One could hear the hustle and bustle of the town.
Both men and women, old and young, they were drunk celebrating victory, playing an instrument, singing, and dancing.
While listening to them Garai was trembling alone.
On the edge of the town, there was a small house. And a smaller hunter’s hut built next to it.
In the middle there was a table used for dismantling tools and for processing the prey, hunting tools such as bows and arrows and traps were stored neatly.
Being surrounded by the tools, Garai big body looked like it was buried by it.
Currently, he was sitting on a dirt floor.
“Ah, I know it, you’re here. I’m home…” Tiki comes from the doorway. “Look, I’ve brought you some alcohol and rice. Let us eat it in the main house.”
He was being invited but Garai could not move his legs.
“Geez. You’re still shivering?”
“… Of course. …. A battle is a scary thing after all…”
If he was a child, he would’ve been crying by now, Garai complained.
“The battle is already over, no?”
“… But, I’m still afraid.”
“Garai is coward-san huh…?” Tiki said in amazement. “Look at your won figure, you know?”
“… That has nothing to do.” Honestly, Garai resented the olden people. Who was the first one who taught people that a body figure was in proportion to one’s courage?
“Garai is really a strange person. When in a war, you don’t look scared at all…”
“… I can’t afford to feel fear during those times, I have too many things to think…”
“Yes yes. So, how about drinking a bit? You can just drink until you can’t think anything anymore, yes?”
“… I can’t get drunk.”
“Geez~… You’re truly a troublesome man~” Tiki said those words with her hands on her hips as if scolding him.
Three years older and three head difference in height, but Garai was being scolded by his smaller childhood friend.
Thinking about that, Tiki laughed. She was not ridiculing him.
For example, it was close to that of a bitter laugh by the elder sister toward the younger brother.
“Then, I will make you forget about it.”
Tiki slowly spread her hands.
‘Come here…’ That small body as if telling him that.
Garai then clung to her like a little child.
He hugged Tiki tightly with his face on her stomach.
“Garai has done well. No matter how scared you are, you cannot escape. Garai has to be there for everyone to win, and everyone expectations are on your shoulders. Garai is a hard worker-san after all…?”
Tiki also stroke his head. Gently. Spend their time.
A really gentle loving hand.
Garai trembling body finally subside.
“Now, I guess I should give you a reward huh?”
Tiki nervously pulled up her outer garment cuff.
Exposing her chest to the outside air.
Of course, she did it not without feeling nervous. Even her cheek looked red right now. And of course, not everyone could see it.
Garai then munched on the pointed tip of her right breast. Immediately, he forgot everything he fears and shame, her chest was not soft but was not hard either. -=TLN: She has a small chest I guess…
“Hya~, be gentle a little… Your mustache makes me feel ticklish. … Are you listening? Ah, you’re in trance huh? Besides, what is fun by sucking a pettanko(flat-chested)? Garai is truly a soft boy huh?”
With those words, Tiki let him did whatever he wanted.
She accepted everything that this man did.
As for him, in his mind was, ‘I’m glad that I could protect her today’—
Thanks to Tiki, Garai finally settled down, and the two of them decided to return to the main building together.
“The rice becomes cold isn’t it?”
When Tiki complained and kicked him from behind, Garai could only apologize.
When he opened the main building door— he felt the presence of a visitor.
Looking at Tiki expression, he found out that she didn’t invite the person.
Since the main building was not locked, he could enter the building.
Garai house was a standard house of this era, it has a bed, kitchen, dining table, and earth floor. Because he lived alone, it felt quite spacious.
In front of the table, there was a beautiful man that might get mistaken as a girl.
His age was unknown. As for his looks, he was barely not leaving the ‘boy’ territory yet.
“Yo, Brave-dono, welcome back. Congratulation on this time victory…”
But his tone was not that of a child.
“Congratulation you say, don’t come in on your own, Anju.”
“Oh my, how rude of me, Tiki-sama.” Anju, an unknown man of age, stood up and bowed gracefully. “I’ve brought with me some delicious sweet, so I would like to see Tiki-sama’s happy face as soon as possible.”
“Say that sooner!” Tiki changed her attitude easily.
On the dining table, mixed with her alcohol and stew were baked sweets covered with a lot of the expensive sugar.
“I’m sorry for causing you trouble every time…”
“No no, don’t be. Service toward the customer is a natural thing, Garai-sama.”
Anju once again bends his waist.
In such a remote area, it was a rare refined type of action.
He, Anju, claimed to be a merchant.
Half a year ago, while buying silver, he had come in contact with the town’s people.
With an innocent smile on his face, he said: “Do you have any interest in independence?”
At that time, the life of the Line mining town was severe. The days of the miners were a particularly harsh one.
Watched by the soldiers, they worked their pickaxe from morning till night. For the young newcomer, they might be fine with heavy labor, but they had been worked like a slave, being wiped every time they took a rest. Every year, there was no end of the people who died due to the collapsed tunnel or poison gas. Even with that, the wage was scarce.
When Garai was young, there was no such thing as working from morning till night. Or a soldier watching them… They work in a dangerous environment, but it was rewarded financially. Many people manage to save a lot of money and started some business. The mining town was filled with adventurous hope and vigor. People sometimes heard the rumors and sought fortune to change their life and moved away here.
However, after the change of the prime minister, comes a new governor, and the former kind governor disappeared, since then the life in this mining town becomes hell.
Toward such distress, Anju’s words were sweet, the elders were persuaded one after another, and the men were out for blood. The women didn’t object either.
Thus the rebellion happened…
With Anju’s wisdom, they manage to pull it off. The plan he made was precise and careful. Everything went without a hitch.
Two months ago, they used pickaxe and bows as weapons.
They killed the watching soldiers and crucified the governor. Anju directed a brilliant rebellion where the people didn’t suffer and the town didn’t end up in flames
Was he truly a merchant?
Garai could not help but wondered, while the town’s people didn’t think about it. Garai too didn’t want to learn further, after all, if you started to suspect someone, everyone would look suspicious.
Since then, all the product from the silver mine had been purchased by Anju at a reasonable price.
And since they didn’t have to pay taxes, the life of the town’s people become rich.
Of course, not only happy things happen, the imperial capital decided to send a suppressing force but, Anju also taught them how to fight. As a result, they managed to pull off a series of a win, with minimum casualties.
Anju was treated like a savior of the town but, he never comes forward, instead, he told the people ‘This is all thanks to Hero Garai, you know?’ Because of that, the story spread and soon after, Garai become a Hero of the town. His figure with a bow looked like a monster that appeared in mythology, an Anju gives him the nickname ‘One-eyed giant, Cyclops.’ Garai didn’t have the time to stop him and the momentum.
“I think there would be one more time…” Anju said. While drinking with Garai and Tiki, he continued speaking “If you guys could win against the government one more time, the wind direction will change a lot.”
“Funfun, what kind?” Tiki asked while feeling worried.
“A mass rebellion would happen all over Claude,” Anju answered with an innocent smile on his face.
“…What did you say?”
Hearing the terrible sounding words, Garai body shook.
“The people of this country are suffering greatly because of the imperial aristocrats. Their dissatisfactions are already beyond the limit, what they need is just a spark. They will hear Garai activity and become envious. Then, they will think that they don’t have to feel fear toward the government. Naturally, they would end up wanting to imitate, yes?”
After explaining that, Anju licked his tongue.
If there was an expression that looked like a snake, then his expression might be called one.
“look forward alright? Before long everything will rush. Comrades. Toward this town. They will come to look for hope from Garai-sama!”
“That’s stupid… I’m fighting not for those kinds of things!”
“Then, do you want to run away? Anju told him as if cutting him… “Take Tiki-sama’s hand with you? That’s fine. Should I provide you with your escape route and destination?”
He understood that Garai was someone who could not do that.
“I can’t do that…)
Garai had a heavy burden on his shoulders. It was a story of twelve years old.
Due to the governor who makes the miners work like a slave, the children also being used to work manual labor.
The coward Garai, he could not bring himself to work in a dark and narrow tunnel or risk his life for work. He liked hunting, and he wanted to be a hunter just like his father.
And his friends, who could not let his ability pass unnoticed– Pleaded with the governor, telling the governor how talented Garai was as a hunter, and it would be a waste if he becomes a miner. Such an act caused tears to flow down from his eyes. Maybe because the governor also feel bored, but in the end he let Garai try out the bow. The governor then convinced of his ability and make him a hunter.
Garai couldn’t thanks his friends enough.
They never ask him to return the favor either, and instead jokingly said ‘Don’t give us the best meat out there, but let us eat secretly sometimes…’.
Their daily life as miners would have been harsh, but they always behaved brightly in front of Garai.
Due to such gentle friends, Garai feels inferior toward them.
When Garai turns eighteen, his best friend died due to tunnel collapsed.
They even could not find the body.
Garai was sad as if his chest was stabbed by a knife.
Looking at the empty coffin buried in the ground, he could not help but think ‘Had I become a miner, I might be the one who ended up inside it.’
All of Garai now, it was thanks to his friends.
With their efforts, he was able to escape from the fate of becoming a miner. He was saved.
That was why Garai could not escape from this town. He must save his friends with his bow.
No matter how scary the war was, he could not turn away.
Thus– later historian would write…
The fateful fight between the ‘One-eyed monster, Cyclops’ against ‘The bloodsucking prince, Nosferatu’ was inevitable.