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Chapter 107

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Author:
Song Yun
Original Source:
RidiBooks
Translator:
Pru and Formidable
English Source:
Bell Rocks Translations

Side story 2 – Edgar’s Chapter 1: The Forest

 

Just being with her made his whole body tingle and he couldn’t be at peace even for a second. This resulted in Edgar shifting his position every few minutes. But no matter how many times he changed his posture, he couldn’t sit still and after a while, his body wanted to toss and turn again. However, that was nothing compared to longing to be by her side. Edgar only wanted to get closer to her. His discomfort had never been a stumbling block. Similar to now, with their arms touching, all of his muscles were tense and tingling, but he never wanted to let go no matter what…

 – Keeek! –

It was the sound of a bow sliding over the strings. Edgar, who lost his focus while turning the bow, looked back at her awkwardly. Aside from being distracted, the Surihe instrument was quite difficult to play. The resonator itself was small, approximately the size of a fist, with four strings on the narrow band that served as a fingerboard. It was an instrument easy for Murasha to hold, but for Edgar, whose fingers were twice as thick as hers, was it almost impossible to only press down one string.

“We’d better stop here for today.”

It was fortunate that Murasha was a responsible and skilled teacher. She’s been taking on his troublemaking for over a year. Even today, when the sun went down without Edgar finishing a single song. 

He felt a bit sorry for her, so he looked at her as she snatched away her Surihe, his arms drooped like a heavy quilt.

“I’m sorry.”

But Murasha didn’t answer. Edgar buried his face in her lap. As if whining, the apologies flowed out in hums. Murasha yelled and grabbed his shoulder with her delicate hand.

“Wake up!”

“No.”

He shook his head while remaining buried in the width of her skirt. Murasha struggled to push him away for a while but soon gave up, making Edgar smile broadly. Eventually, Murasha pinched his cheek as if he was becoming annoying. In response, the young man carefully rubbed the cheek that her hand had touched as if he had received a kiss. When he glanced up, he saw Murasha looking down on him with puffed out cheeks. He spoke with a sly smile on his lips.

“If I lie down and rest like this, I’ll do well the next day.”

“Lies.”

“Geez, you got me.”

He grabbed the soft hand that was resting at the hem of his shirt again and rubbed it against his cheek. Murasha pouted at first but eventually stroked his face as she couldn’t help it.

Murasha’s kind and compassionate touch made his heart skip a beat. Edgar’s expectations would grow every time this happened. He pondered if she, who tolerates his constant rudeness, also has affection for him…

***

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“I’m not going.”

The Marquess looked dumbfoundedly at Edgar, who completely rebuffed him. It had been a while since Sesbron issued the order to withdraw from the Western Continent, and it’s been a month since he has been waiting for Edgar, who always appears out of nowhere and then quickly disappears into the forest or god knows where. As it seemed that he was in the middle of his research, the marquess didn’t bother sending anyone.

“You’re going, whether you like it or not.”

“No! I’m not going!”

“What’s wrong? Is it because of the forest?”

“It’s not like that. Anyway, if you want to leave, go alone.”

“What kind of honey did you find there?”

Edgar acted like a spoiled kid, with his neck bent over the backrest of the sofa he was sitting on.

“Oh, I don’t know! I’m not going! I’m not going! I swear on my life I’m not going!”

“Knox!”

Edgar stomped his feet after hearing what his grandfather had called him.

“Argh, Grandpa! How long are you going to call me Knox? The day after tomorrow I’ll be eighteen! It’s Edgar, Edgar!”

“That’s what I mean, you rascal. You’ll be eighteen soon, so get married and have children. What are you staying here for?”

Edgar stopped his tantrum.

“…Marriage?”

“That’s right. Hurry up, move to Sesbron, and find a suitable lady…”

“…”

Edgar, dazed by the sound of marriage, could no longer hear the Marquess’ words. It was because Murasha immediately came to mind. He thought it was funny that after hearing the word ‘marriage’ his mind drifted to her as though it was the most natural thing.

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‘…Yeah. The Ruwa tribe celebrates coming of age at sixteen, and Murasha turns sixteen soon. The meaning of coming of age isn’t different from that of the Empire…’ 

He even attended a Ruwa tribe wedding ceremony a while back. 

‘After donning the whitest linen and a corolla of little grass flowers…’

“…You punk!”

“..!”

Startled, Edgar went out of his reverie. The marquess had been watching him, wiggling his eyebrows and moustache.

“What were you thinking?”

“…”

Something that rarely happened, happened. Edgar was at a loss for words and blushed. Puzzled by the reaction,The Marquess widened his eyes upon realising something. He questioned Edgar with a sly smile.

“Who is it? Huh? Who did you think of?”

“…”

Edgar, who had been sitting stupidly, jumped to his feet. He leapt over the sofa and ran away, leaving the Marquess unable to question him any further. The Marquess’ loud voice came from behind.

“Stop!”

But Edgar was much quicker. After leaving the Marquess’ room, he sprinted without looking back.

Edgar had grown a lot in a year and a half and had long since developed a body capable of avoiding being seized by the Marquess. Until sixteen, all he could do was hang around and struggle whenever the older Retiro grabbed him by the back of his collar. But he was now at least one head taller than he was back then. And that wasn’t all. His voice turned deep and charming, and his body had grown significantly larger.

In other words, he had become a man. And as Edgar stayed with Murasha, he realised that he was a man, a ‘man’ who meant more than just having a friend between his legs.

Edgar grinned again and again whenever he was reminded of Murasha. Unlike himself, who had grown up a lot, she remained the same. When they first met, the crown of her head was near his lips. Now it was far below his shoulders. From this height, he could observe whatever she did. It also became much easier for him to hide his flustered expression. Edgar wasn’t obsessed with his growth, but he was happy with it.

Before he knew it, Edgar arrived at the edge of the jungle. The entrance to the jungle, which started after the white sandy beach of the sea ended, was covered with fallen tree trunks and leaves. Occasionally there was a bush, or some half-broken trees standing in a strange position. However, in the midst of this familiar sight, a foreign substance passed into his field of vision… He abruptly stopped. Smoke was billowing through a pile of fallen leaves.

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‘…A fire?’

Making a bonfire outside the village wasn’t one of the Ruwa tribe’s practices. This tropical environment was humid all year round during the day and nightfall was the time to return to the village. They all had to gather in the village before sunset since the jungle was also dangerous to them. As a result, making a fire outside the village to maintain their body warmth was extremely rare. Also, fire wasn’t used as a light source because fluorescent plant stems trapped in balsam were used to illuminate their surroundings.

Edgar picked up some of the leaves and sniffed them. Instantly recognising it was covered with lard used in the Empire. Uneasiness ran up his spine. Without a second thought, he started to run. He took a shortcut and had to make his way through the muddy path that had been swept away by rainwater. Protruding rocks and barks scraped his skin, but he didn’t mind. Rather, the anxiety that slowly began to claw its way inside was far more agonising.

He was well aware of how the Empire treated other races. He knew what would happen to foreigners captured by a pioneering fleet of the upper class, the navy, or explorers. They were either killed or enslaved. And to make matters worse, they wouldn’t be killed off easily. 

The Ruwas stayed away from battles. Whereas the natives of the Western Continent’s Northern Island worshipped strong warriors and regarded them as their leaders, the Ruwa tribe’s seniors with more years of wisdom earned authority. Since they don’t value power, there were no youngsters aspired to be fighters and so the majority of them naturally grew up with a kind disposition. The Ruwa tribe would be easy prey for the expedition team that even managed to subjugate the belligerent eastern tribes of the Northern Island.

Edgar actually predicted such a situation and warned the priest that it wouldn’t be long. 

{ “There are ruthless outsiders out there, so you have to be prepared for them. If you encounter them, don’t even think about fighting them, don’t think about welcoming them in either. Prepare for an escape and run away.” }

The priest, however, couldn’t comprehend him at all and instead kicked his *** for talking nonsense.

‘But in the end…’

Along with the flock of birds that roared overhead, flames raged in front of Edgar’s eyes. The peaceful village was nowhere to be found. Screams higher than the flames boiled from all sides. Edgar’s heart beat violently as if it was about to jump out.

A shout was heard in the imperial tongue.

“…Catch it! Don’t kill it! Capture it!…”

“…Don’t kill it! This is money! Money I say!…”

 



 

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