Arc 1, New Moon
By the time Ernst arrived, the mansion was shrouded in darkness. In Meissen, which was located in the north of Rintz, night fell quickly.
Noticing the sounds, a middle-aged man exited the manor. At first glance, Ernst thought he was the head butler, but upon seeing the careless way the man carried himself, he began to have doubts.
The man greeted him whilst biting his own tongue. He really was the head butler.
Ernst felt a touch of anxiety. After a hundred years passed without a Lord to rule it, it seemed that Meissen had lost all of its ways. Before Ernst came here, were these people the same as the rest of the population, living their lives by plowing fields and hunting?
Among the territories in Rintz Kingdom, Ernst didn’t know of any territory that was considered worse than Meissen. Ernst would be spending his whole life as the lord of this land. Thankfully, Ernst had been given a lot of time. He would be able to work on this slowly, he thought.
Though the curtain of darkness had fallen quickly, the night was still young. But after Ernst finished eating what was considered a full meal to them, he was encouraged to immediately head to bed. Though it had been a long journey, and he was certainly tired, was he supposed to go to sleep without taking a bath? Ernst was puzzled as he thought this, but when he told them that he wanted to take a bath, they looked back at him with perplexed expressions.
The royal palace did as the royal palace did, the villa did as the villa did, and Meissen did as Meissen did. Ernst paid respect to the way they did things and went to bed early.
That day, the sense of relief he had from safely reaching the mansion pulled him into a dreamless sleep.
The next morning, he woke early. Apparently, ‘early to bed, early to rise’ was a rule. There was no fire in the hearth, and Ernst shivered in the cold as he changed his clothes. Perhaps there was also a rule that the fires would only be lit in the fireplaces when it became night.
At the dining table, he ate a simple meal. Thin soup and hard bread. There wasn’t a single piece of fruit or a sip of tea. He drank hot water.
Once he’d settled in, Ernst met with the servants of the manor face-to-face. There were two butlers and three maids, and there was also one cook. As well, there was only the single head butler. There were less servants here than at the villa he’d stayed in temporarily.
Meissen was a remote region – or rather, a border region. Though the three Schell countries were friendly on the surface, they were by no means neighbors who would always trust each other.
Meissen was, at the moment, the front line against Lux Kingdom should they ever come to war. Naturally, it should have a militia within.
So was this supposed to be that militia? Ernst felt out of his mind as he looked down at himself. They were the same as all of the villagers he had seen yesterday – shabby and thin men who stood around aimlessly. Would those people be able to fight; would they be able to win against an enemy? In the first place, would they even be able to wield a sword?
Ernst went to talk with the man who was considered the commanding officer. He was a man with arrogant eyes. He had a good physique for a Kleber. This man seemed to be the only soldier here. Yet, he carried a kind of atmosphere which said that in the event of an emergency, he would go anywhere.
Ernst gathered the militia in the much-too-small inner courtyard of the mansion. There were also people hidden by the walls of the residence. Hiding his inner dismay, Ernst slowly walked through the mansion, looking at and memorizing each face. He made his way to the back, and just as he turned around, his feet stopped.
Capturing the gazes of the militia men still hidden by the walls of the manor, Ernst’s thin legs froze.