Rachel raised her head from the book she was reading and listened in to the faint noise she could just barely hear in the distance.
“This is……..is it the knight company’s training?”
From quite a distance away you could just barely make out somebody shouting out commands.
While listening to that shouting that was too far away to be able to tell what was actually being said, a thought suddenly came to Rachel.
“That’s right……..I haven’t really exercised recently.”
Rachel had never lived a life where she enthusiastically exercised in the first place, but because she had to walk around the palace quite a bit while being wrung out from her Queen’s education, she had done a lot more exercise back then when compared to now where she isn’t even able to leave her room.
Though it’s not like she felt like she had gained any weight just because she’d been missing out on some exercise…….
“Perhaps, I wonder if the reason why I’ve been sleeping so lightly recently is because I haven’t been getting enough exercise.”
Her all-important good night’s sleep was being affected. There was also the possibility she had just been sleeping too much lately as well though.
Rachel, “Muu……….!” inflated her cheeks and let out a cute growl.
“That’s how it is…….if you’re inside a prison, you wouldn’t get tired at all.”
Certainly your body wouldn’t be moving. But, a normal human being would assuredly be accumulating some form of mental fatigue.
Rachel, showing no sign of such a thing and if anything was actually looking quite lively, let out a sigh while thinking about how she had neglected her health.
“It’s no use……because I was always so tired when engaged to His Highness because of my Queen’s education, I’d always fall asleep within five seconds of entering my bed.”
That’s not very healthy in its own right.
Rachel slapped her knee.
“Come to think of it, there was some exercise equipment I prepared to use while in prison.”
Digging in through her wooden crates, she searched out her prepared sports equipment.
“Hmm, I bought it because it looked kind of interesting…………yep, this is it.”
Elliott was returning after participating in the knights’ training due to Sykes’s encouragement when he heard some strange noises coming from the backyard while walking through a nearby corridor.
“Hey…….what’s making that grinding noise?”
Sykes and Wolanski who had been following close behind listened in and shared a look.
“I hear it too……….but, what is it?”
“Let’s see, it sounds like someone’s scraping something against a rock.”
Sykes used his intuition to try and figure out where the sound was coming from………it was the dungeon. When they arrived there, the sound of something being scraped against something else was clearly leaking from the inside of the prison.
“………..Oi, that woman’s at it again.”
“If there’s something strange going on in the backyard, then Rachel’s sure to be involved.”
Walking down the stone steps with the conviction that there was no way they’d end up absolutely satisfied at the end of this, the men found out that the scraping noise they had been hearing was coming from Rachel using a crank-type hand drill against the wall.
“Oh my, it’s His Highness. Did you have some business today?”
Rachel, who seemed to have just reached a good place to stop, turned back around, wiping some sweat off her forehead.
Wearing a set of clothes that left her limbs bare and quite a bit of skin exposed, not to mention all the sweat she had worked up drilling holes into a stone wall, she had a figure that left it difficult for a man to look directly at her.
“You, can’t look………….why are you like that………”
“Huh? Isn’t it normal to change your clothes so that you can move more easily when you’re exercising?”
Elliott and the others did their best to look only at what Rachel had in hand while she was talking.
“……..hey Sykes, did they recently start up a new sport where you dig through stone?”
“Although that was what Rachel was doing……….I don’t think there is though right?”
“So why is a prisoner locked in jail trying to tell us about the latest trends?”
While the three men turned their gazes slightly while loudly whispering among themselves, Rachel was wiping her sweaty face with a towel before making an astonished face.
“Saying you’ve never heard of the sport, do you think I’m practicing for some masonry competition…………?”
“Eh……..? But, doing exercise………well then you, what is that……..”
Elliott took a better look at what Rachel had in hand as she replaced the drill in the wall with some other kind of protuberance.
It was something that would have fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, resembling a pebble half buried in the soil. There was something like a stake stuck in the middle that Rachel hammered into the hole she had just carved out.
“If you look closely at the wall, you’d see I can attach all sorts of things.”
“What is that!?”
Looking more closely, Elliott realized that the surface of the stone wall had a number of those protrusions alternately arranged across it. It looked a little creepy, like an army of starfish firmly attached to rocks that refused to be washed away by the ocean’s waves.
While Elliott was trying to figure things out, Rachel seemed to have already finished what she had wanted to do.
Putting some chalk powder onto her hands, Rachel wrapped her fingers around some of the protrusions and made as if she were about to start climbing the wall.
“Yosh, this will work!”
Rachel made a large smile at her own self-sufficiency,
“No, what did you do to feel so good about yourself?”
and Elliott still felt a little lost.
Applying some powder to your hands, you climb up the wall using your fingers and toes. Watching Rachel do all this, it seems that this was what that woman meant when she said, ‘exercise’.
“After all this, what is this?”
Elliott turned his eyes away from Rachel towards Sykes who had responded so confidently.
“You know about it?”
“It’s a climbing game, or maybe it’d be better to call it a technique, where you climb up a large rock without using any equipment……..however, it’s not the type of sport you’d find in a prison……..”
Also exasperated by Sykes’s words, Rachel regretfully nodded her head.
“That’s right……..the walls just aren’t high enough in a prison.”
“No, really. That not the problem.”
Sykes couldn’t find the words to say in response to Rachel being concerned with the wrong problem.
While Sykes was at a loss for words and unsure of how to continue, Rachel was seen mumbling, “That should be fine,” to herself before slapping her fist into the palm of her hand.
“That’s it! Your Highness, may I blow off the ceiling to this place?”
“Of course! I mean, it’s not like it’s pretty selfish to dig out a bunch of holes in the wall of your cell in the first place!! Bastard, you doing this……..making holes in the wall and attaching a bunch of strange things………”
“They aren’t strange things. They’re holds.”
“‘Strange things’ is good enough!! And stop remodeling the prison for your own selfish reasons!”
Rachel raised an unwilling voice in response to all of Elliott’s blaming.
“Even though you were laughing so hard when I drew that picture………..”
“Just · who · was laughing when they saw that!? I felt awful, turned away from it, and wanted to fall over!”
“Now now. If it’s about that time with the painting, then you should have told me not to do it before I did it……..there’s nothing I can do if you tell me not to do it after it’s already been done.”
“If so then you should be asking for permission to start with! How am I supposed to know what to tell you not to do if you haven’t done it yet!? And don’t you realize we’re going to have to undo all this stuff once you leave this cell!?”
“I, won’t I be stuck in here until I die? I have no idea what’s going to happen after I die.”
“How about you just offer an apology for all this!?”
“I’d rather not.”
Tired from yelling at Rachel when she doesn’t take any of their complaints to heart at all, Elliott’s group trudged out from the dungeon after watching her continue forward with her practice for a little bit.
Elliott let out a deep sigh and looked up towards the sky which had just started turning a deep shade of red.
“………what is it, Your Highness?”
Elliott continued staring up at the sky while trying to ruminate what had just happened in his head.
“A woman who exercises in light clothing…………..it’s pretty good.”
Sykes looked out with the same far-off look in his eye.
“That’s right……..thinking about it, the only good thing about Martina was how she looked when sweating.”
To the side Wolanski was writhing about.
“Uncaring……….making such an uncaring face while using a towel to wipe off sweat…….that gesture that emphasizes the fact she’s not wearing any make up, it’s good! After all a natural beauty is the best!”
The group of the pubescent noble boys continued to digest the image that had become seared into the back of their eyelids for just a little while longer.
1. Just to point out the difference, bouldering is climbing those fake rock walls like what Rachel is doing. Rock climbing is usually meant to reference larger climbs that involve harnesses and other tools.