I Thought I Had Married A Poor Knight, But…! - Chapter 2.2
Chapter 2: The Debut – Part 1 (2)
Cermiane would adjust his gait to match my pace. Mind you, I could sprint in high-heels by then. Just like my etiquette tutor, I had given up on being able to walk elegantly and soundlessly. I walked while inquisitively looking around the interior of the imperial palace. I couldn’t tell you in what style all the decorations were made, but for all I know, everything was so sparkly and interesting, everywhere. And, it was amusing how the ceiling was so unnecessarily high and how there were so many chandeliers hanging down from it. If I hung on those and swung around, that would be a lot of fun.
“Is this your first visit, Lady Ralphene?”
Cermiane asked while gently smiling. “Why is this person always smiling?” is what crossed my mind then. I’ve never heard of a forced smile being the resting expression of aristocrats.
“Yes. As a matter of fact, I came to the Capital for the first time around a month ago.”
“Is that so? Did you grow up in your family’s territory then?”
“Yes. Dear me, how I want to go back soon; there are no forests here, and I can’t even go hunting!”
Suddenly, Cermiane’s eyes sparkled with excitement.
“There is. There is a forest in the Capital!”
I explored the Capital pretty thoroughly, but I’m pretty sure that other than a few parks, there were only buildings stuffed next to each other. While continuing to smile, Cermiane simply responded,
“Right outside the city walls. If you leave through the Western Gates, there is a large forest; you can even go hunting there.”
Oh my! Are you serious? I entered through the Eastern Gates when I first came to the Capital. That’s probably why I didn’t know about this. Well well, I’ll need to check this out before I leave! I’ll have to sneak out of the Marquis residence to visit tomorrow or the day after.
“Lady Ralphene, do you hunt, perhaps?”
“You can call me Ral. And yes, I love to hunt! Hey, could you tell me what types of prey live here? Are there bears? Are there any bears that are larger than the great red bear?”
When I said this, Cermiane’s smile became slightly strained.
“B-bear? Ralphene— no, excuse me, Lady Ral, do you hunt bears?”
“Just Ral is fine. I’ve hunted great red bears before. With a bow and arrow. If we’re talking about the lesser black bears, I’ve hunted those with a spear before as well. I’ve heard that the grey bears are bigger than the great red bears, so I’ve always wanted to try to hunt one of those.”
For some reason, Cermiane’s smile froze. However, I was too busy imagining all these big prey I’ve never hunted, so I didn’t notice.
“Well, I believe the great grey bear you’re referring to is most likely the King Grizzly, and that is the type of animal where the knights are dispatched when one is sighted. Hence, they are, by no means, considered prey here, unfortunately.”
“Oh, well, I heard that the great red bear was also classified as one of the types of animals the knight order is dispatched to take care of. But, I was able to hunt that, so I’ll be able to hunt the King Grizzly too. Probably.”
Cermiane’s smile vanished at last as he was stunned into silence. I giggled in pride and continued,
“I want to try hunting a dragon someday, too! I’ve heard they live up in the north? Have you seen one? A dragon?”
“…It’s not possible to hunt a dragon with a bow and arrow, nor a spear. They say that you need to use the ancient magic arts to hunt one. A few years ago, one appeared in the town of Qu’an, and the town burned down in just half a day. If you see one, you must run away.”
“Huh?! Dragons really exist?! I knew it! Oh my! That’s amazing! Hm, how shall I hunt one?”
“Were you listening to what I just said? Ral?”
“I was listening, uh, Cermiane — that’s too long. Can I just call you Mia?”
Cermiane smiled wryly. I see he still is a child at heart, being able to smile in a way that’s not fake.
“*sigh* Yes. That is fine. Ral. You are truly an interesting noble lady.”
The twenty-five young noble attendees were gathered in the waiting room right in front of the grand hall. The waiting room was very big, with multiple sofas placed between the countless pillars, and in each sofa, a gentleman or a lady was sitting well-behavedly, waiting. By the way, Mother and Father were no longer here. There were only Cermiane and my two maids around me. Since the room was so spacious, there was plenty of space between each sofa. All the young nobles were sitting looking very nervous. I was the only one chattering away. I was too engrossed in my conversation with Cermiane.
Cermiane was born in the Capital, but, as expected of a knight, he hunted often as part of his training, so we got along well. Though, he said he has never hunted a bear before. Apparently, the animals that live in this area are different from the ones that live in the Caliente territory, and there appears to be some strong ones here. As I thought, the great gray bear is indeeds slightly bigger than the great red bear, and arrows don’t easily pierce its skin, so the knights sometimes have a difficult time handling it. … Just listening to this made me excited. I’d love to get a chance to hunt one.
As we conversed, it became time for the debut to start. Us young aristocrats were gathered together, and after we formed a line, the majestic grand doors were opened.
Beyond the doors was a space that was smaller than the waiting room, but the ceiling was a lot higher. Rows of pillars towered on either side of us, and in front, a lush, blue carpet was rolled out in front of us. The parents, donning their fancy clothes and accessories, were on either side of the carpet, and at the end of the carpet was a flight of steps, about five meters tall, leading to two thrones. I assume those most likely belong to the Emperor and the Empress. With me at the front (since I’m the highest-ranking aristocrat), we entered the hall and were met with a sea of applause. If two hundred people clap, of course it’ll get lively, right? While I was enjoying the moment, there were some young ladies behind me who were about to cry from fear and anxiety.
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