Chapter 8: That’s It for Now
The sun is gradually setting.
The angle of the shadows cast by the castle walls gradually changes.
His Highness and I are alone as night falls.
We sit shoulder to shoulder in the garden, under the shade of a tree.
His Highness can be heard breathing beside me.
I can also hear his heart pounding slowly and steadily.
I, on the other hand, am nervous, and my breathing becomes more rapid.
It couldn’t be helped.
I don’t get many chances to get this close to men.
I believe that being nervous is normal.
” Y-Your Highness.”
“So, um… Your Highness, what did you do today?”
“As usual—Paperwork, meetings with nobility, receiving reports on the current state of the city from knights on patrol, and reviewing the advice of residents who visit the royal castle.”
The works are described one by one in a flowing stream.
Just listening to them made me feel like my head was going to explode.
“That must be a lot of work.”
“Today was one of the simpler days. I didn’t even have time to go outside.”
That was new to me.
Every day, the prince is extremely busy.
And here I am with my selfish image of him as a man going about his business…
What a jerk I was.
I reflect on it now.
“How did it go on your end?”
“Uh…Well… I was…”
It’s difficult to respond after hearing how busy His Highness is.
What have I done all day?
“Nothing in particular…”
I spent the morning in my room and went for a walk in the afternoon, but fell asleep in the garden and realized it was evening.
What a self-indulgent life I lead.
I’m embarrassed to say that I got nothing out of the day.
“You don’t look so happy. Did you not have a productive day?”
“…I think so.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Because I just sat around doing nothing.”
It was anything but fulfilling for me.
Then, with a kind face, His Highness chuckled and said to me,
“I knew it. You’ve been working too hard, you’re not thinking like a normal person.”
“Ugh… That is something I am aware of.”
“Phyllis, do you know? Doing nothing is not always a bad thing.”
“I-Is that so?”
I tilted my head.
Isn’t it a waste of time to spend all of your time doing nothing?
Because I believe so.
His Highness, however, gently denies it.
“It neither creates nor advances anything. If we only look at the outcome, we can conclude that it is a life of laziness and self-indulgence. However, humans are not creatures that can work all the time. Do you know what happens if you work day after day without taking a break?”
“Of course, that means you’ll tire and collapse.”
His Highness nods.
He states the obvious.
“Humans are not all-powerful. Your body and mind will always have limits, no matter how talented you are, how hard you work, or how much blood you spit. When the limits are reached, you come to a halt. We need time to rest in order to avoid this. Rest in moderation so that you can give it your all the next time you work.”
I’m not sure how to make it work.
I closed my mouth and cast my gaze downward.
“Do you not know how to relax?”
“You’re not required to do anything, okay? This is one way to unwind.”
As he speaks, His Highness counts down his fingers.
“You can do nothing all day, play for fun, or pick up a new hobby. Some people rest due to physical exhaustion, while others rest due to mental exhaustion. It is determined by what and where you are tired.”
This comes to mind as I listen to His Highness.
In my case, where am I exhausted?
I’ve only vaguely considered being tired, so it doesn’t come to mind when I think about it.
“In your case, it’s everything.”
“Yes, you must have been exhausted, both physically and mentally. That’s the type of environment you’ve been in.”
That’s exactly what I was.
My body and mind were exhausted.
Every joint in my body ached, and my mind was foggy.
I spent my days in an environment where I wasn’t even permitted to rest.
“Fatigue builds up. You should rest for more than one day if you want to get rid of fatigue in one day. Years of fatigue have accumulated in your case. It’s become second nature. You won’t be able to get rid of it overnight.”
“Is… is that so?”
“Yeah, you’ve never heard anything like that before, have you? You’re the only one who’s ever said anything about not knowing how to ‘rest’.
I’ll just laugh about it.
I’m at a loss for words when he points out my abnormality.
“This is your opportunity. Take your time to recover. Until you feel like yourself again.”
“Can I recover…? I’m not sure I can.”
“That is entirely up to you. You don’t have to change if you like yourself the way you are now. What are your thoughts?”
I was released from my working days.
I’m going on a break.
But I’m not sure how to take a break.
If I don’t have a job, I feel restless unless I’m doing something.
I feel sorry for myself.
I’m not sure if I like myself that way.
I don’t have to consider it.
“I’d like to change it.”
“Yes—Then that’s good for now. It’s good to feel that way.”
I’m going to change.
In this country, I’ll be normal again.