This is the first chapter of the volume! Illustrations can be found here.
Continues on to Chapter 1 – Ash’s Determination and the New Student Council Organisation
The Wise Dragon King Imbolc’s bloodline was split into two, namely, Avalon’s Holy Dragons’ Emperor Family and Nehalennia’s Dark Dragon King Family. A never-ending war broke out between the two families that repeated itself generation after generation.
—From the ‘Old Testament of the Stella Biblia’.
It was a small village on the outskirts of the Lautreamont Knight Country. The villagers mainly relied on forestry and agriculture to make a living. Although their harvests were small and their lives not considered luxurious, the villagers were nonetheless cheerful and lived hardy lives.
On a particular evening just when summer was drawing to a close…
Ash walked along a path through the woods as he searched for his little sister. Although Linda usually would’ve been home at this time, she had yet to return today. At last, Ash’s field of view widened as he arrived at a plaza that was used as a playground by the children of the village. Unsurprisingly, around five children were there. The sun had already set, but they seemed to be chatting rather enthusiastically. Linda was also among them. Although she was almost obscured by everyone else — her double-braided hair and bright green dress were quite unmistakable.
Ash had originally intended to call out to her loudly, but he suddenly paused. It was because he felt a disturbing aura. On closer inspection, the other children surrounded Linda and questioned her with stern expressions.
“If that’s the case, then why doesn’t Linda-chan’s dad come back?”
The one who sharply asked such a question was a girl who seemed like the leader.
Linda had already been crying for a while. Linda was only five years old, making her the youngest among her friends. She was definitely a notch smaller compared to everyone around her. Even from afar, Ash could tell that her shoulders were trembling ever so slightly.
Ash heaved a sigh. Although the children normally had a cordial relationship, things ended up like this whenever they quarrelled. Ash’s father was a peculiar character, and the impression of ‘a useless guy who abandons his family to travel’ was deeply ingrained in the villagers’ minds. The fact that his father was not originally from Alba Village but was a traveller from the outside world probably played a great role in that.
“It can’t be helped…”
As her older brother, he still intervened in disputes between the girls — he felt that it was a bit immature, but when he saw her crying like that, his pride was of no importance.
“Hey, Linda! It’s dinnertime—!”
Ash shouted in a cheerful voice that was at complete odds with the mood, and he then smiled at the girls. With his warm demeanour, he pretended not to notice the fickle atmosphere surrounding the group. The girls quickly sat down, seemingly surprised by Ash’s attitude.
“All of you should go home as well. When the sun goes down, you’ll be gobbled up by the witch Morrígan!”
Upon hearing Ash’s reference to a cautionary fairy tale, the girls exchanged glances. Finally, they got up one after the other and began making their way home obediently in groups. When the girls disappeared from the end of the forest path, Ash directed his gaze towards Linda.
“Are you okay, Linda?”
The instant that he placed his hand on his little sister’s head—
Linda burst into tears and threw herself into Ash’s arms.
“Haha. You’re such a spoilt child, Linda.”
Ash made a wry smile as he gently stroked her head.
“Hey, onii-chan? Why don’t we have papa?”
Linda asked in a soft voice as she sobbed. How many times has she asked this question now…Ash thought to himself as he gazed into the distance. It was a question that he had asked his mother several times as well.
“Well, I wonder why. But Linda has a brother, doesn’t she? I’ll protect you in father’s stead. Is that no good?”
Linda buried her face in Ash’s chest as she shook her head.
“Onii-chan……I love you…”
“I love you too, Linda.”
Ash gently embraced her slender body. She was his only sister.
—That’s right, I have to protect Linda.
Ash made an oath to himself.
Ash turned around and offered his back to Linda who seemed to have finally stemmed her tears. He then knelt down on one knee.
Linda cheered as she rushed over to Ash’s back. Her slender arms wrapped around his neck.
“Okay, let’s go home.”
Ash carried Linda on his back and began to walk home. As he walked along the forest path, Linda’s stomach growled.
Linda’s pressed her face against Ash’s shoulder in embarrassment. Ash made a wry smile as he turned his head and said,
“By the way, tonight’s dinner is your favourite stew.”
Linda gleefully said, and at the same time, her belly growled again.
“It’s you this time, right?”
“No, it’s obviously you.”
“There’s no need to be embarrassed now, is there? We’re siblings, right?”
“You’re right…but it’s still a bit embarrassing.”
After that, Linda coyly went silent.
After a while, she spoke with a somewhat serious tone.
“What is it?”
“I want to be your bride, onii-chan…”
Ash almost laughed out loud, but somehow managed to hold it together. It was because he sensed the serious intent which emanated from behind him. Ash was well aware that siblings could not get married. Having said that, it was a little too soon to break the truth to a five-year-old girl.
“Alright. When you grow up, Linda.”
Ash answered Linda with a hint of loneliness in his voice. By the time that Linda had grown up into a fine young lady, she would probably have forgotten all about this idea of ‘wanting to be her brother’s bride’. Unaware of Ash’s thoughts, Linda gleefully kicked her feet.
“It’s a promise then! You absolutely have to keep your promise!”
“H-Hey, stop moving around so much!”
Ash continued walking in this manner, and the home where his mother was waiting gradually came into view.
“Ash’s Childhood ~A.S.B.1359.08~” is closed.
(All 1 of 1 parts) (17/4/21)