Ashes and Kingdoms v1 5-2

Message from translator: New ship: Nellis x Max! Who’s with me?

Volume 1, 5-2: Escape (2)

Around this time, Nellis was trying to leave the temple when the priest Fentaus stopped her.

“And where are you going?”

His questioning tone was uneasy. Nellis laughed in her usual way and answered, “Just a little errand,” but her intuition told her that he saw through her lie, so she became serious. Fentaus had a keen perception. This was not due to having special powers like Nellis and Fin, but from cultivating his observation skills—having spent his days listening to many people and paying meticulous attention when mixing medicines.

Nellis dropped her gaze, and after thinking for a bit, she quietly said.

“……I truly am thankful to you, Master Priest. You showed kindness to us, who came all the way here battered and penniless. But, I beg of you…Please overlook this. Please, if you feel even the slightest bit of guilt towards the children in the orphanage.”

Fentaus became startled by Nellis’ whispered words and flinched. “So he really did know,” Nellis thought, disappointed, and stared at him. Since the priest kept his gaze diverted and his mouth shut, Nellis continued.

“Big Bro Fin had said so. That offering up orphans also happened in Nanais, and it wasn’t bad for the children if they would be properly taken care of. They would try to send smart children to affluent mansions to study complex concepts, and particularly strong children to those people who want children to help out with their work….It was the same for Big Bro Fin.”

“So you two aren’t actual siblings, huh?”

Fentaus let out a surprised voice, as if he didn’t intend to say it out loud. Nellis nodded.

“The director introduced him to my parents. Saying that they had a kid roughly around my age who looked like he could work in the mill.”

She could clearly recall the day Fin first came to their home. Since he was such a ‘grown-up kid,’ she felt like he wouldn’t mesh well with her family. Despite how unexpectedly she grew accustomed to him, the director might have been worried and interviewed her parents several times after the adoption.

(Come to think of it, I think one time when Dad came back from the town, his face was super scary….Oops, can’t do this here.)

Nellis was about to be lost in her thoughts, so she quickly pulled herself back to reality.

“Master Fentaus. I believe that there are circumstances and reasons for things here to be this way. But, I’m sorry. We are leaving because of our own circumstances, but we cannot abandon children whom we know will suffer.”

Nellis bowed her head. In response, Fentaus asked in a grave tone.

“Do you intend to bring everyone with you?”

“Heavens, no. No matter what, that’s impossible. Besides, I trust that you aren’t a slave trader, Master Fentaus. And you won’t sell ordinary children for money either.”

“Are you talking about Fernaine?”

Fentaus groaned, as if Nellis landed a fatal hit on him. Nellis was surprised at how much damage this had caused him and opened her eyes widely. In just a mere moment, it looked like Fentaus had aged an extra 10 more years.

Fear swelled in Nellis’ chest. It couldn’t be. Was that man that much of a powerful presence? Was what they were trying to do not saving a pure child from a rotten big shot, but closer to that of stealing away a deceased’s soul from the king of Death?

Fentaus perceived her horror and shook his head slightly.

“Please don’t make such a face. You have done no crime.”


“Niardo is Commander Dirgius’ nephew-in-law. Even before that, his family had been receiving large sums of donations for many years…..Even I was faintly aware of all of this, but I feared the retribution of defying him. Nevertheless, a sin is a sin. It’s only natural I face judgment. I was fully aware that I was turning the children of our future into victims and presenting them to be violated by desires.”

Fentaus dropped his head and covered his face with one hand, as if he had already received judgment on this. And with the other hand, he held back the approaching Nellis.


“Master Fentaus……”

“Quickly go. And…..please, don’t turn around.”

His pleading voice was feeble, quivering as he held back his crying. Nellis hesitated for just a breath and right after that, she promptly turned on her heels, brushing away any regrets, and ran off.

Even if she was to persuade him by saying, “You tried to do the right thing” or “There was nothing wrong with what we did,” she couldn’t remove the thorn lodged in her chest. Nellis continued to run until she ran out of breath and felt pain in her sides. She stopped her feet only after she had passed through the square and entered the alleyway messily dotted with lines of stores.


Nellis was called out in a quick whisper, returning her back to her senses and making her gaze do a quick take. Inside a store selling vegetables and tree nuts, Max was beckoning to her with his hand. Nellis adjusted the bag on her shoulders, took a deep breath, and feigned a nonchalant expression.

She leisurely looked around and walked over to various stores with a face that asked, “What shall I buy?” as she peered at their wares. She went under the hanging garlic of the last store.

The shopkeeper took a sideways glance at Nellis, but he didn’t say anything and attended to the other customers. Nellis pretended to be searching through goods as she slowly made her way farther in. After confirming that the shopkeeper’s body and the store shelves were obstructing the customer’s gazes, she passed through a small door and exited through the back.

Surrounded by a narrow courtyard was the shopkeeper’s family’s living space. From the corridor, Max extended his hand and grabbed Nellis’ arm.

“Hurry up, this way.”

When she rushed through the stall acting as a storeroom, Max nimbly closed the room and strained his ears for any outside presences.

“Were you noticed?”

As Max asked in a low voice, he turned to face Nellis. As soon as he did, he quickly turned back around in a panic. Without saying anything, Nellis had begun to take off her priestess clothing. Incidentally, Max had already changed into secondhand children clothes he bought to look like a farmer’s child. He had rubbed mud on his arms, legs, and face, and soot in his hair, changing his appearance.

“You know, Max, if you do that, you really look 10 years old.”

Nellis joked around in a tone that contained no ill will. While he was glaring at the door, the words, “If I was really 10, my back wouldn’t be facing you,” were stuck in Max’s throat.

“Ah, sorry. You angry?”

Between the rustling sounds of clothes, Nellis apologized indifferently, so Max looked upwards.

“Whatever. You done yet?”

“Just wait a bit. Yeah, with this…..alright.”

Even though he was given permission, Max carefully turned his body and immediately opened his eyes widely again. Nellis was dangerously holding Max’s sword against her neck.

“What the hell are you doing!”

Although he rushed at her to take it away, his heart felt like it was bursting out of his chest. Nellis answered him, her feelings hurt by the question.

“What do you mean by, ‘What?’ I was about to cut my hair. I thought I told you this?”

For someone of her age, if she made her hair short, she could pose as a young boy depending on her outfit. She had said so herself and had already decided that she would cut her hair. However.

“Still, don’t use such a thing to do that! ……Sigh…..I can understand the trouble Big Bro had to go through. Brings a tear to my eye.”

“Well, excuse me. How much do you think I suffered from that gravestone of a brother?”

“Yeah yeah, indeed. I had prepared some scissors beforehand, so sit there.”

Max said coarsely as he pointed to a wooden box. After placing his sword back in its sheath, he wrapped it in a woven mat, since farmers’ children don’t carry around swords.

“What the heck? I can do at least this much by myself!”

Nellis was still sullen as she looked around. When she tried to grab the scissors located at the corner of the room, Max beat her to it.

“It’ll be faster if I do it. Just sit down already. Look here. No need to worry. Since I’ve taken care of the little ones before, I can at least do a shaved head.”

“Don’t cut that much.”

“As long as you don’t say anything extra and make my hand slip, it’ll be alright.”

While they went back and forth with these jests, Max began to cut. He only hesitated in the beginning when he had to cut off her long pigtails, but after that, it was quicker.

“Ta-da! Well, I would have to say, you really do look like a boy like this.”

Looking at her short hair, Max slapped his hand on her round head and cheerfully said, though he had been like this the whole time. But, as there was no retort coming from her, he looked embarrassed and blinked his eyes. He timidly circled around to face her and took a peek at her face. Nellis was tightly biting her lips, and her eyes were spilling with tears.


Max apologized in a small voice, picked up her golden braids, and placed them on her knees. Nellis weakly shook her head and in that motion, she used her finger to wipe the tears falling out from the corners of her eyes.

“It’s alright. It’s just….a little bit different from what I had imagined.”

Nellis’ voice was hoarse as she said and she forced a smile on her face.

“I had thought this would be nothing. But surprisingly, hair does….”

The words were caught in her throat. Nellis blinked several times and bent her head to the side to play this off, but she couldn’t maintain it for long as her countenance broke down. She clutched to her braids and held them against her mouth to cover the sound of her crying. But the more she tried to hold it back, the stronger the urge to burst out grew.

Nellis heaved with sobs, so Max gently wrapped his arm around her shoulder. Nellis repeated said, “I’m fine. I’m fine,” in quick breaths, as if to persuade herself that she was so.

“Yeah,” Max whispered and nodded. “You’re fine. You haven’t changed a bit. You look perfectly like a girl.”

“That would be…a problem…..”

“Yeah, you’re right. That’s why I gotta slap some thick mud over ya.”

Max joked around, causing Nellis to laugh a little. Then, she swallowed back her tears and clearly instructed, though her voice was still trembling a little.

“Don’t tell Big Bro about this. Keep this a secret, alright?”

“Yeah. I won’t tell anyone.”

When Max solemnly raised a hand and gestured swearing a pledge, Nellis finally relaxed her tensed shoulders. She let out a deep sigh and closed her eyes for a bit. When she opened them, her tears had completely dried.

“Ah, boo. I look like an idiot. This was such a waste of time. Ugh, I really hate this. Sorry.”

“No need to force yourself.”

Max laughed sarcastically, but he did agree that too much time had passed. When he had put the scissors back and stuffed Nellis’ priestess clothes in the empty jute bag, he bound the string on it together with the wrapped sword and tightened it. In the meanwhile, Nellis got down on her hands and knees and gathered the sand and dirt on the floor, dirtying her face and limbs.

“Is this good enough?”

Nellis uneasily asked, and Max pitifully shook his head.

“Your head and neck aren’t dirty at all. Especially the area around your ears and nape. They’re pure white since they’re not tanned.”

He directed for her to sit down again on the wooden box. Despite her frown, she obediently obeyed. Max transferred the soot in his own hair and carefully began to work to make it look as natural as possible. The moment he touched her ears, Nellis faintly stirred, but Max pretended that he didn’t notice. For both of their sake.

—After a while, a farmer with his two sons rode their wagon out from Winea’s southern gate, but there was no one there to pay them any mind.

It was like nothing in the world had changed; everyday life was merely repeating itself over and over again.

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2 responses to “Ashes and Kingdoms v1 5-2”

  1. Thanks for the chapter.


  2. New chapter wiiii (>w<)/


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