107 Alea's Training

The sun was high in the sky, but Venroris was dim as usual due to the shade provided by the Tree of Life. Because of this, the walk to the Elven Palace was rather cool.

Earl took a glance at Alea. She had grown considerably more beautiful over the years. Her curves were becoming more prominent, and her face was resembling more and more of her mother's.

"What?"

...Her attitude, however, was night and day compared to Saryll's.

"Nothing. I just thought you looked nice today."

"Oh? Are you trying to fluster me?" She said while remaining as cool as a cucumber. She had built up resistance to his words after years of exposure.

"Why would you think that I wonder?"

"It's hard to believe the things you say."

"I've never lied to you." Earl looked at her innocently.

"That is true, but what I say remains true."

They arrived at the teleportation circles at the base of the Tree of Life.

"I'm going to train with the guards," Alea said simply.

"I'll follow you then."

"Annoying."

"I think I heard something rude."

"..."

"Must've been the wind."

Alea had been training with the guards ever since she learned the art of combat in her childhood. In a sense, it was the perfect place to gain battle experience. It was also one of the places where she spent the most time.

Most of the time when Earl walked Alea home, she would visit the guard training grounds of Venroris first.

The location of the training ground for the guards was neither too close to the base of the Tree of Life nor too far. Since it was merely the training ground, it did not need to be close to the edge of the city either.

"Princess, we are graced by your presence today!" The guards welcomed her with open arms.

Earl assumed this is where Alea picked up her straightforward speech and dislike of formal words.

The guards always placed her on a pedestal, as they should and their words were like honey. Normally, it was not anything to dislike. However, to Alea who saw them as a training tool, such formality was not right with her.

"Enough. Who's first today?" She immediately declared as she walked into the training ground.

It was built similarly to the one Earl fought her in when they first met in the Elven Palace. Wide, flat ground surrounded by a barrier.

The guards were all strong, purebred elves. As such, all of them were handsome beyond belief. A regular human girl would soil her panties if she were in the shoes of Alea.

"The honour of going first shall be mine today, Princess!" A random elven guard volunteered.

Guards of the capital had a certain level of standard which had to be met. Earl was told by Alea that all the guards had to hold back when she first came as a child.

Now, they could fight her nearly at full power.

Earl did not pay much attention to the fight other than the sight of Alea dancing around. Her dress-cum-training clothes only went down to her knee so he would see occasional flashes of her shapely thighs. Furthermore, the dress would cling tightly to her developing shapely body with enough sweat.

As such, Earl ended up staying for a few hours without getting bored. He always stayed until Alea finished training whenever he accompanied her.

Alea would duel with a guard, take a brief rest, and fight another one. She would do this until she fought every guard at the training area. Not every battle was a victorious one but she was never discouraged.

"Good job today." He told her lightly while handing her a flask of water.

She took the flask without complaint and chugged down all the water in one go. The sound of her gulping water down while droplets of sweat dripped down her small neck was quite the sight to be seen.

After finishing her water, she took a seat next to Earl. She looked cold as usual but he could tell that she was visibly tired.

"Why are you training so hard?" He couldn't help but ask a question he would normally never ask.

"I want to become strong and powerful." Alea gave the most generic, vague answer.

Earl looked at her. "That's not very lady-like of you."

She gave him a cold, hard stare and then replied flatly. "I would rather become strong than lady-like."

"Is that so?" Earl shook his head.

"..."

"Want to go home now?"

"No."

"Are you mad because of what I said?"

"..."

"I really do think you might be overtraining, though." Earl became serious for a moment.

"You don't understand."

"Make me understand, then. Why is it that you train so hard? You are a princess. The official heir to the throne. When the time comes, you will have the support of this entire Kingdom. The protection of guards and knights. You will never be in the front line so what is it that you are doing this for?

Furthermore, you are a disciple of my mother so that training is intense enough. Then you come here and fight guards for hours. It's like this almost every day..."

"I..." The words of Earl caused Alea her eyes to widen. "Let's leave."

In the end, she chose to avoid the topic.

"Alea," Earl called her name when she looked away. "Just as you care about me, I too, care about you, don't forget that."

At that briefest moment, Earl saw a heartfelt smile on her face.

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