The Beginning of a New Journey
“Lettelotte. Thank you for everything. I will take good care of this leg, as well as the magic wand hidden in the gauntlet.”
“I’m glad that you’ll take care of them, but tools shine when they are used. So don’t hold back either.”
“Aye, I know. You don’t have to worry about that. This leg is filled with you and Rokuidol. It is guaranteed to shine.”
“…You sound like an idiot!”
She said, but she was clearly pleased.
“Lettelotte, I really am grateful. Thank you for this wonderful prosthetic leg.”
“And thank you for giving me an interesting job for once.”
We held each other’s forearm. Dwarves had shorter arms. And so my hand rested on her shoulder, and then we patted each other.
I met a good crafter. That was all it was at first. However, we talked, and tried to make something good. Sometimes, we would fail miserably. But we continued.
You could say that we were friends now. No, we were definitely friends.
“Be careful then.”
So saying, I left the workshop and turned around just once.
And then I firmly raised my fist in the air towards Lettelotte, who was seeing me off. And Lettelotte raised her hand as well.
She was always quite manly. In spite of being a woman.
I made my report to the guild, prepared food supplies and secured my spot in a caravan before returning to the church.
During the evening service, I told them that I would be leaving tomorrow, and we had a humble, as a church would, feast that night.
Normally, Father Zenrima would send us out into town if we wanted to drink, but that night, he made an exception.
Still, it was still a church. And you never knew when a patient might arrive, and so it was kept short.
I returned to my room and did a final clean up. I had already done most of it before. While it was a short time, I had not had my own room for awhile. And so I felt a little sad to leave it now.
As I was cleaning, I heard a knock on the door.
I answered, and then Lutma opened the door.
“So, you will be leaving tomorrow.”
I stopped cleaning and faced her. Ever since the incident, I found that I looked into her brown eyes as we talked, face to face, more often.
“Will you not reconsider?”
She knew that would be my answer. But could not help but ask.
She looked down once, before raising her head again.
“There is something that I’ve been meaning to say to you, Mr. Ajifu. Will you allow me to say it?”
“Of course. What is it?”
“Thank you for saving me from that wyvern. You saved my life.”
She said with a deep bow of her head. I had been a little nervous about what she was going to say, and so this was surprising.
“You had me anxious for a moment there. But it’s just that again? I told you already. It was also for my own sake. You really don’t need to thank me.”
However, Lutma looked at me and continued.
“I didn’t have the courage to say it, because I was afraid you were going to say that it wasn’t for my sake! Really! You are so dense!”
She said, hitting her hand against my chest once, and then she froze.
“You don’t have to apologize…”
We stayed like that for a moment, and then her face seemed to relax.
“I’m glad that I was able to tell you. It’s been weighing on me.”
‘You really didn’t have to worry…’ It was on the tip of my tongue, but I swallowed it back. I felt like it was something I shouldn’t say. And so I stayed silent.
“Well, I hope we have good weather tomorrow! Good night!”
Lutma said, before closing the door and leaving. The light of the lamp had made the tears in her eyes glisten. And so I could not say it. ‘It’s a desert town, it hardly ever rains.’
Instead, I just remained silent the whole time.
The next morning, I packed up and carried my belongings so that my room was empty, outside of the bed and shelf. And then I left the room.
Then I went to the chapel and put down my belongings once, so that I could kneel before the holy statue, put my hands together, and bow my head with closed eyes.
(Lord Memrikia, Lord Ibitrayme. The Rokuidol Church has been very good to me. Please keep them and the people of this town safe.)
Offering such prayers would not change anything. And I wasn’t asking for a miracle. Perhaps it was just to ease the guilt I felt over leaving.
But if offering prayers took the weight off of your heart then…well, perhaps that was what prayers were for?
I opened my eyes, got back to my feet, and picked up my belongings.
The others were all waiting for me by the church exit.
“No matter where you are, we are all under Lord Memrikia. We are brothers and sisters, with the same faith and the same muscles. Ajifu, I shall continue to pray that you receive divine protection.”
“Father Zenrima, thank you so much for everything. I will never forget what I learned at this church, and the people I got to know here. Thank you.”
I bowed my head, and he pulled me close and slapped me on the shoulder. My armor creaked under the impact.
“I don’t like these sappy things. I wish you well, Ajifu.”
“I will pray that your journey goes smoothly, Mr. Ajifu.”
“Ms. Pemeri, Brother Kimefu. Thank you for all of your instructions. I will also be praying for all of you as I travel.”
We put our hands together as if praying and bowed with our eyes closed. It was how those of the church bid each other farewell. Father Zenrima was just weird.
“Please take care, Mr. Ajifu. May Lord Memrikia protect you.”
“I will become a priest and warrior just like you one day, Mr. Ajifu!”
Linel and Gairo also said goodbye, and I patted them on the shoulder.
“Linel. Don’t forget your promise to me. Do not train your muscles until you are fully grown. As for Gairo, focus on being a priest, and not a warrior.”
And then Ms. Pemeri pushed Lutma’s back so she stepped forward.
As usual, she looked like she was on the verge of bursting into tears. But she held them back as she looked at me.
“Mr. Ajifu. I…”
She said that much, and then stopped. Perhaps she would cry if she said any more.
And so I took her hands in mine, and leaned a little low so that our eyes were level.
“It’s thanks to you that I can leave like this, with everyone praying for me. Thank you for living.”
I said, and then Lutma threw herself into my arms and burst into tears. I let go and patted her gently on the head until she was calm again.
“Mr. Ajifu. I will do my best here in the Rokuidol. For this church.”
She said finally, after raising her face. And though her eyes were wet, they were also strong.
Yes, she would be fine.
I walked down the steps of the church and turned around.
Everyone had their hands together, and they bowed with closed eyes.
When I opened my eyes again, I saw the familiar old church, and the friends I had lived with.
Ah, so this would be the last time I see this.
There were no photographs here. And so I watched them, as if to burn the scene into my memory.
When my eyes met Lutma’s, she smiled through her tears. I will not forget that smile.
“May Lord Memrikia keep you all safe.”
I said, and then left the church behind me.
But then I heard Lutma sob, and I stopped.
But I did not turn around. She had managed to smile while seeing me off, so I couldn’t look back now.
Besides, she wasn’t the only one fighting back tears.
And so I wiped away the single drop with my palm, and started to walk again.
This wasn’t the end. It was the beginning of a new journey.