A night one month later, Ratoka softly opened the door to his room.
The hallways were dark as the torches had been extinguished, and the only source of light was the stars shining through the windows.
It was so silent, the even the sound of his own breathing sounded too loud to him.
Ratoka softly sneaked out of his room, and held his breath as much as possibly while carefully proceeding down the dark corridors. Everyone in the mansion was sleeping.
This is the second time that he’s sneaked out of his room like this.
The night that the soldiers had returned, Ratoka had also sneaked out of his room to head for the barracks. However, he was unfortunately discovered by Bellway at that time, and he was ordered confined to his room temporarily and given a curfew.
In the end, he hasn’t obtained any information, or been able to meet with Elise, all this time.
This time, so as to not be discovered, Ratoka waited until much later at night, when everyone would be asleep, even the servants.
His main goal is to be able to leave the mansion first, and he jumped out of a window on the first floor, rolling onto the ground.
Summer’s already ended, and it was quite cold outside. While rubbing his arms to warm himself up, Ratoka hurried along to the barracks.
Unlike the mansion, the barracks had lights lit even at night. Ratoka also knew that someone would be on duty, awake, at all hours. At the southern entrance, there should be a single soldier posted on guard duty for the barracks.
Ratoka really wants to talk to someone and hear what’s going on, so that’s where he headed.
At the southern entrance, as Ratoka expected, he saw the dim outline of a soldier standing there illuminated by the candlelight.
Ratoka had been worried that it would be a soldier he didn’t recognize, so he felt some relief when he saw who it was. While he was confined for one month, the remaining soldiers that had been helping construct a village for the refugees had probably returned, so the person here might not have recognized Ratoka.
Luckily, the person on guard duty here tonight was someone that had helped with Ratoka’s training before. While he wasn’t necessarily as close a friend as Paulo and Calvin, he wasn’t someone that made fun of or had a bad relationship with Ratoka.
In order to not startle him, Ratoka slowly walked out from the dark night.
The soldier immediately drew his sword. Ratoka could see the surprise on the soldier’s face in the dim candlelight, and once the soldier saw that it was Ratoka, he sheathed his sword again.
“Yes, that’s right. It’s me.”
“You, where have you been? ……More importantly than that, why are you here at this time of night……?”
The soldier couldn’t hide his confusion, while Ratoka felt the most relief he had in a long time. The only two people that even talk with Ratoka in the mansion are Bellway and Mrs. Marshan, and neither of them show any emotion in front of Ratoka.
At seeing more varied expressions in front of him for the first time in a long while, Ratoka relaxed his shoulders.
“Um, I’m being taken care of at a different place right now. It’s been a bit strict, so I couldn’t come visit except at this time. Also, everyone at the mansion, they don’t tell me anything……”
“Have you come to hear about what happened to us?”
Ratoka nodded, and the soldier scratched his cheek like he was at a loss. Although he had put away his sword, it seems that he’s still maintaining a minimum amount of vigilance.
“I saw you all from a distance when you returned. At that time, there were some people I couldn’t see…… I was worried if they were injured, and I absolutely had to come find out. My roommate, Igor-san…… is he doing alright? Has he returned?”
So as to not appear too suspicious, Ratoka only asked the minimum of what he wanted to know. However, the soldier paled when he heard Igor’s name mentioned.
The candlelight was flickering over the soldier’s face that had gone white.
Ratoka clenched his lips and ground his teeth. The soldier’s reaction seemed to indicate that he must know what happened to Igor.
For a while, both Ratoka and the soldier remained silent. The fall wind kept blowing on Ratoka. It made him cold, and his shoulders were shivering. The chilliness was a bit too much, and Ratoka was the first one to break the silence by sneezing. Then, the soldier finally seemed to come to his senses.
“Oi, don’t catch a cold or something out here. You’re wearing such light clothes……!”
“……I’m alright. Once I return, I have a warm bed I can sleep in. But, before I go back, please at the very least tell me what happened to Igor.”
Ratoka looked directly into the soldier’s eyes, and the soldier faltered slightly. The soldier bit his lips several times. Then, at last he sighed, and began talking softly.
“Igor, that guy died. He died at Fort Jugfena. He was ambushed from behind and stabbed in the stomach…… Richard, Dominic, Wojciech, Frederick, Joseph, they and more all died. Charlie…… Eliza-sama, seems to have gone funny in the head because Kamil died as well. All she does now is sleep……”
All the names belonged to soldiers that Ratoka knew, and Ratoka felt like blood was draining from his face, and he touched his face with trembling fingers as he was beginning to feel dizzy. The soldier seemed to be quite down as he returned to his guard post at the barracks entrance.
Ratoka couldn’t say anything, and just remained frozen there for a while. Although he had known that it was a possibility, being confronted with the knowledge that people he’d known had indeed died was still a big shock to him.
On top of that, hearing that Eliza who controlled his very fate had gone funny in the head, this news made him unsteady on his feet.
He felt terribly dizzy as he tried his best to make his way back to the mansion. The soldier saw him off with an anxious feeling as he watched Ratoka’s small back disappear in the darkness with an unsteady gait.
Before he realized it, Ratoka somehow managed to return to his room. His brain felt numb. He was also extremely tired, and Ratoka fell asleep in his bed.
Bellway was shaking him when Ratoka woke up. He was still lost and in a daze. His eyes felt slightly clouded and warm, almost painful. His entire body felt like it didn’t want to move, it was heavy.
“Are you alright?”
He heard a cold voice with no worry in it. Ratoka shook his head slowly to clear his mind. He didn’t really know if everything was really alright, but for now he has to clear his thoughts first and deny that anything’s wrong.
“Is something the matter?”
“……No. Everything’s fine.”
Ratoka shook his head more strongly than before, and Bellway looked at Ratoka as if trying to pierce through him. It’s such a cold gaze, Ratoka involuntarily recoiled.
“……Come to think of it, I guess you’re still a child…………”
Bellway muttered that to himself. Ratoka didn’t hear what he said, and just kept staring at him blankly.
Ratoka met Bellway’s eyes again as he was furrowing his eyebrows, and Ratoka hurriedly lowered his face again, and missed seeing an expression on Bellway’s face that he’s never seen before.