Chapter 66 Such Days Without Fighting (2)
The sun had begun to set. Under the dusk coloured sky, sitting on a bench in the central park, I shivered from the cold.
The cold here isn’t as severe as in Japan but it was still winter right now. It’s still pretty cold.
I tried to bear the cold by covering myself with my mantle but it didn’t seem to be very effective. If it was going to be like this, I should have kept at least Mururu or Solnea with me. After all, it would have been much warmer if even a single person was with you. You can also talk with them, and walk with them.
As I sighed feeling lonely after separating from my comrades, who had been with me till a while ago, a voice resounded in my head.
[Why are you sighing now?]
“Nothing. It’s just so cold.”
[Well, it’s winter after all.]
That’s all my partner said. I wish she’d try to keep the conversation going a bit more.
That’s very like her but it also made me feel cold and ,lonely again. I know these are such cheap troubles but I can’t do anything about it either.
While sitting on the bench, I began observing the people passing by. Kids with their parents, or lovers, holding arms with each other, an old couple, young brothers, and men who were waiting for someone, like me. Everyone were laughing, worrying about what to eat for dinner, hurrying back home; everyone had a different expression.
While I continued gazing at this wave of people, a familiar person walked towards me from the crowd. And due to the cold wind, she was holding her robe close to her body and holding down her hair from swaying too much. She looked to be even colder than me.
“Sorry, did I make you wait too long?”(aya)
“Nah, I got here just a while ago as well.”
Ermenhilde destroyed my try to make a normal greeting instantly. Even Aya looked at me with a difficult to explain expression. Since Aya was pretty tall, and I was sitting, she was looking down towards me making it all the more awkward.
Hmm, making such a voice I stretched my stiffened body only to see Aya start laughing.
“It’s nothing, don’t worry.”(aya)
She said that but her expression seemed to be really cheerful and happy, and due to my partner who can still never read the mood, I dropped my shoulders feeling slightly embarrassed. Maybe she noticed my feelings as Aya cleared her throat and combed back her slightly disarrayed hair due to the wind.
“Well then, let’s go, shall we?”(aya)
“Hm? Ah, yeah.”
Even as I stood up, once again, It really is cold, eh? I spoke up
When I said that, she agreed and started walking beside me. A few gazes gathered towards us inside the park. And every gaze was that of a young man, because that’s how attractive Aya’s appearance was.
“So, has Rin-san returned already?”
“Kudou? Nah, her house was locked.”
I recalled the house made of stone and concrete. It was on a whole different scale, making me feel amazed at how she didn’t mind living there. She didn’t even try to slightly blend in with the surroundings like Toudou’s restaurant. It was clearly a house from a different world.
“……..You sure she wasn’t just asleep?”(aya)
“No, Mururu said that she couldn’t sense any human presence, so it must be true.”
“fuumu, I see.”
[What, did you need Rin for something?]
‘Ah, yeah. Well not really. I was hoping we could get her help for the Griffin subjugation as well.”(aya)
For something she spoke so casually, the matter wasn’t that simple. It’s not something you should be talking about at a perfect date spot and in the evening, right? Well, I’d be troubled if she started talking about romantic things as well though.
“What, did you accept a request or something?”(renji)
“No, not really but I was hoping to prepare beforehand so we could move as soon as the request comes.”
[…….Right, Aya is really diligent after all.]
It’s almost as if you’re implying that a certain someone isn’t diligent in his work? Well, not that I actually think of myself to be diligent though.
Dagram was the one gathering the necessary people required but true, it’d be more relaxing if Kudou was here as well. Even as the [Item Creator], she has more physical ability than me and is also good at making decisions on the fly. She’d be fine even when fighting on the front lines against an Arch Griffin. But then, I’d totally look like nothing more than a burden though.
But I guess that’s usual as well. How sad, or should I say, pathetic. Even though I have already abandoned any hopes to actually be a Hero, I still can’t let Aya or Kudou fight alone.
“A Griffin likes corpses of animals and……….what was it, it was a weird named grass.”
I should ask Feirona and other elves and Dwarves in Merdiore about it. Since Griffins have a good nose, you can lure a Griffin with the smell of blood and that peculiar grass. It’d be easy to get it trapped as well. Since it’s a bird, it’s also easier to take one in the dark as well. While recalling the methods of dealing with Griffins I had been taught, I decided to be of use by using my brains more.
“Oh right, where are Mururu and others?”(aya)
“I had them both go back to the inn.”
“Is that so? I thought it’d be fine to introduce them to Enomiya-kun as well.”
[Yeah, but Renji bought Solnea a chess board so they had to go back.]
Why are they related? Aya tilted her head in confusion.
“Ah, I had her play chess during noon and she seemed to be interested in it so I bought her a set due to which she became interested in playing it with Ms Francesca as well.”(renji)
While I was giving her a tour, she asked me multiple times if Ms Francesca would come to the inn or not. Still without any expression though.
She never directly said that she wanted to play but I’m pretty sure that was what she meant. It probably was not my imagination that her footsteps looked light as she walked back towards the inn with Mururu.
“Oh is that so…”(aya)
I didn’t do it without any intent behind it that could make me feel guilty and purely out of good will, hoping she could truly enjoy this world, but Aya didn’t seem very convinced. Well, I know she isn’t that narrow minded but somehow her words still felt a bit cold. Or could it be? That she was anxious that I gave only Solnea a present? Looking at her, she was looking at me suspicious half open eyes. Even her walking speed rose and it ended with me walking slightly behind her. The setting sun cast a shadow behind her as she walked with her hair swaying at every step she took. It looked so much like a good painting that I wondered how many people were there in the world who had such a disposition.
“I want her to come to like humans and learn to enjoy all sorts of things, you know?”(renji)
“Fuun. Oh really?”
To my excuse, Aya replied without turning back towards me. I’m sure she was pouting right now. As she walked while joing her arms near her waist, she really looked like a sulking child. While finding it pleasant, I thought of how to fix her mood.
Now if this was Mururu or Solnea, buying a skewered grilled meat would suffice though. While thinking of such rude things, I continued walking.
[If you’re going to meet Yuuichirou, how about buying at least a few flowers first?]
“yeah, you’re right.”
Since we were in a great date spot, there quite a few flower vendors in view. She heard Eremenhidle as well as Aya stood beside me silently and looked at the flowers. Looks like even if the world is different, it’s still common sense to give flowers to your lover or offering some at a person’s grave. In Japan though we use chrysanthemum but in this world, they tie small lovely white flowers together in a bundle when leaving some at a grave. Since white was close to silver, and silver was the symbol of the Goddess, it was meant to lead the souls of the dead to the Goddess apparently. Getting a bundle of flowers from the florist, I paid the expenses.
After finishing buying, the florist looked at me and Aya with a knowing gaze. She must be letting her imagination run wild in his head I guess. The florist was young girl after all. She must really enjoy love talk. Looks like that doesn’t change in any world as well.
“Now then, we got this as well, let’s get going.”(renji)
It really must be my imagination that her voice still sounded flat.
Did she want some flowers as well? I thought but to travellers like us, flowers don’t have much meaning. Even if you decorate it somewhere, you don’t know when you might have to leave again after all. And for the same reason, it’s useless trying to grow some by yourself as well. But still wanting flowers is, I guess, what makes her a woman. In our previous world, giving flowers as a gift might be acceptable but in this world, gifts to an adventurer need to be more practical and pragmatic………or am I the only one who thinks that?
While gazing at Aya who was walking slightly ahead of me while sulking, I ended up smiling. It’s very adorable to see her like this when she’s usually more Adult-like, or maybe this was more like her. In any case, I prefer this Aya more I think.
“Aya, don’t sulk so much.”
“I’m not really sulking or anything.”
I am sure she enjoys such time as well. She was pouting as if angry but her voice sounded really happy.
Adventurer. Monster hunts. After getting summoned here, she received inhumane power and abilities. Yet, we still don’t know when we might die. We never think that we’ll die, living our life till the very end of our life span and it’s doubtful that we’d get to die happily lying on a bed. That’s why, such small things are so precious to both me and Aya.
[You two sure get along well.]
“When Eru says it, it feels more like sarcasm though.”(aya)
She turned around to say that but her lips were still pouting but her expression looked more fed up than angry. This’d be fine if Ermenhilde had an actual body, but she’s just a medal. I end up as the one taking her gaze.
“You were with Renji-san alone for a whole year after all.”(aya)
[I felt more like a babysitter though.]
I had no words for my partner who replied with that instantly. I don’t recall causing so much trouble but, it must be true if she says it. Looking at me blankly for a second, Aya burst into laughter. Seeing her smile warmed my heart and even though I had been just told something heartless by my partner, I still ended up smiling.
“I told you when we were travelling to Merdiore as well but I really did spend the last one year just relaxing after all.”(renji)
“But that’s fine, isn’t it? As long as we can talk and laugh like this. Even though we may still be very far from true peace, it’s still a peaceful time right now.”(aya)
“………I guess so.”
I didn’t deny her. I just couldn’t.
Because I feel the same. As long as we can laugh, while relaxing like this, I’m sure, that’s the happiest thing to ever exist.
Without the threat of monsters, demons or the Demon God, if I could travel around this beautiful and rich world,—–I’m sure that was what Eru’s wish was as well.
That’s why, when I also laughed at her words, Aya looked at me blankly again. And then gave a truly happy smile. As we continued walking while talking like that, the crowd became slowly lesser and lesser. The number of buildings also reduced and instead, barren trees with leaves fallen on the ground as per the season came more and more into our view. Along the side of the path, which was most probably a flower bed, there were no flowers growing right now. This path with only withered trees around gave a quite desolate feeling.
Going further ahead, we reached a place surrounded by an iron fence.
Probably because this place was at a point even higher than the residential area, you could clearly see the sea from here. It was a cemetery truly fitting one that would exist in a port town, you could say. It wasn’t that big and the number of graves were less than even hundred. Rarely is a body left intact after losing to a monster and most of the times, that body is often taken away by the monsters as food anyway. There are many cases where not a single piece of body is found and you have to treat them as missing. But, after a battle……..if you can’t find someone even after a few days, the chances of them actually living are considered very low. Such corpse-less individuals only have their names carved on the gravestone.
“It should be obvious but, it’s such a melancholic place.”
Answering Aya’s mutterings, I saw a figure standing at the cemetery gates. Thinking it might be Yuuichirou, I looked at the figure but their height was shorter than Yuuichirou’s. It’s been a year since I’ve seen him but I’m sure he was at least 170cm but the figure in front of me was maybe even lesser than 160cm from what I could tell.
For someone who came to visit a grave, it’s weird that the person is standing at the gates. Were they waiting for someone? Thinking that we walked closer when the person gave a bow. Reflexively both me and Aya did the same as well but I didn’t sense much friendliness from the person. Just a formal greeting. With dark purple semi-long hair and a dignified expression that felt somewhat cold, she was wearing a tunic and a ankle-length long skirt. As we headed into the cemetery while I confirmed her appearance with a sidelong glance, my side got elbowed.
“What, I was just confirming who that was!”(renji)
[Oh I wonder about that.]
How much o they distrust my relationship with women? Oniisan will get really sad, you know?
While talking stupidly inside my head, we headed inside the cemetery. Knee high graves had been made in a uniform pattern and all were very well maintained as well. And as if surrounded by the numerous stone graves, under the setting sun, a single man dressed in all black was holding something like a long broom stick and was cleaning a grave. Even though the sun’s setting, he really must be a zealous man. And in front of him was a big grave. Bigger than both me and the black clothed man, it was a grave meant for all the ones who didn’t have a corpse and the black clothed man seemed to be just staring at the grave in a daze.
To the black clothed man’s back, I called out. His clothes were black, the long coat he was wearing was also black. And his boots and gloves as well. Even his tanned skin looked on the blacker under the setting sun. And among all this black, only his grayish hair stood out. In the past one year, his hair really have grown a lot. It was long before as well but right now its as long as a woman, while tied very simply behind his back. But his body looked much smaller than even us. The reason was Yuuichirou’s left arm. He didn’t have one. In a battle long ago, he had completely lost it. The empty sleeve swayed in the wind.
Reacting to my voice, the man turned around. He really must have grown accustomed to living peacefully in Merdiore as he didn’t sense even after we came so close to him. It’s something that would have been unimaginable before.
With a slightly surprised voice, his violet eyes opened slightly wide.
“Huh? Yamada-san and Aya-chan, why are you guys here?”(yuu)
And with a leisurely, almost stupid sounding voice, he tilted his head in confusion.
“Long time no see Yuuichirou. We are on a journey and have made a stop here. How are you? Been doing well?”(renji)
“It’s been a long time, Enomiya-kun.”(aya)
“Un. Yeah, it’s been a long time both of you. You two seem to be doing well as well.”(yuu)
With a smile, he gave his greetings as well. That gesture of his looked much more mature than a year ago.
“Have you been visiting the grave everyday?”(renji)
“No way, not everyday. Right now, I come only once a week.”(yuu)
Saying that, I stood beside Yuuichirou and placed the yellow flowers we bought a while ago. As I joined my hands to pay respects, Yuuichirou gave his thanks.
Here lie everyone of those who had no corpse left to bury. People attacked by monsters, adventurers who never returned after going ona job. And travellers who got lost forever mid journey. Among those, Yuuichirou’s lover, Celestia-san was also included. She travelled with us, and died. And we…….couldn’t bring her body back with us.
“But still, it’s rare to see both of you together here like this. Did something happen?”(yuu)
“About that, let’s talk about it later in detail Enomiya-kun.”(aya)
“Sure. How’s Souichi?”(yuu)
“Way too energetic. Renji-san is the same as well.”(aya)
[umu. He was staring at women even at the cemetery entrance.]
Even though we met after such a long time, is that really what you want to talk about? Yuuichirou laughed seeing getting slammed by both Aya and Ermenhilde.
And after some time passed with me getting teased like that, Yuuichirou took deep breathes to stop himself from laughing too much.
“Are you guys in Merdiore for a while?”(yuu)
“Yeah. We’ll be heading to Elfreim soon though.”(renji)
By the time we stopped talking, the sky had already gotten quite dark. The air became colder and Aya shrugged from the cold.
Looking at her, both me and yuuichirou exchanged glances.
“Well then, I’ll come see you guys next time.”(yuu)
“Don’t mind it. We’re totally free so we’ll come again.”(renji)
“Sure. Next time, let’s properly sit down and talk.”(yuu)
[Yeah, that sounds nice.]
Another cold wind blew. Aya’s robe and skirt blew up and she gave a small shriek.
Since we’re close to the sea, the wind is pretty strong here. I think in summers the wind would feel really nice. And the scenery is incredible as well. Though I doubt the cemetery is a good place to be enjoying the scenery.
“Now that I think about it, it’s rare to see you two alone with each other like this.”(yuu)
Was it really?
Being told that, I tilted my head in confusion. I recall quite a lot of instances where I was alone with her though? During the journey, we did spend a lot of time as night guards together. We went buying stuff together many times as well. Well, I think what he means is probably it’s rare since Aya became more conscious of me. Back then, I think she didn’t really mind the differences between men and women.
“Well, I guess.”(aya)
Before I could say anything, Aya spoke that puffing her chest with pride. Even though she was blushing like crazy when getting teased by those drunks about this, she seemed fine when Yuuichirou says the same thing. In a way, she’s gotten used to it perhaps?
Afetr a slight gap of silence, Ahem, I cleared my throat. Well that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get embarrassed anymore. Unlike her previous pure smile, her current proud expression looked really amusing.
………when I thought that, Aya stomped on my foot. Since it didn’t hurt I guess she held back. And Yuuichirou laughed again. Seeing him like that, it feels like he’s laughing a lot more as compared to a year ago. And he also seemed to have gotten used to laughing as well. And it’s not a deceiving or secretive smile either, it’s simply a bright pure smile.
Recalling Celestia-san, his thoughts always seemed to go towards the negative. But still if he can laugh like this right now, looks like he’s settled matters with his heart as well. Or maybe he’s trying to move on ahead. Aya also gave a laugh and wiped the tears welling in her eyes. Those tears are probably not because of laughing to much but due to being happy to see Yuuichirou laughing happily like this.
At that moment, a rustling sound came to us.
Before I could turn to look, a calm voice came to us. Looking towards the source of the voice, the woman who had been standing at the entrance of the cemetery was standing their silently.
Calling her name, Yuuichirou gave a curt bow. So her name is Cela.
I looked towards Yuuichirou asking to introduce us when Yuuichirou’s expression was not the cheerful one from before, instead he was giving a more mature looking smile. And then, he walked towards her side. And she didn’t seem to mind that as if it was a very natural action. In fact, she seemed to step in a little closer to Yuuichirou.
“This is Seravi Gernia. Celes-san’s younger sister.”(yuu)
“……..Nice to meet you.”
And she gave a bow again. Seeing her, both me and Aya exchanged glances for a second.
I had never heard of her having a younger sister and she seemed very different from Celestia-san as well. Celestia-san was lively, vigorous, always leading and pulling us along with her. But her younger sister standing in front of us seemed silent and slightly gloomy. Maybe that made her expression look slightly dark as well. It might sound really rude, but she was nothing like her older sister.
Since Celestia-san always left such a strong impression, I ended up comparing the two. I do feel that it’s bad of me to do that and I know it’s very normal for sisters to have completely opposite personalities.
“We are currently living together.”(yuu)
But the next words made my heart almost jump out from surprise.
I was lost for words and Aya looked at Yuuichirou with a black expression.
The boy called Yuuichirou is a very quiet and calm boy. Introverted, he rarely speaks up his own thoughts. It might sound bad but he’s the type that gets flown around by his surroundings…….that’s the kind of boy he is.
He would sometimes agree with someone even though he’s of the completely opposite opinion and then would get stressed about it as well. And the one who encouraged and lifted him up was Celestia-san and Yuuichirou was captivated by her and worked hard to change so that she might come to like him as well.
And hearing that he was now living with Celestia-san’s younger sister honestly surprised me. It’s not like falling in love again is bad or anything. In fact, I feel like really supporting him if he’s trying to move ahead.
But, I always thought that Yuuichirou preferred lively women like Celestia-san that’s all. Also, there’s also a rude part of me thinking that he was a late bloomer.
“Nice to meet you, Seravi-san. My name is Renji Yamada.”
“Oh my, how very polite of you. I’m Seravi Gernia. Yuuichirou has told me a lot about you.”
“Eh, um, Nice to meet you as well, I’m Aya Fuyou.”
Greeting each other, we three gave a bow. It might look really surreal from Yuuichirou’s point of view who was still standing.
“Are you done with your work and talk?”(sera)
“Un. Sorry to have kept you waiting Sera-san. What will you two be doing? If you like, we can take dinner together…….”(yuu)
“Ah, no, no. We’ll pass for today. Right, Renji-san?”(aya)
“I guess. Yeah.”(renji)
“Really? Then since you’re in Merdiore, we’ll invite you again some other time. Then, let’s go home, shall we Sera-san?”(yuu)
Saying that, both of them gave a bow to us, who stood there stiff, and left together. She stood to the left of Yuuichirou and seemed to walk as if supporting his now nonexistent left arm.
“Renji-san, did you know?”(aya)
“Nope, I didn’t.”
I pinched my cheek but yeah, it hurts. This isn’t a dream.
In this world women have a strong sense of virtue and it’s almost taboo for a woman to show her skin before marriage. It was the same for cohabitation as two people who were neither family were children living together would be seen by the society as having ‘that kind’ of relationship.
And since it’s not just Yuuichirou who is from our world, and also a woman who is originally from this world………..i’m pretty sure they are in that kind of relationship. The one between man and woman.
It’s a happy thing to be honest but the fact that none of us knew that made it complicated. He could have told us beforehand geez.
Well, in this world where there’s no internet or phones, it could take months for just one letter to reach and it’s impossible to write a letter to someone who’s always travelling so I can’t really complain.
“Yuuko-san, did she not know as well……….”
Her voice seemed as if she was muttering to herself and even my own reply seemed to lack the strength in my voice.
That’s how shocking that was. Yuuichirou. THAT Yuuichirou was living together with a woman!
That kid, though this might sound really rude, but he’s too naïve when it comes to thing concerning romance. He’s the type who’d forget to tell his own feelings because he couldn’t say it once.
[Why the hell are you grinning like that. Looks disgusting.]
“……….You really show no mercy, do you?”
Now that I think about it, I forgot to tell him about the Griffin subjugation in the end.