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Chapter 71 – The City Preparing for the New Year

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Author: Eltria Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mui English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Robinxen

As the New Year approached, the church of the Black Dragon Religion was adorned with colorful artificial flowers.

On our way home from school, Alfe and I stopped by the corner of the church for a break, where we received warm beverages and took a breath.

According to the legend that the Black Dragon Deity enjoys sweets, the drinks were sweetened as well. The beverage, which I hadn’t tried much before, seemed to be a favored herbal tea among the Canado people living in the western part of the city.

“It’s sweet and delicious, Leafa.”

Not only because of the drinks, but our breaths turned white as well. Ahh, I felt sorry for making Alfe take a detour on such a cold day.

“I’m sorry for dragging you along, Alfe.”
“No worries. I’m happy to be with you longer than usual, Leafa.”

As the winter break approached, it seemed like a good idea to pick up the belongings left at school, but I had forgotten that my body didn’t grow. The typical luggage of a middle school student was too much and too heavy for me, who remained in the form of a young girl.

“…That’s good then.”

Alfe’s knees peeking out from her skirt were turning red from the cold. It seemed she felt cold, after all, as she smiled while pressing the cup of herbal tea against her thigh. I absentmindedly watched the white breaths spill out and drift away in the wind, mimicking Alfe.

“Now that we’ve warmed up, shall we head home soon?”

Alfe glanced at me while sipping the remaining herbal tea.

“It’s not like we have urgent matters to attend to, but it’s cold here, and it’s better to return to a warm home. If we catch a cold, we won’t be able to visit the shrine for the New Year.”

The New Year’s visit referred to the pilgrimage of the Black Dragon Religion. The current church — called the Dragon Temple in the Black Dragon Religion — was also decorated in preparation for that visit. People in Torch Town would visit this Dragon Temple with their loved ones to pray for safety and peace.

Once the New Year arrives, the spot where Alfe and I sit will be crowded with stalls selling sweets offered to the Black Dragon God. For children, it’s not just about offering to the deity but also a great opportunity to enjoy luxurious sweets they don’t usually get to taste.

“…Would you come with me?”
“Of course. We need to try those cloud-like sweets we missed out on this year.”

Knowing Alfe would respond that way, I nodded, reminiscing about the New Year. The cloud-like sweets were made by melting sugar and spinning it into thin threads, then intertwining them into a cotton-like candy.

“Hehe, I’m glad you remembered, Leafa.”

It seemed Alfe was still disappointed that those affordable candies, even with a child’s allowance, were sold out.

“Should we go early in the morning or wait till night since it’s New Year’s?”

Children were allowed to stay up late only on New Year’s Day. Given my plans for alchemical experiments during the winter break, I’ll probably be up late, though.

“You might be busy, Leafa. Are you sure?”
“I’ll make sure to allocate some time to spend with you on New Year’s. Plus, most of the materials are already gathered.”

The test tubes for breeding purposes, which I was concerned about, were approved for borrowing from the school via Mr. Lionel, and arrangements were made to provide Amnios fluid under the pretext of cooperation in school research. All of it will be transported from the school to home tomorrow at my father’s request.

Providing proper research facilities and equipment for talented individuals is also the duty of this academy, was it?”

I recalled Mr. Lionel’s words suddenly. Alfe nodded with a smile and gently embraced me as if to envelop my body with kindness.

“You’re amazing, Leafa. You’ve always sparkled in my eyes.”
“Thank you, Alfe.”

Let’s not ask whether it’s due to aether or Alfe’s admiration. As I smiled back up at Alfe’s face nearby, something cold fell on my cheek.

“Ah, snow…”

Alfe murmured, looking up at the sky. I could see fine snowflakes slowly descending from above.

“Let’s hurry home before it starts snowing heavily.”

Alfe nodded and took the empty cups to the trash bin at the edge of the Dragon Temple. Meanwhile, I started loading the belongings I brought up onto my arms and shoulders, one by one.

Thanks to the short rest, it seemed like I could make it home somehow. Since the load of belongings will probably increase in the future, it would be wise to think of some countermeasures.

“Um… Should I carry something?”
“I’m fine. You’ve got a lot too, Alfe.”

Although not as much as me due to the difference in physique, Alfe also had quite a bit of baggage, especially with creations made during magic class.

“I see… We match, then.”

Alfe compared our belongings and laughed before starting to walk slowly. As we walked while gazing at the snow, we came across a large freighter sailing down the canal just outside the grounds of the Dragon Temple.

Seeing it headed towards the western military port, it might be carrying materials for the construction of magical research facilities. Lately, under the emperor’s decree, magical research facilities had been popping up one after another in the mountainous areas west of Torch Town.

The upcoming seventh research facility, however, hasn’t revealed the nature of its research, and it occasionally became a topic of discussion among the residents of Torch Town. It wasn’t just an ordinary magical research facility; the fact that it fell under military jurisdiction was also a cause for concern.

Considering there were likely military secrets involved, even if I were to ask my father, he probably wouldn’t tell me anything. All I could do was pray for the continuation of this peace.


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