The Extraordinary, the Ordinary, and SOAP! – Chapter 24

Lucia and Celes Chat

We moved at an incredibly slow pace after joining the rest of the expedition. Apparently the next town was very close. I could scarcely believe that Sir Gaius and I had ridden so hard to get this far. Although at the time, we had been focused on catching up as quickly as possible, of course.
But now, our pace was leisurely enough that we could talk, even riding horseback. Given that I still wasn’t accustomed to riding, it was a welcome change.
“Getting this far must have been hard,” Sir Celes commented casually, as we continued down the road following Sir Agliardi. Ahead, I could see the carriage that Miss Maria and His Highness were riding in. Was Maria letting the prince spoil her a bit? She seemed to have been struggling a great deal.
“It really was!” I agreed. “I never thought that riding a horse could be so hard. I was so sore! But Sir Gaius taught me some stretches, and I’ve been working on them. He even got me a cushion!”
“Heh…very considerate, for a bear.”
“It’s Sir Gaius!” I chided him. Talking like this, it felt like we were back in the castle courtyard again. The weather was even nice, although by now the sun was rather low in the sky.
“He has been very kind to me,” I told Sir Celes. “Whenever I worked hard at something, he would pat me on the head and praise me. Oh, and when we stopped in a town called Tello on the way, he fed me so much. He just kept handing me food until I was sure I was going to pop!”
Thinking back, I had to laugh. I’d tried so hard to eat everything, while Sir Gaius just kept giving me more and more. I would finish one thing, and he’d push two more at me! By the end,

we’d had a whole mountain of food to deal with. But Sir Gaius had just wolfed it all down, with a mug of ale in his other hand. I’d probably eaten a whole lifetime’s worth of meat that day. Roasted and boiled and fried and all of it delicious!
“I was so full that I couldn’t even eat breakfast the next day! But Sir Gaius didn’t have any problems,” I added.
“Hmph. Sounds like you’ve really taken a liking to your Sir Gaius,” Sir Celes said. “Oh, I love him!”
“…Is that so.”
“I wonder if fathers are like that… What was your father like, Sir Celes?”
“Father!?” Sir Celes yelped. When I looked at him, his sky-blue eyes were round with surprise. Was it really such a strange question?
But Sir Celes quickly recovered. “My father, huh… I told you that I was born a commoner, right?”
I thought back on our past conversation. If I recalled correctly, Sir Celes’s hometown was called Mist, a place to the west of the capital. It was basically directly opposite of my own hometown of Hasawes, to the east.
“Yes. I think you said your family ran a general store?”
“Right. My father was a carpenter. When I said I wanted to learn swordwork, he made me a wooden practice sword. That was the sort of person he was, really. When I was young and insisted that I wanted to be a knight, not a merchant, he never held it against me. He encouraged me. He even got me into a sword-training class held by the town guards…although I had doubts myself about whether it was a good idea.”
What an open-minded father! I thought.
The gentle warmth of Sir Celes’s words made it clear how much he loved his father. Looking at his gentle, calm sky-blue eyes, I felt a thrill of delight.
“Well, thanks to all that, I was able to meet you,” Sir Celes added. “I really have to be grateful to my father.”
“All his hard work created a great hero,” I agreed.
“Didn’t I tell you not to treat me like a hero?” he complained. “By the way — you smell very nice, Lucia. Are you wearing something?”
At his comment, I fingered my hair. Surely that was what he meant. “Yes! When I left the capital, Sir Fedele gave me a bunch of Lily Blitz’s products. One of them was a hair oil. I really liked the scent, so I’ve been using it, but…maybe the smell is a little too strong?”
It had been mixed in with the lotions and other items, in a cute little vial. I’d really enjoyed the flowery scent, since it was fresh rather than cloying. But apparently it was strong enough that, even though I’d only used a very little bit before I’d gone to sleep last night, Sir Celes could

still notice it now, riding with me. Perhaps I should just not use it? It might not be good for my fellow rider, or for the horse.
“No, it’s a good scent, it suits you, but…Blitz, huh…”
“Should I quit using it? Sir Gaius said that this much would be fine and wouldn’t bother the horses. But I suppose when we’re sitting this close together, it might get annoying.”
“It’s all right, don’t worry about it. I barely noticed it, and the horse doesn’t seem to mind.”
So Sir Celes thought it was all right? I relaxed a little. Until now, I’d never been able to get nicely scented cosmetics — they were too expensive. So I’d gotten a little carried away, and then I’d been worried that I’d done something wrong. Thank goodness it wasn’t a problem.
“Still…” Sir Celes said, just as I’d calmed down, and then casually said something that turned my world upside down: “I suppose I’m just jealous that you’re wearing perfume from another guy.”

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