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Chapter: 17


/N: This is the second post in a row.

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--

Suddenly, Nicolette said she wanted to ride a horse. What was suddenly wrong with her, he wondered.

"You’re afraid of horses, aren’t you?"

"I’m not afraid of horses. I’m just afraid of big animals."

Nicolette said this with a pout on her lips, but she only looked cute when she sulked.

Nicolette was trying a lot of different things these days. The other day she made some sweets and said it was fun, like a chemistry experiment. The impression was like Nicolette. Afterwards, he heard that the chef said he had a hard time with Nicolette asking him questions.

Had she finally woken up to the idea of not only eating but also making? She said that she couldn’t make guns and watches from scratch, but she was able to maintain them, so she might eventually produce guns and watches from scratch.

She had also tried embroidery and lace knitting. She showed him what she was making. You would think she was dexterous because she liked to experiment, but she was surprisingly clumsy, and her work was not very good.

Well, whatever that was.

He would not stop her from doing whatever she did, as long as it was not unethical, but why horses? Nicolette said, ‘I’m not good with big animals,’ but he thought she was more of an animal person in general. But she said the cat was cute.

"... If you want to go horseback riding, I won’t stop you, but you can’t ride alone, can you?"

"I can’t ride. So I want to be able to ride!"

She told him with a big smile. Wolfgang looked at Nicolette, who, for some reason, was very motivated, and thought that he couldn’t stop her. Well, it was not like she was going to do anything wrong.

But he was worried, so Wolfgang followed as well.

In this era, women and men had different riding methods. Men straddled the horse, but women were supposed to ride sideways. There were even saddles dedicated to women who sat sideways.

Nicolette, who had changed into a woman’s riding outfit, was not very confident despite her bravado. She came close to the horse, but she must still be scared, as she was clinging to Wolfgang. He gave a light chuckle.

"After all, should we stop?"

"! No! I’ll ride!"

"I see."

This place was where they train for mounted combat. It was quite difficult to swing a sword or spear on horseback. Wolfgang would also like to avoid this if possible. Recently, one-handed guns had been circulating, so they introduced them, but the drawback was the reduced hit rate when riding a horse.

Anyway, there were many soldiers in training. Nicolette, who often appeared at the military training grounds with Wolfgang or the Prime Minister Hainz, was strangely supported by the soldiers. She shot guns and did maintenance. Was that why it was so familiar?

Wolfgang first straddled his horse, or rather his saddle, and put his hand around Nicolette’s belly as she was trying to get on the horse using a platform. Nicolette screamed as her body was lifted.

"Wah! ...I was surprised..."

"My bad. It wasn’t going to be an easy climb, even with a platform."

"That might be true."

Nicolette giggled. Sitting sideways on the horse and tucked into Wolfgang’s arms, she looked at the landscape in front and said.

"It’s high up!"

"That’s because you’re on horseback."

Nicolette cheered as she raised her gaze. For a moment, the idiom ‘fools and smoke like heights’ came to Wolfgang’s mind. What if one day she wanted to go up on the roof?

It was Wolfgang who felt somewhat protective.

As the horse slowly paced, Nicolette, who had been cheering at the height, scrunched up her face and clung to Wolfgang. Soldiers in training who passed them in the street teased them for being so friendly, but they ignored them for the time being.

They circled the training grounds, and Nicolette’s face was scrunched up from start to finish. Wolfgang was holding her so she wouldn’t fall, but she was a little scared. Maybe she was not a good horse rider.

"... I won’t stop you if you want to, but Nicola, I don’t think you’re cut out for riding."

"... Yeah. I myself thought so a little. But you never know until you try!"

The response was surprisingly enthusiastic, and Wolfgang decided to let her do what she wanted for now. Nicolette began her riding training by saddling a gentle little horse for side-sitting and following the instructions of her riding instructor, but-

"......"

It was so good that it silenced Wolfgang. First of all, there was something wrong with the way she sat, and the fact that the horse wouldn’t start walking unless the reins were pulled. Horses were sensitive and would probably tell when their riders were scared.

Ultimately-

"It didn’t work..."

Nicolette seemed to conclude. Ah, Wolfgang thought so too.

On the contrary, it was baking that strangely improved her skills. She had helped with cooking at the monastery where she grew up, and perhaps baking, which was similar to cooking, suited her nature.

Besides, she said that making pastries was fun, like experimenting. It was only natural that what was enjoyable would be improved.

One day at teatime, the sweets made by Nicolette were finally served. There were Quatre-Quarts. The cake was puffed up with eggs and butter and filled with nuts and dried fruits. Incidentally, it was said that in Laurier it was called Quatre-Quart, while in Dalimore it was called pound cake.

"I think it’s pretty good for someone like me who’s not a specialist."

As she said so with a smiling face, she couldn’t stop eating. Frankly, the fact that Nicolette had made it seemed frightening, but Wolfgang put his fork in the cake. When he tried it, it did not taste strange. Rather-

"That’s good..."

Although naturally inferior to those made by pastry chefs, they were delicious with a rustic taste. He would have thought that Nicolette would have called it an ‘experiment’ and put something in the production process that was not in the recipe, but it seemed that Wolfgang’s fears were unfounded. On second thought, he didn’t know if she had time to do that, since the head chefs were monitoring her.

At Wolfgang’s musings, Nicolette smiled like a blossoming flower. The person who baked the cake was also scarfing down the cake she made. The way she ate with relish had not changed since the time of their marriage.

Wolfgang asked as he watched Nicolette reach for other baked goods.

"’You, did you end up being able to ride a horse?"

Nicolette stopped eating her baked goods and stared up at Wolfgang.

"... I’ve learned to circle the training ground... Walking."

"...I see."

Nicolette first rode a horse about two weeks ago. She had been practicing frequently since then, but at this rate, it seemed difficult to get the horse to run.

‘Well, try it now until you are better. It’s going to get cold soon."

"Ah, really? It’s still fall, right?"

"It’s now. In another month, it’s going to get cold."

"I see... I wonder if the climate is much the same as in Laurier..."

Nicolette murmured. The Kingdom of Laurier was located in the southwestern direction of the Kingdom of Hainzel, but the climate must be different in different places because the country was reasonably large.

"’Where did Nicola grow up? The royal capital of Laurier is pretty far north."

But he was told that Nicolette grew up in a monastery in a remote, or rather rural, area. He believed it was near the border with Hainzel, but it was three months before he read the report. Wolfgang, whose memory was not as good as Nicolette’s, could not remember the name of the place.

"The monastery was located in the Lyonne region. It was cold in the winter."

"... It really borders on the empire."

"I guess so~. The city seems to have been a blend of imperial and Loiretian cultures, but the abbey was on the outskirts of town, so I’m not sure."

Monasteries were often detached from the secular world. Because of this, Nicolette was not sure what was going on in the city. Or perhaps it was also because she had a somewhat reclusive disposition.

The Lyonne region was located in the northeastern part of the Kingdom of Loiretie. It was surrounded by mountains and forests (Hainzel Imperial territory) and located on the border between Loiretie and the Empire.

As expected, the imperial capital was located farther north than the Lyonne region, but Nicolette, who grew up in a region with deep snow, would be able to survive an imperial winter.

"Does it snow around there?"

Nicolette nodded her head slightly with her teacup. Wolfgang, who had a teacup himself, put the cup back on the saucer and thought for a moment.

"...That’s right. It doesn’t rain that much around there. If you go out to the suburbs, there’s a fair amount of snow..."

"I’ve heard that in some freezing regions, it never snows."

"It’s not that cold."

It was indeed not that cold. Well, if you got to the northernmost tip of the empire, who knows...

"Hmmm. I see... Climate, huh? Let’s get some statistics..."

"If it’s not unethical, I won’t stop you. Do what you like."

"Yeah. That’ll be alright! Thank you, Wolf-sama!"

Nicolette nodded cheerfully. Wolfgang chuckled in dismay.

Incidentally, Nicolette really started keeping track of the weather after this. It was unclear how many experiments and records she had already taken. He wondered if she had it all in her head...

Records of Nicolette’s experiments:

·       Experiments in blending explosives (dangerous because it explodes if it fails)

·       Rose crossbreeding (apparently the ambition is to create blue roses)

·       Maintenance of guns, watches, etc. (she can’t make them from scratch, apparently)

·       Translation of books in ancient languages (translating into Hainzel language, which is not her native language, takes time)

·       Horseback riding (probably not learned)

·       Making confectionery (she’s getting strangely good at it).

·       Embroidery, lace knitting (she’s sure she’ll learn eventually, but it will take time)

·       Astronomical observation (already a habit)

·       Psychiatry (just a hobby)

·       Climate Observation (she’s going to get the stats)

These were all as far as Wolfgang knew, so she might do more than that.

--

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