「──It’s finally within our sight.」
While seeing a huge mountain range in our sight, a little village could be seen nestled between the mountains, I muttered.
Truly a mountain village. Just as it’s called, it’s located in quite a steep place.
「A little, tired….」
Cheryl who had been in high spirits, by repeatedly walking up and down the slope, seemed to remember what fatigue was.
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Towards the girl who was quieter than usual, I slightly smiled wryly.
In the latter half of the journey, even the amount of Cheryl’s jumping had decreased. As one can say, she seems a little tired.
「What, have a little more patience. But if it’s difficult, shall I give you a piggy back?」
「N~n, good….I want to walk by myself.」
Nevertheless, after coming here with great effort──how to say this. That Cheryl said she could walk on her own.
Since leaving Arufareia, it’s been four days and a bit. A small inn town lies en route──we have reached Natousha’s vicinity.
As expected when leaving Arufareia, there is little opportunity to walk on a good road, so it has taken longer than originally expected.
Nevertheless, when taking into account the age of Cheryl, four days is considered pretty short. With a few breaks here and there, it’s a nice miscalculation.
However, it looks like Cheryl is starting to get tired from the fatigue.
There should be a place for people who want to rest.
「Yoshi, here I go──」
Going where. As I tried to call out to Cheryl, I choked on my words.
In my field of vision, there was another shadow besides Cheryl’s shadow.
….Because there wasn’t any aggressive will, I didn’t notice the person approaching.
Using a little magical power, I saw a person’s figure.
Climbing the slope, the thin shadow──the face couldn’t be seen due to a mask being worn but, judging from the long hair and delicate body, it should be a woman.
On the back, there was a basket filled with grass──probably some type of medicinal herb──piled up, and there was no opening in that stand.
──Hou, perhaps the strong person that Chester was talking about is this person.
The Bird Mask, probably suitably──capable・・・.
The Bird Mask was approaching naturally, making my heart slightly beat.
「You don’t need to be so cautious, I am a person from that village.」
Toward this unexpected event, the corners of my mouth unintentionally lifted, this Bird Mask had a voice like a bell.
It seems like my slight fighting spirit was detected. Even if this is the fist expert that Chester was talking about, whether or not it was──there was no doubt from that skilled stance.
「I am that village’s「Skygazer」.
My occupation is reading the wind and weather.」
A Skygazer, huh. I’ve hear that, as she says, it’s a job where one reads things like the weather and the direction and strength of the wind, but they did still exist?
They say that it’s a craft that’s being lost, stumbling upon it like this.
「From the looks of it, you guys are travellers?
Hear out my good intentions, it will rain in this place soon.
I can guide you to the village if you want, how about it?」
The Bird Mask, pointing at the sky, said so.
「….Rain? Even though the sun is out?」1
Said Cheryl while looking at the sky. The sun was shining brilliantly──surely, this wasn’t the color foreshadowing rain.
Cheryl tilted her head, took a step forward and came out.
The guidance to the village was already not a necessity due to the short distance, but it’s still something offered in good faith, so we gladly accepted it.
Leaving the guiding to a complete stranger, which I don’t usually do but──I am interested in this Bird Mask.
I mean, someone who hasn’t shown hostility and malice──a dark side, it’s the first time so far I see one.
Even if being weak and strong is separates people, personal interests is what things all boil down to.
「Please. I don’t think that the sky would change so drastically, but if you say so, then it probably is so.」
「Un, a sky watcher’s view of the sky is definite.
….Before departure, let me introduce myself.
My name is Sonya・Aruven」
「My name is Slava・Marshall.
Together with this child, we are on a trip to polish ourselves.
──Cheryl, say your greetings.」
「Un….I, Cheryl・Prime. Nice to meet you, onee-san.」2
「Aa, nice to meet you. What a kawaii ojou-san.
Fufu….then, shall we go?」
With names said and from the reaction to Cheryl’s words, Sonya seems to be a reliable woman.
While watching the basket that was slightly swaying while walking, we walked at the rear of Sonya.
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It is a shortcut, according to what Sonya says and we proceeded to separate the plants in the front and walked through.
Just saying, I wondered how many times this road had been trod on. There was a place where the grass was collapsed, and had become a small animal trail.
Before long, we walked through a tree branch curtain, and our field of view became brighter.
The sunlight made our eyes squint but──looking up at the sky, despite it being a cloudless sunny day until a while ago, there were already a number of clouds floating.
「Welcome to Natousha.
Although there is nothing but a lot of nature. It’s a good place over here.」
In that way, we arrived at Natousha.
What I saw at first──a beautiful scenery that could be called picturesque.
Seeing it from a distance, I thought it was beautiful but──when seeing it at a closer view, the beauty could be considered complete.
The windmill at the face of the mountain turned slowly, it seemed to be telling of the gentle flowing of elves.
I didn’t notice it from the place we gazed over the village a while ago, but the river that flows from the mountain to the sea through the village, it’s water is very clear.
The sea reflected the sun and the reflection was simply dazzling, it made the scenery even more gorgeous.
There were many stone bridges built over the river connecting to the village, and with this lively view, the scenery was colored gently.
This village isn’t too large. But even so, it felt like that was part of the beauty.
「Aa, how beautiful──」
Accordingly, I want to live a long life, but this was the first time that I saw such a beautiful scenery.
My previous life ended without seeing this scene, so it makes me feel like it was a downright shame.
「It seems like you guys like it, I’m very happy about this.」
From under the mask, the joyful voice of Sonya resounds.
Her expression was covered by the mask and couldn’t be seen, but, most likely, she was smiling.
We admired the landscape in this way for a while──at last, we decided to set foot in Natousha.
「Sou, here is my house. Although it’s not a large place, it relaxes me.」
「Pardon the intrusion.」
「Excuse me for intruding….」
In accordance with Sonya’s voice, Cheryl and I passed through the wooden door.
While hesitating, together with Cheryl, we, for some reason, curled ourselves up.
「Currently, the inn is filled up.
The inn over there has a very nice view──it’s regrettable for you guys.
Aa, sit down there. Let me prepare some drinks.」
Pointing at chairs, Sonya told us to sit down.
Rather than the body I had been putting a burden on for some days, I felt guilt for letting our host do the work.
However, being that it’s Sonya’s home, were I to do something, it may become a bother instead. Do I, right now, have no other choice but sitting obediently?
──Being guided by Sonya, we visited the inn of this village but, the inn, unfortunately, had no vacancies.
Originally the village isn’t too big and the inn was the same, nothing really seems to be too large.
Then what should we do now──a voice called out to I who had been pondering; it was Sonya.
There was the thought of sleeping outside since it couldn’t be helped but, Sonya invited us into her house because it was going to rain.
Even so, though I feel some reserve, when I think about Cheryl, who’s tired from walking, I have no way to refuse and must depend on the other party’s goodwill.
──Anyway, towards Sonya who lent us a place to live in good faith, there is a deep feeling of being in debt to her.
When I first saw her, the impression I got was that she was like the wind, no evilness could be felt──but she was, in fact, a woman with a clear heart.
「Sorry for making you wait, tto」
Sonya came over with three cups on a tray and arranged the cups onto the table.
A sweet fragrance drifted up along with the steam from the cup, and my empty stomach moved from the attractive fragrance.
「Is cocoa all right? If you don’t like sweet things, there’s no need to overdo it.」
「No, I’m not very picky. Thank you for the goodwill.」
「Ahaha, I’m doing it because I like it, so don’t hesitate.」
Saying so, Sonya put her hands on her Bird Mask.
The Bird Mask covers up her entire face. Since it is so, it’s necessary to take it off when eating or drinking but──
Unexpectedly, she took it out quite eagerly. Ignoring the cocoa, we instead had our sights attracted to her.3
A thin finger held the mask, slowly removing it.
Releasing the insides of the mask gently, Sonya’s face──watching it intentionally, it was beautiful.
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It was a peerless beauty. Her face still had a little bit of immaturity, nevertheless no other description besides delicate could do it justice, it was lovely.
Those round gentle-looking eyes that looked as if they harbored an emerald moon, and that smooth skin, so smooth that it shames even fine-quality fabrics.
Her features, too, gave off an impression of gentleness beyond just what’s usual in elves. She looked around 17 or 18 in terms of human age. However, in her expression there was the composure of a goddess.
「Fuu….tto, eh? Strange」4
I was, unbecoming of my age, captivated just an instant, but I returned to my senses with Sonya’s troubled words.
Those emerald eyes captivated me firmly. That being the case, that question should have been directed at me.
「What, is there anything on my face?」
「Iya, your ear──I thought you were a human, but it seems like you’re an elf.
Because I didn’t expect to make a mistake, it surprised me a little.」
With these words, I involuntarily choked.
It has only been but hours since Sonya and I met, knowing each other’s name was the extent of our relationship.
Being that the case, “don’t tell me she’s seen through me”──with that sudden surprise attack, my heart spontaneously skipped a beat.
「Un? What do you mean?」
Even for Cheryl, she seemed to be surprised at this.
My true identity is that of a dead human a hundred and some old. I may be right now an elf youngster, but the core was no different from the me from my previous life.
However, my body is obviously special. Even if my body dies, my mind doesn’t die along with it.
Despite this, I have this「Me」in the place of my mind──something originally considered impossible, a result that seems to be a miracle beyond common sense.
From the fact that this cannot be a dream, I reached here without so much a clue.
Thinking up to here, a different question appeared in my head.
It’s not like I was trying to hide my ears. Since I wasn’t wearing nothing like a hood or a hat, these pointed ears can be seen anytime.
This being so, why do I do as such?
「────I have a couple of two・three things to tell you about.」
「Aa, I don’t mind it. As for me, you little guy──iya, I have interest in you Slava-kun.」
The small sound of Sonya drinking cocoa could be heard while her eye narrowed.
──This, is an unexpected meeting.
I as well, put the cocoa that had massive amounts of sugar into my mouth to fill my stomach and stared at Sonya.
- TLN: I switched this line with the one above so that it would make more sense ↩
- TLN: I assume she’s trying to say ‘watashi’ and not friggin ‘cotton’… ↩
- TLN: Did you know, 行ってしまう, the second part of the second sentence, is the inflection of 行く, which can mean ‘to ******’? ↩
- TLN: I really wanted to put ‘are?’ instead of ‘eh?’ but it would probably get confused for people who don’t know what it sounds like ↩