Leah opened her eyes wide and blushed. How long has she dreamed of such a day while listening to the stories of the knights? How much she dreamed of a friendship where she rolled and sweated together! She didn’t expect the day to come so soon.
She wasn’t yet a knight, but that was enough for Leah. Now that she had a friend.
“Come over to our territory later. Then I’ll introduce you to my friends. Everyone would envy me if I had a nice friend like you. They’ll want to be friends with you. Then you would have ten new friends, too.”
At Evan’s words, Leah wanted to go to Roman territory right away. She didn’t know where it was, but ten friends?! Leah wanted to go and show off to Sharillo and Anna right away. I have 11 friends without you guys!
“Why is there a history book here? Is this yours?”
Evan picked up the book that had been thrown on the floor and handed it to Leah. The sight of it reminded her of the nightmare history test again.
When Leah sighed deeply, Evan asked her if she had any concerns. Leah glanced at the history book with a gloomy face and said, “I really want to learn something but I can only do it if I pass the history test.”
“Really? Then you can work hard.”
Leah was annoyed again when Evan made a face that he didn’t understand why she was agonizing over such a simple matter.
‘The guy who almost drowned in a pond that only comes to his shoulders is treating me like a fool.’
“That’s not easy! If I memorize something hard, they ask weird questions in unexpected places. What is the difference between the way Emperor Lahiburn ruled and the way the triumvirate ruled in the past, and how this style of rule affected the empire?! Do you know what this is?”
Evan nodded at Leah’s words.
“In the past, the Emperor had three dukes under him and divided the Empire into three equal parts to rule their respective regions. So the power of the duke was greater than the influence of the Emperor. Isn’t it the way the Lahiburn dynasty ruled over the lands of the nobles directly without going through the three dukes, which led to the strengthening of imperial power?”
When Evan answered so easily, Leah felt like a fool. Was it only difficult for her and easy for everyone else?
“I guess I’m a fool…I don’t know anything, but everybody else knows.”
“No, I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for Patricia. I couldn’t understand even if I took a class with my teacher. I didn’t know what the dukes had to do with the weakening of the imperial power, but Patricia explained it to me easily.”
Leah did not know who Patricia was, but asked, with her eyes wide open, as Evan seemed to know the secret of passing the history exam.
“I once annoyed my parents and got a big dog for my birthday. But when I tried to touch the dog, its teeth were scary and it was hard to get close to because it was as big as me. And then, I had to do many other chores when I had a dog. I had to take care of her water, feed her, build her a house, and do a lot of things.”
“I thought I wanted to have a dog too, but I guess that’s not easy either.”
“Yes. It was difficult. So I asked my brother to feed the dog, water it, and go for a walk instead of me. And I thought I could keep a dog without any trouble that way.”
Leah nodded. She also thought it would be okay to just give someone all the troublesome work and focus on playing with the dog.
“Then the dog followed my brother very well. Sit down if he wants, roll when he wants… tailing my brother everywhere he goes. But the dog barked at me.”
“Barked at you? But it’s your dog.”
“Exactly. It’s definitely my dog, but the dog thought my brother was the master. He fed her, he went for a walk with her. Patricia says the triumvirate is the same thing. Because it was difficult to govern a large empire directly, they split it into three and let the duke rule instead. He let them take care of his own people just like I did to my brother. So the emperor’s influence has weakened. Because the people were more afraid of the dukes than of the emperor.”
“Oh! I get it. That’s why the ruling style of the Lahiburn dynasty helps strengthen the imperial power. Because by direct rule, the people fear the emperor, and the dukes’ influence becomes relatively weak.”
Leah bounced her finger. When Sharillo was explaining it, she didn’t get what he was talking about, but Evan explained it and she understood it.
Leah said, clapping her hands for joy.
Evan replied humbly to her response.
“No big deal. You’re more than amazing, as you understood at once. And I’ve heard this explanation from Patricia. Patricia’s great.”
“Are all your friends that great?”
Evan nodded with a proud face to Leah’s question.
“Everything they do is different. Royan is very strong, and Maria is really good at calculating. Wilson plays the flute well, and Catherine ties the rope stronger than anyone else. So that no one can undo it. And…”
He listed each of his friends and pointed out what they were good at. Sometimes when he praised some of his friends, he said, “She’d be the cutest in the world!” and “His eyes are so big that no one wants to lie in front of him.” So he spoke without skipping any of the ten friends.
Leah wanted to raid Evan’s village right away. Ten children, each with a specialty. Leah was reminded of the legends that she had heard before.
The story of the prince who defeated a dragon, the hero of the prince who defeated the enemy and widened the territory, and the adventures of the knight who defeated the Black Wizard all had similar beginnings.
An ordinary main character meets his friends one by one. They have weaknesses and strengths, but they help the main character with their own specialties.
Without friends, the main character wouldn’t be able to do anything. Of course, it was up to the protagonist to pick up the sword at the end to defeat the villain, but it was all his friends who made him decide to go to defeat the villain, to raise him up in despair, to give him courage when he lost courage and tried to give up everything.
Every time Leah read such novels, she envied the main character. She was confident of fighting better than the main characters, but she had no friends to fight with.
“I envy you. I can’t wait to meet your friends!”
Leah asked Evan about Roman estate where he had friends. He told Leah even very small stories. Such a ceaseless chatter made Leah wonder if he had a story bag in his belly.
“But why were you in the water in the first place?”
Evan replied with a look of shame.
“I thought I could swim as I learned from a book. But it wasn’t as I thought.”
“You’ve never swam before, and you tried to do what was written in a book? Wow. What a stupid idea!”
At Leah’s words, Evan went near the pond where he had fallen. The pond, which used to be muddy, had become clear as the impurities subsided.
Following Evan, Leah went near it too. The pond was not very big. Leah was dumbfounded to think that he almost drowned in a small pond about the size of her room.
“We don’t even have a pond this big in our neighborhood.”
“Not even anything this small?”
“Yes. The wells in the village are all there is, and you can’t swim in there. And then I found this place. I wanted to practice swimming here and then go back and teach them how to swim. But there was a lot of difference from what I read in the book. Far from swimming, I almost drowned without being able to float.”
Evan was so disappointed that Leah could no longer laugh at what he had done.
“Why on earth did you try to learn how to swim?”
“Swimming is essential to become a pirate.”
Evan said weird things again. Suddenly, when Leah tilted her head, who didn’t understand why all of sudden he was talking about pirates, Evan grinned and said.
“I’ll be a pirate when I grow up.”
He straightened out his chest and said proudly. The sky was turning scarlet behind Evan. Leah thought he was very cool when he was talking about his dream with his back to the sunset.
“I want to travel from place to place on a big ship. You can climb a watchtower and look at the horizon in the distance, or at night you can lie on the ship platform and watch the stars fall on the sea. I want to drink cold beer and sing a pirate song on the day I stop by the harbor. Like, ‘the seaman leaves for the sea looking for hidden treasure.’”
Surprised by the very detailed plan, Leah asked.
“Wow! I didn’t even know there was a pirate these days. How do you know so well about pirates?”
He rubbed his nose and answered.
“I read it in a book called ‘Millions’ Sea Adventures’. I decided to become a pirate after reading that book. I’m going to take a boat with my friends and go out to the sea far away.”
Leah wanted to go out to sea with him, too. Originally, her dream was to become a knight and defeat an evil king to win the evil king’s treasure, but when she heard Evan’s dream, she thought pirates would be great too. She was also very attracted to the idea of traveling from place to place in search of treasures.
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