Chapter 012 Snow – Part 2
Lute-kun had sold the rights to reversi and other toys to Malton-san the merchant and was in a daze, having bought some magic device called “magic liquid metal” from him.
Magic liquid metal――We had been taught in our lessons that it was an item gained after defeating monsters called metal slimes.
Magic liquid metal is metal with a trace of magic power, and it had the properties of taking shape of the image when touching it while imagining armor in one’s head.
On top of having limited use and being hard to handle, it seems it was expensive for being a magic device.
It was something synonymous with the term “unpopular item”.
He bought that kind of thing for a lot of money.
The world’s opinion of Lute-kun further fell――from “strange kid” to “creepy kid”.
Not even noticing that people around him were taking their distance, he gleefully took the magic liquid metal and continuously experimented, saying “not like this”, “not like that”.
Unskillful but intelligent, full of curiosity, and having lots of energy he put whatever interests him into practice. He was just as I previously thought.
I don’t understand what he’s doing, but…… I thought, “As his only childhood friend, I should look after him”.
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Lute-kun and I, age 6.
This year I came to somewhat understand what Lute-kun was making.
I saw him making something that looks like a “metal tube with a handle?”, and when I asked him about it, he cheerfully explained.
Lute-kun says that it’s a magic device called a “gun”.
He had gone and developed his own original magic device!
Of course, I was amazed, and my head became dizzy.
Certainly, Lute-kun did make toys that everyone enjoys.
But toys and magic devices are two entirely different things.
Even if they made a house out of toy blocks, there is no one that would think that they made a real castle all by themselves.
To make an original magic device, he would need high-grade materials, magic knowledge, lots of money, and plenty of time.
There are lots of stories of magicians destroying themselves, and countries depleting their treasuries in order to develop a magic device, and yet…
Lute-kun who was smarter than me should have known this.
People’s opinion of him changed from “creepy kid” to “pitiful kid who does not have talent for magic but could not face the reality”.
Lute-kun himself was puzzled that “recently, the aunties helping out at the orphanage had been strangely kind, giving me sweets and all”, he didn’t notice at all.
Thickheaded as always, he continued on with the development of magic devices without noticing his surroundings.
The part when the “gun” that Lute-kun made caused a problem, was at the beginning of summer.
The day when the sun’s rays start becoming harsh.
I was weak against the hot sun because of my racial traits.
I was idling away in the afternoon in the shade of the girls’ room after having finished all my work.
The other girls were playing reversi or having a chat…….
It was a sight I was so used to seeing.
I was falling into a doze, and started to close my eyes.
Just when I was going to fall asleep, I heard a sound like a bolt of thunder.
The sleepiness vanished as if it had been a lie.
“Wha, what was that loud noise just now! Hii……!?”
And then, Elle-sensei’s shriek.
All of us heard the sound and ran to the backyard, Elle-sensei rushed over to the crouching Lute-kun.
We all gasped.
Lute-kun was holding his hand in pain, but there was a smile on his face.
It was a very mismatched scene, with blood all over his face.
The kids who were weak of heart started crying, even fainting on the spot.
The wreck of the magic device that was the source of the sound was still emitting a faint smoke.
“Everyone, don’t come! The older kids please take the young ones inside!”
Sensei had noticed us, and gave out her instructions.
Everyone immediately obeyed, and the older kids took the younger ones back inside the orphanage.
I wanted to stay there because I was worried for Lute-kun, but an older girl forcibly took my hand and led me back inside.
There was a little bit of time before bed, the topic of discussion in the girls’ room was all about Lute-kun.
It seems that the cause of the incident was magic power running amok in the middle of magic device development.
Lute-kun’s injuries were no problem thanks to Elle-sensei’s healing magic.
And as punishment for the uproar this time, he was sentenced to a 30 day ban on experiments and doing punishment work.
Ignoring what the other girls say, I recalled the words Sensei once said.
“There are those who still spend great effort even though they understand that they have no talent as magicians. Especially boys, among them there are those who do not accept reality, and get their hands on dangerous magic devices, then lose their lives”
Maybe Lute-kun is one of those people.
If that’s the case, then as a childhood friend, I had to put him back on the right path!
With the misdirected worry “for Lute-kun’s sake!”, I vowed to make Lute-kun into a good and honest person.
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Lute-kun and I, age 7.
The hot summer had passed, it’s the beginning of fall.
Ever since I turned 7, I had been joining the magician’s basic classes that Elle-sensei opens in the afternoons.
At the beginning, rather than magic practice, it was harsh weight training, running to build up strength, hand-to-hand fighting, and swordplay.
But after half a year had passed, we got used to it and became able to handle it easily.
Today after lunch, we gather in the backyard of the orphanage to move our bodies.
The ones taking the class were 2 first years, 1 second year, and me as the only half-year, for a total of 4.
All are girls, they received sensei’s lessons happily.
One day before the beginning of class, I looked outside the window.
I noticed a person who carried luggage come out of the backyard.
When I called out to him and waved my hand he stopped.
Lute-kun was wearing a hard leather belt with the magic device he made himself, hanging from its right hand side.
In his hands he holds a little barrel and on top of it is a box made of metal.
When the children of the orphanage become 7 they leave for the city to do simple work.
One part of that money goes to the orphanage and the remaining will be put aside for the future.
Originally, Lute-kun was also supposed to go out to work nowadays, but he alone was stopped from working by Elle-sensei.
When Lute-kun was 5 years old, he had sold the rights to “reversi” and other toys and gained a considerable sum of money and donated it to the orphanage.
The reason Lute-kun was prohibited from working was because if he earns any more money the other kids are going to lose their motivation.
So in the mornings he would help Elle-sensei with classes, and in the afternoons he would do experiments with that dangerous magic device by the river.
I reflexively scowled at the magic device hanging from his waist.
“Lute-kun is going to experiment on magic devices again today?”
“Experiments were mostly finished back in summer. Now it’s mostly practice.”
Ever since the magic device explosion incident, I had been coming over to him to say that I wanted him to stop with the magic device experiments, but he evaded the issue and continued.
I had thought of throwing away his magic device without him noticing several times, but….
I didn’t do it because there is an orphanage rule saying “Other people’s belongings are not to be tampered with or thrown away”.
I was so worried about him, but he just laughed nonchalantly…
“If you like, I can let you touch it. If you try shooting it you will definitely appreciate this magic device’s awesomeness.”
“It’s fine. I don’t want to touch such a dangerous toy. Lute-kun also, stop carelessly making strange toys.”
“It’s okay already, that blunder won’t happen again. I’ve made it nice and safe, see.”
…. without understanding people’s feelings….
“Anyway, be careful okay. I’m fine since I have sensei next to me, but Lute-kun doesn’t. Don’t do anything reckless.”
“Yeah yeah, I get it. Well then, Snow too, do your best in class”
With just the right timing, Sensei showed up and called out to everyone.
“Well then everyone, let’s begin magician’s basic lessons”
“See you later, Lute-kun. Take care.”
“See you later.”
Once again Lute-kun walked towards the riverside.
I saw him off, looking at his back with an uneasy expression.
But my worries and Lute-kun’s bad reputation were completely changed when he solved an incident.
That incident was……
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Afternoon of that day, evening.
Because preparations for dinner were finished I went to call Lute-kun.
He was at the so called test firing range, after leaving the backyard of the orphanage and walking 10 minutes along the riverbed you would locate that spot 100m downstream.
At the riverbed were several children of the town playing in the water.
“Its already late, you should soon go home.”
They answered energetically but the children showed no signs of going home.
After calling out to Lute-kun I decided in my heart that I would speak to him again.
I called out to him as he was just tidying up and waved my hand.
He raised his hand with a smile and returned to tidying up.
So that he doesn’t let me wait he moves his hand faster than previously.
I was surprised at the scream from behind me and looked back, the children who played at the riverbed started running away immediately.
On the other side of the river goblins were overflowing out of the forest entrance like an avalanche!
15 of them.
That’s! I have never heard about goblins in the forest!
But the reality was before my eyes.
Its real even if I deny that fact.
I start to forcibly rearrange my confused thoughts.
The goblins are faster than imagined. At this rate they will catch up with some children. However I’m a magician apprentice, I have to protect Lute-kun and the children.
I used my magic power to near the limit at the afternoon magic classes, but since I rested, it recovered fairly well.
Until Elle-sensei comes I need to hold out.
The first fight to kill each other―― it would be a lie if I would say I was not scared, but more than that I have the strength to protect them all and a sense of duty rises up in me.
While I resolved myself, one of the children fell down in the escape and didn’t move anymore.
In a hurry I rushed over to her.
No external wounds except the bruise from falling down. There was faint breathing too.
There was no problem.
Since there is no time for treating her, I cover her behind my back.
I spread out both arms and concentrate magic power in my palms.
Dance in my hands, sword of ice! Ice Sword!
In both hands appeared a one meter ice sword, conjured through magic.
It`s a attack magic of the ice magic system.
I threw it at the two closest goblins who were coming near me.
The ice sword with the speed of a gale pierces into a goblin who wears tattered armour and holds a knife.
The other one stabbed into a goblin who was preparing to shoot an arrow―but the ice sword just missed the moment when the arrow was let loose.
The arrow flies straight at my chest.
At that moment I couldn’t even blink―
It will pierce the child behind me if I dodge. After half a year’s training I’m not able to raise a resistance formation in an instant.
I thought in an instant. Together with the arrow, death approaches.
I was careless.
As I myself can kill the opponent, the opponent can kill me too.
Goblins aren’t targets for practice.
――I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die! I really don’t want to die!
I cried desperately in my mind.
However the arrow flies straight at my chest as it was connected by a thread.
Even now, Lute-kun’s voice sounded far away, as if from the other side of the clouds―
Simultaneously the arrow which flew at me was shattered in the middle and was scattered to the day after tomorrow.
I saw how Lute-kun raised his fist and shouted in joy.
As they heard the shout and the explosive sound, the assault of the oncoming goblins stopped.
As I was released from the danger of death, my hips grew weak and I sat down on the spot.
In that interval Lute-kun came running over to face off against the goblins to protect me.
I was about to tell gratitude towards his back but,
“Lu, Lute-kun, t, tha—―”
“Never mind the thanks, Snow you hold her close and absolutely don’t move from here!”
According to his instructions, I held the fainted child close in order to protect her.
Lute-kun turned the magic tool that caused the explosion towards the goblins.
Once again, the magic device made the explosive sound like when it broke the arrow.
Simultaneously in the nearest goblin’s head was a small hole.
The goblin fell like a puppet whose strings were cut, in the river.
Lute-kun let the explosive sound resound again 4 times.
In an instant 4 goblins had a similar hole in the head and collapsed.
But the goblins still had an overwhelming advantage in numbers.
Frenzied, they kicked up a splash and attacked once again.
A roar with killing intent strikes my skin.
I let a little scream out only I could hear.
And yet Lute-kun just like a veteran hero calmly fumbled with his magic tool ―― And pointed the magic tool again at the flood of goblins.
In a stance like a sculpture, he calmly killed the goblins in an instant.
A goblin holding a wooden shield hid behind his shield, but the magic device Lute-kun invented made a hole in his head as if the shield wasn’t there.
In about 6 seconds from the 8 goblins at the start, 2 remained.
The two understood their unfavorable situation and turned their back and flew at full speed to the woods.
Lute-kun tampered again with the magic device and carefully watched the goblins flee to the entrance to the forest.
I wonder how much time had passed.
…… it doesn’t seem like the goblins will be coming back.
As the strength left Lute-kuns shoulder he hurriedly turned around.
“Snow are you injured? Does it hurt anywhere!”
Without even a shred of his earlier veteran hero-like battle presence, there was only my childhood friend, worrying about me.
That was the Lute-kun I knew well.
“Lute-kun I’m scared! Lute-kun……!”
I put the fainted child gently on the ground and instinctively clung to Lute-kun.
Because our height isn’t different, I buried my face in his neck.
Lute-kun didn’t mind becoming dirty from my tears and gently stroked my head many, many times.
I can really calm down in Lute-kun’s arms.
Like the night of that day, I listened to the beating of his warmth, and the fear for my life and first battle―all the negative emotions melted away like the snow in spring.
aah, so is it ――
*thump*, with my feet on the ground, I was convinced.
The thing that I, who was thrown away, always wanted. The place I must return to…… it’s into Lute-kun’s arms.
When I realized, my body became hot.
My whole self yelled:
“The reason I was born into this world was to meet――with him.”
This is the feeling of ‘falling in love’.
With maddening desire boiling up, I muttered that inside of my heart.
“Snow is admirable. Even when you’re scared, you stayed behind so everyone can get away…… you’re really great.”
Lute-kun comforted me, who was only holding him back.
My chest was sweetly strangled by his kindness until it hurts.
I can’t just stay silent.
“Lute-kun too, thank you, you protected Snow and the kids. Thanks……”
We said our thanks to each other.
For some reason Lute-kun put on a smile as if getting a little bit of peace of mind.
Afterwards, the kids that fled earlier sought Elle-sensei’s help, and she rushed over—until then, Snow and I kept on hugging, as if confirming each other’s warmth.
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After the goblin attack incident, people’s opinion of Lute-kun totally changed.
Until now, he was the “poor kid who didn’t have talent in magic, but couldn’t face reality”, but because of this incident, it changed to “genius who didn’t have talent in magic, but compensated for it with magic devices”.
Not even minding such opinions from people, Lute-kun made a difficult face and started making a new magic device.
I unintentionally smiled faintly at his usual carefree attitude.
And then, Lute-kun and I turned 8.
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An afternoon I spent rather relaxedly, after the summer’s climax has passed.
After magician’s basic class had ended, I hurriedly ran to the test firing range.
My beloved childhood friend was putting his hands in a small cask, he was in the middle of making some cartridges.
Without holding back, I clung to his back.
“Lute-kun, sorry to make you wait!”
“Didn’t I tell you already, it’s dangerous if you suddenly cling to me like that. Also stop sniffing me. I reek of sweat, right?”
“Not at all! You smell really nice! *sniff sniff*”
“Stop sniffing already, it tickles.”
Before I know it, it had become our usual conversation.
Lute-kun breathed a sigh of resignation, and gently patted my head.
His hand felt really good, and before I realized, my tail was already happily wagging left and right.
Again and again, Lute-kun’s expression changed back and forth between wanting to hug me close, and not hugging me close.
Finally, as if shaking something off, he gripped my shoulders and pushed me off.
“W, well then, let’s start practice. Hey, Snow, let go”
“I want to hug harder, just a little more.”
I put strength into my arms, and Lute-kun made a weird sound.
“Th, that should be enough, no? If we cling like this any further we’ll have no time for practice.”
“Lute-kun is stingy.”
“Yeah yeah, stingy is fine. Here, the gunbelt. Put the cylinder in yourself.”
He bluntly handed me the gunbelt wrapped around his waist.
“It was on him until just now, so it should be smelling of fresh sweat, but of course, sniffing would be rude”, I thought as I received it.
While chanting in my heart “patience, patience”, I skillfully wrapped it around myself.
After the goblin incident, I also started practicing how to handle the magic device Lute-kun made.
He accepted, saying that I can use it for self-defense when I run out of magic power.
I took the revolver, and pushed the cylinder out.
I took some 9×29.5mmR bullets from the remaining wooden boxes, and put them in.
Raising my body abilities with body strengthening, I fired at the human shapes on the cliffs.
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As the evening falls we finished tidying up and went back to the orphanage hand in hand.
Just now I stole a glance at Lute-kun’s face that was illuminated by the setting sun.
All the children in the orphanage have to leave when they turn 10, no exceptions.
As for me, I plan on enrolling into a magic school.
Lute-kun and I are both 8 years old.
It’s an age where we should soon think of our careers.
I wonder what Lute-kun plans to do….
Every once in a while, he looks far away much unlike someone his age.
What Lute-kun is thinking, what he is going to do, not even I, the closest childhood friend to him, knows.
So I sometimes become afraid.
Surely Lute-kun is going to accomplish something.
Maybe something even the 5 great race heroes couldn’t do, I think he’s going to do something amazing like that.
The fact that he could make a magic device stronger than magic at 7 years old is proof above all.
For an ordinary person like me, it’s hard to be at his side, I suppose.
Even though my feelings of “I like him” “I love him” won’t lose to anyone.
If we leave the orphanage as we are now, the connection between Lute-kun and I will end just like this.
After that, I don’t think we’re ever going to cross paths again―even though I’m supposed to return to his arms.
As I thought that, my body became cold, as if being suddenly thrown naked to some snowy mountain.
I want to stay at his side.
In whatever way possible.
If I can be selfish, I want to connect Lute-kun’s blood with the next generation in my belly.
I want to bear his child.
Seeking the strongest bonds over all relations, that’s the instinct of a white wolf.
I’m surely going to love that child more than myself.
“Lute-kun what will you do when you become 10?”
I resolved myself and asked him about his plans after graduation.
“As I thought, you’re going to Malton-san’s place to run a toy store?”
“No, that’s not it.”
Lute-kun said that without wavering.
“I was thinking of going on a journey when I turn 10. Then… If I can, I want to help people in trouble or in need of help.”
“Why do you want to do that?”
Receiving an unexpected answer, I reflexively asked again.
He hesitated―then opened his mouth to talk.
“Last year I helped Snow right? That time, I felt that helping others is something worth doing.”
“If that’s so, then Snow will go on a journey with Lute-kun!”
“Snow will go to school when you turn 10, right? Then you will become a splendid magician and go to the north continent to look for your parents, that was your dream, right?”
“If I’m with Lute-kun, I can go to the north continent the way I am now.”
It doesn’t matter if I don’t enter a magic school, as long as I can be with my beloved Lute-kun.
But hearing my remarks, Lute-kun made a very sad face.
“I would be happy to be together with Snow. But, Snow has talent to become a magician. I don’t want to be with Snow so much as to eat away Snow’s talent. I don’t want to become a burden for Snow.”
It’s sad, but what he said was right.
No matter how much I say I love him, I don’t want to eat away at his talent, I don’t want to be holding him back. Just staying together with him against his will, that wouldn’t mean anything.
“I like him” “I love him”―just that feeling alone doesn’t allow me to stay by his side.
Of course I had to become stronger, at least so I don’t become a burden.
Because of that, I have no choice but to go to a magic school.
But if I separate from Lute-kun just like that….
Once again I was struck by fear.
The fear of being separated from Lute-kun just as childhood friends, and not being able to meet him again.
I don’t want that! I want to always be with Lute-kun!
I wiped my rising tears with my finger.
I stopped my feet and released my hands, then turned around to face Lute-kun.
Miraculously, that place is exactly where I was attacked by goblins, and where he saved me.
I summoned my courage, and told him the feelings I always wanted to say.
I clasped my hands on my chest, mustered courage and raised my voice.
“There is something…… I’ve always wanted to tell Lute-kun.”
He probably had guessed, and faced me with a serious look.
I mustered my courage with all my might, putting all my feelings as it is, and shouted.
“Snow…… Please make Snow into Lute-kun’s “sex slave”!”