“Please put your foot on my hand. I’ll lift you up so that you can climb onto the horse.”
…Um, step on his hand?
I hesitated but relented to his smile and placed my foot on Phil’s hand as I reached for the horse’s saddle.
Then, I was slowly pushed up.
With that, I was easily to climb onto the horse’s back.
…I wonder if this is alright.
Even though Phil was a member of the royal family, I had just used his hand as a stepping stool.
When I was laughing unintentionally, my brother came over with his horse.
His bitter expression could be seen at a glance.
“…Phil, I’ll go on ahead. I decided to trust you.”
Alves said that and walked in front of us.
As I saw him off, Phil lightly sat behind me.
When I tried to look back, I was gently hugged from behind.
“…Alves has just given me his permission. At the very least, can I do this?”
With a slightly faint voice, he whispered into my ear. Instead of answering, I shrank.
“…If you dislike it, I’ll let go. I will endure it.”
His arms were wrapped around me, but I could escape if I were to exert myself.
“Turning you into some casual lover of mine was never my intention. So, if you dislike it, I’ll put up with it. If you despise it, I’ll do my best to not touch you in the slightest.”
Despite his saying the, his embrace tightened.
“…But I still want to do couple-like activities… Then, should I keep Alves in the dungeon for a while? No, would it be better if I were to force him to return to active duty?”
…He had started rambling some nonsenses.
I lightly pushed at his arms. The arms that were enveloping my body truly slipped off.
As I turned around, Phil’s handsome face looked a little sad. But he smiled as if resigning himself.
“I’m sorry, am I being too pushy?”
“That’s not the case… My brother is only an ordinary person. Therefore, don’t force anything reckless on him.”
“Yes, that’s true…”
Phil muttered lowly and lightly moved his legs so that the horse would start walking.
“To tell you the truth, Alves truly can return to active duty. He’s still considered a knight of the kingdom.”
Because of my reaction, the horse shook. I hurriedly looked back.
While loosely holding the reins, Phil glanced at me.
“On my paper, Alves is listed as being on vacation. Despite not being in a situation of having received any rewards or privileges, he has a special position in the royal army and is exempt from all obligations. In short, he’s my watchman.”
That sounded convincing, but I hurriedly regained my senses after a moment.
Phil smiled at me.
“I first learned about it a month ago. Perhaps, my brother and the former knight captain were messing around. As I always spend a lot of time in this place, they prepared some countermeasures.”
“…Is that often the case?”
“I don’t pay attention to these kinds of matters. The others wouldn’t know. Of course, Alves also has no clue. It seems to have been prepared just in case as a precedent for dealing with unruly members of the royal family. As it’s been signed by the then leader of the royal army and also His Majesty, it’s valid. If I had known of it earlier, I could have made it easier for Alves, but…”
Phil’s serious expression turned into a remorseful one.
“The most important thing is the possibility it offers Alves to returning to active duty. This is likely going to be a trump card, so keep it a secret from Alves for a while?”
This kind of secret… should I really stay silent?
But Phil put his finger against his mouth and laughed.
I’d do my best… but I didn’t think I could keep any sort of secret from Alves.
Or rather, was it alright to keep silent?
It’d be better to talk to my brother implicitly…
When I was worried about that, the shepherd on the hill waved at me. He was trying to convey something.
Is it the rumored pursuit?
I turned towards the direction the shepherd was pointing.
Phil followed the direction of my eyes and clicked his tongue.
Instead of stopping the horse, he wordlessly kicked the horse’s abdomen a little stronger.
The strong war horse began to run as the master wanted. My body staggered a lot, but Phil held me firm.
***T/N: Cough, Knightly Alves… that will kill me on the spot.
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