It was the duke who stopped Derrick from scolding me any longer.
“What are you doing, being rude to just burst in here without knocking when I’m talking to her.”
Derrick’s eyes wavered for a split second. He let go of my shoulders and backed up a step. Then he bowed to the duke.
“……I apologize, father.”
My shoulders hurt a little. I rubbed my one shoulder with my hand as I watched Derrick.
‘What the, why won’t he leave?’
Derrick stood beside the desk and stared at me as if it was the most obvious thing to do.
It was the same with the duke. They both looked willing to hear me out.
‘Whew…… Now there’s another one I have to deal with…… .’
I sighed mentally.
“……Hm. Alright. I get what you tried to do.”
The duke said after clearing his throat once.
It was fortunate that the excuse I’ve thought up beforehand seemed reasonable enough to him.
But his questioning didn’t end there.
“But if that was the case, you could’ve just set him free after you bought him. Why did you bring him here?”
“Eclise is very skilled at martial arts, father. That’s one reason why I bought him with such a price.”
I started spitting out all the words of excuses that I’ve prepared to say.
“I wish for you to accept Eclise as a knight in training. He seemed quite useful.”
“As our family’s knight?”
“Yes. I believe it’ll be more beneficial to officially train him rather than to make him a servant here where he cannot show off his…… .”
“I can’t stand hearing more of this.”
Derrick cut through my line.
“There’s an overflowing number of people who are grateful just being able to work in this mansion as a servant.”
“But right now, you’re suggesting that we train someone who’s not even a commoner, but a slave. Besides, what are you going to use him for if he’s been trained?”
The duke also seemed to be agreeing with Derrick.
‘Ah, stop getting in the way and just leave already.’
I suppressed the tiredness I was feeling and answered.
“I’m going to use him as my personal bodyguard.”
“…… Your personal bodyguard?”
“I can’t forever wander around having not a single bodyguard to guard me.”
The duke’s eyes widened a little.
“What do you mean by you don’t have anyone guarding you? There are over 20 thousand knights working in the Eckart grounds.”
“Yes, but I also know that I have a bad reputation among the knights, father.”
“Isn’t that why you didn’t make any of them as my bodyguard?”
The two both closed their mouth shut.
Every noble lady had at least 5-6 bodyguards with them.
The number of bodyguards for a noble lady increased from there depending on her family’s noble rank.
When I asked Emily about it, she answered that Penelope didn’t have a single bodyguard.
If she had to go out somewhere, a knight who had nothing to do would come with her, but that was all.
‘Just how bad did people think of her?’
I was just guessing when both of them went speechless. That made me go speechless, too, for a moment.
“……I don’t want to entrust my safety to those people who are not willing to protect me.”
“It’s not guaranteed that what happened to me today won’t happen again after leaving this place.”
They both shouted almost at the same time.
“What do you mean by that. Leaving, I mean.”
The duke asked in an urgent voice.
“It’s just as what I said. I’m an adult now.”
My eyes widened again at their reaction, then shrugged.
“Please allow me to choose my bodyguard myself, for my safety. I beg you, father, brother.”
I shook my head. The two didn’t say anything to refuse.
‘More like couldn’t than didn’t.’
What happened today wasn’t entirely my fault.
It was a big problem if there weren’t a single knight worried enough to willingly follow their master going somewhere alone.
Especially when that master’s a member of this powerful duke family that can affect the country.
To be honest, I wasn’t doing this just to get a knight to guard me. I only needed an excuse for Eclise to stay at the mansion.
Fortunately, my plan worked.
“Alright. You must’ve had a tiring night today. Go up and get some rest now. I’ll tell a doctor to come to check on you after you get some sleep.”
“Thank you, father.”
I didn’t need a doctor to check on me since I wasn’t hurt anywhere, but I didn’t argue any longer. Then I bowed once and walked to the door.
“And Derrick, you stay.”
The duke added just when I stepped out of the office.
I glimpsed behind me to see Derrick by the door as if he was following me out.
‘Ahh, just what’s up with this dude!’
I hurriedly closed the door to the office.
What else did he want to scold me for that he’d want to follow me?
The door I closed didn’t open back. I was finally able to let out a sigh of relief.
But then, a white box appeared before me.
[Date At The Festival] with [Derrick] quest failed!
(Reward : Derrick’s interest +3% and others.)
[Accept / Reject]
‘What. No, never!’
There were still many days left until the festival ended.
However, I clicked on ‘Reject’ as there was absolutely no way I’d go to see the festival with him again.
I continued to stare at the disappearing white box, feeling unfair.