Gong…… an echoing loud noise shook my entire body. The bell in the central tower of this fort was being struck. I sleepily got up due to the sound while yawning, as the purpose of the bell was to wake everyone up.
There’s no water clocks here at Fort Jugfena, and the tolling sound of the bell is meant to tell time instead. After all, manpower would be required to maintain a water clock. Since there’s no maids or foot soldiers that are only required to do menial labor here, it would take too much to keep a water clock operational. The villages in Kaldia mainly use sundials rather than water clocks as well, but for the soldiers and knights, I think auditory information is probably more convenient for them than visual information.
The first time that I heard the bell ringing, it felt so loud and discomforting that I had to plug up my ears, but I’ve gotten used to it quickly. Even I feel that it’s convenient now.
It’s been exactly seven days since I’ve arrived at Fort Jugfena.
I squinted through the rugged iron bars on the window at the rays of twilight shining through. Today’s dawn sky seemed strangely red for some reason.
“Good morning, Viscountess Kaldia. Today, Earl Einsbark has granted permission for you to observe our training grounds.”
When I finished dressing myself appropriately and left my room, a man sharply dressed in black knight attire was already waiting for me. In addition to being my liaison, it seems that he’s also being my escort and guide, I’ve been seeing Ergnade and accompanying him together every day.
“Good morning to you, Ergnade-sama. Permission to observe, is it.”
“Yes. The earl was wondering if you would like to see how we train our soldiers here.”
“I see, I’m thankful for his concern.”
After seven days, Ergnade’s chatting with me has become quite informal. The first day I arrived, he was addressing me with an overly stuffy, formal version of “you,” but some time ago he’s stopped that and is now calling me “you” casually like when he first visited Kaldia as a messenger.
He had sharp eyes, but they would soften at the corners and crinkle up as he watched me in silence. I got the same feeling from Ergnade’s grey eyes as I did from Margrave Molton back at the royal capital. It felt like I was getting cold from it, so I blinked and gently averted my gaze.
We left the tower I was staying at and headed for the dining hall, where Gunther was waiting for me. On the other side of this tower, my domain’s soldiers were borrowing rooms in the barracks here, while I had been given a room in what was known as the “knight building.” Since the “knight building” is supposed to be a living space for nobles, the commoner soldiers basically never come here. As one of my domain’s soldiers, Gunther followed those customs as well, and he was waiting for me in front of the door on the fourth floor that led to the knight building.
“Good morning, Gunther. Thanks for your troubles today as well.”
“Good morning to you, my lord, and Ergnade-sama.”
As Gunther replied to my greeting, he glanced behind me, and almost as an afterthought he greeted Ergnade as well. Ergnade was following behind me with a face that basically said of course he should be greeted as well. I always eat at the dining hall for soldiers, and haven’t been to the place where the earl’s sons, the senior knights eat. I can’t determine with absolute certainty if Ergnade really has been assigned as my “escort,” but for him to accompany me here to the regular dining hall probably does mean something of the sort along those lines.
“Good morning, Gunther-dono.”
Ergnade made a short response to Gunther’s greeting. Exchanging simple greetings like this has been going on every morning while Claudia is absent, as she was currently escorting the two women from Cyril village back to their homes.
After breakfast, Ergnade would help train me in using the spear. Since my usual instructor Claudia isn’t here right now, at first I thought I’d get tips from Gunther again and have him watch over my training, but it seems that Ergnade must be bored just being my escort as he said he’d help me train as well. Since having a senior knight that’s currently in active duty be my instructor is the best I could ask for, I bowed my head and accepted. Gunther’s role has subsided to only overseeing my basic physical fitness and foundational training.
The spear skills that Ergnade was teaching me seemed to be a better fit for me, as Claudia’s spear skills were highly technical, and were not a good fit for me as I was still a child lacking in body strength. Ergnade noticed this, and using Claudia’s spear skills as a foundation, he trained me in spear skills that would be more fitting for me, especially as I might be using a spear on real opponents soon, unlike when I was training with Claudia. He emphasized attacking points that would cause the greatest amount of damage with my speartip.
Ergnade mentioned that Claudia’s spear skills incorporated many elements from staff skills, and that these techniques had no wasteful movements to them and could definitely kill opponents.
Usually Ergnade would bring two wooden spears out from the armory for our practice, but today he had taken out two unfamiliar weapons instead.
“Viscountess Kaldia, I’m going to teach you some new moves today.”
“Yes, I’m going to teach you about halberds.”
Ergnade placed the weapons on the ground, and told me to take a closer look. Regular spears were made of wooden shafts with a sharpened cone-shaped metal head attached, as it was a shape designed to pierce armor with. It basically takes advantage of length to stab enemies with, designed so that even regular soldiers with no knowledge of martial arts can kill enemy soldiers. It’s commonly used by infantry soldiers.
In comparison, the spear-like weapon Ergnade had brought out was a bit shorter in length. The halberd was a spear with an axe blade attached to the spear tip, with a somewhat triangular shape and a double-edged blade on both sides of the spear. One was real and the other one was wooden, probably for practice purposes.
“Although it’s a bit difficult to use, but it’s a strong weapon once mastered. I’ve heard that the Kaldia army is mostly cavalry troops. Since this weapon works well both on horseback and on the ground, I think it’ll be good to learn.”
I see, I nodded as I passed the wooden halberd to him. It’s heavier as it comes equipped with an axe blade. What’s more, it shook a bit in my hands as gravity tugged down on its weight.
“……It’s almost lunchtime, so let’s end here.”
I had already become tired to the point where I didn’t have the energy to speak up when Ergnade finally said that, but he barely seemed to be sweating even though it was summer and he seemed refreshed. I had to use muscles that I didn’t normally use in order to just control this new weapon, and just holding it without shaking used up so much of my energy.
As I tried to catch my breath somehow, just like Ergnade said, I heard a gong…… sound from the bell that indicated it was now noon