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Chapter 489 Daily Life at the Pioneers’ Village (2)
The month of Dawn passed by before I realized and it was now the month of Crystal. With a cold name like ‘Crystal’, this month also reflected that with its weather being the coldest in the whole year. Despite this having next to no effect in the southern part of the Pandora continent where it’s pretty much always summer, I remember hearing from Nyareko that this was the case in Daidaros.
This pub seat I’m sitting on right now could very well be the Guild’s pub seat where I used to be seated when talking to Nyareko pretty much everyday.
“Oi, oi, what’re you making that grim face for, priest?”
Ryan came asking me with a beer mug filled to the brim with ale, in a somewhat fluffy voice.
With all things said and done, this guy had somehow become a fairly easy going friend by now. As one would expect, having a fist fight is the best way to deepen the bonds between men. Humans and werewolves, they aren’t that different.
“I was thinking how the snow would melt soon.”
“Mm, is that so~? How far ahead are you talking about~? It’s still so damn cold, man.”
It hadn’t even been a whole year since Ryan and the other pioneers had started living here. And as such, they probably are not fully aware of the changing seasons here.
But I, for one, know about it. I know that despite this month being the coldest, it gets drastically hot during the end of it, melting off all the snow. Well, this too was second-hand knowledge from Nyareko.
“Hey, Kuroe. About you leaving the village once the snow melts… is that, true?”
Reki asked from the next seat, with a voice sounding more depressed than mine.
I am not really pleased about bringing her, a child, here to the pub but today is the day before the Sabbath, one of the seven days, determined in Christianity. Going through a rigorous training session till sunset, the vigilante group who had been beaten to a pulp by me, had all come together to the pub for a drink. To strengthen bonds among us and what not, I joined in as well.
And as such, being one of the most hard working among the ones taking the training, leaving just Reki behind would be a bit sad so we brought her along as well. Of course, she won’t be drinking any alcohol, we’d just be treating her to food.
This is unrelated to the topic at hand but since coming to this village and learning the lifestyle of the Christians, I learnt the idea of ‘Sunday’ all over again. During the experiment days, as well as the days in Irz village and Spada, I didn’t have any holidays in between and neither did such a culture exist there.
“Yeah, it’s true.”
There was no reason for me to lie about it. While there certainly was no reason for me to lie, seeing Reki so down about it made me feel sorry as well.
“Uuu, Reki… is yet to even land a hit on you, Kuroe.”
“Reki, you’re improving at a very high rate. If you keep it up, you might just be able to hit me once before I leave.”
“Non! If Kuroe were to leave, Reki can’t get any stronger!”
Reki said like a bark, raising her shoulders. She might be more tense about it than I thought.
The obsession to keep getting stronger. And she also seems to be idolizing me a bit. She is still a child. Farewells would obviously be tough.
No, no matter how old you get, no matter how many times you experience it, farewells are always painful… I know that all too well.
“Reki still has so many things that she… wants Kuroe to teach her… Reki wants to train.. more and more, till one day when she can beat Kuroe… until then, Reki wants to stay together…”
“Heheh, if you’re so sad to part ways, then why don’t you just stick with him, huh?”
“Rawr”—Reki growled as her dog-ear-like hair stood up, to which Ryan just smiled like a bully.
“I mean, it isn’t really a problem, now is it, priest? Taking care of a kid or two~”
“Oi, that would be a bit…”
“Seriously, though… you realize yourself, don’t you? The fact that these other men can’t really keep up with Reki already. And with just a bit of actual battle experience, she can become a mercenary or adventurer or whatever. Well, she’s a sorry sight as a sister, though, that’s for sure~!”
“Gahahah”—Ryan laughed like it was none of his problem and gulped down the ale appetizingly. How many mugs does that one make, really? Don’t come to when you fall flat on the ground, I don’t know any healing magic.
That said, the things Ryan said are certainly true. Reki had certainly acquired enough strength and skill to beat down any of the vigilante members except Ryan. Despite the fact that I haven’t taught her any of the fundamentals to swordsmanship, she was improving at an exceedingly high pace.
The way how she becomes sharper and smoother with the sword and the impacts from her attack with each passing day is truly astounding. I honestly think she will be able to land a hit on me before I depart.
“Even then, that’s not the probl—”
“Reki can’t go with Kuroe. Reki wants to go but… Reki has Uru.”
Her best friend and she sort of thinks of Ursula as her younger sister as Ursula was a year younger. The sole purpose of Reki getting stronger was to protect her.
Having above average combat skills and stamina, she could easily go out on a trip or attempt dungeon captures if she so tried. However, Ursula is a normal kid.
At this point, if we’re speaking strictly in terms of if it is possible or not, I’d say it’s very much possible for Reki to survive the trip back to Spada. On the other hand, I don’t even need to think to say that it will be impossible for Ursula.
And, Reki being separated from Ursula is also impossible. Now that I think about it, they might’ve not come to this village solely because they are of a different race. Is it not because priest Nicolay thought he shouldn’t let go of these two that he went through all the trouble of bringing these two here to the Pandora continent?
“Yeah, that’s right. You’re going to protect Ursula, Reki. Continue your training, even when I’m gone. You understand what you need to do to get stronger now, don’t you?”
It’s very admirable of you to hold your tears and not be selfish even though you really feel like it, Reki. Really, what a good kid.
I couldn’t help but gently stroke her frizzy dog-ear-like hair.
“Heh, you made her cry now, priest.”
And that’s where I decided I’d pull a strong one on Ryan during tomorrow’s training.
A month had quickly passed since it had become a custom for Kurono and Reki to have dinner at the pub on the day before Sabbath. The church’s stay-at-home party had also gotten used to having dinner at home quietly.
Sariel, who was already a girl of little words, with Ursula, who had a docile and quiet personality. One would think that this oddly quiet atmosphere would be extremely awkward but in reality, such was not the case here.
“Hero Abell’s adventures, chapter 12 ‘A Fated Encounter’.”
Sariel said that as Ursula returned to her seat after getting done with dinner and tidying up.
“Do you remember the story up till last time?”
“Abell, who had been turned into a slave due to committing a sin of covering for a heretic teacher, had made his escape from a slave trader on the path. While he had massacred the slave merchant and all the escorts, he was also in a dire situation himself.”
Ursula dictated the details accurately with ease. Sariel was well aware of her intelligence—being able to perfectly understand and recall a story just by hearing or reading it once. As such, her question towards Ursula was nothing but a gesture to get things rolling.
“Well then, let’s continue.”
What could have possibly been the cue for Sariel to start telling Abell’s story?
To begin with, the first time the two had talked to each other was the day Kurono and Reki first had a mock battle. Perhaps she had too much free time on her hands, or perhaps she was just purely interested in Sariel, she spoke up to her.
The content of it was exemplary considering it was from an apprentice sister to an actual sister.
“What we learnt today in class, about the saint Renault, why was he excommunicated despite being such an amazing person? The book only says it’s because he went against the commandment but does not go into details.”
Sariel immediately answered her question.
“He had realized that he was homosexual.”
“How did they find out?”
“It was common knowledge. However, as he raped a young deacon boy who was serving the cardinal, it had become an issue. As the young boy was in a lovers’ relationship with the cardinal, it ended up making him furious and he immediately excommunicated Renault and deported him.”
In response to the embarrassing history of Christianity that Sariel spoke without feeling an ounce of embarrassment, Ursula said,
“Thank you very much for telling me the truth. Sister Yuri, I’ve come to like you.”
It was the first time Sariel saw the usually expressionless Ursula give a slight smile.
And as such, Sariel, who had now been liked by Ursula, continued answering any and every question she had. The contents of these answers ranged from being complicated depictions that children would find difficult to comprehend to the harshness of reality that a proper adult would try to evade answering.
However, Sariel’s truthful answers no matter the question gained Ursula’s favor, respect, and a sense of trust. Just how Kurono was admired by Reki as he accepted her for who she was, Sariel, too, was admired by Ursula.
And thus, this Ursula came up with such a question one day,
“Is the legend of the White Hero Abell, true?”
As always, Sariel answered immediately.
“While there is a little distortion in the legend, all of 2nd apostle Abell’s achievements are the truth.”
Sister Yuri, who doesn’t lie, had declared. That was the moment that this grand legend had turned true in Ursula’s heart, which had quite the doubt regarding it.
“I want to learn more about Abell.”
“Then, I shall tell you more about him based on the story that I know.”
“Yes. It’s called—’The Hero Abell’s Legends’.”
The title of which was the same as when Kurono was Kurono Maou. However, the contents of it are not your usual fantasy action which is filled with dreams, courage and hope—one that rewards the good and punishes the evil.
About how the man called Abell came to be known as the White Hero. An account of a real story which is filled with blood, malice and despair.
“—Abell wandered about for three days and three nights without any destination in the snow forest.”
The hero’s tale that she was telling Ursula had entered the hero’s juvenile age after his childhood.
The story starts off with the now 14 year old Abell slaughtering the slave merchant and the escorts with his barehand and then escaping with their equipment and money.
Abell, who was not only a slave but had also taken on the sin of killing his master now, had no choice but to wander deep into the forest in an attempt to escape the knights and the military police. That was the northernmost part of Sinclair republic then. A land for development which is shut off half the year due to the snow. And on top of that, it was winter then.
He was fated to die there outside—a desperate situation with no escape.
“And there, Abell meets a girl.”
“A girl with clear platinum hair and bright lustrous colored eyes similar to that of a kingfisher’s feathers. A girl wearing a red hood.”
“….I know. Even Reki knows that girl.”
In other words, a big name that even orphans with no education know of. There was no one in Sinclair republic who did not know of it.
“Yes, the girl’s name was Alice. Real name—Alice In Godland Sinclair. The person who would become the queen of the 99th Sinclair republic.”
And also the person who would be Abell’s wife. Truly, a fated encounter—
“Is it really, really true?”
“It is the truth.”
Ursula, who had a realistic outlook towards this scene as it just seemed too convenient, had received an instant answer from Sariel yet again. However, even Sariel couldn’t say that she had heard that story from the actual person themself. She couldn’t lie but she could definitely hide things.
“But, if it’s true… then it would resemble Kuroe a bit…”
“The part that they both escaped death and took shelter in a pioneers’ village does match.”
Alice at the time was of course not wandering about in the snow forest alone. Abell had very coincidentally come upon a great pioneers’ village in the midst of the forest.
“I was at my limits—all I could say when I saw Alice was ‘help me’. I collapsed right there and when I woke up, I was on a bed.”
Sariel recalled that the 2nd apostle had exposed that to Misa and Mariabelle when talking of events that took place 100 years ago. He did so with a glass of wine in one hand, making an expression an old man would make, while he looked like a young muscular man.
“In the last book I read about it, it said that the village was soon destroyed as Barbados came invading. However, Abell must have surely spent some time in the village to capture Alice’s heart—such an important episode was hidden. That is what I want to know more about.”
Ursula’s blue eyes were glittering, or rather, blazing with curiosity. Sariel couldn’t decipher whether it was just her maiden’s heart that wanted to know more about it or if it was the lust of wanting to dig up a legendary heroes naked love story.
“I am not sure if it will meet your expectations but I do know of a few stories of his lifestyle at the village. The first one is—”
The two’s voices along with the sound of the chapel’s door opening had announced an interruption to their story telling session.
“Let’s keep it here for today.”
“It was just getting good.”
Ursula made a pout, feeling a little discontent at them for coming so early today but then stood up to go and welcome them.
“Uuu, I’m so tired today, I’m gonna go straight to bed, goodnight~”
Unlike her usual self, Reki lacked energy and went straight to her room.
The sun had already set so it wouldn’t be weird for them to sleep anytime now but usually they go to sleep about an hour later from now. It wasn’t like they were the only ones staying up late at night.
One would use lamps or lanterns as light if they don’t know magic and since oil, which is the fuel for it, is cheap, most households spent some time staying up at night. Oil was mass produced both in Sinclair and Spada.
“Sorry for making you guys watch the place at night. Here, this is today’s souvenir.”
It had somewhat become a habit of mine to bring some side dishes from the pub.
I put the moderately sweet baked cookies and the working class grape wine bottle on top of the table.
“Ohh, it’s just been baked.”
“Thank you very much, brother.”
I sometimes drink wine with Sariel. There isn’t really a reason behind it but if I were to give it one, it would be making a performance in front of Reki and Ursula so that they don’t doubt our relationship.
There’s a possibility they might catch up on us if I were to act distant with Sariel. Considering how Reki is unusually sharp and Ursula is quite clever.
Well, it could also be that they already know of my lie by now…
“Ah, speaking of which, you guys are getting quite well now, huh?”
I said, seeing that the unusual 3 had sat down on the table as Reki already went to bed.
“Sister Yuri teaches me everything.”
“Oho? What does she teach you?”
“About the Bible, the history, the details not listed in the books.”
“You’re quite the studious student, Ursula.”
I completely assumed it would be something more worldly-minded. No, now that I think about it, Sariel wouldn’t know stuff that would be well-received by kids.
I felt like Ursula grew an interest for love affairs as she really got into the love story novel I gave her… but to think her interests still fall in line with Christianity, she might just have a talent for being a sister after all.
“Ursula is a very smart kid. She remembers everything I teach her.”
“Yeah, I think so too. After all, she has gotten all the way to fractions and arithmetic operations while Reki is stuck with addition and subtraction.”
Although it’s a bit sad that we got only two students in our morning classes, it also means we can give them one-to-one guidance. We started off with the same base for both of them but with just three days in, the difference in their scholarly ability was clear and I decided it would be more efficient to teach them separately.
Even Sariel could teach without a leg or arm. Although she only has combat skills as an apostle, she should have the same if not more knowledge from high school 2nd year than me from Shirasaki’s memories.
With that said, Ursula’s scholastic performance skyrocketed with these one-on-one lessons, which is such a privilege in this world that only children from noble families get it.
“Mufufu, it’s a bit embarrassing if you praise me that much.”
I could see Ursula’s usually stiff expression loosen a bit as she grinned a bit with her fists on her cheeks.
Although this kid is mostly expressionless like Fiona, it is still clear that she is filled with emotions like any other human being. Considering how she can understand adult’s talks and is intellectually curious, it’s no wonder she can get along well with the doll-like Sariel.
“Now that I think about it, I didn’t really get the opportunity to talk to Ursula much since I was dealing with Reki. Sorry if it looked like I was being partial to her.”
“No, I’m also happy to see Reki have fun. After all, only Kuroe can take on Reki at her fullest.”
It should be the adults’ job to take on the kids’ fullest. However, it isn’t my place to say that here and I shouldn’t make these kids worry about that.
“I also have fun sparring with her. She’s a prodigy. She develops every day—no, every fight, even. You can see her movements change to adapt with each fight.”
There isn’t any mentor who wouldn’t be happy to see such growth. It’s more Reki’s talent than my teaching that’s doing the work, though.
“Kuroe is very merciless these days. I saw you send Reki flying with a hard kick the other day.”
“That’s how much she has grown, after all, I can’t let my guard down.”
It wouldn’t be unusual if she came with a harsh counter if I took her on half-heartedly. Reki can’t be stopped without a certain amount of damage or impact.
“Does it perhaps look like I’m bullying her?”
Such a question crossed my mind suddenly. From my perspective, I’m always seriously giving my all to train her but from the ones watching, like the villagers’ perspective, does it look like I am giving extreme grueling training to an innocent helpless girl?
After all, I was treated as an atrocious savage from both allies and enemies when I took Reinfeldt as a hostage.
“It’s okay, I understand.”
“I see, thank God.”
As expected of Ursula, her understanding really helps.
“After all, I’ve also seen Reki get up very happily after being kicked by you. Reki likes getting kicked so you can kick her even more.”
Wait a minute, is that understanding really correct?
“It’s not like she was happy to be kicked, you—”
“It’s okay, I understand.”
It’s the very same line from before but for some reason it feels completely different. Seeing Ursula brimming with confidence, I am reminded of the uneasy feeling of seeing Fiona with her satisfied look.
I guess that’s fine, it would be bringing unnecessarily trouble upon myself if I keep egging this on. And so I changed the topic.
“Ah, right, that reminds me, are you bad at exercise, Ursula?”
“…..I do not like getting kicked.”
I won’t kick you. Do I look like a crackhead who would send kids flying with a kick? I would like to hope not.
“It’s alright, I’m not asking you to join the training. Everyone has their strong and weak points.”
“Yes, I’m bad at strenuous physical activities.”
“Then what about magic? I feel like you might have an aptitude for it, since you’re smart.”
It was something I just blurted out without giving it a second thought.
However, the change in Ursula’s behavior was obvious.
“….Magic, is… impossible.”
She looked taken aback at first but then faced down with a grim face before murmuring that.
Hmm? Did I just step on a landmine?
“It seems Ursula doesn’t have an aptitude for magic.”
It was Sariel who intervened, breaking the awkward atmosphere.
“Is that.. so?”
“I heard from her that she is disappointed by it as well.”
I see, so Sariel has already known about it.
To think she would get so depressed, she might have looked up to magic quite a bit.
In this world where magic had spread all around the world and got popular, there were many ways to check if someone had an aptitude for magic or not.
I have seen a very magician-like crystal for it in the theological school myself and they also do an aptitude check with divine protection in the Pandora shrine as well.
Although, you don’t really need to check it in the first place, you’d just somehow know yourself. Even a Japanese like myself who thought of magic as nothing but fantasy could feel mana once I was restructured. I was even able to use ‘Pile Bunker’ during the maneuver experiments.
I do not know what kind of aptitude test she took in the past but if she got the result that she doesn’t have any aptitude for it even after getting the test, then that means she has absolutely zero talent or grounding for it.
“I’m sorry, I made you remember some unpleasant things.”
“No, it’s fine.”
Even if it was just acting strong, being able to say that in itself shows how strong of a kid Ursula is.
That said, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that she could just find a different path, like Simon said. It would be appropriate to change the topic here.
“Ah right, it seems the peddlers will be coming again next week. Ursula deserves another present since she’s been working hard at her studies. Is there anything you want? Shall I get you another novel?”
“Really?! Um, Kuroe, I—”
Although it does feel a bit bad drawing her in with things but seeing her clear blue eyes light up with happiness like that, I don’t mind it at all.
And like that, we had continued fun idle talk a bit later than usual that day. It’s fine, right? Tomorrow’s an off day, after all.