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Published at 23rd of May 2023 06:48:11 AM


Chapter 697

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Chapter 697


 

"Honestly, it's fun."

 

"Fun, you say?"

 

At Bertus' words, Turner tilted her head.

 

"Seeing you like this."

 

"Ah..."

 

"I've never been treated this way in my life."

 

"That's true... but..."

 

The emotions Turner felt in this village were unlike anything she had experienced in her life.

 

She had always been a person mentioned in the lower ranks of the emperor wherever she went.

 

Moreover, her position was not earned through blood ties or anything else, but through her own skills.

 

That's why she was the farthest from incompetence.

 

Even if there were mistakes in the orders she received, there were never any mistakes in her execution.

 

In fact, she had perfectly executed the impossible orders of the last emperor.

 

Her life had been without failure.

 

But ever since she arrived in this snowy village, she had become a person who failed at everything she did.

 

Now, even the four-year-old children in the neighborhood would offer to help her when she carried a heavy burden.

 

Turner sighed.

 

"Ah... I think the people in this village are more capable, wise, and versatile than anyone I've ever seen."

 

"I feel the same way."

 

Sustaining life through one's own power.

 

Those who had once managed the world marveled at the cooperation, self-sufficiency, and survival of a community of just over 300 households in this extreme environment.

 

Each villager knew what they had to do and did it.

 

Someone always had to be able to take on someone else's role.

 

That's why everyone had to know how to do everything.

 

Previously, all Turner had to do was wield a sword.

 

That's why she became fatally incompetent in this small community.

 

"If only monsters appeared more frequently, I would have something to do, but that's not the case. Although it's strange to hope for such a thing..."

 

"It's a good thing."

 

"Yes..."

 

In reality, monsters were very rare in this remote area.

 

The occasional monster found would be buried in nature as a corpse, or hunted by the village's hunters if discovered.

 

In any case, others knew how to exert effort, and there was no need to stand out.

 

To the children, she was a pretty aunt.

 

To the women, she was a naive and innocent neighbor.

 

To the elderly, she was a cute and clumsy young wife.

 

That was Turner's reality.

 

"Still, it's hard to bear being treated like a child by children much younger than me. Of course, the hardest part is having nothing to say."

 

In fact, Turner had lived longer than the oldest person in the village.

 

Everyone was like a child to her, but she was treated like a child who didn't know anything by those children.

 

And in reality, she didn't know anything.

 

Because of this discrepancy, Turner's days were filled with sighs.

 

Holding a cup of cooling water, Turner looked out at the falling snow.

 

"Still... I'm grateful that a place like this exists."

 

She had tried to avoid people's eyes by living in the extreme wilderness.

 

But still, she lived among people.

 

And she could continue to live.

 

Turner said so with a smile, and Bertus also smiled.

 

The snowy plains.

 

A nameless village.

 

‘A boy, you say?’

 

‘Oh, that's right!’

 

News of a new life had just begun to spread in that place.

 

------

 

A healthy baby boy was born, and the mother was well.

 

Betton, in anticipation of his wife's childbirth, had insisted that the hunters go hunting even though it was snowing, all for the sake of holding a feast once the birth had been safely completed.

 

Of course, neither the new mother and child nor Betton, who had been by their side, could attend the feast.

 

At the village's central meeting hall, various meat dishes made from the reindeer that Bertus had hunted were prepared, as well as an array of other dishes to celebrate the village's joyous occasion.

 

It was only natural that Turner and Bertus attended the feast.

 

‘It should have been a daughter, you know.’

 

‘Why does it have to be a daughter?’

 

‘If it's a son, won't he be just like that reckless Betton? Wouldn't it be better if it's a daughter resembling gentle Ella?’

 

‘They say daughters take after their fathers, so wouldn't she be a reckless daughter like Betton?’

 

‘Oh dear, that would be quite troublesome then.’

 

‘Hahaha!’

 

People were chattering about the birth of the new life in various ways.

 

Drinking fermented deer's milk, they shared different stories with each other.

 

Though not abundant, it wasn't extremely scarce either.

 

It wasn't a situation where a single feast would deplete their resources, as there were many skilled hunters in the village.

 

So, on a happy day like this, they could eat and drink as much as they wanted.

 

Bertus and Turner, being used to rough food, could eat without any burden.

 

However, Turner's expression was not great.

 

It was because, on such a day, she would inevitably hear a certain question.

 

"So, what's the plan for your little one?"

 

"Uh...?"

 

Today's midwife, an elderly woman, approached Violet with a kind smile and asked.

 

If there was something to ask about their plans on a day like this, it must be about a child.

 

When would you have one? That was the question.

 

Naturally, Turner's face turned pale.

 

"Don't be scared because of what you saw today. We've all been through it. It's not a frightening thing. It's a magnificent and sacred event."

 

"Ah..."

 

Turner was older than the elderly woman.

 

When a younger elder asked her when she was planning to have a baby, Turner could not help but feel as if she was going mad.

 

Turner hesitated and opened her mouth.

 

"Well, we're... trying our best..."

 

Of course, they hadn't even tried yet.

 

"Hehe... You two seem like a perfect couple with no problems. Why won't the child come...?"

 

The elder squinted her eyes and turned to look at Bertus.

 

"Are you a sterile pretty boy?"

 

"What?!"

 

A pretty boy with no substance.

 

"No! No, we're not! He's... He's fine! He's healthy! Plenty! Every, every day! A lot!"

 

In the end, Turner, who was annoyed, yelled with her face turning red.

 

Her nature was to be more upset about Bertus's story than her own.

 

But once she yelled, she realized what she had said and her face turned pale.

 

What did she mean by plenty?

 

"What do you mean by every day...? Uh, incredible..."

 

What did she mean by every day and what was incredible about it?

 

"Sit down, honey."

 

Turner, who had unknowingly stood up, sat down as if collapsing when Bertus cautiously pulled her back to her seat.

 

"Hehe... It seems like this side has more energy..."

 

Of course, the elderly laughed, as did the others seated at the table. After all, it was amusing to tease this naive and pretty young bride.

 

She knew nothing and always seemed bewildered. What was the harm in that?

 

In this frozen village, she always responded like a flapping fish, no matter the topic of conversation.

 

The mischievous elderly women found one of their greatest joys in life teasing this young bride. Her husband was also amusing, but he was such a well-mannered gentleman that he always responded courteously, no matter what prank was pulled.

 

In a way, he was the model student.

 

He understood and remembered everything he was taught, executed tasks perfectly, and was serious in all matters.

 

He was useful but not fun.

 

In contrast, his wife was clumsy and always tried her best but failed, making her perpetually distressed and uneasy.

 

She was not useful, but she was fun.

 

In their own ways, both had become indispensable to the village.

 

"How strong is he on a daily basis?"

 

"That friend may seem weak, but he's quite the fighter. He once went out alone and carried back an entire bear! Catching it is one thing, but carrying it back requires what kind of strength?"

 

"Strong bones?"

 

"Well, of course."

 

"Then, his back?"

 

"Right. His back is extraordinary."

 

"Heh... I never thought of him that way..."

 

"Appearances can be deceiving."

 

Whispers and jokes filled the air, and Turner's face turned increasingly red. The polite Bertus's hand holding his glass trembled as well.

 

"I, I'm sorry, honey..."

 

"It's alright..."

 

The fact that they cherished each other so much had already been proven by how far they had come together.

 

However, the sight of them addressing each other so formally made onlookers feel peculiar.

 

It was as if they were a young couple dating rather than married.

 

Everyone had their opinions, but ultimately, they were a pleasant sight. That's what everyone thought.

 

The feast continued.

 

Bertus soon saw the village chief, who had been sitting at the head of the table, having a conversation with someone who had entered the hall.

 

The nameless village chief was also the leader of the hunters.

 

He had directed the group that had gone to catch a reindeer just a while ago.

 

After a brief conversation, the village chief left the hall.

 

Although it was a normal occurrence, the chief's expression was slightly unusual, causing Bertus to watch the scene intently.

 

"..."

 

"..."

 

It seemed that Bertus wasn't the only one noticing, as Turner's eyes met his with the same concern.

 

It was a matter they didn't quite understand.

 

Bertus shrugged his shoulders slightly, and Turner smiled softly.

 

The feast continued.

 

After a while, Betton appeared at the hall, saying that his wife had fallen asleep.

 

As the star of the event, he received many congratulations before sitting down next to Bertus.

 

"Brother Radeus."

 

"Yes, Betton?"

 

"Could you speak more casually...?"

 

"I'm comfortable like this. Congratulations on having a baby boy."

 

At Bertus's congratulatory words, Betton scratched his head.

 

Both Betton and his wife, Ella, were much younger than Bertus.

 

But because of that, Bertus learned more about the village's affairs from Betton than from the older villagers.

 

Bertus had always been grateful to Betton.

 

"Yes, he's healthy. We were worried for a while, but Ella seems to be doing well too... By the way, is your wife alright?"

 

At that, Turner's face turned red.

 

"Huh? Oh... Yes, I'm sorry."

 

Ella must have been worried enough to suggest going to see her helper.

 

"Please, convey my apologies..."

 

The person assisting with the birth was trembling in fear more than the one giving birth, so the midwife had to send the helper away to rest.

 

"Anyway, brother."

 

"Yes, Betton."

 

"Our child doesn't have a name yet."

 

With a serious expression, Betton asked Bertus.

 

"Could you give our child a name?"

 

At that question, Bertus couldn't help but be taken aback.

 

"Me? Name the child?"

 

"Yes, I'd really like it if you could name our child. Normally, the village chief would do it, but when I asked, he said it would be fine..."

 

It was an absurd request for both Bertus and Turner, who overheard it.

 

Neither of them had ever imagined they would be asked to name someone's child. Besides, they were still practically newcomers to the village.

 

Could they really take on the significant task of naming a child who would become a village resident?

 

Although they had already received permission from the village chief, they couldn't help but be flustered.

 

"I feel something from you, brother."

 

"What is it...?"

 

"Well... I can't quite put it into words, but you seem different from people like me. If you were to name my child, I feel his future would be bright..."

 

Bertus thought he understood why Betton was saying such things.

 

A fundamentally different person.

 

The atmosphere that couldn't be clearly defined by their speech or behavior.

 

Although Bertus thought he understood what Betton was saying, he still hesitated.

 

Naming someone's child.

 

It may seem like a trivial task, but it determines someone's life.

 

Did he deserve such responsibility?

 

Could he, who had abandoned everything and fled, take on such a task?

 

As he struggled with these thoughts, unknown to others.

 

-Swoosh

 

A thick hand landed on Bertus' shoulder.

 

"Just do it."

 

"Ah... Chief."

 

The leader of the hunters and village chief.

 

With a smile, he had placed his hand on Bertus' shoulder, though Bertus didn't know when he had returned.

 

"In a village where nothing is new, what could be more special than receiving a name from a newcomer?"

 

Since the chief was even suggesting it, refusing without a clear reason would ultimately be disrespectful to the newborn and their new home.

 

"Yes, I'll think about it."

 

"Thank you, brother!"

 

Naming someone's child was not a decision to be made lightly, so some thought was necessary.

 

However, even after promising to consider a name, the chief's hand did not withdraw.

 

"Also, come outside for a moment."

 

"Yes? Ah... Yes."

 

"Violet, could you come outside for a moment as well?"

 

"...Ah, yes."

 

Did he have something to say?

 

Following the chief out of the gathering hall, he walked ahead with his back turned, then stopped and spoke quietly.

 

"Someone is looking for you two."

 

At that plain statement, both Bertus and Turner couldn't help but feel their entire bodies freeze.

 

How on earth?

 

Who had come?

 

Had pursuers penetrated this remote area and come all the way here?

 

What should they do then?

 

Although the chief had said it as if it wasn't a big deal, this was no ordinary matter.

 

As Turner and Bertus arrived at this nameless village in the snowfield, it was as if a great event had taken place. Just as they had made their way here, it was by no means an easy task for the guest who sought them to reach this place.

 

"If you need help, let me know. I'll be watching."

 

It seemed that the village chief knew it was no ordinary matter, and so he spoke.

 

It couldn't be helped.

 

Anyone who had come this far must know that the person they sought and the person searching for them were not ordinary people.

 

Could they be of any help?

 

If neither of them could handle the person who came searching, then no one's help would be of any use.

 

While Bertus was one thing, Turner was treated as less than half a penny here.

 

However, the two of them had spent a long time in this nameless village.

 

Because of that, even though they didn't know if it would actually be helpful or not, they had already trusted the enormous back of the village chief, who was also the head hunter.

 

They trusted him without even knowing why.

 

Just as he had taught them hunting, slaughtering, finding their way in the snowfield, and the ways to survive.

 

It seemed like he would show them the way in this uncertain situation as well.

 

Both Turner and Bertus found themselves already trusting the village chief without reason or basis.

 

So the village chief, Turner, and Bertus left the meeting hall together.

 

On a snowy night, the entire village was quiet, save for the bustling sounds coming from the meeting hall, as all the villagers were inside.

 

They followed the village chief as he walked towards the outskirts of the village.

 

At the place they reached after clearing the piled snow, there were two people wearing black robes.

 

Two black robes covered in a light layer of snow, perhaps from the falling snowflakes.

 

"Let's have a talk."

 

After leaving those words, the village chief turned around and communicated with his eyes alone.

 

If they needed help, he would provide it in some way or another.

 

The fact that they were waiting like this, rather than ambushing them, meant that they didn't want to harm the village or had some other purpose.

 

The two people in the snowstorm, wearing black robes.

 

The person on the right cautiously removed their hood.

 

"...!"

 

"You, you are...?"

 

Both Bertus and Turner were shocked.

 

Long, black hair like darkness itself.

 

And a pale face.

 

"It's been a while."

 

"Anna...?"

 

The disappeared dark mage, Anna de Gerna, was there.

 

The person on the left also removed their hood.

 

"Louis..."

 

The person on the left was none other than Louis Ancton, who had disappeared along with Anna.

 

The remnants of the long-lost Gardias Empire and its lost civilization reunited on a plateau where civilization had vanished after five years.





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