The Morla River flowed to the north, gently zigzagging.
A road paved with dark brown bricks wound its way through the trees growing verdantly at the riverside.
“Saint Ange Highway”
It was the major continental traffic route that connected the south and north of Ri’leir, from the Fortified City of Satyna, to the Duchy Capital, also known as the Stronghold City of Urvan.”
“Obedient Michael~ Still pulls the coach as before~”
Kei’s group had left Satyna early in the morning, but the sun had already reached its zenith, and they were about to reach the next village en route. Up till now, their journey had proceeded without a hitch, to the point that it was boring them to death.
“Daniel on the other hand~ Looks as grumpy as ever~ But is actually very kind~”
The caravan consisted of six, two-horse carts, about ten-odd people consisting of merchants, their families, and apprentices, as well as eight escorts including Kei and Aileen. The caravan moved slowly, but it was large enough that no thief or wild beast would carelessly attack it.
“The sun feels warm~ The wind feels good~ But in the end~ I am Super~ Super~ Boooored~”
The carriage rattled on accompanied by the chirping of little birds. A young singing voice was part of it too. Next to Kei, who straddled Sasuke and matched the carriage’s pace, a dark-skinned girl poked her face out from the shadow of the luggage carrier’s canopy.
“Hey, how’s my song?”
“—I think it was quite nice.”
“You’re pretty good.”
Next to Kei, who nodded ambiguously, Aileen responded with a kind smile as she straddled Suzuka, the black horse they took from the Grassland people.
Her expression brightened as she climbed over to the coach’s seat, letting her legs dangle, and started singing, “Lalala~ so hungry~”. They were ad-libbed lyrics with no rhythm at all, but the sight of her innocently humming along still had a pleasant, calming effect to those who saw her.
“You really love singing, huh, Edda?”
A plump man holding the reins next to her gave the girl, Edda, a pat on the head.
“I’m sure I’m taking after dad!”
“Hahaha, is that so?”
The girl stopped singing and cocked her head as the man heartily laughed.
His name was Holland.
He was part of the Cornwell Company, as well as the one in charge of this caravan. He could be said to be the direct employer of Kei and Aileen for this job. A stout potbelly, drooping eyes that just did not seem to hold any malice, and a small, neat mustache as a trademark. The caravan people seemed to be on friendly terms with him, even calling him Chef as a nickname.
That said, this wasn’t the English term for the culinary chef, but instead, it meant Boss in Highlandish (en français). Though, the fact that most of his goods were foodstuff, on top of the fact that he was quite a gourmet himself, probably played a part here.
He was in the first half of his thirties, and based on their exchange, he seemed to be Edda’s father figure. That said, Holland himself had fair skin, and his features bore no resemblance with Edda’s. Kei suspected there were some circumstances involved, but oblivious to that, Holland slapped his belly and shrugged.
“Right, daddy’s starting to feel hungry already. But we’re about to reach the next village, so get back inside, Edda. You shouldn’t get in the way of those young lads’ work.”
She responded with a voice that neither affirmed nor objected. As her dad patted her on the back, Edda put her elbows on the coach’s seat and observed Kei and others.
A black-haired, tough youngster straddled a dark brown horse. He had eyes even darker than Edda’s, and a solid, muscular build. He donned leather armor with intricate ornaments, a vermillion bow in his left hand, a longsword on his waist, and a few large quivers tied to the horse’s saddle.
Compared to his tough physique, his face looked so childish that it actually felt out of place, but the fresh sword wound running on his left cheek produced an indescribable sense of ghastliness. The look in his eyes was serene like a lake’s surface — and though it made the mood a tad gloomy, strangely enough, Edda did not think of him as scary.
Next to that archer youth was a blonde girl riding a black horse. She had a pure white skin that stood in stark contrast to Edda’s, and a pair of crystal-clear, blue eyes. Her hair, looking as if woven with golden threads, tied behind her, shone as it reflected the sun rays. She wore a good-quality linen tunic, her straight legs in black trousers extending out of their hem.
She looked so lovely that one would believe if were they told that she was a noble daughter traveling incognito in commoner’s clothes — however, the saber and wooden shield on her back, and the leather gauntlets and shin guards made it awfully clear that she, too, was one of the people hired for battle. Though, the way she looked charmingly at Edda when she noticed her gaze did not possess a trace of a warrior.
“…Hey, big sis,” Edda abruptly opened her mouth, “Is it true that you’re a magician?”
Seeing her so full of curiosity, Aileen puffed her chest with a smug grin.
“Yeah. That’s right, I am one!”
“Wow, that’s amazing! Hey, hey, can you tell me about magic? Show it to me!”
“U-Uhh… About that…”
Her innocent request made Aileen a bit troubled as she looked up to the blazing sun.
The Dusk Maiden that Aileen was contracted with was, true to its name, a Spirit that displayed her true power once the sun had set. It would be one thing if they were in a shade where the sunlight did not reach, but she could not use【Manifest】here under the unobstructed sun.
Nevertheless, a simple spell was still possible even during daytime, but its usual cost-effectiveness with catalyst and magic power spiked up to a ridiculous level.
So in essence, Aileen could not use magic during the day.
That was clearly a weakness, so she could not exactly announce it for everyone to hear, either.
“Hey Edda, you’re troubling that lady.”
Seeing Aileen with a troubled expression, Holland quickly came to her rescue.
“In the first place, badgering a magician about the secrets of magic is the same as asking a peddler about their supplier. You shouldn’t be so unreasonable.”
“Ehh, but I wanna see it.”
“Uhh, well, daddy understands your feelings very well! Be it the supplier or the secrets of magic.”
Holland glanced expectantly at Aileen. At this point, it was hard to understand which side he actually supported.
Aileen pouted and looked the other way as if to gain time.
“…We are on the move now, so why don’t you show them when we have more time, like once we finish setting up camp in the evening or something?”
Hearing Kei’s proposal, Aileen pointed at him in excitement, almost screaming, “That’s it!”
“Right. We are working now. I can show you later, okay?”
“Huh, you will!?”
“Yeah. Once we’ve had our evening meal, I’ll show you a little bit.”
She emphasized the little part with her fingers and winked in a playful manner. Unlike muscle-brain warriors like Kei, Aileen had strong magic powers. As long as the sun was down, she could easily perform a magic spell to entertain a child, even without a catalyst.
“Waah, yaay! Thank you!”
“Ohh, it was really worth asking!”
Edda and Holland high-fived on the coach’s seat in cheers.
The way they’re reacting feels like they are treating her like an illusionist rather than a magician, Kei couldn’t help but laugh as he looked at the duo, frolicking that they had something to look forward to after dinner. That said, the person concerned, Aileen, had a smug expression on her face, so it was fine as long as she was happy about it.
“Very well, Edda, your request was granted. Time for you to head back inside. We’re about to reach the next village.”
This time, she obediently went back towards the carrier. As he saw her off with a smile, Holland faced Aileen.
“Dear me, thank you, thank you! These types of trips are always filled with boredom. She’s in the heyday of youth, so she’s starved for some thrill.”
“I know that. It’s perfectly natural for a girl her age.”
“Indeed. Still, was that really alright? It is a little awkward to say this after I proposed it, but I hear that magicians rarely show their skills.”
“It’s alright. I will only show her what’s fine to show.”
Hearing Aileen’s indifferent reply, Holland laughed wryly, saying, “You got me there.”
“But I see. That is quite similar to us merchants.”
“In consideration of Edda’s expression, I won’t charge any sightseeing fees.”
“Haha, I’m no match for you.”
Holland slapped his forehead and laughed heartily, but just then, the sound of hooves approached from behind.
“Heey, Holland! Hold on for a bit!”
Looking there, a mercenary on a horse was galloping towards them while waving at Holland.
“Ohh, Dagmar. Is there a problem?”
“There is. A big one at that.”
The mercenary shrugged as he lined up next to Kei’s group. He turned out to be a deeply-tanned middle-aged man with thick brows.
This Dagmar was in charge of managing mercenaries for this caravan, so he was Kei and Aileen’s direct superior. According to Holland, they were childhood friends, and quite close ones at that, judging from how frankly they had been talking since morning.
“Pierre’s run-down carriage finally died on him just now. The axle seems to be rattling and doesn’t move. Everyone’s trying to fix it now, but it’ll take some time. Can you wait for a bit?”
“…No helping it. Still, Pierre should really give it a rest and buy a new carriage.”
“I’m with you there. But he doesn’t have enough money.”
Dagmar sighed in lamentation, but quickly collected himself and looked at Kei.
“So anyway, Kei. You were confident in your strength, right? Could I have you head back there and help with the repairs? They need someone to support the carriage.”
“Sure, no problem.”
“Thanks. I’ll go ahead to let the others know. At this rate, our arrival at the village will be delayed.”
After one more shrug, Dagmar hurried back. Seeing him off, Kei handed the Dragon Stinger to Aileen.
“So I guess I’ll head back… But this’ll probably get in the way, so hold onto it.”
Leaving the bow to Aileen, he turned the horse around and headed backward.
It turned out that the carriage that had a problem was the last one in the line, several carriages away from Holland’s covered one. A male merchant and several apprentices were unloading heavy luggage and were flocking to the rear wheel with tools and lumber scraps in their hands.
“Dagmar told me you needed some help.”
“Ahh, I’m much obliged!”
The merchant who was supporting the luggage carrier with both hands and a flushed face looked over at Kei as if he was a messiah. But at the same time, strength suddenly left his hands, and a man, who had been supporting the carrier from below, raised a groan.
“S-Sorry, but can you lend me a h-hand!?”
“Sure, leave it to me.”
Hearing his shriek-like plea, Kei quickly jumped down from Sasuke and took over supporting the carrier. As he took a solid stance and put strength into his arms, the carriage got lifted slightly in the air despite the fact that it still had a considerable amount of merchandise on it.
“Ohh, it’s become so light!”
The young man with short hair that supported it from beneath exclaimed in happiness. But on a closer look, he did not seem to be an apprentice merchant. On top of wearing steel-plated leather armor, he also had a dagger’s sheath on his waist. His body build wasn’t like that of a merchant either, but one of a warrior forged for battle.
Is he an escort as well? I don’t think I’ve seen him before, though.
While putting strength into his arms, Kei searched his memory in wonder. They had met with the other escorts in the morning before they departed Satyna. But he just could not remember this young man having been there. He had shortly-trimmed golden hair and pale blue eyes. His skin was also light, and seemed to be dominated by pale pigments overall.
If you excluded the fact that his eyes looked strangely sharp and oppressive, you could even describe him as handsome. His left ear that was full of piercings was extremely memorable, so Kei believed that he would have remembered him had they met even once.
Perhaps he was not a mercenary hired for the escort but someone’s private bodyguard.
Or perhaps he was just a traveler accompanying the peddlers.
As Kei pondered about it, their eyes suddenly met.
“Hey, you sure can pack some power there, huh?”
Kei felt like there was a dangerous glint in his eyes. It felt somewhat challenging, belligerent even.
“…Thanks for the praise.”
He shrugged jokingly, letting the remark pass.
“Alright, slide the plant in here!”
“Nails! Bring me some nails!”
“And some squared timber for me!”
Ignoring the loud yells of the men around him, he focused his consciousness on his hands supporting the carriage.
But even so.
Even as he looked away, the blond youth kept looking at Kei with wild eyes.
In the end, it took the caravan several more hours to reach the next village.
Needless to say, the reason was that final carriage. In truth, they had managed to fix it within ten minutes after Kei had arrived to help, but the damage to the axle proved to be worse than initially believed, allowing the carriage to only crawl along, no faster than a caterpillar.
Obviously, this was quite a nuisance for the rest of the merchants. However, since they were part of the same caravan, they couldn’t just leave it behind.
As a result, the entire caravan had to slow down its speed to that of the lagging carriage.
They would have normally arrived at the village just past noon, and after a lavish lunch, set off once again — or so was the plan, but in reality, they arrived when the sun was already going down.
Kei, Aileen, and Edda, had eaten sandwiches that Kiska gave them just before their departure for lunch, but the rest of them could only nibble on light snacks since, albeit slow, they were still moving. As such, by the time they had arrived at the village, they were all quite starved.
It went without saying that Pierre, who was the reason for this delay, was given a cold shoulder by everyone including Holland.
They were at a plaza in the village outskirts.
In the center of the circle of parked carriages, everyone was silently getting ready to camp. This was a tiny village slightly away from the highway, so it would naturally offer no inns that could accommodate them all. That said, it was too late to resume the trip, so they decided to spend the night here.
While the rest set up tents and put the luggage in order, an old woman kept stirring a large pot hanging over the fire.
“Now…A bit of this here…”
She pulled some kind of powder from her pocket and sprinkled it into the pot. Then she added some more herbs, churning it all with a large spatula, and continued her weird “Fuehehe” laugh.
“…Compared to me, that granny looks much more like a witch, doesn’t she?”
Aileen muttered as she glanced at the old woman while setting up the tent.
“You took the words right out of my mouth there.”
Kei responded from the other side, driving a stake into the ground. Putting the hammer down, he proceeded towards tying the tent’s rope to the stake as he took a look at the plaza.
A suspicious, wrinkled old woman stirring the large steaming pot. Needless to say, she was not actually a witch or anything, but Holland’s relative who served as doctor for the caravan. She seemed to be called Heidemarie, but everyone called her Granny Marie or just Granny. She seemed to be well past her seventies, too, so by this world’s standards, you could label her as having lived a fairly long life.
“Granny, is it done yet?”
One of the merchants, who seemed to have finished setting up his tent and had nothing else to do, called out to her fidgety.
“Fuehehehe, do not be so hasty. It needs but a little longer until perfection…”
Hearing Heidemerie’s reply, the man let out a rejoicing cheer. Her earlier grappling with the pot wasn’t for making some medicine, but instead, she was making risotto for everyone.
Gradually, a pleasant, appetizing, herb-mixed aroma started to fill the place.
“Fuehehe, all right, now let us add some mushrooms, and it will be done…!”
Heidemarie immediately pulled out dried mushrooms from her robe — making Kei and Aileen anxious about the hygiene aspect — and was about to throw them inside the pot.
“W-W-Wha! Wait, wait! Not the mushrooms, stop!”
But then, Holland darted over from the other side of the plaza like an arrow, knocking those mushrooms out of her hand.
“Aagh! Why did you do that!”
“That’s my line, Granny! How many times do I have to tell you!? I hate mushrooms!”
“That is not good enough a reason to knock them away like that! If you hate them, you simply have to avoid eating them!”
“No! Just catching a sight of these things inside the pot is going to kill all my appetite for what’s inside the pot!”
“Whaaat! You are no longer a child, are you not ashamed of acting like that at your age!”
“As! I! Keep! Saying! I have a good reason for… Anyway, just give it a rest, how many times must I explain this! Have you grown senile, Granny!”
“What was thaaat!?”
The two continued their noisy fight around the pot. Heidemarie raised her wooden spatula, having lost her temper, while Holland held his forehead as if enduring a headache. The people around them watched this unfold while sighing and holding their empty stomachs.
“Does Sir Holland hate mushrooms that much?”
“Seems to be the case.”
“…Uhh, there’s actually a reason behind it.”
Dagmar, who had been nearby, frowned at Kei and Aileen’s somewhat exasperated expressions.
“So what is it then?”
“Uhh, well, you already know that we’re childhood friends, right? When we were very young, that guy ate mushrooms without any issues. But when I was a kid, we once headed to the forest to gather some mushrooms and…” He scratched his cheek awkwardly and continued, “I made a mistake and picked a poisonous one. And he ended up eating it. After three days and three nights of nightmarish fever, he somehow managed to hold on to his life… But since then, mushrooms have become a taboo for him.”
“That sounds like…”
Hearing his explanation, Kei and Aileen had pitiful expressions.
“Like a trauma, huh?”
“TRAUMA? What’s that?”
“It refers to a mental scar after one undergoes a physical or mental shock. Something like warriors who almost died on the battlefield being unable to fight any longer, or being unable to eat mushrooms like Sir Holland after food poisoning… Things like that are called a trauma.”
“Huh, I didn’t know what.”
Dagmar nodded, impressed at Aileen’s explanation.
Holland and Heidemarie’s fight, on the other hand, seemed to have reached the conclusion of not putting the mushrooms in, and with that, the risotto was finally done.
With rumbling stomachs, people swarmed towards the pot, wooden bowls in hand. After Kei and Aileen had their bowls filled with risotto as well, they started to eat under the tree next to their camp.
“Gotta say, there are times when our words don’t get through.”
Aileen said while shoveling risotto into her mouth. It went without saying, but Aileen and Kei were presently speaking English.
“Yeah. I didn’t pay it any attention during the game, but even if we are all using the same English, the way this language is formed over here must be different.”
As Kei nodded, Aileen nibbled on her personal salami, but then tilted her head as if a sudden thought had occurred to her.
“Wait, trauma originates from Latin, doesn’t it?”
“No, I think it was Greek. There was no Greek area in the game, so I think the Greek language as a whole doesn’t exist here.”
【DEMONDAL】was developed by someone from Northern Europe, and the operating company was based in England. As over 80% of the players were from Europe, English was set as its main language, but at the same time, the developers also implemented areas and races who interacted with each other in various European languages such as Russkiy (Snowland people) Français (Highland people), and España (Sea people).
“But the French used by Holland can be traced back to Latin, right? Besides, even Latin goes back to Greek, right?”
“Uhh, even if they aren’t as direct as trauma, even English includes a lot of Greek vocabulary I think. I’m actually interested in how the languages were formed over here…”
“It might be interesting if we look that up at Urvan’s library, huh?”
“I would love to delve into it if we’ve got some time… But technical English is a bit too hard for me.”
Having emptied his bowl, Kei gave a small sigh.
English wasn’t Kei’s native language.
At the dawn of VR technology, Kei had been intensively learning English from a relatively young age so he could interact with other patients like him all over the world. And thanks to that, perhaps you could say, he had far more opportunities to come into contact with natural English as well as other European languages. If it was just English, he could speak it fluently with no accent on a level that didn’t hinder him in everyday life. That said, as his English was polished through actual practice, he was bad when it came to the technical side of it that he had hardly ever touched on.
“I’m not bilingual… I’m pretty jealous of you, Aileen.”
“It’s not like my English is perfect just because I’m bilingual, okay?”
Aileen shrugged bashfully under Kei’s envious gaze.
“My native language is still Russian, at the end of the day… Ahh, I miss Russian.”
Aileen sighed in a joking, affected manner.
“——Тогда давай поговорим на русском со мной.”
…came someone’s voice from behind.
The two almost snapped their heads as they turned back in response.
Kei swallowed his words.
Leaning on the tree trunk with a faint smile was a blond-haired man.
It was the same youth whom Kei had encountered during the carriage repairs.
“Ты говоришь на русском языке!?”
Aileen asked in surprise.
“Да, я русский.”
The youth nodded with a triumphant expression. Then Aileen followed up.
“Я удивлена! Я не дубала, что есть русский в этом караване.”
“Ага, но это правда. Меня зовут Алексей, а Ты?”
“Меня зовут Эйлин.”
“Эйлин？ звучит по-английски.”
“Именно так. Это потому, что мои родители англичане…”
The two started merrily chatting away in Russian.
Kei, who had been completely left out, had a bewildered expression on his face.
“…Whoops, sorry, Kei.”
Before long, Aileen noticed that fact and switched back to English.
“It’s fine, I’m just…surprised. Do you hail from the Snowland people?”
Kei looked at the blonde youth with an awkward smile.
“Yeah, that’s right. We met already at noon, didn’t we?”
The man grinned and extended his hand towards Kei.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Alexei. A Snowland warrior.”
“…I’m Kei. The pleasure is mine.”
Grasping the extended hand, he quickly introduced himself in turn. Though Alexei seemed to be putting quite a bit of strength into his grip.
“Are you an escort as well, Alexei?”
“No, I’m a warrior but I am not employed as an escort. Pierre is my personal acquaintance, so he’s letting me tag along until Urvan.”
“Ah, I see…”
Giving a vague nod, Kei tried to move on to the next topic.
But before he could, Alexei turned towards Aileen.
“Но я был удивлен, потому что я никогда не думал, что такая красивая девушка находится здесь”
“Я серьезно. На самом деле удивительно.”
Their conversation switched to another language again. There was no room for him to interrupt the flow of words.
Kei had no choice but to silently don a forced smile, staring at the two yapping away happily.
“Heey, Kei! Do you have a moment?”
Suddenly Dagmar called out to him from the other side of the fire.
“Sorry, but I’d like to discuss the matter of the night watch. Come here for a moment.”
“S-Sure, I’m coming.”
Kei slowly got up, thinking there was no helping it given that it was a call from his superior. Then, his eyes wavering as if he was lost, he faced Aileen.
“Well then, I’ll head over for a bit.”
“Честно говоря, Я не принадлежу к… Oh, sure. Я не принадлежу к никакому клану в этом регионе….”
Aileen glanced at Kei and answered, then continued her conversation with Alexei. At that moment, Kei felt like Alexei looked at him with an amused expression.
He felt an indescribable sense of alienation.
But he forced it back down to the bottom of his stomach and turned his back on them.
Edda gazed at the fire crackling while feeling bored.
Then, she glanced beyond the fire. At one man and woman having a friendly conversation underneath a small tree.
At Aileen and Alexei.
“…And here she had promised to show me magic.”
She clicked her tongue while pouting. Actually, she had been waiting for Aileen to demonstrate her magic since a while ago, but their conversation just kept going and going.
She was considering heading over to ask her directly… But the boy talking with her seemed somehow frightening. Maybe it was his face, or the aura surrounding him. Or perhaps — because he seemed to be from the Snowland people.
But big sister doesn’t look scary at all.
Aileen spoke the Snowland language fluently. But even so, Edda could only describe her as a “big, kind sister”.
That man, on the other hand, seemed scary. She felt the strange aura of a wild animal from him.
…But the other big brother isn’t scary either.
The youth that was constantly with Aileen still had a gentle look in his eyes, she thought.
But that youth was currently inside the tent.
She happened to overhear his talk with Dagmar, telling her that he would be on late-night watch duty tonight. And because of that, he was going to go to sleep early.
He tried to talk with Aileen before doing so, but their conversation was short, and thus he headed inside the tent looking a bit dejected, like a bear heading into its nest after its prey escaped.
What’s the relationship between big brother and big sister?
Edda suddenly wondered.
—Are they friends?
—Or are they lovers?
They’re too close to be just friends, she made a guess. With increasing interest and curiosity, she started imagining their relationship.
She looked up at the sky with her head tilted as she pondered, but before long, she was attacked by sleepiness and eventually gave up with an “Oh well.”
“Edda, are you going to sleep already?”
She realized who it was even without a need to look. A loose robe and thin, wrinkled arms, and the lingering scent of the sun. Heidemarie was hugging her from behind.
“I’m not sleepy!”
“Fuehehe, I see, I see.”
Edda put up a tough front, but she merely laughed at it.
“About the Snowland people… What kind of place is that “Snowland”?”
“…Snowland, is it?”
While brushing Edda’s hair as she sat on her lap, Heidemarie took a moment to think.
“Snowland is a place located beyond the Duchy Capital Urvan, in the Northern Lands extending beyond the border. It is a stern land surrounded by mountains. And it is a very, very cold place. Summers are refreshing, but winters last long and are unsparing. It is said that the people living there, the Snowland people, are all strong enough to not lose to that environment.”
“Ohh. But why are they living in such a cold place?”
“It seems that it used to be a lush and verdant land in a far and distant era… So the answer as to why they keep living there might be because it is the land they inherited from their ancestors.”
“…Ah, also, it might also be related to the secret arts they use.”
“They are called — 『Crests』. In exchange for a dire risk to their lives, they have beasts souls dwell in their bodies, exhibiting powers unimaginable for humans, or so I heard. I am not aware of the details myself.”
“So they are like magicians?”
Heidemarie groaned at Edda’s response which sounded like a monologue.
“Even among the Snowland people, only a limited number can use them. However, one thing I can say for certain: warriors, who were bestowed with a『Crests』by a master, are beyond any comparison when it comes to normal warriors.”
“Do you know them?”
“I have met them once. A Snowland warrior that had a『Crest』engraved on him. He was as strong as a fierce god. To think that the『Northern Lands』had warriors like that…”
Heidemarie’s words made Edda’s eyes shine.
“Amazing! I wanna go there!”
“Fuehehe, that might prove to be a little dangerous.”
She continued patting Edda’s head while combing her curly hair with her fingers.
“Long before the military campaign, the duchy had once declared war on the Snowland people due to those secret arts. But nowadays, that “military campaign” caused the people of the duchy to forget about this. However, even if the aggressors might have forgotten all about it, the victims still remember the pain — and in some parts of the Northern Lands, people apparently still hold a deep grudge against the duchy.”
“I…see…” Edda nodded vaguely, and muttered to herself, “…That sounds complicated.”
“Well, it might be complicated for you, but that’s what all adults do.”
“…Then, will I also do this once I become an adult?”
“Fuehehe, well, that entirely depends on you.”
Surrendering herself to the pleasant feeling of having her head patted, Edda let out a yawn.
“Now, now, Edda. It has become late… You should go to sleep now.”
“…I’m not sleepy yet.”
“Fuehehe, really now?”
Heidemarie merely returned a small laugh.
The night engulfed everything, gently and deeply.
Within its darkness, lulling all into a peaceful slumber…
Steadily and silently heading for dawn.
Illustrations from Naka-sama. Edda-chan looks adorable. Naka-sama, thank you very much!