Chapter 17: Alistair and I (← Got Past the Worst)
“Hey, I feel sorry for her. But what’re we gonna do with her?”
“We should return her to Kingdom, but if we go now, they’ll think we’re the kidnappers.”
“Then do you think the Frontier garrison here would really give her back if we gave her to them?”
“No, they’ll probably resell her.”
What country is this? I was drained from crying, and I heard their voices while I was dawdling.
“Why don’t we abandon her?”
What did you say?! Then let me be resold!
“Stop joking, Bart.”
“Haha. Well, they’re the same eyes as yours, Alistair.”
The boy who said shut up was the boy from before. I rubbed my face that was sullied by my tears and snot with my sleeves. The boy from before approached me. This boy then squatted down in front of me and looked me in my eyes.
Black hair and midsummer-blue eyes. He looked around the same age as brother. I was familiar with those eyes.
“Gill? Nope, I’m Alistair.”
“Nope, but whatever. You are?”
“So you’re Lily.”
That’s fine. But, what is this boy going to say? I shut my mouth and looked straight at the boy named Alistair.
“You were kidnapped. This isn’t Kingdom, where you live. We’re in Wester at Frontier,” he told me slowly. Kingdom. Wester. I’ve never heard those words before.
“What’re you saying to a baby?” I heard a teasing voice near us.
“I want to give you back, but it’s hard.”
I nodded. The boy looked relieved, but the teasing voice spoke again, “There’s no way she could understand that.”
“You can find your own way home when you grow up. So-,” the boy told me slowly, word-by-word.
“You can do this one of two ways. Firstly, you could get bought by a rich guy and become his bride. Even if you were bought, you’d probably live a good life.”
I looked at him in surprise as I continued to listen.
“Second is to come with me. It won’t be an easy life, but you can choose your own fate.”
“That’s what I said to Alistair at first,” the man, who was listening, proudly put his hand on his chin.
“But, babies can’t understand what we say, now can they?”
But Alistair ignored him and said this to me, “If you want to be bought by the rich, then just stay as you are. If you want to come with us, then take my hand.”
Then, he held his right hand out to me. It seems like I can survive no matter which road I take. But, I want to go back to where brother and father are. So, to do that-.
I took the boy’s hand. The boy picked me up and turned me around to face everyone. He’s so strong.
“I, apprentice hunter Alistair, will look after this kid! If you’ve got any complaints, come out to the front!” The boy’s high voice vibrated through the prairie. The sounds of feet stomping on the early spring ground sounded through the area. Apparently, this meant that they had no objections.
“It’s gonna be tough to earn enough money to feed both of you,” the man named Bart said.
“Until recently, I earnt enough to feed mum and I. I’ll manage. But still, help me!”
“Haha. You never hesitate to rely on others. Now, it looks like our chance to earn money is here,” Bart, who was teasing Alistair, looked behind him and said.
“It acquired a taste for us. Human-type and Rug Dragon-type. They’re probably the Hollows from last night. Put the chibi in the back. If possible, keep her eyes shut as well,” Bart said, so I was carried to the back, and my poncho hood was put down over my face.
“We’re Hollow hunters. Don’t worry. Close your eyes,” Alistair whispered and ran towards the sound. There were five men. They got off their Rug Dragons and held their sword out. I sat down with my poncho hat on and firmly kept my eyes opened. What is it that the man doesn’t want me to see? What are Hollows? I have to find out what they are.
Under the morning rays, the men confront 10 things. It seemed as if the men and Rug Dragons were walking firmly on the ground. The whirring sound happened whenever they shook a little. And amongst them was Hannah.
Those eyes won’t look at me anymore.
That face will no longer smile at me. The swords hoisted by the men were white like pottery and shimmered in a tint of red. The men faced the Hollows shaped like humans and Rug Dragons without hesitation.
When they slashed the Hollows, a black haze would appear from within the gaps. It gathered in together, became small and finally disappeared.
The one wearing Hannah’s appearance also disappeared. The men picked up something from the place where the black haze had faded and came back.
“Did you see it?”
Alistair looked at me with his eyes wide open.
“Did you say Hannah?’
The boy quietly rubbed my head. The men looked at us awkwardly.
“Our aim wasn’t to hunt this time, but the extra income is always welcomed. Let’s go home.”
But, the men’s Rug Dragons didn’t have space to fit excess luggage.
“It’s no use. We have to pack our stuff and put her on top.”
So, I was put in the luggage basket on top of the vegetables and clothes; and taken back to where they lived.