“As long as we continue straight down this path, we’ll reach the capital.”
“huh it’s surprisingly close. I thought it’d take a while.”
“No, there’s still long ways to go. Just because it’s a straight path doesn’t mean its short. It’ll take a couple of hours before we get there!”
“Nevermind, that’s pretty far then. There’s not much to do on the way either. Maybe I should have brought some of my poisonous plants as well to pass time at least.”
“…….Well, if you’re that bored why not we talk about ourselves, like our pasts and such.”
Under the clear sky, as a cool breeze swept through the lands, Ralf spoke such after hesitating for a while.
Our pasts, eh? That said, I’ve already talked more or less everything about myself.
“I don’t mind, but I don’t have much more to reveal. I’ve told you everything.”
“No, we haven’t damnit! All you talked about was some light backstory? We-well, you know, how about……..like d-did you have a girlfriend? Or a cute childhood friend maybe? Chris, you were born a noble right?”
“G-g-Girlfriend!? Cute childhood friend!?……..Chris-san, di-did you have one?”
Why did Esta have such an overreaction I wondered, as she asked the same question towards me again.
“Girlfriend huh……if I did, maybe I wouldn’t we living on the flames of vengeance.”
“So you didn’t?”
“Nope. No cute childhood friend either—–actually, I didn’t have any male friends either to be honest.”
“…………..What? Like none? Not even one? What kind of upbringing did you have man?”
“I swear I have already told you all this before but since the day I born, all I did, all I was allowed to do was to train with the sword. When I didn’t it was spent on learning the language, reading and writing. My only one pleasure in life was to sneak into the library and read old tales about legendary heroes……….Well, there was the nice shopkeeper that was very nice to me whenever I was tasked with handling chores. Can I count him as a friend?”
I was pretty serious when I asked that question but the two simply turned away without answering.
Judging by their reaction, I guess not.
“if he doesn’t qualify, I definitely didn’t have a single friend.”
“Didn’t your family teach swordsmanship as whole? Weren’t there other disciples and stuff?”
“There were a few who were my age but my training was always done separately from others so I never really talked with them.”
“Damn, that’s sounds crazy.”
“That was my normal everyday, so I never really realized. I was made to run more than others, made to do more swings than others. Fuhh………yet, my normal physical ability was still less than Esta’s you know? Funny isn’t it?”
“Nah, I ain’t laughing. I can’t laugh really.”
“I’m already past it all so I won’t mind don’t worry. That’s just how cruel the [heaven’s Blessing] was for me that’s all.”
Father was always so strict with me because he really believed that your skills and training from when you are a child could affect the [Heaven’s Blessing]………..
Yet, the one who put all that effort in was a [Farmer] and the one that did nothing was a [Sword God]. His theory was completely wrong.
Was it pure luck of the moment? Or was it decided at the moment you are born? It’s far too cruel regardless.
“Jeez I was just looking for some ‘hot and exciting’ stories to liven things up but this was way too heavy. Chris your backstory is too dark!”
“Then how about you two? Got any past lovers?”
“Yeah right. As if a guy born and raised in these back street slums would have the time to have a romantic encounter.”
“I agree. Just surviving alone was difficult, I never even thought about such things.”
“……..and you were saying my story was heavy. Speaking of, how long have you two been working together? I never asked until now.”
When and how did these two meet I wonder?
Now that I think about it, I’ve never really asked anything about them beyond what I needed to know.
The more I dig, the more landmines I’d find. Or at least that’s what I thought so I just avoided it. But I do want to know how they met at least.
“Honestly, I don’t really remember. As far back as I can recall, I’ve known Esta since we were little kids. Esta used to live in a now defunct orphanage and me, my mother and my step father lived in this tent like thing.”
“That’s right. We’ve known each other by appearance for as long as I can remember. We actually started working together only after the orphanage got torn down though.”
“So your orphanage got destroyed…….must have been rough.”
“Not really. We called it an ‘orphanage’ but it was more of a place where young were orphans were sold away for money; a truly horrible place. That’s why it got destroyed in the first place. Most kids got taken in by soldiers and taken to other cities but I alone remained in Realzard.”
“As for me, my mother disappeared around a year before Esta’s orphanage got trashed leaving me all alone with that piece of shit forever drunk failure of a step-father that she brought along with her a couple of years ago. He’d hit me all the time because I was unable to retaliate; it was around that time that I started working as a thief to make some money for myself.”
…………..Now that is some heavy fucking shit alright.
And the dreams of romance talk withered away as the conversation turned as dark as it could have as expected.
“You….I-I just wanted to hear how you two met.”
“Now now, no need to be impatient. Around a year after I started as a thief, I failed a job for the first time. And came back without any money……..and that’s when my step-father went completely crazy and abused me the worst. It ended with me being thrown off a height and that’s when I injured my left leg during the landing.”
“Right around that time, having lost a place to live thanks to the orphanage getting destroyed, I found Ralf collapsed on the road and nursed him back. And that became the trigger for us to start working together.”
It’s almost as if they were from a different world than me.
I know I didn’t exactly have the most normal childhood but theirs is many times worse than anything I had to go through.
“Right right, and it took about a week before I could walk again and I resolved myself to kill that man to escape from this hell and went all the way back to my house…….only to find him already dead with an empty bottle in hand. Since I had been earning money for us for the last year, he couldn’t survive even a week without me——–hilarious, don’t you think?”
“…….I’m not laughing.”
“Well, I couldn’t get my revenge but I was able to free myself from him. And so, partly out of gratitude, I told Esta about that old dilapidated house that no one used and we started living together there.”
“……….I see. From then, until meeting me you continued making ends meet while being thieves.”
“ah actually no. we didn’t become thieves instantly. Since Ralf was still recovering and I had zero confidence in my physical abilities, until we grew older we would polish shoes, carry luggage etc to earn money. We only became thieves after our [Heaven’s Blessing].
“To escape a life of thievery we needed enough money to buy Esta a grimoire but you could only earn such a big amount through more thievery, so we resolved ourselves that we’ll keep at it even if it killed us.——Maan, when Chris caught I was sure we were both gonna die!”
“Yes, so did I……….Yet, here we are. Giben anada chance at libe.”
“Don’d cry. Didn’d we bromise not to cry again?”
“Sorry, But Ralb, you’re crying doo.” [T/N; in case it wasn’t obvious, these aren’t typos they are crying and speaking that’s all]
Fully recalling their dark pasts, both got emotional and let loose their tears.
They were both looking up trying to hold them back but the tears were mercilessly flowing across their cheeks.
“Bud, now you undersdand? Why we were so grateful to you?”
“I get it. I didn’t know anything about your situation back then but I’m glad I took you two into my party. I’m certain of it now………And I don’t say this out of sympathy, I say this because of what you two have been through. Even if you are lacking in physicality, you can make it to the top with a strong mentality. Those who don’t give up no matter how much life hurts them will always find victory one day.”
“………..YES! I will never give up. We will surpass even Klaus-san.”
“Damn right! I’ll surpass that little brother of yours and become the greatest adventurer there is!”
Wiping their tears away, both looked a whole lot more refreshed as they made some grand proclamations.
On the way to the capital, while it may look like just normal chatter to outsiders, my bond with these two became a whole lot stronger than before.
I had decided I would never trust anyone ever again after getting thrown away by my own father.
But, perhaps it’ll be fine to have some trust if its these two.
It genuinely made me feel so.