y, the wrinkles in his face deepening.

C.7: Journey and the Estate

The town is far.

Instead of walking, Krische and Gallen will be hitching a ride with the cart going to town.

The village’s specialties are rock salt and animal pelt.

They sold some to peddlers, but most of it was sold directly to other villages and the town’s merchants.

A cart travelled between the town and village regularly for this trade and two of them will be hitching a ride on this cart.

The journey is quite long and the road is not entirely safe.

Four skilled villagers usually went along as guards, but there had been many deaths and there is a lack of manpower.
On the surface, the traders appeared happy that the two of them were coming along as guards.

Memories of Krische from that day still sent chills down their backs.

But conversely, there is no better guard than Krische in the village and Gallen’s sword skill as a former centurion is well known.

Their presence is reassuring.

Women and children that were particularly close to Krische had come to see her off.

Although some children are scared of her, most of their young minds saw her as ‘the hero that punished the bad bandits adults could not defeat’.

With how Krische had cared for them, they were still attached to her.
Some cried while other endured their tears with clenched fists as they sent her off.

The women had expressions of guilt for not being able to protect Krische.

If they could have protected Krische, there would be no need for her to leave.

No matter the things said about her, Krische was just a pitiful girl that had lost her parents and then thrown out of the village.

Their regret was proportional to the strength of their love for her.

They said their farewells to Krische one by one, handing her various parting gifts.

Most of them were either sweets or pelts and cloth such that she would not be cold.

There was so much that Krische could not carry them by herself and Gallen received them instead, loading them onto the cart with their luggage.

Krische received the gifts with a smile and exchanged farewells.

The women clenched their teeth, determined not to show her their tears.

If it gets tough, you can come back anytime.
Don’t hesitate to come back.”“Yes, Oba-san.”

Galla wrapped a muffler around Krische’s neck and embraced her one last time.

Watching them, some of the women could not stop their tears from spilling over.

They were the ones who knew their relationship and it was painful to watch.

“……Gallen-san, it’s time.”



The coachman called to them and Krische nodded to Gallen.Then she turned back to the women and children, deeply bowing her head.

“Thank you very much for taking such good care of Krische…… Goodbye.”

Krische said with a smile, then hopped onto the cart.

Soon, the cart set off and as it drew into the distance, although Krische had been sitting straight at first, they could see her head gradually hanging lower.

Seeing that, the women finally stopped hiding their tears and the children bawled.

――Very, painful.

Krische’s vague desire to try riding on a horse carriage vanished in less than half an hour as she battled with the pain of the shaking cart slamming into her butt.

Although she tried to maintain her composure, it hurts.

Krische subconsciously shifted her weight, gradually leaning forward.

Of course, there was a cushion placed under her butt, but Krische did not have much meat on her body to soften the impact.

Seeing how Gallen sat composedly next to her, it was normal to be able to endure this pain.

With that assumption and the promise to herself to be better than others, Krische desperately endured, pulling her hood down to hide her face.

Gallen patted the head of his beloved granddaughter and gently hugged her closer.

Krische is smart, talented and brave――definitely not a normal girl.

But Gallen believed that Krische had the same feelings as anyone else.

Gorka and Grace had told him that they had never seen her cry.

But she must be at her limit, thought Gallen.

The coachman sitting in front and the guards on horses around the cart looked at her sympathetically.

They did not have a good impression of Krische.

Her abnormality was well known among the men.

They had seen Krische knock down and beat up her opponent expressionlessly.
Among them, some also had the baseless suspicion that she had killed two children.

They also realised that Galo had disappeared at some point after displaying sexual interest in her, touching her butt and chest under the pretense of coaching.
There were some that whispered maybe Krische had killed him.

Two of the guards in particular had seen the scene that day and agreed with the many rumours of her being a monster, actively playing a part in spreading the same rumours.

But seeing her pull her hood low, her head hanging as Gallen hugged her to his side, feelings of guilt rose.They grew aware that they were the ones that had driven her into this situation.

Just by seeing how the women and children sent her off, they could understand how much she was loved.

Would so many have come to see them off if they stood in her shoes?

Considering that, the doubts they felt about their own actions grew stronger.

Krische’s beautiful appearance already drew attention, naturally she would become infamous even for trivial things.

No matter who, there will be something if you dig deep enough.

She is definitely not normal.

But this time, all she had done was pick up a sword and save the village.

The fact is that she is the village’s savior, their savior.

She had done nothing to be condemned for, nothing at all.

She has lost her parents and has no one but her grandfather to rely on, but they treated her horribly.

Averting their eyes from their own powerlessness, they spread tales of how she was abnormal.

They vented their anger and helplessness on her.

And now she is on this cart, chased out of the village.

The men that had not known her well had hurt her so much with their venting, rumours and prejudice.
This young girl that is only slightly above ten.

They reflected on their actions with this new perspective.

When they took a break, Krische took the initiative to care for the horses and prepare food.

Her real motive was to keep moving because her butt hurt, but personally seeing her work so seriously and diligently strengthened their guilt.

Travelling is tiring.

But she did not complain and showed no signs of fatigue, diligently working, just like the ‘good rumours’ they heard from Grace, Gorka and the womenfolk.

The men felt ashamed of themselves, telling her to rest.But Krische refused, trying to distract herself from her hurting butt, making her look even more like a hard worker.

By the time they arrived at the town a few days later, the men’s attitude towards her had completely softened.

“……just as Galla-san said, if it really gets tough, tell me.
I will be here once a month, I can bring you back then.”

“Okay, thank you very much.”

“Do your best…… you’ll be fine anywhere you go.”

The men could not apologise, they could only give her their best wishes.

It was too late no matter what they said.

They vowed to correct the rumours about her once they returned and said their respective farewells to Krische.

“……if they had known how Krische really is, those rumours wouldn’t have spread.”“……?”

Gallen said as he watched the men leave.

“Rumours, both good and bad, spread fast.
As it passes from mouth to mouth, it usually grows more exaggerated.
As people pass on what they heard, one becomes two then five, this incident is the result of such misfortune…… they’ve realised that the rumours they believed in were nothing but rumours after getting to know you.”


“Krische, you must not be mislead by rumours.
When you talk to people, be careful and be aware that such things can happen.
It’ll end up not just hurting reputations, but people too.”


He must be telling Krische about what to reflect on for this incident.

Krische came to that understanding and stored Gallen’s words away in her important memories box.

Be careful of how to use rumours.

They must be used only after careful thought about its capabilities and effects.

Krische memorised that as she followed Gallen.

Unlike the village which only had houses made of wood or clay, the town had white stone buildings made by mixing ash into bricks.

The streets were stone-paved, crowded on both sides by houses and stores.

As they proceeded deeper into the town, they came to an area where all the houses had gardens attached.

Gallen’s destination was among them, a particularly extravagant estate.

It was larger than any building in the village, the sturdy stone building and walls enclosing it made it look like a small castle.

The garden had fruit trees and flowers with a neat stone path leading through it to the gate.

They arrived at the large gate in the center of the symmetrical estate.
When they knocked, a girl dressed in a black and white uniform answered.

She was a young girl with shoulder-length red hair――in her late teens or early twenties.

The pretty girl with red hair inferred the reason behind their visit once she saw Gallen.

Gallen had visited a few times and they were acquainted.

As they exchanged casual greetings, Krische removed her hood, causing the red-haired girl open her eyes wide in surprise.

“Oh my……”

“This is the girl I want to entrust to you.”

“……she’s, a very beautiful girl.
Hello, my name is Bery Argan.”

“Hello, I am, Krische.”

Krische replied and shook the girl’s――Bery’s hand.
Bery smiled happily and politely bowed towards them.

“I hope we get along.
This way, please.
I will guide you to the parlour.”

Once they entered the house, they were greeted by a large spiral staircase.

Passing through a door next to those stairs, they entered a room with large sofas and a table.

Resplendent decorations were displayed on shelves along the wall along with some paintings, a portrait hung above the fireplace.

It’s quite bright, Krische tilted her head, looking at the glass window.
Then she looked up at the ceiling, where the light was coming from.
There were a few glowing orbs set into the ceiling.Noticing Krische’s actions, Bery explained with a soft laugh.

“Those are eternal magic lamps.
Instead of fire, mana is used to light up the room.”

“Eternal magic lamps……”

(T/N: 常魔灯 (Joumatou).
suggestions for better name is welcome)

“Quite a lot of houses in town use these, but I guess they are not used in villages.
These kind of estates have many rooms which cannot take in enough sunlight, so these are used instead.
See how the houses are packed close together? Many normal households use these instead of candles too.”

“I see, this is the first time I have seen them……”

“Fufu, then today will have many firsts in store for you.”

Bery used a magic kettle to brew a pot of tea for them.

Krische could feel waves of mana from all over the place, drawing her attention.

But she did not ask about those, simply staring at the cup of tea placed in front of her.

The fragrance was to Krische’s liking and she could infer that it is a drink since honey had been added to it.
But Krische hesitated, it was still steaming.

Krische’s tongue is extremely sensitive.

“This is black tea.
Please, have a sip.”“Black tea……”

Krische picked up the cup, cautiously bringing it to her lips and blowing on it.Seeing that, Bery laughed cheerfully, making Krische blush.

“It seems it is too hot for you.”


“Excuse me for a moment.”

Bery existed the room, quickly returning.In that time, Krische still could not take a sip.

“Drinking it straight is nice, but you can also add milk.
This way it will also help cool the tea a little, this might be better for Krische-sama.”

Bery added some milk to the tea and mixed it.

Krische sipped from the cup offered to her, her cheeks still red.

It was sweet with a hint of sour, the fragrance of the tea leaves and the honey balanced out by the mellowness of the milk.

Krische smiled as she enjoyed the warm tea.

“It is very delicious.”“I am glad you like it.”

Bery replied with a soft laugh.

“Fufu, Krische-sama is even cuter when you smile.
I was looking forward to what kind of person would be coming and meeting someone like Krische-sama makes me twice as happy.
I would love to get to know you better.”“……thank you.”

Krische said as she stared at the tea with glittering eyes.
Bery offered her some baked sweets too.

Krische took them with an expectant look and upon taking a bite, received a culture shock.

Although there had been sweets using sweet berries and honey in the village, these sweets completely overturned Krische’s concept of delicious.

It was crispy and had a slight salty taste mixed with the sweetness of honey.Seeing Krische’s excitement, Bery smiled happily.

“That is something I made in my spare time, but it was worth making it to see you enjoy it so much.
Fufu, how is it? Delicious?”“Delicious, how did you make it? ……ah.”

The instant she said that, Krische realised her lack of manners and suddenly felt embrassed.Krische blushed as she looked between Gallen and Bery, then looked down.

“Please do not worry about it.
That makes me very happy.
Are you interested in making sweets?”

“E, er…… yes, I made some, at home.”

“……this child has always liked cooking.
In that sense, you two will probably get along.”

“Yes, indeed.
Ojou-sama is not interested in such things so this makes me very happy.
If there is anything you are curious about, please ask me at anytime.”


Bery was clearly her superior in cooking.

Krische was excited to meet such a person.

Krische is always looking to improve herself and was glad to meet Bery, who could show her new discoveries in cooking.

Krische listened intently as Bery explained the knack behind baking cookies.

Gallen smiled in relief as he watch his granddaughter.

Seems like she’ll be fine here.

After they had chatted for a while, the door leading into the reception room opened and a well-built man in his prime entered.

His blonde hair with some white was combed back and a beard covered the area around his mouth.

He was dressed in a black vest over a white shirt and trousers.

His clothes were simple with only a golden crest of a falcon and lightning adorning his chest, but his muscular build spoke more than any accessory could.
This coupled with the countless scars and deep lines carved into his face made him quite imposing.

His sharp eyes softened as he looked from Gallen to Krische.

His fierce looks would have frightened a normal girl, but Krische was unaffected.Gallen stood, so Krische followed and then deeply bowed her head.

“……nice to meet you, I am Krische.”

“Aah, nice to meet you.
I am Bogan Christand…… I used to be under your Ojii-san’s care.
Come, relax and have a seat.”


Krische glanced at Galllen for confirmation, only sitting after her grandfather nodded.The sofa was really comfortable after sitting on the cart.

“She’s quite a well-mannered girl.
I had thought she would be a little scared of me……but she’s just as brave as you said.”“……thank you for accepting my request.”

Gallen said, bowing his head.
Bogan approached, laying a hand on Gallen’s shoulder and shaking his head.

“Please raise your head.
Having captain bow to me puts me on the spot.
I just wanted to repay a little of the debt I owe you.”“Debt? I only did what was natural…… but it is a great honour.”

Bogan nodded and sat down opposite from them.Gallen also returned to his seat.

“But I did not expect such a beautiful girl.
And she seems quite smart.”

“……she was the pride of her parents, the perfect child.
Which makes it all the more regrettable.”

“……my condolences.
I cannot say I understand your feelings, but it was similar for me with my wife.
Unforeseen deaths are hard to deal with.

Bogan said as he sipped his tea.

Bery had not said a single word since Bogan had entered, simply standing there with her hands clasped in front of her, her posture straight and proper.

She was the picture of a graceful lady, but when Krische looked towards her, Bery revealed a small impish smile.

“……so your name’s Krische.
You’ve had it tough.”“Not really.”

Krische answered calmly.

By now she did not really care, there was only some regret.

The pumpkin being smashed was tough, thought Krische.

“You’re a tough girl.
But…… did this girl really, er, the bandits……?”

I knew she was skilled with the sword but…… not to that extent.
I guess that’s what you call natural talent.
She fought bandits who were former soldiers……she probably used what you know as physical enhancement.”


Bogan looked at Krische, narrowing his eyes.

There was a thin layer of blue clinging to her body――precisely controlled mana.

The surprise was visible in Bogan’s eyes as he frowned.

“I see……no, but.”

Bogan sank into thought for a while, then asked.

“Krische, where did you learn magic?”

“……? Magic?”

“Subconsciously? ……that’s what we call the technique of manipulating mana, the mana you have wrapped around you.
Aren’t you doing it right now?”

This floofy thing.”

Krische finally understood.

This is the technique of controlling her body using the ‘floofy thing’ inside her body instead of muscles.

Krische had been reliant on it ever since she learned how to do it and it has become so natural for her that she was not even aware she was doing it.

That was why her response was delayed.

It had been tiring when she was not used to it, but once she got used to it she did not have to use her muscles and it was actually more relaxing.

She had no problems with work that normal people found tough.

One of the reasons Krische could be such a hardworker was because she knew how to control her body using mana.

“……it’s such magnificent physical enhancement that you can’t tell at first glance.
How long have you been using it?”“……since about nine years ago?”

Krische said, digging through faint memories, increasing Bogan’s surprise.That is a natural reaction considering she is twelve years old.

“I see.
I understand now…… it is no wonder she appears strange to those who don’t know.”

“I had my suspicions but there was nothing off in her usual life, I was only sure after the fight with the bandits.
I couldn’t be sure until then since I can’t see mana……but is it that amazing?”

“Yes…… even I could not use such efficient physical enhancement, nor have I seen the like.
It must be due to her using it daily since a very young age.
I was surprised when I got the letter asking for me to take care of your granddaughter, but I can understand now.”

Gallen nodded and replieed.

“Her possibilities would have been limited in that remote village, I had thought there would be infinitely more futures available to her under your care.
Seeing her, what do you think?”“……just as you say, since she is proficient at using mana at that age, there is indeed infinite possibilities for her.
And I would very much like to watch over her…… but are you okay with that, Krische?”

Krische looked back at Bogan as he spoke to her.

“I will take you in if you wish to live here.
But it will be different from the village where you grew up, you might feel restrained by the rules and find life strict.
You also won’t be able to meet people from the village easily…… are you sure?”“Yes, Krische wants to live here.”

Krische answered with no hesitation.

Bogan was taken aback by the immediate answer, but interpreted it positively, taking it as Krische had already made her decision before coming.

A pitiful girl, but she has already recovered from her parents’ death and is thinking about the future.

Nice to meet you then, Krische.
You can just call me Bogan.”


“Then you will be taken care――”

“Yes, Master, Bery will take charge of her with utter devotion!”

Bery cut in, causing Bogan to smile wryly.

“……she will take care of anything you need.
If there’s anything you’re not sure about just ask her.”


“Now then, Bery, show Krische around.”

Come this way Krische-sama.”

Krische glances at her unfinished tea and cookie, but held herself back, nodding and getting to her feet.

Watching her, Bery let out a small laugh and whispered to her, “Let’s have tea again in your room.”

Krische blushed at having been seen through, but still nodded a little.

After the two of them had left, Bogan took down a bottle from the shelf.He also grabbed two glass cups and offered one to Gallen with a smile.

“……I’ve been abstaining lately.”

“It should be fine once in a while.
Did you forget? Captain, you are the one who taught me how to drink.”

“Kuku, I’m not that senile yet.”

“Great……and it is not so bad to relax with a drink occasionally.”

Bogan poured a dark brown liquid into the cups.
Smelling the alcohol, Gallen tilted his head.

“That’s new.”“It is a drink from the south, they call it liquor.
Try some.”

Gallen took a gulp and had to suppress a cough.

He had never experienced this sensation burning his throat.

The unique, rich smell stung his nose and it felt warm in his stomach.

“It’s not bad.
But quite strong.”

“Apparently it is meant to be drunk after distilling with some water, but I like drinking it as it is.
I had thought captain would like it better this way.”

“Ah, you’re right…… tastes expensive.”

“Yeah, well.
But it really is not that expensive.”

Bogan also took a gulp, then let out a large sigh.

“Drinking has become a habit.
This is all captain’s fault.”“Even if I didn’t introduce you to drinking, you would’ve ended up like this sooner or later.

Gallen laughed and Bogan smiled back.

“……this reminds me of when I fought under you.
Those times were good.”

“The standards of living was very different……and rather than that kind of muddy place, your current position fits you more.”

I had aspired to become one back then, but now I’m just crushed under the weight of the responsibility.
If possible, I just wanted to keep fighting as your subordinate.”

Letting out a deep sigh, Bogan leaned back into the sofa.

“Perhaps I should retire like you, go to some remote place……”

“It’s not a bad life…… it really was, quite good.
But peace can collapse in the blink of an eye…… I had forgotten that.”

“……captain, what will you do now?”


Gallen sank into thought, absentmindedly swirling the liquor in his glass around.Bogan spoke up.

“Would you like to rejoin me as my adjutant? I have that power.
Of course, that is only if you wish it, captain.”

“You’re telling me to go back to the battlefield?”

“I will not let that incident happen again…… I am the general now.”

That was back when Gallen was a soldier.

He had been ordered to burn down a village as an example for what happens to those who shelter the enemy.

Naturally, Gallen refused.

He insisted that only those involved should be punished.

His subordinates, including Bogan, had agreed――which might have made things worse.

Their superior at that time threatened to not only punish Gallen and his aide, Bogan, for disobeying orders, but also their soldiers.

Most of the soldiers were from poor villages, they joined the army to feed their families.

Disobeying orders is a heavy crime――the punishment was not just detention or expulsion from the army, depending on the situation, they could be executed.

――the soldiers or the village.Weighing them against each other, in the end Gallen obeyed, then left the army shortly after.

“……that’s an unpleasant, a really unpleasant memory.
I can still hear the screams and crying.”

He had let many escape.
But there were still casualties.

How did they live after that, with their houses and foodstores burnt down.

Just imagining it made his heart hurt.

“I was weak, Bogan.”

“……captain, you are strong.
Even when you left the army, that was to take responsibility and to protect us.”

“It’s natural for me to take responsibility.
But…..that’s not all.
I just, could not stand it anymore.”

Gallen sighed and continued.

“……this incident, might have been inevitable, karma from that time.”“Captain……”

Bogan shook his head and stood up.He patted Gallen on the shoulder and spoke.

“She will be lonely by herself.
Returning to the army is just a suggestion.
Even without doing that, you can stay here as long as you like.”

Let me think on it a little.”

“Of course, as long as you need.
Are you going back to the village tomorrow?”


“Then relax for today.
Please use the usual room.”

“……thank you.”

Gallen smiled faintly, the wrinkles in his face deepening.

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