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Chapter 14 – Rumours

Even though the Kingdom army felt ecstatic to finally lay siege to Enbarr, no soldier felt a sense of urgency. No, these next few days would be spent resting, eating, drinking, and of course being merry.

Sylvain, however, felt none of the “merry” part as he groggily dressed and made way for the dining hall for breakfast. He wasn’t just paranoid at the many stares he got, either – he could see them as he took a seat at a vacant table.

Sigh… Sylvain tuned out the stares and whispers. It shouldn’t surprise me that if my father knows, that the whole monastery would find out, too.

He would have been lost in thoughts all alone, too, had Ashe not rushed to his table with a plate full of food, shouting, “Sylvain! Sylvain, I am so sorry! I had no idea until just-”

That shout broke Sylvain out of his daydream. “Ashe! Uh… I mean, good morning. What do you have to be sorry for?”

“Because…” Ashe paused to take a bite of some saghert and cream. “It’s my fault that Felix disappeared. If… If I wasn’t so dense… I mean, you love him, don’t you?”

“Yeah.” Sylvain’s worry grew obvious. “It’s gross, isn’t it?”

“Not at all! I’m just happy for you. Well, except for the fact that… Felix… Um, never mind.”

“As are we!” Annette’s voice sounded from the adjacent seats, with Ingrid and Mercedes there as well.

“And yes, Ashe, before you ask, I already knew.” Ingrid spoke before Ashe could.

Ashe decided to speak anyway. “I think the more important issue is, does His Highness know?”

Sylvain stopped eating to fold his hands. “It wouldn’t surprise me, if everyone else does. But it would be better if he didn’t. Same-sex relations are not fully accepted in Faerghus yet and… Well, I don’t know what Dimitri might do. I’ve heard rumours of a noble in Faerghus territory being stripped of rank for being discovered with a male lover.”

“Sylvain, that’s absurd!” Annette didn’t like what she heard. “I have read almost every book in the library, and I can tell you that that rumour is so old, King Loog was still alive. That noble went on to continue his good deeds and actually became King Loog’s right hand man!”

“And if His Highness tries anything… I know my house isn’t a rich one, but House Galatea has your back.”

“You… You guys…” Sylvain began to cry again, but they were tears of joy this time. “You’re… I… I have no words, save for thank you.”

“Oh, come on, Sylvain! Don’t cry!” Annette giggled. “It’s not like you! I mean… except after that one time that girl slapped you.”

“Which ‘one time?’” Ashe cut in.

“H-Hey, that was long ago! I have a boyfriend now!”

“Hee hee…” Mercedes laughed. “Let me know when you two get married. I would love the chance to bake a wedding cake for you.”

“How can I…” This interesting talking point took Sylvain completely off guard. “How can I even think about that when the both of us have been entered into pre-arranged marriages? And I… Uh… haven’t seen him since we left Fhirdiad.”

An awkward silence ensued before Ingrid spoke up. Well… Sylvain, I hate to break it to you, but…”

“But what?”

Ingrid looked around to make sure no one was within earshot. “I’ve heard rumours going around the monastery all morning. Heck, even the head chef was talking about it.”

“Rumours?”

“About why Felix isn’t here.”

“It’s because he’s been-”

“Ordered to stay away from you, I know. But think about it, why would His Highness allow Margrave Gautier to do such a thing to begin with?”

“Because he’s a valuable ally, and he owes him?”

“Hmm…” Mercedes pondered. “That doesn’t make sense. If anything, the margrave should owe Dimitri for being the main driving force behind Fhirdiad’s liberation.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Ashe. “I’ve heard the rumours too. Sylvain, I think… I think Felix has been kidnapped.”

“What?” Sylvain slightly choked on the two-fish sauteé he had been eating, and took some sips of water before continuing. “Felix kidnapped? No, that can’t be. The man is too slick for his own good. And anyhow, nobody is cunning and ambitious enough to do it.”

“Nobody except for the most ambitious thief we know,” Ingrid commented.

“Oh yeah? Like whom?” Sylvain laughed.

“…Your brother, Miklan.”