Kiss the Black Cat -
Chapter 20 - Kiss the Lover 1
Chapter 20: Kiss the Lover 1
「Then, Legato, I’ll entrust the northern fort to you for a month.」
「Yes. Leave it to me.」
The final topic that arose in the regular meeting regarded the task entrusted to me. Addressing my words to the King, I stood up and paid my respects.
This time the Captain of the Royal Knight Order had to go out on a expedition for a month. It usually took around five days by horse to get to the north; the purpose was to check over the fully equipped fortress along the border. There were knights stationed there, but with the first prince’s coming of age ceremony having occurred, they too wished to return to the capital once. In exchange, our Order would guard the northern fortress.
I felt anxious at the thought of leaving the Royal Palace for a month, yet I felt joy at getting a chance to go to the northern fortress. My former superior was at the northern fortress.
Once I gave my respects and returned to my seat, the King faced a different direction.
「Sorry Nidel, I robbed you of Legato for a month.」
When the King spoke in jest, the people around laughed. Nidel-dono, who’d been looking downward with his hood on, looked up and gave a wry smile that was just within the limits of not being discourteous, lightly bowing his head towards the King.
「Legato too will be lonely.」
「…Ah, no…You’re …right.」
Being addressed by the King once again, I gave an ambiguous reply.
I thought the rumours about Nidel-dono and me would die down soon, yet there were no signs of them abating. In fact, it was now treated as an obvious fact within the Royal Palace. Me admitting to it was obviously the reason, though. Being made fun of like this during meetings was also now a daily occurrence.
Instead of making another strange gaffe by denying it, I resigned to my fate and accepted all the teasing.
Since the day I was pursued for answers at the meeting, the whole royal palace began teasing me. Nidel-dono would usually be cooped up in the tower, so he wasn’t affected as much, but he was quite worried about me. But I wasn’t as uncomfortable as he thought.
Of course, I was at a loss at first, but once I got used to it, I was able to look at the situation objectively. Most importantly, there wasn’t any malice in the voices that teased us. They were purely amusing themselves and were filled with amicability.
There were many occasions where I wouldn’t know how to answer and people who I had nothing to do with would call out to me.
I always made it a point to treat everyone politely, but I wasn’t a person who’d actively enter a circle of people. I wondered whether me drawing lines between other people and me coming out caused the whole debacle, but I wasn’t the type to speak to anyone other than friends.
That said, ever since the incident, more people who I had no connection to would approach me. I’d especially be called out to by people who were Nidel-dono’s acquaintances. Nidel-dono had many acquaintances despite being someone who was always cooped up in the tower. Since his job was to repair magic tools, he knew many people who worked as assistants, and I was often approached by those people. That must also be Nidel-dono’s popularity.
Even my superiors and subordinates in the Knight Order talked and joked about me. I felt uncomfortable being the topic of a conversation, but since the the place became uplifted I thought it was a good thing.
Also, with Nidel-dono and I being a same-sex couple officially recognised by the Royal Palace, other male and female same-sex couples who existed in secrecy started calling out to me with their thanks.
Same-sex couples weren’t openly persecuted in our country, but the atmosphere wasn’t so good that they could publicly celebrate their relationship. They needed to be prudent. In the midst of this, our story got blown up, and it became easier to talk about other homosexuals.
I didn’t do anything to deserve such gratitude, but when they spoke so happily spoken, I honestly felt glad. It was good if we made someone happy.
I was taken aback when the Prime Minister and Civil officials said, 「We have to change the law for Legato and Nidel’s sake.」 While their tone seemed to be a joking one, they didn’t appear to be, and they seemed to be earnestly working towards legalising same-sex marriage. At present, same-sex marriages weren’t recognised by the kingdom.
Of course, there were a number of same-sex couples at home too. Everyone knew about them, and talk about what to do had been raised many years before, but with how busy everyone already was, they had remained shelved.
Nidel-dono’s and my relationship brought the debate back in motion, and because of that the influence of these rumours scared me.
Nevertheless, I felt happy. If Nidel-dono and I were an existence that no one gave a damn about within the Royal Palace, the situation wouldn’t have come to this. We wouldn’t have become the talk of the town, nor would there have been an opportunity to change the law.
In the midst of the teasing, I undoubtedly felt the goodwill everyone around held towards Nidel-dono and me. It seemed much bigger than what I’d imagined, and getting to know it was something to be thankful for.
Even with this nation in mind, rewarding all the people who have stayed hidden so far and taking joy in it didn’t sound like a bad thing.
As one who would give his life for this land, it was the purest happiness.
But if they’d gone this far, I thought the people around wouldn’t be satisfied until I really went out with Nidel-dono and got married to him in the end. What a conundrum.
Since we had the approval of the King, our families wouldn’t have any protests towards it, but the problem wasn’t with our families.
I thought of Nidel-dono as a special existence, but I’d never thought this far. You’d be right to say that we’d become intimate without thinking much of it.
I’d put it off for later, with my work being busy and my reluctance towards relationships with women, but I wanted to get married to woman with a status that matched mine and have children. I thought it was obvious. 27 years of age was the later half of marriageable age, and I’d received many invitations for marriage meetings and such from my family and various captains of the Royal Palace. Just when I’d thought I had better get moving, this had occurred.
But I felt the people around would be highly disappointed if I said that Nidel-dono and I「Aren’t going out」or「Broke up」. When I thought about the King, the Prime minister, or even my superiors being disappointed, I’d be dead in the water.
I suggested to Nidel-dono many times that we ought to tell the truth that we aren’t going out, but I was unable to put the suggestions to practice.
As a result, the rumours were gradually established as truth within the Royal Palace. I felt regretful towards Nidel-dono, who’d accepted my indecisiveness with no complaints.
But since Nidel-dono seemed to hold special feelings towards me, and this was a situation that made it seem as if we were a pair of lovers, it probably wasn’t uncomfortable for him.
I thought the cunning me who thought such things was disgusting at times.
The one who felt regret towards Nidel-dono the most was my own cowardice.
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