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Chapter 15 – Yeah, Right

“Come again?” Sylvain gave Ingrid a blank stare. “That’s impossible. Miklan’s dead. We killed him after he turned into a demonic beast, remember?”

“Well, it is just a rumour…” Mercedes remarked between bites of peach sorbet.

“A rumour that, for once, I don’t think is worth it,” added Ashe. “It’s probably just one of Miklan’s thieves going around, claiming to be his successor or something.”

“Yeah…” Sylvain laughed. Being interrupted from breakfast so many times, he was still only halfway done with it while his friends had nearly finished theirs. “Still, I think we should look for Felix, wouldn’t you?”

“Oh, good morning, everyone!” Dimitri’s presence surprised all.

“Your Highness!” Sylvain started to eat much faster, especially since now, his friends had already finished. “I didn’t think you’d be coming!”

“Princes need to eat their breakfast, too.” Dimitri dropped his smile, then spoke, “If everyone is done with breakfast, I have important news to tell everyone. Meet me in the war council room when you’re done.”

Maybe we will rescue him after all! Sylvain relaxed as he put his dishes away and headed thence. Surprisingly, he found his friends waiting for him at the dining hall exit. On the way, he asked Ingrid, “So what do you think His Highness is going to say?”

“I can’t imagine it’s going to be anything out of the ordinary. He’s probably going to reaffirm his intent to capture Enbarr and some strategic locations like Fort Merceus.”

As soon as everyone arrived and closed the council room doors, Dimitri began to speak even before they all sat down. “I’ll cut right to the chase. I’ve just received an urgent missive from Claude, leader of the Leicester Alliance.”

“Oh?” Sylvain raised an eyebrow. “Haven’t heard from him since the Battle at Gronder. What could he need? Not to tell us that he’s sided with the Empire, I hope?”

After Dedue gave Sylvain a “hold your tongue” glare, Dimitri continued, “Claude has requested reinforcements to the Aquatic Capital of Deirdru.”

“What?” Ashe couldn’t believe it. “But why? He attacked us at Gronder.”

“Yes, but that was when… well, you know, I wasn’t my usual self. But considering the circumstances, if we were to abandon the Alliance now, we’d be at war with two countries at once.”

“Ah, I see!” spoke Annette. “Maybe if we help them, they’ll help us in return!”

“Plus, I heard that it is none other than Lord Arundel who launced this sudden invasion of the Alliance. I think that based on what Cornelia told us, he’s partly to blame for the Tragedy.”

“And he’s our friend.” Mercedes frowned. “I couldn’t bear it to let him hang out to dry like that. You feel the same, don’t you, Dimitri?”

“Right. Which is why we will march for Deirdru in a fortnight’s time. That is all; meeting adjourned.”

Sylvain would have none of it, even if everyone else left promptly to rest. “Your Highness, wait!”

“Oh, Sylvain. You need to rest, especially considering that our missions are about to get more-”

“What about Felix? Shouldn’t we go look for him?”

“I’m sorry, but… You heard what I said in there. We cannot abandon the Alliance. And have more confidence in your friend! This is far from the first time that Felix has had to fend for himself.”

Sylvain knew this to be true, and now felt embarrassed, so he decided to slightly change the subject. “A-Anyhow… Erm, about the arranged marriages… Did my father or Duke Fraldarius say why?”

“Because you’re inheriting the houses, that’s why. It’s only natural.”

“Did he say… anything about Felix specifically?”

Dimitri look confused. “No, why?”

Sylvain breathed a huge sigh of relief. Thank the goddess, His Highness doesn’t know after all! “But then… how does everyone in the monastery… Can it be-”

“Sylvain?” Seeing his comrade suddenly dash out the room befuddled Dimitri even more.

“Ingrid!” Sylvain caught the future Count Galatea at the stairs leading to the second floor dormitories. “Ingrid! Good news! Dimitri didn’t find out!”

“Yeah? Well, uh… Congrats, then?” Ingrid sounded nervous – not a side that Sylvain was used to hearing.

“But I’m still wondering how everyone in the monastery still knows.”

“Not everyone…” Ingrid fidgeted. “I just… um, told a few people.”

“What?! Why?”

“Because I was asking people for advice! You seemed so down during the march, and Ashe noticed too, so he also-”

Ashe, too! Goddess.” Sylvain began to panic, and only Ingrid’s next words could calm him down.

“If it makes you feel any better, most of the people that know are common citizenry that hardly ever see the prince, much less get a chance to talk to him. I’ve a mind not to tell people especially close to Dimitri, like Dedue. Ashe and the others knew it too.”

“Oh… Okay, that’s, um…” Sylvain couldn’t even look at his childhood friend now. “I’m sorry. You said that you had my back, and this is how I repay you.”

“Don’t be sorry. If anyone should be sorry, it’s me for the fact that the man you love has gone missing. Just rest for now, and we’ll think of something.”

As Ingrid retreated to her quarters, Sylvain went to his own, and stared at the flowers on the table Felix had gotten him for his birthday. “Rest… Haha, yeah right.”