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Chapter 33

“Ah.”

“Lord Raymond is looking at me.”

He turned to face the ladies. There was still some distance between them, but his green eyes were vivid. That gaze was burdensome. Isella coveted that gaze, but Carynne was only left uncomfortable by it.

He recalled what happened last time. And the attitude Carynne showed him back then… The corners of his lips went up. He smiled, chuckled, made a strange expression, bowed slightly and then focused on the conversation once more.

“Is he being… shy?”

“Yes.”

Carynne didn’t think that was it, but she still answered patiently.

Isella had yet to direct any hostility towards her in earnest. However, the despair and frustration that would sprout were sometimes stronger than her jealousy that made her uncomfortable.

Though in Carynne’s case, this discomfort was a new feeling for her, so she didn’t necessarily comfort Isella. Because of this jealousy,

Isella had yet to show any hostility towards her in earnest. However, rather Isella’s melancholy and envy, what made Carynne uncomfortable was her despair.

But even this despair was a new stimulus for Carynne, so she didn’t necessarily soothe Isella. Because of that envy, Isella was keeping a close friendship with Carynne and this would lead to bullying that at least wouldn’t be akin to torture, but at the same time, it wasn’t that close of a friendship that they’d go as far as holding a double wedding together. Just a so-and-so friendship.

This tension was felt little by little by everyone in the mansion. Problems between men and women were also enjoyable to witness. Giggling to herself, Carynne looked around at the horses. The adult horses were all white and glossy.

“How much would you sell them for?”

“The horses aren’t for sale. They’re presented as gifts every now and again.”

“Certainly… If the horses are of this variety, the cost of breeding them alone would be considerable. I wouldn’t even take them outside. I’m very envious.”

Most of the Hare household’s horses became pure white once they became adults, so Isella quite liked them. Their coats were white and they were smart, and it could be said that these horses could only be seen in fairytales.

“They’re pretty and have good physiques. If it’s like this, really, you should put them up in an auction house. The profits… would really be…”

Isella’s gaze continued to hover towards Raymond. As if the subject of her words weren’t the horses but that man himself. Carynne quickly replied to Isella, who looked as though she’d be drooling any moment now.

“It’s amazing that you know a lot, Isella.”

Barring the problem with Raymond, would Isella even be able to have a proper relationship with him? Carynne was curious about that. Isella’s biggest drawback to her character was her tactlessness, which sometimes annoyed even Carynne.

“Miss Evans, you’re quite interested in horses, aren’t you? Are you interested in horseback riding as well?”

Isella had pretended to look at the horses only as she gradually inched closer to Raymond. There, Raymond spoke to Isella and asked like this. While her attention was focused on him, Carynne slipped away.

“Hm? Oh, yes. I’m confident in my horseback riding skills. I’ve heard from others since I was young that I have a talent for it…”

That much self-esteem didn’t sound good to hear. Isella didn’t have much of a grasp on how relationships worked. Carynne clicked her tongue.

Anyway, as she was witnessing this for the hundredth repetition, Carynne waited inside the carriage as Isella continued to blush while bragging to Raymond.

At this point of the plotline, Carynne wasn’t meant to know how to ride horses just yet. Besides that, Isella boasted of her horseback riding skills, so she couldn’t understand how Carynne preferred riding a carriage comfortably instead of riding a horse by herself. If there’s something she could brag about…

Well, from inside the carriage, the scenery outside the window as they passed through the road towards the hunting grounds was beautiful to see.

While Raymond was being held up by Isella, Carynne did her job and supervised the servants who were carrying all the luggage. The entire day would be spent on the hunt, maybe even a few days to catch some game. They would need to return to the mansion and come back to the hunting grounds a few times. On the other hand, the hunters would have to remain there, that’s why Carynne also had to check the number of bullets and traps.

Actually, the person who needed to work more here was Xenon, but he was just sitting next to the coachman—not the horse—smoking and chatting comfortably. Rather than animals for the sacrificial ritual, Carynne glanced at the trap and wished that they would just catch some foxes. The late autumn in the city was quite chilly, so it was going to be a trend to wear fur over one’s relatively thin clothes.

“Do we have enough traps?”

“Oh, uh, yes. More than enough.”

“Then that’s no good.”

“Ah… No, there’s just enough.”

“Then that’s a relief.”

When Carynne asked Xenon about the traps, he panicked as he replied. She looked through the bullets and the packed lunches, then she gave the signal for departure. The coachman beckoned to Tom, who in turn approached the man. Fortunately for him, the coachman thought that he was cute. The same with Xenon.

It was a pure affection for children. When Carynne said that she was going to take Tom under her custody, she recalled how disgusted one maid looked, though the maid tried to hide it. Carynne felt that such a reaction was strange. Did people feel differently if it was the same gender? But there was no such feeling between herself and Isella.

* * *

“Ah… The carriage step is broken.”

“So you didn’t take care of it properly?”

It’s not a surprising fact to Carynne, but the coachman scratched his head and just kept saying, ‘That can’t be true…’ He mumbled one excuse after another. Carynne didn’t listen.

“…Ah.”

Carynne looked at the empty space in front of her. There was no hand waiting there. Originally, Raymond would have come to help her into the carriage. Even if he wasn’t her fiancé, it felt strange. She had never not been helped into the carriage. It’s a little unpleasant.

‘But why?’

She was sure that she’d enjoy this change. Carynne felt displeased by the fact that she got displeased. Raymond was not by her side. And it wasn’t because of her own choice.

Carynne beckoned and called Tom, who was standing some distance away. Since Raymond wasn’t here, she should at least use her little carriage footman at a time like this. Even so, Carynne sighed as she looked at the boy who was smaller than her. She should just get help from the coachman.

“Tom, go and get to Larry.”

“……”

“Tom?”

“Should he just lie there in front of you?”

A cold voice spoke out from behind.

“Sir Raymond?”

He wasn’t looking at Carynne. The icy stare was directed at Tom, not her. What’s wrong with him? He never even spoke to the boy before this. Tom flinched and bowed his head low.

“You’re being slow.”

And here, Tom understood faster than Carynne did. She belatedly realized what Raymond had said just now.

Tom lay down on his hands and knees at the base of the carriage entrance. His shoulders were shaking minutely because of the tension.

Why though. Carynne looked at the knight because she couldn’t understand what was happening at this moment. Raymond then turned to meet her gaze. Both gazes did not waver.

“Go ahead, Catherine Hare.”

He offered his hand to support her. This knight was urging her to step on a nine-year-old child.

“……”

“Go up now.”

Carynne took Raymond’s hand. She tried to step on Tom, but instead, she brought her foot higher and stepped directly onto the carriage floor. Even if Raymond was doing something right now that he hadn’t ever done before, Carynne also had to adjust as much as possible. He must already have a crush on her.

When Carynne tried to step forward, she stumbled slightly. Raymond supported her again and lifted her up.

“Thank you.”

“My pleasure.”

Receiving her thanks, Raymond smiled and closed the carriage door. While he was inside.

After hoisting Carynne up into the carriage, he went ahead and got in as well. This was something that he shouldn’t be doing, especially when his fiancée was right outside.

It’s not time for us to have this kind of relationship just yet, right?

At a loss for words, Carynne asked.

“What about Miss Isella?”

“She said she likes riding on horseback. Since she likes it so much, I thought it would be considerate to let her enjoy it.”

Whoop-de-doo.

She could easily imagine what kind of face Isella would make—she had definitely turned bright red. Carynne was too scared to look out the window. Forget the tar that would have gotten poured over her head later. She should just expect rotten food now.

“There’s plenty of space here, so I’m hoping you won’t kick me out.”

“…Sir Raymond. Wouldn’t it be better for you to ride on horseback instead?”

“I don’t know how to ride a horse.”

But you’re a knight? Carynne was rendered speechless by his smile.

“…The military these days… Is it alright that soldiers don’t know how to ride a horse?”

Try licking your lips before lying like that. Raymond smiled comfortably anyhow.

“I’m a bit shy, so I can’t ride horses that I haven’t seen before.”

“…Suuure.”

“I’m an introvert, you see.”

“…Apparently so.”

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