Message from translator: So I’ve decided to go with linked footnotes (though no one answered in the last post T^T). Anyways, in this part, we get some sweet character interactions between Fin and the others.
Volume 1, 2-5: Underneath the Moonlight
The group sluggishly continued onward the next day with a depressing atmosphere, and it seemed like they’ll be spending the night as usual in the fields without any houses. It couldn’t be helped as Fin was limping with one leg. Although the injured person himself didn’t say anything about his pain, he stubbornly shook his head when Nellis and Fauna told him numerous times that they were fine and he should ride the horse.
“It looks like it’ll be clear tonight. I’m thankful for that.”
Oandus looked up at the sky after another simple evening meal and took a breath. Fin sat down on top of the grass and said as he rubbed his leg.
“I’m more suited to be the first on watch-duty. If they appear, I’ll wake up everyone right away.”
“What are you saying? Big Bro has to sleep.”
Suddenly, Nellis opposed angrily. She rattled off reasons: You’re injured, We decided earlier that you’ll recover if you rest for even a little bit, Everyone will fall unless there’s a capable person who can fight.
However, Iguros easily agreed with Fin.
“Well then, I’ll leave it to you. I’ll switch with you at the appropriate time.”
Iguros didn’t even wait for Fin to nod before covering himself with the blanket and rolling onto his side. Nellis’ mouth dropped.
“I can’t believe it, why would you…..”
“It’s okay, Nellis,” Fin gently interrupted. “I can’t sleep because of the pain anyways. You understand, right?”
Nellis frowned and quickly turned away, almost at the brink of tears.
“That’s unfair…..you’re terrible.”
She whispered in a trembling voice. Fin gently patted his sister’s head and turned to his family, pretending to be fine.
“There you have it. Don’t mind me and rest, Uncle and Aunt. It’s fine. I’ll pass time by looking at the moon.”
“I understand. But Fin, if you ever become sleepy, wake me up right away, okay? Even I can do something like watch-duty. There’s also the option of humoring this grumbling Nellis all night long.”
Fauna kindly said and Fin smiled a little at the joke.
After the married couple laid down beside the fire, Nellis, stubborn and pouting, sat beside Fin.
“I’m also awake. I don’t want Big Bro to endure this himself, hmph.”
“You….you know it’s not that kind of issue. You’re the one who’s lacking endurance, so if you don’t have a proper night’s sleep, it won’t good. You don’t have to worry. The pain’ll lessen by tomorrow. I know from my experiences so far. So please, Nellis.”
Nellis didn’t make any movements in response to Fin’s continual whispered persuasions and kept staring ahead at the road. When Fin gave up and stopped talking, she held her knees, placed her chin on top, and whispered.
“Why don’t I have the strength like Big Bro? Even though, it’ll be great if I could fight as well.”
Fin couldn’t reply right away. If this was back in the days— when it was peaceful, he would’ve denied such thoughts by saying, “Don’t say such impossible things,” or made a joke like, “You becoming stronger than you already are? How scary.”
But it was different now. Her desire to be able to fight was an earnest wish to both Nellis and even Fin. To any man or woman, adult or child. One person or many, if they could fight, how much they could help—.
“If you practice, you’ll probably be able to use a sword. But, leaving that aside, since it seems you got the qualities of a priestess, isn’t it better to make use of them? If we find the temple in Winea, you should try to consult with them.”
“I want to be useful, right now.”
“That’s a bit hard…..Let’s see. That protective charm, can you give it to everyone tomorrow? Also, if you could bless our weapons, properly or not, it’ll be a little effective.”
“…..Okay, I got it. I’ll try.”
By the time she obediently agreed, Nellis’ eyelids were half closed. Fin faintly smiled and whispered, “Sleep already.” Nellis gave a deep nod and crawled towards her blanket. She lied down sideways, and unexpectedly remembered something and turned around.
“Hey, Big Bro Fin. I…..really, you know…like Big Bro. So…”
“I don’t want you to die,“ she said her wish in a voice so small that it was barely heard, but Fin gave a deep nod in agreement. “It’s okay. I know.“
When Nellis’ breathing slowed to a calm pace, Fin could no longer endure; his face twisted in pain as he held his right leg. He gritted his teeth in a desperate attempt to suppress his groans.
The wound on his right leg experienced a violent, stabbing pain as the night air became cold. He wore a blanket but that didn’t warm him up a bit as he thought that he would get frostbite at this rate.
(It’s fine, it’s all good if I can endure tonight.)
He knew how the injuries from the Beasts of Darkness worked from his experiences so far. As soon as one is attacked, both numbness and pain come. The numbness continues for a while and when that feeling dissolves, the next attack is of unbearable pain. However, once that passes, recovery will gradually come.
Of course, even if he expected all of this, it doesn’t make bearing the pain any easier. And, this was the first time he received this much damage.
His breathing became rough and tears welled in the corners of his eyes. Using his left foot and both arms, he crawled away from the fire so as to not wake up the sleeping people. There was no need to worry since the dots of blue light weren’t in sight and the pale moonlight shone on the world.
Her figure crossed his mind. Certainly, that night, she said that there was nothing luring the Beasts of Darkness here. But if that was the case, why was yesterday’s Beast there, waiting in ambush? Surely there were hardly any travelers going on that path recently.
This question filled his head for only a moment. Fin gripped his right leg as a particularly strong sensation of pain ran through it and he fell sideways. He curled up in a fetal position and took a breath to stifle a scream. He can’t raise his voice. There was the fear of waking everyone up, but the fear of accidentally summoning something was much greater.
But, how long could he hold on? Fin looked up at the moon, hoping for some salvation.
—And then, something gentle and white appeared in his field of vision.
The moment Fin opened his eyes wide in surprise, the pain calmed down all of a sudden. Even though just until a moment ago, he was tortured with pain so extreme that he wanted to die.
A tender voice called his name. At the same time, there was a feeling of a hand softly touching his heart. At first, it was surprising, but now it was comfortable. Fin exhaled deeply.
He slowly sat up, and then Leena squatted beside him and placed her hand on top of his wound. It felt like his frozen leg was slowly melting.
“Thanks. You saved me.”
Fin thanked her, and she smiled, shaking her head a little.
“I didn’t do anything. It was all your power, Fin.”
“What?” Fin blinked in surprise. “If I could do such a thing, I would’ve healed myself before, instead of writhing in pain.”
Or did she mean something much different from what humans think of? As one would have expected, Leena made a troubled look.
“Ah, well, it’s different. It’s not like that. It’s like….ummm…..”
During that time, his pain faded completely, disappearing. Fin laughed unintentionally.
“Anything’s fine. Well, in any case, I felt better as soon as you came, so I’m grateful.”
Leena’s delightful smile widened at Fin’s smiling face. Fin’s gaze was completely fixed on her smile, and then he suddenly remembered his description of her to Nellis. He said— Like a puppy. Leena titled her head in puzzlement at Fin, who was barely holding back from bursting out in laughter.
He played it off with a smile and rolled up his right pants leg to check his wound. A faint red mark remained, but the wound had practically disappeared. “The power of spirits really is something, huh?“ Fin thought in admiration, then Leena lightly touched her fingertips on his wound and said, as if reading his thoughts.
“I can’t use my powers. They’re sealed…..But, I can use the power held by that person. That’s why it was your power that healed this wound.”
She gently stroked his leg, and as one would expect, Fin blushed and rolled down the pants leg in a panic. Leena made a surprised face at his reaction, but soon after, she became embarrassed herself and apologized awkwardly.
“Ah, I’m sorry. Looks like, I’m always, bothering you.”
“No, that’s not the case right now, it’s just that…..Anyways, you don’t have to worry. More importantly, you said ‘sealed’, right?”
Fin quickly changed the topic. Leena blinked her eyes at his restlessness and answered his question frankly.
“Yes. My parents placed a seal on me to prevent humans from using me. That’s why I, never went outside…..and why I hardly know anything about humans. I knew some information from folklore, but I didn’t have any actual confrontations with humans.”
“Really? You’re like a Daughter in a Box“
“It means that you’re treated as valuable. Heh, so you guys have families as well.”
Dwarves were another case, but he never imagined that spirits had families, so he felt both astonishment and curiosity. But, those feelings withered when he saw Leena’s lonely expression.
“…..They’re not here, anymore.”
After muttering, Leena suddenly looked away from him and glanced towards the fire.
“The people over there, they’re your family?”
“The one on the right is a comrade from the barracks, Iguros. My family is in the back. Uncle Oandus and Aunt Fauna, and also Nellis. I’m adopted so I’m not really related to them by blood.”
He felt a stinging pain in his chest. They called Fin family. And he himself also thought of them as family. Yet, despite it all, he still hasn’t reached the stage where he can say naturally, “They’re family.” Thoughts of being hesitant towards the shower of affection and deep appreciation—things bestowed upon him that he couldn’t receive, grew stronger.
(If it was a family that I’ve been with since birth, we probably would’ve fought and hated each other. It may be better this way.)
Even the families he saw in Nanais were doing disapproving things. Huge fights where they jump out into the streets brandishing a knife, and parents-and-children, and siblings spouting harsh words to each other in public. There were also rumors of much worse things. Compared to that, wasn’t it fine to hold back? Even if it’s followed with something bittersweet.
—And, something warm faintly touched Fin’s heart. He was startled and Leena turned around. Her kind smile looked like a goddess of love who perceives and accepts everything.
“They’re Fin’s precious people.”
After being told so lovingly, Fin stared in wonder. Those simple words easily broke through his unnecessary thoughts. A very natural smile appeared on Fin’s face as he nodded, “Yeah.” He felt Leena’s happiness at his answer, although the mood became strange now. Why was Leena happy that he cherish someone?
“That child is also, very pretty.”
Leena whispered, and Fin became curious and asked, “Are you talking about Nellis?” Leena nodded silently. Fin looked towards the bundle of blankets, thinking, “Really?” with a puzzled look, and then remembered.
“You’re talking about the heart, right? If so, then I have no objections. She’s a good kid……She’s cheeky and speaks badly, but she’s nice, really.”
A little chuckle slipped out. She would instantly throw abusive words like “idiot” and “boring” without any reservation at her brother, but her feelings are honest and genuine.
His heart became warm as he thought about Nellis and unexpectedly agreed. He understood Leena’s feelings when she said that she wanted to watch. He couldn’t understand why her target was him though, but leaving that aside.
Fin felt an indescribable happiness when he looked at Leena’s profile as she looked lovingly at Nellis. He was very happy that someone shared his feelings towards those precious to him.
He yawned a little when his heart was content, and he was struck with drowsiness. Leena turned around and quietly reached out. Fin panicked and tried to get away. If she put him to sleep again, he’ll definitely be kicked awake again. And there was still more he wanted to talk about.
“Leena, I, things I want to ask…….”
Although he attempted to speak, his words couldn’t be articulated. His fallen body was once again held in something as soft as clouds.
I want you to teach me. About spirits, about the world, about you.
It seemed that the rest of the words he wanted to said were muttered in his sleep.
 Daughter in a Box: 箱入り娘. Describes a young, innocent girl who is surrounded and protected by family members to the point where it’s as if she is locked in a box.
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