Tales of Translations

Click here to edit subtitle

Dawn of the New World Novel: Hatenai Omoi
by Sara Yajima

Colette Brunel

Fine grains of sand, mingling with the wind, created a grating sound. Colette Brunel recognized the faint creak that they caused.


It’s morning already…


She turned her attention to outside, which was still only a little bit bright, and, rising from her bed, opened the window.


From her neck, the sharply cold air slowly moved along her.It was a cold one wouldn’t expect from a town called “the flower of the desert.” Since the World Regeneration, the abnormal weather had been continuingon in various places, but here in Triet, the coldness had been growing worseday by day.


The climate was such that people were even willing to boil the water of the oasis, which had been more delicious than any other drinkunder the scorching heat of the sun, in order to warm themselves.


Colette sneezed softly, tensing her body.


Lloyd…You’re not cold,are you?


As Colette hastily closed the window, her eyes searched her field of vision for Lloyd Irving. However, he was nowhere to be found.


You didn’t return last night either…Where could you have gone, Lloyd?


Colette let out a heavy sigh.


Maybe I’ll try waiting just one more day, she thought.


If, just if, he doesn’t return today, I’ll leave here early tomorrow and temporarily try going back to Iselia.


Having decided this, sleepiness assailed her once more. For the sake of getting at least a little rest, she again laid down in bed.


While listening to the faint creaking of the sands as if it were the sound of her own heart, Colette closed her eyes.


In order to search for and collect Exspheres, Colette had set out with Lloyd on a journey around the world.


Exspheres were inorganic life forms that existed around the world before the Regeneration. Those equipped with them would extend the limits of their abilities, but if they made one mistake, that human would be turned into a monster. But even more than that danger, when they thought about how Exspheres were produced  at places called ranches by using the people forced into labor there as food for them, Colette and Lloyd were driven on by the feeling that they had to hurry and do something, even a little.


In the middle of their journey, they had rented a room here in Triet at just past noon the day before yesterday.


Lloyd was always together with Noishe, whom he claimed that was a dog, denying that he was an ancient creature, and he’d tied him to the back entrance, making sure he had plenty of water, after which he had a late lunch in the dining hall.


After this, as they always did, the two of them walked around town to search for Exspheres.


While being careful of the cracks and protuberances rising from the ground that could be seen in any town, they looked around all of the houses in the vicinity until evening.


“Hey, Lloyd, if I remember correctly, weren’t there a lot of tents around here?”


“Ah, the street stalls, right?”


Turning his gaze to the sandy soil at which Colette was pointing, Lloyd nodded.


“I’ve left Noishe with the man whose shop was here before. If I remember correctly, after that, I was captured by Desians…”


“You’re talking about the time when it was just you and Genis, right?”


Colette smiled.


“That’s right, he pretended to be just a kid and was able to get away by himself. Of course, it was just part of his strategy,” Lloyd said with a laugh 

“At that time, we’d just started our journey. I don’t know if I should call it nostalgic or not though…”


“Really, so many things have happened. Things happened, and even this place has changed like this.”


Colette fixedly gazed at the area in which the tents affixed to the shops had been lined up. Now it was just yellow sand, the blowing wind creating spirals the only thing that moved.


“Now, let’s save the serious work for tomorrow and return to the inn for now, okay? Noishe is probably hungry by now anyway.”


“Okay. We’re always on the move, so I’d like to sleep well tonight.”


Colette said this, and the two headed back in the direction of the inn.


When they passed through the inn’s entrance, the owner was, for some reason, unpacking some luggage.


“Oh, welcome back.”


The owner shrugged his shoulders, and pointed to the piled up boxes.


“What’s this?” Colette asked.


“They’re things for protecting against the cold. Like long-sleeved clothes and fuel. I’ve been thinking about selling them here.”


“Oh, really?”


Of his own accord, Lloyd peeked into the boxes and picked up a warm-looking wool jacket.


“Good grief, to think that day has come where we need long sleeves here. The cold means additional expenses. I wonder if we’ll have to raise prices here.”


“Ehhh, that would be a problem.”


Lloyd returned the gloves, and the owner burst into laughter.


“Hahaha. The two of you are still alright. As things are, that’ll only happen if it goes so far as snowing.”


“Thank goodness~”


Colette laughed, as the owner added “Oh, now I think about it…”


Saying this, he went to the reception desk counter and took out a sealed letter.


“Would you happen to be Lloyd? Lloyd, erm, Irving?”


“That’s me,” Lloyd replied to the owner, who was reading the address, and extended his hand. “Did someone come for us?”


“This came while you were out. The one carrying it was just a delivery boy though.”


“Is that so? Thanks.”


Lloyd turned the envelope over, and his expression suddenly became thoughtful. Colette peered at the envelope, and said, tilting her head, “The sender’s name isn’t written here.”


“Yeah. But if we open it we’ll know who sent it. More importantly, sorry, but could you go check on Noishe for me?”


“Okay,” Colette said, nodding. She watched Lloyd’s back as he went ahead of her, taking the stairs to get back to their room, thinking that he must want to take his time reading the letter. They were childhood friends, but, to a certain degree, they’d always naturally put some distance between them.


 Colette took the kitchen’s leftovers, which she had received from the owner and headed to the back entrance. Then, she turned to Noishe, who was wagging his tail in anticipation, and broke into a run.


“Ah!”


She tripped over a water-filled bucket that had been sticking out.


“Oh no! It spilled!”


She turned to Noishe and laughed. “Hehehe.”


Through the night, there wasn’t anything particularly unusual about Lloyd, Colette recalled. She’d confirmed it with herself over and over again.


After that, she she fed Noishe and replaced his water with fresh water, then returned to her room.


Lloyd was probably already done reading the letter at that point. She hadn’t found the envelope, and hadn’t inquired about it.


“Noishe was hungry, like you thought.”


“That so?”


Lloyd smiled pleasantly.


“I’d planned to save a bit of lunch for him, but I wound up eating it all. I definitely don’t forget his meals when we’re camping though.”


“Yeah. We all eat together then.”


Colette remembered the light of the bonfire, which illuminated Noishe’s beautiful and soft coat of light-green fur, and smiled.


“Really, it would be nice if he could stay in a room here with us as well.”


“Wouldn’t that…cause a lot of problems, for a number of reasons?”


Colette gave a forced laugh and said, “I guess so. After all, staying here with such a big dog isn’t possible.”


Lloyd readily nodded in agreement.


After a short while, the two ate dinner and then decided to go to bed early, as they had talked about doing during the day.


In her normal state, Colette likely wouldn’t have missed the sounds of Lloyd going out in the middle of the night. However, on that night she was exhausted, and the sound of the cold wind which blew fiercely throughout the night must have eliminated the noise made by Lloyd, so Colette didn’t hear him.


-


When Colette woke up early in the morning, the figure of Lloyd, who should have been sleeping in the bed next to her’s, had disappeared. She considered that he may have gone for a walk, but Lloyd hardly ever got up earlier than Colette. When they were leaving, he always slept until the last minute, and then ate breakfast as if he was shoveling it into his mouth.


 Maybe he’s with Noishe?


 When Colette exited the inn, she tried going around to the backdoor.


 “He’s not here…”


 There was only the post which Noishe had been tied to, standing on the desolate surface.


Maybe they went for a walk together…But it’s awfully cold


At that moment, a lone boy’s voice called out to her.


“Is something wrong?”


Surprised, Colette turned to face the source of the voice, a boy of about ten, whose neck was craned up at her. “You’ve been staring reeeaaally intensely at that post for a while.”


“Oh…ah…Have I really been looking at it like that the whole time?”


Colette laughed awkwardly.


“Well. There had been a dog…no, a large animal here. Have you seen it?” she asked the boy.


“You mean the blue and green thing that was here yesterday afternoon?”


“Yes, that’s right! You know him?”


The boy gave an enthusiastic nod of confirmation.


“Yeah, since I’ve been staying near here for a bit now. I’m Tegu,” he said, puffing out his chest proudly.


“Tegu?”


“Right. I think, a long time ago, I used to have a long name like Kurategusu though…”


“Oh?”


Without thinking, Colette became interested, and she peered at Tegu’s face.


“My mom went missing during the World Regeneration, and my dad died two months ago. Mom and Dad always called me Tegu, so I went with that.”


“It’s a nice name. Nice to meet you, Tegu. My name’s Colette.”


Colette introduced herself, and Tegu grinned broadly.


“Heee. Big sister, your name’s the same as the Chosen of Regeneration.”


“Ah, right…”


“We both have names that are kind of troublesome for us, huh?”


“Hahaha.”


Colette and Tegu exchanged glances and laughed.


“And? Is something wrong with that animal? When I got here, it was already gone.”


“I see. Then as I though, Lloyd…”


“Lloyd?” Tegu questioned. “You mean the Lloyd that’s staying here?”


“That’s right. Why’d you know that? 


“Yesterday, I was wandering around here when I was asked to deliver a letter to the reception desk here”


“So that’s how.”


So the delivery boy that the inn’s owner had mentioned was Tegu, Colette thought.


Huh…By any chance, could there be some connection between that letter and Lloyd’s departure?


“What kind of person asked you to deliver it?”


“Hmmm…He was definitely older and taller than me, and…He left right away, so I don’t remember too well, but I think he was wearing a mantle. He must have been cold. As for his face…nope, I can’t remember.”


“I see…”


Colette sighed slightly, having failed to gain the most essential points from the explanation.


“So, who’s Lloyd?”


Tegu looked directly at Colette.


“He’s someone I was travelling with. The animal that was here earlier is Noishe, Lloyd’s pet. It looks like they may have gone for a walk this morning, and now neither of them are here.”


“Oh, so that’s it. Big sister, you’ve been left behind, so you’re in shock."


Tegu laughed, but then suddenly became startled.


“Oh, no! This isn’t the time for me to be talking about this!”


“W-what’s wrong?”


“Until Lloyd and Noishe return, could you give me a hand?”


“Sure, that’s fine.”


Tegu stared with a bit of wonder at Colette, who had agreed without listening to what he had to say, but he pointed towards a wooden boxes a little way away, near the back door. It was large enough that it would likely be an armful, even for an adult.


“Look at that. Those are my important business tools.”


Tegu had inherited his father’s business as a peddler, and about five months ago, he’d acquired the wooden box and come to Triet, he said. Because the home of the acquaintance, another merchant, he was staying with was narrow, he had asked the inn’s owner to let him keep his luggage in the backyard.


“Late last night, I learned that the town where the deal is supposed to take place was changed. So that’s why I thought I’d leave here quickly, and I came to pick my stuff up, but-“


“That’s a really huge box. Is it too heavy for you to carry?”


“Don’t be stupid! There’s no baggage I can’t carry!”


Tegu, indignantly brandishing his arms with their not yet fully developed muscles, suddenly made a very child-like expression.


“It froze over during the night,” he said, hanging his head.


“…You’re right. That is a lot of ice."


Colette stooped over, and observed that the box was covered with white ice.


“But since it’s just the bottom that’s frozen, can’t you just open the lid?”


“That won’t work. This box is opened from the bottom. It works like a lid.”


Certainly, the ice swelling up from the ground surrounded the perimeter of the box. Like this, neither using the box, nor taking the contents out would be possible.


“What’s inside it?”


“That’s a secret. I don’t know where I might meet a business rival, after all,” Tegu said. “Oh, but yesterday, Noishe may have figured it out, just a little. It was right at snack time, and he was barking while drooling,” he remembered, laughing.


“Thanks. So it’s food then.”


“Oh, drat.”


Tegu’s face quickly turned red, but his expression immediately changed to angry.


“Some idiot spilled water everywhere. It’s this cold, so be careful! And then it froze over night!”


“So that’s it…Huh?”


Colette alternated between looking at the back door and the wooden box, then hung her head.


If I’m not mistaken, there was a bucket near the back door yesterday…


“Oh! That was me!”


“Eh?”


Tegu was surprised by Colette, who had suddenly shouted.


“About the water, that was me. I’m the one who spilled the water, during the evening. I tripped over a bucket that was here…But I didn’t know that your luggage was here, so I left it as it was…I’m sorry.”


“What…So it was seriously you, big sister?”


Looking like he no longer knew where to direct the brunt of his anger, Tegu began counting on his fingers while muttering.


“What should I do? Even if I run really quickly…If I don’t leave here in two days, I won’t make it in time…”


“I’m really sorry,” Colette said, bowing her head. “I’m going to go borrow something from the owner of the inn, like a hammer or a pickaxe…”


“No, don’t!”


With incredible speed, Tegu grabbed hold of Colette’s arm.


“If you use something like that, won’t the box get damaged? I’m a pro, so my countermeasures against impacts and water damage are perfect, but I’ll be int trouble if the box is gone.”


“In that case, what should…”


“That’s what I was thinking about when you came."


“O-oh, I see.”


Colette crouched down in front of the box and tried pushing gently. As she expected, it didn’t budge.


“Breaking it’s no good, but shaking or tilting it and getting it wet’s okay, right?”


Thinking this was like a puzzle, Colette considered the matter. After a while, she said, “Since getting it wet’s okay, then don’t we just have to pour hot water on it?”


Saying this, she looked up at Tegu, who nodded.


“You’re right. Then let’s split up, and bring back water. I’m going to go eat breakfast.”


After seeing off the boy, who went from a half-run into a sprint, Colette stood up.


Breakfast…He’ll come back for food, at least.


She hurried back to the room at the inn. There was no evidence that Lloyd had returned. After that, she once again went down to the first floor, and peeked into the dining hall. Already, preparations for breakfast had finished, and travelers who would be departing early in the morning were seated, but, as expected, there was no sign of Lloyd.


Geez, Lloyd, what are you doing?


Throughout the morning, she’d been anticipating telling Lloyd about the obstruction to their search for Exspheres, but it couldn’t be helped. She had to get ready before Tegu returned. Feeling mildly irritated, she entered the kitchen in order to get some hot water.


On the afternoon of that day, on which she went to town to look for Lloyd, she wound up passing all but a few hours with Tegu.


Around the perimeter of the box, they sprinkled hot water – Tegu had gone to borrow a large kettle – and little by little, the ice melted. After this part, Colette had thought, their job would likely be over, but oddly, the places that should have melted had, before they knew it, firmly frozen.


“No matter how I think about it, this is weird, Colette.”


It was just before noon when Tegu bravely opened his mouth.


“This place was originally a desert town, right?”


“Right. It was called the flower of the desert,” Colette answered, remembering the sun shining down and the odor of the hot sand.


“When I came here before, I was a lot smaller. Still, I remember it. I was tired because of the heat, so I got my dad to carry me on his back.”


“Oof!” Tegu said, lowering the kettle to the ground before continuing. “For the first time ever, he bought me a popsicle. Because of that, my stomach got really upset.”


“Poor thing.”


Although she said this, Colette’s laugh was somewhat strange.


“That’s why a remember so much useless stuff. My stomach hurt, and it was super hot. If I remember right, it’s because of Efreet that it was so hot, right?”

“…You know a lot about it.”


Placing her hands on the box, Colette smiled.


“But then the World Regeneration happened, and a bunch of places got messed up. Natural disasters, wasn’t it? I almost fell in a crack in the ground, and also experienced a flood.”


“Yeah…”


Colette quietly cast down her eyes, so she didn’t notice as Tegu clenched his fists.


“It can’t be helped, I guess. It’s not just Triet that’s been weird. But no matter how I look at it, this spot is weird.”


“This spot?”


After Colette asked this, Tegu remained silent and pointed to the bottom of the box.


“Try looking around you, Colette. No matter how cold it is, even though there’s no ice around here, isn’t it weird that just this box stays frozen no matter what?”


“…Right.”


That certainly was the case, Colette thought.


I wonder if it’s different from normal ice…


Colette removed one of her gloves, and tried softly touching the ice with her index finger.


“Ah!”


“What is it, Colette?”


“My finger’s stuck.”


“Eh. Y-you idiot!”


In a panic, Tegu poured the hot water from the kettle onto the ice, and Colette’s finger, which had been stuck tightly to the surface, came free.


“Ahaha. Sorry. I’ve always been clumsy.”


After she said that, Tegu gave Colette a sidelong glance.


“Aren’t you just being absentminded? You’re not thinking about anything but Lloyd.”


“Ah…It’s not like that, really.”


Flustered, Colette thrust her still warm glove back onto her hand and said, “Later, I’m planning to look for Lloyd in town some more, so it’s okay. I’m going to go get some more hot water.”


Saying this, she lifted the empty pot that had been placed beside her.


-


“Waaah! This is bad, Colette!”


The next morning, Tegu’s scream woke Colette up. She’d been waiting for Lloyd, who hadn’t come back, and at last dawn had come.


Yesterday afternoon, she’d walked around town, but she didn’t see anyone who looked like Lloyd, nor was she able to gather any information on him from asking around. No word about him had reached the inn either.


“Hurry up! This is awful!”


The voice resounded from the direction of the back yard. Colette quickly got out of bed and hurried to the inn’s rear entrance. The moment she opened the door, Colette was dragged outside by Tegu, who had been lying in wait for her.


“Ouch. Good morning, Tegu.”


On account of the chilly air, her breath appeared white.


“This isn’t the time to be leisurely greeting each other. Look at that.”


“What is it….Eh, ehhhhh?”


Colette turned her eyes to the wooden box at which Tegu was looking, and let out a cry of surprise.


“Wha-what’s that? How!?”


After working on the box until evening, even to the point that they were jumpy, they’d left it alone – after making preparations for further freezing during the night – and returned to the places they were staying.


How could that be? Amounts of ice far exceeding their expectations had formed in layers upon layers, almost as if the ice had extended to wrap around the whole box.


“Why’d something like this have to happen?”


“I don’t know…”


Tegu’s initial energy having disappeared somewhere, he shook his head listlessly. But, apparently having remembered something, he raised his eyes and asked, “What about Lloyd? Did he return last night?”


Colette also shook her head.


“Is that so? Since Noishe isn’t here, I thought that could be the case.”


Turning his eyes to the post, which nothing was attached to at the moment, Tegu sighed.


“There’s no need to worry. I think some urgent matter must have come up, and he’s gone to look into it a bit. Lloyd’s not the type of person to just go off somewhere without telling me.”


Emphasizing this, Colette shook both of her clenched fists up and down.


“What are you getting so worked up for?” Suddenly laughing, Tegu said, “I get it. He’s the type of person who should come back if you wait for him.”

With this, he turned around to face the box.


“This ice looks like a flower. I think it may be kind of like a flower that my mother liked.”


“…


Tegu….Tegu’s parents won’t be coming back anymore.


Making a fuss just because Lloyd had gone out for a bit was perhaps immature, Colette contemplated. And then, as she was earnestly thinking this while watching the boy’s slender back, he suddenly turned around.


“I’ve got a feeling that this ice won’t melt. But I’ve decided that I’m going to keep trying for just one more day.”


“Of course. And I’m helping too.”


“Thanks.”


At this moment, the two spontaneously shook hands. The back door opened, and the cook’s face was peering at them. In his hands was a bundle of bacon.


“What have you been making such a fuss about since early this morning…!?


The cook spotted the cluster of ice, and, eyes widening, he walked towards Colette and Tegu.


“This is a surprise. Miss, by any chance, was it because of this that you needed so much hot water yesterday?”


“That’s right. We wanted to melt the ice with it. It wasn’t like this yesterday though…It looks like it’s just this spot that’s frozen,” Colette explained.


“Really? To see something like this in this town…I don’t know how, but it’s amazing.”


Walking around the perimeter of the ice, he looked through it to the box in the center.


“That reminds me…” he said, coming to a stop and folding her arms. “This place certainly used to be especially hot. And there was a lot of water here, right? In the blink of an eye, it would become like a boiling bath.”


“…"


Colette and Tegu exchanged glances.


From an incredibly hot place to an incredibly cold one is an extreme change.


“A guy who worked here before said that it’s Efreet’s curse, but I wonder about that. Anyway, that time aside, it’s because of that awful World Regeneration that it’s become this cold. Since then, don’t you think the world’s become so strange?”


While the cook was grumbling, a man’s voice became audible. Several of the inn’s guests were coming that way. Upon seeing the cook-


“There he is. Hey, what happened to the breakfast I ordered?”


“I’m in a hurry here.”


“Oh, oops! I’d completely forgotten that I was in the middle of cooking.”


The cook’s eyes fell to the bacon in his hands, and he turned to return to the kitchen, flustered.


At that time, a low hanging cloud was slowly moving. Soft light began to shine on the back yard where Colette and Tegu. The ice encasing the wooden box received a bit of light, and it began to sparkle lively, almost as if more and more flowers were about to open up their petals.


“Wow,  it’s like a work of art.”


“A carving….Although it looks different, did you two do this?”


“Between the two, isn’t it more like someone sculpting candy to make different objects?”


The customer’s gazes became nailed to the ice flowers.


“How…beautiful.”


Tegu’s voice, which seemed to be trembling somewhat, could be heard. Colette also nodded her head deeply.


“…Oh, a-anyway, I’m going back to work. The food will be done soon, so please wait inside.”


With an expression that made it clear he didn’t want to leave this place, the cook turned to Colette and added, “If you need any more hot water, feel free to come get some anytime.”


“Thank you.”


Colette saw the cook and the inn’s guests off, and sighed softly.


But what a waste, melting something this beautiful…No, Tegu needs to get his cargo back.


Shaking her head, Colette took a step forward in order to see the ice flowers at a close proximity once more.


“Ah, watch out! 


“!?”


Tegu screamed, and, almost simultaneously, Colette’s upper body alone moved quickly forward. The toes of her boots caught on a small protuberance of earth.


“Kyaaa~! 


Colette’s body went flying forward, towards the base of the ice flowers, and her outstretched arms thrust into them.


Crack!


The clear sound of the ice cracking reverberated through the air. On the slippery frozen ground, Colette’s body abruptly turned around, and she came to a stop there.


Ah…


Fine particles of ice  fluttered down like powdered snow onto her upwards-turned face. They sparkled brightly, softly dampening Colette.


How pretty…


“Are you okay!? Colette!”


Tegu rushed over, grabbed both of Colette’s hands, and pulled her to her feet.


“I’m okay. Ehehe, I fell over.” As Colette was standing up, she said, while flailing about in a panic, “More importantly, I’m sorry. I probably damaged the box.”

“About that, just look. Starting at the ice’s base, it’s neatly cracked. The box looks like it’s fine.”


Tegu treaded across the ice, which crunched underneath him, put his hands on the box, and with a “Heave ho!” used all his might. Upon doing this, the box that was supposed to be frozen, was easily lifted.


“Hurray! You got it!” Colettte cried.


“…Wow.”


Surprised, he began to laugh happily.


“I don’t really get it, but thanks for falling down, Colette. What was all that time we spent doing our best and pouring water on it for anyway?”


“Hehehe, that’s true.”


“Anyway, you saved me. Now my dad’s business won’t be shut down.”


Tegu put the box back down in a safe spot, and skillfully prized it open from the bottom.


“As thanks, eat this. It’s the first thing I ever made.”


He opened the package that he’d retrieved, which rustled as he did so, and let Colette take hold of a number of light red cylindrical objects.


“Ummm, what exactly are these? It’s my first time seeing them.”


“They’re hawethorn fruits. I adjusted the shape, and sprinkled a little sugar on them. They’re good.”


Colette tried nibbling a bit of the hawthorn fruit. The sweet and sour-ish taste filled her mouth.


“…Delicious.”


Smiling cheerfully, Tegu suddenly began to feel embarrassed.


“…I see. I finally understand why dad made this our featured product.”


“Hm?”


“In the language of flowers, hawthorn means ‘only one love.’ I heard it from my father countless times, but I never got what he meant.”


Only one love…


In her heart, Colette tried ruminating on this.


So that’s it. Tegu’s mother must have liked hawthorne flowers…


The flower he said the ice flowers looked like must have been that one, Colette thought.


My home in Iselia also had flowers all around it. My grandmother was really skilled at raising them. Everyone was in that village, and I was always together with Lloyd…


“Ah, you were just thinking about Lloyd!”


“N-no I wasn’t. I was thinking of something else!”


Tegu had been right on the mark, and Colette turned away, flustered.


“…Well, whatever.”


As Tegu quickly closed the box, Colette didn’t notice that his expression was a bit regretful.


“As soon as I’m done getting ready, I’m leaving this town. Colette, um…will you be okay by yourself?”


“Eh?”


Colette turned around to face Tegu, and laughed.


“Of course, I’ll be fine. I can wait by myself. After all, I think Lloyd will return really soon.”


“You’re right…Well, thanks for everything.”


“Not at all. It was my fault to begin with, really. Sorry.”


Tegu tied a rope to the box, and, with an expression that said he was used to this, shouldered the box, after which he turned his back to Colette and started walking. And then, after walking a bit away from the inn, he looked back. As if he had known that Colette had been watching him the whole time, their gazes met each other.


“About the language of flowers that we’d talked about earlier-”


“Eh?”


“Besides ‘only one love,’ the hawthorn has one other meaning in the language of flowers,” Tegu said to Colette, who had tilted her head.


“Ehhh, what it is it?”


“Hope.”


“…Hope?”


Tegu nodded yes.


“It’s not something I just made up,” he said with a laugh.


Colette was lured in, and smiled back.


“As expected of a hawthorn seller. You know a lot about them.”


“Well then, take care. I would have liked to see Noishe once more.”


Colette waved, and Tegu readily faced forward and began walking.


Although he spoke audaciously, his not yet fully-grown body was almost completely hidden by the wooden box.


May happiness be waiting in that boy’s future, Colette quietly prayed.


“Noishe!”


As soon as she saw Noishe tied up on the grasslands, Colette rushed over.


When Lloyd was in Iselia, this was where he always brought Noishe when the sun was shining.


“So really, Lloyd left by himself?”


“Kuuuun.” Noishe pressed his nose agains her, and gave a lonely-sounding bark.


Colette brought his soft head close to her cheek.


After waiting in Triet for Lloyd, who had suddenly disappeared, for three days, she headed directly for their hometown, Iselia Village, and had just gotten back a little while ago. However, according to Lloyd’s father, Dirk, as soon as he returned, he’d left Noishe in Dirk’s care and set out on a trip to somewhere. He didn’t tell where he was going, Dirk said.


I wish I’d returned here sooner!


She regretted that she’d wasted time in Triet.


“Why’d he leave without saying anything to me? He didn’t even tell me what happened!?”


With a pitiful sounding “Kuuuun….” Noishe stepped backwards.


“Ah, sorry. I’m not angry or anything. It’s okay.”


Colette gently stroked Noishe’s back.


“That’s right. I have something good.”


After searching her pocket, she pulled out the hawthorn fruit sweets.


“You also got some sweets from that child, right?”


“Woof,” Noishe responded excitedly.


“You can eat it. We’ll split it in half, okay?”


Colette broke the treat in half, and let Noishe eat part. After that, she stared fixedly at the remaining half in the palm of her hand.


Lloyd…Even though I wanted to give this to Lloyd…


“That’s right…If he’s not here, I just need to go to wherever he is – I don’t know where in this world he went, but I’m going to go search for Lloyd.”


Having swalled the hawthorn, Noishe raised his head, and was just about to sit down in the green grass.


“You’re worn out, huh? Take it easy and watch over things here.”


Colette sat down against Noishe’s side, and said, “Hey, did you know? In the language of flowers, hawthorn means – “


She put her lips close to those long ears, and spoke one of the meanings that the boy had told her.

Translated by Arrowlad