Chapter 68: To the Park
「Well then, shall we go, Carol? 」
I left the manor with Wilhelm-sama, happy that we could walk side by side like this. Oh, Natalia was a bit behind us. Although this was my day out with Wilhelm-sama, I still could not go out without Natalia.
Anyway, could they not hear this pounding of my heart? It seemed so loud inside my chest.
It was an unexpected invitation, but I had been looking forward to it. I woke up early this morning, yet I was not sleepy at all.
「Now then, where shall we go? Is there anywhere you would like to go? 」
「N-No! Anywhere is fine if Carol is with Wilhelm-sama! 」
I passionately replied on reflex. My nervousness was as plain as day.
But it could not be helped. I never thought the time would come when we could go out together like this.
Besides, what I said was the truth. Anywhere would be fun if I could be together with Wilhelm-sama.
「Well then, shall we take a walk in the park? I hear the flowers in the Southern Park are beautiful at this time」
「My! That would be wonderful! 」
The Southern Park was famous for its colorful flowers blooming in the spring. People from other countries come to visit just to see the flowers in the Southern Park. I had not seen it myself, as it was a bit far away from the manor.
While I like flowers, I did not have anyone to go with. For one, I did not have any rest days until recently.
And another, I once asked Lilia and got a cold response of, 「Eh, can you eat that? Aah, no way. I’ll pass」. Have some heart to admire flowers.
Though thanks to that, I could go for the first time with Wilhelm-sama. The end result was great.
「We cannot go to the Southern Park on foot. Shall we hire a stagecoach? 」
With Wilhelm-sama saying so, we walked a short distance and arrived at a stagecoach stop.
It got packed with people in the mornings and evenings, but during these hours at noon, it was not so crowded. In fact, Wilhelm-sama, Natalia and I were the only ones waiting for a stagecoach.
We waited for a while.
Since there were few patrons around at this hour, the number of coaches was also few.
I sat down beside Wilhelm-sama on the chair at the stop. Natalia remained standing behind me, even though she could sit down.
「Speaking of which, the reputation of Carol’s lecture seems to be very good」
「It is? 」
「Indeed. Several of those who have already received it have submitted a request of wanting to take it again. There are still many who have not taken the course, so I put it on hold for the moment. Just the other day, someone had hurt his head during training and was heavily injured」
「Oh dear! 」
That was terrible.
If you hit your head, the bleeding would be severe even if the wound was small. Moreover, the effects might surface at a later time, so observation was necessary.
I was aware intense training could cause such serious injuries, but hearing about it was still depressing.
Even though everyone in the Order is doing their utmost best, why did I ever make light of joining?
「However, at that time, it seemed those who took Carol’s lecture had quickly wrapped a bandage around the wound. Because of that, the bleeding immediately stopped. An improvised stretcher was made, and he was carried and laid down in the medical office. After a few days, he was well enough to train again」
「I see. That is a relief」
「We are the ones relieved. If not for Carol’s lecture, they could not have responded so quickly. At that time, Captain Anastasia of the Order of the Snow had also been around to observe. She hopes for you to give lectures at the Snow once the lectures at our side are completed. And among those who were actually at the scene, there were many who requested to retake your lecture. Truly, it is thanks to you」
「No, n-not at all……」
Though I painstakingly repeated lectures again and again, it would be my pleasure to do so if it led to receiving this sort of evaluation.
I could not stop the wide smile from stretching my face.
「Oh, it is here」
At that moment, the stagecoach arrived and its inside rattled. Thank goodness.
Now we could sit back.
「Come and sit down」
「Yes. Wilhelm-sama as well」
Of the two seats lined up, I sat by the window while Wilhelm-sama sat by the aisle. Natalia sat behind me. Wilhelm-sama’s body was so big it was a little cramped.
I was pressed close to Wilhelm-sama. We were touching. I could not stop the heat from rushing up my face.
Was the pounding of my heart reverberating from my pressed side?
「Now then……it is to the Southern Park, so we should pass through four staging posts」
Wilhelm-sama spoke so casually, but I could not say anything. My heart was furiously pounding, and my voice failed.
I was thinking, I hope this moment will last forever.
The coach shook and slowly started. I surrendered myself to the shaking and passed the time watching the scenery flowing by.
One should not talk much in a stagecoach, a public service vehicle, for one should not be a nuisance to those around them.
And so, we would cross the staging posts while leisurely looking at the scenery.
In silence, we passed through the four posts and arrived at our desired location.
It was my first visit to the southern part of the kingdom. I never had much chance to before, since it was in the opposite direction to the royal palace.
I alighted from the coach with Wilhelm-sama.
「Fu~un……It was fast, but it was really cramped」
But since I had been pressed close to Wilhelm-sama the whole time, I am completely satisfied.
But Wilhelm-sama seemed a bit tired and was cracking his neck. Such an action was manly.
I suddenly realized.
Wilhelm-sama and I were off duty today. While it was a part-time work, a day off was a day off. There would be another lecture tomorrow.
And Wilhelm-sama would work like usual tomorrow. Meaning, we must let ourselves get a good rest for this day off.
Saying that, going out could never tire me out.
But for Wilhelm-sama, he had to handle work tomorrow in perfect condition.
「I…I am terribly sorry! Wilhelm-sama! 」
「Hm……W-What is the matter? 」
「Carol was…very foolish……to have not considered that far……」
「No, what are you……? 」
And then, I called out to Natalia waiting at the back.
With this, Wilhelm-sama would have his rest no matter what. Tiring himself out from going out with me would not make Wilhelm-sama’s work tomorrow any easier.
Then, there was only one thing I could do.
That was to lighten the burden off of Wilhelm-sama’s body as much as I could.
「We will now head to the Southern Park. In the meantime, please prepare for a carriage」
「C-Carol? What is it? 」
「Please prepare the finest one to avoid burden to Wilhelm-sama’s body. Do not skimp on money」
「I understand, Ojou-sama」
「Wait wait wait! 」
If it was the finest horse-drawn carriage, there would be little shaking and the seats would be soft. It would not burden Wilhelm-sama’s body.
If I rent it for a day, it would cost me a month’s pay. But it was all right. If need be, I still got an allowance from my father. The Ambrose Ducal House is wealthy.
「Carol, what is this all of a sudden……? 」
「Well……even though you were tired, Wilhelm-sama, I lacked enough consideration. Please forgive my foolish self」
「No, that is not it……」
「Natalia will drive. Please prepare a horse suitable for Wilhelm-sama」
「Did you not hear what I said!? 」
It was all right, Wilhelm-sama.
I am a capable woman. I could behave accordingly so as not to become a burden to a man.
「You do not have to arrange for a carriage. You should not waste money for that……」
「No! It is for Wilhelm-sama’s health! It is not a waste at all! 」
Wilhelm-sama was a little troubled.
Did he really dislike having the finest one arranged? Yet, he did not mind if it was low-quality stagecoach……it was troubling.
「Carol, that is really…not it……」
「Why is that……? 」
「Today, that……I was the one to invite you. For me to have Carol make arrangements, that is……」
I see, so it was like that.
It was all right, Wilhelm-sama. Carol is a capable woman. I was able to understand what sort of troubles Wilhelm-sama had.
My mother told me,「walk half a step behind」. I should not have pushed forward on my own like that.
「I deeply apologize, Wilhelm-sama」
「Natalia, you do not have to prepare for a carriage. Let us leave it to Wilhelm-sama」
It was clear to me now.
Indeed, I should not have arranged for a carriage.
Your strong wish to escort me yourself makes Carol delighted, Wilhelm-sama.