To avoid any confusion, the end part of this chapter features the narrator from the prologue.
Section 6: Melting Snow, the Story that Begins to Move
The sun rises, illuminating a world of glittering silver. Water drips off the end of each icicle hanging low from every rooftop lining the street. Winter is coming to an end, and spring is on the horizon.
With all my luggage packed away and hanging off my back, I looked back at the Shining Hen where I had been living for the last half year. The view from my window. Will the day ever come where I can look out over town from that angel again? If so, then when?
“Iris. I’ll definitely, absolutely write to you. And if I ever can, is it all right if I come visit?”
Charlie’s tearful voice really didn’t suit her always sunny personality. I kept nodding over and over again.
“Yeah. Yeah. I’ll write to you too. I’ll definitely write. And you can visit anytime. Then it’ll be my turn to show you around town.”
I hugged Charlie tight so that I wouldn’t have to say goodbye. I glanced at the landlady over Charlie’s shoulder while wiping away my tears with a finger.
“Thank you for all your help. Truly, thank you very much.”
As my tears continued to flow, it soon started getting difficult to see in front of me.
“It was nothing. Come again whenever you want. You’ll always be welcome here.”
The landlady was cheerful and continued to laugh until the very end. I was a little embarrassed at having started to cry, but now I think I’ll be okay. I’ve made my decision, but sad things are still sad. It’s moments like this that’ll help me endure in the future like the landlady.
“Hey, hurry it up. You’ve gotta reach the next village before dusk don’t you?”
I looked over my shoulder when somebody patted my back and found Toslin standing there. She had already accepted her next job and was already packed up and ready to move out. And not just Toslin either. Carol and Rose-san were ready to leave town as well.
My capped off tears suddenly burst once again and started rolling down my cheeks.
“Everyone too………stay well everyone……. I…….I’ll never forget……..what everyone’s done for me…….. I definitely, absolutely won’t forget……..*sob*………*sniff*……….”
I looked at Toslin, then Carol, and finally Rose-san. All three of them were quietly watching me. I was the only one crying. I see, everyone is an adventurer, so they’re used to this kind of thing. This is a little……embarrassing.
And at the same time, it’s a little saddening. For me, everyone is an unforgettable friend, but for them, this parting is just one of many. In that case it can’t be helped if they were to forget one or two people.
“W-Well then…….I, am going to go. S-So……..I……..it was good meeting everyone. I know I’m just one of many for all of you, but still I……I…….”
“Eh? What do you mean? Aren’t Toslin and the others going with you Iris?”
“Just a…….keep it down Charlie!”
Having been completely silent with a wide grin until now, Carol suddenly got flustered and covered Charlie’s mouth.
“Eh…….What, What is going on?”
Completely stunned, I was barely able to speak to Carol.
“Aah seriously…….after all that work to surprise you.”
Surprise? Then that means………
“Uh, um……that, well……..sorry. It was Toslin-san’s idea, but we all decided to go to Iris-san’s hometown. There is a church there, so I can seek out instructions for what to do from now on……..”
My…….hometown? Everyone is? Well then……..
“But Toslin…….your new job?”
“Oh right~………well, I lied. It’s a little fun watching you go, so I thought I’d like to tease you a bit more, and……..”
My eyes were swimming while Toslin tried explaining things with a sheepish smile.
“S-So then……um, that is to say…….”
“Yeah, Toslin’s saying she wants be with you for a while longer.”
“I-I’m not the only one! You kept going on and on about how lonely you were!”
“That’s right I did, but I was just repeating what you actually said! Right Rose?”
“Yes, you did say those exact words.”
Rose-san nodded with a soft smile. Then that means, then that means………
“Good for you Iris”
Charlie spoke up and laughed as well.
“Yeah, yeah! It’s good………it’s really good”
I’m so delightfully overjoyed I sprang forward and embraced Toslin. The plate armor I dug my face into was cold and hard, but the hand that was placed on top of my head was kind and warm.
“S-Sorry. Please don’t cry. I”m sorry for keeping quiet about it……….”
“No no, Toslin doesn’t get it~. Iris isn’t crying like that.”
“Huh? Then what does it mean?”
“Come, if we continue to dally, we will end up having to sleeping outside.”
Rose-san grabbed Goldmund’s reins.
“Ah, right. Well then landlady and Charlie, see you.”
Toslin suddenly scooped me up in her arms before setting me down on Goldmund’s back.
“Wawawa, hold on Toslin! It’s really fluffy up here and it tickles”
“So are we leaving?”
“Well then, see ya~”
Carol started moving as if she were gliding over a patch of ice.
“Don’t play around too much. I don’t want to hear you crying after you slip and fall.”
Just as Toslin had finished warning her, Carol ended up losing her balance, and she hit her head hard on the ice and snow below her. We all started to laugh as Goldmund began moving forward.
“Thank you very much landlady! Thanks Charlie! I’ll come back and visit!”
Surrounded by this bright laughter, I waved my hand. And I kept waving both my hands above my head until the Shining Hen finally disappeared from view.
Winter had almost passed in Rifront. The ice covering the village’s lake known as the Fairy’s Tear had begun to break apart creating a beautiful, rippling surface.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the city where Iris was born and raised.”
However the time I’ll spend with the friends I made in this town will continue on for a little longer.
“It’s an ordinary town, so don’t expect too much.”
………..huh, hold on a minute? Whose voice was that just now?
“Hm? It was pronounced Iris right? My wise maiden.”
Turning around, I saw somebody I’ve never seen before……but she was a beautiful woman whose voice sounded familiar to my ear.
…….And thus her story ends there for now.
After this, a new adventure awaits in her hometown alongside a grand opportunity.
But, maybe I’ve said too much.
I’ve had quite a bit of alcohol now, yet my tongue continues to run.
After this I’ll have to bow down to my master’s feet and start begging her for some more wine.
The only thing I need to be mindful of when I’m having a drink is becoming too engrossed in the flavor.
If I get lost in thought, I’ll end up poking my nose into the cup as well, and my beautiful white fur will end up being dyed red.
What, are you surprised to hear I’m not human?
Can’t you see my beautiful, fluffy coat?
Can’t you see my four, cute little paws?
Hmm, well it can’t be helped then.
If you can’t even see the golden mane wrapped around my neck, then I suppose I should introduce myself.
I am Gustav.
Time Narrator Gustav.
My lord is a faithful servant of that ever fickle silence, so I act as their eloquent mouth.
No, it’s fine.
I already know who you are.
And if you would like to hear the rest of this tale, then I do hope you come back soon.