I’m not a very expressive person, so I’m sure I looked as emotionless as ever. If there ever was someone who excelled at reading expressions though, and was well-attuned to the worries of others, then that person would be Klaus. I smiled bitterly at the thought.
“Is Klaus causing trouble for you, Your Highness?”
“What does that mean?”
“Exactly what it means,” Sir Leonhard said quietly, eyes calm.
I couldn’t sense an ulterior motive, but this was too different from anything I had ever experienced in the game. I couldn’t read between the lines at all. Why in the world, for what purpose exactly, was he asking me that?
Were my words being influenced by Klaus’s behavior?
Dumbstruck, I didn’t know what to say. I just knew I didn’t want to lie to him.
Trying to relax, I took a few short breaths and said, “If I said I had no problem, it would be a lie.”
Sir Leonhard smiled wryly at my answer, and had nothing to say. His calm eyes gently urged me to continue.
“He’s an excellent guard; I have no complaints to offer. I have also never doubted his ability. However, he’s too overprotective.”
At heart, Klaus was a submissive man.
But if a little danger was thrown into the mix, he’d become completely different. This outing was a good example.
“Klaus is overprotective?”
“Yes. In his eyes, I must look extremely fragile. As my protector, he would probably want to go as far as shutting me in an ivory tower—he’s that tender-hearted. But, I’m an individual with my own will. There’s no way I’d ever consent to letting myself get locked up for my ‘safety’!”
I became increasingly upset the more I talked.
I was mortified. Venting all of my pent-up frustrations onto an unrelated party was something only a child would do.
“No. You are not that weak.”
“Klaus is not the type of man to so easily pledge himself to a delicate princess whose only quality is her beauty.”
The smile disappeared from his face as he watched me, who had been rendered speechless.
The low tone of his voice deepened with emotion.
“In your presence, he may seem like a dog, but…”
What an ominous word. If we’re talking dogs, I like Border Collies. Or, Shetland Sheepdogs. I don’t have a hobby of keeping grown men as my pets!
“His true nature is that of a wolf. Even if his master is the only one he cannot bring himself to bite, he is actually a beast who cannot be tamed.”
I couldn’t bring myself to make fun of him and say, “Can’t you tame him if you’re a sadist?”
The truth is, anyone who looked at the current Klaus would think, “He’s amazing.”
As mentioned previously, Klaus is one of the top five most powerful knight in the chivalric order. If you considered his age, being promoted to the princess’s guard meant that he’d risen incredibly fast in his career.
However, Klaus wasn’t the refreshing guy he seemed to be. He elegantly dodged violence, and returned insults twofold. He crushed those comrades who would make a foe of him so hard they never dared to come back.
Was there still any meaning to him being a masochist?
Would a masochist be this aggressive? Or, are sadism and masochism really two sides of the same coin? Yeah, I could hardly understand what I’m saying myself.
“Having tamed that beast, you cannot possibly be weak. You are honorable, a princess who would never allow herself to simply be protected. However, sometimes, that can be dangerous.”
Because I looked weak, I didn’t look dangerous?
I have no idea what he wanted to say. What did he mean when I’m not weak, but dangerous?
I don’t know if he noticed my bewilderment or not, but Sir Leonhard continued to look at me with admonishing eyes.
“You are someone who stands on her own feet, thinks with her head, and can accomplish the tasks she sets her mind to. But, there is a limit to how much a person can do on their own. Please, rely on the presence of the people around you a little more.”
I blinked several times in response to his unexpected words.
“But, I do…”
There was staggering little I could do with my own power. I knew that, and did indeed intend to rely on others. Take today. Even though it was selfish of me, I had Sir Leonhard escort me around.
He didn’t seem to agree, though.
Sir Leonhard shook his head.
“More. You do not do it enough. Klaus feels the same, which is why he becomes overprotective.”
Even if Sir Leonhard was the one saying that, I couldn’t just nod my head in agreement.
But, even more than that, I had no idea how to determine how much I should explain, or to what extent I should rely on others.
Who in the world can I share the future that has not happened yet with?
I obstinately hung my head, and Sir Leonhard smiled wryly again.
“Please, keep these words somewhere in a corner of your mind.”
I honestly didn’t think that I would remember the disappointment in his voice or his words until much later.
That is a story for the future, several years later.