(WEB NOVEL): Under the Oak Tree - Chapter 201
Translator – LF
Proofreader – Nymeria
Max turned her head toward the entrance at the unexpected news. Although she couldn’t see inside the central temple, curiosity washed over her, and she shifted on her seat uncomfortably. The Holy Knights of Osyria were admired by the western continent in a different way compared to the Remdragon Knights. Unlike the Remdragon Knights, who gained a reputation for being the strongest knights through military merit and battle achievements, the Holy Knights were historic and had long-established themselves as the guardians of the western continent since the Roem Era.
All of them were paladins who swore allegiance and were ordained by the Pope. They were excellent swordsmen and at the same time high-ranking priests, who had undergone rigorous training since the age of twelve. It wasn’t unreasonable for the people to get giddy about doing worship with such esteemed figures. The ladies of Livadon sat with a shameless blush on their cheeks, unable to hide their admiration for the gentlemen.
“Now that the Holy Knights have come, the situation in Louiebell will surely get better.”
“That’s right! There are now three knights of Sir Uigru’s reincarnation altogether. Sir Sejour Aren, Sir Riftan Calypse of Whedon and now Sir Quahel Leon of Osyria. Now, all the monsters will surely run away with their tails between their legs. And all those nasty trolls will be crushed like frogs!”
One of the ladies exclaimed enthusiastically and Max couldn’t help but be taken aback by the girl’s radical comments. Seeing her expression, the lady sitting next to her scolded the girl to have some dignity.
“Idcilla, a lady should never speak in such a vulgar way.”
The girl named Idcilla grunted and pouted. “What’s wrong with that? The valiant knights are going to cut those vicious monsters’ throats and mince them like dead meat…”
“I get it, alright. For the sake of my well-mannered cousin, I will conduct myself with the utmost dignity and decorum.” The girl turned to Max and gave her a cute smile. “My name is Idcilla Calima. I think I’ve seen you in the chapel often. Nice to meet you.”
“Oh my goodness, I apologize for the late introductions. I’m Alyssa Samon.”
The other lady quickly added in a slightly embarrassed tone. After a moment’s hesitation, Max introduced herself as softly and straightly as possible.
“P-pleasure to meet you. I am… Maximilian Calypse.”
The girls’ eyes widened. “Calypse you say… Is the lady Lord Calypse’s wife?!”
Max flinched and was embarrassed at the overreaction her name caused. Were they surprised that such an insignificant and shy woman as her was his wife? They gaped at her and looked at her up and down, then quickly looked away, realizing that they were being incredibly rude.
“Forgive us, m’lady. I heard that Lady Calypse is staying in the monastery, but I thought it was just a rumor.”
“I-it’s fine. It’s not unreasonable… to be surprised.”
There was an awkward silence for a moment between the three ladies. Unable to contain her curiosity, Alyssa looked up and asked carefully.
“If you don’t mind me asking, May I know what is the reason why the Lady is here in Livadon? I heard that Lord Calypse’s estate is located at the southern tip of Whedon…”
“Why do you ask such a thing, cousin? Obviously, the Lady came as she was worried about Lord Calypse!” Idcilla exclaimed, and turned her bright, admiring eyes to Max. “It must have been wonderful to have come this far to follow your husband. I also came here to pray for the good fate of my second older brother.”
The young woman’s expression quickly darkened at the mention of her family. “He’s been trapped in Louiebell Castle for two months. If the allied forces don’t expel the trolls soon, the people in the castle will run out of food and starve.”
Max grasped the coin in her pocket as she remembered Ruth and the trapped Remdragon Knights.
“My acquaintances… are also trapped inside Louiebell Castle.”
“What a tragedy. Why did God create monsters and allow them to do this?”
Alyssa’s face hardened at the blasphemy of her cousin’s words. “You shouldn’t speak like that, Idcilla. Monsters are creations of demons to torment humans. God would never intentionally harm us.”
Before Idcilla could refute, the High Priest entered the chapel, and everyone immediately stopped talking and sat up straight. The heavy bell rang and the morning service began in a solemn atmosphere. As they bowed their heads and worshipped in silence, Max’s mind ran endlessly. As Idcilla said, with the Holy Knights’ arrival, the situation in Louiebell could soon improve.
However, there were other dangers as well: currently, the monster army matched the strength of the allied forces. With the addition of the Holy Knights, the balance tipped, and an all-out war would inevitably ensue. In that case, Riftan and The Remdragon Knights would definitely fight on the front lines. They weren’t the type to stay calm and rational when their comrades were in danger. They were skilled knights, yes, but nothing was certain on the battlefield. In the past, Max recalled seeing countless Knights of the Croix Family return as corpses.
Suddenly, Max’s head spun, and her stomach churned. With her face rapidly turning pale, she could barely endure the tortuous prayers. As soon as the mass was over, she bolted out of the chapel. There was a high probability that the Holy Knights were resting until evening in the same building where the Remdragon Knights stayed.
She knew it was insane of her to try approaching the Holy Knights, since they didn’t deserve to be bothered like that. However, she still wanted to try and meet them. They had just arrived in Levan, so they weren’t aware yet of the situation of the allied forces in Louiebell. Max was lost in thought as she returned to her room, then began to write a letter to Riftan. There was no guarantee that he could receive it, but she didn’t want to miss out on this possible opportunity to contact him.
She fed her quill with abundant ink and wrote, in great detail, her life in the convent. She described her life here as peaceful and comfortable, hoping it would ease his worries. Then, she wrote down her last sentence, wishing him good fate and pleading for him not to be reckless. She blew on the ink for it to dry and read the letter over and over again, although it was not very long. After checking carefully for any spelling errors, she folded the parchment and inserted it into her robe’s pocket.
Outside, there were several ladies heading to the central temple. Max followed them down the stairs to the entrance and saw that all the seats in front had already been taken. She barely managed to get into a spot in the very backseat and sat with her heart pounding.
There are so many people here to see the Holy Knights… will I be able to hand them this letter?
Max licked her dry lips and her shoulders tensed with anxiety. After a long moment, the knights walked into the chapel in perfect unison, with black cloaks over their heads. She poked her head out of the crowd in order to get a better look. The Knights of Osiriya wore pitch black undercoats over their silverish gray armor. They were completely different from expectations. Max had always imagined the Holy Knights to be in shining silver-white armor, and splendid gold trimmed clothing; she held her breath at the unexpected appearance of the knights.
Each of them had an expressionless face, as if they were wearing a mask, and their eyes kept their focus to the front, none of them even straying focus or squinting their eyes. Even their gait was equal, as if every step was measured with a ruler. Seeing this, Max felt her spine chill indiscriminately.
I don’t think someone will accept my request…
The atmosphere they exuded around them made it difficult for anyone to approach, much less ask them for a favor. Throughout the ceremony, Max fidgeted nervously with the letter in her pocket. When the knights knelt in front of the altar, they removed their black hoods and clasped their hands in prayer. The crowd who came to worship did the same, holding their hands together and muttering prayers in the Roem language.
Max couldn’t help but feel a little offended by this blatant display of favoritism. When they arrived, there were no such ceremonies. But… thinking about it carefully, it was probably because Riftan didn’t want to waste time on anything and departed right away for Louiebell.
Either way, Max prayed for them and memorized the prayers diligently for the Remdragon Knights. When the ceremony finally ended, the High Priest stepped up to the podium and gave a blessing before ringing the bell, ending the service. The knights rose one by one and turned to leave. Max narrowed her eyes to get a better view, and among the dark and cold knights, a young knight stood out and caught her eye.
He was a young man with delicate brilliant beauty, more suited to be a graceful singing bard rather than a swordsman. He appeared to be about 6 kvet (180) cm tall, his well-balanced slender physique was elegant and his softly wavy tan hair gave off a gentle impression. Max felt relieved; there was at least one gentleman who didn’t seem so intimidating. She rubbed her sweaty palms against her robe and stepped out of the chapel, pursuing the knights.
Outside there were more soldiers, lines of horses, and seven wagons filled with food, water, and weapons. Max stood at the top of the stairs and looked across the sea of people and knights. Everyone was busy getting ready to leave; no one seemed to be in the mood to talk. Unsure of what to do, Max paced back and forth until she saw a familiar face amid the sea of people.
“Archduke, y-your grace…!”
At her call, Archduke Aren turned slowly and saw Max running eagerly toward him, stopping only when there were three or four steps between them. Standing in front of the Archduke was the young knight Max noticed just moments ago. The knight looked at her slowly with his icy green eyes and she froze like a mouse in front of a snake. The man with the smooth face she saw from afar, now looked more cold and distant than any other knight up close. His eyes gleamed as sharp as daggers. Paralyzed by the threatening atmosphere, the Archduke approached her with a puzzled expression.
“It has been a while m’lady. How is life here in the monastery? Is there something you find inconvenient?
Max could barely tear her gaze away from the knight and opened her lips. “Thank you for your ge-generosity… Everything is comfortable.”
“I should have checked earlier…I apologize that I was not able to visit sooner.” The Archduke cleared his throat once with an embarrassed expression, then turned to introduce the young knight standing next to him. “This is Sir Kuahel Leon of Osiriya. The lady must have heard of him at least once. He is the Commander of the Holy Knights of Osyria. Sir Leon, this is Lady Maximillian Calypse, Lord Calypse’s wife.”
The man’s eyes twinkled with interest. He looked at her with curiosity in his green eyes and then placed one hand on his chest and bowed politely. “It is a pleasure to meet you, m’lady.”
“Pleasure to m-meet you… I am honored.”