Translator: Imlartis Editor: Queenie
「The two of you. Would you like to go sightseeing for a while?」
「Wouldn’t you get depressed if you only stayed here? What do you think?」
Juri’s mischievous smile seemed to be saying that he’d give us a discount. I looked at the boy by my side and tried to guess his thoughts. He was sitting there and drinking tea in silence. There was no sign of him planning on standing up. No matter how I looked at it, he didn’t seem enthusiastic about the idea. Even if he hadn’t said anything I could see that he wanted to stay here and continue deciphering. Like Juri said, I wanted the boy to take a break instead of staying cooped up in such an unhealthy environment and continuing the investigation. However, in the first place, the boy himself wasn’t unhappy with the task so I couldn’t just suggest to take advantage of the fact that we were on an island and unwind.
「Juri, I’m sorry…」
「You too! Don’t just sit there! Hurry up, let’s go!」
Juri took the boy by the arm and lifted him up. The boy was of a much smaller stature so it didn’t take much effort on Juri’s side. I laughed involuntarily at the boy’s bewildered state. Seeing me like that and Juri who seemed to be gleefully saying that he got him, the boy scowled.
Juri wasn’t scared of that threatening glare at all. On the contrary, he was staring straight back into that face, seemingly enjoying himself. The unexpected reaction caught the boy off guard and he blinked his eyes in surprise.
「Hey, big sister. It’s fine, isn’t it?」
「… Yes. It might be good to get out for a little while.」
After I said that, the boy looked down at me with impatience. While he was looking at me, I stood up, dusted off my dress, bent at my waist and smiled at the boy.
「Edi. It is only for a while, so let’s take a break? I’ll wear the overcoat too, ok?」
After a period of silence the boy finally nodded slowly. Relieved, I put on the overcoat which was laying folded on the ground. Then I took out a small bag with a wallet inside, which I had taken with me just in case, from the baggage.
「Juri, we shall be in your care ok?」
「Leave it to me! Let’s go!」
Still grasping the boys arm in one hand, Juri made a fist with the other and raised it up in the air. I too, made a fist, lightly raised it upwards and said「Yea!」. The boy’s sigh echoed loudly in the huge cave.
* * *
「Hey, hey! That’s delicious too!」
「Is that so? Excuse me, please give me three.」
「There you go! Be careful because it’s hot!」
In exchange for the copper coin, the cheerful stall owner gave me three steaming hot skewers of something similar to steamed fish paste. I passed one to Juri who was walking in the front, and another one to the boy walking by my side. Then I opened my mouth slightly and took a small bite.
「It really is delicious.」
「Right? My mouth is never wrong! You think so too, don’t you?」
Juri smiled broadly at my words and asked the boy for confirmation. At this point, the boy had learned that Juri wouldn’t give up if he didn’t answer, so he nodded under the deeply pulled up hood. It couldn’t be helped that he was somewhat reluctant but since it was a taste that that man would have liked, then the boy would like it too. In the first place, if it wasn’t good he wouldn’t have eaten more, but the boy continued eating silently so he must have liked it.
「Right? Don’t you think that it was good to get out?」
「I only came because Filmina said she wanted to go.」
「You’re not honest…」
Not disheartened by the boy’s neither friendly, nor curt reply, Juri laughed.
Under Juri’s guidance after leaving the cave, we reached the nightless city road.
At first the boy seemed fearful facing the unexpectedly crowded street. However, maybe he was influenced by Juri, who didn’t mind the people at all, because before long he was confidently walking down the street. Regardless of what he said, he was looking around with curiosity. I was relieved that it was a correct decision to go out and take a break. I needed to thank Juri. As I took the last bite of the skewer, I decided to give him an ample compensation.
「Let’s go and drink something next. They sell Niberta’s specialty, the coconut juice over there.」
Juri started running while pulling at the boy’s hand. The boy ran while being pulled with one hand and keeping the hood from falling off with the other. I was overcome with emotion at the sight of the boys, who looked like siblings who got along well. If only that man had someone like Juri by his side when he was truly the boy’s age… I couldn’t help thinking that the world might have been a kinder place to that man then. I knew it was too late now and that if that man knew I was having such thoughts he’d laugh scornfully and send me flying.
My feet stopped unconsciously and I laughed at my own thoughts. Juri turned around and shouted towards me.
「Big sister! We’ll leave you behind!」
I fixed the hood I had pulled on my head and jogged after the boys. Juri looked up at me in astonishment.
「You’ll get lost if you stand around in a daze, so get a grip.」
「I’m sorry. It seems I’m a bit tired.」
「Eh? Already? Pathetic.」
「Haha. It’s good that you and Edi are in high spirits.」
「We’re both still young. Right?」
Juri asked seeking his agreement. The boy looked troubled as he compared mine and Juri’s faces. If he had just nodded here he might have hurt me, so in the end he didn’t nod. Not minding us, Juri laughed proudly.
「If you’re tired, then the coconut juice will be perfect! It’s great for tiredness.」
I ate and drank a bit too much, but these past few days we were cooped up at the ruins and there wasn’t time to snack. Besides, since we were finally here I wanted to let the boy eat different things. While thinking that it was a good decision to bring the wallet, I started chasing after Juri and the boy who had suddenly started walking ahead.
Under Juri’s guidance we made it to the stall selling coconut juice. The stall was in the street somewhat away from the main street and the yellowish green fruits were neatly lined up in front of it. Juri ordered energetically 「Three please!」The shop owner took a knife and in a practised manner cut off the top part of the fruits, made a hole, put a straw inside and handed them to us. I quickly took a sip and a characteristic sweet flavour spread inside my mouth. It seemed that they were cooled down using magic stones with a water attribute and the juice was pleasantly cold. I felt my accumulated fatigue fade away. As expected of Juri, it was a great choice. I looked down at the boy, wondering whether it was to his liking. He was holding the fruit with both hands and sucking on the straw in silence. This was the best answer.
The wind blew right at the moment when I was about to smile at the heart-warming sight of the boy looking like a small animal.
Because it was a narrow side road, the wind was unnecessarily strong. The hood I was wearing flapped in the wind and slipped off. However, it wasn’t me who was the problem.
The knife fell out of the stall owner’s hand and rolled on the stone pavement with a clank.
I got startled by that stunned voice. When I looked over at the boy, I saw that his hood had also slipped off. The boy dropped the fruit and immediately pulled the hood back on but it was too late. Everyone’s gaze turned to us all at once. I thought there were less people than at the main street where we’d been just before, but attracted by the owner’s shout 「 Elizabel’s cursed child!」a great amount of fear and panic, and an overwhelming malice resulting from both was directed at the boy.
「Stay away cursed child!」
At the moment I threw myself in front of the boy reflexively, I felt and impact on my head. A heartbeat later I felt something warm and wet on my forehead.
Juri’s scream and the coconut fell from my hands to the ground together with a bloody stone. It was good that the boy hadn’t been hit, I thought. As I tried to wipe the blood off my forehead I felt wind spring up from the back. I heard somebody gasp. I turned around and saw violent wind with the boy in it’s center. Violet light was spilling out of the boy’s body and the wind’s roar was growing stronger by the minute.
The boy’s cloak was billowing in the wind. On his beautiful face a great anger was visible.
「How dare you.」
His soprano voice was devoid of warmth but one could feel the violent emotions it contained. His lips were trembling.
「How dare you do that to Filmina…!」
Before he could finish saying the rest I lifted his small frame into my arms. His sunrise coloured eyes open wide, but I didn’t have time to care.
「Be quiet or you’ll bite your tongue!」
I yelled at the boy who was struggling to get out of my arms. The boy gasped at my angry voice. Taking profit of his silence I violently pulled his hood back on and started running. I heard Juri shouting to stop the islanders who wanted to run after us, but I didn’t have time to thank him and just continued running.