At the call of his name, Prokeon raised his head, averting his gaze from the ground.
He had expected me to be one of the knights, but as soon as he heard my voice, Prokeon immediately straightened himself.
“Yes, your Highness Vi! How can I help you…”
His stiff and rigid attitude meant he was back to his senses.
“You must have been shocked yesterday, weren’t you? I overreacted. I apologize,” I said as softly as possible.
Prokeon’s breath hitched in his throat after he took a deep breath. His eyes trembled.
“Your Highness Vi?”
“I know you didn’t intentionally rob the sweet potato shop. I believe in Sir Prokeon.”
The 18-year-old boy’s eyes were tearful despite my heartfelt consolation.
“Your Highness Vi… Waah….”
Overwhelmed by emotion, Prokeon couldn’t bring himself to speak.
Yeah, it looks like he really likes sweet potatoes…
Yesterday, I had merely glanced at the sweet potatoes, and he had immediately relinquished them. Hence, I assumed he had simply bought them in bulk because it was cheaper.
When I arrived in the north, I would have to buy him enough sweet potatoes to fill a cart. Now that Prokeon was in charge of cooking, he had made a heartbreaking decision, but it didn’t matter as long as he didn’t try to feed it to me.
I looked at Prokeon with a smile to reassure him.
Prokeon swiped his nose with his palm, but before I could inform him of his reward, he confessed, “I’m sorry, Your Highness Vi. Just a moment ago, I misunderstood Your Highness.”
“I thought Your Highness Vi was as scary, bloody, and relentless as the Lord, even to your loyal subordinate. Now, I’m convinced you’re not!”
Prokeon puffed out his chest as he looked toward the sky, unashamed. His eyes were languid as if he expected praise.
For a second, I thought Aedis didn’t hear what Prokeon said.
Scary and bloody? Relentless to his subordinates?
This is too twisted.
I stared at Prokeon. The youngest son of eleven sons of the Count’s family was such a simpleton.
Aedis, who was watching from a distance, hid his face as he stifled his laughter.
Your wife was unfairly framed, and yet, you enjoyed it.
“So, I will be the loyal subject of Your Highness Vi!”
The knight’s pledge of loyalty was not something a knight should just say to anyone. Besides, Prokeon was a knight from the nobility.
“You don’t have to overdo it—”
“I’m not overdoing at all! I want to be loyal to Your Highness Vi and spread the truth to those who were misinformed, like me!”
The innocence of this young knight burdened me.
Since Prokeon was the Grand Duke’s night, his desire to be loyal to me wasn’t strange. However, I had a feeling Prokeon’s happy-go-lucky nature would be incredibly annoying.
I felt sorry for Prokeon, so I decided to act like the boss for a while.
“Sir Prokeon, how much is your salary?”
Impressed, Prokeon replied honestly, although my question may have been out of the blue.
“Well, excluding the risk allowance, it’s regularly about 1.5 million marka.”
“You get more than the knights in the capital? But what has Sir Prokeon been doing so far?”
At the question, the Count family’s eleventh master was confused, unable to tell if he was being scolded.
I nodded, showing I was listening eagerly.
“Yes. I did what you asked. In my free time, Sir Vega and I hung out.”
Prokeon took a step back.
Where are you going, young man?
“The other knights were busy replacing the vacant seats of the servants who ran out, but you bragged and showed off that Her Highness Vi told you to cook?”
“Well, it’s the first time I’ve been to the capital…”
Prokeon gripped a bracelet with red flowers.
Despite his tears, he looked like a big dog, and I was like a cousin who enjoyed teasing him.
“Uhh… Can I go now?”
I hadn’t even raised my hand to hit him, but Prokeon still crouched.
I pretended to be surprised.
“It’s amazing, Sir Prokeon. Even when I first visited the capital, which is a completely different environment from the north, I’ve never stopped to admire the grandeur.”
“I think I’ve underestimated you too much. So, as an apology, I want you to escort my and Aedis’s carriage. Can you do that?”
“I want to prove to you that I trust you. Sir Prokeon has the talent to lead the wagons to the north.”
Prokeon’s face instantly paled.
“I-I have to walk to the north?”
I smiled and cut off his escape route.
“I will leave in 10 minutes.”
As I turned around to approach Aedis, Prokeon called me desperately, “Your Highness Vi!”
“The weather is so nice today. Right, Raven?”
Raven mumbled that he liked it. On the other hand, Prokeon was on the verge of spewing tears like a broken faucet.
“It’s my fault! Just punish me! Hit me!”
“Sir Prokeon, I hate violence.”
Raven cried out as though my words were nonsense, but I ignored his cries.
As we neared the north, the temperature dropped.
“Your Highness Vi, it’s only a short distance now,” Prokeon said, peeking his head into the small window connected to the coachman’s seat.
From time to time, Prokeon talked to me. Eventually, he became so bored he began to speak to himself.
Sometimes he would try and talk to Aedis.
And if Aedis even showed the slightest reaction, Prokeon would be thrilled.
Whenever Prokeon gave me grateful glances, my mood became strange.
To become the male lead’s friend in the future, did he need to have this mentality?
Suddenly, I looked back at Aedis’ face, a sculpture carved from the moonlight that came to life with a beautiful crescent-shaped smile.
Come to think of it, who is Aedis’s friend?
Aedis wasn’t insensitive. After all, he even gave Gilbert and Rehan a nanny.
I recalled the contents of the novel.
Aedis rarely appeared, so I was able to remember all of his scenes.
But who is his close friend?
The novel hadn’t mentioned his name or described him. Everything was veiled, including gender, age, and title.
Hmm. First of all, it’s not the men here.
Although they followed Aedis to the capital, they were rather lively to me.
If I got a little closer, Prokeon might think of me as a wealthy cousin who came back after marrying young. It seems like he will reveal everything without hesitation.
I brushed away my doubts and opened my lips. “You’ve been through a lot. Sir Prokeon, what will you do when we arrive?”
“There’s no way I want to be far from Your Highness Vi. Of course, I’ll have to clean up my mind and body and wait until I get a new order! Hahaha!”
After arriving in the north, Prokeon wanted to help me. When Aedis nodded at his words, Prokeon couldn’t control his emotions and became unbelievably excited. He restated his loyalties to me.
Is this all because of me?
I regretted saying anything.
Leaning on Aedis’s shoulder, I watched the scenery pass by through the window. It usually takes over 15 days from the capital to the north, but we were expected to reach our destination in less than a week. Every night, we went to villages and used a luxury hotel, and there were no roadblocks in their travel.
However, I never slept with Aedis. I picked up Sarah and Raven and occupied a suite room so Aedis could rest comfortably.
Anyway, Aedis said he came quickly by using a shortcut, but looking at how the drivers arranged the traffic, it seemed that it was not the usual route.
My skin was aware of the dropping temperature. On the 6th day after departure, I could see my breath escape from my lips.
I put on the fur cape that Sarah had brought me, and Prokeon cheerfully called out to me, “It’s there. There. You can see the Emerald Gateway, right? After that, it’s only the north. Esmeralda.”