SETP Vol. 3 Chapter 17
Chapter 17 – The Forest of Astray
“…did you really have to accept that so easily?”
I casually replied “yeah, that’s ok” while tossing pasta in my mouth with a fork and spoon.
Dvorg was probably satisfied after saying what she wanted to, so she already left.
She just said we would meet again in Warrick’s shop, three days later at noon, and left the crowded restaurant without even waiting for a reply.
“Well, I promised.”
“Promise”. That’s the corny word I used.
For me, however, those seven letters weighed more than anything else.
I became terribly stubborn when it came to “promises”. Feli probably understood it too during our recent time together, so she sighed in resignation.
“…I suppose it can’t be helped, then.”
“Yeah, that’s right. Can’t be helped.”
Feli knew me well after all. It looked like she wanted to say something more, but gave up. She looked down at the pasta on her plate and whispered “it can’t be helped…” to herself while smiling.
“By the way, what kind of place is that Forest of Nightfall?”
Dvorg said that it was faster to actually visit it and wouldn’t say anything, so I waited for her to leave before asking Feli about it.
“It’s probably more apt to say ‘Forest of Downfall’.”
“Nightfall” and “Downfall”. The words were pretty similar, but definitely not the same. I looked at Feli, wondering why she changed the forest’s name.
“That was its original name. The former king, however, did not like the idea of having a place with such an ominous name inside the kingdom, so he had ‘Downfall’ changed to ‘Nightfall’.”
Feli added that it was a place that led people to their demise, and a certain scenery surfaced in my head.
I recalled that in my previous life I had also heard of a forest that led people astray, and started thinking out loud.
“A forest that leads people astray…that’s why it’s not heavily guarded. A natural fortress, I guess?”
Definitely a troublesome place to go to.
I sighed, lamenting my days of vacation getting farther and farther away, then rolled up more pasta and tossed it in my mouth.
I just said my thoughts out loud, but Feli looked at me like I just said something incredible.
“…Your Highness, I always think that, despite pretty much sleeping all day all your life, your comprehensive ability is pretty good.”
The chief maid spewed more poison, adding that she sometimes wondered if all that sleeping wasn’t going to make my brain rot. She would never ever accept my sleeping habits I concluded.
“Nothing’s rotting here, mind you.”
“In that case, please lead a more proper lifestyle,” continued Feli. The preaching started.
“I guess I should talk about this with father.”
When he mentioned the Curia at dinner the day before father didn’t say my name, but I could tell they planned to make me go too.
I didn’t know when the Curia was supposed to be held, but it was definitely in the near future. It was even possible that preparations would be done quickly and it would start in the coming days.
On the other hand, I had no idea how much time the “Forest of Downfall” mission would take.
If I was “led astray” and ended up spending too much time in the forest, I might not make it in time for the Curia.
Even Feli couldn’t help but show uncertainty in her tone.
She definitely would have preferred me to just focus on the Curia. However…
“…if you go, I think it’s better to let His Majesty know.”
It looked like she didn’t like what she was saying.
If yours truly, Fay Hanse Diestburg, recently rumored to be a “Hero”, was not present at the Curia…some might find my sudden absence curious. In the past, they would have just dismissed it as something typical for a “Trash Prince”, but the current situation would not allow that.
“Right. Well, I had some other business with father too, so I’ll tell him about this too I guess.”
I planned to discuss and negotiate my vacation plans with him.
Feli’s glare seemed to turn sharper. Had she seen through me?
“Hmm, but in this case, I guess I have to do that too…”
One of my few habits came up in my mind, so I mumbled to myself about doing it.
When did I *change them* last?
I thought about it for a while and recalled that the last time I visited the flower shop was before going to Rinchelle.
“That…? Do you have errands to do, Your Highness?”
Feli seemed to finally notice that I always went on such shopping trips by myself.
“Nothing special, really. You probably already know about it too.”
“I’m talking about flowers. There are always seven red flowers in my room, right?”
“Oh yes, those red flowers are always there, aren’t they”
“Pretty, aren’t they? Well, Ratifah usually takes care of them though.”
I did it myself at first, but Ratifah — maybe because she loved flowers — told me that I was really bad at taking care of them, so she’d do it in my stead.
“I usually change them once a month, but if I’m going to be away for a while, I thought of changing them earlier this time.”
“So that’s what your errand was.”
“Correct. So I’m going to the flower shop, maybe tomorrow.”
If I went right now I’d probably bump into Dvorg, I added, and Feli nodded with a wry laugh.
“You really do like flowers, Your Highness. You often go to the garden too…is there a reason in particular?”
“A reason, hmm…”
I tried thinking about it.
There was no reason I could speak about, however.
There was no particular reason why I started frequenting the garden.
If I had to point something out…it was a feeling I didn’t understand well myself.
“It’s relaxing, I guess.”
I never had the habit to look at flowers before, nor do I engage in such cultured activities now.
It felt relaxing, though. That was it.
My answer was vague at best.
Feli did not pursue the matter further.
Maybe she thought she shouldn’t.
With a gentle smile, the conversation ended.
After finishing our meals, we stood up from our seats.
That very instant…
Feli seemed to recall she forgot to ask me something.
“…by the way, those red flowers in your room…what are they called?”
I turned around and answered her question casually.
“They’re red spider lilies, ‘Looking forward to the day we meet again’ in the language of flowers. Pretty classy, don’t you think? At least for me.”
Recalling that nostalgic color, I smiled.