|Author: The Sole Survivor||Original Source: SFACG|
|Translator: CatatoPatch||English Source: Re:Library|
In order to celebrate our successful slaying of the Vampire, everyone in the village, under the leadership of the former bandit leader, now interim village chief, Leeder, organised a three day long festival.
The shopping team that left with Leeder only returned at nighttime, roughly the time for dinner. Because of that, dinner had to be delayed and the affair ended up being a bonfire celebration as well.
Lyon just so happened to have an open area available which they often used to hang dry their clothes. Carts after carts of firewood were brought in and soon a three meter tall stack of wood was erected in the center.
By now, the sun had set and the moon was just visible. The winds tonight were warm, and in a large open area like this, even a thousand villagers could hustle and bustle about without feeling cramped. While erecting this wooden structure wasn’t an easy task, no one seemed to mind at all. Everyone who worked on this project, whether it was the chopping, the moving or the stacking, all acted with a beaming smile on their faces.
With the structure done, Leeder reverently handed me a lit torch to me. “Sir, the first light goes to you.”
I took the lit torch from his hands but did not set fire to the structure. Instead, I handed it over to Nicole who suspiciously eyed me. “I think you should do it instead.”
“…” Nicole hesitated to receive the torch. Finally, it was only because Neneth was constantly nagging about how hungry she was that she took the torch, slowly walked up to the structure, and threw the torch.
The torch curved in a perfect arc as it flew above the structure and landed right in the middle. A second later, the first ray of light broke through the night sky to rapturious cheers. Following that, a group of young men and women stepped forth before all of us who took part in the slaying, lit torches in hand. Were they telling us to have a go as well?
It was Neneth who grabbed the torch first from one of the young ladies, then casually tossed it at the wooden structure. In preparation for tonight’s feast, Neneth hadn’t eaten at all upon returning to the village. Now, with the prospect of a feast so close to her, she wasn’t about to waste anymore time lighting some old fire.
Having done her part, she practically glared at us who hadn’t taken the torch yet, as if to say, hurry up, Neneth is starving here…
I guess there’s really no reason to hesitate, is there?
All of us received the torches and tossed it at the wooden structure, after which Leeder formally announced the start of the feast.
Unlike what you would expect of such a scene, the village did not have a custom of dancing around bonfires, so upon Leeder’s announcement, everyone started grabbing their own food.
The food was lined on tables beside the bonfire. Every round table laid out before us was filled to the edge with all sorts of food, meat being the dominant offering tonight. There were also some plates of noodles of some sort.
As the food lover of the group, Neneth brought her third stomach today as she began ravaging the table of anything she could grab her hands on. Nicole, in contrast, serenely sat at the side, helping to stack vegetables onto Neneth’s plate.
In order to prepare this feast, Leeder used up more than half of the village’s stockpile. When the shopping team returned, they had eight full carts of food with them.
Perhaps it was because of Leeder’s instructions, but our table only had people from our party. While the other villagers were a little curious about us, none of them joined us in the end. Perhaps they thought they weren’t worthy?
Seated beside Neneth, Nicole’s expression seemed a lot serener than usual, a side effect of watching Neneth eat?
Zurnalin and Jezsere each took up a spot by my side. Because there was no time for a shower, Regine sat a seat away from me, with Jezsere separating the two of us. Next to her was Jill and finally Reyage. The table itself was rather large so we had plenty of leg space each.
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A little thirsty now, Neneth randomly opened up a bottle and downed its content. Yet the moment the first gush of liquid reached her throat, she immediately spat it out.
“This wine… it’s too spicy… Neneth doesn’t like it.”
Good. Kids should be drinking milk instead, not wine. Drinking milk makes you thicc. Drinking wine makes you flat.
Zurnalin and Jezsere were both feeding me food, which I had to admit, wouldn’t be a big issue most of the time. However, Nicole was with us right now, a little modesty would be for the best. Furthermore -call me crazy but- I had this feeling that Mo Ning might just pop up in a fit of horsy rage if I were to let them continue any further.
And this wasn’t just me being self-absorbed either -she was definitely spying at us from somewhere in the darkness… else I would have busted out the moves already…
While we were eating, Leeder suddenly came up to us with a well-dressed middle aged man. The man had a canvas hanging by his left leg while his left hand held onto a sack. His right held onto a wooden frame. I immediately found that frame familiar… an easel?
“Sirs and ladies, if you will forgive my intrusion…” Leeder made way for the middle aged man, a smile plastered all over his face. “It’s like this. I had specially arranged for the village’s best artist to capture the scene of sirs and ladies having dinner. Our humble village does not have much to offer as reward, but we will forever hang up this painting and have our descendants pay their respects.”
Ugh… that was a little cringy…
While I wasn’t all too taken with the idea, Neneth seemed a lot more receptive. She immediately stopped eating upon hearing that someone wanted to paint her. Then, with a slurry of fruit still in her mouth, she mumbled, “Nafnaf…wants a copy…”
“Of course, we will have the painting replicated so that everyone has a copy.”
Seeing as Neneth had given her approval, none of us objected. Leeder stepped to the side and signalled for the artist to start, who promptly obliged.
Now that there was an outsider watching us, Zurnalin and Jezsere were a lot more reserved with their feeding. The meal itself proceeded for another two more hours, and by the time we were done eating, the painting was about finished as well. The finishing touches did not require us to be at the table so we all left first for a stroll.
At a nearby patch of grass further away from the bonfire, we found a perfect spot where the fireflies danced about in a display of eye-catching luminescence. Having stuffed herself completely, Neneth’s attention was completely captured by these sparkling jewels, gleefully chasing after their brightness like a child.
However, running right after a meal wasn’t a good idea either. I initially wanted to stop her from doing so, but upon noticing how Nicole was faintly smiling at her, I immediately changed my mind… I guess I can let her have her fun for now. When her tummy starts to ache, I can scold her then.
With Neneth preoccupied by the fireflies, I signalled for Jezsere and rest to find a quiet spot elsewhere so that Nicole and I could have a little alone time. Even though Zurnalin wasn’t too happy about that, she still left without much objection. Since the person most likely to object was now gone, the rest had no reason to stay behind either.
Finally, I was now alone with Nicole. As I gazed into her beautiful face, I couldn’t help but get a little intoxicated. How many years had it been since we last met? I had left her during the most important years of her development. Because of that, her personality ended up being warped. She was once a cheerful girl that loved nothing more than to smile and yet now… Is she still searching for me? Or has she already decided that I was dead?
I had to try my hardest to resist the urge to hug her right now, to chase away her worries with a warm embrace. I couldn’t reveal my identity; she was a Demon Hunter, and I was a Devil. More importantly, I did not know how to make her believe me. All this time, I had a burning desire in my heart to just come completely clean. But whenever that urge got the better of me, I would be immediately reminded of that time when I was surrounded in my own home. Those Demon Hunters did not even try to believe my words, instead claiming that my own soul had been devoured… what a joke, I am Mo Ke. The one and only Mo Ke! There’s no way I could ever…
There were a million things I wanted to say, but what I truly wanted to say to her was this: I’m home.
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Time flew by as I mulled over a variety of matters. Finally, after an unknown amount of time had passed, I was brought back to reality by Nicole’s cold voice. “Are you done yet?”
Because she still thought of me as a girl, I had to begrudgingly admit how advantageous this was to me right now. Faced with her abrupt questioning, I was a little taken aback but soon recovered with a smile and what would have probably been a cringy pick up line if I was a guy, “Not yet, I think I can stare at your face for a lifetime more.”
Honestly, that was a line I had picked up from one of those soap operas on television. I still remembered how much I cringed at it and thought that I would never use it. Apparently, I was saving it for this new life of mine…
It was only after experiencing the scene for myself that I finally understood the emotions that went into that line. I truly felt that I wanted to spend a lifetime with her.
“It’s impossible between women,” was the placid reply she gave me. Out of all the possible answers she could have given me, I would have to rate this as one of the less likely. I had honestly expected her to find my advances off putting.
Even so, I still wanted to be with her. If possible, forever, even if she did not realise who I was. Giving someone your company was the truest form of a confession… as long as I knew who she was… that was enough…
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