Ashes and Kingdoms v1 1-4

TL notes: Sorry for the long delay. I was sick for most of January, so I was unable to translate at all. But I really do appreciate all the comments I’ve been receiving. It’s nice to know that there are people who are enjoying the story.
Also, notes actually related to the translation: I changed the name of the goddess Nenna to Neena, and the gods in the story are going to be called Diatius. I previously had it as Deia, but it was revealed that Deia is one of the Diatius. So many weird names >.<

Volume 1, 1-4: The Calamity that will Befall

Because the temple slave came to take the luggage, the talk was interrupted. The slave inspected Fin’s luggage with greedy eyes and mumbled a thanks while standing as if waiting in anticipation.

It appears that I will be bringing in the luggage. Fin guessed and decided to return back to his job, bitterly.

“See you, Nellis. Say hello to Uncle and Aunt for me. I am praying for their safety”

“Me too”

Nellis replied, and after that, stretched her hand as if she was suddenly struck by an idea. As she quietly murmured something, she touched Fin’s forehead and chest with two fingers.

“What was that?”

“A protective charm. I was taught this by Lady Fianera. It may just be a temporary peace of mind, but…..anyways, it’s so Big Bro Fin doesn’t get hurt”

Nellis shrugged her shoulders with a vague facial expression. Her true feelings may be earnest, but when she showed such an expression, she probably already had a hunch to the reality of the danger that will befall. If she pretended that it wasn’t a big deal, then she unconsciously feigned a light attitude, “It’s not like a catastrophe can be avoided”.

Fin vaguely guessed the girl’s innermost thoughts, and smiled.

“Thanks. You too”

He said in a warm voice and patted the head of his little sister.

“Well, see you”, the two of them parted for real, and Nellis ran down the stairs as if she was being rushed. Fin once again took up the heavy luggage and turned towards the temple’s back door, under the guidance of the slave. The whole time he was leading Fin, the slave continually talked non-stop.

“I thank you very much for your continual help. Everything is thanks to the soldiers. There are people who talk badly in town, but we’re very thankful to you soldiers. Yes, it’s all true…”

To the lowly flattery, Fin replied with nothing. If he said that he wasn’t a formal army soldier, then maybe the guy would shut up for a moment, but this time, Fin could easily imagine how it was to be always looked down upon and intimidated. Fin briskly walked to the temple while carrying the heavy luggage, thinking, “You better be thankful” and wanting to be free from the constant talking.

When he walked in silence, an ironic thought flashed across the corner of his head.

(Even if I’m told that I’m more boring than a dead fish, it can’t be helped)

Although this slave wasn’t exactly the most spirit-raising conversation partner, Fin himself had no qualms with being as quiet as a tombstone.

In any case, Fin somehow finally arrived at the temple storehouse and freed from the heavy luggage. However, he became aware of the person waiting for him there, and the man instinctively sighed.

“What a bad joke”

Before the hopeless Fin, Iguros had on a face that said “How pathetic” as he sat on the stone stairs in front. At his feet sat the shrine doctor who was applying a compress.

“Sheesh. Are the gods extremely ironic or have they really come to hate us?”

Iguros huffed from his nose. The doctor raised his face and gave a challenging glare, but Iguros didn’t care.

“I came to be granted divine protection and I humbly receive a sprain.  This is damn annoying”

“Is it very bad?”

Is it to the extent where you can’t walk by yourself? Or the extent where you need my shoulder in order to get back?

Iguros noticed the mute Fin’s anxiety and his mouth twisted into a smile.

“It’s not a big deal. If I borrow a cane, I can walk by myself. Just worry at nighttime”

“…..?”

Without understanding the meaning of what was being said to him, Fin frowned but there was no further explanations. When the payment was dealt with, Iguros did just as he said he would; he borrowed a cane and used his own strength to stand up.

“Well then, I got stuff to do now like prepare for the commander’s fists…. You know the way back, right? I’ll return first, but you pray and receive Lady Fianera’s blessings, and after that come after me. You better properly request the divine protection”

Although he had given a strange order, his facial expression was serious. Fin was perplexed, but as he understood within these five days that asking things such as “Why?” and “How?” were pointless, he nodded with an adult-like “Yes, sir” and went back.

Iguros walked several steps unsteadily, but after that, it seemed he got the hang of it and slowly left. While Fin was watching Iguros’ back as he left, he unconsciously placed his hand on his chest. It was as if doing so would calm his heart full of anxiety.

When Iguros’ figure disappeared behind the building, Fin came back to his senses and quickly ran in the direction of the temple.

Many people seeking salvation came down to the temple to pray, and the priestess Fianera gently spoken to each of them as the clung to her and she soothed them.

“Lady Fianera”

When Fin shyly called out, Fianera raised her head and smiled.

“Hello, Phineas. It’s been a while”

“You remember me?”

“Yes, of course. It’s because you’ve always been a courteous child since the time you were in the orphanage. Such a child has to properly become an adult, and I was worried if you were alright. Though, now it seems like you’ve grown without any problems”

Fianera giggled nostalgically and beckoned with her hand. While Fin didn’t know whether or not he would be praised, he had a puzzled look and knelt before the priestess. Fianera lightly placed both hands on his head and her face became serious.

“You came to receive a blessing, right? Because Iguros sprained himself, I thought that maybe that wasn’t the case…”

“What are you talking about?”

Fin was suspicious. Although Fianera’s smile was full of kindness, it faintly darkened.

“You probably saw this already, but the way the former army corps’ way of acting is certainly not to be praised. However, despite all, we must forgive them. No, we must even give thanks. The meaning of that, you probably already know. I may have said some unnecessary things now, and I don’t want to scare you. Here, receive Master Audia’s divine blessing”

Her words flowed gently, and she softly placed her lips on Fin’s forehead. And then, with a surprised “Oh?”, she blinked her eyes.

“You’ve already received Master Neena’s divine protection. From whom did you receive the blessing?”

“Eh?” Fin blankly stared for a moment and after that remembered. “Ahh, Nellis….my little sister, cast a protection charm for me. We just happened to meet each other in front of the temple. She said that she was taught that my you though, LadyFianera”

“That child…..I see”

Fianera looked relieved as she closed her eyes. Fin’s anxiety was stirred up by her facial expression and voice that seemed to have some meaning behind them. But, Fianera didn’t give an explanation and touched both of Fin’s shoulders with two fingers.

“Then, please grant divine protection from not only the daughter goddess, but the mother as well”

From the place where the god of the sky Deia and the goddess of the vast ocean Audia made contact, the goddess of the land Neena was born. That’s the myth about the origin of the Diatius.

Fin couldn’t believe the goddess Neena’s divine protection to be dwelling in Nellis’ good-luck charm, but he kept quiet and received Fianera’s blessings. He was aware of her hand’s delicate sensation, a feeling atypical to him, and even if this moment was just a temporary peace of mind, he wanted as many divine protection blessing as possible. If it was before the situation has become dire, then the story of Nellis possibly having the qualities to become a priestess would have made him laugh out loud.

In any case, Fin thanked Fianera, told her the times he would be available, and started running to the barracks.

On the way, he caught up to Iguros who had been slowly walking, but he rejected Fin’s help and stared as if he was searching for something to say and then said.

“Return first, and report this matter to the commanding officer. Double time until you reach the barracks”

Fin was told once again to run, so he instantly frowned. But, he responded “Yes, sir” without talking back and moved as ordered. In those five days, he grew very accustomed to running continuously. He thought of stuff such as “it might be difficult to stop my feet this time”, and he unexpectedly looked over his shoulder.

As Iguros was leaning on his cane, he continued to stare at Fin. With a look that he knew of his wrongdoing. It was only after Fin reported the situation to Masod did he finally realize the reason behind that look.

“That idiot, he sprained his foot!?”

Masod repeatedly roared with the most extreme grimace and kicked the room’s wall in a fit of anger. A new stain was added on top of the numerous footprints already there. Fin held his tongue as to not say anything unnecessary and remained in the same straight posture as after reporting the situation.

After Masod spewed jeers and curses for some time, he sighed, drew closer to Fin and looked at him closely.

“Well then, you properly received Lady Fianera’s blessings, right?”

“Yes, sir”

“Then, follow me. Bastard”

That curse wasn’t directed towards Fin but probably towards Iguros, who wasn’t here. Following after Masod who walked to the barracks gruffly, Fin’s face continued to grow darker in anxiety.

He was brought to the courtyard where there are usually several people swinging around wooden swords. Masod took a sword from where all the spare wooden swords were placed, and threw it towards Fin.

“Hold it in your dominant hand. And this is for the other”

The next thing he threw wasn’t a shield but an unlit torch. Fin held both in the respected hands and felt that his brain was gradually comprehending all of this. And following after that, the fear as well.

“….Surely this can’t be”

He intended to feign calmness, but his voice became hoarse. Masod’s lips twisted into an ironic smile.

“At first I wanted to do this after I’ve trained your legs more, you know. If you’re going to blame someone, blame Iguros. I’ll give you a brief run-through. After that, sleep a little so you’re ready. When the evening bell rings….you know the place you need to go to, right?”

Cold silence descended. Two soldiers guessed the situation from the conversation and the several surrounding soldiers all stared at Fin with a stiff face.

(Aah, please protect me O Mother Audia and Master Neena)

Fin closed his eyes and prayed to the two goddesses. His heart was not the least at ease, but he was able to be resolute. He opened his eyes and looked back at Masod’s cruel eyes.

He answered in a firm voice “Yes, sir. It’s outside…..of the castle gates”

“That’s right”

“Come,” Masod took Fin from the courtyard. He didn’t know how helpful a dull sword would be for this training. However, it’s better than having nothing.

(At least, it’s like a rite of passage, I guess)

Fin had a cynical thought on purpose and grasped the handle of the wooden sword. He had wanted to become a soldier in the past so he had done some self-training with a handmade wooden sword, but for what reason is he holding a wooden sword now?

(To live, you idiot. Get a grip!)

Fin pursed his lips and took a stance with the sword. And so began Masod’s merciless training.

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