It should be about time Big Brother Leguna came back, right? Eirinn thought as she sorted the medicines in storage.
“Eirinn, patient 371 has more or less recovered. You did well,” Nancy praised as she arrived.
“Thank you, Teacher.” Eirinn said happily.
She had treated fifteen patients so far, and saved fifteen lives. Fifteen lives with her hands. She never thought she could be this useful.
“Very good. Keep doing your best.”
Nancy was very satisfied with her student. The girl was always fearful and self-depreciating, so she had to spend a lot of effort to motivate the girl constantly. It was at least as important a part of her teachings as were medicines and treatment techniques.
“Yes!” Eirinn nodded before turning her attention back to the medicines.
Nancy gave her one last glance before leaving.
“Miss Nancy,” a soldier greeted respectfully.
“Alpacino,” Nancy greeted naturally.
She had expected to see him here again.
Alpacino’s face reddened slightly.
“She’s inside,” Nancy replied, smiling.
Alpacino was the one Eirinn had cured of Flower’s Kiss. At the time, Nancy had thought that, since Eirinn was the one who treated him, she would let her take care of him and nurse him back to health. It was a test of sorts as well. Eirinn was a 10 strata priestess, if she couldn’t treat a recovering patient, how could she learn medicine?
Alpacino thus became the girl’s first patient. The half elf’s gentleness and care touched the youth, and he developed romantic feelings for the girl as he recovered. Now fully healed, he was courting her. The military didn’t allow such fraternization, however, so he had to be covert in his overtures, the most he could do was see Eirinn and interact with her.
Not many knew about his affections or his intentions, even Eirinn had yet to catch on. Nancy, was very sharp, however, and almost immediately caught whiff of his machinations. Luckily she wasn’t against it. She had done her due diligence and learned about the soldier from those who knew him. He was 22 years old and an honest, hardworking young lad. He had a good reputation within his unit as well. She was convinced the two were a great fit.
While Leguna, a possible contender, was capable, he didn’t give her the impression that he could be relied upon. She couldn’t in good conscience let Eirinn waste her life away with someone like him.
Why think about it so much though. All that mattered was Eirinn’s feelings. Nancy sighed, watching Alpacino’s back as he entered the room. The little girl was so focused on healing and medicine she had not even noticed that Alpacino was courting her.
“Hi, Eirinn!” he smiled and greet as jovially as usual.
“Big Brother Alpacino!”
Eirinn returned his smile just has jovially.
“sorting the medicines again? Let me help you!”
“Thanks, but it’s okay. I need to do this on my own so I know what we have in our inventory. That’s what Teacher taught me, at least,” Eirinn answered, returning to her lists.
“You’re always hard at work, aren’t you?” Alpacino smiled.
He liked her the most when she was focusing on something. Her drooped head made her silver hair tumble over her face like a curtain, covering her only flaw. Her face aside, she was a beautiful girl, just like Lila from the farmstead.
“Yes. Big Brother Leguna is fighting hard outside, so I can’t just sit around. I have to make contributions as well.”
Ugh, Leguna again…
His name always came up sooner or later. Alpacino had heard about him countless times and could recount every detail about him off the top of his head, his age, his performance in the tournament, his life thereafter, his campaign around the fort, et cetera. Even a blind person could see Eirinn liked him a lot from how she would drone on and on about him. Alpacino didn’t know why though. What exactly happened between the two to make her so dedicated to him?
He always felt inferior to the man when Eirinn talked about him, but he was reassured every time he saw Eirinn’s gentle eyes. She was too good for whoever exactly Leguna was. It was not just his desire to woo her, but his duty, to save her from Leguna’s frivolity.
His mouth was open, but the words wouldn’t come out. His heart pounded in his throat, blocking them.
“...Can you come to the fountain in the garden tonight at eight? I want to tell you something there.”
“Oh? What about the curfew? You should be in the barracks by then.”
Yip, that was Eirinn alright. She was blind to the important things, but paid attention to every other minor detail.
“I’ve been on patrol the last two days. I’m off today so I don’t have to be back by curfew.”
“I see. The garden, right? Okay.” Eirinn nodded.
Fort Kesta was a small town. It used to be a village, but it was turned into a fort when the war began. The increase in activity from the army drew merchants, peddlers, and other people to the village and it had since grown into a small town. The old village garden was the only place within the walls not yet covered by buildings. Everyone who stayed in the town for more than a week knew where it was.
“Alright, I’ll see you tonight!”
Alpacino’s face was red again, he could feel his cheeks glowing, so he quickly left. He didn’t want Eirinn to see him like this, she’d no doubt think he was sick and drag him off to the infirmary again.
What’s up with Big Brother Alpacino? Is the poison not yet out of his system? I should feed him some more antidote just in case.
Sure enough, Eirinn thought he was still ill. It wasn’t that Eirinn was dumb, romance was just not a part of her thought process. She was convinced no one could like her with how she looked, so she never thought of interpreting anyone’s behaviour as meaning they liked her.
Apart from Leguna and her new friends, no one had ever done anything but despise her. Most people avoided talking to her. It was natural for her to never think anyone would like her, not to mention that she’d never seen what people in love do or how they behaved, so she also had no reference.
She finished her work soon after Alpacino left.
“Phew! Finally done!” Eirinn exclaimed, stretching her body. Though she wore thick winter clothes, her curves still showed. Her dark elf bloodline made it impossible for her to not have a good figure.
“I’ll go get some rest since I don’t have to treat anyone today.” she muttered under her breath.
The sound of a soft bell drifted into the room. Yes! Leguna was back!
“Heh, I didn’t think we had become so popular. Just look how many people are cheering for us!” Leguna said gleefully.
“Stop embarrassing yourself. They’re here for His Highness.” Kurdak rebuked, rolling his eyes.
“Tch, at least one of them must be here for us.” Leguna retorted.
Tamro, the fort’s commander, came into sight not long after. Tamro had never come to greet them before, he was clearly here for the prince as well. He wore a plain military uniform, standing stock still by the entrance to the military quarter of town, watching the group approach.
“Welcome to Fort Kesta, Your Highness,” Tamro saluted.
Alissanda and his companions quickly dismounted and returned the greeting.
“You are far too courteous, General. Why come out personally?”
“I may be a general, but you’re the leader of an Order, our ranks are about the same, and you’re the second prince as well. Not to mention you are a comrade-in-arms. It is only appropriate to come greet you. Anyway, with the military greeting done...”
Tamro’s smile faded back into his usual stern expression. His left leg gave in under him and he dropped to his knee.
“General Tamro pays his respects to His Highness, Prince Alissanda!”
“Alright, former lieutenant, you’re driving me insane!” Alissanda laughed as he lifted Tamro up.
“Former lieutenant?” Leguna asked.
“I’m an old acquaintance of Tamro’s,” Alissanda explained, “He used to be the lieutenant in command of Gold-eagle’s third company. I served under him when I first joined the military.”
“And now, just a few years later I‘m in command of Fort Kesta and Your Highness is the order’s captain, haha! Welcome back, everyone. Thank you for your efforts.”
“Yeah, yeah. We’re still alive,” Kurdak snapped.
Tamro had been relying on them entirely since the moment they completed their first mission. He dumped everything even slightly difficult onto them. They occasionally tried to refuse a mission, but he’d always beg and plead like a pathetic old man until they agreed. It felt like they were serfs.
Their last mission had been to steal some military intelligence. They would’ve failed miserably if not for Leguna.
“Alright, let’s not chat here. We’ll discuss the details inside!” Tamro said, turning around and heading back into the military quarter immediately.
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