Editors: sleepchaser, con
After cleaning the pot, the young boy poured me a cup of black tea. It seemed like he treated me as a “visitor.”
We sat across from each other at the table in the living room.
“I’m sorry. Even though you specially came to visit us, my father is out at the moment.”
“He went beyond the bridge.”
My heart lurched at his words. Since the “bridge” had already been built here, that meant there was a way to leave this world. That’s how it was.
I made sure not to let anything show on my face, and took a sip of tea. It was bitter.
“I see. I’m sorry, but you don’t mind if I wait here until he comes back, right?”
Anyway, let’s meet Sig from this timeline and explain the situation. If I asked him about this child, I could finally figure out what had actually happened as well.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
The child who looked just like Sig nodded at my words. His face looked a little more relaxed than it had when we first met.
“Yo mbegrf sbe mjc. Glv sbe wjxf j qgbwlrf klat ojatfg abvjs? …Cmaejiis, tf vlvc’a gfjiis qijc ab ub bearlvf, yea j ibcu alwf tjv qjrrfv rlcmf wbatfg gfaegcfv. Lf kjr kbgglfv jcv kfca ab qlmx wbatfg eq, jcv abiv wf atja atfs kbeiv yf yjmx lc atf fnfclcu.”
“P rff, fnfclcu, tet…” P cbvvfv, atfc lctjifv j delfa ygfjat.
Just now, this child definitely said “a long time had passed since mother returned.” That meant…
Giant tomatoes rolled on the ground. Their size was no match for the strawberries I had seen before. Although the insides were hollow, it was hard to lift because of the amount of juice inside.
With the sun already passing its zenith, we used a wheelbarrow to pile up the red fruits in a corner of the field.
“Thank you for helping me, Asha.”
“It’s nothing. Just waiting is boring anyway, and it’s hard to tidy this up alone, right?”
To be precise, there was one person and one animal, but the fluffy yellow squirrel couldn’t help at all. It jumped around the field happily, sometimes clinging onto us and getting in the way of our work. But its cuteness was relaxing.
I introduced myself as “Ashiya” to Sig’s young son. When he pronounced it, the name turned into “Asha” because of his lisping, and I felt a little strange.
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this… I’m not as good as my mother with this,” the young boy explained while hiding behind the tomato, his voice so soft it was about to disappear.
As I thought, these giant tomatoes were a failure. This area was probably full of the high-calorie soil that the cultivating worms didn’t like. He chose the wrong place to plant the vegetables.
It was as if I were seeing a version of myself from a little while ago, and I laughed, carrying the impression that I was his senior in my heart. “It’s okay, you just have to learn little by little. I think even your mother relied on trial and error to get where they are.”
The boy listened to my words seriously and replied with a small nod. What a serious and honest child. How cute. Was Sig also like this as a child…?
“He went to pick mother up.”
If I kept myself busy with physical labor, I didn’t have to think about unnecessary things.
Ever since I’d heard about this young boy’s “mother,” my position had become complicated. Where was the future me now? What had happened since then…? In my mind zipped through countless possibilities, but I couldn’t arrive at a satisfactory answer.
So I stopped thinking.
“Asha, please use this for insect repellent.” The young boy handed me a long stick. It seemed like Sig also taught this child to fight with bojutsu.
“Ah, thank you. You’re really a great help.”
What was important was that “a new life” had already begun in this miniature garden.
There was a father, a mother, and a cute son. A family of three that lived in peace. I didn’t want to put a damper on this happiness.
I swallowed the sigh that was about escape my throat, and told myself over and over again this: if he’s happy, then it’s all good.
“You sure were close with my father,” the young boy said all of a sudden. I didn’t know how to respond to him.
This was right after I had repelled the armoured centipede. The young boy made a strange face when he saw me using the same type of “bojutsu” as Sig. I told him about Sig teaching me, and he seemed to have concluded that I was close with Sig.
“…It’s something that happened a long time ago.”
The young boy stared at my face and kept silent.
As I tilted my head with a confused smile, he said with a serious face, “I’m sorry. It’s just that… my father has never talked about you before.”
I completely didn’t expect that.
This child had never heard of me from Sig. Of course he thought it was strange. If his father was close enough with someone to the point of teaching him his “bojutsu,” and that someone even came to visit him, why didn’t this person ever come up in his father’s stories?
I had noticed it a while ago, but when the young boy put it into words, the truth pierced my heart.
This was no time to be upset. I was still in front of a child. I needed to laugh.
With much struggling, I managed to force a smile on my face, saying, “The time we spent together was very short, so…” But I was at my limit.
I made a random excuse and left the field alone.