< — Ever After — > (4)
“While I am not here, Roy will be in charge of guarding you.”
“Although he raises a lot of trouble, his skills are undoubtable. Hence, I decided on him even though he might be rude to you.”
“I am aware of Sir. Krotin’s attitude of treating people with ease. But I do not think he is such a bad person, so I’m not sure why he has such a frightful nickname. He’s also a knight you trust.”
On the day Lucia went to propose marriage to him, she saw Roy and Hugo together and from what she saw, she felt the relationship between the two of them was more candid and comfortable than the rigid relationship between a Lord and his knight.
“That guy is a lot of things.”
Hugo recalled an old memory.
His first meeting with Roy, was as a mercenary slave called Hue. Some barbarian tribes would often kidnap people and enslaved them, or release them for a price. The mercenary whom Hue was enslaved to, received a request to rescue the kidnapped son of a noble.
While Hue was executing his mission under the orders of his mercenary owner, he saw other children who were captured. He didn’t have a soft heart that sympathized with other children’s situation, but the young boy with unusually spiteful eyes caught his attention. He alone was bound by the limbs and locked up in solitary confinement, yet he refused to be submissive.
Hue secretly snuck in at dawn when his mercenary owner was asleep and released the boy. He didn’t know why he did it. It was just a whim.
Hue broke the ropes binding the boy without saying anything, and the boy just stared at what Hue was doing without saying anything too. When his body became free, the boy grinned at Hue.
[I will repay your favor.]
And after a long time had passed, Hue reunited with the boy. It was around the time when the ducal couple perished in the hands of his brother, Hue had become Hugo and as the heir to the Duke, he was looking over the border due to the barbarian’s frequent plundering. As he was going around the border regions, he got a report that there was a man killing only barbarians on sight.
[He has great skill. But even though he is only hunting barbarians, he does not interact with anyone and might be dangerous, so I was unable to approach him carelessly.]
[The man has appeared again! He is in battle with several barbarians.]
Hugo went to the area where the battle was going on and watched the man fight from a distance. The three to four barbarians were unable to win against the one man.
Hugo felt the man looked familiar, but he couldn’t recall where he had seen him before. Despite the warnings of the people around him that it might be dangerous, he approached the man. The man simply stood there and watched Hugo approach him. Upon getting closer, Hugo remembered the guy. It was the boy he had freed from the barbarian prison when he was young. His red hair had given him a deep impression back then and was still as intense.
[Why are you going around killing barbarians?] (Hugo)
[Those bastards killed my family.] (Roy)
[Are you going to continue?]
[I have nothing else to do.]
[If you need something to do, do you want to come with me?]
[Will it be fun?]
Just like the smile he had given when he was young, Roy grinned widely at him. Unlike Hugo, Roy seemed unable to remember their connection when they were young.
After receiving the tragic news from Roam, Hugo quickly left for Roam, and Roy followed along. While he was frantically settling the situation, he forgot about Roy. In the meantime, the guy shamelessly made himself comfortable and was doing nicely. After suppressing him with his power when he acted up a few times, the guy became a little more obedient. And when he realized that he couldn’t overcome Hugo with his skills, he felt wronged and lodged his complaints to Hugo.
[You said it would be fun! You swindler!]
Even though he grumbled, Roy did not run away. He learnt the minimal sense of propriety to stay among people and got along well with some of the family’s knights. And at some point, Roy became a knight of the family.
Hugo couldn’t tell her everything, but he told her some parts about his connection with Roy. Lucia listened with fascination and was amazed.
“So Sir. Krotin is a special person to you.”
“…Is that so?”
“Of course. If Sir. Krotin is in danger, you will go to rescue him, won’t you?”
Hugo couldn’t imagine Roy being in danger. The guy seemed like he would survive even in hell. Who knows? He might even jump into the firepot, courting danger because he believed in his strength too much. If it were such a pathetic case, he could click his tongue and leave him to suffer. But he didn’t think he could stand by and let the guy die.
“Mm. I suppose so.”
“Truly, the more I know about you, the more I am amazed. A lot of the things around you are unordinary. Then, what about the butler? How did you meet?”
Hugo almost fell for her sparkling eyes attack. Still hugging her, he changed their position and lay her down on the bed, towering over her.
“I told you not to talk about another man in bed.”
“I wonder who started it.”
“Even if I do it, you can’t. Don’t show curiosity either.”
His lips gently landed on hers.
“So you hate it?”
Lucia laughed and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“How can I?”
The sound of her laughter in his ear made his heart feel warm.
“Always have the guard with you, no matter where you are going. Don’t be alone anywhere.”
“I’m more worried about you than myself. You are going to the battlefield.”
“You don’t have to worry about me at all. All you have to do is sleep well and eat well.”
“Even if you were the strongest person in the world, I would still worry about you. You have to be careful, don’t get hurt.”
Hugo hugged her tighter, as if answering her. When he was with her, he felt like he was an existence more precious and valuable than anything else.
Maybe if it was her, she could love the Hue that wasn’t Hugo. Maybe one day, she would be able to imbue his dark childhood which was deeply hidden as if sealed, with her clear color. He felt like someday, he would be able to reveal all his secrets to her.
“You’ll be back within the year, right?”
There were only two months left before the year came to an end.
“I’ll spend the morning of the New Year with you.”
 Roy tends to treat people as equals(?). He treats them comfortably, he’s not respectful, etc.