[NH - Chapter 2]
Inside the castle, various nobles and knights were either on guard, or conversing with one another in the main halls and outside of various rooms.
The walls were a silver-white that seemed to shine and sparkle in the sun’s light.
The carpet was a rosey red with golden embroidery and seemed to cover just about every floor throughout the castle. How someone managed to make such a perfect single piece of the carpet that fit the entire castle’s floor, so much as to even fit the stairs and cover multiple levels, caught the eye of the hero and filled her with a sense of amazement. Not even in her more modern would could she think that someone would be able to fashion such a piece of material.
Various ornaments and other furnishings dotted the halls wherever they walked. The pictures of various peoples, most presumably nobility, covered many walls.
It was then they entered a specifically ornamental room, filled with gold and gems encrusted to all manners of statues and other figures. On the walls, glorious, almost lifelike pictures of various men with crowns atop their heads were plastered on the abnormally high walls. Each painting was nearly twice her size, leaving her breathless.
“Hem… This are the previous kings if i’d be allowed to guess Sir Gregory?”
“Why yes my Lady, these paintings were done by the Asquith family, a famous house of noble painters that have been tasked with the paintings of nobility and royalty longer than anyone could hope to remember. Their mastery of the brush, quill, and literary arts have long since secured their place as one of the most influential houses.
In fact, as you had asked for a person of Philosophy, it just so happens that the head of the house was the person I intended to introduce to you. Though first I wanted to introduce you to Head Scholar of Blackwood university. His studies into public health and administration is revolutionary.”
-Tsk… just a person working on organizing books and medicine? I asked for someone that deals in technology and development… Hell, an architect would be better than him… Well, I suppose not actually, but I should make the point of adding a guy on architecture.
“I beg your pardon Sir Gregory… But if I may, I seem to have forgotten about a field that I would have liked to inquire on. Your mentioning of your scholar on health and administration reminded me that I would like to speak with an architect that specializes in building. While I admit that it doesn’t help me get in touch with how to handle this world, it’s just my selfish desire to inquire about such marvelous stone work and craftsmanship.
In my world, we had long since made such works obsolete with our machinations and automation. The arts as they were have almost become a figure of the past… So, if it wouldn’t trouble you, could you please humor my selfish nature just a little?”
-Say that, then put a really sad face, puff my lips just a little, and nice eyes wide open. No, sad eyes… now let’s see how he reacts… since I already sowed the seeds earlier, he should bite.
“Why, but of course my Lady, I should never hope to prevent such a beauty such as yourself… I .. I mean, such a … uh.. beautiful mind such as yours be prevented from admiring our architecture. In fact, the chief architect of noble house of Mortcombe house just so happens to be remodeling the training fields. Would you like to meet him first my Lady?”
“Oh, Sir Gregory you flatter me with your kindness, if it would not be too much trouble, could you escort me to this man?”
“Leave it to me!”
Saying this, Sir Gregory seemed to gain an extra kick to his step as his shoulders raised and gallantly walked through the halls.
-Hee hee, I kind of like this one, he’s so cute when he gets a little attention. Well, I can’t say that i’m attracted to him, but I do enjoy his company. Shame he isn’t much my type, it would be easy to gain his total favor, but just this much should be fine.
After passing down the main staircase near the center of the castle, Sir Gregory led the hero through a long hall and out into the courtyard. There, various scaffoldings and stones were in place with large stones being carried by large, wooden machines with counter weights onto large platforms where craftsmen were shaping them and placing them into half finished buildings.
“I want Charles and Tristan on the stables. Porter, I want you to help Chester and the others do maintenance on the castle walls. IAN, I SAID DON’T START SHAPING THAT ROCK!..”
Just then, Sir Gregory and the hero walked into the courtyard.
“Quinn! Go and fix Ian’s mess, we need to get this done befo….
By the spirits of the sun… such beauty…”
As the Sir Gregory and the hero walked towards the man atop a horse in the middle of the courtyard, he suddenly stopped shouting and looked over towards them.
From afar it was hard to tell, but it seemed that his eyes were wide and his mouth as somewhat open.
-Oh, right, i’m wearing this expensive dress right now… It IS a bit revealing around the legs, it isn’t super short or anything, but this scene is obviously medieval… and i’m in a tight fitting dress that is revealing my legs up to just a bit above the knees… I might want to ask for a change in wardrobe soon, or I might just have every last perverted man in the entire castle proposing or some noise… Damn that would piss me off…
As they drew near, the man on the horse quickly dismounted and rushed over to them.
He immediately kneeled before the hero and began speaking.
“My Lady, I must profess that your beauty has stolen my heart, I simply must know your house.”
“My, such rash boldness. I’ve never been so quickly approached in all my years.
Sir Gregory, do I give of the appearance of a common women to be so bashfully approached?”
-Tsk, this guy. Who the hell does he think he is? Just because he’s probably a noble doesn’t mean i’m going to tolerate being treated like some damsel. That sh*t hasn’t flown for us women for hundreds of years and i’m certainly not going to swoon just because some random person professes the moment he sees me. How fucking fickle hearted.
Needless to say, the hero was quite displeased at the undesired attention from the rather unattractive noble. He was somewhat overweight and had crude and shameless eyes as he investigated her person as he had rushed towards her.
“Sir Dorian of house Mortcombe, show your respects to the Lady. Do you intend to treat her as a mere peasant girl bound to the royal halls?
Have shame, or I shall cut it into your flesh you disrespectful pomp!”
After hearing the hero’s displeasure at Dorian’s behavior, Sir Gregory felt a sense of anger boil up from his chest as he talked Dorian down with great force. His chest puffing out and his left sword flying towards the hilt of his blade.
Stunned at the scene, Dorian instantly realized that he had just treated this Lady with disrespect. Certainly, he had never seen her before, so he just assumed that it was a peasant girl that some noble had brought with him. As such, his behavior was that of a man addressing a concubine, and most certainly not a Lady of class.
Realizing his mistake, Dorian slammed his face into the ground and spoke.
"The Spirits of the Sun forgive my transgression.
My dear Lady, please forgive this blind fool for his transgressions. I had no right to a woman of high noble blood like that.
Please, stomp my face into the dirt and mud to quell your anger.”
Normally, Dorian would not have acted so noble to any women, but this beauty before him truly had stone his heart. Never in his life had he seen such a women, he strongly desired to make her his, and when he found out that she was noble born and he had just spoken to her as if she were a mere concubine, his heart ran cold as if his world had shattered.
She was his equal and yet he had offered her one of the greatest insults one could offer to a noble. At least, in this world of course.
To ask for her to crush his face into the mud was one of the greatest ways of apology in the kingdom. As the ground of the courtyard is a mix of horse droppings and other debris, to have one’s face pressed into it was certainly revolting.
Needless to say, the resulting scene had drawn the attention of the few dozen men working around the courtyard. While they didn’t approach, they were certainly staring, mostly at the women that Lord Darian, head of the Mortcombe family was bowing his head into the ground for. For them, it was a sight to behold.
-Eh? Wait what? I just wanted to startle him a little bit and to not look like I was easy flesh to obtain… Uhh… what do I do? He want’s me to kick his face? Uhh… right…. some weird custom of forgiveness maybe? Uh… no wait… this might be a good chance to earn this man’s favor too as well as look kind to Sir Gregory and those men that are watching this scene.
“Uhh.hh.hh. Sir… Dorian was it? There’s no need for such great apologies. If you were to kiss my hand and simply offer your apologies for being so bold, there’s really no reason for such extremities.
When Dorian heard this, he could only look up in surprise. He was being forgiven? He had just greatly insulted her and yet she would even allow him to kiss the back of his hand? Her? A noble woman of such beauty that only the princess could compare to? In his heart, Dorian burned with a great sense of happiness and devotion. He couldn’t even hope to beg for such kind words.
The happiness that he felt only served cause him to freeze and think. -I’m not even close to worthy of her. This fat and unsightly body, this plain face… even still, she would forgive my insults? I… I can’t ever repay this kindness…. surely she is a Goddess sent from beyond to this mortal plain….
After looking up at the hero, her bangs blowing slightly into the wind, the sun behind her head glowed and made her seem even more majestic and beautiful. The scene for the rest of the workers as she held her hand out to Dorian was as a princess and her knight. Though only Dorian and Sir Gregory had heard the conversation, both were moved to tears from the hero’s kindness.
“Guh…. Guh, for such words… just name it… anything and it’s yours…. If you want a castle… just come and ask… I shall build you a castle to rival the kings… guh… on my ancestor's honor I swear it… guh..”
With one hand drying his watering eyes he held the hero’s hand with the other. His hand was rough and strong. Though the hero’s wasn’t very soft either.
She was a fitness buff in her world, though when she got her genetic modifications, she had stopped because her muscles would heal faster than she could work them out, thus she couldn’t build any muscle or lose any weight from it. But with her mitochondria being changed, almost all of her fat was burned away within a few weeks, her skin turning refreshingly new and soft as if she had weeks of spa treatment.
To say, she didn’t need to workout anymore to maintain her figure and she could eat whatever she wanted without worrying about gaining weight. This had caused her to stop heading to the gym and doing her free running exercises. Though her hands had yet to lose the calluses from constantly climbing on rough concrete and the impacts from all of her running and jumping. As such, she was a pretty good runner and climber, which really helped when she had to navigate the ruins of a city during the creature’s attack.
“Uhm… thank you very much… Sir Dorian… Sir.. Sir Gregory, where was the chief architect that you were going to introduce me to?”
“Oh, yes… that.. would actually be the head of the house Mortcombe, Sir Dorian... My apologies for his behavior… He was not informed of your status beforehand.”
“Eh? Oh… I don’t mind about that… much anyways… Well… right…”
-Oh hell, this guy was the so called great architect? Well fuck this… I’ll just ask a few questions and then end this quick… the less I have to deal with an ugly man that proposed to me, the better… no... I shouldn't leave before I get a bit of history too...
“Uhm… Sir Dorian, might you at least stand… from where i’m from, a man on his knees before a women is only done by a Lady’s husband… So… if you could…”
-Let’s see you jump from that. It’s actually a proposal for marriage, but he doesn’t know that. Well, that, and if I said proposal, he might get weird thoughts… uhhg…
Oh, my goodness, please forgive me. I hadn’t intended to trouble you further!”
As he said this, he quickly rose and began dusting himself off, taking great care to not let any of the dust get near the hero’s beautiful dress.
“You had some questions about architecture my lady? What can this lower noble do for you?
Please ask without reserve!”
-Hmm, I might as well ask about the differences about houses, how to distinguish the class of house and such. If this land is united, that should mean the same rules work throughout. My world already has much higher class building techniques, but some contacts and names of builders to ask for might be good to have too. Ok, can’t just stay here quiet, i’ll just go with it.
Putting a finger on her lower lip while tipping her head, the hero began asking her questions.
“Wise architect of the great family, Mortcombe, known for their craftwork, I must claim myself to not be from this land, you see, I was summoned from my homeworld for the sake of this world. My great family bred minds of science, nature, creation and war. As for me, I lacked any true talent for these fields, though I found them all highly interesting. Could you perhaps do me the pleasure of showing me around your construction site?
I would love to hear about the materials used for different houses, how you deal with weather. Just whatever pops into your head, if you could spare me a small bit of your time while you are managing your project.
I certainly don’t want to interrupt or cause a scene…”
Saying that last sentence, the hero purposefully acted passive and shy as she held her arms close to her chest and lowered her head.
“My Lady, it would be the greatest of pleasure. Please never think of yourself as a burden! I’m sure not a single man here would have a problem with such a wonder to the eyes watching them work.
Hell, i’m sure they might just work harder to show off. Hahaha.”
Saying this, he raised his chest and gave a hearty laugh.
After that short back and forth, Darian led the hero, escorted by Sir Gregory around the courtyard, sharing various things about their construction equipment and the history of his family.
He shared the various achievements and breakthroughs of his family, such as the son of the founding father of the family name who discovered using a counterweight could allow movement of large stones with less effort or his very own father who created the large scale rotating crane that they were using in the courtyard for maintaining the castle’s walls.
He seemed quite proud of his family’s achievements, making sure to explain the various stories behind the discoveries and great works.
He shared how his family was responsible for overseeing the construction of the castle and how they had discovered a large quarry of a stone they called aventurine. The King of the time was so fascinated by the stone that he purchased the entire town that was built on top of it just so he could have a castle built from the stone.
It was then that the hero noticed a pile of the shining white stones that she had seen making up the walls within the palace and walked over to them.
“Ooh, these stones are so pretty.”
“Indeed, the stone is known as the royal stone, it symbolizes the royal family as the entire palace is made of…”
Just at that moment, the hero had picked up a seemingly large brick of the stone with one of her hands. She had found a small gap in it that suited as a handhold and picked it up in one hand to look at it closer.
“Uh.. uhm… dear Lady…. how is it you are holding that stone… in… one hand…?”
Tilting her head, she replied, confused.
“Hmmm? What do you mean? It’s so light, so I was just about to ask how it could be this light for such a large stone.”
At that, she noticed both Dorian and Sir Gregory’s mouths drop slightly.
Wiping a bit of sweat from his brow, Dorian spoke again.
“My.. my dear lady… the aventurine stone is among the heaviest in the kingdom… the one you are holding right now that is as large as your arm would weigh well over a hundred and fifty pounds…”
When Dorian said that, she looked back down at her hand that was holding the stone in surprise.
[NH - Chapter 2 End]
Next Chapter: NH Chapter 3