Ashes and Kingdoms v1 5-4

Message from translator: Just wondering, who did you think this title was referring to both before and after reading the chapter?

Edit: I don’t know what happened with the posting of this chapter. Sorry, if you clicked on the link on NU yesterday and was met with an error. The chapter is up properly now.

Volume 1, 5-4: Coward

Fin was inside the darkness.

Why was he here? Where was he heading? He didn’t really know.


Plop. A pair of blue lights lit up. Tiny like fireflies.

He stared at them in a daze, and before he realized it, they had swelled into the size of a walnut.

It was cold. Fin shivered and was abruptly brought back to his senses.

The blue light became a bit thinner. There was no voice, but the center of the darkness conveyed some kind of laughter.

(You are…)

Was it the wolf from that time? The night before he entered Winea, it appeared before him without doing anything before it left—that Wolf of Darkness.

(What the hell? Why is it here? Something’s wrong.)

He heard a sound similar to small bubbles rising up to the surface. The ominous feeling coming from it made Fin tremble.


That single word was what he had heard. Fin instantly understood what it was trying to say and gasped.


He unconsciously shook his head. But the blue light blinked; when it lit up again, it stared at Fin and became thin again, delighted. Fufu An unclear sound, like laughter from the nose, came spilling out from it.

――Truly a…fool……

The voice echoed from afar. Although it did say, “Fool,” there was neither disdain nor scorn in the echo; rather, a sense of love could be sensed hanging in the air.

The lights quietly receded. Fin desperately extended his hand.

(Don’t! You can’t!!!)

The light   shrunk and   dis app eared ――


Fin lurched forward when he woke up. He held his head, his breathing rough. His body shivered, and it couldn’t be stopped by pure willpower.


A worried voice asked, “What’s wrong?” When he turned around, Oandus’ and Fauna’s questioning faces appeared in the unreliable light from the square lantern. Inside this abandoned woodcutter hut, Fernaine lay in deep slumber between the two parents on the dry grass placed on the ground. She was probably tired from crying, and from walking.

The square lantern was something they brought with them from Nanais, but it had now lost its blessing and was nothing more than a light. Still, just a little bit of darkness resembling the one he saw in his dream was sticking to a corner of the hut.

Fin slowly looked around, and when he remembered what kind of situation he was placed in, he used his hand, whose fingers had been drained of their blood, to rub his face as he stood up.


As soon as he called her, a girl clad in a white light softly appeared. He looked into her golden eyes as he said.

“We have to help them. Everyone’s in danger.”

“Why?” Leena tilted her head, confused. Fin was unable to understand the meaning behind her question right away and frowned. Shortly afterwards, Leena’s feelings came seeping into his heart, and Fin was shocked.

Her question of ‘Why?’ wasn’t asking for a reason. Instead, her question was more like, ‘Why do we have to save them?’

“Why…’s them. The Beasts of Darkness found the captain and everyone else. That’s why we have to go save them.”

“But,” Leena blinked her eyes again in bafflement. “Aren’t Fin’s precious people right here?”

These words spoken so smoothly landed a strong blow to him. He recoiled from the attack and held down his chest. Even his parents’ worried voices didn’t reach his ears.

That was right. The ones Fin wanted to protect were his family; no one else.

And the reason why they were able to sleep without having anyone stay up to keep watch even with this measly light was because Leena was keeping the Followers of Darkness at bay. If Fin did leave to rescue Varte and the others, he would be leaving his parents and Fernaine behind….possibly killing them. There was no way he could desert them to save others.

Iguros’ image appeared in his head—the image of the man to whom he swore to protect Fernaine, even if he had to abandon everyone else. In the end, this man lost his life when he showed mercy to others.
Fin couldn’t make the same mistake as him. As there was no one else in whom he could trust.


He let out a deep sigh. He slowly sat back down and covered his face with both of his hands.

Someday, I might have to abandon someone. He remembered the day that thought came to him.

Why he had fallen into such a situation could be blamed as an error in his own judgement.

No, other humans besides himself had a hand in the reason for this.
Thinking about this, that, and every little thing—the heavy sigh spilled out.

[I got it, Leena. I won’t…..go save them.]

Sensing this coming from his heart, Leena softly and gently touched it. For a moment, Fin succumbed to the urge to shake her off. But he forced himself to hold back, realizing that it would be nothing more than a childish outburst of anger. As a result, Fin reluctantly destroyed and threw away the dark emotions of anger and helplessness while he agreed with Leena. Even that guilt faded soon after.

“…..Sorry, Uncle, Aunt. For waking you up.”

When Fin apologized in a low voice, he weakly smiled and asked them to go back to sleep if they could.

Even though they were uneasy, his parents once again lay on their side. But the one who told them to go to sleep remained awake and greeted dawn.

Songbirds chirped and a chicken from far away announced the time. Fin left the three sleeping people and quietly exited the hut. He looked at the ground and was startled. A beast’s footprints. Rather than a wolf, they were almost as large as a bear’s. On top of that, there were unidentifiable claw marks—one, two….

Fin brushed his foot across the ground, erasing the prints, and after surveying the white mist hanging between the trees, he slowly began to walk. Even though it was summer, the morning air was cold. Fin stifled a yawn and rubbed his arms.

He soon left the grove of trees, and a thin road appeared before him. This was the cross street that connected the road that headed north to Tetna from Winea with the road that headed southeast to the Calsum Pass.

If you were to continue to travel all the way left, a.k.a. heading south, you would reach the intersection with the road leading to Calsum, and if you were to turn west, the road would merge together with the one continuing to Comillis. After Fin had stared in that direction, he turned to his right and gazed northwards. His pursuers should be showing themselves from there. That was if they had realized Fin’s destination. But more importantly, if they could survive the night.

Fin let out a deep sigh, squatted beside the stream on the side of the road, and washed his face. At that time, the mist gradually faded up and the world steadily cleared up.

Fin wiped his face with his sleeve and looked at the north again. His pursuers didn’t come. Fin stood still for just a moment in that spot, but he turned on his heel and returned back to the hut, resolute. If he lingered around here, he would no longer be able to meet up with Nellis and the others.

After a short while, Fin and his group had a simple breakfast and set out on the road. As they were taking the sullen-faced Fernaine who was dragging her feet, the group heard the sounds of horse hooves coming into contact with metal from afar, making them halt. Fernaine suddenly raised her head and gazed at the direction of the road with a hopeful look.

Fin quietly squinted his eyes then whispered.

“It’s Captain Varte.”

The group neither ran nor hid. The pursuers’ footsteps also weren’t the fast steps of the army corps. Exhausted and sluggishly limping—it was like Fin and the others before they came to Winea.

When the army corps soldiers’ figures came close enough to be able to identify them, Fernaine’s expression clouded. She fidgeted nervously and hid behind Oandus.

That was expected. The group of soldiers lead by Varte, who was on horseback in front, were dirty with blood, covered in wounds, could be mistaken as bandits with that appearance.

When Varte was right in front of Fin, it looked like he fell off as he dismounted. He took a breath.

“Our expectations were off.”

He muttered and looked at the faces of those following behind him.

“We’d predicted one, two, or none of them would show up and took measures for that. But for that many of them to welcome us….Guess that means we’ve become quite famous. We couldn’t even quietly sneak away in all that confusion either. The ones here are the only survivors. Well, you know, as expected, everyone from Tetna is fine. Besides, if we did secretly sneak off, the amount of money and food to split among us would increase. But we got a horse.”

“……I’m sorry.”

“Hey, hey,” Varte said, amazed. “Knowing even the movements of the Beasts of Darkness ain’t your responsibility. Anyways, it was my own decision to take advantage of your desertion. A rascal like you apologizing like you’re some hot-shot…. Whatever, help out and take some of these guys’ luggage.”

Fin’s feelings were mixed as he didn’t intend to sound like a hot-shot, but he quickly took the luggage from the staggering army corps soldiers who looked like they would fall over. Oandus also went up to the soldiers and lent the injured his shoulder. During that time, Varte continued to speak.

“After daybreak, I explained the situation. That we’re gonna escape like this. On top of that, I let ’em decide. If they want to return to Winea and patrol outside its walls, all while being thrown useless lies and abused by Dirgius. Or if they would come with me.”

“So was there anyone who returned?”

When Fin asked in return, Varte had a mischievous smile.

“Nope. At least for now. But we got a poor bastard with us who wants to go back.”

No sooner did he finish his sentence did he stick his hand inside the line of soldiers and drag a young man out. The soldier with a face dulled by fatigue, suspicion, and despair was Eutis.

Varte violently shoved Eutis’ back, pushing him before the speechless Fin.

“Ain’t that right, Eutis? Weren’t you plannin’ on learning our destination and heading back to Winea? Did’ja honestly think that I didn’t notice you sniffing around yesterday?”


Eutis bit his lip and hung head, unable to answer. Fin shamefully felt like crying, and a quiet, hoarse “Why?” spilled out of him. Eutis suddenly became serious and raised his head with a disgruntled face.

“Did you ask, ‘Why?’ What the heck are you saying? You’re a Dragon Lord. In that case, you’ve got a duty to use that power, right? Running away is cowardly. If you don’t like the commander’s way of doing things, then all you gotta do is take his place. A Dragon Lord can do at least that, right? Then, why’d you run away? Leaving us, going off by yourself…. That’s unfair.”

“I’m not a Dragon Lord!”

Fin became worked up and reflexively refuted. As this was such a decisive declaration, the surviving soldiers exchanged worried looks. Fin sensed the meaning behind their looks—Maybe coming here was a mistake.—and groaned at the headache this was causing.

“It’s true that I formed a bond with a dragon. That’s why, at the very least, when you’re with me…..or rather when you’re with the dragon Leena, you don’t have to worry about surprise attacks from the Beasts of Darkness. But Eutis, your thinking is way off its mark. I am not a Dragon Lord. I haven’t done anything to warrant being called that, and it’s not like I possess the power to do something about that either. It would be absurd to do something like replacing the commander.”

He said while hiding his true intention of not wanting to do so even if he could. Fin stared straight at Eutis. And with an almost hopeful tone,

“Please, Eutis. Don’t look me on the same level as the Dragon Lords chronicled in epic poetry. I’m just….a miller’s son; there’s nothing special about me. I don’t have any grand ambitions either. I only want to live a peaceful life somewhere safe together with my family.”

Even the purpose of him joining the army corps was because he would be stationed in Nanais and wouldn’t have to leave his hometown. As his work would have consisted of patrolling the area around the shore and sea, he would be away from home at max for a couple of days. He could freely visit the windmill, and in the future, he planned to have his own home in Nanais and invite Nellis and his adoptive parents over for dinner several times a month—That was the pleasant picture he had drawn for his future.

But all of that was smashed to pieces.

Even though he had desperately tried to gather all the glittering fragments of his bright dream and piece them together again, Eutis had trampled over all of it. It was cowardly of him to want to do such a thing.

His fist clenched in frustration turned white, but Eutis didn’t even notice.

“That’s the same for everyone. Even me. But for everyone to live such a life in this world, you gotta have some kind of special power. And you’ve got that power. To bond with a dragon ain’t an easy task, so don’t go making excuses that you don’t got any power.”

As Eutis was making his argument, his voice grew steadily higher in pitch. And coinciding with this, a polluted mist streamed into Fin’s heart.

“You got a duty. (Your duty, not mine.)

If you had brought the dragon with you back to Winea, couldn’t you have kept the Beasts of Darkness away from the whole town? (You’re supposed to be able to do that. You have to do that. I don’t wanna fight anymore.)

That’s not all. If you were in the army corps, then it wouldn’t matter where we would be heading as we wouldn’t have to worry about our allies being eaten in the middle of the night. (Since you have power, it’s only natural for you to protect us.)

And yet, you were running away by yourself! (This is all logical. I am right. I’m not wrong!)”

“Shut up!!”

Fin was no longer able to hold back anymore and shouted.

“Saying whatever the hell you want! You’re just scared; you don’t want to be eaten so you just want to use me as a shield! You may be saying that your and my wishes are the same, but what you’re thinking of is only for your own sake. Stop thinking that it’s a given since there’s a guy who just so happened to be saved by a dragon by your side!”

Fin let his words be controlled by his anger so the moment he finished, he felt regret. He shouldn’t have exposed this man’s honest feelings out loud like this. There weren’t many people who would accept other people’s circumstances—especially in this kind of situation.

As Fin had expected, Eutis turned pale and his face stiffened. His eyes were a mix of anger and fear as they remained fixed on Fin. Their gazes clashed and fought against each other.

It was Varte who broke up this silent tension.

“…..So, what do you wanna do, Phineas?”

Being asked in a calm manner caused Fin’s mood to dampen, and he blinked his eyes. Fin replied, “What do you mean by that?” with his expression, so Varte responded with a wry laugh.

“About him. Mister “Popular” Eutis. If we let him go like this, he’ll rat us out to Dirgius. If no one returns back to that man, it’ll buy us at least a couple of days, and this time might even make him admit that it’s dangerous outside the walls. But, if this punk nonchalantly informs the commander…..”

Varte didn’t finish his sentence and looked at Eutis. It appeared that Eutis finally realizing that this was the end of the road for him. Even more blood drained from his face, turning it into the color of ash. Just a moment ago, he was spitting out his logical arguments and guilt-tripping Fin, but now he was suddenly cowering and examined the complexion of those surrounding him.

Fin was tired, pressed the space between his eyebrows, and looked over at Varte.

“That’s quite the coldhearted thing to say, won’t you agree? Haven’t you guys been comrades since Tetna?”

“But that ain’t to say we were nice and chummy with each other. I’ll be frank; if I could exchange his life for even just the tiniest amount of security for everyone else, I’ll gladly do so. It’s much better than carrying around the danger of being betrayed.”

“Betrayed? I would never.”

Eutis weakly protested. His expression said everything. Aren’t you guys the one betraying me? Lying, hiding secrets, running away—

Fin shook his head a little and brushed off the other people’s emotions. He reached his hand out to the center of his heart, and when he felt Leena’s warmth, he calmed down a little.

“In any case….let’s take him with us until we reach the rendezvous point. Nellis should be able to properly treat everyone’s wounds. Plus, it wouldn’t be bad to have some extra time to think about this. Besides, if it’s there…”

He lowered his voice to the point where it wouldn’t reach Eutis’ ears.

“We have the chance to just desert him instead of killing him.”

If they tied Eutis up and left him in the hut, he would probably die before anyone could find him. But, if they brought him to the place where Nellis and the others were waiting…

Understanding Fin’s train of thought, Varte was astonished and raised an eyebrow.

“Oh how kind of ya. I was fully convinced that you hated his guts.”

Being told so frankly made Fin blush. His response was stuck at his throat.

Varte laughed from his nose and continued, amused.

“What are you trying to hide now after being so frank with your merciless put-down? No seriously, I’d really thought that you were the type who’s afraid of being hated by others. Well, it’s fine either way. Knowing that you will still show such compassion even after being hated this much is truly appreciated.”

The commander’s cackling spilled over into his comrades. The only ones with a miserable face were Fin and Eutis.

Varte surveyed the whole group and raised his voice in a cheer.

“Alright, everyone, hold out a little more! A cute little lady’s waiting for us up ahead, so we’ll take a break after we arrive!”

Gloomy shouts rose from everyone in agreement, and the sounds of shields being hit were scattered about. Varte shrugged his shoulders and after he surveyed Fin’s family, he said in a small voice.

“Put that kid on the horse. Really….Because you’re so fixated on that kid, Dirgius was raving ’bout that you smashed his honor. Wouldn’t it be better if you’d just left her alone? I mean, she ain’t yours.”

“I swore to.”

Fin’s quick reply was solemn, and he cleanly turned around, not wanting to talk any more about it. He then lifted Fernaine up to the horse’s saddle. Varte’s eyes burned holes at Fin’s back, and he whispered in astonishment.

“A vow, huh? To think that there were still people around who would uphold such a thing. And that’s…..”

“What is?”

Fin caught the whisper and turned around. Varte tried to pass it off by saying, “Nothing,” and walked back to his position up front.

The wounded and tired soldiers began to move in waves. Eutis was surrounded and pushed forward in order to prevent him from running away as he walked with them, staggering around like a zombie.

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4 responses to “Ashes and Kingdoms v1 5-4”

  1. Thank you for the chapter. Splendid translation as always.

    I say, the title “Coward” refers to both Fin and Eutis.

    Eutis is scared and wants to save his own hide no matter what, which is natural considering it is human instinct. Besides, there is no other way to escape the beasts, is there?

    In Fin’s case, he is scared of having/using power to hurt others, no matter how much of a wretch that person is. He simply stops himself from thinking of ways to utilise Leena’s abilities except to ward off the beast. I can think of a few to knock that Dirgius off his high horse, after all.


    1. Such a wonderful breakdown.
      If I was a teacher, I would grade that with a 100!


  2. Thanks for the chapter


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