|Having a lower amount of mana than others has its benefits too – for example, I was regenerating it faster than average, so after I recovered a bit and more knights gathered we transported the little lady safely to the palace.|
We also took care of the man who I knocked out and escorted him to the dungeon where we would learn a lot of useful information from him when he will regain his consciousness.
Even the dead one was useful because he had a note on him, a note that provided us with a clue of who was the mastermind behind the kidnapping...
But even so, none of that was something that I was caring about at the moment.
After hearing my story the king himself granted a room for the black-haired boy to recuperate in and he also called for the best medics in the kingdom.
And yet, the boy wasn't waking up and the fear of him dying was eating me alive from the inside.
The little lady visited him a few times together with her betrothed, the first prince.
Even though he was a child, prince Horeo showed a great deal of gratitude towards a boy who rescued his fiance.
But the fear of this child's life wasn't the only thing that was bothering me.
After duke Espion hurriedly came to the castle to check on his daughter I begged for a bit of his time and even though I was one of the knights who allowed the little lady to be abducted he still granted me the honor.
As I was kneeling in front of my master I could barely contain the storm of emotions that was laying waste to my very soul.
"I've heard that you were the one to find and rescue my daughter."
The gentle voice of the duke only made the storm inside of me worse.
"What do you wish for achieving such a feat, you don't need to hold yourself back."
I couldn't bear it any longer and bent my back forwards and smacked my forehead on the stone floor of the room.
"It's not like that at all, my master!"
I cried out.
"This lowly servant of yours doesn't deserve a reward, nay! My deeds are calling for severe punishment instead!"
Duke looked at me with confusion and asked.
"What do you mean by that?"
"I should have been more careful if I haven't lost myself into the pleasure of fighting I would be able to notice that the little lady was being snatched away!"
"No, don't be so hard on yourself because of that, you were trying to protect her with all your might, and you did find her in the end, unharmed at that!"
Tears started flowing from my eyes and I dropped onto the stone floor and slowly shook my head.
"What you have said is wrong, master."
"And what does that supposed to mean?"
"It wasn't I who found the little lady and it neither was I who saved her unharmed. Master, believe me when I say that it was all thanks to the boy who is lying unconscious in the other room. He found me on his own and begged for help. His desperately pleading for me to go with him and help the girl he saw kidnapped led me to the right spot! He had no idea that she was the little lady of Espine! He begged me to help the girl in trouble! I went with him but halfway there I started doubting him and his pure intentions! I suspected him of conniving with the kidnappers! And when I was consumed by fear and idly standing by him, a mere child not even high enough to reach my waist rushed inside the house and with his own life on the line stood against two grown men and rescued the little lady!"
My shoulders shook from the uncontrollable sobbing and I raised my head a bit to look in the eyes of my master.
"And even at that moment he didn't stop, he used his frail body to stop the man chasing after the little lady, and only thanks to that I was able to pull her away safely. My lord, I am so disgusted in myself, at that time, at the time when that brave child was being beaten by the other bandit I just stood there, in my worthless pride I dared to just stand there and wait for him to call for help because I doubted his courage! I was doubting his courage, his good intentions, and his devotion! How can I just take your generous words?! Your kindness is wasted on me! I am a coward! A useless piece of shit who thinks he is better than others! I am not worthy of serving you, my lord!"
I couldn't live with myself and I smashed my head into the stone floor once more.
"Mizoe, that's enough."
I suddenly felt my master's hand on my shoulders.
"Raise your head."
I obediently straightened my back and looked at duke Espine.
"Hear me out, the things I will now say are not meant to make you feel even worse. It's just that you need to hear them."
I became confused but the duke didn't wait for me to ask questions and continued.
"I made sure to learn a few things about this young hero of yours. It appears that he doesn't have a name, his mother died from sickness two winters ago and he was taken in by the same two who ended up abducting my daughter. Those people were gathering orphans in the slums and forcing them to steal for them, but this child refused to do their biddings. Some of my men asked other children who lived with him and everyone said the same. That no matter how much he was beaten, how much they starved him or humiliated him, this nameless child spirit was never broken, not once. The worst thing he did was search through the garbage in search of food but not even once he reached towards fresh product on the stalls and aimed only at the things that others threw."
|Even if duke told me that he wasn't trying to make me feel worse how couldn't I feel worse! This child is a true knight! How come I'm calling myself a knight! My will is like a fleeting flame of the candle in front of a mountain that is this child's conviction!|
"Mizoe, it seemed that this horrible event brought us something amazing."
I stuttered not knowing what my lord meant.
"I wish for that child to become one of my knights in the future, don't you think that someone like him would be perfect for the role?"
As expected from my master! Duke Espine sees the true value of the child.
I nodded my head.
"That's why I want you to take in that boy and raise him as your son."
"My lord! I am not worthy! A coward such as myself would only pollute him!"
But at my words, duke Espine only slowly shakes his head.
"It's because you now know your faults you can grow and better yourself since clearly, that child made such an impression on you, if you are to take care of him you will commit your whole being to become the example for him and by doing that, you will better yourself and maybe even forgive yourself."
I bowed at the feet of duke Espine and his wisdom.
|He is right...!|
"Master, your subject can't put into words the amount of respect he has for you!"
"I swear to you that I will become the best father for that child!"
Duke Espine laughed and stroked his beard.
"Then I guess that you should pick a name for your new son... and if you don't mind, my Miriette already has a few ideas she can't wait to present you."
He spoke with benevolently.
I couldn't help myself from smiling.
"Indeed, master, when he'll wake up I wish to greet him by a proper name!"
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