Let’s Go to the Palace
Luchila knew about the Hero Ruck.
“Yo-you are the Hero Ruck?”
“Yes, I am.”
Gerberga must have been surprised too.
I hadn’t expected Gerberga to know about Ruck as well.
Luchila was a member of a faraway tribe in the north.
I felt a little gloomy when I thought about how far my name had spread.
“That’s why I’m close with Eric.”
“So that’s why. That’s amazing.”
Gerberga flapped his wings furiously and then flew over to my lap.
Chickens could fly if it was a short distance.
“Wh-what is it, Lord Gerberga?”
“Lord Gerberga wants to greet the Hero Ruck.”
“Is that right.”
If Luchila said it, maybe it was true.
But did Luchila really understand what Gerberga was saying?
I doubted it. I really did.
Gerberga clucked as he stretched his neck towards my shoulder.
It was almost like he was asking for a hug.
And so I gently hugged Gerberga.
“Lord Gerberga loves the stories about the Hero Ruck.”
“Yes. He was very happy when I read the storybook to him.”
I didn’t know that there was such a thing.
I looked at Goran.
“Ah, now that I think of it, there was such a thing. Eric decided to have them freely circulated across the country in order to facilitate reading comprehension.”
“We have one too! Do you want to read it?”
“…No. Not at all.”
There was no part of me that wanted to read a book about myself.
After that, Goran contacted the palace.
We were immediately granted an audience which would allow us to see Eric.
“I am so nervous.”
“You don’t have to be so nervous, you know?”
Serulis tried to help Shia relax.
We entered Goran’s carriage and went straight towards the palace.
When we arrived, a servant led us to a waiting room.
“So this is the palace.”
Shia and Luchila were looking around.
Luchila was holding Gerberga, who was also very excited.
I hadn’t been in the palace for a very long time. Over ten years, really.
The atmosphere seemed quite different.
I looked around the room. All of the decorations and furniture was different from ten years ago.
They were of high quality but not extravagant. It was probably Eric’s taste.
Just then, a boy came in with some tea.
He seemed very confident in the way he moved but looked younger than Serulis.
After he left, I said to Goran,
“He seems pretty young for a Chamberlain.”
“He’s the chamberlain’s apprentice. Eric supports countless apprentices.”
“Apprentice knights, apprentice chamberlains, apprentice cooks. Many occupations. I think he is supporting over 2,000.”
I didn’t know that.
But 2,000 seemed excessive.
“It’s part of his education policy. The second or third sons of poor nobles. The children of knights who died in battle…”
So it wasn’t just about education, but also a welfare policy.
There would be wide-ranging effects as well.
There was a lot of meaning in having the palace raise children of knights who died at war.
Knights would be more loyal if they knew that their children would be taken care of if they died.
The second and third sons of poor nobles had no titles or lands to inherit.
But still, they could not be treated poorly as they were still nobles.
If the palace took them in, then the lower class of nobles would owe him a debt.
“He also has orphaned children from all around the country enter into an apprenticeship.”
It would be easier for people raised at the palace to become self-reliant.
And the ones that were especially brilliant could continue to work at the palace.
And because of the debt they owed, they would serve Eric loyally.
“Eric has really thought this through.”
“He’s very passionate about education.”
Goran said with a laugh.
But considering that this ‘passion’ resulted in him spreading books about me, I did not join him in his laughter.
In fact, I meant to make a complaint to Eric about it.
As I thought this, the door opened.
Eric entered with the biggest smile.
“Ah, Ruck. I hope you have been doing well?”
“Yes, thanks to you.”
“That is good.”
There were two young girls behind Eric.
One was around 10 and the other was 3 or 4 years old.
“Ruck. You’ve never met them before, have you? These are my daughters.”
He had been informed in advance that everyone present knew my identity.
And so he had called me Ruck.
“Nice to meet you. I am Charlotte.”
“Nice to meet you. I am Ma…rie.”
Marie must have been nervous because she stuttered.
But it was cute.
Her sister Charlotte did a graceful bow.
Marie imitated her, but it was shaky.
“Nice to meet you too. I am Ruck. A friend of your father.”
“It is an honor to meet you. Grand Duke Franzen. I have heard much about you.”
“He’s the heero Ruck!”
I had never been called Grand Duke Franzen before.
The older sister was very calm and had a mature air.
Perhaps more so than Serulis.
The younger one, on the other hand, was looking at me with sparkling eyes.
And then I introduced everyone else.
After that, Marie took an immediate interest in Gerberga.
“So he’s called Gerbie?”
“How cute. There, there.”
Gerberga seemed quite pleased as Marie petted him.
As she was a young child, Luchila did not say anything.
The rest of us watched for a while before getting to the main subject at hand.