The Baby Isn’t Yours
Simon couldn’t remember his first meeting with Kalia.
To be precise, Simon had no recollection of the time Kalia dragged him into a dark back alley to help him escape.
On the way back from attending a royal ball, the duke’s carriage made an impromptu stop by a pound cake shop.
Though the visit was spontaneous, the criminals were highly skilled and kidnapped young Simon with ease.
The public speculated that the kidnappers happened to see the duke and his wife, and suddenly kidnapped the young heir; but who knew the truth of the matter?
At the time, Simon’s mother, Helena, had been in the cake shop for quite a while and still hadn’t come out.
The duke left Simon alone in the carriage to go get his wife.
Although the coachman and some servants were left with Simon, none of them could stop the kidnapping due to a white smoke that enshrouded the carriage, and paralyzed their senses.
Thus, the kidnappers were able to enter the carriage smoothly and swiftly.
Simon had no memory of it at all.
After he was kidnapped, he was held for a week before he was rescued.
He couldn’t remember the exact time or moment a little girl saved him.
The duke, who was worried that his son would go insane from shock, asked a wizard to seal these memories deep in his subconscious.
However, this kind of careful consideration was reserved only for his son.
He didn’t care much about the skinny little peasant girl who had saved his precious son.
In fact, to the duke, granting her residence in their mansion and sponsoring the little girl until she grew up was a lavish enough reward for saving their son.
The little girl had crawled around on her little hands to save the little duke.
Her whole body was riddled with scars of unknown origins, and her bruised body was a bloody mess.
Nevertheless, there were no traces of sadness, fear or despair on the girl’s face.
The little girl shook her head as she glanced at the pouch of 100 gold that the duke had offered as a reward.
She looked up at the ducal couple and asked in a confident voice, “Even if I receive such a large sum of money, I don’t know how to spend it.
What I need is not money, but a safe home, and a hot meal I can eat without worry.
So, would you please allow me to stay in your mansion?”
The duke accepted the child’s unappealing plea not to be returned to the back alleys.
For her, as long as she didn’t have to return to the slums, she was willing to endure anything; even if it meant becoming a servant and sleeping in the stables.
Though she was not given any gold or silver treasures, was simply provided a room and enough meals not to be hungry every day, the girl was very satisfied and expressed her gratitude.
Thus, the child quietly stayed in the duke’s mansion, avoiding any public attention.
Even Simon, who was rescued by the girl, forgot her existence because she was so quiet.
He only remembered her three years later, when one day he heard some surprising news.
Tarken, the Commander of the Duke’s Knights, had a prideful son named Mike.
Mike was much bigger and stronger than his peers.
He also sparred a lot and thus, was regarded with the status of a knight.
However, there was a girl who was able to beat Mike.
The girl, who had been wielding the sword for only three years, had beaten Mike who had been training with a sword since before he could walk.
What was even more surprising to Simon was that the girl who had beaten Mike was the very one that saved him three years ago.
After hearing the news circulating through the Duke’s residence during his academy vacation, Simon suddenly became curious.
Thus, he decided to go for a light stroll and headed to the knight’s training grounds.
He was just curious.
It was really only a belated curiosity as to how the small child who saved him had grown up.
Almost all of his memories from that time were sealed, but he could faintly remember a hazy figure.
When he tried to recall that time, the back of a girl with dirty, tangled hair donning blood-stained rags greeted him in his memories.
Simon could still clearly recall the duke’s voice telling him, who was bed-ridden, that this child was the one who had saved him.
As soon as he saw the girl, Simon’s eyes narrowed in surprised.
'… That little girl saved me?'
Back then, Simon was seven years old while the little girl was only six years old.
He had a vague memory of the girl’s tiny back but what he remembered most vividly were her eyes.
Slightly excited, Simon was just about to enter the knight’s training grounds when something flew towards him, rolled a few times as it hit the ground and skidded to a stop near his feet.
The sound of the thing bouncing on the ground and crashing to a halt rang in Simon’s ear.
Surprisingly, it was a person that flew past him.
The girl was about Simon’s size and had her yellow hair tired in a high ponytail with the refreshing scent of lemons radiating off her.
Even the dirt covering her couldn’t obscure her delicate features.
Simon looked at the girl lying in a heap on the ground and was growing slightly worried when he saw that she hadn’t moved after two or three seconds.
‘Did she faint? Did she die?’
The physical strength used in wizard’s training was drastically different from that of a knight’s.
No matter how high-intensity a wizard’s training was, it was more of a mental training than a physical one.
Anyways, a wizard wouldn’t be able to endure being tossed around like that.
Most would have fainted right away, and would be bed-ridden for days.
Without him even realizing it, shreds of sympathy flitted through Simon’s eyes that were still watching the girl on the ground.
It was at that moment.
The child’s head surged up at the sound of someone calling her name. She, who had her eyes closed moments ago, bounced back up to her feet. The girl lowered her posture as if on guard and her lemon-coloured hair swayed behind her.
Her face didn't have much of an expression, but her sharp eyes shone fiercely. Nevertheless, a smile casually spread across the girl’s face with blood carelessly dripping from the corners of her lips.
Although the girl rolled on the ground a few times, she still looked happy.
The girl bit her bloody lower lip which curled up slightly, and Simon’s mouth suddenly felt a little dry.
“… Now, it's worth trying.” (1)
Though her murmur was almost inaudible, the sound of her voice vividly stuck in Simon’s ears.
His eyes followed the girl’s figure unknowingly.
She was incredibly agile and stood out among knights who were many times her size.
Usually, faster or more tricky attacks were less powerful, but there seemed to be strength in the girl’s blows.
Her opponents were knocked to the wall by her kicks several times.
The training was so intense that no one even noticed that Simon was standing there.
3 to 1.There was a huge difference in physique between the four of them but she was never pushed back.
It seemed almost impossible that she was a 10 year old girl.
Though they didn’t exchange words or make eye contact, the girl’s image was deeply embedded in Simon’s mind.
The brilliant shine of her eyes when facing the opponent in front of her.
The red tint of her lips and the curve of her smile.
Her prideful way of dealing with the three men.
These vibrant images kept appearing in his mind.
So much so that he had to know her name; the girl’s name was Kalia.
“Kalia,” Simon found himself thinking of her and couldn’t help but to repeat her name several times.
The gaze of the girl who saved him in his childhood couldn't be erased from his mind.
‘Do I really want to be friends with her?’
Simon was someone who had never taken the initiative to make friends with anyone.
He was the sole heir to the Empire’s most influential duke and was a pretty little boy who drew everyone’s praise with a single glance.
On top of it all, Imperial blood also flowed through his veins though not very much.
There was an endless stream of people of all ages who wanted to get close to him.
Regardless, he wanted to see those sparkling pale green eyes that didn’t even spare him a glance again.
” young Simon repeated Kalia’s name dozens of times to himself and when he had memorized her name to the point he could recite it in his sleep, he went to see the Duke.
The very next semester, Kalia was admitted into Simon’s Swordsman Academy.
She was attending school under the Duke’s sponsorship, and was tasked to be Simon’s escort.
As a result, except for her major’s required classes, Kalia took the same classes as Simon.
Since then, the two had always been together.
(1) Here, she’s saying it’s worth putting in actual effort for the fight.
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