Ch. 216 You Don’t Know Anything About My Wife (1)
It was the day before the tournament. Derek had said he wanted to visit Elena in person before the games, and while her injury wasn’t yet fully healed, she was able to move more comfortably than the time Mirabelle came to visit. Elena also hadn’t seen her brother since the wedding, and she missed him dearly.
And so, Elena hid her back injury as she waited for the time when Derek promised to visit.
Elena looked toward up at the sound, and a maid opened the door and entered.
“Your Highness, Lord Derek has arrived.”
“Let him in.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
The maid knew that Elena had been anxiously waiting for her brother, amd she hurriedly bowed her head and stepped back out again.
Elena’s heart lifted in anticipation as she smoothed out the skirt of her dress. She hoped that Mirabelle was able to come with him so that all three siblings could be reunited.
The door to the parlor room opened once more, and Derek entered. His broad shoulders and tall, muscular body were evidence of his training as a knight. Elena stood up from her seat and beamed when she saw him.
But Derek’s reaction was faster. He bowed politely at Elena.
“Hail to the Crown Princess. Eternal Glory to the Ruford Empire.”
“You don’t have to give such formal greetings when we’re alone, brother. Come here and sit down.”
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
Derek was distantly polite, but the warmth in his eyes couldn’t be missed. While his quiet personality did not change overnight, Elena was able to read the affection in his mood without words.
“How have you been?”
“I’m well. It’s a monotonous life as usual. How have you been? Is life at the Imperial Palace difficult?”
“Don’t worry about me. The Crown Prince has taken great care of me, as well as the nanny, so there isn’t too much trouble.”
“I came here to greet the nanny too. I have to thank her for taking care of you.”
Elena smiled at her brother’s concern for her well-being, but then she noticed that Mirabelle wasn’t with him.
“Mirabelle isn’t here today. Is she sick?”
“Don’t worry, she’s not. But nowadays, Mirabelle is…”
Derek paused as he recalled his youngest sister’s current state. Mirabelle had been desperately searching for Kuhn, using all the resources of Blaise’s information network. Surprisingly, however, not a shadow of Kuhn could be traced. It was strange that their network couldn’t locate a simple servant’s residence, and Derek sensed something was out of the ordinary about it.
Mirabelle was hellbent on finding Kuhn’s whereabouts, which was why she didn’t come to see Elena today. A touch of worry crossed Derek’s mind, but then he smiled and spoke to Elena as if there was nothing to worry about.
“Mirabelle is suddenly busy from managing the household. I’ll make sure she comes next time.”
“Oh, I see.”
Elena’s mood turned disheartened. She regretted not being able to see Mirabelle during her last visit, and had hoped that they would all be together today. Sadly, the time was not right. Despite Elena’s disappointment, however, it was only natural that Mirabelle would get busier as she got older and took more responsibilities. Elena forced a smile on her face.
“Say hello to Mirabelle for me, and let her know that she can visit whenever she has the time.”
“By the way, the tournament will be soon. How are you feeling?”
Elena knew that Derek had long been preparing for the competition, especially since he could not participate four years ago due to training injuries. Neither her father nor brother said anything at the time, but she knew that they harbored disappointment over it.
‘In my last life, this tournament was never held…’
Back then, the Empire had been struck with the death of Crown Prince Carlisle, and then Emperor Sullivan shortly after. Soon afterwards, Paveluc’s rebellion had overturned the Empire, and in the meantime, there was no spirit to hold a tournament.
‘I hope this time Derek can show his skills.’
When Sullivan asked about Derek’s abilities at the family dinner, Elena had spoken humbly as to not draw attention, but in truth her brother was incredible. In the past, she couldn’t determine how good he actually was, but now she had the knowledge to measure his abilities. If nothing surprising happened, then Derek was strong enough to even win the tournament
“I’ve practiced a lot, so I feel confident. You don’t have to worry about me.”
“I’m glad. As long as you do your best, I’m happy.”
A faint smile drew across Elena’s lips as she expressed her sincere support. Derek hesitated uncharacteristically for a moment, and then his next words were carefully spoken.
“In fact, I’d like to ask you a favor during the tournament.”
“What is it?”
“If I go to the final round, may I ask for your handkerchief, Your Highness?”
Elena understood his meaning at once. In the tournament, the knights would participate in three different preliminary games, and their scores were summed up to rank them. In the first game, each knight would shoot twenty arrows to display their archery skills. The second game was a horse race, and the goal was to reach the finish line in the shortest amount of time. The third involved separating contestants in groups by random draw, in which cooperation, leadership skills, and tactical ability were evaluated.
Only the ten best-performing knights were allowed to remain. From then on, the would fight one-on-one matches in an arena where everyone watched, and the final winner would be declared the champion. These last rounds sometimes varied, and this year the knights would fight in mounted combat. There were no restrictions on what weapons the knights could carry, but long spears and lances were more efficient on horseback than short swords.
In any case, only the last ten knights who made it to the final round were entitled to ask the lady of their choice for a handkerchief. Though not a requirement, many knights considered receiving a token from a favored lover a kind of rite of passage. It was a chance for the knights prove themselves to their lady, and was often a romantic scene for the women. It was said that the knight who won the championship and the lady who had given him her handkerchief would fall in love.
But Derek requested this honor from Elena, and no one else. She couldn’t conceal her embarrassment at the unexpected request.
“Thank you, but why don’t you ask a young woman that you like instead of me?”
“I don’t have anyone like that. My highest goal would be to fight for the honor of the Crown Princess more than anyone else.”