Chapter 21 Reminiscences of the Grand Magus (1)
Fuyou Aya does not have a father.
Her parents divorced when she was in the elementary grade and was then raised fatherless.
Her mother worked in an average company and also held an average position there, thus she was often late back home. To raise her precious daughter alone, she worked even harder than before. To let her go to a good school, to let her get good education, to buy good things for her.
To do all that, she had no choice but to work. From early morning, till late night. And that not painful for her either. For her precious daughter, Aya’s mother believed she could work as hard as possible.
But in doing that obviously, Aya had to spend much of her time alone. The discord between her parents. Quarrels everyday, harsh words, and the fact that they discord had a great effect on Aya’s mind and heart.
She even stopped talking much to her friends at school. ‘If I ended up fighting them, I’d lose even those friends’. As she started thinking like that, she started feeling fear of even trying to enter a circle of friends thinking she might anger them by saying something weird.
To speak simply, she shut herself away within herself.
Her mother did not realize that because she was looking more towards her daughter’s future than her present. And Aya had been a clever girl from childhood. She ended up thinking that ‘if I made mother worry, I’ll only cause more trouble’.
She met her childhood friends Amagi Souichi and Yayoi 2 years after her parents divorced when they ended up coincidentally living in the apartment next to Aya’s. The Amagis had moved here due to their father’s job circumstances.
One day, Aya ended up returning home earlier than her mother. But on that day she had forgotten her keys inside her own room. While sitting in front of her own apartment unable to enter, she met the Amagi siblings.
The boy known as Amagi Souichi doesn’t doubt people much. He could be called a naturally good person but from an adult’s point of view, his personality could be called dangerous. The place where Aya and Souichi lived was comparatively a safe place but it wasn’t like dangerous people didn’t live there. Souichi’s personality was dangerous enough that he might get easily lured with the temptation of candies by some suspicious person.
His sister Yayoi was better in that regards. From their parent’s point of view, they felt that the position of the brother and younger sister might actually be the opposite. But still though, Souichi was the older brother and Yayoi was the younger sister.
When Yayoi was in trouble, Souichi would be by her side. When she wanted something, the brother would always be the tolerant one. Whether it be sweets, or toys. If Yayoi could smile just by Souichi enduring instead, that was enough for Souichi. He was happy with that. Aya was a single child so she was always jealous of those two’s relationship. The reason why she was able to get close to the Amagi siblings so quickly was probably because she saw Souichi closely and could understand him.
On the day she forgot her keys as well, without any doubt, he invited Aya into his own room.
They ate sweets together, drank juice, played games. And after that got scolded somewhat by his parents, though he still doesn’t know why even now. That’s because he simply believes that if a person is in trouble he has to help that person.
Aya found that natural belief of his to be too dazzling. She didn’t have a father. Her mother wasn’t home most of the time either due to work. It was probably inevitable that she got close to the Amagi siblings.
Maybe because Souichi had a timid and soft hearted personality, Aya ended up developing a strong personality. By the time they were in the upper grades of elementary school, she started pulling Souichi around with Yayoi everywhere with her.
Souichi and Yayoi’s parents also found the children’s relationship to be a happy thing. Her friends in school also increased. After that, Aya became prettier than most of the girls her age. Not cuter but prettier. Maybe because her mother was also a beauty, she must have inherited it in her genes. But that didn’t mean that she gathered over attention.
Due to her parent’s divorce, Aya had become more sensitive towards the subtleties of human relationships. Avoiding anything that might make others hold jealousy towards her, she lived keeping her surroundings in check. It was an unconscious way to avoid getting herself hated by others but thanks to that, she was able to make a lot of friends.
Especially, the one who opened Aya’s heart was Souichi’s father. Maybe because she didn’t have a father, Aya might be overlapping Souichi’s father as [her own father] as well.
But, the one who didn’t like that relation was Aya’s mother. She worked hard for her daughter, earned a lot money for her only to see her daughter’s face. But the one her daughter smiled towards was not her but a neighbour who was practically a nobody.
Few after the divorce, she couldn’t stay by her daughter’s side only because she was working for her daughter’s sake. But to expect a elementary schooler to understand that was wrong. Aya did understand that inside her head but her feelings simply couldn’t agree.
Rather than her mother who was away, it was obvious that she’d be more open to the Amagi couple who were by her side always.
There was no discord, but their conversations lessened and the time they spent together further lessened and the time she spent at her job increased.
By the time Aya reached middle school, her mother was practically living at her workplace. She stopped coming much to her apartment.
Aya stopped being in her own room and spent more in time next door. Since Yayoi was also there, there was no problem even if she stayed the night.
On reaching middle school she began recognising Souichi as a boy of same age. He might have been her first love even. Or maybe she was simply embarrassed during puberty. Aya wasn’t sure of that even now.
After becoming aware of Souichi, her eyes followed him and her heart beat faster when she talked to him. Due to embarrassment the gap between them grew a bit. Souichi who didn’t really care about that still went close to Aya and often got scolded by her.
When he asked his parents for advice, it was declared that he was at fault instead at which he could only tilt his head in confusion.
The boy Amagi was unable to understand that elementary school and middle school was different. Aya was his childhood friend. A close freind. One with whom he did not want to worsen his relationship with.
In fact, Aya would only increase his distance with Souichi due to that but in the end, well, they lived next to each other. The distance was not more than the distance between souichi’s room and Yayoi’s room. It was truly a charming thing.
Yayoi would look at those happily and somewhat enviously. She didn’t like that her beloved brother only paid attention to Aya but she loved Aya as well. Yayoi who more perceptive in that aspect even more than Aya who was an year older, would often tease Aya.
Aya’s relationship with her mother was somewhat complicated but still, she lived a fulfilling life. Her everyday life was peaceful and calm.
That ended in the 3rd year of middle school. At the end of spring but just before summer truly began. While going to school, she was suddenly struck by a floating feeling. Suddenly, out of nowhere, her everyday life ended.
For the [Grand Magus] Fuyou Aya, the person known as Yamada Renji was special.
The extraordinary life of being summoned into another world. She was able to handle it because she was together with her childhood friends Souichi and yayoi. If those 2 weren’t here, she definitely would have been unable to handle it.
The existence of humans and non-humans. Living together with demi-humans and beastmen that only appeared in stories and legends, in a world infested by monsters. A world not of science but of sword and magic.
For men it was situation that would make them excited. Including Souichi, there were 7 men among the summoned 13. She remembers that 6 of them were so happy as if there was no problem with this.
But at that time, only one was being realistic. That was Yamada Renji. He worried about realistic things like how will the survive in this world, their position and status in this world and whether they’ll be able to return or not.
Aya remembers that even now.
In fact he was extremely surprised and questioned the goddess many things about their future. Aya found that to be very mature of him.
Goddess. An existence called as Goddess Astrarea by the humans.
She told them that she wants them to save the world. To defeat the Demon God trying to destroy this world. For that reason, she could give them any power. For that reason, she would fulfil any of their wishes.
That’s why, Aya wished. Since she was in another world now in any case, she wanted to use magic. She imagined the miracle like magic that only appeared in stories and legends. Magical energy that won’t lose to anyone—–not even the Demon God.
That wish was fulfilled and during the decisive battle she was able to do a one on one magic battle with Demon God himself.
Souichi wished for a never losing power and Yayoi wished for a power to heal any wound.
Others as well wished for every power they wanted.
The last one to wish was Yamada Renji. He wished for [the weapon to kill Gods].
That was not to enjoy this world but the power to return back to their world. A power only for that reason.
In actuality, he did recieve the power to become undefeatable against any God. Not just the Demon God, Spirit God or the Goddess. But even against the descendants of the Demon God, Apostles of the Spirit God and priests of the Goddess. That power would work even against the followers of Gods.
For that, he was hated by many. Received the anger of many. And made many enemies as well.
A weapon useless against the monsters, nothing more than a normal weapon, Ermenhilde.
He protected countless with that weapon. That included Aya and the others as well.
He always said that it was impossible to save everyone but yet he was the one who tried to protect everyone the most.
When he was unable to protect someone/something, he would always hide his sadness. At night, in front of the campfire, he would often mourn for it. He was afraid of this other world more than anyone else. Aya realized that half a year later after coming to this world.
One night she woke up and saw Renji, who was acting as the guard at night as usual, feeling down alone. He had even put away Ermenhilde in the custody of Yuuko.
He was an adult, but weak yet tried the hardest and always held the strongest sense of responsibility.
That was the impression Aya had of Renji. And that was not a wrong estimation either.
Yamada Renji always stood at the very front. Along with the jade coloured weapon Ermenhilde, he kept on fighting at the very front.
To protect magicians like Aya and others. To protect kids like Souichi and others. He always tried to not make others worry. So that everyone could sleep peacefully, he would always take up the night guard duty.
Before anyone knew, that became an obvious thing and everyone depended on him for that.
She could still remember his back.
She had become prideful, she had let her guard down. She thought it was obvious that she had won. At that moment, she had almost died.
Her opponent had been an Ogre like today. Overestimating her own abilities, she had gone off too far in the front while trying to kill it.
No matter how strong magic she could use, Aya and others were still human. They die when they are killed. (T/N:classic shirou :P) even if Yayoi could heal wounds, she couldn’t bring the dead back to life.
There were magic to bring the dead back to life but there were too many constraints to that and above all it was a taboo.
That’s why, it was over if you die. It was the same even for the holders of cheat given by the goddess.
That night, she had been so scared she was unable to sleep. Feeling lonely, there were times she had been unable to sleep before as well but that was the first time she had been unable to sleep due to the fear of death.
That’s why, she talked to Renji that night. Renji had steeled himself from the very day he had come to this world. He had always been nervous. He understood better than anyone else that death was always by their side. That’s why he was the first to move when Aya was in danger.
When she had thanked him for it, she remembers that he had smiled happily at that.
That smile was dazzling, and happy that it was pointed at her, she started talking to Renji more after that. She took advice from him. About magic, about human relations, about herself.
Aya felt that it was due to Renji’s personality that you could talk about everything to him. You call that he was simply easy to talk to but Renji would always look at Aya when talking. He would think about her when talking and would worry for her as well.
That, somehow gave the same sense of security that Souichi’s parents gave to her.
Fuyou Aya doesn’t have a father. At first, she might have expected paternal feelings from Renji.
“How is it? It’s not weird right?”
“It looks fine Aya-chan. It suits you. Don’t worry.”
How many times had I asked that?
As I confirmed it with Yayoi who had helped in dressing me, a tired voice came from her. Am I worrying too much?
In front of the mirror I once again checked my appearance.
It was just the uniform of the Magic Academy but I had combed and even put on some make up as well.
It should be normal for a girl of my age but for some reason I can’t get used to it.
I had never put on makeup before because there was no one I wanted to show myself like that to.
Though it bothered me that Yayoi who was younger than me was more used to it. The makeup set that Yayoi brought into my not very big room feels very out of place.
“With this, even Renji-oniisan would be conquered?”(yayoi)
“……I doubt it. Yup. Not happening.”(aya)
Why did Renji-san appeared in the conversation there? I wondered but it can’t be helped.
Even now, I don’t know whether the emotions I have towards Renji-san is love, admiration or affection.
Whether I like him as a man, whether I admire him as the person who protected me so many times or do I simply love him as a fatherly figure, I don’t know.
But its a fact that the only person to whom I want to show myself with such makeup is Renji-san.
That’s why, for now, this is fine.
“Really? Renji-oniisan is loose with women so it’s not impossible you know?”
“That’s bad in its own way so its better that it doesn’t happen. Yeah.”
True, Renji-san is loose with women. Whenever he’s with pretty women of his own age or even with women slightly younger or older than him, he’d act loosely. I feel I have seen him like that many times.
Also, he even taught weird things to Souichi and other men in with us. He’s an adult yet very childish. But because he’s like that, we were always able to smile.
He made us smile even when we were in pain. After the journey ended, when I recalled the whole journey, I realized that he’d always do weird things to make us laugh again.
So that we don’t get nervous, so that we don’tbreak, he always supported us.
“Also, for him, I’m still just like a younger sister or a daughter…..something like that.”(aya)
Even inside me it’s vague whether Renji-san is an elder brother, a father or just a man.
I can’t really speak about others I guess. I sighed.
“Aya-chan, you’re really passive with Renji-oniisan.”
“With brother, you’d get close to him rudely and quickly start fighting after all.”
“That’s because Souichi is an idiot. If I don’t do that, he wouldn’t realize anything.”
No, he won’t realize even when I go that far.
That guy’s dense and a total blockhead. Even with the girls in our class, he talks with them only as a friend.
Even though they look up to him as a Hero, as the Brave, as a man. I have such a sinful childhood friend. Well, it’s my job to make him realize these things.
“But that’s good in its own way.”(yayoi)
“I wonder……I have gone through troubles due to that as well. As his childhood friend.”
Just how much was I troubled due to his denseness…….just thinking about it makes me sigh. At first he had even misunderstood and tried to set me up with Renji-san as well.
The fact that he’s quick to act might be his good point but the fact that he takes the shortest way to complete it no matter what it is, is also his bad point.
“We should go to the restaurant now or we’ll be late.”(aya)
“Renji-oniisan as well, why does he have to go and do something like dealing with goblin corpses.”(yayoi)
I agree with that as well.
Renji-san is a hero. To the worl. And even to me as well.
Dealing with goblin corpses is the job for newbie adventurers I think. He should let them do it.
“But, the fact that he works hard even at such small things is……really amazing I think.”
No matter how great he became, he’s been the same from the very start.
When we had just been summoned to this world. When his cheat was considered weak and he became more of a burden.
To become stronger, he did everything he could. Fighting skills, way of swinging the sword, knowledge, he put his effort into many things.
At first I didn’t really notice that but thinking back now, he really was amazing.
We all had something we excelled at but Renji-san didn’t have one. He only specialised in fighting gods. Powerless against monsters. But he was still desperate to protect something. He says that he’s not a hero but he’s the greatest hero of all.
I wonder who said that ‘hero’ is not a noun but a verb.(T/N: It was Robert Downing Jr.)
It’s not a title, a hero is all about his actions.
A hero doesn’t call himself one, others proclaim him as one.
“We are also heroes, called as God Slayers but that’s just a title.”
Right now, we’re attending school as students.
Yuuko-san called as the [Sage], said that we’re still children and made us go to one.
But Renji-san threw away his title as a hero, threw away the famous sword given to him by the king, and is living only with Ermenhilde in his hands. And that’s really splendid.
We hold the title of heroes. Renji-san continues to go around saving people. I feel that it’s very like him to do that. He might say other things but in the end he’ll always help. That’s how Renji-san is like.
Between us and such a Renji-san, which one is the actual [hero]……i wonder.
“Aya-chan, you’re always thinking of difficult things……”
“I’m just satisfied with the reason, ‘Renji-oniisan is amazing’.”
“……well, that’s mostly what I think as well though.”
But I want to explain that in more better words.
You’d think that way right? For the person you hold precious after all.
“Now then, let’s go shall we?”(aya)
“Already? Isn’t it still early?”(yayoi)
“I don’t want to make them wait.”
“Aya-chan, you’re the type who’d devote yourself to the man you like, aren’t you?”
I understand what Yayoi means to say but am I really like that……who knows?
I don’t really care about that either.
“That or the type that’d lead men around by a rope.”(yayoi)
“…….isn’t that completely opposite of what you said before?”(aya)
“Well, even I don’t know which is the real Aya-chan.”
Is that so? She laughed loudly.
Really, she puts up such a facade in front of others.
Even though she’s like this in front of us, in front of the others in class, she’s like a young noble lady who only speaks in polite speech.
“If you laugh like that, the number of fans of the [Saint] would decrease you know?”(aya)
“I don’t really care. I only heal those who are injured or wounded. It’d be tiresome if they made a sculpture or an idol out of me.”
“I agree on that. It’s really tiresome if you’d don’t have people with whom you can talk openly by your side.”
“Aya-chan has it easy. You have brother in your class. For me, my class is…..”
After that we talked about classes for some time then rememberred about Renji-san and finally left.
I made a final check at the mirror. Sprinkling a perfume slightly I checked the light scent. This isn’t indecent right?
When I asked that, Yayoi made a fed up face.
“It’d be nice if we can hear a lot from Renji-san.”(aya)
Just like before, we’d talk a lot with him.
Just like how we talked in front of that campfire. About me, about Renji-san, about the school, about his journey.
If we talk…..i wonder if I’ll get a bit more closer to him.
“I want to talk a lot.”
That person is definitely worried about today, I think.
We heard of that as well.
We fought with monsters. Victims will emerge. When fighting against the demon god, we had seen many more people die. Tens, hundreds of people had died.
I don’t think we’ve grown numb to it. It’s a fact that our hearts ached at those numbers. But, if you get trapped in just that, the next to die would be you yourself. Our body and our mind understands that. Even if there are deaths, we’ll face forward. We have no choice but to do so. So that we don’t die.
But Renji-san is definitely lamenting over it, I think. Just like that time in front of the campfire. He must be looking downwards.
Because that man wished to protect. But doesn’t has the power to do so.
That’s why, I must tell him.
What he protected today.
What he protected again.
Thank you very much.
Though you couldn’t protect those 4, you protected a lot more.