When Leonard was five years old, his mother had died due to illness.
Once upon a time in Claude’s history, year 198, the sixth month of the year.
In the imperial palace, the residence of successive emperors, there was a large majestic garden.
On the corner, there was a secluded church. It was a stone building without much ornament. Far contrast from the imperial palace, which was the embodiment of ‘worldly.’ Inside the church was filled with heat due to the lack of air flow.
A funeral was being held, but the people present were laughing.
In the church’s ceremony hall, constant laughter and slander could be heard.
“For that woman to die, how fortunate of us.”, “For the sixth empress to have plebian blood, what a joke.”, “She must be good at straddling men on top of the bed!”, “To imitate us, high born people, there’s no way she could…”, “Finally the mistake of the world has been corrected.”, “How joyous.”, “Indeed.”
Leonard was sitting on the corner of the church listening to the slander of the people around him.
When her mother died, he was the only one who cried.
The Emperor, who was his father, was absent due to illness.
The Imperial aristocrats cursed at his dead mother without care and gazing at Leonard as if he was a pest. “That mongrel should’ve died along with that moment.”, Those kinds of backbiting could be heard.
They didn’t know what they should do while waiting for the time pass started to sing the national anthem. “Claude Eternal Prosperity”
As the people excited and the singing voices become stronger, at that time…
Rozalia appeared at the church.
“You are all noisy. Didn’t you learn how to behave in a funeral, Scum.”
Her voice was louder than anyone else.
The imperial aristocrats simultaneously shut their mouth at once.
Those who had been speaking slander without a care were trembling in disgrace, no one inside the room had the courage to go up against the most influential household, the Alexis Marquis household.
For a moment, Rozalia walked through the church full of tranquility.
“I’m sorry.” When she stood in front of the coffin, that was what she said first. Then she continued, “I didn’t make it in time.”
She was coming to this place, wearing dress smeared with dust.
Leonard would found out later that she had traveled for 150 Ri (Around 600 kilometers) from Alexis territory to meet his late mother for the last time.
After caresses the coffin for a while, Rozelia turned back her heel.
All of the imperial aristocrats looking at her with fear, but she ignored them and went straight to Leonard side.
She stopped in front of him who was crying in the corner.
Because the other adult fears her, his first impression of her was ‘a scarier old woman.’
Large scar decorated her face.
Her tall figure was intimidating.
“Have you ever seen your mother crying?”
Her voice was filled with tenderness.
In response, Leonard shakes his head sideways.
“… Tears will only water the seed of misfortune.”
He remembered the words his mother had taught him a long time ago. Then he wiped his eyes with his clothes sleeves. Though his tears won’t stop, Rozelia placed her hand on Leonard’s head.
“That’s right. That was the words I taught her.”
Somehow she sounded proud.
That was how Leonard encountered his aunt.
“Come with me.”
Rozelia then left the church, with Leonard following her after a slight hesitation.
He chased her big back.
While walking, Rozalia said…
“In this Empire, no one is on your side. Thus you must be able to protect yourself.”
Then, she gives Leonard two things.
There were two contrasting things.
The first one is a cold one.
His first sword.
The weight of the iron mass was made for an adult, but even though he was a child, no consideration would be made.
After that day, his daily training as a knight with Rozelia as his teacher would begin, from how to handle the sword to how to ride a horse.
The other thing she gave him was warm.
A second home.
Leonard who was taken by Rozalia traveled with her to her fiefdom, the Alexis territory.
It was a lush land.
Trees with young leaves could be seen as far as the eyes could see. From the carriage he was riding, the forest was endless. As they passed through an open area, there was a lake where the sunlight bounced off the surface of the water.
The blue color of the lake. The green color of the trees, the color of the blue sky. It was beautiful scenery.
When he took a deep breath while looking at the lake, it felt he was being washed away.
It was a great mistake to think of the territory as a mere rural area,
Alexis capital city, Lint, was bustling as a key point of trade.
It might seem inferior when compared to the capital city of the Empire, but the citizen of the city looked vigorous with light in their eyes. Furthermore, that can be seen from all citizen class. When he thought he would live in this city, Leonard was not able to stop looking around from his carriage while going to the castle.