Chapter 148: Journey to the North
“Travel carefully,” Otou-sama said as he saw us off, but even though he appeared calm on the surface, I knew that he was just pretending to be fine.
“I’ll protect Lei.”
Nii-sama declared and Otou-sama couldn’t hold back and hugged him. Then, the people, who came to see us off, raised surprised voices.
There were a lot of people. Since they thought it was better to publicly announce in a grand way that we were going to the north, we departed from the plaza in front of the castle and a lot of people from the royal capital were gathered here.
“Of course, you should protect Lei, but you have to look after yourself too. Both you and Lei are my important children.”
Nii-sama hugged Otou-sama back. I knew that they would hug me next, but I couldn’t wait so I hugged their legs.
Nii-sama clung to Otou-sama who had picked me up. Seeing us three with shiny blonde hair and violet eyes getting along let the group of people know that the Albans House is definitely peaceful. It was an important matter which was connected to the stability of Kingdom’s barrier and should be received warmly. Next to us, Gill was also reluctant to part with his parents.
“Lei, Luke and Gill, it’s nearly time to leave,” Nico called out loudly. Even the King and the Prince, both the owner of golden eyes, came out of the castle to see Nico and Prince Albert off even though the royal family rarely appeared in front of the citizens.
It was dazzling for the citizens to see the royal family up close.
We got into the carriage and everyone saw us off with a loud cheer.
“It has become public that the heir to Kingdom has gone out on a journey. There won’t be anyone who would attack that group.”
Prince Lambert agreed with the King’s words with a complicated expression on his face. I don’t think he really wanted to let Nico travel since he’s still so young. However, there’s nothing that can be done since we’ve already left. We have no choice but to enjoy this trip.
I always rode in a carriage when going to the castle every day. Still, it was fun to go down a different path and see different street views. Before long, there were barely any houses around, and I saw a familiar prairie. The Rug Dragons were having fun too.
“We’ll ride in the carriage for the whole day today, and you can ride Minnie after we check the situation tomorrow. I also want to ride on a Rug Dragon rather than in the carriage.”
It’s more interesting to ride in the dragon basket than in a carriage. Nevertheless, there is something called keeping up appearances, and it was necessary to let the citizens see us leave in the carriage.
We left in the morning, but we had lunch at a nice location. It had only been two hours since we’d left, but it was surprisingly tiring to sit in the carriage for the whole time. I got off the carriage after Nii-sama and stretched. I thought that Nico would get off the royal carriage, so I came to a halt. He didn’t even stretch and ran around the prairie. The guards chased after him in a panic. I laughed.
“Lei, you…” Nii-sama laughed weirdly, but Gill looked at me as if he had something to say.
“Lei! The grass is tall!”
I can only go to him since I was called. I ran towards Nico.
“Oh, Lei has finally stopped tottering.”
“But she’s toddling.”
I, who had finally been recognised as no longer tottering, reached Nico.
“The grasses at the castle aren’t this high.”
“They geth higher in shummer.”
“Really!? I have to come during summer too.”
There was still some greenery left in the chilly, spring prairie, and the withered tall grass swayed in the wind. But this was probably interesting to Nico since he has only ever seen the garden at the castle.
I dropped to my feet and picked up a fallen stalk and showed it to Nico. We can only swing this around.
“This is nice! Ei!”
We, who were fighting with the stalks, returned to where the carriage was while still holding onto our stalks and lunch was being prepared. There were two small table sets, one was for the royal family and one for us.
“Don’th need chair.”
“Well, yeah. But they’ve prepared it for us, so sit down,” before I sat down on the chair that Gill had told me to sit on, Natalie wiped my hands and picked out the withered grass from my hair. I thought nostalgically, if this were Dolly, then she would be upset.
Nico happily kicked his legs around and Prince Albert scolded him. Come to think of it, Otou-sama always comes to pick me up for lunch, so I’ve never eaten with Nico before.
“Lei, keep your feet still.”
“Ith’sh Nico’s fauwth.”
My legs started swaying when I looked at Nico. Nii-sama scolded me and Ojii-sama meditated between us.
“Isn’t it fine? Lei’s still only two years old.”
“Ojii-sama, I think it’s careless not to do something even though you can.” Nii-sama is strict like this.
“H-hmm. I see. The family would be overjoyed when Claire could do something. I’m glad Lei was born healthy.”
It seemed that Okaa-sama was treasured a lot because she had a weak body. Apparently, there’s a picture of Okaa-sama when she was little, so I’m looking forward to seeing it.
After lunch, they quickly cleaned up and folded some of the seats in our carriage to turn them into a simple bed. I now knew why this carriage was slightly bigger than normal.
“It’s for you, Lei. It’s for when you feel sleepy after lunch.”
“Wow! Buth, Lei ishn’th shweepy.”
It’s troublesome if people think I always, always sleep. I pouted.
“Today’s destination is Coulter. It’s a lake town. So, if you don’t sleep now, then you’ll miss the lake.”
Come to think of it, today’s destination is the southern tip of the lake which is located to the northwest of the royal capital. I think we’ll get to Earl Coulter’s mansion tomorrow if we travel along the lake. In the north-western part of the royal capital before Neville is Earl Coulter’s fief.
“This prairie is already located in Earl Coulter’s fief. I didn’t know that Mils Lake was this close to the royal capital.”
Nii-sama explained the geography to me. I can feel the systematic shaking of the carriage through my warm blankets, and it felt like someone was patting my back.
“If you struggle that much then you’ll be tired.”
“She’s naughty after all.”
I’m not naughty. I’m a normal baby. However, Nii-sama said next, “Lei, Lei, I can see the lake.”
It seems like I fell asleep. However, Nii-sama’s voice sounded a little strange.
“I’m not weird. Lei, but…”
I got up from my bed and saw Nii-sama rubbing his arms. It was like he had goosebumps. Gill also looked at Nii-sama strangely. Nii-sama looked at me with hesitation and said while wavering, “Can’t you feel it, Lei? There’s something coming from the lake…”