TMD Chapter 61

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“Who’s coming?”

“The two young masters are coming.”

I can’t believe my other brothers are coming here. I knew they were coming, but for us to meet at the hunting grounds for the first time! I was so surprised that I had a couple of hiccups. Hestia, who was beside me, carefully patted my back.

“I wasn’t planning to tell you in advance…… I’m afraid you’ll be nervous.”

Then why didn’t you tell me after the hunt?

Lucas avoided my gaze when I gave him a resentful look.

I sighed a little and looked around Count Stein’s hunting ground.

It was covered with thick trees and plants. They said I can enter the forest without getting hurt if I follow the trail. It was a lush forest that matched the clear and blue sky. I felt a chill in the air while looking at the forest so I rubbed my arm.

“Are you cold?”

“No.”

Grand Duke Estin asked me as if he had noticed me doing that. I shook my head. Despite my denial, Grand Duke Estin tucked my clothes tightly. 

Today…..Grand Duke Estin and Gilbert, Rex and Lucas, Hestia and the Knights are here to cheer on me. This alone made me grateful, but I don’t think I can aim that gratefulness to my other two older brothers that are coming.

“Prince Cameron is coming.”

I grabbed my bow when I heard Cameron was coming here. Cameron Arstans was walking this way with Maxim on his left, and a man I had never seen before, on his right, plus a group of unknown people I don’t know where he got. The man who was walking at the right side of Cameron looked happy when he saw Grand Duke Estin.

Do you know him?

I peeked at Grand Duke Estin; his expression remained unchanged. Still, the man seems to be glad.…

“Grand Duke Estin!”

“Long time no see.”

“How long has it been? You don’t participate in aristocratic meetings.”

“If I participate, the atmosphere would be cloudy.”

“No, what a sad thing to say?”

At the man’s words, Grand Duke Estin replied with a clear mockery. Then the man expressed his disappointment in a really upset tone. He looked around Grand Duke Estin and found me behind him.

“This little girl must be Miss Mary Conler!”

Little girl?….

Still, I felt like I had to be polite, so I just nodded from behind.

“I’m Count Joseph Stein, the owner of this hunting ground.”

“…….”

So, this is the Count of Stein.

I stared at him and nodded again. Count Stein coughed as if he had become embarrassed as I just stared silently behind Grand Duke Estin and then he smiled at me and said;

“She must be a very shy little lady.”

“Hmm.”

At the count’s words, Cameron, standing next to him, gave an obvious sneer. I quickly turned my head and glared at Cameron. Is it funny that I’m shy? Is it funny that I’m little?

“Oh, the maid will show you where Grand Duke Estin will be waiting.”

When Count Stein clapped twice, a Maid ran and bowed. Then I saw a white table, chair, and a parasol on the other side. I was about to move along with Grand Duke Estin, but Count Stein suddenly spoke.

“The forest is steep, so please be careful.”

“……yes,”

“It would be difficult for the Conlers if they had to find the lady again.”

His last words seemed to have been whispered only to me. I looked at Count Stein because I thought I heard it wrong, but Count Stein just closed his eyes and smiled at me as before.

Count Stein’s servant stood in front of me and Cameron, and began to explain.

“To prevent accidents in advance, we will not allow you to shoot flying birds. Also, the First Prince’s area is on the right, and Miss Mary Conler’s area is on the left. Try not to get too close as you might accidentally hit each other with your arrows.”

……I can just pretend I don’t know and shoot right?

As I listened to the rules, I nodded and thought of something else. For fairness, Count Stein, a third party, will act as a judge, but is it really possible for him to judge fairly? He came with Cameron earlier.

“You have a good bow and arrow.”

Of course.

Someone gave it to me.

I turned my head around as I thought Cameron was starting another fight. Let’s not fall for his provocation. Let’s not lose our composure. Let’s not go against each other at all.

“Then I’ll start now. I’ll shoot firecrackers here before dark, so please come back when you hear the sound.”

I stood in front of the path on the right side where I had to enter with my arrows and bows in my arms. Behind me stood Gilbert, Rex, and Lucas.

“Sister… Be careful not to get hurt.”

Rex held my hand tightly with tears in his eyes

“Please don’t be too confident in yourself. You’re going to come back quickly as soon as you catch something, okay?”

Although Lucas spoke rudely, I can feel he’s worried about me,

“Do well.”

Gilbert gave me a big hug. His arms were quite similar to that of Grand Duke Estin.

I tilted my head slightly and looked behind them. Grand Duke Estin was sitting in a chair. He looked like a painting, harmonizing with the trees and plants under the sun. Grand Duke Estin smiled lightly at me. I smiled back and clenched my fists.

Then I walked into the forest. with a firm grip on Helena’s bow

***

“Will she be alright?”

The three men, who were looking at the small back disappearing into the forest, could not leave their positions for a while. The first person to speak was Lucas. No matter how much he thought about it, the back looked so small and fragile. By comparison, the trees in the forest were so dense.

“She’ll do well.”

Rex clenched his fists and spoke. In fact, Rex is worried more than anyone else, but he can’t just worry about Mary, who he has seen training so hard. Mary’s training would not be useless if he cheered her up with all his heart.

Gilbert just looked quietly at the way Mary disappeared. He felt his eyes reddened but it was not because he was sad. It was an indescribable feeling, then he felt someone put a hand on his shoulder. When he looked up, it was his father.

“That child…”

“…….”

“She already grew too much when I found her.”

There was a strange sense of guilt in Estin’s words. Gilbert nodded cautiously as he dared not fathom the feeling.

He and his father just looked at the road where his younger sister, who was too small, disappeared.

It was then.

“Father! Brother!”

He heard a loud noise, Aiden and Theodore were rushing. Unlike Theodore, Aiden doesn’t usually run like that, so it was a pretty rare sight for Gilbert.

Aiden and Theodore greeted Count Stein in the midst of running and immediately approached Gilbert and Estin.

“What about Mary Conler?”

“She just went into the forest.”

“You’re a little late.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.”

“What’s too bad?”

“I wanted to say something to cheer her up.”

Gilbert chuckled at Theodore’s complaining words. Even in this situation, Theodore, who does not lose his composure, is really Theodore. Aiden, who was just staring at him, was really Aiden.

“Why didn’t you stop her?”

Aiden asked in a shrill voice. Grand Duke Estin just shrugged his shoulders without answering his second son’s question. Only Gilbert answered, recalling the note he saw at that time.

“I think she’ll kill him if the bet didn’t happen.”

“……who? who?”

 ”Mary and Cameron…”

“What?”

“Isn’t that treason?”

“What do you mean?”

Not only Aiden, but everyone else was confused. Only Gilbert laughed. Now, if Mary returns, all the four siblings of Conler will gather.

***

“Oh, I shouldn’t have said I would do this…….”

I was okay when Grand Duke Estin was in sight earlier, but I realized it after coming into the hunting ground like this.

That I have to fight alone in this bet.

Yeah, it’s Mary’s fight, not Conler’s fight.

The forest was much more still than I thought. Only the sound of the wind through the leaves was heard. No matter how bright the sun was, the atmosphere was gloomy because of the dense trees. Even my shadow strangely doesn’t resemble me. It’s giving me goosebumps.

They said this is a hunting ground. Why is it so quiet? I can’t hear any animal sounds.

“I guess it would be even more frightening if I could hear the animal.”

Come on, Mary, it’s all right. I can do it. I have Hestia’s bow and Carol’s arrow.

Did Cameron already catch something?

Rustling~

Suddenly I heard something, so I turned my head. The bushes fluttered.

Is there something there?

I clenched my bow. I was nervous because I didn’t know what would pop out. I swallowed my saliva. The rustling could be heard constantly. What the hell is in there? I closed my eyes tightly. It’s okay. I can do it. But my legs couldn’t help but shake. The bushes were rustling again as if something was about to come out.

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Sienna

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