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Pru and Formidable
Bell Rocks Translations
Side story 2 – Edgar’s Chapter: The Forest
‘I don’t know how long the history of this race is, but it’s clear that they have some kind of traditions related to the temple.’
Edgar proceeded carefully to the temple, avoiding the grey monsters. Chippo, who was seen riding a monster from afar, waved his hand. Edgar nervously returned the hand gesture.
‘This tiny race rides those monsters as if they’re horses… No, horses are kept in stables… these grey beasts are treated more like pet dogs rather than horses, akin to how dogs roam the front yard without a leash.’
Edgar’s wild imagination started to believe that the fairies possessed some kind of hidden ability.
‘…Like being able to communicate with animals or control them with magic…’
A faint string sound could be heard as he moved closer to the temple. As he expected, there was no door, instead, thin layers of fabric, comparable to muslin, were hung over the entrance. In front of it, white flower petals were laid at the foot of the stairs. Footprints were imprinted on them as if they’d been sprinkled to be stepped on. Edgar walked on the little petals and climbed the stairs. The melancholy string music flowed like thin vapour between the muslins. He wanted to hear some more, but it vanished without a trace. Unconsciously led by the faint music, he ascended the last steps.
The rolled-up muslin brushed against the side of his ear and revealed the bright interior of the temple.
‘No actually, it’s the innermost part, resembling an altar, that’s particularly bright.’
Edgar strolled gently along an aisle with colonnades on both sides. Four slim pillars encircled the round altar, subtly ornamented with muslin drapes. Edgar slightly raised his gaze. The sun was pouring in through the open ceiling above the altar, and the misty curtains flooded with circular rays of light.
The brightness made it seem like he was in a different world. And the closer he got, the louder the music spread. A beautiful tune that he’d never heard before warmed his heart.
‘I never thought that a celestial melody could be so ecstatic.’
Soft rays of light trickled down the muslin. Beyond the flowing hem, someone’s faint figure could be seen playing an instrument. The string instrument, which had the length of the musician’s body, was leaning on their knee. The musician, who drew a bow horizontally, suddenly stopped. Edgar could not only feel the petals crushing under him, but also clearly hear it. He froze in place.
All the noises faded away. The figure, who was sitting, wanted to look outside and stood up hesitantly. She – it was definitely a ‘she’ – lingered around the altar, perhaps because of the uninvited guest, while holding her instrument. As she was still nothing more than a silhouette behind the muslin, Edgar’s patient reached its limit. Completely ignorant of his disrespect, he walked up to the altar. No, it was better to say that he didn’t care much. His only interest was the scenery within as if possessed. He removed the muslin that had been covering the mystical figure at once.
There was a fairy.
But she was unlike any fairy Edgar had ever encountered. Her eyelashes, topped with the midday light, were shining white, and her pupils beneath them were wide and surprised. She looked like an innocent rabbit caught in the hands of a hunter. Silver hair flowed around her round shoulders and she wore a flower crown on top of her head, which suited her very well. Edgar was shocked by her intense beauty. His mind went blank as if he’d been hit by something he couldn’t handle. He also didn’t know how long he’d been standing like that as he only came back to his senses when he noticed her trembling with anxiety. On the contrary to the guy who confidently raised the muslin before, was he now stammering in a fading voice.
“…Jina… raco ni nani?…”
She seemed quite embarrassed by the sight and behaviour of a rogue she’d never seen before. In fact, nothing about what she was looking at was familiar. A being who walked on his own two feet, but has a yellowish-white face, green eyes, and hair the colour of dry leaves. Not to forget the unique way he was dressed… However, soon after, she noticed some children poking their heads out from behind him, and her nervous movements loosened. With her cheeks flushed red, she replied while plucking at the hem of her dress.
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Edgar didn’t know what to say next.
‘She’s so beautiful.’
He didn’t know any meaningful words to convey his thoughts.
Edgar was left with fluttering nostrils and helplessly pointed at the instrument she was holding.
“Jina raco ni nani?”
Murasha opened her eyes wide before she smiled softly. It was then that Edgar knew. What he had just said was obviously only related to a person’s name. But he wanted to keep talking. He wanted to speak to her but didn’t know how to, so he just babbled about what he had heard.
Murasha gave a belated reply.
Not only did her voice sound sweet, but it was also incredibly refreshing.
Edgar has intermingled with them for roughly a year and a half now. The reason was the ointment administered to his wound caused by his fall from the tree. At first, he was terrified by the fact that a foreign substance was applied to his living flesh, for he had never imagined that proper medicine could exist in such a small civilization. However, the ointment that was placed on his scraped skin caused no infection or side effects. The entire jungle was filled with beneficial medicine. Edgar began to explore new medication and in exchange, he offered his scientific expertise regarding extraction and mixing. Their symbiotic relationship was satisfactory for both parties.
They called themselves ‘Ruwa’. It wasn’t long before Edgar realised that they weren’t fairies, but humans just like him.
The Ruwa tribe, which didn’t have a written language, had an excellent memory and could verbally express themselves well. It was natural for them to express everything without writing. Although drawings might have served as an alternative to letters, drawing was merely a means, much richer meanings existed in their vocabulary. Just as there were ‘scribes’ in the empire, there were ‘sages’ here as well. The tribal sage taught the children as he made for an excellent instructor, and the elderly man who had lived the most years served as the clan’s chief and priest. Teachers and the elders, particularly the elderly, were held in high regard here. As a result, the language includes the concept of respecting one’s elders.
Murasha was two years younger than Edgar. And he really liked that fact.
“…Today is worse than yesterday!…”
Murasha muttered. She learnt the imperial language as rapidly as Edgar did the Ruwa tongue. In addition to living in close proximity every day, every member of the Ruwa tribe has a memory as exceptional as Edgar’s. Murasha was no exception. Whenever Edgar spoke to her, however, he always used the Ruwa language since he mischievously enjoyed the honorific terms that couldn’t be heard in the imperial language. However, the way they talked using the Ruwa’s honorifics didn’t last long, and when it reached the point where they knew each other for more than a year, Murasha stopped paying attention to the fact that he was older than her.
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– Pats! –
Edgar grabbed the back of the hand she had slapped down and made a fuss.
“Ah. It hurts!”
To give his act a bit more drama, Edgar put on a distressed face and held the back of his hand in front of her. Murasha squinted at him at first, but eventually rubbed the back of his hand, which seemed to be fine. Edgar liked her soft fingertips. Although he wanted to take his hand out due to the slight itching sensation, he didn’t want to let go of this moment.
Nonetheless, Murasha returned to being a stern teacher and handed the bow to him. The sun was setting over the sea. The sandy beach where they were settled had already begun to glow red, so this would be their last practice for the day.
“Now, hold it again.”
Edgar held the bow in a strange manner. He looked down at her while she was pressing his hand in the correct position with her index finger. Their faces were incredibly close. So close that they’d touch if Edgar would just bend a little. His heart was pounding in his throat.
‘Oh. This feels weird. It’s weird how I’m feeling this again.’
In fact, he always felt this unusual whenever he met Murasha. It was like this for as long as he could remember. And as his recollection was near-perfect, it was safe to say he felt strange since the first time he met her.
‘I haven’t eaten anything spicy, but just thinking about her makes the area around my chest feel hot and I get sweaty all over my body…’
He always had trouble swallowing since his saliva kept collecting for no apparent reason. Of course, in this state, he couldn’t play the instrument properly. Even though he pretended not to know at times, he stuttered and played like a slug…