13: Feelings on a Waning Moon
Emilinne had sleepless nights a few days after Julius had departed the Royal Capital with the special army.
That night, she had accepted when Julius said it would be alright, but she wasn’t able to completely erase the worry inside of her.
“Emilinne, are you okay? You’re really pale……” This was the first thing Lillyshia, who had asked Emilinne to go for tea with her, said when she saw her complexion.
However, it was understandable that she would look like that.
Emilinne, who Lillyshia hadn’t met in a long time, looked pale. She had eye bags which she had tried to hid with make-up.
“I’m fine. I just haven’t been able to sleep well recently.”
“Is it because of Julius-sama?”
Emilinne wanted to reassure Lillyshia that she was alright, but Lillyshia had known her for a long time and could tell what was worrying her. Lillyshia guessed it right in a single sentence.
Emilinne relaxed in resignation after her breath stopped from the question.
“So you can tell after all?”
“Well, I can’t think of any other reason for you to be like this.”
“Hmph, I worry about other things too……”
“What else do you worry about?”
“……………… Nothing else, I guess?”
Emilinne puffed her cheeks out at Lillyshia who had decided that she had no other worries, she couldn’t say anything in return when Lillyshia rebuked her so she remained silent.
She passed it off by sipping her tea cup and then she sighed deeply.
“You have it bad, don’t you?”
Lillyshia smiled wryly at Emilinne who was miles away.
Lillyshia also put the cup to her mouth and enjoyed the aroma of the tea.
“Is Julius-sama already fighting on the battlefield now?”
“It’s been a few days since he’s left the Royal Capital…… He should be reaching the battlefield soon. I don’t think he would suddenly rush out into a full-scale battle.”
Lillyshia calmly estimated the army’s distance from how much time had passed and Emilinne, who had heard that estimation, was once again overwhelmed with worry.
“Oh, I wonder if Julius-sama is safe.”
“Did I mess up?”
Lillyshia put her hand to her forehead and sighed as Emilinne went back to sighing.
Then she noticed that she was also sighing just like Emilinne was and shook her head to snap herself out of it.
“By the way, Emilinne. You told me that you talked with Julius-sama about something before he left.”
“Huh? Yes, his letter said to meet him on the hill at the back of my estate at night. We talked a little when I went there. He told me why he was participating in this war……”
Emilinne had started distressing even though she had answered and Lillyshia asked curiously, “Is there something wrong with why he’s joining the war?”
Emilinne was hesitate about whether she should tell Lillyshia the reason, but she really wanted to consult with her. She told Lillyshia about her meeting with Julius before he departed with the special army.
“He said that gaining prestige from battle achievements was important for marrying me. Even though that kind of thing isn’t necessary at all……”
“I see…… So he’s serious about it.”
Lillyshia pointed out that she understood why he was participating in war after Emilinne told her the reason.
Lillyshia thought that Emilinne would agree with her, but her reaction was the complete opposite. Emilinne stared at her.
“There are many who would oppose the marriage between you and Julius-sama. He probably wants to silence them by gaining prestige.”
It is expected that people would oppose a marriage between two woman even if Julius was official regarded as a man. Lillyshia guessed that Julius wanted to forcibly remove those obstacles by amassing achievements.
Still Julius was actually a man, so Lillyshia’s assumptions were fundamentally wrong.
“That just shows how serious Julius-sama is about marrying you.”
Emilinne was happy at what Lillyshia had said, but resented that he went to such a dangerous place even though she didn’t want him to. Her face showed her mixed emotions and she muttered.
Night fell and after Lillyshia had returned home, Emilinne went out onto the balcony and looked out into the far distant sky.
She was looking out into the north, the direction of the battlefield where Julius is supposed to be.
Emilinne stared off into the distance battlefield where her fiancée was under the waning moon and thought of him.
She stared at the sky for a while and then began singing, filled with thoughts of Julius who was fighting in the northern battlefield.
She hoped that her singing would reach Julius.
『What are you doing right now under the distant night sky when my heart is breaking this much?』
She continued to sing at the moon to comfort her lonely heart.
『If my voice does reach you, then I wish you would respond. Or in the very least comfort me.』
Was hearing someone’s voice overlapping with hers a delusion?
Emilinne believed that it was Julius’s voice singing out his feelings, even though he wasn’t here.
“What’s wrong, Julius?”
On the fortress near the northern border of Aullène Kingdom, Julius turned and looked into the opposite direction, which Maxián thought was odd, so he asked him a question.
Julius stared silently into the south and didn’t answer even when he was asked a question, but he turned and answered Maxián before long, “No, I just thought I heard a voice. It sounded like someone was singing……”
“Really? I didn’t hear anything.”
Maxián put his hands to his ears and tried to listen to his surroundings, but he didn’t hear anything out of the usual.
Julius looked to the south again and began to hum after a while.
『…… I look forward to the day I’m by your side again. I’m singing alone dreaming of that day』
“It’s nothing, don’t worry about it.”
Julius turned his head back and changed the topic when Maxián asked him why he was singing to himself.
“More importantly Maxián, you said that you wouldn’t be participating in the war, what made you change your mind?”
“That’s…… Uh, I also wanted prestige.”
Maxián was participating in the war because he was worried about Julius, but he couldn’t say that and was at a loss for words. Still, he had managed to squeeze out an answer.
There was nothing more painful than this.
“I see. Well, it might be expected as a nobleman of Aullène Kingdom.”
“There aren’t any problems if it’s a man……”
Maxián was fixated on the word [man] and intentionally muttered his real feelings.
The reason why he was participating in the war was because it was dangerous for Julius [who he thought was a female] to participate in the war and he wanted to protect her. He was overdoing it.
“Mm? Did you say something?”
“N-no! I didn’t say anything. Anyway Julius, I want to gain prestige because I can’t succeed my House as the second son. But why would you, who will succeed an Earl House as its oldest son, want prestige? I missed the chance to ask you the last time so I was curious.” Maxián asked as if trying to cover up his blunder, but Julius didn’t notice this and answered even if it was a bit difficult.
“Well, it’s no use even if I try to cover it up now. It’s fine if I say it already, right? Even so, it isn’t a great reason. I want to make myself seem more important so that I could get married with Emilinne. That’s all there is to it.”
“I thought that if I can get prestige from battle achievements in this war, then I could marry her with confidence.”
“I see…… You’re serious about this, aren’t you?”
“? Serious? About marrying Emilinne? Of course I’m serious.”
Maxián, who had realised that Julius was serious and concluded the same thing as Lillyshia, was secretly shocked by this fact.
Julius didn’t notice that the love of the man in front of him was breaking into atoms and continued to talk about his intentions.