Chapter 011 Snow – Part 1
I―― Snow, am an abandoned child of the rare White Wolf Race who live in the North Continent.
Around the time I was 1 year old, I was left before the orphanage that Elle-sensei manages.
The name “Snow” was sewn into the clothes I was wearing.
Probably the parents who threw me away sewed it.
And a child of the human race of the same age was thrown away too.
His name is Lute.
At First, in regards to Lute-kun, I didn’t like him much.
Lute was a strange child, around the time we were 3 years old, while we played with the onee-sans in the childs room, he took Elle-sensei’s classes at his own convenience.
He sat in the back of the classroom and received the lessons more quietly than any of the other students.
Furthermore he had an interest in magic and also came to participate in the basic magic classes.
However Lute-kun does not have talent as a magician.
Elle-sensei already told that to Lute-kun.
At the time, he was supposed to have said “I will look for a way other than magic”, but he still took part in magic lessons.
According to Elle-sensei, there seems to be kids who still spend great effort even though they understand that they had no talent as magicians.
Such obstinacy was especially common for boys.
Among them there are kids that couldn’t accept reality, got their hands on dangerous magic tools and lost their lives, said Elle-sensei.
I understand Lute-kun’s feelings, but it’s dangerous to use magic as a human with a low amount of magic.
Magic power is the spirit that’s left over after being used to maintain one’s body and mind.
In the worst case scenario you would die if you use up more magic power than that surplus.
But the other party is still 3 years old.
An age where he won’t understand even when persuaded.
Therefore Elle-sensei did not drive him out and consented to his participation in the class.
However a problem occurred immediately.
Lute-kun learned how to use magic by watching the others do it and imitating them.
Lute-kun who had no talent in magic immediately ran out of magic and fainted.
Elle-sensei, whose face changed to panic, rushed over.
Once Lute-kun, who was put to sleep in the child’s room, woke up, I told him the situation and to be careful.
“That is a no-no! Lute-kun is making trouble for Sensei!”
“Sorry, sorry. I’ll be careful next time.”
Lute-kun was not sorry at all and took part in the lesson again.
And at the next lesson.
Lute-kun faints again after using magic.
This time he was bleeding from the head, choked on vomit and fainted.
He would have died if sensei didn’t notice and ran over.
The gentle Elle-sensei flew into a rage because of this accident.
She forbade Lute-kun from participating in basic magic classes.
After forbidding participation in the lessons, Elle-sensei came with hanging rabbit ears to me and asked how Lute-kun’s doing.
Did Lute-kun do anything strange because he was forbidden from taking part in classes? She asked.
It seems that every once in a while there are kids that, when pressed down by their elders, become gloomy, lose their ambition, and became apathetic.
Sensei is worried that he would become like that because of this incident.
When I answered “he’s not different from usual”, she breathed a sigh of relief.
At this time, even as a child I immediately understood that Elle-sensei was troubled because of Lute-kun.
It looks like until now Sensei had been looking after many troublesome children.
Every once in a while, there would be some kids that don’t have any common sense, but Lute-kun stood out even among them.
At that time, Sensei grumbled to me, “If I were to speak badly of him I’d call him ‘abnormal'”, she said as if letting the words slip from her mouth.
So at that time I disliked Lute-kun.
Lute-kun who troubled Elle-sensei, who gathered and raised us without asking anything in return, like a mother.
Lute-kun who caused trouble for everyone, but pushes forward like a child.
The baby that was left behind on the same day as him—and just because of that became the one in charge of looking after Lute-kun, the one at Lute-kun’s side, was me.
Although I go and complain occasionally.
But I thought this everyday life would continue forever.
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Lute-kun and I, age 4.
In the orphanage, once you turn 4 your job is look after the 2-3 year olds in the children’s room.
And yet Lute-kun did nothing at all, and only slept in a corner of the room.
I was incited to pay attention to Lute-kun by the two 4-year olds who were looking after the kids with me.
I had to pay attention because I was the closest childhood friend to Lute-kun, they said.
I resented that, even though I was still the one in charge of looking after Lute-kun.
On top of that, I unconsciously wished that something bad would happen to Lute-kun, who was always causing trouble for Elle-sensei and everyone at the orphanage.
“Lute-kun, you’ll get scolded if you don’t properly take care of the little kids with us!”
“I want to help you all very much but the way you did it is so good that I didn’t get a turn. That’s why I was sitting in a corner so that I won’t get in the way.”
“If that’s the case, then you can help playing house. We have roles enough for the four of us.”
“If Lute-kun does not play, I will tell sensei that you skipped work.”
“I didn’t really mean to skip work but…. all right! Let’s play together.”
He obediently did as ordered once I said sensei’s name.
I softly murmured, “so you’ll listen if I mention Elle-sensei, hmph”.
“So which role should I take? The father, or maybe the husband?”
“Lute-kun will be the pet pink slime!”
“Is that really necessary…?”
With a surprised face Lute-kun asked back.
I insisted that a pet was necessary and that day I had him play the role as pet until we were finished playing house.
If with this he would reflect a little and start looking after the younger ones…….
“If any of you manage to defeat me in a game, I will keep the role of pet.”
Once again, Lute-kun behaves as if he doesn’t intend to help, he pressed his demand to play a self-made game he called “reversi”.
I thought he had been sneakily doing something these few days, to turn out to be making a game….
But the rules of this toy, the so called reversi, were very simple and it seemed very interesting.
Therefore we got on board with Lute-kun’s proposal.
Even if the toy was his own making, there were 3 of us.
I simply expected that at least one of us can win.
I was the first to challenge him.
In the opening Lute-kun’s black piece were changed to white in a good mood successfully.
He deliberately put his black pieces so I can easily turn them all over.
I didn’t notice that this was a trap, I felt overjoyed and joked around.
“Lute-kun is we~ak! Even though it’s a game you made yourself.”
“Hahaha. Snow, make it funnier if you are going to tell a joke. Snow still can’t do addition and subtraction, how can I lose in this game of intellect?”
Looking down on me with sarcastic remarks.
But the surface of the board is almost white and there is no more than a few black pieces left.
I judged that he was a sore loser.
“Muuu… I have a feeling I’m being made fun of… Fine! If Lute-kun loses, he has to listen to another order besides being a golden marumaru!”
“As you wish… But if I win, I’ll touch your fluffy dog ears and tail to my hearts content!”
“It’s not dog ears! …It’s wolf ears! Because Snow is from White Wolf tribe!”
“I know… and don’t forget the promise.”
Lute-kun answers lightly while placing a black piece at the edge.
The white carpet was cut diagonally by toppling the pieces over and the black ones formed a line.
I looked for a way to deal with the rapidly changing situation, but there was no way to change the color of the edge pieces!
This was Lute-kun’s aim from the start!
As I belatedly realized his aim, he put on a smile like a hunter whose prey was caught in a trap.
I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!
Mortified, I looked for a trick to reverse the situation, but he had gained control of the edges, I was at my wits’ end and lost.
“Uuuu… I lost…”
“Yeah, I won! Don’t forget the promise, okay?”
“I know… I’ll let you touch it when we’re about to sleep at night…”
Lute-kun’s triumphant face is suddenly turned red and he turned away.
Since his face got red I got worried about his condition.
“What’s the matter, Lute-kun? Your face is red. Did you catch a cold?”
“N-no it’s nothing. So… who’s the next opponent?”
He turned towards the other two, as if to say “I’m not interested in an opponent I already beat.”
Muu… and I was worried about you.
He happily plays Reversi with the other girls without noticing me sulking.
(I know that it’s more fun to play with the other girls rather than playing with me who was always unkind. But you’re being too obvious!)
Without noticing me getting angry, Lute-kun continued playing reversi with the other two while talking excitedly.
(As I thought, I hate Lute-kun. I HATE him!).
In the end not even one of us was able to beat Lute-kun.
We borrowed reversi to practice, determined to “defeat Lute-kun!”
That evening, right before bed, Lute-kun came to rub my tail and ears.
Several days later, the “defeat Lute-kun!” plan was easily abandoned.
Because no matter how much we practice, none of us could even corner him.
We can hope for a close game, but there is just no way to get a solid hit, so it can’t be helped.
For that reason, we settled with the conclusion that it would be more fun to play among ourselves, whose skills are more balanced.
It seems Lute-kun was fine with it.
When we finished taking care of the children we played reversi and Lute-kun continued to sit in a corner of the room with closed eyes.
Because Lute-kun took care of heavy labor such as clearing up the futons the other 2 stopped complaining.
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Lute-kun and I, age 5.
Once you reach the age of 5 you start having lessons for reading and writing, arithmetics, history, and common knowledge.
We 5~6 year old children studied in the biggest room in the orphanage where desks had been lined up.
But only Lute-kun was special.
He has finished all his studies at the age of 3.
Therefore he became Elle-sensei’s class assistant.
His work is mainly to prepare teaching materials, warn children who were noisy, and look after children who fall behind in their studies.
The child who is behind in her studies… …is me.
“The plate on the left has 5 loaves of bread, the plate on the right has 12 loaves. So all of them together, how many loaves are there?”
“Err, Uhm… …”
I bent my fingers and counted.
“Wrong. The answer is 17.”
I unintentionally fell flat on the desk.
Though I’m good at learning to read and write, history, and common knowledge, no matter what I do I was weak at arithmetics.
I stumbled at the first thing, addition.
Other kids my age had already learned subtraction.
Lute-kun was teaching me today as well.
He patiently accompanied me, who was always unkind to him, without even seeming annoyed.
He kindly, gently, cheered me up when I made a mistake in arithmetics.
“Don’t worry! I’ll be with Snow until you can do addition. But since it’s Snow, you will be able to do it soon!”
“It’s a promise… so cheer up! So… I’ll bring out the next question… The plate on the left has 3 loaves of bread, the plate on the right has 5. So, all of them together how many loaves of bread are there?」”
“Uhh, uhh… 8!”
“Correct! Snow is a genius! Excellent, excellent!”
It was only a simple arithmetic problem but he was delighted and praised me as if it was his own accomplishment.
At first I thought he was a selfish child who troubled Elle-sensei――but nowadays I don’t dislike him.
I had come to notice that I was able to look at him without prejudice.
Lute-kun is surely clever.
His curiosity and his drive are higher than others.
Unskillful but intelligent, full of curiosity, and having energy to spare, he puts whatever interests him into practice.
Kids like us could not be so proactive, but he was.
Because of that he was misunderstood by the people around him.
Weird child, odd child, unchildlike―they say.
Perhaps there is no one in the world who could understand Lute-kun except me, the childhood friend.
I decided in my heart “I, at least, will be kind to him”.
Lute kun who is only interested in himself does not notice my sympathy, he innocently continued the arithmetic lessons.
Well then, I’ll bring out the next question.
Yeah! I’ll do my best so I can do addition properly!
He again pats my head delightedly.
The feeling of his hand was so pleasant it became a habit.
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At that time, “I hate Lute-kun who always troubles Elle-sensei” had turned into the prideful pity of “He’s my childhood comrade who was cast out by his parents like me, so I should take good care of him”.
Moreover, I embraced my childhood love of Lute-kun shortly afterwards.
The cause for that was the day Lute-kun and I were going together to gather firewood――
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“Lute-kun you came at the right time. I was just going to call you.”
Sensei called us out from behind, stopping us.
“What can I do for you, Elle-sensei?”
“Actually, there is someone who came and wanted to see Lute-kun. Can you come to the reception office?”
“Umm… is it my parents who abandoned me? Or… a relative came to pick me up?”
Elle-sensei fell silent, as if her face had been slapped all of a sudden.
I guessed from sensei’s attitude.
The one who Lute-kun wants to meet the most didn’t come to pick him up.
Sensei opens her mouth apologetically.
“Lute-kun, I didn’t mean that the person who came are your parents or relatives. I’m sorry for putting in a strange way like that and making it a misunderstanding.”
“It’s ok. I was only curious when I heard it. I dont think i particularly wanted to meet my parents now.”
I look down unintentionally.
That was because I couldn’t look at Lute-kun’s firm behavior.
Lute-kun and I were children who were left in front of the orphanage.
All orphans should want to see their parents. Elle-sensei often said so.
And yet, he did not cast off his confident attitude, conversely, Elle-sensei became worried for him.
Having that possibility pass in front of him, I hazily recalled.
…… could it be that he really doesn’t want to see his father and mother?
I want to meet them!
I want to meet them and want to know the reason why I was cast away.
If I can I want to live with my parents.
And yet he, who was supposed to be in the same situation as me, declared “I don’t want to see my parents after all this time”.
Does he have that much of a grudge against the parents who cast him away?
But since I never heard of any grudge out of his mouth, that thought never crossed my mind.
Is it strange to want to meet mother and father who threw me away? Am I being strange?
While I was thinking that, the insides of my head spun around in circles.
“――Snow-chan can you go and help the other children?”
I reply to Elle-sensei and went to the children who were cleaning the rooms.
Without wondering who called out to Lute-kun, I only kept on thinking of myself.
Late at night, after Elle-sensei had gone to sleep, I went and trespassed into the boys’ room.
By the rules of the orphanage boys and girls are not allowed to go to each others’ rooms at night
It was one of the most serious crimes, if you break it you won’t get a meal for a day.
But even though it was a dangerous crime to commit, I just had to ask Lute-kun. That was what I believed.
I looked for Lute-kun in the darkness of the boys’ room.
Luckily I’m from the white wolf clan who could see well in the darkness.
I found Lute-kun immediately.
Because he didn’t wake up even when I raised my voice, I slapped his cheeks and shook his shoulders strongly.
After I called to him and shook him several times, Lute-kun finally opened his eyes.
“Shhh!!! Don’t be loud. Everyone will wake up.”
In surprise I clasped his mouth in a hurry.
Lute-kun did not seem to get the situation at first and he was confused, after several seconds he made some decision and he furrowed his eyebrows.
I approach him further and confirm that he completely regained consciousness.
“Everybody will wake up, be quiet please? Okay?”
As Lute-kun nods i slowly part my hands from his mouth.
“Uhm, Snow, your feelings are—”
“Shhhh!!! Everybody will wake up if we talk here. Follow me.”
I dragged Lute-kun out of his futon and took him out of the boys room.
Our destination is underneath the window in the dining hall.
Here shines starlight through the window and i can read detailed facial expressions.
It’s warm here during the day but at night it feels a little chilly.
We brought our shoulders together to get each other warm.
There is also the advantage that he can easily hear even if I talk in a low voice .
Lute-kun asked in a slightly angry voice. His eyes are serious.
“So, what is the reason why you broke the rule and brought me here?”
Un… you see… there is something that I really wanted to ask you….
Certainly its late at night and I forcibly woke him up and took him out but he doesn’t need to have such an angry look…
But even if I’m afraid there is no other method.
I explained the reason why I took him out.
Um… did Lute-kun ever think of meeting with your mother or father?
“Like I said, do you want to meet the mother and father who abandoned you?”
He asked me back, looking dumbfounded.
“Snow, why are you asking me this?”
“…Today, Lute-kun told sensei ‘it’s not like I want to meet with them after all this time’, right?
Snow wants to meet mom and dad. When we meet, Snow will ask them why they abandoned Snow away. And Snow wants to live with mom and dad… Is Snow weird for thinking like this?”
Lute-kun listened to my story in silence.
Then he changed his pose from hugging his knees to a cross-legged sitting position.
“Snow, come over here.”
“Just do it already.”
He made me sit on his lap a little bit forcibly.
Lute-kun embraces my head gently and holds my ears against his chest.
“Can you hear the sound of my heart?”
“…Yes, I can hear. It goes dokun, dokun, dokun….”
“People get relieved hearing the sound of heartbeats. This is because, as babies, we are raised hearing our mother’s heartbeats.”
Oddly I curled up my body in a fetal position..
I closed my eyes and leaned my body against Lute-kun.
“Wanting to meet your parents is not weird. So, there’s no reason to feel worried.”
“Uh-huh, it’s true. The reason why I never thought of meeting my parents is because I have no way of looking for them.”
Lute-kun starts talking in a tone like telling someone younger than him.
“Just one clue: I have a star-shaped birthmark on the back of my right shoulder; I can’t just show this to everyone I meet and ask them. Besides, I have no talent as a magician; it’s hard to think that the parents who casted me out would come back and pick me up. So, it’s clear that I will never meet with my parents again for as long as I live.”
I gasp on Lute-kuns words.
“But Snow is different. Unlike me, Snow has talent as a magician. Besides, the White Wolf race is a minority that lives in the snowy mountains of the North Continent. If you go north you might find some clues there. Even so, forgive me for saying ‘after all this time I never thought of meeting my parents’ so insensitively, ‘kay?”
He apologizes from the bottom of his heart.
But I understood. The one who had to apologize was me.
I’m an abandoned child from a minor clan, the so called White Wolf Clan from the North Continent.
If I go to a town of the white wolf clan or head to a village, my parents may be there.
There ought to be important clues, even if only a little.
Furthermore I have talent as a magician.
If I become a magician beyond B- I will not be troubled about employment and have no troubles with money.
On the contrary Lute-kun has insufficient clues and no talent as a magician.
If you become 10 years old you graduate from the orphanage and leave to work. Only staying alive is hard.
It does not mean Lute-kun doesn’t want to meet his parents.
He understands that it is all but impossible to meet his parents the way he is now and gave up.
And yet in my own selfish anxiety, I dug up the emotional scar that he had come to terms with.
My chest feels like it had been hit because of my own foolishness.
“…Snow is also sorry. Snow asked such an insensitive question without thinking of Lute-kun’s feelings.”
“There’s no reason for you to apologize. I was the one in the wrong, you see.”
I was the one who’s wrong, but he still smiled and forgave me for my sake.
“If that’s the case, then Snow and Lute-kun are both in the wrong. So it’s a tie.”
“That’s right. It’s a tie.”
“As an apology, Snow will tell Snow’s dream only to Lute-kun….”
My dream, the one I secretly held and had not told anyone, not even Elle-sensei.
“You see, when Snow is bigger, Snow will become a magician. Then, Snow will go to the north continent to look for father and mother. Once Snow finds those two, Snow will ask why they abandoned Snow away. If we could make peace, then the three of us will live together in the same house… This is Snow’s dream.”
“It’s a good dream. If it’s you, then it will absolutely come true….”
Lute-kun took a breath,
“…But if you couldn’t find them or you couldn’t make peace with them, Snow still has me, Elle-sensei and the kids at the orphanage. Don’t forget that okay?”
“…Un, thanks Lute-kun.”
Until the end, I became tearful for him, who was worried for me.
I felt the feeling of his and my heartbeats overlap, as if becoming one, and my chest became warm inside.
“Is it okay to hear the sound of Lute-kun’s chest a little bit more?”
“Uh-huh, you can listen all you like.”
I strengthened my arms and pressed my ear to his chest.
Lute-kun smiled wryly, and gently stroked my head, like a father or an older brother.
I loosened all the muscles in my arms and legs and let him spoil me with all my heart.
At that time I noticed a small light spark inside my chest.
When I get bigger I’ll become a splendid magician, and take Lute-kun on a journey to see his mom and dad. Then once I found my mom and dad, I’ll start an orphanage like Elle-sensei. Then we all can live together, me doing the management like Elle-sensei, and Lute-kun teaching the kids reading, writing, and arithmetics… If everyone can get along and stay together, that would be so wonderful.
In Lute-kun’s warm arms, I drew up a new dream.
I undeservedly thought to take care of this childhood friend, whom the adults and other children would not be able to understand.
――Releasing my ear from his chest, we each went back to our rooms.
When we parted ways, Lute-kun asked me.
“Should we sleep together tonight, after all?”
“Lute-kun is ecchi~~.”
Boys sure say ecchi things right away!
We finally had a good mood going, too――I thought as I angrily returned to the girls’ room.
“… but that was a bit of a shame, wasn’t it?”
My face flares up hot and not aware of it, my tail shakes.
I slip into my futon In a hurry so that I’m not noticed by everyone.
The next day, I found out that Lute-kun had sold the rights to reversi and other toys to a merchant and earned a huge amount of money.