Arc 1, New Moon
In the end, he wasn’t able to sleep this night, either. The Dunbertian’s strong feelings were heavy.
Ernst let out a deep sigh. What should he do – was a question that he had lost all of his answers for. He wasn’t able to keep his mind straight.
Even though the head butler had collected all of the information on the fief for him, Ernst wasn’t able to read one page or even one sentence of it, making the head butler send him contemptuous looks. While Ernst drank his soup, the maids watched and smiled with ridiculingly as he forgot to bring it up to his mouth.
No decent Lord would be sent off to a remote place like this. Ernst heard them say this.
But, there wasn’t anything Ernst could have done. Everything about his small body was an embarrassment.
He had only been taught how to rule. No one had taught him how to relate and connect with other people.
If Ernst hadn’t fallen in love with him, then should he just say that? But, did he really not love him? He was special to him, after all. No, was he really special? Ernst had just wanted to know his name. Was that really something special, after all?
… Just what should he do.
In times like this, when Ernst thought about what he should do, Ernst lost sight of himself.
He couldn’t think about anything, and just when he’d had enough of it, his feet would always end up bringing him to that place.
He stood at his usual spot by the windowsill, blankly watching the militia train.
His appearance was… Ah, that’s right. His appearance was to Ernst’s taste. Since he himself was small, Ernst liked things that were big. His appearance was very pleasing. Though, perhaps he was a bit too big, Ernst thought.
Snow fell from the sky, glittering in the light. Winter was still just beginning.
Even without him having to say anything, the kindling for the fireplace had been prepared. But there was very little. Tomorrow, no matter what, he had to check on the financial state of the fief.
Ernst looked into the fire of the hearth. There wasn’t anything else to look at. They hadn’t prepared any candles for him. It seemed that the use of candles was precious.
The man’s large body was seated on the rug in front of the fireplace. No matter how he tried, Ernst couldn’t find a chair which fit this body.
If he were the Ernst of before, he would have looked down upon sitting on the floor, believing it to be bad manners. But after having sat on the ground in the forest and in the valley, he could only think it was such a trivial thing.
That large body looked like it was somewhat stiff with tension.
“I’ll just say it with all honesty.”
His rigid shoulders shook. Ernst felt it was sad how even if he said just one word, the man would react so strongly to it.
“I really don’t understand what it means to love someone.”
Those reddish-brown eyes looked up at him intently. The head of the man sitting on the rug came up to the same height as Ernst’s shoulders while he sat on a chair. The Dunbertian truly was enormous.
“Since I had passed my days in that sort of position, I know very little about the feeling of love. Just what sort of emotion is it, to love someone?”
“Since Lord Ernst had been the Crown Prince, I understand that this makes you feel at a loss. Moreover… Lord Ernst is also a person of the Schell continent.”
Ernst looked down at the man.
“The people of Schell continent are long-lived, and you live twice as long as people like me, who are from Grude… That may be why. Compared to us, you contemplate things much more deeply.”
This was something Ernst had read in his literature. In that case, was what Ernst had been worrying over not a result of him losing his judgment, but a characteristic of the people who came from Schell?
“Then does that mean you’re faster at coming to a decision since you’re a Dunbertian?”
“Well, that may be it… but, that is more likely a result of how we often put ourselves in battle. We can lose our lives if we judge too slowly in battle. Moreover, since we might die at any time, we become faster at making decisions, I think.”
“Hmm. So that is how it is.”
“That is why, I myself was surprised.”
The man turned his gaze away, and he laughed somewhat shyly.
“Up until now, whenever the mood was right, I would sate my desires with someone. I did not feel that there was any partner I could not have, and my desires always turned toward the next person. All of the people of Grude were like this; this was normal to us… But this wasn’t how I felt when it came to Lord Ernst. In an instant, you had stolen my heart. No matter how many years had passed until now, these feelings never went away.”