She looked at the Piece of the Sea in her hand. Was this her reward… for last night? Had she done a good job? Had he enjoyed it?
She would rather him give her a cup of water or something when she woke up.
Somehow him not being next to her was upsetting, so Erna got out of bed and headed to his room. After setting the crystals in a drawer and taking a shower, she discovered Orpé in the room.
“You’re awake, madam?”
Her head was still hazy even after showering. On top of that, she could barely move her shoulders and neck, like something was clamping them down. When Erna turned her shoulders with a grim look, Orpé, who had been watching her for a while, went out to bring a meal; a long time later, she dragged in a cart containing several trays.
“Wait, how much did you… Oh, you don’t look too good, so I think you should eat. This should be enough.” Orpé somehow seemed to be enjoying this moment.
“Do you like how I am in pain?”
“How could I? I brought this food because I was worried.”
Erna looked down at the food Orpé was putting out in front of her. Having worked under Erna for such a long time, she was clearly aware of what Erna liked: freshly washed and delicious fruits, thick yogurt with honey and nuts sprinkled on top, and crunchy vegetables. The freshly baked bread next to it smelled savory.
Erna, who was usually reluctant to eat a lot, realized how full of food the table was. But she took just one bite of bread before placing it back down, and after taking a sip of juice her hands didn’t move.
“Madam Erna? What’s wrong?”
When she did not want to eat anymore and stared quietly at the table, Orpé approached her with a worried look.
“For some reason, I don’t feel like eating.”
At her words, Orpé turned around and stared in the direction of Kalion’s room.
Actually, she had figured it out from the moment she saw Erna. That the two must have had an amazing night together. Erna, who had always been energetic, was staggering to the point where her hands were shaking. The reason Orpé hadn’t run to Kalion and grabbed him by the collar was that Erna didn’t hate him that much rather.
She looked exhausted, but lately, her face had gotten smoother. At the least, Kalion would never force her to do something. Still, they had to do it moderately!
As Orpé was looking past the wall, Erna asked with a strange look on her face, “Orpé? What’s wrong?”
“Oh, it’s n-nothing.”
Orpé, hastily diverting her gaze from Kalion’s room, slid a cup of tea to Erna as she started to report what had happened last night.
“Marquis Canavan is still swollen badly and delegates want to send a letter to Haband as soon as possible. I think the remaining knights are planning to visit the border area to escort them.”
“Oh, and Lord Kalion went out this morning to vanquish some demons. It means the remaining knights who didn’t join him.”
At Orpé’s words, Erna now realized why Kalion was gone when she woke up.
“Where this time? And how many demons? Which type?”
“Oh… Hold on one second!”
Normally when Kalion went out to hunt for demons, Erna only nodded with an “all right” and didn’t ask furthermore. But when she suddenly asked back, Orpé scurried over to the desk to check the reports that had come in this morning. At the same time, Erna was restless, waiting for her reply.
There was nothing particularly new about Kalion’s going out to hunt demons. Wasn’t it something he had to do as the grand duke? But why was Erna unusually curious about it this time?
“The number is low, and it’s the flying type. Those are feisty ones.”
“And the location?”
“The location… Oh, I see… It’s a place called Ilgees Forest.”
Ilgees Forest. Erna right away could remember where it was. It was because of Ilgees Forest that Kalion and Erna had had an earnest conversation for the first time when they had that awkward moment in the bedroom before.
It was chaotic at first, so he had quickly told her to sit down, and the next day, the two had a serious talk in front of the map of Ilgees Forest and its surroundings. Then, she had found out that Kalion answered quite in detail and steadily—more than she had expected.
She thought deeply with her chin cupped in her hand. If he went out to hunt demons, he would return in a few days. If so, then she could rest at night. However…
She then thought about the chilly feeling of being alone when she woke up in the morning; the quietness when she called his name. She asked Orpé, “Flying demons must be dangerous, right?”
“Of course. But Lord Kalion would have no prob—”
“No, I think it will be dangerous for him.”
“On top of that, our wizards don’t really have any experience fighting flying demons. Even so, I thought they needed to practice at least once, but now the demons have appeared. So, I think it will be good for them to go out and help him… What do you think?”
Orpé had no choice but to nod at the question that already seemed to have a fixed answer.