8 A noble

Ren's group introduced themselves to the wary knights that they saved. They explained that they were going to Grenton so that Valdel could attend the knight academy, while Ren and Lara would register as adventurers.

When the noble lady heard what they had said, she was about to respond, but before she could say anything Roland responded first.

"How dare you talk to my lady in such an informal tone!" When the lady knight heard what Roland said, she looked at him with a glare.

"Enough Roland! Apologize to our saviors!" The noble lady had a stern tone as she reprimanded Roland.

"But my lady!" Roland wanted to say something more but was stopped by the noble lady raising her finger.

"I said enough! Now apologize!" Hearing the noble lady's angry voice, made Roland bite his lower lip.

"I'm sorry that I acted rudely." Roland apologized after which he started gnashing his teeth while clenching his fist.

"Hmph, whatever we're done here. Let's go." Ren had enough of this farce and wanted to leave since they had already been delayed for a few minutes.

"Wait, Sir Ren, don't you want to learn who I am?" The noble lady tried to stop Ren from leaving. While the female knight was trying to discern something as she looked at Ren.

Ren who was about to leave looked at the noble lady and sneered. "Heh, that's funny. You won't even show your true self, and you want me to believe that you'll tell me who you are? Whatever we have no time for this."

"If you don't want to learn who I am. Surely you could ride with us, it would be much faster to get to Grenton on a horse." The noble lady was really trying to make Ren's group stay.

"No need we're faster than those things." Ren left without waiting for the noble lady's response. Lara of course immediately followed, Valdel bowed to the other party and apologized as he followed as well.

Seeing the speed in which they ran, shocked the three who watched their fading silhouettes. They weren't kidding when they said that they were faster than horses.

...

When the noble lady's group was quite a distance away from the place the fake bandits attacked. Roland started to curse at Ren's group.

"Who the hell does he think he is?! Talking to our lady like that! Hmph, I remembered his name, Valdel was it? I'll make sure he has a hard time in the knight academy."

"You shall do no such thing!" The noble lady from inside the carriage spoke.

"But my lady!" Roland tried to protest but he was cut off by the noble lady.

"No buts! Also, stop the carriage, I would like to rest a bit."

"Certainly my lady." The female knight was the one to respond. Once the carriage was stopped, the noble lady spoke to Roland.

"Roland, I am hungry, I heard from one of the knights that you are great hunter, and your stone rabbit soup is sublime. I would wish to have a taste of that."

"Certainly my lady. I will go and hunt some stone rabbits, and prepare the best soup I can make." Without any delay, Roland set off to hunt some stone rabbits.

Once his presence was gone, the noble lady started to loosen up. "Man, that was exhausting... How long should I play as your double lady Ashley? We already know that guy Roland is the traitor, why don't we just kill him and get it done with."

"We still can't do that, since we haven't figure out who sent him. So for the time being you need to play as me for a bit more Rika."

It turns out that the noble lady was the knight, and the knight was the noble lady.

"It would've been over, and we could've blackmailed Roland into telling us who he was working for. That is if Ren's group hadn't shown up. I already saw Roland was about to stab me once his accomplice was done with you." Ashley the real noble spoke a bit disappointed at the outcome of their charade.

Even though they could force him to talk, without any evidence that he was a traitor. Rika and even Ashley might be punished because of falsely accusing someone. Though Ashley was a princess, she couldn't just do whatever she wanted.

If they were to catch him red-handed in betraying them, they could use this as a sort of leverage to force him to tell who was ordering him. It would be much easier to persuade him to give up on his boss if they had proof that he was a real traitor.

"Yeah, who would've thought someone like that would appear. Still wasn't he really handsome, the moment he supposedly saved me was the coolest." Rika felt elated when she remembered Valdel's gallant figure.

"Are you talking about that boy Valdel? I wasn't really looking at him, I was looking at that guy who seems to be the leader of the group." Ashley started to remember Ren's piercing eyes that seem to be able to see through everything.

"Oh that guy, he was amazing too. Actually the last line he said when I asked if he wasn't interested in my identity. He said that I wasn't even showing my true self. It seems like he actually saw through my act." Rika also remembered the look he gave her, and shoved it out of her mind and remembered the smiling face of the hunk called Valdel instead.

"He did see through us, not only that his skills were monstrous! Not to mention the mana that was surrounding him, it was intense and so strong like it wanted to devour everything in sight." Ashley shivered remembering that gushing mana Ren was trying to suppress.

It was not just Ren who was suppressing his mana, the two people with him were doing so as well. Yet their mana wasn't leaking out as threateningly as his. This could only mean two things, one Ren wasn't really good at controlling mana compared to his companions. Two and the more likely scenario, Ren has such an enormous pool of mana stored in his body, even he couldn't suppress it.

"You saw his mana flow? How was he, was he stronger than the Captain of the Royal knights?" Rika was really curious since her lady Ashley was one of the few people that could actually see the flow of mana.

"You can't even compare the two. The knight captain's mana flow was like a candlelight, while Ren's mana flow is like the raging sun." Hearing her liege praise Ren so much, and actually looked a tad excited remembering Ren, Rika snickered.

"Oh my, oh my, what's this? Is our princess, the one hailed as the steel princess, actually interested in a guy? The princess who uses her sword instead of her words to speak to her suitors. The princess who doesn't like showing her face to the public, since she rather practice her swordsmanship. That princess is actually enamored by a random villager?" Rika teased Ashley.

"First off, I am not enamored by him, second he is not just a random villager, also stop making it sound like I'm so violent." Ashley retorted while pouting.

"So you don't deny being interested?" Hearing Rika's question, Ashley smiled.

"Yeah, I guess I am interested in him. He didn't care that you were a noble, he didn't care that you looked beautiful, he wasn't like those scum that only looks at me with lust. He was actually quite pure."

"What's this I hear, did you actually call me beautiful? Also, that guy was pure? Didn't you see how he slaughtered those men without blinking? My man Valdel is the pure one." Rika retorted.

"Since when did that guy become your man? Also, I wasn't talking about the purity of his soul or anything like that. What I was talking about was something else... But never mind that, Roland might be coming back so get back to your role and pretend to be me. I'm sure he contacted whoever hired him, and told him about his failure to assassinate me. So he might be thinking of a different way to do it. When he does whatever he is planning, we'll catch him red-handed and afterward will get him to tell who hired him." Ashley who had a relaxed expression a minute ago changed back to a more serious expression.

"Fine then... I really hope we can get this over soon. Acting like this is hard, you don't even act like this." Rika complained to Ashley with an exasperated tone.

"Well, of course, I don't act in such a way. But that is what Roland and the others believe how I act. He might find it even more suspicious if you don't act like what the rumors portray me as."

"Fine, fine, I'll continue to act all ladylike." Rika sighed as she gave in to her fate.

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