Chapter 14. To Lea Marquisate
Ch.14 to Lea Marquisate
Luke left on the same day with Kurotan in tow. Luke began to teach Kurotan horseback riding immediately.
“Kurotan, you have to know how to ride a horse. Unfortunately, we have to move quickly, so you won’t have time to take your training easily.”
“Horseback riding is rather challenging for new beginners, just consider it a way to train your reflexes and whatnot. Come, I’ll teach you how to mount.”
Luke taught Kurotan how to mount on the horse, and how to reign the horse as well. Kurotan nodded.
“All right. I should be able to ride a horse now.”
“Hey, you bastard, don’t look down on horseback riding. You’ll regret it when you fall off your horse and become disabled…”
Kurotan looked slightly confused when he approached his horse.
“The horse isn’t scared. How strange. When I was an Orc, I could not approach horses without them going mad and raising havoc.”
Kurotan mounted the horse like he had been taught.
“How do I make the horse run?”
“Dig into its side with the heels of your feet, but that’s too much for you right now. Just push down slightly with your thighs and slowly start it off in a trot… Hey!”
Luke gave a startled shout. Kurotan had kicked into the horse’s side with his heels without a second thought.
The horse gave a shout and started to run ahead.
“This bastard! What if he falls?”
The startled Luke hurried to mount his own horse, but his eyes soon widened in horror and amazement.
“Wh-What the fuck?”
Surprisingly, Kurotan was doing just fine above the speeding horse. His loose waist and upper body swayed in rhythm with the horse’s movements, dispersing the shock from the horse’s hooves hitting the ground. Apparently not satisfied with the horse’s speed, Kurotan continued to kick the horse’s side.
Kurotan was riding a horse like he was an experienced Knight. Luke followed with disbelief showing on his face.
“How? How is he riding a horse so well? I know for a fact that this is his first time.”
His stance was a little awkward, but Kurotan was riding the horse at full speed like they were sharing one body. Kurotan rode on for around thirty minutes before glancing back at Luke.
“How do I stop the horse?”
“Pull the reigns.”
A little while later, Kurotan’s horse slowed to a trot and finally came to a stop. Luke approached hurriedly to ask his question.
“What the hell? I thought this was your first time riding a horse?”
“I have not ridden a horse before. I have ridden wolves countless times.”
Luke understood how Kurotan was able to display such skill at horseback riding.
“Of course. Orcs ride wolves instead of horses, right?”
“Yes, and I was an experienced Wolf Rider. Not just me, but most of the Orcs that were hiding out with me in the Eastern mountain ranges were Wolf Riders.”
Kurotan took a look at his heaving horse.
“A horse is easier to ride than a wolf. There is less shaking, and the horse follows orders well.”
“Is that so?”
“But their ability to jump and instant acceleration is far behind that of a wolf’s. However, wolves get tired easily.”
Luke smiled bitterly.
“Well, it’s a relief that you are so skilled at horseback riding. You should be fairly familiar with fighting on top of a horse as well.”
“Of course. I killed countless human Knights during my time as a Wolf Rider.”
“Hey, I’m a Knight as well, so stop saying such things. You’re an apprentice knight, as well.”
Kurotan continued to perfect his horseback riding, with Luke only having to tweak his stance from time to time. Kurotan did not forget the things that he had been taught, even once.
“How do you raise a wolf, anyway?”
“You catch one when it’s young. You have to be prepared to be bitten a lot, of course.”
Kurotan reminisced back to his days as a Wolf Rider.
“Horses are not bad to ride, but they are not as good as wolves. Wolves are able to jump over most obstacles.”
“But you can’t ride any wolves from now on. Humans have longer legs than wolves, making us too unbalanced to ride horses.”
“You are right. And the food on my plate decreased when I raised a wolf. I have to feed the wolf rather than myself.”
“Ah, wolves and Orcs both eat meat.”
Luke and Kurotan rode side by side, conversing. It was interesting for Luke to learn about the previously hidden lives and culture of Orcs.
“What is it?”
Luke’s face darkened.
“My fiancée is currently in a dangerous situation.”
“The woman who has promised to marry me.”
“Ah, I see. What about it?”
“We might encounter danger when we arrive at Lea Marquisate. We have to be prepared.”
Kurotan puffed out his chest, as if telling Luke not to worry.
“Life as an Orc was constant danger. Danger does not scare me.”
“Ah, as expected from a former fearless Orc. All right. I will give you a good gift during dinner tonight.”
Luke rolled his eyes in disbelief and muttered.
“What did I expect? Anyways, you can be excited for this gift.”
From a room in the rear garden of the castle of Lea Marquisate, a sobbing sound could be heard.
“Luke, what do I do now?”
A beautiful woman in her early twenties was using a handkerchief to wipe her tears. Her face was swollen, seemingly from the long hours of crying.
It was Luke’s fiancée, Isabelle. The unlucky woman who had awakened to her Holy powers by coincidence and was now being sold off to the Church of Flora.
Lea Marquisate had immediately accepted the offer made by the Church of Flora when it had been made. The House of Lea was a House that strictly calculated profits and losses, and had done so without hesitation.
It was true that Luke was a veteran officer from a prestigious House. The terms being offered by the Church of Flora were better.
Isabelle had been completely ignored during the decision making process.
“Why did my affinity with Holy power have to be revealed now? It would have been better if all of this had happened before I met Luke, to save us the pain…”
Isabelle could do nothing but lament at her destiny.
Lea Marquisate was widely known as a domineering and strict House. Isabelle had grown up being unable to express her opinions, or whether she liked or disliked something.
Her time at the Academy for Nobles came as a shock to her. She had never seen someone like Luke, unafraid to speak his opinions and speak out, something completely unimaginable to her.
Luke, who made friends easily regardless of status and was not shy was like a completely new human specimen to her.
She had become interested in Luke right away, and had worked up her courage for a long time before asking Luke out on a date. After they became a couple, it was as though a new world had been brought to life before her eyes.
“Do you know how to ride a horse?”
“No. My father said women should be elegant and reserved, and forbid me.”
“Is that so? A noble woman should know how to ride a horse. You’ll be able to travel here and there easily. I’ll teach you, just don’t tell your house.”
Isabelle had learned horseback riding from Luke, and traveled the famous sceneries and tourist spots around the Academy. It was as though she was living in a dream.
“What a beautiful waterfall! I had no idea that there were so many beautiful places near the capital.”
“You haven’t traveled a lot?”
“The women of Lea Marquisate don’t get to travel without permission.”
“Ah, there are too many restrictions.”
As time passed, Isabelle fell for Luke deeper and deeper. He was kind and energetic, as well as always considerate of Isabelle.
When Luke had gone to Lea Marquisate with his sleeves rolled up and succeeded in receiving permission to marry her, her heart was stirred with emotion.
When Luke enrolled to serve in the military as a representative of House of Esteban, Isabelle wrote letters every day and sent those letters to Fort Potellan once a month.
They had built their love brick by brick since they were young, but right before they could realize their love, tragedy had struck.
“I don’t want to go to the Church of Flora. I want to become a Saintess even less. I just want to marry Luke and live happily.”
She cried silently, and her words echoed in the empty room. Isabelle was going to be sold off to the Church of Flora, powerless to resist. Just like her sisters.
The door to the room opened suddenly.
Isabelle hurriedly smoothed out her clothes. The person who had entered through the open door was a strict looking middle aged man. It was her father, Marquess Lea.
He took one look at her swollen face, and clucked his tongue in disappointment.
“Stupid fool, crying like a baby…”
“Fo-Forgive me, father.”
“Guards from the Church of Flora will arrive within fifteen days. Finish your preparations by then.”
Isabelle slowly looked up at her father and pleaded.
“I sincerely do not wish to go to the Church of Flora. Please…”
Marquess Lea’s eyes shown fiercely.
“Silence! It will treat you much better than becoming a mistress.”
“I want to be with…”
“I don’t want to hear it. Daughters of a Noble House must sacrifice themselves.”
Isabelle silently lowered her head, defeated. Marquess Lea continued to glare at her with fierce eyes before remarking.
“There was a message from Esteban Earldom. That Luke, he’s just left the earldom to see you.”
Isabelle gave a start and looked up once again.
“It’ll take him longer than fifteen days to get here, so he’ll arrive after you’ve left for the Church of Flora. I will make him understand the situation.”
“Ple-Please, let me meet him.”
“Do you not understand your situation? Meeting him will only complicate things, it is better to reduce the chances of uncertain outcomes.”
Marquess Lea turned his back coldly.
“Finish your preparations and wait. Like a woman of Lea Marquisate should.”
Isabelle followed her father’s back with watering eyes.
The campfire was snapping at the night air.
Luke threw in a couple of branches into the flames and glanced at Kurotan. They had ridden for an entire day to make distance, but Kurotan was swinging his sword, fiercely training.
Uncertainty filled Luke’s eyes as he watched on.
‘This is crazy, no matter who looks at it.’
Luke slipped his hand into a pocket in his shirt silently. When he took it out, his hand held two books, the books containing Aura cultivation method and mid-level sword technique. To those who made a living by swinging their swords, the books were unmatched treasures.
‘Goddammit, I don’t know if this is a good decision.’
Luke swallowed and opened up a small leather bag. The bag held a scroll with strange characters, and a few glass bottles containing a blue liquid.
The scroll was a magic scroll that installed a formation that gathered and concentrated mana over a period of time. The glass bottles were mana potions.
Mana potions were known to be worth more than its weight in gold, and the magic scroll was even more expensive.
Both were critical in learning an Aura cultivation method, and so Luke prepared them, being scolded by his big brother in the process.
Luke put down the two books, magic scroll, and mana potions in an orderly fashion next to the campfire and looked at Kurotan. Kurotan had just finished his training, sheathing his sword and wiping the sweat his brow.