|Original Source: Syosetu
|English Source: Re:Library
A baby’s body was a wonder. Things you couldn’t do just yesterday suddenly become possible.
“Oh my! Leafa!”
I woke up to the scream-like voice of Natal and noticed the tablet in front of me.
I blinked my heavy eyelids and reached out my fingers. As I pulled the tablet closer and noticed the change in my field of view, I finally grasped the meaning behind my mother’s scream.
Is this what they call rolling over?
I had only been able to sleep on my back, but this morning, I found myself lying on my stomach. Whether it happened while I was asleep or in the middle of the night while half-awake, I couldn’t be sure. Considering my original self used to sleep on my stomach, it was probably a subconscious action that allowed me to master rolling over.
Being able to roll over meant I had improved control over my body.
I tried to lift my head while Natal attempted to pick me up. There was a sensation of effort, and my head slowly rose, even though it felt heavy.
Moving my head while lying on my stomach expanded my field of view significantly. The amount of information in my field of vision was incomparable to the world when I lay on my back, and I couldn’t help but let out a joyful sound.
“That’s amazing, Leafa. With this progress, you’ll be crawling soon.”
My father, who would usually come flying over at a time like this, was absent, most likely already at work. While my mother spoke excitedly and petted my back and legs, she repeatedly expressed her admiration.
Praise for just moving my own body. I probably won’t get this much praise in the future.
My parents were always celebrating my growth and changes, but eventually, these things would become normal. Thinking about that made me feel a little lonely as I lay on the bed.
Lifting my head was a challenge, and it felt quite tiring. I rolled onto the bed and deliberately lifted my legs, twisting my body. The world inverted, and I found myself gazed down by the familiar ceiling.
“You can roll back over too, huh? I suppose it might be time to have the doctor check you,” my mother said.
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She reached out and lifted me up. The soft scent of soap stimulated my nostrils, and the usually sweet smell of milk seemed slightly less intense.
My mother, still holding me, moved into the living room and headed towards a wall where an unfamiliar machine was installed. She picked up a horn-shaped device and pressed it against her ear, sandwiching it between her shoulder and neck.
“I’m going to have a little chat,” she said.
She pressed a few buttons on the machine, and a green light lit up. After a couple of unfamiliar long beeps, a voice came through the horn-shaped device she had pressed against her ear.
“It’s Natal. Thank you for your assistance during the birth. Yes, everything is going smoothly. She can already hold both her head and waist. So, I’d like to schedule a check-up… Yes, then we’ll come for a visit.”
It was a short and pre-arranged conversation. Afterward, my mother fed me my usual milk and placed me in a stroller made up of a wicker basket that had wheels and a sunshade, and then opened the front door.
Outside, I saw a town with brick houses lining the streets. It was my first time experiencing the outdoors, and the wind was calm with a warm temperature. It was tranquil weather that didn’t seem to match the approaching winter season.
As I was rocked in the stroller, I considered the possibility of the climate being a factor for this unexpected outdoor trip.
“This is Torch Town, where you were born,” my mother said.
Natal’s voice describing the town as she walked was particularly pleasant today. Although the ‘town’ visible to me from the stroller was just the blue sky and the rooftops of houses, the gentle breeze was delightful.
The calm wind blew refreshingly, carrying a touch of humidity. There was probably a water source nearby. I felt the cool breeze caress my cheeks and looked around. In the sky, white-winged waterfowl flew overhead, calling out.
Gazing at this view, I surrendered to the vibrations of the stroller pushed by my mother.
We passed through what appeared to be a residential street, and then we entered a more open area. I heard the sound of bells and prayer voices, indicating the presence of a cathedral or some sacred place.
Around the square, trees with lush green leaves were planted, and the same tree-lined path continued in the direction my mother was heading.
Given how refreshing the tree shade was, they seemed to have large overlapping leaves.
I shaded my eyes with a hand and saw the shadows of the round, pointed leaves at the top. They rustled as they swayed in the wind, indicating that they were not too thick.
“Dragon Tree Avenue. Here, you’ll find the cathedral of the Black Dragon religion, called the Dragon Temple. It’s a very sacred place,” my mother explained, noticing that I was observing the dragon trees.
The name “Dragon Tree” and the Black Dragon religion brought back memories. They were connected to my name, “Leafa.”
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“These dragon trees are also used as an ingredient for medicines and potions. Though we already receive plenty of healing because we have you,” she said, with a happy smile that made it hard to tell whether she was joking or serious. Nevertheless, I decided to join her in laughter. The lush green leaves of the dragon trees did remind me of the color of Rudra’s eyes. I hadn’t seen my eyes yet, but it seemed that they were similar to his, so they were probably of this color too.
“In spring, red flowers bloom on the dragon trees. They are very beautiful, and I think you’ll like them. Or perhaps, you’d prefer the dragon tree mochi made with the young leaves that are sold around that time?” Natal explained in a melodic tone as she pushed the stroller.
During her explanation, the stroller neared a busy area and the surroundings turned noisy.
While the sunshade made it hard to see what was around, the noise of the crowd suggested that a market was in full swing, with merchants setting up stalls. I responded with baby-like sounds to my mother to show that I was listening.
Navigating through Dragon Tree Avenue, the stroller avoided the crowds. The cool breeze blew through the shade of the trees, and I thought I heard the sound of flowing water. The vibrations from the stroller felt different as the path changed. Mother turned left, and faint waves could be heard.
We arrived at the hospital, located at the border between the military port district and the residential area. From the waiting room’s window, there was a view of a vast, green lake. It appeared quite large, and on the other side, something hazy resembled land.
“I’ll take you to the commercial district over there someday,” Mother said gently as she helped me stand. Across the lake, one could see what seemed to be a commercial district.
A large ship heading towards the commercial district crossed the lake. On its deck, unfamiliar rectangular things were stacked up.
Although I couldn’t see it clearly with my current vision, they had a size and shape that could accommodate two people. They were too small and distorted to be categorized as shipping containers.
“Looks like the ship is carrying cars,” Mother said.
“Cauh?” I almost responded back with “cars?” but was saved by the typical toddler’s pronunciation difficulty.
“That’s right, cars. They’re called steam vehicles, and they’re used in this town to transport goods and people,” Mother explained.
I was impressed that she could understand my pronunciation so well. Considering they carried goods and people, and were even transported around by ships, they must’ve been land-based vehicles. I hoped I’d get to see one in person later.
“Just be careful, when we go on the roads where cars drive, hold Mommy’s hand, okay?”
“Auu, ” I responded in consent, even though it was a future topic when I could walk.
“We’ll gradually explore the town together from now on,” Mother said with a smile as she let me sit on her lap, gazing across the lake.
According to my mother, Torch Town was divided into two main sections, separated by the lake, with the east and west sides. Our home was in the southeastern part, the military port area of the East Noble district. Given my father’s military background, it made sense for us to be located there.
Heading north from our home led to the Black Dragon church and another residential area. The hospital we were in catered primarily to residents on the east side of town, particularly pregnant women and infants. The waiting room was filled with expectant mothers and mothers with infants like me.
“Leafa Naga Rjuna1, please enter.”
“It’s your turn, Leafa.”
I was lost in thought, looking at the lake and thinking about the town I would be living in, but I snapped back to reality when I heard my name being called from the examination room.
An examination probably meant that they would be checking my physical condition and such. I needed to act like a typical infant here…
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- The other half of her name, Naga Rjuna or Nagarjuna, is a reference to an indian philosopher/monk whose name, in kanji, is spelled the same as the Dragon Trees (龍樹)
- Robinxen: You can read all the lore from the setting here: at the official wiki