Reunion at Sea – Part 1
As I walked through the crisp forest and listened to its calming sounds, I sensed someone behind me. It turns out to be Eru, who has stopped as if she has found something. Now that I have come back from picking up dead branches for our campfire, I see her looking with unusual enthusiasm. Following her line of sight, I look down and see beautiful flowers that are shining in the sunlight coming from the gaps between the trees.
“Why are you looking at the flowers?”
When I asked, I finally notice her standing right next to me, as she looks up at my face. I worry as I see her eyes swaying like the time I found her as a child caught in trouble, and stand next to her, looking at the flowers.
Named by the elves. It has no special medicinal effect or anything; simply a beautiful flower.
It’s not a particularly rare flower, and it grows everywhere where the elves live, in a forest on the west side of Elfreim; but it’s the first time I’ve seen them here. Blooming in the spring, it is said these flowers are given by male elves to female elves to show affection. It seems to be similar to what is called “roses” in our world. But I don’t think people even give roses to each other in dramas.
“No particular reason, except that they caught my eye.”
I wonder somewhat rudely if she is interested in the flowers, as I see Eru’s face turn towards them.
“What is it?”
“Oh nothing, I just wondered if you were interested in the flowers..”
“I’m not really.”
When I asked her, she responded in her usual tone, so she seems to not really carry much interest in it at all. Even though I thought, it was the first time that Eru had shown interest in something so far… other than interest in food.
“I heard that these crystal flowers are given by male elves to female elves in order to convey their feelings of affection.”
“They give flowers?”
“Yes. When I say that, do you have interest in them?”
She responds somewhat coldly.
As she smiles bitterly and sighs, she changes from looking at the flowers to looking at me.
“Renji, do you have an interest in them?”
“The flowers. You seem to know a lot about them.”
“It’s not that I know them well, but I learned about them before, that’s all.”
I crouched to pick up the dead branches that I had held in my hands before. Because of the amount, it’s quite hard to carry. I would be happy if she helped me out, but it seems that this goddess prefers looking at unusual flowers more than at me.
I think it’s okay for her to look at other things sometimes, and I’m probably too nice to her, but these things are important too.
Fighting everyday can make not only the body, but also the spirit get tired.
I have memories of hearing somewhere that flowers can heal a person, and wonder if that is really true.
“I see. Of course, to be expected of Renji.”
“There’s more. Crystal flowers normally have four petals, but I heard that the flowers that elves give to their sweethearts have five petals.
“What is the difference?”
“The origin of the number four is a bad omen. It represents death.”
As I tell her, I look at the flowers and find one with five petals.
I pick it and show it to Eru. When I show her, she looks blankly up and down at me and the flower. I laugh gently at her reaction as she quickly returned to her normal composure.
Aw, I wish I could see her do that more often. I don’t know if she understood my feelings, and she looks back at me with more coldness than usual.
As I make her hold the crystal flower in her small thin hands, I pretend to not notice her cold stare, and walk towards the campsite. This time Eru follows behind me.
There are no signs of apparitions, and the air gives off a nice scent. This pathway leads to the dwelling of the Spirit God Zwenelia, and one can feel her sacred presence reach all over the forest.
The silence continued as we walked, exiting the forest.
We did not decide to camp there, even though it is a place where the flowers should be in full bloom. Not only crystal flowers, but flowers of yellow, blue, and many colors also colored the site.
Probably, there is a fairies’ village around here. The map that the elves taught me surfaced in my mind. I made sure that I didn’t make a mistake in getting to the campground.
“Lovely isn’t it?” [Eru]
I didn’t expect those words to come from her, and responded with surprise.
As before, Eru stopped and stood still, facing the blooming flowers.
I think this is unusual. She always pulls me with her to go on a mission or battle instead of letting me rest, but now she’s stopped like this.
“Did I say something strange?” [Eru]
Eru gave me a strange look, hearing this hesitation in my voice.
….I wonder if she ate something strange. As I worried for her, I joined Eru again in standing, also directing my gaze towards the scenery.
Well, I don’t see any sign of apparitions, so I have no reason to feel flustered. Besides, the day is still long. Even if I fall behind in picking up dead branches for camp, will it be a problem for Toudou? He needs a fire in order to cook, but—well, as for the branches, he can pick them up himself.
As I was rethinking, I looked for a rock to sit on, and placed the dead branches nearby. Eru just stood still as usual, gazing at the multi-colored flowers.
“This is unusual. Seeing you look at flowers like that.” [Renji]
“You are right. I also think it is unusual for me.” [Eru]
It seems that, she is aware of her own behavior.
I wonder if tomorrow will bring more surprises. When I look up at the sky, I can see signs of good weather from every gap between the trees. I think tomorrow there will be good weather too. In that case, the surprises will surely be good ones.
“Why are you looking at the sky?” [Eru]
“No reason. It seems like it won’t rain.” [Renji]
She didn’t even recognize my irony.
When I sighed, Eru tilted her head at me confused.
“Nothing. Don’t worry.” [Renji]
What a pointless conversation. Who knew when I came to this world, I would have exchanged such casual conversations with Eru?
I thought, but, when I think more, there probably haven’t been that many occurrences as I thought there was. Up until now, besides battling, I would say she just carried an interest in eating, but even when eating she would stay silent. Occasionally, she would say “It’s delicious,” but that’s it.
…..I thought, but, I have the feeling I do not really know this Goddess named Ermenhilde. I use her as my sword, moreover, to kill other gods. I know she has several limitations, but I do not know all of them. I’ve heard that if all restrictions were released, her power would be enough to fight other gods, but it is actually a story of me shedding tears trying to release that power.
Well, that’s when Ermenhilde is used as a weapon, but that’s all I know. And yet, I also know she eats a lot to somehow “fuel her magical strength”. I don’t know how she managed to get a stomach to be able to eat.
That’s it, huh.
……I’ve learned that I truly know nothing regarding Eru.
“Do you like flowers?” [Renji]
“What do you think?” [Eru]
While she was playing with the crystal flower in her fingertips, she unsurprisingly gave an indifferent response.
Despite her response, she looks interested in the flower. When I tilted my head in question, Eru also tilted her head.
Given that reaction, I feel like I said something strange.
“It’s just..” [Eru]
“It’s just.. beautiful. I think they are beautiful.” [Eru]
Just saying that, she remained silent.
Beautiful, huh. I repeated in my mind her words. From a distance, I saw the same things as Eru.
I see. They are beautifully colored flowers, and yet, their sweet scent is but an illusion from this distance. I feel cured, should I say. I guess I haven’t had many relaxing experiences since I’ve come to this world.
“It is time to board the ship…” [Eru]
“I guess that I don’t really know anything about this world.” [Eru]
While she stuttered as there had arisen a change in her own feelings, she twirled the crystal flower in her hand.
I think the changes she is making are good. Not as a weapon, but as the changes of the personality called Ermenhilde. That is to say, for Eru, it is like the effort she puts into battling, which is why I think this is surely a good change.
However, as I thought of Eru, I noticed her looking bewildered at something.
I remember the words she said when she existed as a weapon.
She doesn’t have the need to enjoy scenery as Ermenhilde if she is a weapon. I don’t know why, but I feel that I understand Eru’s feelings like my own.
Even before, there have been times where I have strongly resonated with Eru’s feelings. Such as when I was on the verge of dying, or times when we felt the same strong feelings of anger, plus other events… This time, Eru isn’t resonating with me particularly strongly.
As usual, there are many strange talents given by the Goddess Astraera that I don’t understand.
I think about consulting Utano-san later, as I give out a yawn. Well, I guess relaxing times like this are good.
“So. If every chore was finished, how would the carefree world keep going?” [Renji]
“I agree.” [Eru]
Even though we were talking about this casually, I didn’t expect such a simple response.
I looked slightly at Eru in surprise, but she did not return my gaze. However, I wouldn’t call it a bad response… Truly, I do not understand today’s Eru at all, I think, as I tilt my head in wonder.
“However, I belong to Goddess Astraera too. So, I don’t have freedom.” [Eru]
“That’s rough.” [Renji]
There, the conversation pauses. It is not in particular a conversation where one says anything that they want, but one where things come to mind. I might be starting to resemble Eru.
That is why, even as the conversation paused, and there wasn’t especially much to say, there was much enjoyment in the prolonged silence.
“Kill Nayfell, and cut Shelfa again. If we silence the Demon God and the Demon Lord, I think we would be able to enjoy peace for a while, but..” [Renji]
If only we had that time. Astraera-sama isn’t mean either. That is to say, Astraera-sama must enjoy both the present world and this one.
Although Astraera-sama would stuff her cheeks with orc meat on a skewer while walking through the streets of her own city, Eru walking around enjoying the scenery wouldn’t be bad.
“About that. After defeating Nayfell, I have one wish that I want to make. I’d like Eru to be able to move freely–” [Renji]
As I spoke, she interjected by using my name.
Her face was no longer that of when she was enjoying the scenery, but of her usual stiffness.
“You are being rude.” [Eru]
When I bow my head towards Eru, she nods her head to her chest as if she is accepting the apology.
That motion reminds me of Utano-san’s when she accepts apologies.
“If you just talked to me a little more politely, I would be quite happy.” [Eru]
Eru always tells me to speak more politely. That is because she wants me to behave appropriately as a mortal hero who wields the power of a god.
If I am a hero, then I should listen to Eru. However, I freeze when trying to speak politely and my words come out in an uneven tempo. Even so, I try to take care in picking my words.
“I think your tone rises whenever you face the Demon God and Demon Lord.” [Eru]
“Oh… well.” [Renji]
That’s probably true.
Orcs are pigs, so I get a little angry at times when I speak of them, using reckless words and shit. It goes the same for lizardmen and skeletons.
I get it, but…..
“When facing the Demon Lord and Demon God, I admit I raise my voice or yell.” [Renji]
“This is the first you’ve heard of it, is it true?” [Eru]
“Yeah, you’re right.” [Renji]
If I don’t do that, I become nervous and unable to fight.
I become weak and unprepared. Even so, fighting the Demon Lord is scary even when using a sword.
If I get hurt it’s painful, and I think about dying and becoming cold in the middle of the battlefield where I can’t move.
I can’t say these things out loud, but… Even so, I still fight in front of Shuuichi and Aya. Even the most immature, Yui-chan, has come along and done her best to follow us on this journey.
I am not trying to complain as the oldest of this group. —I pretend to be tough by using rough language. I’m self-aware, but…….it can’t really be helped. At least, for now.
There will be more fights….against the Demon Lord and Demon God, and I have to get used to the notion of having my life snatched away by them.
Maybe I can convey these feelings to Eru.
Eru nods and walks my way. Nothing particularly weird, just walking down the same street as always, but as I think about these quiet miserable experiences, I become scared.
“Quiet. If it’s about yelling at them. I guess it can’t be helped, huh.” [Renji]
Despite that, these words give me a sigh of relief.
Seeing that, Eru tilts her head in wonder.
“Well, if that’s it, then” [Eru]
“I understand. Now-” [Renji]
My words interrupted,
“Next time we meet them, let’s beat up Nayfell properly.” [Eru]
A small smile arose on her face as she spoke.
“I’d prefer if I did not have to use you. Hm” [Renji]
I felt troubled as she tilted her head again with a mysterious look that came from the depths of her heart.
If I let Eru do what she wants, Utano-san would probably get angry and worried. I’ve been taught weirdly.
Even if it was a failure, I saw Eru cutely holding the crystal flower near her chest with the multicolored flowers in the background.
The sea salt breeze brushes her face gently as her hair sways in the wind.
The humongous sail bends from the wind and the boat pushes forward. The sea looks blue from the ship, clear and transparent. What appears to be fish swimming are actually mermaids and mermen, but I can’t see the appearance of the Demon God.
That is, the Demon God is afraid of this big ship, which will soon be coursing into the middle of warm and cold rapids. Then it will advance into where the two mix together.
In this sea, there are creatures who are very sensitive to the change in temperatures, even affecting their life force. This includes the Demon God, which means this is the best course for our ship.
That people from long ago should be called intelligent, was ridiculous I thought. But after hearing this story and seeing it for myself, I’ve become extremely embarrassed.
“Are you okay?” [Renji]
I call out to one of my disciples on deck, who appears sick, fighting against the strong breeze.
It’s Miss Francesca whose face looks blue. Or should I say pale? She appears to be suffering, as she tries not to be a hindrance to the fellow sailors, the wind pushing her into a corner. She’s also probably in the corner because she needs to throw up.
Not a very pretty reason.
No response, except for a silent nod.
I haven’t heard anything bad about this ship, and I didn’t think that the daughter of a port town would not be good with boats.
As for myself, I have been fine with boats. Actually, there was no resistance to getting on the ship, and after taking a ride, I looked around with Mururu and Sollunea. The sailors on board are like family to the owner of this ship.
However the problem for Miss Francesca was when the ship was slowly departing. It made her feel a little sick, so she hasn’t eaten for two days.
Her seasickness is turning her into a corpse.
[This ship is awful]
Miss Francesca endured Ermenhilde’s voice with her head hung down as she moved slowly.
Apparently, the echoing of Ermenhilde’s voice seems very painful when seasick.
“Please, be quiet for a little bit. I’m seasick, and your voice is only making it worse.”
Ermenhilde frowns as Miss Francesca holds her head in pain.
As I sighed standing up, I turned my eyes to Mururu, who is sitting on a wooden box filled with luggage. I watch her swaying her legs back and forth, with no apparent signs of seasickness. Only Miss Francesca.
“Don’t push yourself.” [Renji]
“………….” [Miss Francesca]
There is no reply, just nodding. Her seasickness seems to be quite serious. I leave Miss Francesca’s side and head towards Mururu.
Mururu, who seemed to be wondering about our conversation, jumped off the box as I approached her.
“Is Fran okay?” [Mururu]
“Since she’s on a ship, she’s become seasick.” [Renji]
“I see….” [Mururu]
[I don’t understand, is seasickness painful?] – Ermenhilde
Mururu, who cannot answer Ermenhilde’s question, looks up at me intriguingly. However, I also don’t know because I have never been seasick.
“I don’t know anything about seasickness, but if it’s anything like a hangover, it’s probably painful enough to want to die.” [Renji]
“Sake and ships are different.” [Mururu]
[Seriously..] – Ermenhilde
I shrug my shoulders in response to them. They are both so kind to Miss Francesca, I thought, as I sat down next to the wooden box that Mururu had been sitting on.
“Ermenhilde’s voice is “so painful”, so I came here.” [Renji]
[Because of me?] – Ermenhilde
[…..I see.] – Ermenhilde
When I say so, I keep silent while replying in a depressing tone. It’s just a joke, so I don’t have to act so depressed, but..
“Just kidding.” [Renji]
“Renji’s jokes are hard to understand.” [Mururu]
Mururu walks to Miss Francesca’s side. I sigh as I see her back turn.
“Am I really that hard to understand?” [Renji]
[Beats me] – Ermenhilde
I take the medal out of my pocket and brush her gently. Because there is only a small chance of the ship falling over, I don’t feel like it’s risky.
I gaze at the ocean, enjoying the feel of Ermenhilde in my fingertips.
White clouds. Blue sea and blue sky. I cannot see our departure point anymore, and am still not able to see Elfreim. Only the view of the sea, sky, and clouds.
I rest assured that the sailors on this ship can navigate the current direction by using the sun’s position to distinguish time.
Unlike when leaving the port, I look at the seafarers, then at the sea again.
“It’s beautiful.” [Renji]
[Yes. It is a nice view.] – Ermenhilde
Ermenhilde agrees with my comment.
It seems like the first time I’ve seen the wide ocean in this world. The sea in my world is dirty and not safe to swim in, but here it is a beautiful blue. If I could swim in such a sea, I would feel amazing, but jumping into the ocean here is unfortunately pretty dangerous.
It is nothing but an act of suicide, since there are monsters in the sea.
“Blue ocean, white clouds. The seaaaaaa is sooo wideee” [Renji] [What is that song?] – Ermenhilde
“It is a famous song from my world.” [Renji]
We snuck out to be alone in a place only we knew, as Ermenhilde spoke up in the voice that I admired.
[I know a lot, actually. But I don’t know everything.] – Ermenhilde
“It sounds like I’m the one who’s shallow.” [Renji]
[…..I think that it is important to investigate everything thoroughly.] – Ermenhilde
“Aren’t you harsh.” [Renji]
I laugh cheerfully and cool down in the ocean breeze, as Ermenhilde remains silent.
“Elfreim will be amazing.” [Renji] [Hm?] – Ermenhilde
“Not just Sollunea, I have plenty of views to show you.” [Renji]
[Really. I’m looking forward to it.] – Ermenhilde
The forest of elves, a world of trees. A settlement where the dwarves live and villages where the beasts live. A flower garden at the entrance of the fairies’ town. You may like it, or not.
Because Ermenhilde is not Eru, I know that the feelings she feels are also different.
I think it will be okay.
From here on out, Eru begins to intertwine with Renji (Suggestive Meaning)