The second Sunday of spring break has arrived.
Alfred should return soon.
Since he said that he’d come back two weeks, he should arrive at the church today or tomorrow.
But the Sunday passes and there’s still no sight of Alfred.
Maybe… he’ll be back tomorrow.
Monday soon rolls by.
It’s been raining since the morning.
The kids can’t go outside, so they play in the church’s large dining room. They make paper planes using the sheets of documents I no longer have a use for, trying their best to fly them around the room.
Like how I taught them, the children made several types of paper airplanes.
Smiles on their faces, they seem to be having a lot of fun.
But Alfred still has yet to return.
There are only five days left on spring break.
Because it’s sunny outside, I take a trip to the southwestern part of the village to inspect and sketch the area.
I think I’ll quickly go home today.
According to Loendal, it may rain in the evening.
And as he predicts, clouds quickly stretch through the skies a few hours past noon. So I decide to call it a day.
On my way home, I make a detour to the church. Just to check on something.
I still see no sight of Alfred.
“I wondered what happened,” Marie says while tilting her head. “Maybe he’ll come back tomorrow. I’m sure he’s late because he’s helping out in the ranch.” She smiles.
Is that the case?
I return to the carriage. Sitting in the driver’s seat, Shurio furrows his brow as he looks to my direction. “Young master, are you alright…? You look like you’re very tired…”
“Really? I’m fine, though. I’m alright…”
When I step on the ramp to the carriage, my foot slips.
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.
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I try to stand, but Shurio stops me.
“…Young master. Let’s take a little rest at the church, okay? Young master will feel more relieved there…. right?”
“Yes. Young master is currently worrying about someone, right?”
Shurio beams at me, and judging from his face he understands my concerns..
What do you mean, worrying about someone? How do you expect me to respond to that? And why are you grinning!?
“I don’t really… feel that way…”
“I will inform the guards, so just take a rest,” says Shurio. “I will also stay here. Please call me if you need anything.”
“Yeah. I think that’ll be the best course of action, Lian-sama,” said Marie, her face the picture of worry. She cups my cheek with her thin, small hand. Since when did she get here?
“Ahh, your face is so pale… Do you want to drink some warm tea? I’ll prepare delicious tea for you. That’s right, are you hungry?”
I shake my head.
I really don’t need anything, my appetite nonexistent.
In fact, I feel a bit nauseous.
Even after taking medicine, I don’t feel any better.
Some nights, I have trouble falling asleep. And even if I do, it’s a light kind of sleep, the kind where I’ll wake up soon after. Once awake, I can’t fall asleep for awhile.
The day after my run with insomnia, I’ll feel like something bad is going to happen.
I’ve no idea what causes this.
Usually, after enduring this unpleasant feeling for two to three days, it’ll pass.
This time, however, is different. The duration of the feeling stretches on.
Smiling, Marie pats my back. “…It’s okay. Alfred will surely come back tomorrow.”
Back then, the nurse also said that. ‘It’s okay. He’ll get better soon, and then both of you can go home.’ Then she smiled.
But in the end, my grandfather never returned home.
Spring, a season where many gentle lies roll by like a breeze.
Because people lie to me, I also lie to others to maintain that false reality.
That’s why I hate lying.
Too many lies spill from my mouth. Little by little, I lose track of the truth.
I can’t help but to perceive what everyone tells me as a lie.
I’m sure words spoken without any grounds, words like Marie’s, form a lie too.
All to hide the truth.
For some reason, Marie and Shurio keep pushing me inside without waiting for my response, so I decide to give in. Take a short rest at the church.
I’m not in the mood to eat anything in particular, so I tell Marie I’ll be taking a nap. Marie offers me Alfred’s room. I thank her, quickly heading to his room.
I can’t help but laugh a little as I enter his room.
It’s empty as usual.
Can’t he store at least a few books here? If it’s just books, he should be able to afford some with his part-time job, right?
Ahh… But books are heavy.
He probably thinks that once he leaves this place, he’ll struggle with carrying them as luggage.
That’s why he refrains from buying any…
I’m in a lazy sort of mood, so I sit down on a chair facing the window. Stare outside. It’s pitch black beyond the windowpane.
I can hear the sound of the rain. Neither loud nor soft.
At last, it finally begins to rain just as Loendal predicts.
Now that I think about it, the day my grandfather died, it also rained.
It happened during the morning, his face peaceful as though he were still sleeping.
Why does bad news always arrive in the morning?
Both my grandfather and Sanda died during the morning.
I’m sure that that bad news will also…
I quickly smother the ember of fear in my heart.
He promised he’d return.
He promised it’d turn out fine..
I turn off the lamp on the desk and remove my jacket. After draping it over a chair, I lie down on the bed.
The bedsheet smells of sundust.
My head feels dizzy.
Maybe, everyone’s right. Maybe I really am tired.
Perhaps I’ve been working too hard these days. Still, I don’t think that’s it either. I’ve done things as usual.
But somehow I feel that my head is not working like it’s supposed to.
When I try to think, there are a thick fog in my mind.
After a while, I feel drowsy. I shut my eyes.
Although I don’t feel sad, tears flow out of the corners of my eyes. I can’t get them to stop, rubbing at my eyes repeatedly.
“…Why are you crying?”
The familiar voice causes me to swiftly open my eyes.
Since when did he arrive?
Alfred stands in the middle of the room, staring straight at me.
I can’t feel his presence.
I haven’t heard any footsteps either.
Or anything else.
Neither my breathing nor the rain.
Ahh… I get it.
Maybe, I’m just seeing things. Maybe this is a… dream.
In the past, I had a similar sort of dream.
My grandfather stood before me, the red from his cheeks illustrating his good health. He smiled at me, telling me he had to go first. To not follow him but rather live a peaceful life. Then, he left the room.
Is Alfred like my grandfather… Did he also pass away?
Did he also leave me behind?
“No… Please, don’t leave me behind. I don’t want to be left behind anymore. I-I will also… go follow you, so…”
As I reach out toward him, he approaches me. I manage to lift my heavy body, and I grab on Alfred’s shirt desperately.
“Bring me along. Please don’t… leave me alone…”
A strange expression slides across Alfred’s face. Even so, he sits down next to me and wraps my body in a tight embrace.
“I’ll go. I’ll go…together with Alfred. Bring me along. I don’t want to be left behind anymore… I… don’t want to be alone…”
I no longer care about my appearance.
Even though I’m already an adult, I cling to him desperately, crying like a child.
Because, if I release my hold on him now, he will definitely leave me.
Special thanks to CMClol-san for the ko-fi!
Lian… Let this onee-chan hug you too… TwT He bottled up his feelings too much already! Alfred will have to comfort him a lot now!! (´・с_・｀)
Apparently, Yomogino-sensei (the author of NHAD) is going to start a new story! She said that the story will taste like royal milk tea, so I’m wondering what kind of story will it be~ //miiisprayingforittobeanotherfluff