Ashes and Kingdoms v1 2-7

Message from translator: Sorry, I couldn’t stop myself. I know I said that I’ll be back in a month, but it felt wrong to not give you readers something to enjoy for the holidays and new year (plus leaving such a big cliffhanger for a month is just cruel). I’m still working on the backlog, but it’s getting there! Anyways, here we are introduced to the remnants of Tetna as well as a new problem. Enjoy~

Volume 1, 2-7: With the Children of the Town

According to the boy’s story, it was certain that the army corps soldiers were fighting in the beginning.

They built defensive fences, lit lights, and had night watches.

But, their wages, let alone, materials were delayed, and the attacks from the Beasts of Darkness increased in ferocity; furthermore, none of the messengers they sent to their neighboring villages asking for reinforcements and relief returned. This situation continued and the army corps finally made a decision, that they’ll place the fates of the residents in their hand and evacuate to Winea.

Roughly half of the residents left together with them. However, it was only those who could keep up with a strict march of traveling several kilometers on foot in a day. The ones left behind could only wait for them to return back with reinforcements, or possibly for a miracle to happen. Of course, there were some people who decided to stay and protect those that couldn’t go and fight the Beasts of Darkness, replacing the army corps.


The transition after that was easily grasped by Fin and the others.

The protectors continued to die, there wasn’t enough food, and people’s minds and spirits were devoured. This city, much smaller than Nanais and no longer had soldiers to maintained order though imperfectly, had fallen into ruin too quickly.

Fights over food and materials broke out, and the weak were killed or possibly were forced to make a desperate escape to the wastelands…..Finally, only the orphans, who couldn’t leave by themselves but hid instead, were left.

“I see,” Iguros groaned. “I was in the Nanais barracks, but a single messenger from Tetna didn’t arrive. Though I don’t have a single clue about how the other towns are. I’m sure……”

His voice sunk and after that, sunk into silence. Fin and his family glanced at each other and nodded towards each other with only their eyes. They were all, taken out by it. By that Beast that was waiting in ambush by the main road.

“The Beasts of Darkness aren’t idiots, huh.”

Fin murmured in a small voice. The enemy knew that the main road was like an artery to the empire. Because if they were aware of the veins that distributed the “nutrients” of human society such as information and materials, then like that, they would hide in places where there’s nothing around. It was nothing more than luck that Fin and the others managed to escape those fangs.

So that means that essentially there were probably Beasts expecting them on the road towards Winea. Furthermore, there probably wasn’t just one Beast either, since there should still be many people on the road to the provincial capital, coming to seek help.

In order to change the atmosphere that had become gloomy, Iguros turned to face the children and called out in a bright voice.

“By the way, is there a kid named Fernaine in here? She’s my niece.”

The children noisily looked at each other. A little while later, a girl around 7 years old or so, came out timidly from the back. A thin face fringed by black hair and eyes that were pale, dark green like an abyss without any light.


“Uoh, how much you’ve grown, oi!”

Iguros said so shamelessly cheery and held the girl in his arms. Fernaine was surprised and frightened, and her body froze.

“And you were so~ small. Yeah, it’s been 4 years, huh. You probably don’t remember me. It’s Uncle Iguros, who used to play with you often.”

Then a, “It’s Uncle” came out from her. Fernaine burst out with her whole body. Iguros immediately scowled, but the scowl hiding his embarrassment wasn’t the slightest intense. The brother and sister earnestly tried to contain their abundant desire to laugh. Fernaine looked at the twitching faces of the two and the shape of her mouth formed a broad smile.

“Oh, you smiled, hey. Yosh, yosh, you’re adorable~”

While grinning, Iguros brushed Fernaine’s head. No longer able to endure, Fin and Nellis broke down laughing, and Fernaine also chuckled shyly. Shy chuckles spread amongst those children watching those events unfold.

When the place’s atmosphere softened, the boy who first opened the door began to talk while also giving a slight hint of a faint smile.

“Uncle and the others, why don’t you stay here today? Inside the temple, they can’t come in, you know.”

“Thanks, boy.”

The boy shrugged his shoulders in an adult fashion to Iguros’ thanks.

“I’m Max. It’s really Maxentius, but the little ones can’t remember it.”

With that tone of voice, he was aware that he must protect all the other children and that he was the senior. Iguros let his niece off and bowed exaggeratedly yet with a serious expression.

“That was a rude thing I did, Commander Maxentius.”

“That’s extreme, heh.”

Max laughed and said, looking around at the people Iguros brought.

“I said this before, but we managed to survive by ourselves as there’s no extra food supplies. While there’s still daylight, we can still search for anything left behind in places like store warehouses…..but, I think there probably isn’t much left there. At night we all gather and sleep in the worship area, so you shouldn’t go to another room. Since only this place has a burning fire.”

“I understand,” Fin nodded. “Are there enough things to be used for firewood?”

“I was going to collect them now. But, you all showed up and scared us. If you’d like, can you lend a hand?”

“Of course.”

“I’ll help too!”

Fin and Nellis both gave immediate replies. Oandus and Fauna exchanged smiles.

“Well then, we’ll check the temple’s defense and look for places that we should reinforce. Be careful, you two.”

“Understood,” the brother and sister gave a cheerful response and once again went out to the town with Max and several other children. Maybe because the children felt at ease alongside adults after such a long time, they had on such bright expressions. Fin, who hasn’t seen children so carefree in a while, also smiled broadly.

“Can this burn?” “Cuz it’s a bit big, it won’t break, right?” “I bet it’s heavy to carry” —At times like this, Fin’s physical strength and sword came in handy. Although Fin has yet to become an adult, he was a fine adult compared to the children. It was a bit embarrassing that the bright and twinkling gazes gathered for each and every one of Fin’s words.

However saying that, it was the job of an “adult” to not forget the relentless reality. While gazing at the children rushing back to the temple with their spoils in hand, Fin softly whispered to Max.

“How much longer will the food supply last?”

“……I don’t know,” Max just said, hanging his head low. “But at this rate, if the same situation as now continues, then maybe around a month longer. In the inner garden of the temple, we’re growing stuff like potatoes and beans, but it’s not turning out well.”

Max bit his lip in frustration. Judging from the scale and condition of the town, there are probably many children who are from farming families, but unfortunately they were still young. There’s a big difference between doing exactly what your parents tell you and doing just about everything by yourself. There’s might also be not enough sunlight in the temple’s inner garden and maybe the Beasts trample around every night.

This can’t remain like this forever. Fin felt the same impatience as when he was in the barracks and had a stern expression.

(With that being said, should I take all the children with me?)

Taking a crowd of children who were unable to fight or run away to that main road where the Beasts of Darkness were certainly waiting with their sinister jaws wide open— he didn’t even have to thoroughly think about it to know the result. It can be concluded with one phrase: mutual destruction.

(By all means, we have to bring back reinforcements from Winea. Not just for the children, but to save everyone at Nanais as well.)

“But, is accomplishing that really possible?” Fin thought, shivering from the creeping shadow of despair as he looked up at the sky which was gradually becoming dyed in red.

The army corps soldiers withdrew from Tetna. If they withdrew not because of desertion nor decay, then they should’ve traveled together and cut down the Beasts waiting in the main road as they advanced. It’s not like they didn’t make it to Winea.

And yet, no help had come to this town.

(Is Winea in a situation where that’s impossible, or possibly…..they didn’t feel like helping, that’s it.)

Fin remembered the map that hung on the wall of the orphanage. The voice of the teacher giving an interesting lesson while pointing at it came to mind.

If you look around the area we’re in, the Pulma Mountain Range in the south our country of Diatius, it was originally the region of a savage tribe

After the ancient Great War, many of the nation-states flooded in from Diatius, but the land had many cold wetlands and numerous black-haired savage Vitian people living there; it wasn’t an appealing piece of land when compared to their home country blessed with warm and fertile plains. But there was one exception: there were several mines of gold and iron.

Even though these mines were in the center of the providence, it was located in the southern part of the country. As for their home country, if they could just hold down there, then there was no need to make heavy sacrifices to take back the northern part that can only produce wool.

(We were abandoned.)

While lost in depressing thoughts, Fin returned to the temple.

Inside, Fauna was making preparations for dinner, and the children were in high spirits, being taken care of by a “mother” after such a long time. Iguros held his niece on his knee and was narrating amusing stories one after another as he was surrounded by a few other children. It appears that he was quite the avid reader in the past.

When he noticed that Fin had come back, Iguros interrupted the story and come towards him after apologizing to the dissatisfied children. His facial expression was strangely refreshed, and Fin sensed that he made up his mind on something, or possibly he had been shaken free from his regrets. Fin shrank at the bad feeling he had. He understood now a little of Masod’s feelings when Masod looked upon Fin’s face back in the barracks.

Iguros stared at his face as if to search whether or not he could see Fin’s innermost thoughts—and silently informed him.

“I’ll remain here.”

There it was. Fin closed his eyes and made a low sound. In order to prevent bitter words and opposition to be said in a raised voice, he just barely held back and breathed a sigh.

While Fin didn’t say anything, Iguros continued.

“Originally, I just wanted to see if my relatives were okay. I’ve found Fernaine, and I know that my sis and her husband are already dead….and above all, I can’t just go and leave these brats alone, now can I?”

The words, ‘You say that you’ll stay, but you can’t do anything,’ made it all the way to Fin’s throat as he barely gulped it down.

“Please wait.”

He managed somehow to say just that and furrowed his brows, looking down in shame. Think, think. There’s got to be another way, something…..

“I’m sorry, but I don’t wanna go farther. No matter what, the Beasts of Darkness are gathering in the main road. With just me and you, we don’t stand a chance. Not to mention, it’ll be absurd to bring these brats along and make ’em their food.”

After saying all that so far, Iguros turned his head around to check if the children had heard him. After that, he lowered his voice even more and whispered in a tone that could be almost be called “friendly.”

“Hey, you understand, right? There’s no way we can make it to Winea. Even the captain, I’m sure he didn’t have a lick of expectation for us to deliver the letter and have reinforcements come. We ain’t gonna be forced to go to our deaths. Right?”


Fin was shocked. Is he saying that not only himself, but Fin would also remain? To hide in the temple in the remains of this tiny town? To search for mere scraps of leftover food? To nibble on the vines and roots of beans and potatoes? To live like a rabbit and wait for someone to come and save them?

Masod’s voice crossed his mind.

“I’ll only let ‘revived’ people goーonly those living and winning against temptation, youngster.”

At that time, he only thought that it meant that he shouldn’t lose to despair. But it’s different; there was also this kind of trap. A trap where when you find a place of refuge, no matter how unreliable or tiny, and in the end, you stop and rest, to never leave again.

Fin’s intense stare drilled holes in Iguros. But, his opponent neither falter nor became timid. He believed that he was right, and it was justified.

“…..Please, let me think about it.”

Fin said in a hoarse voice and walked to the firewood storehouse with tottering steps. He surprised himself that he still held onto the pieces of wood he gathered from the town in his hand and didn’t knock Iguros out with them.

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