Chapter 97 – The Dispirited Knight (1)
Lugar regarded Edith suspiciously. Thoughts filled his head as he listened to her animated chatter, wondering who she was exactly. He turned and saw Lila responding with a smile on her face. Was he reading too much into this? He found her actions so intense that she couldn’t even keep herself still. He would make sure to tell Lacias all about this. He schooled a neutral expression as the conversation came to an end.
“Lady, are we done here then?” He asked.
“Yes.” Lila replied and faced Edith. “I will see you soon.”
“Thank you for coming to meet me!” Edith said cheerily, still as exhilarated.
Lila thanked her for the drink, eliciting another one of Edith’s beaming smiles. “This meeting was a long time coming.”
Edith waved in dismissal. “But I’m thankful nonetheless.” Lila was the first one to stand up and Lugar trailed after her. It was clear that Edith knew what suited Lila’s tastes that she didn’t question it at all; The drink was downright specific to be a mere coincidence. But of course, that wouldn’t hinder Lila from making use of her however she deemed fit, no matter how skeptical she was of her.
Lugar opened the door for her as they made their way out of the teahouse.
“I had prepared the carriage.” Lugar announced, guiding Lila towards the carriage when a man donned in black clothes stopped him in his tracks.
Lila sat on the carriage, and turned to look at Lugar who was several steps back. “What is it?”
“It’s Hizette, Give me a minute.” Lugar called behind him.
“Alright.” Lila nodded. Through her window, she watched the two men engrossed in what seemed like a serious conversation. The Wipere crest stood proudly on Hizette’s garments. She sat idly as she concentrated on Hizette, noticing the slight crease on his forehead prominent on his face.
Hizette was what a true knight should be, Lila thought. She was broken out of her introspections when his red eyes flitted to her and met her gaze with his own. Hizette visibly flinched and tore his gaze away when she flashed him a smile. She wondered what they were talking about so keenly for Hizette to react that way. Lugar scratched his head, full of his own thoughts and walked towards the carriage.
“Lady.” Lugar called as he neared the carriage.
Lugar took a muted sigh. “I’m afraid I cannot escort you back.”
Lila assuaged and told him he shouldn’t worry about it. Lugar was adamant, however, looking at Lila with studying eyes and asked her if she’s not at all disappointed. She shook her head.
“I think I can still get out of this if you want me to escort you.” His words appeared to have a hint of desperation in them, like he wanted Lila to hold him back but she only paid him with another shake of her head.
“I can go back alone just fine.” Lila responded calmly.
“… It’s not that—“
Lugar was cut short from Hizette’s arrival. He faced Lila and bowed. “Hello.” Lila responded just as warmly,
“Do I need to drag you out, Lugar?” Hizette teasingly warned.
“How come no one wants me to stay?” Lugar let out a defeated sigh. “I really don’t want to train with Roxana right now. Lady, please have mercy on me.”
Lugar was supposedly at a rigorous training with his fellow knights, but Lila couldn’t help but wonder if there’s another reason why he’s being summoned all of a sudden.
“See you later.” Hizette grinned and pulled Lugar back to signal him to leave. Lugar didn’t appreciate the unnecessary gesture and frowned. “How dare you treat me this way.”
Hizette shrugged. “You’re the one who’s staying here and not following the leader’s orders. Do you want me to report this?”
“Keep this to yourself, would you?” Lugar jumped off the carriage, frowning still as he addressed Lila. “Lady, today is a memorable day.”
Hizette pulled the window curtains down to hide Lugar from view. She still had no idea what Hizette was doing here. The carriage was still parked on the curbside, prompting Lila to lean close and ask, “Why aren’t you moving?”
“You’ll be escorted by me now.” Hizette said as if it wasn’t obvious.
“That much is clear.” Lila muttered. The wheels turned steadily onwards. She gazed at the window on the other side and saw they weren’t heading back to the Marshmell mansion, the carriage taking the opposite direction as it sauntered on.
Didn’t Lacias say he wouldn’t send Hizette to escort her? What was he doing here then?
Which could only mean that Hizette went here on his own accord, and changed Lila’s destination without Lacias’ orders.
“Where are we going?” Lila asked.
Hizette paid her a brief glance before facing the road once again. “Didn’t Lugar tell you earlier?” He paused and added, “I thought he might have mentioned it when he was talking to you.” He immediately snapped his mouth shut, realizing a second too late that he addressed her so casually.
Lila didn’t respond right away. She had her gaze fixed at his side profile as she admired the sharp lines of his face, which was further emphasized by his silver hair. He really had a pretty face.
After a beat of silence, Lila spoke. “Raise your head.”
“I apologize.” Hizette quickly said. “Lady Camerline is looking for you. Would you rather go meet her, or go back to your mansion?”
“So I have a say in this?” Lila remarked.
“I will go visit her then.” Lila didn’t expect how mundane it was going to be. Her thoughts shifted to Lugar who she presumed went back to his training and decided to ask Hizette about it. “Where did Lugar go?
“Where our Leader is.” His eyes kept on the road as he answered.
“Training ended in the morning. It seems to me like he didn’t tell you that we just finished our regular physical check ups.” Hizette commented.
She knew how brutal the training was set for the Wipere Knights, and they all go through the exam every month. “Where did Lugar and Roxana go?”
“To the place where we saw a hole.”
Lila looked at him. She was aware of his intensity towards searching for holes. “Shouldn’t you go with them?” She asked.
“I am exempted this time.”