Ashes and Kingdoms v1 3-2

Message from translator: A Valentine’s Day release! And this chapter fits pretty well if I do say so myself. The lightheartedness continues, but for how much longer? We’re making slow progress, but it’s progress nevertheless (or that’s what I tell myself every time I start translating).

Volume 1, 3-2: Rain

A few days later, the party continued westward while slowly making their detour.

At night, Leena would always appear. Like usual, she would engage in little relaxed conversations with Fin, sometimes with Nellis mixed in, as she continued to give them directions.

Each day, the food supply decreased, the children’s feet became full of scars, and the horses got thinner and thinner. Nevertheless, they were not foolish enough to go straight to the main road. In the beginning, the children believed the adults, but now three days later, they had blank, doubting eyes and begun to act rebellious.

The children sat on the side of the road, grumbling, throwing tantrums, and crying in high-pitched voices—“I can’t walk anymore,” “I don’t wanna,” “I’m hungry,” “I’m going home!” The other children were sullen and silent, refusing to answer to anything. At first, the older people appeased them, but soon after, they grew tired and no longer had the luxury to do such, condemning their dangerous actions. And then the children would cry again. Because of that vicious cycle, Iguros, Oandus, and even Fauna, who became displeased, grew too tired to hide their feelings. The atmosphere grew more and more hateful.

Yet within all of that, the fact that Nellis and Max continued to look forward was a grace to Fin. At any rate, if they continue to carry such irritation and despair to nighttime, then Leena may no longer be able to appear anymore. If they lose their guide, then they have no choice but to all die in the fields.

On the 4th day, it rained as if delivering the final blow. It wasn’t a particularly heavy rainfall, so they could escape under the trees to avoid getting soaked. However, everyone’s depressive feelings were enough to soak them down to their hearts.

In the inner areas of the northern regions, it was nothing but refreshing when the skies were clear. However, there was only gloom when it was cloudy or raining. The ground easily becomes muddy and any area outside of the main road or wasn’t paved, immediately changes into a half-muddy marshland. A mist envelops everything and covers one’s field of vision with a grey coat. The cold, damp humidity clings onto clothes and hair.

Without being able to advance ahead, the party had no choice but to wait under the trees for the weather to become better.

Iguros sat Fernaine on his lap and was telling another story, but it didn’t look like there were many children sitting quietly to listen. Many of them were crouching down and crying complaints. Fauna ran out of comforting words and was patting a child’s back with a mechanical rhythm. Oandus kept silent with an angry face and continued to build a roof to secure a place that would prevent even a little bit a rain from soaking the area. He had an air that he definitely didn’t want to be called out.

Fin, Max, and Nellis managed to muster some energy within this situation and took this opportunity to repair shoes and check the wagon. They also allocated the job among themselves to check their food and make themselves and others believe that the rain was no big deal.

And just like that, the gloomy day ended, and everyone was at the peak of exhaustion and fell asleep.

As usual, the first on night watch was Fin. He noticed that Max was still awake and thanked him in a whisper.

“Max, you really helped me out there. Thanks.”

“Same here, Big Bro Fin.”

Max shrugged his shoulders in a grown-up fashion. Before he realized it, he had started calling Fin the same way as Nellis. Fin laughed a little and ruffled Max’s hair. Max gave a sarcastic laugh in embarrassment and although his actions were rare in a boy his age, Fin didn’t hate it.

Max took a look around his surroundings and after confirming that everyone was in deep sleep, he began to talk in a small voice.

“….Um hey, I kinda noticed this, but….were you a higher-up in the army corps, Big Bro Fin?”

“Of course not. Do I really look like one?”

Fin was caught off guard so Max tilted his head and said, “I don’t know. It’s just that, there are older adults here, like that old man and woman, and even the one named Iguros, but it looks like you’re the one giving orders.”

“Aah, that’s….because I proposed the idea.”

Fin answered in a murmur and cast his eyes downwards. “Duty”, a simple 4 letter word, once again felt heavy on his shoulders.

Fin talked about Nanais’ situation, his moment of “revival”, and then about the sequences of events that lead up to their decision to leave Nanais. After all that, he raised his head and continued.

“Right now…..meeting with the spirit who is showing us the way, probably became a big reason. She should be coming out at any moment now.”

As Fin was saying that, his eyes shifted towards the darkness. At the same time, as if signaled, a white shadow softly appeared. Max’s jaw fell. Fin gave a small laugh and patted Max’s head. “Your eyeballs are gonna fall out, you know,” he teased as walked over to Leena.

“Good evening.”

Leena shyly greeted him and when she noticed Max, she said, “Oh my.” Fin looked back and beckoned as he laughed.

“Come over. This is a good opportunity, so come here and introduce yourself. This is who I was talking about before. This is Leena.”

“Nice to meet you.”

Leena gave a gentle smile. As soon as she did, Max let out a gasp and turned red all the way up to his ears.

“Ah, uh, I’m, ummm.”

As Max’s flustering was too amusing, Fin tried to stifle his laugh, but it was too much. His face became twisted trying to keep it together, but he managed to keep a serious tone.

“Max, if I were to ever injured and can no longer be awake at this time at night, I want you or Nellis to listen to her directions in my stead.”

Those words were thrown at him so nonchalantly that Max was startled and winced. The moment he looked up towards Fin, his face became pale. Fin purposely answered Max’s look with a joking tone.

“I’m counting on you, Lieutenant Maxentius.”


Max opened his mouth, wanting to say something, but in the end, he swallowed them back and instead gave a small agreement with, “I understand,” in a husky voice.

(He’s a strong one.)

Max was reliable, but at the same time, he became sad. Fin recalled the time when he was around Max’s age, and his chest began to ache. It was around that time that he was just adopted by Oandus’ family. He decided to be a reserved, good kid, and although it was quite a stuffy lifestyle, it was definitely not as heavy as Max’s.

Leena sensed those feelings of empathy from Fin, walked over to Max, and softly hugged him. He opened his eyes in surprise and timidly hugged her in return even while blushing. When he buried his face in Leena’s shoulder, both of his eyes welled up in tears.

After a while, he unwrapped Leena’s arms around him and wiped both eyes with the back of his hand.

“….H, hey.”

To gloss over what happened, his words faltered. When Leena tilted her head and looked at his face, Max changed his gaze over to Fin in a panic.

“Since Leena’s a spirit, do you think she could dry out this area for a bit? It’ll be a problem if the little ones catch a cold, you know.”

“I’m sorry. I can’t do such a thing.”

Leena responded with an apology. Max mumbled things like, “It’s fine either way,” in a flustered way. Leena looked lonely and smiled.

“It’s because that power is sealed. While I can’t make the ground dry, I can at least prevent the children from catching a cold. That level of power is originally possessed by all the children, after all.”

As she was saying that, Leena was already spreading both arms and the action gave off a vague feeling as if she was surrounding the whole campsite. At the same time, Fin and Max felt their bodies become a bit warm and they blinked in surprise.

“With this, it’s okay now.”

Leena smiled, so Max mumbled a bunch of thanks. Then a question suddenly popped in his mind, and he asked.

“You said ‘sealed’, right? Can it be dispelled? I heard legends of travelers who saved spirits trapped in caves.”

Fin also noticed that for the first time and looked at Leena. If she said that the seal was placed on her by her parents, then to save would her be easier than that of a spirit sealed away by an evil magician. But, Leena shook her head a little.

“There is, of course, a way to dispel the seal……but, I don’t want to. Since it will require a very….very big sacrifice. That’s why it’s fine this way.”


Max tried to grab her, but Fin held him back.

“Stop, Max. We’re the only one who can dispel the seal and save Leena. But to force Leena to do something she doesn’t want is making the exact same mistake the humans did in the past.”

Although he was persuaded, Max still had on a dissatisfied face. Being told that she was sealed, he could not help but reflexively think that it would be a good thing to release her. Especially if it was in the case of a spirit. However, even if he could accomplish something, he may receive no compensation. At times, one needs to balance their choices and it may be necessary to even give up.

Max didn’t think that far, but nevertheless, he grudgingly said, “I know,” as he withdrew.

“Well then.”

Fin cleared his throat and took out the map.

“How far can we go tomorrow? In the end, we barely moved ahead today, after all.”

The faint light that Leena gave off illuminated the map. She looked at the place pointed by Fin’s hand and traced her finger along the map. It was a detour, but they have already crossed half the distance between Tetna and Winea. If they went a little farther north now, they could probably take a roundabout to Winea.

“Now, we’re here, right? If you continue this way tomorrow……”

Leena suddenly frowned and looked around, standing on her tiptoes. Since she was spending longer than usual looking around, Fin became anxious and frowned.

“Is there someone there?”

“Yes…..ahead is a bit difficult to see.”

Leena returned her eyes to the map and quickly moved her finger.

“If you plan on continuing southwest of here to Winea, you’ll approach the main road…..and there are the Followers of Darkness around this area. I think they’re probably patrolling that area. But if you’re thinking about continuing directly westward to Winea then going its northernmost point on the west side of the city, then there are humans over there.”

“About how many?”

“I can’t really tell, but maybe around 10-20. It looks like they’re moving. When I looked at that area yesterday, they weren’t there.”

Fin and Max looked at each other after Leena finished.

“Do you think they’re the same as us?” Max said with confidence.

“If that’s the case, it would be great, but if they’re moving around in this rain, then they probably have a large amount of physical strength or they’re riding on horses or in wagons. I feel like they’re not in the same situation as us.”

Fin grumbled and glared at the map. But no matter how much hard he stared, a third path didn’t appear. He would have to choose either one of them. The Beasts of Darkness, or the unidentifiable humans? Of course, the latter was chosen.

“We got no choice but to pray.”

Fin whispered and folded the map. After that, he raised his head and both Leena and Max were looking at him with worried eyes. Fin blinked his eyes and gave a strained smile.

“Don’t make such a face, you two. Either way, we have no other choices left. It would be different if we could fly in the sky or dig underground, but if we’re traveling with all these people, then we can only head northward towards Winea.”

Fin said, and Max nodded in silence. Fin continued to speak as if to encourage himself.

“I definitely want to avoid fighting the Beasts of Darkness at all costs, but if our opponents are humans…..even if they’re bandits, we don’t have anything worth stealing. And maybe if we can negotiate with them, they may let us go. Or if they’re refugees like us, then we don’t need to worry and the conversation ends there. Well now Max, go to sleep already.”

After saying that much, Fin ended with a sudden joke.

“It’s like they say, ‘A well-slept kid is a well-kept kid,’ right? Or do you not want to grow any taller?”

“Wha…..I’m going to sleep! In the morning, I’ll surpass you, you’ll see!”

Max suddenly became serious and turned his back angrily. “Well then, I’ll look forward to that,” Fin teased, but Max ignored him. He returned to the campsite and plopped down.

Fin giggled and Leena had a wide grin on next to him.

“Will Fin no longer grow taller?”

“Hmmm, I want to get a little bit taller. But even if I don’t force myself to sleep, my regular height is enough.”

Fin joked and stuffed the map in his pocket. Suddenly Fin noticed something and looked at Leena.

“Do you not sleep?”

“I am a thing that sleeps during the day,” Leena gave her comedic answer. “Even if I could be awake, the world during the day isn’t peaceful. People’s thoughts seep into the ground, and it gets very difficult.”

“….Is that so? That’s regrettable.”

“What is~?”

“I just thought that you couldn’t see the blue sky. Around this area on a sunny day, it’s quite the pleasant place, you know……I wanted to show you the sea by Nanais. Sigh. There is really nothing beyond the horizon. The light that reflects off the waves are dazzling and with the addition of sunlight, they change into blue or green. The water is practically clear by the shoreline and the bellies of small fishes sometimes shine.”

He intended to narrate the scenery to let her imagine it, but he had realized that he was completely lost in his memories. Those nostalgic scenes vibrantly came back to him, and he could even see his hometown’s sea even right now.

No, Fin’s consciousness was definitely standing in Nanais of his past. He spent each day looking at the changes to the surface of the sea with each passing season. That was once a world overflowing with light. Then he was aware of Leena standing next to him.

The sound of waves breaking and the cries from a black-tailed gull. Clear skies and the sea shining from the sun’s reflections.

The girl was looking at the same scenery.

(—But, this isn’t reality.)

The moment he closed his eyes, he felt a pain like he was being cut. When he opened his eyes again, he was under the tree at night, damp from the rain. Leena being next to him was the only thing that didn’t change from his illusion.

“I also saw it.”

Leena whispered and stared into Fin’s eyes.

“The scenery you love so much. Even now, that ocean is reflecting in your eyes.”

She touched her soft finger on his cheek. Unable to bear the weight of homesickness, Fin closed his eyes and bumped his forehead to Leena’s, entrusting himself to her.

“Fin, that ocean is inside of you. That certainly won’t disappear. Ever.”

Leena’s whispers sounded very gentle to his ears.

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2 responses to “Ashes and Kingdoms v1 3-2”

  1. It sure is nice seeing the MC develop into proper man.
    Thanks for the chapter!!!


  2. thanks~

    i do wonder if Fin would take Leena’s hand in the future chapters.


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