“Ah!” Casper jumped, as if he hadn’t known I was there. He sank further into the corner.
I stepped back. “Sorry… sorry.”
“It’s… it’s okay. I don’t mind.” He chewed on a fingernail, which was down to the skin anyway. “Well… it may be… a bit easier if you go away, actually.”
I backed up a bit. “Is this better?”
He looked relieved. “… Yes. Thank you. Um… what did you want to talk to me about…?”
“Well, several things.” I sat down where I was. “Just a question… why are you fighting in this? Is there a reason other than getting out?”
He was visibly shivering, though it was warm where we were. “Y-Yeah… I want Reginea to win…”
“What’s the war about?”
“Um, well… There’s, uh… it’s complicated…” He looked away. “I-I’d rather not talk about it.”
“Not even what divides the two countries?”
“N-Not even that. Sorry.”
“Well… what can you tell me? What about why you were imprisoned?”
“W-Well, I was… I did something bad.”
“That’s normally why people get put in jail, yes.” I held up my hands. “If you don’t want to talk about that, we can always talk about something else…”
“No! I… I can say it. It’s f-fine.” He looked down. “I said something bad about the war. I said that Leonteria’s king was wrong.” He spat out the word “king”, as if he felt that the person in question didn’t deserve it.
I raised my eyebrows. “Hang on… Why would saying that in Reginea have any effect? I thought everyone was thinking that there.”
“I-I’m not from Reginea, though. I’m from Leonteria. I got imprisoned here because I crossed the border to meet up with--” He stopped, shaking even more violently.
“Meet up with what?” This sounds so familiar…
“… With a group of rebels I was going to join.”
“I see… So that explains a lot, then.”
“Y-Yeah. I guess. I mean, pl-plotting against the… king…” He looked angry just having to say it. “… It’s a really serious crime.”
“So I figured.”
“You’ve never met the king, have you?”
I shook my head. “Nope. I’m not from here.”
“You’re from Earth, right?”
“So you don’t know anything about this battle. So why are you fighting?”
I smiled. “I dunno. That’s what I’m trying to figure out.”
“Um… before you go… what’s your name?”
“My name’s Leo.”
He clammed up immediately after that, seeming to be hiding from me. He was the one that called for the guards to say I was leaving. Something about my name seemed to have frightened him, and I wouldn’t understand what it meant for a long while after that.