<A Message from the translator:> An update that didn’t take a whole two weeks :O
1-7: Anxiety and Impatience
After the grapes were harvested and the sun’s light began to dim, a long shadow from the north began to overshadow Comillis.
Recruiters were hanging around the city looking for people for the war, and they stuck out next to the folks they were talking to at the plaza and bar. They told these folks that if they join the 8th Army Corps, their previous job, social status, and criminal record wouldn’t be called into question. It was no wonder why the stragglers who survived by paycheck were discussing the possibility.
Of course, Fin, Varte, and the rest of the Millers couldn’t join. Varte and the others cracked jokes, saying, “If our business rivals all stick to the army corps’ asses, more job’ll be comin’ to us.” However, Fin couldn’t bring himself to be optimistic like them.
If someone from Winea came to recruit soldiers, they might recognize Fin and the others.
Because of such a worry, Fin walked through the town even more cautiously.
“What’s wrong?” Oria asked.
Fin remembered that he was with someone and quickly changed his expression.
“No, it’s nothing. I was just thinking that recently, this town has also gotten more active.”
“Yeah. But, the army corps wouldn’t come through here, so they wouldn’t interfere with the Miller’s jobs, right?”
“Yeah, we’ve got regulars after all.”
Fin jested and raised the bag of flour in his hand to show her. They were on their way to deliver this to Oria’s home. The Millers didn’t usually do deliveries, but today, they didn’t have any more jobs and were available. As thanks for the sweets, Fin offered to carry the bag back for her.
Ever since then, Oria would randomly visit the windmill even when she didn’t need any grounded flour. She also didn’t bring sweets all the time. There would be times when everyone would be out working, so she would talk to Fauna. This smoothly led to a frank relationship between her and everyone.
Nellis would continue to insist that her target was Big Bro Fin, but Oria hadn’t shown any signs in her behavior of such. That was why Fin could easily walk beside her.
“You’re a little different.”
Being suddenly told this, Fin blinked, tilted his head, and wondered, “Really?” He was often told that he was boring, but she called him “different.” Seeing Fin confused, Oria giggled.
“Maybe I should’ve said, ‘Mysterious.’ Hehe. Like sometimes, you would look far off into the distance, deep in your thoughts. It looks like you can see and hear things other people can’t.”
Fin was startled, but he didn’t show it outwardly and only ambiguously shrugged his shoulders. The two walked beside each other as Oria continued to talk casually.
“Even the air around you. If I had to put it into words, it’s different from us. Right, if you were to tell me that you were actually born in a far away, distant country or a descendant of spirits, I would be surprised but that would make sense. You’re more than just a miller.”
“Am I right?” Oria indicated with her impish smirk. Fin was baffled.
“But, I really am one.”
“Thought so. Maybe that’s why you’re mysterious.”
Oria nodded, but it seemed that behind her smile, she was saying, “Even if you don’t tell me, I know.”
(Can this girl also see?)
His bond with the dragon. The symbol of light dwelling in his chest. But even if she couldn’t see them, perhaps she could vaguely sense it? Was that why Fin felt like he could easily confide in her?
But, it was still too great of a secret to divulge. Maybe it was better to just say he was a descendant of a spirit. Fin opened his mouth with a straight face.
“To tell you the truth, I’m not Mr. Oandus’ son.”
This switch from jokes to serious talk made Oria open her eyes widely in surprise. Fin solemnly nodded.
“Five years ago, I was adopted from an orphanage. I don’t know anything about my biological parents.”
“Is that so…”
“But, I do have an idea. I once saw someone who looked just like me at the harbor in Nanais.”
“Did you call out to them?”
“I couldn’t. …They were caught in a net, flapped their mouth open and close, and desperately wriggled about.”
Oria stopped walking, raised an eyebrow, and stared at Fin’s face. Fin shamelessly looked off to the distance and continued with an overly saddened voice.
“Thinking back on it, that might have been the last time we met. I’m sure after that meeting, my father or mother must have been grilled with salt in someone’s home.”
“Phineas! You idiot!”
Oria finally realized, burst into laughter, and slapped Fin’s chest. Fin also couldn’t keep a serious face and snickered.
After some time, the two calmed down. Oria wiped a tear from her eye and lightly slapped Fin again.
“You got me. I didn’t think that you would tell a joke.”
“I do rarely tell them.”
“I guessed so. Your fish dad probably didn’t teach you how to tell a joke anyway.”
Oria played along, laughed, and shook her head.
The two continued to walk like this until this moment.
“Phineas of the Millers?”
A hoarse voice called his name. The voice and the presence that accompanied it made Fin reflectively turn around and be on guard. He instantly regretted leaving his sword back at home.
However, the person in front of him was an old lady. With her suspicious bracelets and accessories, she looked like a fortune teller. Wrinkles and spots appeared on her face, arms, and any visible skin, but her straight posture and sharp eyes didn’t reflect her age.
“Are you Phineas?”
The old lady confirmed one more time. Although wary, Fin didn’t wish to be antagonistic to the elderly and politely replied, “Yes.” The old lady closed her eyes.
“Is that so? It’s you… Yes, I see.”
The old lady gave a suggestive chuckle and scrutinized Fin. The moment her eyes landed on his chest—
(I was seen through!)
Fin gasped and immediately built a wall. Although he didn’t know what he should do, he instinctively covered himself.
The old lady slightly opened her eyes and immediately chuckled.
“No need to be so alarmed. I have a request for you.”
“A request…you say?”
Although Fin grimaced, he continued to respond as a Miller in front of Oria.
“Can you please wait a little? I’m in the middle of a delivery. I can on my way back…”
“Ah, no, no. I’m not the one asking. I’m merely bringing the message. Listen: ‘Today, I shall come to you directly with a request. So, you will wait for me outside when the moon rises.’”
“The moon rises at midnight, you know.”
These instructions were too suspicious that Fin protested, clearly unwilling to accept. But, it wasn’t conveyed to the old lady.
“That’s none of my concern. I already told you; I was only asked to bring the message. Whether you do it or not is your choice. Now then, I’ve done my job.”
The old lady waved her hand and left, mumbling, “Ah, I’m tired.” Fin saw her off with a grim face.
“…She’s kind of creepy. Fin, how about you don’t do it? It’ll be better to not get involved.”
Oria uneasily warned him. Fin pulled himself together and nodded.
“She really was suspicious. Maybe she confused us with the folks who lived in the mill before us and is trying to make us do some good-for-nothing job. Either way, I guess I have no choice but to wait for midnight. If I crawl into bed, I’ll be asleep in the blink of an eye.”
Fin ended with a joke, so Oria also broke out into a smile.
The two of them resumed their journey. As their conversation was interrupted, neither of them would start another so they walked in silence.
In the end, they reached Oria’s home. Fin handed the bag of flour to her in front of her small door. After an awkward farewell, he turned around to head back. Just as he was about to start walking, “Um.”
As if she made up her mind, Oria called out to him. Her voice was unnaturally nervous so Fin turned around and blinked in confusion. Oria’s face was red and she held the bag tightly to her chest.
“Um, I know it’s sudden to, um, say, but please don’t think it’s strange.”
She mustered up her courage, pushing each and every word out of her mouth. Fin flinched. Seeing this, Oria held her tongue for some time. She placed the bag of flour on the ground, took a deep breath, and took a step forward.
“We, um…are thinking about moving. The rent here was paid in advance before my father passed away, but it’ll expire soon… The landlord said that he’ll wait for payment and even introduce us to a cheaper place. But, I had a talk with Mom and she said that we should try relying on some distant relatives over in a small village west of Nakte.”
“I see. When?” Fin was taken aback and bewildered, but he continued the conversation.
“We haven’t decided yet, but probably before winter comes. So, um…”
Oria stopped here, turned red, and clenched both of her hands into fists.
“I was wondering if you’d come with us.”
“Ah! No, um, what I mean is! Fin and Nellis and…your parents. Together. I said that there wouldn’t be anyone to interfere with the Millers’ jobs, but once the war starts, it’ll lead to various effects over the city. It’ll no longer be safe. And there might be strange people like before coming to you guys. The army corps soldiers might pass through Comillis, and if that happens, they might take away the young men like you, Fin.”
Although her words were trapped in her throat several times, she continued to passionately warn him. Her fist pressed against her chest slightly shivered.
(Come with us.)
Fin heard a small voice that wasn’t really a voice in his ears. A fog of unease and hope swirled and overlapped the image of the dejected Oria
(I don’t want to separate.) (We finally got close.) (I’m nervous about a new place.) (If it’s him—)
Fin felt like he was suffocating from her reliance on him. But, she was suppressing these in her chest, unwilling to show them in her words and attitude—a small yet strong pride, concern for Fin’s family, and composure to face the truth.
(I can’t rely on him.) (The Millers surely have their own circumstances.) (Nevertheless, they decided to stay and live in this town. We’re just a pair of broke parent and child…)
Among these complicated thoughts, one strong concern rose above the others.
(Ah, Nellis and Fernaine. I wonder if those children can be safe.)
If the soldiers come to the city… If the young men are conscripted…
While it was certain that she wanted to rely on Fin, her concern for others was just as strong.
Fin looked completely through Oria. Although he knew that they couldn’t go together, he also couldn’t flatly tell her that.
“…I’ll consult with everyone.”
Right after he said that, Oria broke out into a smile. Her head bobbed up and down. Then, she picked up the bag of flour, waved goodbye, and headed inside her home. When her back was turned, Fin gently called to her.
Although she was surprised, she turned around. As Fin burned her image and thoughts into his mind, he conveyed his gratitude from the bottom of his heart.
“Thank you for your concern.”
Oria opened her eyes widely, slightly frowned, and shook her head, like she was saying, “I was really only thinking about myself though.” But, Fin knew. He knew the strength and kindness that resided in her heart.
As if she understood from the way he was acting, Oria’s eyes moistened and she rushed into her house without a word.
With no one else around, Fin simply stood there in silence for some time.
Was it alright for him to say it like that? He didn’t hurt her, right?
(Saying that like I knew might not have been the best course to take.)
His thoughts continued to stew in his mind. Then, he suddenly looked up to the sky and wondered, “Max or even Taz would have been able to handle this more appropriately.”
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