Erna gazed at the object cradled in her hand, her eyes widening in disbelief.
“What is this…?” she muttered, confusion etched in her voice.
“What do you mean, what is it?” Kalion chuckled, brandishing the fishing rod in his grasp. “It’s a fishing rod. Haven’t you ever seen one before?”
The estate manager had procured a sturdy fishing rod for them, complete with well-maintained lines and hooks, and even a worm in the tackle box. Excitement thrummed through Kalion as he took Erna to the nearby lake.
“I’ve never gone fishing before,” she admitted, still admiring the unfamiliar object in her hands.
“Well, let’s give it a go this time,” Kalion encouraged. “I’ll cook us dinner with whatever we catch today. Let’s do our best.”
Erna’s face lit up as she thought of a solution. “Can’t we just catch it with magic?”
Kalion let out a sigh. “Are you thinking of turning the lake into a desert? No, it’s forbidden to use magic for the week, except in emergency situations.”
“Darn,” Erna grumbled, extinguishing the fiery spheres she had conjured.
“You put the worm on the hook,” Kalion instructed.
“I can handle that on my own,” Erna replied, conjuring up fiery and watery spheres once again.
Kalion spoke gently, “Please let me do it, Grand Duchess Erna.”
He knew that if he didn’t intervene, the fiery balls would likely send the worm flying into the water. Eagerly, he selected the plumpest worm from the tackle box and secured it onto the hook. Erna watched him with a smile, settling down next to him.
Kalion took the time to explain the basics of fishing techniques to her before casting his line into the still waters of the lake. A small ting echoed across the calm surface before settling once again. With the surroundings tidy, Kalion settled into his portable chair, gesturing for Erna to join him.
She took her seat beside him, snuggling up against his arm as they watched the bait float on the water’s surface.
“It’s finally here,” Kalion whispered, feeling a flicker of apprehension about having to get up from his spot under the tree to reel in his catch. But he kept these thoughts to himself, not wanting to disrupt the peaceful moment.
As he watched the morning lake, his fishing line suddenly disappeared into the water.
“Here it comes!” Erna cried, jumping up and grabbing Kalion’s fishing rod. Before Kalion could even show her how to hold it properly, she was suddenly yanked towards the lake.
“Save me! Is this a shark? Why is it so strong?” she shrieked, momentarily forgetting that they were fishing in a lake and not the ocean.
Kalion quickly rushed to her side, pulling her into his embrace and taking hold of the fishing rod together. “Is that a shark?” Erna’s playful jest caused her to realize just how powerful it was. But with Kalion lending his strength, they managed to reel in the catch, bringing it to the surface of the water.
“Erna, bring the net!” Kalion called out with a hint of excitement in his voice.
“Got it!” Erna replied, moving quickly to retrieve the net. She placed the fish, a gleaming freshwater trout, inside with practiced ease.
“What kind of fish is this?” she asked, looking up at Kalion with wide eyes.
“A freshwater trout,” he replied with a grin, plucking the hook from its mouth with a deft touch. “And a particularly large one, at that. Lucky catch from the start.”
Erna’s gaze shifted to the still fishing rod, bobbing gently on the lake. She approached it, her hand drawn back as if to make a wish. With a gentle tap, she jostled the rod, a spark of mischief in her eyes.
“Alright, I’ll catch the next one!” she declared, determination in her voice.
And so, the hours passed by as Erna and Kalion spent the day fishing. But despite her best efforts, Erna couldn’t seem to match Kalion’s luck. As the sun began to dip low on the horizon, Kalion looked down at the half-empty bucket and made a suggestion.
“Erna, let’s go back.”
“I don’t want to,” she replied with a sigh, staring at her own empty bucket. Why did only the fish seem to be drawn to Kalion’s line?
As the sun rose higher in the sky, lunchtime approached and Erna was still empty-handed. Despite her determination and efforts, not a single fish had taken the bait. She gazed forlornly at her empty fishing line, a look of disappointment etched upon her face.
As she trudged back to the mansion with a dejected expression, Kalion couldn’t help but let out a soft chuckle. The sight of her reminded him of their childhood days, when they were both determined to earn the praises of Vanessa and recognition from the Hessenguard people. They would become envious when they saw someone perform slightly better, but would bask in self-importance when they were the ones who excelled.
Kalion approached Erna with a mischievous glint in his eye. With a grin, he deftly transferred the largest of the fish from his own basket to hers, leaving his own basket with only the smaller catches. Erna looked on in surprise, her eyes questioning what he was doing.
Kalion took the fishing rod from her hand and strode ahead, a lightness in his step. Gone were the days of youthful frustration at being left behind. Now, he was content to give away everything he had.
Erna’s indignant voice called out to him from behind, “Hey! This basket is too heavy! Did you do this on purpose?”