[Distant Journey] Part 3

As summer comes closer and closer, I found myself swamped in Uni stuff the past few weeks, so I didn't have time to work on Distant Journey lately. Luckily, I managed to get a short breather this week —— just before I get swamped with exams after the next week —— so I was finally able to finish tying the loose ends with Distant Journey. This short part brings an unexpected happy end to the side story. It was nice seeing some Kirito & Eugeo interactions again, though I hope the next BD side story will be a little more eventful (more Eugeo wouldn't hurt either).

P.S. I didn't have any editors for this and only gave it a once over, so please excuse any oopsies I may have made. If anyone notices anything weird (be it weird phrasings, obvious mistakes, or anything else you feel might need improvement), please let me know.

Italic text indicates English words in katakana, where it was important to make a distinction from actual Japanese.

Any feedback is appreciated.

-Gsimenas

Credits

Raws: Celest
Translation: Gsimenas



N/A


3


As promised to the girl, we began cultivating the field early in the morning the following day. Though, the only work left was to plough it with some hoes we found in the backyard shed. If this were the real world, ploughing a hectare of land manually would have probably been a daunting task, but with my and Eugeo's Object Control Authority exceeding 40, the Class 3 Object-ranked hoe felt as light as a feather duster. I began ploughing from the eastern edge while Eugeo began from the western; while we were busy competing which one of us would be the first to reach the centre line——

The ten o'clock morning bell rang cheerfully through the air; the moment its ringing stopped, I seemed to hear the neighing of a horse coming from the front yard.

Halting the ploughing, I exchanged glances with Eugeo. Seems like I wasn't just hearing things. Yet there was no way some guest would be visiting this inn, and I don't recall ever seeing wild horses around these parts. 'It's a pain in the ass, but guess I'll go check it out, might as well get some water to drink while I'm at it', just as I finished that thought.

I saw a figure going around the inn's building and approaching us. Rushing over to me, Eugeo whispered in a tense voice.

"Who could that be."

"Considering the circumstances, it could be someone related to the Ladino family…… I wonder if they noticed that we were making a field and decided to come over to complain about something."

"Complaining, you say…… but it's outside of their fence……"

"Doesn't seem like we're dealing with someone whom logic would work on."

Even as our chat went on, the figure continued approaching us in a straight line with resolute steps. In addition to the fact that we were facing the sun, the figure was also wearing a large hat, so I couldn't see its face. The only thing I could make out was that the figure probably belonged to a man in the prime of his life, based on his attire: a thick shirt and vest.

Having stopped just beside the field, the man placed his hands on his hips and looked around the just-ploughed land. It didn't seem like he'd be moving from there, so I reluctantly approached him myself. Both of our swords were left behind in the cafeteria, thus we'd have to fight with our hoes if it came to the worst.

Once I came into a shade provided by the trees surrounding the field, I finally got to see the man's face. A man in his fifties with a mop-like moustache growing on his face. His attire carried not a single trace of pompousness, so he didn't seem like a member of the nobility, at the very least.

Once Eugeo and I came to a stop, the man put a hand on the brim of his thickly-woven hat and unleashed his throaty voice.

"So were you the ones who made this here field?"

Unable to deny his observation, what with the hoe still in my hand, I gave a subtle nod.

"……Indeed."

"How many days did it take ya?"

"……This would be our second day at it."

At that point, the man raised his thick eyebrows for a mere moment, his sharp gaze piercing us.

"……Ya don't seem to be lying, huh. The logs piled up in the yard are all fresh, after all. Ya see, I actually wanted to make a field here m'self, but the trees here were just too damn huge for me, so I gave up on that idea."

"…………Excuse me?"

Unable to immediately grasp what the man had just said, I let out a response in a stupefied voice. Beside me, Eugeo jerked his head up and posed a question.

"Umm…… what is your name?"

"Y'mean me? I'ma Tobai Bilzen."

"…………Bilzen?"

Eugeo and I repeated in sync; just then.

A small figure suddenly came out from the shade of a nearby tree, rushed over to us in a trot and grasped the man's right hand, letting out a high-pitched voice.

"See, Papa! Just like I told you! These misters made us a new field!"

The one responsible for that shout was a very young girl with short twintails dangling beneath a lovely straw hat. Her physique and face were entirely identical to that of the ghost who appeared in the inn's kitchen…… however, her eyes were now a bright brown, similar to cofil tea with some milk poured in.

————So you were ali~~~~ve!

Refraining screaming that out, I asked what I had been unable to ask her last night.

"Ehm…… Lil'miss, what's your name?"

"Me? I'm Kothlin Bilzen! What about you, misters?"

"……I'm Kirito."

"……I'm Eugeo."

Once we gave her our names, a radiant smile found its way on the girl's face as she held out her hands, just like last night. Unlike last night, however, I could feel a corporeal warmth when I held her hand.




Afterwards, according to what I heard from Tobai-shi, after becoming unable to support their inn when their fields were usurped by the Ladino family, the Bilzen family moved over to Fouchelle to the south. There, Tobai-shi worked as a cleaner at an inn, allowing him to support his family all this time, it seems.

Come to think of it, while the people of the Human Empire are unable to change their own Calling, all that means is that you can't just switch over to a different trade; nothing says that the exact place you work at is forced on you for life. Eugeo's unique 《Gigas Cedar Cutter》 Calling was the exception of exceptions in this case; working at an inn in a different town is by no means a breach of the Taboo Index or anything.

Some time after they moved to the town, the family's youngest daughter, Kothlin, began saying some strange things…… or so Tobai-shi says. That each night, the girl would have dreams of returning to the inn.

Of course at first, her parents thought that it was just a mere dream, yet two years later, and even three years later, Kothlin continued telling the same story. Just when they began considering that it was about time to consult with a sister from the church, Kothin suddenly told them yesterday that "A new field was created at the inn.", it seems.

The girl stubbornly ignored their numerous attempts to convince her that it was all just a dream; in the end, since she was about to storm out of their home to check on it by herself, the man was forced to rent a horse to come here, where he found that some suspicious youths had indeed cultivated the land, and that's how we got to this point.

At this quite strange story, Eugeo again said "I guess it happens.", but this did remind me of something.

One year ago, when we fought against some goblins inside a cave at the End Mountains, I shared some of my own Life in order to save Eugeo from the verge of death due to his grave wounds. Just as I seemed to be close to fainting as my consciousness continued fading away, I heard a mysterious voice.

I can't help but think that the voice that told me 'I'll be waiting for you both at the top of the Central Cathedral' belonged to the one and only Alice, taken away by the Axiom Church. Though it wasn't the middle of the night back then, nor did I catch sight of Alice herself, but the phenomenon itself was quite similar to Kothlin's dream. In that case, that would mean that Alice, like Kothlin, was still alive somewhere at a place called the Central Cathedral——

I'll need to bring up my conjecture for discussion when we arrive at the next town. With this thought in mind, I finished ploughing to the centre of the field at about the same as Eugeo finished his part. As the final job of picking up all the stones was taken up by Tobai-shi and Kothlin, this brought our work on cultivating the field to an end for now.

Although initially somewhat suspicious of us, once he heard that we travelled here from Rulid Village and were planning to take the exam for the Central Capital's Swordcraft Academy, Tobai-shi's misgivings were resolved and he promised us that he would definitely bring the inn back to life.

However, before we set off, there was just one more thing we had to take care of.

Creating a fence out of the logs piled up in the front yard and re-enclosing the inn's plot with it. A fence so sturdy that it would never break, no matter how violent a storm came by.

"At this rate, guess we'll be staying here for one more night."

When I mentioned this as I looked up at the mountain of logs, Eugeo answered with a smile.

"Though, when we arrive at the town of Fouchelle, Tobai-san said he'll let us stay at their place. Also, he said that when this inn reopens for business, we're welcome to stay here for free for as long as we want."

"Haha, much appreciated. When we become Integrity Knights and break Alice free, we'll have to remember to come by for a stay here on our way back to Rulid."

"Yeah, definitely."

Upon bumping our fists against each other, we set forth on our final task.

(The End)


N/A

1 comment:

  1. this story is great! Its emotional and shows how close Kirito and Eugeo were! Thank you so much for translating it.

    ReplyDelete