Message from translator: Welcome to the start of Chapter 4! I just want to mention in the beginning that the character Eutis speaks by drawing out his interjections and the last word. I don’t like translating it; it makes the sentence look all weird. But, the second half of this chapter is really cute. Hope you enjoy it!
Volume 1, 4-1: New Life and Midsummer Festival
A new lifestyle had begun.
Through Ancius’ arrangement, Fin was assigned for the time being to the unit that patrols the outside of the walls. Ancius probably made that decision since Fin hadn’t received any formal training in the army corps, and that he would be a source of discord if he was to be added to an established unit with an already-defined order. Or maybe, he intended to prevent Fin from spreading rumors about the movements from the Beasts of Darkness. Well, whichever it was, it gave Fin the chance to frequently turn up in the orphanage during this time.
He was able to secure the necessities to live, so Fin should be satisfied that this had been settled within a few days. Even if his original goal was left completely unactualized.
ーBut other than that, Fin had a small, annoying, thorn-like dissatisfaction that he couldn’t ignore about his current situation.
And that was the human relations in his workplace.
“Heyy, you there. Do ya got a whetstone, riight?”
The voice asking was high-pitched for a man, and Fin held back his discomfort as he replied, “No,” with an emotionless expression. That was a given since they were walking outside of the walls. If this was in their own rooms, then it would be a different story. Although they weren’t in the middle of marching, there wasn’t a single soldier who was carrying repair tools with them. This man had been a soldier of the army corps for some time already, so he should’ve already known about such a thing.
“Huum, I see. You don’t got one. Can’t be helped, I guess~.”
The young soldier who was loudly voicing his thoughts was called Eutis. Because of his childish face, Fin inadvertently thought of him as younger, but the man was more or less over 20.
The first time Fin reported to the station belonging to the patrol unit, he had an unpleasant premonition.
There were hardly any of these “people who he couldn’t physically stand” in Fin’s life up until now. He had met unpleasant people before, but they normally had some kind of reason to why they disliked him. And for a fortunate reason.
But it was different for Eutis. At first glance, Fin felt that this man was bad. And sure enough, that feeling grew every day. Even when Fin was as silent as a tombstone, Eutis inconsideratelyーrather, excessivelyーcalled out to him.
Even though he was already enduring this unreasonable discomfort, his suffering also quickly used up his meager amount of sociability. At the same time, he was also sick of his own narrow-mindedness that could only interact with blunt responses; this was one way he was degrading. He thought it would best for the both of them if they go their ways without talking, but Eutis didn’t have the smallest inkling of sensing Fin’s true feelings.
Of course, Fin wasn’t planning on guessing Eutis’ motives either, so the feeling was mutual. Eutis could be sympathizing with the hardships that caused Fin’s distant and gloomy interactions and patiently continuing to call out to him in hopes of softening his grave expressionsーSurrounded by such truly virtuous and kind thoughts, Fin was intensively coming up with the excuses on why Eutis would start a conversation.
“Then~, you, do you take care of your sword in your room~?”
“Yoou know, for me, we~ll, it’s not going too well, so I’m a bit in a pinch. Think it’s probably because my whetstone’s bad. Sooo, lend me yours next time.”
It wasn’t that he was unable to let that pass, but the captain told him to watch himself.
“Keep your chatting to a minimum. The reason your blade’s blunt isn’t ’cause of the whetstone; it’s your incompetence. Give it to a proper blacksmith.”
His tone wasn’t one that blamed or admonished Eutis. It was more like an offhanded tone, as if he was chatting. No, rather, it could be thought that he was having a monologue out loud. This wasn’t a characteristic limited to only him. Fin resisted the urge to sigh and secretly looked around the unit. There were only 8 people in total, but with the exception of Eutis, they all had a somewhat desperate air of fatigue hanging over them.
Fin had already heard the reason for this from the captain’s mouth.
According to him, the ones here were the ruins of the Tetna-stationed troops, and that they were the remnants whom no one could save.
After the previous captain died in jail, they changed their attitudes, basically shutting up about the Beasts of Darkness, and they were assigned to different units. Conversely, there were those who felt betrayed by the army corps, and some who requested and received permission to retire. The ones who were in neither group, that is only those weren’t actively hoping for returns but had no other means to earn money for food, sluggishly continued to fulfill their patrol duty. And this led to their current number.
(It’s only natural as a group of bandits has popped up so close to the city.)
Fin shook his head at the depressing thought.
Then, he raised his head, suddenly sensing someone’s gaze. His eyes met with those of the captain for just one second, but the man immediately turned to face forward. This was another reason for Fin’s exhausted nerves. If this was just once or twice, it would’ve been just a coincidence, but that wasn’t the case. Even though he looked at Fin with eyes filled with some kind of worry, he wouldn’t say anything.
(It was strange since the first time we met face to face.)
When Fin showed up in the station, the captain certainly had an astonished face on for only a moment. However, since then, he glanced at Fin without giving any sort of reason, just like before. Almost as if he was being cautious.
(Why must I be treated with such an attitude?)
Fin didn’t know anyone from Tetna. So, this captain shouldn’t have known him. Despite that, why? Perhaps the man was glaring at him because of his horrible attitude towards Eutis?
Right beside Fin who anxiously worrying, Eutis was having another pointless conversation with someone else. While Fin’s irritation and fatigue grew worse, there was nothing else to do but to look forward to their return back to the city in the evening. He would practice his sword against Max, converse with Nellis who was slowly regaining her smile, and feel at ease seeing his parents in peace. This daily routine had become Fin’s raison d’être as of lately.
He hadn’t been able to meet Leena since then, as he hadn’t the energy or time to spare to walk all the way to the temple in the middle of the night. Nevertheless, that ‘connection’ remained intact, allowing him to occasionally sense Leena’s presence. Like when he sensed that someone was nearby sometime during the day.
Sometimes, he would feel the presence right in the middle of him coming up with delusions of screwing over Eutis. However, Fin considered that his own thoughts would be like poison to Leena and winced in fear.
This was only a superficial happening, but as the everyday fatigue wore on, Fin’s mental state switched to preferring the nostalgic barracks of Nanais.
Though saying that, living in the city was quite different than that in Nanais. His everyday life continued onward, as even the Midsummer Festival was preserved.
Only on this day were Fin and the others exempt from their patrol duty, allowing them to enjoy the festival inside the city.
As a prayer for the abundant blessings of the land, a procession hoisting a large, decorated wreath of braided green branches paraded through the city, starting from the Temple of Neena. When they finally arrived at the square, they hung the wreath on the pillar that stood in the middle. Then, the music and dancing began.
In the square, plenty of bread and soup was prepared, and even alcohol like ale and wine was made available. Although this was more moderate than usual as a result of the turbulent times, it was an extravagant thing to Fin since this was the first time he experienced a festival in Winea.
Nellis had been helping with the festival’s preparations with the priest Fentaus, which explained why she was dressed in the clothes for an apprentice priestess. However, as soon as the procession was finished, she was relieved from her post. While still dressed like that, she brought Max with her to the ring of dancers. It had also been a long time since Oandus and Fauna were in a carefree mood as they laughed, dancing hand in hand.
Slightly drunk, Fin watched his family, letting out a rare grin.
“Big Bro! Let’s dance together!”
Nellis called out to him. Her smile was one that would have been impossible for her when they first arrived in the city, but it appeared that today was special. Surely the priest and Max had improved her mood, so Fin thanked them from the bottom of his heart and headed towards her with light steps.
They joined hands, dancing and turning in rhythm with the music. It felt like they had returned back to a time when Nanais was peaceful. There was his family, food, music, and laughter.
When a song finished and the musician and dancers took a break, Fin unintentionally looked across the square and was startled. It was the captain. When their eyes met, he didn’t quickly turn away like normal but showed an uncharacteristic smile. After waving his hand, he disappeared into the bustle.
Oandus called out, “What’s wrong?” to Fin who stood still, baffled.
“Ah, it’s nothing. It’s just that the captain was there.”
Fin shrugged his shoulders, “That’s it.” He didn’t mention anything about that strange attitude. However, Oandus sensed something from Fin’s reaction and groaned.
“That guy who was right there, huh. No one really wants to see their boss’ face even during a festival, heh. What’s his name?”
“If I recall correctly, I think it’s Varte.”
“Of Tetna,” Fin added in a quiet voice. In this city, it appeared that place names of the likes of Tetna and Nanais were seen as taboo.
Oandus tilted his head to the side, racking his brain to recall someone to whom he wasn’t supposed to have any connection. After that, he unexpectedly looked at his son with a strange look. Before he had realized it, his boy had grown to be the same height as himself, turning into a man with a rigid and sharp face. This look was piled on top of the face he had when he first arrived in Oandus’ place.
“Maybe that guy just looks like someone you know. Like his relative, or someone like that….Or maybe even, someone from that town.”
“That might be the case.”
Fin nodded, convinced. If that was the case, he could understand his shock the moment he saw him. If that man did resemble someone who had abandoned and left them behind, then…. There would be a reason for why he was much too unhappy.
The dancing in the middle of the square started up again. Fin was dragged there by the youngsters and pulled into the dancing circle. After Oandus watched his son being taken, he whispered to Fauna that he would be leaving for a bit and walked out into the crowd. To look for that person he saw for just a moment; the one thought to be Captain Varte.
On the other side, Fin was surrounded by drunkards and was no longer able to tell his left from his right. Being in such a state, it was definitely impossible for him to notice what his adoptive father and the captain were talking about in a secluded place.
 I guess he’s glad that they don’t hate him for existing?
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