(More translator notes: so starting this chapter we get to see what the new arc is likely going to be about. I’d like to point out that I have now romanized Shiriru village into Cyril village, partly because to reduce confusion with the similarly named Shiru tribe and partly because I played Grandia II and there’s a place called Cyril in that game. Just mentioning in case anyone is confused/lost as to where Cyril village is. And as a reminder, it’s also where Ratoka’s from.)
Ratoka has been in the barracks for a month and a half now, and he’s gained enough strength to the point where he isn’t throwing up anymore.
However, he’s still not foraging for his own dinner at night, he’s still going every day without eating any dinner.
Today, his marching distance training was increased in length. Still, he’s expected to remain standing and finish all of it. His feet hurt so badly after it all, that Ratoka didn’t even visit Elise, and just crawled straight into his bed after training.
Speaking of hunting for food – he remembered the noble girl that recently became Eliza’s new bodyguard and companion. She’s a blond girl that Ratoka often sees hanging around the barracks after his training is over, twirling her spear.
She’s more skilled than anyone in the army with the spear, and she makes it look freakishly easy to catch large animals when going out hunting. Because of this, the number of soldiers that call Ratoka “ojou-san” have decreased.
As Ratoka observed her behavior every day, he found that she didn’t fit the image he had of a “noble” at all, either.
“All noble girls, they want to wear a brand new dress every day……” Ratoka heard the sister’s nostalgic voice in the back of his mind. Even though he hasn’t heard that voice in two years, he still remembers it clearly – rather, he can’t forget it.
Four years ago, when the former domain lord died, the Kaldia citizens’ lives slowly began returning to normal.
Two years ago, it was right after the adults had finished planting rye in spring. During a time when nobody had enough excess yet to be able to care about others’ plights, suddenly a traveling group of sisters visited Cyril village.
Of course, Cyril village wasn’t able to welcome the sisters due to its hardships. However, the sisters did not show any dissatisfactions towards the villagers, and remained calm while helping the villagers in their tasks, as their main goal was to travel from village to village while spreading a certain “story.”
– That all the nobles, had forgotten the original work that nobles are supposed to perform. That the nobles were only abusing their authority, and enjoying luxurious lives. That what the nobles were doing was against the teachings of the church.
One young girl from among the sisters kept telling Ratoka this “story” over and over again.
While telling their “stories” about the nobles, the sisters would keep talking about the arrogance and extravagance of the nobles they’ve seen in their travels, and for the people of Cyril village that lived like they were in hell on earth under the former domain lord’s rule, of course they would believe it all. There was nobody that didn’t believe the sisters.
As a result, even now, the Cyril villagers have put their blind faith in this group of sisters. This includes Ratoka, who understood less than half of their story. Even so, it could be said that he’s the one who believes in them the most of all.
Ratoka still vividly remembers the young sister in training that talked to him. Everything that the girl told him about nobles, he believes as fact about all nobles.
Because of his blind faith, that’s how Ratoka used to view nobles.
At that time, Ratoka’s body was filled with injuries every day, as he spent daylight begging every day, and sleeping in the shadows of people’s houses at night.
If he went home, he didn’t know what would happen.
His mother had fallen mentally ill, and didn’t recognize Ratoka anymore.
Ratoka had black hair just like the domain lord, and red eyes just like the domain lord. The similarity was too much and his mother lost her mind. In her confusion, she couldn’t even bear to look at Ratoka. Because of this, she lived in terrible fear of Ratoka.
Ratoka was always alone in Cyril village. The other villagers all avoided him. To Ratoka, he didn’t know why his mom and the villagers hated and feared him so much.
Ratoka doesn’t have a father. His mother had gotten pregnant with Ratoka when she was forced into sex service as a “laborer” by the previous domain lord.
When her belly had gotten too big to do anything else and she was returned to her hometown village, Ratoka’s mother had already lost her sanity. She didn’t know where she was anymore, or who the father of her child was.
Also, there was a rule from the previous domain lord that any boys that “laborers” gave birth to would be killed. If this wasn’t done, the domain lord said he would have the entire village killed.
While the “laborers” was forced into sex service all over the place, the only common point was that they all served the nobility. – Meaning, any children they had would probably be the scions of nobility. Girls were fine, but boys weren’t allowed to be born.
So with fear of the punishment hanging over their heads, the villagers would be forced to make her give up her newborn child, if it was a boy.
However, Ratoka’s mother was already out of her mind. Without even calling for a midwife, she gave birth alone.
She ended up giving birth to twins. The girl had died in childbirth, but the boy was still living.
Ratoka’s mother was hugging the baby girl’s dead body when she was discovered. And so, the villagers concealed the information about Ratoka’s birth from the domain lord. He led a discrete life in a small, run-down house with his mother until news of the domain lord’s death finally reached Cyril village five years ago.
“Ratoka” is actually a girl’s name, probably meant for his deceased twin sister. Ratoka’s mother never did prepare a boy’s name for her son.
After news of the domain lord’s death reached her, Ratoka’s mother got even worse mentally.
Ratoka was no longer able to withstand the way his mother always abused him, so that’s why he escaped outside of his home.
Then, he became more well-known in the village.
Although the villagers had decided not to kill him as the domain lord would have wanted, just the circumstances of his birth alone made the villagers want to avoid him.
Although his mother temporarily got better again for two years, she finally relapsed again. She had gone so insane to the point where she no longer recognized her son that everyone had taken great care to help her hide and bring up.
Ratoka would just wander around the outskirts of the village every day and look at the ground listlessly. And while walking, Ratoka would think about how haggard and hungry he was getting. His mother, who had once been his entire world to him, was now trying to harm him.
“-Why are you walking with your head down like that? You should watch where you’re going, or it could be dangerous, you know.”
The first time when he heard that clear and energetic voice, Ratoka didn’t think that she was talking to him.
When outside his home, he felt like he was just a ghost to everyone. At that point in time, he wanted to interact with someone else more than anything at all.
“-Hey, are you alright?”
Someone tapped him on the shoulder, and he was so surprised when he turned around that his heart almost suddenly stopped. A girl that was only slightly taller than he was, was looking straight at him with eyes the color of the dawn sky.
Ratoka opened his eyes that resembled the color of fire.
The light coming in from the window woke Ratoka up out of his light sleep instantly. When he opened his eyes, he found that his room was being dyed a vermillion scarlet by the setting sun.
……He must have fallen asleep right after the day’s training.
He tried to work his mind that didn’t seem to want to wake up quite yet. He felt like he had just went to bed, so he must have fallen asleep. His body does feel a little lighter now, so he turned his back to the sunset.
Outside his room, in the cafeteria’s direction, he could hear the commotion of soldiers having fun chatting.
With the muffled sounds coming through the walls, and thinking about the relationships that others have with him, Ratoka bit his lip in frustration.
He loves the dawn sunrise, and hates evening sunsets.
Maybe it’s also because that he’s not with everyone else, while listening to others have fun through the wall, that he would recall such a lonely memory.
Whenever he returned home to his insane mother’s run-down house, he would always have a mix of emotions that felt like muddy sludge in him, as he walked back slowly. Whenever he heard lively sounds from other houses of people having fun, even that was quite a blow to Ratoka’s weak spirit back then.
Even if he calls for his mother she wouldn’t even look at him, Ratoka felt so jealous of others, sad, and mentally exhausted.
Anyone is fine, talk to me about anything, see me, make me feel like I exist – that’s what Ratoka desired back then, as soon as possible.
And so, the first person to grant his wish, and would talk to him about various things on the nobility, was the young sister in training with reddish blue eyes the color of the dawn sky. For that reason, that’s why Ratoka believed in her blindly.
Ratoka sighed deeply in an attempt to drive away his loneliness and old memories, and Ratoka looked up at the wall that was lit up by the setting sun.
Dusk in the Kaldia domain lasts for only a short time. The vermillion scarlet that dyed the room earlier, was getting imperceptibly darker and darker.
Rather than the color of the girl with eyes the color of the dawn sky, this color reminds him more of the red eyes of that daughter of the domain lord. And, her dead father, the former domain lord.
Suddenly, he wondered about the color of his own eyes. Red eyes are extremely rare, and his eye color is the exact same shade as Eliza’s.