|Author: Tensei Mikami||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2269 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 776 words|
Orthus had never had parents.
Since he could remember, he had been living alone in a garbage dump in a remote area of the city, working long hours every day for no more than crumbs.
Begging, eating whatever there was, and drinking muddied rainwater had been his daily life.
However, Orthus hadn’t hated it.
It’d been both his world and his way of life.
When he was old enough to comprehend certain concepts, he’d first learned about orphanages. He’d imagined it to be a place out of a dream where he could sleep beneath a roof, protected from the wind and rain, and receive warm stew and bread in exchange for doing work.
Young Orthus, his heart overflowing with excitement, had hurried to an orphanage. The orphanage head hadn’t exactly given Orthus a warm welcome, but he’d nonetheless accepted him as one of the members.
When supper was brought to Orthus, his eyes glistened with delight.
By upper-middle-class family standards, it was a pretty subpar meal, but Orthus had never had a decent meal aside from on rare occasions.
Even though Orthus didn’t believe in God, he’d said a prayer of thanks for the first time in his life.
Although the prayer never made it out of his mouth.
The reason for this had been that an older boy at the orphanage stole Orthus’ food.
According to the older boy, there was a tradition at the orphanage where newcomers would offer their food to their seniors.
At this point, Orthus understood the orphanage had already developed a favored community. A community where the seniors preyed on the newcomers to feed their hunger and boost their self-esteem.
When it came to filling the bellies of young boys and girls, even a dinner that seemed sumptuous to Orthus was insufficient.
The orphans had been clever in using their position to their advantage to gratify themselves, regardless of the fact that it was a disgusting way to do so.
The orphanage head had turned a blind eye to all of this.
He had left the room with an attitude about him that suggested he didn’t give a damn about an absurd child fight.
This had been the first time in Orthus’ life that he felt anger.
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It had also been the first time he swung his fist.
Orthus had struck the older kid, taking his bread back, and then sprinting like a hare out of the orphanage.
He’d had no destination.
He’d simply wanted to run; driven by emotions he was experiencing for the first time.
He’d run, and run, and run.
Orthus had eventually stopped running after thirty minutes.
His hands were resting on his knees, and he’d been drenched with sweat. But he’d still had the bread in his hand.
After finally calming his breath, Orthus had looked around and noticed that he was in an unfamiliar location.
He’d run for so long that he’d found himself in a completely foreign place.
It had been a rich area, but Orthus, who had previously lived in a dump, thought it was much too neat of a place for him.
Orthus had suddenly felt ashamed of his unsightly appearance. He’d felt so out of place in the glamorous neighborhood as a filthy young beggar.
I should go back to the dump…
Orthus had thought. As Orthus turned to leave, something had caught his eye.
It was a young girl.
A neatly dressed little girl, not much older than himself, had been holding her parents’ hands and grinning adorably.
As they swung their daughter by her hands, the father and mother’s faces glowed with loving sympathy.
That was the word that had come up in Orthus’s mind.
This is what happiness is.
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He’d thought. The girl had joyfully conversed about something trivial as her parents listened to her with bright smiles.
Orthus was sobbing profusely by the time he’d noticed it.
This had been the first time he realized just how unhappy he’d been, and just how filthy he’d really been.
Orthus had cried out as he fell to the ground. He’d kept on crying.
The fact that he’d fooled himself up until now that not being loved by one’s parents and being abandoned by them was normal had torn Orthus’ heart with a sorrow worse than any suffering caused by hunger.
Orthus had been certain that the sight in front of him was what he desired most.
This had been the first time in Orthus’ life that he cried. He’d just cried and cried.
He’d merely sobbed while eating the then-dusty bread. It had been stale and disgusting.
Orthus recalled the taste of that bread even today.