Arc 1, New Moon
As winter approached, the territory Ernst would rule was decided.
The butlers, the maids, the cooks, and even the man who owned the donkey shed tears as they bid him a reluctant farewell. This made Ernst feel happiness. When Ernst had separated from the royal palace, every single person there had an attitude expressing how they just wished for Ernst to hurry up and get out. Yet even so, the people of this villa were willing to cry for him. They cried and were angry over how absurd his situation was.
Ernst’s territory was a backwater area along the border, Meissen.
This was a place that shared a border with the neighboring country, Lux Kingdom. The snow-covered region was barren, and it was separated from the adjoining fief of Linz by steep mountains and valleys, which couldn’t be crossed during the winter season. The territory itself was broken up by steep mountains and vast forests, and it also held a raging river which served as the border to Lux Country; it was an impoverished but vast territory.
Most of its population was said to suffer from famine. Even the Lord of the territory likely wouldn’t be unaffected by it. For over a hundred years, there were no Lords ruling over Meissen.
It was probably due to the raging river and the land being too poor that the territory hadn’t been stolen by Lux Kingdom.
Crying, the butler who had once frightened Ernst with the story of the wolf shouted: Why must he have to go to that sort of place?
But for Ernst, there were things he had to do which left no room for him to spend grieving or getting angry.
That was, to prepare himself for his departure. Even if he left immediately, it was uncertain whether he would arrive safely at his destination. Winter was coming soon. Or rather, it might already be snowing over the land. In this season, Ernst didn’t know if it was even possible to cross the mountains and valley separating Meissen from Linz fief.
Even so, it was impermissible to ignore the King’s royal decree until next spring. With his life riding on the line, early in the morning on the very next day, Ernst hurriedly set off.
Did the people of the palace expect this situation to happen? It wouldn’t be a surprise; perhaps the decision of Ernst’s territory had been put off because they had been waiting for the coming of winter. He wasn’t even the Crown Prince anymore – just what were they so afraid of?
Or was it that he must have been such a nuisance that they hated him?
The horse balked at the snow trapping its legs, and was soothed by the man currently tying a rope to it.
Ernst traveled via horse-drawn carriage toward the Linz region. He wasn’t able to ride horses. He had been told that as befitting the manner of a prince, he mustn’t touch animals. Horses were things which pulled carriages; they weren’t things that the King and Crown Prince should ride. That said, Ernst regretted that he hadn’t taken the opportunity while he was at the villa to practice riding. It took fifteen days for the carriage to rush from the villa to Linz fief.
Once he passed into Linz’s territory, white snow had begun fluttering from the sky.
The servants of the villa had requested Ernst to please, at least allow them to assist in his preparations, and Ernst had gratefully accepted. They followed him on horseback, and until Ernst arrived in Linz, the servants on their horses became his escort, arranging his food and even his winter clothing.
They had really helped him out. Ernst wanted to repay this favor to them, but he didn’t really have anything with him.
Except, he had books. Ernst handed the book about medicinal plants over to them. Though they tried to refuse, saying, “Something as valuable as this…”, Ernst insisted. In the first place, he had only brought it with him to distract himself. All of its contents were already memorized inside his head.
He made them take this bulky book, and one by one, he shook each of their hands to say goodbye. All of them had warm, nice hands.
Just like the hands of the servant in the bathing chamber, they were the hands of people who lived honest, steady lives.
Whenever I read a BL, I always get anxious if the ML hasn’t shown up for a long time. So I’ll give a small spoiler and say, you can expect to see a familiar face in chapter 13.
Also, if you’d like to read more Japanese BL, please check out hasr11’s translation of Sky of the Wolf!
Unfortunately, the new wordpress format broke the way I usually do footnotes. Since most of my footnotes are about the problems of my translation, I’ll leave them stacked at the bottom of the page.