55. A Man’s Worries
- This story took place about two months before extra story of ‘Daily Life of Alves’ and about a year and a half before the start of the main story.
The third army of the royal knights was stationed in the Northern Forth.
It was said that many of the knights attached to it were from the North and the East. At the same time, there were also elites from the royal capital.
One of them was Philaude, the commander of the third army. For the first time in a few months, he was heading South towards the royal capital to return home.
That person, who was usually referred to only as ‘Phil’, was of noble birth and had the position of a commander. Because of the long-distance he had to travel, he was supposed to have an escort with him. They usually consisted of elite knights.
However, as he advanced upon his horse, there was something amiss regarding Phil’s appearance. He seemed to be concerned about something.
The younger brother of the crown prince, who was well-known for his friendliness and his martial arts at the Northern Fort, rarely showed any weakness. As such, it was rare for him to look so forlorn.
What on earth was he thinking?
The knight captain, who was tasked with escorting him, awkwardly glanced at the profile of his superior.
His superior probably felt his line of sight.
Phil glanced at his men who immediately averted their gazes. After realizing that his men were still wondering what the issue could be, Phil hesitantly asked.
“What happened? If it is about tonight’s inn, there’s no need for you to worry. We’ll ensure no women can approach.”
“Not like it will help. That mayor is so frustrating. No matter how many times I refuse, he… no, actually, there’s an important matter I need to discuss with you.”
“What is it? Isn’t this unusual of you, Your Highness?”
The knight captain grinned as he broke formality.
Despite Phil being his superior, he didn’t show the slightest hesitation. The knight captain acted as he had when he was still Phil’s educator and supervisor.
As a matter of course, Phil tolerated his behavior.
He looked at the knights who were staring at him for a moment, then immediately turned away as he whispered.
“What do you think is a perfect gift for a girl?”
Due to the unexpected question, the knight captain’s reaction was somewhat delayed.
The knight captain thought he was worried of getting hindered along the way. Instead, his actual question was nothing like he had expected.
The knight captain tilted his head and played with his bright blonde hair.
“…Perhaps, you’d like to fulfil your duty as a prince? I’m sure many women would welcome you no matter what. It’s rare for you to be concerned about that. No, wait, you said a girl? I’ll have to advise you to refrain from playing around with innocent girl—”
“—Hey, quit it with your strange misunderstanding! As if I’d do that! Ugh, enough already, I was a fool for asking you.”
Phil, who almost fell of the back of his horse, calmed down immediately. He pursed his lips.
The knights behind him were, of course, aware of the interaction between the two. They tried to appear understanding, but their curiosity couldn’t be suppressed. While ignoring the gaze of his men, Phil continued riding his horse.
The knight captain grinned.
He brought his horse closer to his superior.
“I’d like to refrain from sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong, so I’m not going to inquire for any details. But as an older person, I’d like to give you a single piece of advice.”
The knight captain went straight to the point with a firm expression.
“If you don’t want to mislead her, don’t give her anything expensive.”
“Well, I wonder if Your Highness is experienced in that area? What kind of girl is she? How old? Is she about the same age as your niece? …Or perhaps, a lady of an unconventional age?”
Phil didn’t respond to his jokes.
His blue eyes were staring straight ahead. He seemed about as expressionless as whenever he was in the royal palace.
Before his expression could vanish entirely, he sighed and ruffled his silver hair.
“…It seems that I’ll have no choice but to listen.”
“I’ve never seen you so worried about select a gift before. You must be aware that all that matters is selecting something that will make the other person as happy as possible. Yet, you’re still worried.”
“Are you talking about when I was deciding what to give my nephew and nieces? They’re children, and if you look at them, you’ll probably know what makes them happy. But that girl… she’s no child, as such, I don’t know what to give…”
Phil closed his mouth. He suddenly seemed moody.
As if he had noticed something, Phil turned to his men.
“…I see, I might know if I actually meet her and look closely.”
“At least it’ll be better rather than worrying here.”
“So, did you find my advice a little helpful?”
“Well, it is.”
Phil sighed on purpose before laughing.
“When you’re not on the battlefield, you’re a thoughtful and dependable man.”
He smiled brightly.
His anxiety until a while ago had vanished.
The knight captain changed his expression into that of reverent gratitude.
“I’m honored, Your Highness Philaude, knight commander…”
“Hey, now you’re being too formal, it’s unnerving. Don’t you all think so, too?”
Phil looked back at his knights with a sigh, but there was a carefree smile on his face.
The knights made dubious expressions but were soon unable to suppress their laughter any longer.
“…As if I can say anything awful towards the demon knight captain!”
“Therefore, in our stead, please badmouth him! If you do so, I will buy you plenty of drinks!”
“…Again, if you’re trying to make me drunk, just give up.”
“It’s out of my genuine generosity. By the way, can you introduce me to a beauty in the royal palace?”
“I want to be hired by the rumored future king and your sister!”
“As if you could! His sense of aesthetics is too strict!”
Despite being in front of their superiors, the knights were laughing at will.
Instead of blaming them, Phil only laughed.
Perhaps, it was that friendliness that attracted people to Phil. It was a sight that often appeared in the Northern Fort.
With one command from Phil, those soldiers would turn into fierce men.
“…He’s a scary person, after all.”
It wasn’t because of his birth or his position, but because of the lonely daily routines they led. Perhaps, due that reason, the knights became intoxicated and were drawn to him. Was the person himself aware of his mysterious charm?
The knight captain, who stared at him from up close, sighed before laughing bitterly.
***T/N: Phil is a man of focus, commitment, and sheer will, after all.
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