Chapter 6: Foster Parent and Desired Sentiment
「I can’t go with you. 」
Even though Caria Burdnick wanted me to go with her, I can’t and she mustn’t worry because I know she won’t die that soon. I was only told to investigate the area, nothing more, so I can’t remain with her. This is still a dangerous place.
After I returned to town I received money from the old man Richard for the information fee, and disappeared as soon as I finished shopping. I blinked my eyes almost in tears after buying chewing tobacco, it has been a while since I chewed tobacco.
The people I saw walking down the streets were extremely busy. The roads are bustling with merchants, guards, adventurers, envoys, among many others. Everyone is running around to do something. In this era, no one can afford to walk at a leisurely pace. I remember that I couldn’t afford to do that either. Hunger, violence, poverty, those were the factors that chased me anywhere I went.
Even now, I can’t afford to relax for even a second. Those memories are from the past, and to the past I came, so there is no way that poverty disappeared. Still…
I want to walk slowly right now. I wonder if someone has these thoughts occasionally. I continued walking engrossed on my thoughts.
I deviated from the main street and entered a narrow alleyway; only rays of sunshine could go through these alleys, anyone would be suffocated walking down here as opposed to the busy and open main streets. The more you step in, the stronger the feeling is. The narrow entry was already further back.
Well, this place is not that very inviting. Nevertheless, I can feel the nostalgia. I don’t know if it’s the surrounding environment, but it does feel nostalgic, a very good feeling indeed.
「That’s unusual, kid. I can’ believe I am seeing you wandering around here. 」
Considering my personality from these days, I certainly wouldn’t be standing here. However, who is this piercing voice I heard coming from behind my back.
It has been a while since I heard a voice as nostalgic as this one, a voice that would cause me to tear up. My voice slightly trembled as I responded to the person coming in my direction.
「Ms. Ninz. I’m no longer a kid, so stop calling me that…ah no, the year. I forgot what year this is. 」
Ms. Ninz looked perplexed at my sudden words; I am a bit apprehensive, but she starts laughing right away.
「What is this; just because you are an adventurer, you think you are a full grown-up now? To me you are still a kid and you will always be one. Welcome back, Lugis. 」
This person who greeted me with an unchanging smile was the person in charge of the orphanage that Ariene and I grew up. She was our foster parent, being a mother to all of us. Everyone calls this person Ms. Ninz. She has a very vibrant purple hair who shines through the darkness of this alley. However, now that I look closely at her, she did not seem to change much over the years. I feel that she did not age since my days as a child.
I was walking in this narrow street as I held my shopping bag.
「What is wrong with you today. Did you came over here to cry because you could not find another place to hide? 」
「Me crying? Where did you get that idea? Ah,…I just came here to see Ariene. 」
What is wrong with me, I suddenly became shy. I just came here to see my childhood friend, as she is staying here because of our differences is age. I think Ms. Ninz will laugh at my foolish reaction.
「Well, you are right. You are not a person to cry that easily…so you came to see Ariene… 」
「Ms. Ninz? Are you okay? You suddenly became silent. 」
If Ariene were to see me here, she would be so excited that she would talk continuously without stopping.
However, Ms. Ninz has this anxious face since I spoke of Ariene’s name. Yet, I know that Ariene is alive in the future and is in great spirits as she travels with the rescue party. Even if something bad happened to her now, for example, if she is ill or something, I think I don’t have anything to worry about.
That must be it.
「About Ariene, you see…the place for her “relocation” has been decided. I am glad you came here today. I am sure she will be pleased to meet you. 」
Her “relocation” has been decided… As I heard those words, my body became petrified. While scratching my nose, I spoke redundantly.
「…isn’t it too early to decide something like that? Besides, she can help you manage the orphanage. 」
「I can’t tie that girl to this place, you know I can’t decide on those things. It is unfortunate but she needs to learn how to live on her own. 」
I could not reply to what she just said. I tried to think of an alternative way, but it was useless.
For a moment, it was only silence. Ms. Ninz started walking ahead and I just followed her quietly.
“Relocation”. That’s one of the two options available for children living in orphanages.
The future for those who grew up in orphanages was already determined, with only two possible paths destined for these children.
The first option is to become an adventurer like me. Being an adventurer is a good option, as one doesn’t need connections or instructions. I believe anyone like me would grab this chance because they believe it will change their lives.
Although being an adventurer sounds good at first, its path is full of ordeals. Most end up as thieves or some part of a suspicious group. Making a life as an adventurer is hard and sometimes we are not provided with enough necessities such as food. Only a small number of adventurers succeed in the end. Still, many of the children in orphanages dream of being a great adventurer even if the possibilities are small. I was one of them.
The second option is to be relocated. This means…to be bought by an individual or by an organization. For children who are hopeless and have nothing left, this is the only way to secure some work. If you are a man, you’ll be sent to do physical labor or be a soldier. If you are a woman, then you will be sent to red light districts. In the worst cases, you’ll just be a “toy” for the rich. Either way, this option will only make people’s life miserable. This path is an unfortunate one, though.
「…I wonder where she’s going. 」
「That’s not for me to say. We’ve arrived. 」
Ms. Ninz opened the orphanage’s doors; I managed to come here before Ariene is relocated.
The orphanage seems to be in the same state as last time I was in here; it still had the same atmosphere though it was getting old, and looked like it could collapse at any time. The weird cracking sound when the doors opened was still the same as before.
「Ariene, you have a guest! It’s been a while since this person has come to visit us. It is your letter correspondent. 」
From the quiet hallway, Ms. Ninz continues to call her.
I can hear footsteps coming closer and closer. I remember this sound. It is her. This must be Ariene’s footsteps.
I am getting anxious and excited at the same time; I don’t know which face to make when I finally meet her after coming back to the past.
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