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tummai last won the day on April 16 2020

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    guitar, japanese, slayer, MMA, books, dragon quest, nes programming, Theravada Buddhism

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  1. He's an anti-social loner. He's chasing after the cobbler as an excuse to avoid a social gathering
  2. 1.1 Burland Part 3 ***************************** The next morning the returning soldiers were given a heroes' welcome as they marched into town hoisting dragon carcasses over their heads. The townspeople raised their hands throwing flower petals and ribbons into the air. Elderly men and women weeped and shouted words of thanks. Young women batted their eyes at the handsome soldiers, hoping to draw their attention. Children ran in and out of the procession, waving wooden swords through the air, no doubt slaying dragons in their imaginations. The soldiers' families came too. Parents, brothers and sisters came to greet their loved ones and the crowd made way for them. Makil's father and sister were there. His father was dressed opulently and sat upon a magnificent horse. He rode right on up to the edge of the procession. "This ought to earn you that promotion, son!" he bellowed. "That depends on the captain's report," Makil answered, loud enough for his captain to hear. Ragnar saw Makil's father rummaging around in his pockets. (He's going to try to bribe me,) thought Ragnar. When it looked like the large man was going to approach, Ragnar quickly moved to escape. "Waaaaiihaa! Waaohoo!" Right as he turned his horse, a group of children formed a ring around him and began singing and dancing. The children sang back and forth quickly, making up the verses to their song as they went along: "Burland is a great country. Our bearded king is a great man, hey!" "I'm not afraid of monsters. All the bad dragons are gone now, hey!" "Burland's soldiers killed them all. I wanna be a soldier too one day!" (81) "Hey! Children, let me through." "Waaihaa Yippee!" "Over here." "Mr. Soldier, come over here!" The children had mischief in their eyes. They laughed and shouted and ran to and fro, blocking the road. Ragnar made a bitter face and shook his head. Then.. "Excuse me, soldier," came a voice down by his stirrups. He stopped his horse and looked down. There stood a lone woman, thin and haggard. Her body was twisted and she looked up at Ragnar with a look of terrible urgency in her eyes. "May I help you, lady?" "Ahh, dear kind sir! Thank you for listening to me. Please forgive me for speaking to you directly." She is a beggar, thought Ragnar. He had some leftover rations in the leather pouch at his waist. A few medical herbs too. If sold, they could bring a little money. He reached for his pouch intent to give them to her, but the woman, still grovelling at his feet, shook her head. "No. I am not begging for food or money." (82) Ragnar eyed her suspiciously and climbed down from his saddle. "What do you need then? If it's anything unlawful or improper, I'm not interested." The woman's eyes glistened with gratitude and she wetted her lips with her tongue. Now that he saw her face clearly, Ragnar could see that she was a pretty woman. She was still a young, of marriagable age. "No, sir. Nothing like that. Forgive my rudeness. I don't know the best way to go about saying this." "Please just tell me directly." "Very well. Do you know a man in your army named Alex?" "Alex?" Ragnar thought a moment, then shrugged his shoulders. "Unfortunately I don't recognize that name. There are a lot of men in our force. I can't say that I know them all, but I don't think there is an Alex." The woman's face became downcast. "Oh. I see." Ragnar gathered his brows. "This Alex fellow you are looking for. Did something happen to him?" "I haven't seen him for about two weeks. He's missing." "That's quite serious. With all these monsters..." (83) "Flora!" The woman snapped her head around at the voice, which sounded quite drunk. An enormous, ruddy-faced merchant approached. Judging from his clothing, he appeared to be quite wealthy. With no reserve, he grabbed the woman by the hand. "Just what do you think you're doing here? Come here this instant. We've got to get you made up right away." "Please! I don't want to go. I'll wash your dishes instead. That will make me happy." "No. No. Today is the celebration banquet for the soldiers' triumphant return. You must tidy yourself up! Make yourself pretty and turn on your charm. I have many important guests coming." "No, please. I don't want to..." The woman looked at Ragnar pleadingly. Ragnar scratched his nose, at a loss for what to do. After a few moments, he reluctantly called out to the man. "Excuse me, sir." The merchant turned to look at Ragnar as if noticing him for the first time. Seeing Ragnar's scrutinizing gaze, he twisted his mouth into a vulgar smile. "Well, look what we have here! A soldier! To what do I owe the pleasure?" "It appears that this woman has some cause for anxiety. Perhaps it would be best not to force her into work she doesn't want to do?" "Oh, are you an acquaintance of hers?" the merchant asked. The corners of his fiery eyes turned upward. The woman hung her head weakly. The merchant gave a tug at his curly beard and advanced on Ragnar without fear or hesitation. (84) "Listen soldier. If you don't understand the circumstances, you are not in a position to make a judgement. This woman is the wife of a cobbler. I am the owner of the property they use for their shop and their home. Now, our little shoemender has vanished himself off somewhere and the shoe shop is closed. Since then, I haven't received any of the rent money I am owed. And then there's the money I lent to them long ago. I haven't seen a single gold piece of that either. "It's a sad story, I know. Now these are hard times, and I don't want to turn anybody out onto the street, so instead of that all I require of this woman is that she entertain my guests when I have them over for dinner. Is that really such a terrible thing to ask for?" "Mm," Ragnar frowned. The merchant had a reasonable argument. "Look. I'm not a devil. I'm not some monster. I like to help people out when I can. But frankly, I don't have any reason to believe this cobbler is coming back at all, and I am not willing to wait forever." "No! No! He will come back!" the woman named Flora said, tears pouring out of her eyes. "I understand how you feel," the merchant said in a soft, coaxing voice. He squeezed her shoulder in a familiar way. "You don't know if he has been eaten by a monster, or if he has run off with some other girl, but you don't care. You'll wait for him all the same, year after year. But you shouldn't expect him to come back. He disappeared without so much as a word to you. Don't be so stubborn. When you are abandoned like that, days and months passing can seem like a moment. How much longer do you expect your face remain young and beautiful? If you think chatting with guests at a party is bad, perhaps you should consider the alternatives?" (85) The merchant bowed formally to Ragnar and led the resisting woman away. Ragnar stood there dumbfounded. The boisterous children who he had met a short while before were approaching him now, speaking over one another. "That's Martan the Miser. He owns a lot of houses and taverns around here." "His wife died in an epidemic and now he's looking for a new wife. He's taken a liking to that lady." "He has seven kids. They're all pompous, stingy bullies, just like their father." "He's been making passes at that Flora lady since way back. He makes her work at the bar. He holds her hands and tells people she's to be his wife." "Since way back, you say? Even when her husband was still around?" Ragnar asked, a grim look crossing his face. The children nodded meekly. "In secret. It was really improper." "I wouldn't be surprised if that guy made the cobbler disappear." "Maybe he murdered him!" "Or gave him a sackful of gold and told him to leave town.." "I doubt that's the case," Ragnar climbed onto his saddle and gave the leftover rations at his waist to the children. "It's sad situation. She clearly has no interest in marrying that man... hmmm.. you kids seem to like the cobbler and his wife. Is that so?" (86) "Yeah! The woman gives us candy sometimes." "One time I fell and hurt my leg. I was crying and she was really kind to me. ." "Her husband used to play with us a lot too. He really liked kids. He was poor, but a really honest guy." "I see," Ragnar mumbled brusquely, rubbing his chin. Suddenly he heard a shout. "Captain!!" Accompanying that big, bellowing song-like voice was a big palm clapping Ragnar on the back of his shoulder. "Finally I found you. I'm Makil's father! I wanted to sincerely thank you for all you've done for my son." Paying no mind to Ragnar's taciturn expression, he addressed him cheerily. The children, who were shoved aside by the big man's horse, said: "...You're a Captain...???" "Whoa. Captain? I had no idea." Looking each other in the face, the children shuffled away and scattered. (87) "Hey. You kids. Wait!" With Makil's father blocking the way, Ragnar couldn't chase after the children. He wanted to know more about the missing cobbler, wanted to ask them more detailed questions. Makil's father continued. "Where was I? Oh yes. I heard from my son that you aren't too big on food and drink. But how about it? Won't you come? We'd love to have you!" The merchant raised his pinky finger in front of him. "Thank you for your kind invitation," Ragnar met the merchant's grin with a steely glare, "but regretfully my duties will not allow me the time. I must report to the king at once. Please allow me to pass." "Yes! Yes! Of course!" Makil's father said, waving his arms in the air wildly. "I meant after that! Come on now! There's no need to make such a sour face!" "Forgive me, but I must leave at once." With his foot in the stirrup, Ragnar made his way in earnest to the royal palace. The moment he made the excuse to escape Makil's father, he found his resolve become firmer. If he could get the king's permission, he would help the lady and search for the missing cobbler.
  3. It's coming. I just have to change it from awkward English into more natural English.
  4. I haven't worked on it much this week. I got distracted with another translation project. I jump around between projects a lot Don't worry though, I'll get it out there eventually.
  5. Oops. I may have to change her back to Flora. It's Freya in the Japanese. I'll have to double check DW4 to make sure.
  6. Thanks for the comment. I like the Scrawny Bear nickname too. Christmas was hectic here as well - you may have noticed that I didn't update at all between Christmas and about January 9th. Baby got the flu on January 1st too Anyway, Japan gives many holiday days for New Years and I didn't do any translation during the holiday. Glad to know I have a reader In the next update we meet a certain Freya, who is looking for her poor lost husband Alex...
  7. 1.1 Burland Part 2 ************************************ Ragnar sat alone on a small boulder apart from the celebrating soldiers. He had his arms crossed over his chest as he gazed silently at the burning mountain. His amber eyes flashed with shots of orange reflected from the fire. He was the captain of the 3rd Company. He was in his early thirties, which was younger than most commanders, but his countenance showed no signs of the giddiness and nervousness that young soldiers often possessed. He hailed from a small minority community deep in the mountains, and was a head taller than most other soldiers. He had quite a few gray hairs up there despite his young age. Long, thin arms and legs poked out from his cramped crude leather armor. His hands and feet were angular and bony, awkwardly big. The other soldiers called him "Scrawny Bear"1 behind his back. Ragnar knew about the nickname, but he didn't let it bother him. (77) Though he was skinny, his muscles were like steel. His dried, brown skin and his massive joints gave testament to the many years he had spent climbing steep mountain peaks, since he was a small child. The soldiers who had eaten dragonmeat passed some around to the others, assuring them that it was quite delicious. Some still refused and the dragoneaters called them cowards. This brought them to their feet, fists shaking violently. After the quick, anticlimactic victory, the desire to fight was still smoldering within the soldiers' hearts. It looked like a brawl might begin at any moment. Ragnar sighed quietly. He heard a voice nearby. "You don't look like you're having any fun over here, captain." Ragnar lifted his face to the speaker. It was Makil, one of his men. He held a mug of ale down to Ragnar. He was foppish in appearance and his mop of blond hair was known to turn the heads of women. Now that hair burned red in the reflected light of the fire. Makil was the son of a rich merchant from Burland city. He was a cheerful and sociable fellow, but Ragnar didn't trust him. Makil was the type of person where if you weren't useful to him, he didn't want anything to do with you. Makil wanted success. He was ambitious. His family too. That wasn't an uncommon thing in Burland but there weren't many who had the ability to throw money around the way Makil could. Nor were there many possessing the wits Makil had. (78) And Ragnar was made a little uncomfortable by the fact that one of his subordinates had much better, and much more expensive equipment than himself. Ragnar accepted the mug and said thank you. He took a sip to be polite, more out of formality than any real desire to drink it. "Are you looking at the mountain?" Following Ragnar's gaze, Makil turned his body around. "Ah, I see. These mountains are your home. You see everyone making a big show, burning more trees and mountainside than is necessary and it bothers you, doesn't it?" Makil was a thoughtful, sharp-sighted man, but his sly smile made it hard for Ragnar to judge if he really sympathized with him or if he was making fun of him. Ragnar shook his head. "No. What you say is true, but that's not what's bothering me... what happened today. It doesn't make sense." "What do you mean?" Makil retracted his smile and sat down next to Ragnar. He lowered his voice. "You mean the battle? You think we won too easily?" Makil really is clever, Ragnar thought to himself. "Yes. I have a bad feeling about it. I feel like they let us win on purpose. What if our enemies had another goal.." (79) "You think it was a decoy?" "Burland has poured a lot of manpower and supplies into this expedition. We've been running around here chasing monsters for half a month, leaving the castle exposed." "Do you mean to say that the palace might be under attack at this very moment? By monsters? Yah, this is no joke! A terrifying idea!" Makil shook his limbs dramatically, feigning fear. "In that case, commander, I must insist. Please gulp that down. Drink up and drink deep, as this might be the last time we have the chance! Eh?" Ignoring Ragnar's disappointed look, Mikal gave him a playful elbow to the side and laughed. He encouraged Ragnar to drink more and motioned him over to where the rest of the men were. When he saw that his mountain-raised commander really had no interest at all, he snapped on a serious face. "If you'll excuse me then, sir," he said and returned to the rowdy band of soldiers and their fire. Ragnar didn't understand townspeople at all. Why did they act like that? They had brains in their heads but they didn't use them for important matters. Ragnar stood up from the boulder, turned his back to the fire and walked. He went a far way off and came to the top of another hill. The bonfire's light had receded into the distance and the moon and stars above his head sparkled. He looked out across the many valleys cutting through the mountains and he could see Burland Castle faintly in the distance. The banners bearing the king's coat of arms were flying high as usual. At the very least, the castle appeared to be unharmed. There were no flames rising from its towers. (80) Ragnar let out a disconsolate sigh. ___________________________________________ Notes: 1The Japanese is something like "skinny and huge", but it didn't translate well, so I made up Scrawny Bear myself.
  8. I'm playing Phantasy Star Zero right now.
  9. Chapter 1: Royal Soldiers (72) Know ye of Burland, that cold mountain country, with its steady and prosperous king? There in that castle, a brave royal soldier, 'Tis about young Captain Ragnar I'll sing. 'Twas his fate to be lonely, bestowed him at birth, see, his family bloodline was weak. The one thing he longed for, yes, more than all others True Friendship is what he did seek. -from a troubadour's song 1.1 Burland Part 1 (73) The setting sun was falling over the edge of the world. A huge bonfire illuminated the area a burning red. The wintry mountain landscape felt as hot as midsummer. Young soldiers were tossing greenwood into the center of the gigantic flames, though the fire showed no signs of dissipating. Perhaps they were expressing their happiness by making the flames dance higher. Perhaps they were sending a signal of victory to the castle town in the distance. Who can know? Their frenzied laughter drowned out the popping sounds from the burning wood. There were axes and hatchets stacked in the army's supply wagons, but they didn't use them. Instead they hacked away at the trees with the king's valuable long swords1. The soldiers belonged to Burland's Royal Palace. Burland was a remote mountain kingdom in the northern reaches of the continent. It was a small kingdom with little agricultural output, but its soldiers were well-known for their military prowess. The area was thick with monsters and without a strong defensive reserve, the kingdom wouldn't have lasted so long. Trade with other, stronger kingdoms was meagre at best. Burland had a well-tempered army out of necessity. Men of superior talent came from neighboring kingdoms seeking the honor of serving in Burland's army. And for the young men living in Burland's mountain villages, serving as a royal soldier was the best career they could hope for. (74) But Burland's king was a gentle, peace-loving man by nature. He had no desire to threaten the bellies of his people, so he kept taxes low. Burland's people valued simplicity and frugality. Because of this, the swords the king bestowed upon his soldiers weren't of the highest quality. Now these swords were being swung wildly into the sides of young trees. The blades chipped and sent flakes of silvery powder2 flying with every chop. The older veteran soldiers didn't engage in this activity, but they didn't stop it either. They just frowned over their mugs and grumbled to each other about how the young folk these days didn't take care of their swords. Besides, they had just had a quick victory. Unbelievably quick. Who can blame them for getting a bit rowdy? This little expedition saw the death of some thirty-odd dragons and other monsters. Some of them were quite large. Since the middle of the last month something unusual had been happening in the mountains west of Burland castle. Monster sightings were increasing. Monsters were rarely seen even at night, but now they had been spotted in increasing numbers in broad daylight. Mountain people were supposed to know how to avoid monsters. If they remained watchful and kept their wits about them, no harm was supposed to befall them. But now creatures were roaming around as they pleased. In the daytime. And in the villages! They carried off children. They devoured young women. They seized the elderly and beat them to the ground. Towns and villages that hadn't seen trouble in years were now under threat of attack daily. Finally the king took action. He issued a royal order calling for an expedition to subjugate the monsters. Many famous soldiers gathered. Men from towns that had never seen battle volunteered, determined to show their courage and loyalty. All told there were enough men to form fourteen regiments. Half of them were persuaded to remain and protect the villages. The remaining half were given permission to march. When they departed, they carried the hopes and prayers of the people on their shoulders. And they carried serious expressions on their faces, for they knew that they might not return home alive. The expedition went into the mountains. (75) For half a month they stalked the mountains, tracking the monsters, watching their movements, planning. Then finally, earlier that morning, the kingdom men made their move and surrounded the creatures at a deadend hill on the side of Mt. Kasheena. Skeletons and Necrodains3 were spotted among the enemy, relaying orders to the lesser monsters. There were animal-like monsters and demons wielding magic. It looked like it might be a long and bloody battle. But the humans' plan worked perfectly. The hill which they had earlier cleared4 blazed up suddenly. The soldiers fell back into formations, readied their swords, spears and bows and brought down the monsters as they tried to escape the fire. The battle ended quite abruptly. So abruptly as to be somewhat of a let-down. It was too easy, but few of the men harbored any suspicion. The soldiers were relieved. In their hearts they felt only glory, joy, and the satisfaction of having accomplished their mission. Now it was almost supper time so they held a banquet in celebration. The burning hill was in its entirety like one huge flame. And the fire grew more and more brilliant with each tree that was thrown into it. (76) The victory wine was passed around until the bottles were empty. And they finished the last of their rations. Some soldiers, caught up in the excitement, dared to try some grilled dragonmeat. Laughing loudly, they each made rambling speeches proclaiming how tough the monster they had slain had been. They began singing loudly and passionately about the glory of the royal soldiers. And they sang about their wives and lovers waiting at home. And they carried on into the night in high spirits, united in comradery, brothers in arms sharing their greatest moment, together. But there was one there among them who didn't join in the fun and merriment. _______________________________________________ Notes: 1In the game, I think they are Copper swords, but here it doesn't mention what material they are made from. 2So much for copper. 3Here are what Skeletons and Necrodains look like: 4They cleared the hill to prevent the fire from spreading throughout the mountainside.
  10. It's hard to do faster. Especially now that I'm on Winter break. Strangely enough, I do most of my translation work at ...work. Any particular story come to mind? Thanks. I'm glad you are enjoying it. But please wait. I've caught up to myself, so it might take some time. But the next update is Burland (well, the mountains outside Burland anyway).
  11. Introduction Part 5 (Part 5.1, the only part!) The Rule of Evil Nargoth's death happened a short time later. Only the highest ranking among his retainers were invited to his deathbed. The king lay facedown on the iron bed. Standing at attention at the top of the steps leading from the bed were Prince Nyuii1, Prince Haygen, and Haygen's son Miasof. On the step below Miasof stood a dark figure wearing a heavy black hood. The figure was unknown to most of the monsters present. (69) The Ruler of Evil's face was illuminated by the brilliant red flame from a nearby candlestick, but he was still paler than the moon, blacker than darkness. Amber-colored snakes wriggled around in his thick, lusterless white hair. They had been placed there to numb the pain of death with their venom. Seven days had passed since it looked like the king had begun his final sleep. Everyone thought that he would not regain consciousness again. But on that night when a full red moon hung high in the Overworld sky, the king sat up suddenly and let out a soul-freezing scream. He scowled at the monsters clamoring below the steps. "Master Nargoth....!" "Master Nargoth. Say something....! Looking out over the startled crowd of monsters, the King's eyes came to rest upon the sunken black figure beside Prince Miasof. "Jakosh..." the king mumbled, but it was such a feeble moan that nobody heard it. Nobody except Jakosh that is. "So that's it then. That's what happened." Remorse racked his body and forced the little remaining life from his body. He fell off of the bed and landed with a force strong enough to crush his bones. (70) The monsters wailed and cried and shouted. Only Jakosh, hidden deep in his black hood, smiled as he chuckled quietly. He smiled because this was something that he wanted. This was revenge. But Jakosh was inattentive in his happiness. He didn't yet know that in his dying moments, the king took one last action. In the space of one breath, the king cancelled his spell and restored his absent grandson's memory and powers. It was precisely because he wasn't here that the king knew the solitary prince had not betrayed him, and for this reason he poured all of his power into Saro. ******************** In a faraway place, now, Saro awoke. Once again, as THAT Saro, And as something more, As the Ruler of Evil Nargoth's true successor.... END Introductory Chapter2 __________________________ Notes: 1In case you forgot, Nyuii is Saro's father. Haygen is Nyuii's half-brother, and therefore Saro's uncle. Miasof is Saro's cousin. 2Next up: Burland and Ragnar!
  12. Introduction Part 4 (Part 4.3) ************************* (64) Before long, the two of them felt like going outside the forest. They became birds and soared through the night. They crossed mountains and travelled to faraway lands. They went to the sea. They built sandcastles on the beach and destroyed them together. They became fish and swam to the floor of the sea, to explore treasure ships that had sunk long ago. They went into towns to peek in on the life of humans. The Youma prince and the elf princess were fascinated by the silliness and merriment of human behaviour. The short-lived humans laughed, cried, hated each other, loved each other, but to the monsters' eyes1 it looked like a humerous one-night play. Sometimes Saro and Rosa would turn invisible and play pranks on the humans. They snuck into a king's bedroom late one night and turned the concubine in his arms into an old sheep. They transformed a poor pot-mender's house into a grand palace. They teleported a pirate ship to the peak of a snowy mountain. They made a tropical orchard appear in a northern hunting village2. But more than anything else they liked don wayfarer's clothes, disguise themselves as humans and attend human festivals. They went to Santeem, to Soretta, to Lakanaba. They would appear in the middle of the lively dances, a couple that nobody had ever seen before. The silver-haired gentleman and his golden-haired beauty. They moved beautifully. They would dance lightly and skillfully as if they had wings on their backs. And indeed their love for each other appeared so strong that the image of them remained in the townsfolk's memories for a long time. The villagers and city-dwellers always welcomed the strangers. Sweets were served, alcohol flowed. They threw flowers and encouraged the couple with song, whistling and accordians. They presented the young man with gifts of short swords and protective belts - the woman with intricate veils and precious accessories. These things weren't much compared to the precious gems and ancient treasures they were used to, but their hearts swelled at the kindness shown them by the humans. (65) Picture (66) At one such festival, a squid-fisherman's boat lit up the town with its light, so the couple thought it must be a fishing village. When they tired of dancing, they walked to the wharf in search of a cool breeze. On the way, they ran into a withered old woman standing next to a rickety hut. The old woman saw the illustrated folding fans, gifts from the villagers, in their hands, and started muttering. "Ho! It looks like someone has paid tribute to the prince of Hell. Though they don't know that they might've been killed for it." Rosa paled. But Saro just smiled and said. "Grandmother, if you are a fortuneteller, can you tell us how we match as a couple? When we will be blessed with a child?" "A sorrowful affair, that." The old woman made a gesture to ward off evil. She gazed at Saro with glistening eyes. "Your love begets revenge. Your offspring will be hatred and destruction. What you are now is not the real you. Soon the time will come when your dark instincts will awaken. If you have any compassion at all, Youma, you must not forget this dream you are living, this time together with us. We humans are not your enemy. The true enemy is inside of you." (67) "...Let's go!" Grabbing an astonished Saro by the arm, Rosa began walking. "You can stop up your ears, but that won't change a thing!" the old woman called out from behind them. "Nobody can escape their fate. Love is the very thing that will tear you apart, that will swallow up the whole world. Elf princess, you will call out to us once again. Searching for help. Consumed by feelings of guilt. The day when you plead to the humans 'Kill him' with your own sweet lips is coming. It's coming!" The old woman fell down in the middle of her rant. She was struck down by Saro's thunder. Struck dead. Yes. It was thunder. Not a mere spark. The monsters3 retreated into the darkness silently. They felt joy, sadness and a sick cold lump of anxiety in their chests. ____________________________________________________ Notes: 1Here is refers to Saro and Rosa as "monsters". If you remember, the Karon Dakros made an implication earlier that the monsters and elves were distant kin. Moreover, he said that Nargoth was trying to "unite the monster race", the subjugation of the elves and dwarves being part of that. So, Rosa is a monster too now in a way. 2What a nerdy prank. 3See note number 1.
  13. Introduction Part 4 (Part 4.2) ****************************** (62) Their life together became more bitter than sweet. Their relationship was strange, out of balance and restless. In their day to day life, Rosa would instruct Saro on various subjects. When they lined up to gaze at the sky, she'd teach him how to read the weather patterns. When birds would sing, she'd teach him how to distinguish between them. At first, Saro was hopelessly bewildered. Sometimes he'd stare vacantly into Rosa's face as she talked. Other times he'd turn his face away, as if bluntly saying "This doesn't interest me." Sometimes he'd just leave. But Rosa wasn't deterred. She didn't let up. She taught him the same things over and over again, patiently. And those times when he did get something, when he succeeded in identifying a bird by its song for example, or a tree by its leaf, his lover's face would light up with happiness. This encouraged him and Saro gradually became more eager to learn. The first time the Youma produced a spark from his fingertips - it was a modest bolt, mind you, not a thunderstorm - Rosa couldn't hold back her tears and ran to the shrine. When she didn't return, Saro went to look for her. When he found her, he was surprised to find her kneeling. She was praying. That night he didn't say anything to her. Rosa was worried. Am I rushing him? Am I nagging him too much? Will he leave me? But the next morning she was quite moved when Saro began asking her questions, lots of questions!, his eyes filled with curiosity. From that day onward, the prince listened earnestly to every syllable that came out of his lover's mouth. (63) The Ruler of Evil's1 education continued. The dwarves taught him many skills. They taught him how to mount an antelope and bring it to a gallop. They taught him how to grind metal with a stone. They taught him how to shoot an arrow long distances. And when the veil of night fell, the training in forbidden things began. Rosa taught Saro about the history and customs of the monster world. She taught him light magic and dark magic, ancient spells, matters that demanded great responsibility. She taught him secrets that must be handled with great care, on pain of life and soul2. Little by little she taught him these things, though more than half of them were her just echoes of what the old Saro had originally taught her. Saro absorbed everything quickly. Even the strictest of teachers would be amazed at his progress. This was only natural, for in truth, he wasn't learning these things. He was remembering them. He Wanted to impress his lover, so he devoted himself to his training and before long he began to enjoy it wholeheartedly. After about one year, the way humans measure time, Saro had regained the majority of his old powers back. But his new personality...calm, serious, honest, without a fragment of conceit .. no matter how hard Rosa tried, she couldn't change it back. Saro respected his lover's wisdom, worshiped her beauty, and loved her kindness most of all. ______________________________ Notes: 1This is the first time Saro has been referred to as the "Ruler of Evil" (魔王), but I don't think that's supposed to happen for another two updates. Maybe it's out of order. 2Sorry for the clunkiness of this line. I had a lot of trouble with this paragraph.
  14. Introduction Part 4 (Part 4.1) Time passed, seasons changed. The forest shrine was simple but built with painstaking care. With the help of the dwarves and animals, Saro completed his great project. Rosa collected nettle, holly and ash from the surrounding area and constructed an altar. Her memory of the ritual was a bit hazy, but she did her best. When she finished, she lowered her head and prayed. She prayed there in silence for three days, taking neither food nor water. Then a miracle happened. From seemingly nowhere, a sacred priestess appeared in the village. The priestess blessed the villagers and took up residence there. She was to administer to the religious needs of the community. And a guardian elf spirit descended into the altar, pledging to protect the village. (60) That day, the village was given a name. Rosaville. It was an expression of the residents' admiration and gratitude. A lively festival was held to celebrate the completion of the shrine. At night, the dwarves lined up in two columns stretching from the entrance of the village to the shrine. Each of them held a torch reverently in their hands. Animals scattered flower petals onto the earth. Then Saro and Rosa walked gracefully down the makeshift aisle, like a groom and his bride. The worship hall was filled with gifts. Berries, fruit, rare mushrooms and beautiful flowers overflowed from bowls of wood, stone and polished gold. The white-faced priestess sang a prayer invoking the sacred spirit to bless the villagers with happiness, devotion and love. After the prayers, the banquet began and it continued until dawn. Lines of villagers formed circles and raised their glasses in cheers. Lively music and laughter echoed from the roof of the new building. Saro's silver hair was adorned with a crown of hawthorn sprigs. Rosa wore a crown of woven golden-rayed lilies in her hair. They were dressed in simple clothes but when they danced together they looked elegant. They looked a perfect match, and their faces glowed with happiness. It was like the end of a story. An illustration of the part that goes "and they lived happily ever after". But something didn't feel right inside Rosa's heart. Deep inside something was bothering her. In the middle of the banquet, Rosa left. Saro, seeing her cloudy expression, immediately followed, but the other villagers held him back. Hours passed. When Saro returned to their small house, it was close to dawn. He opened the door softly to a golden sea that glittered under the starlight. Rosa was in the middle of the rolling waves that spread upon the floor, staring absentmindedly into the sky1. Saro sighed and picked her up in his arms. Then he gently laid her on top of a mattress inlayed with golden-rayed lily petals. (61) "What's the matter? It's such a joyous day." "....Saro...." Rosa mumbled. "My precious Saro. You are the most wonderful person in the world. A king for all kings. But the true you is sleeping inside." Rosa was afraid to be happy. The more comfortable she felt in the forest, the more it felt like her home Samulraan. The more she thought of home, the more her feelings of guilt ate at her. It's true that an elf spirit had come to protect the village, but everything still felt like a stupid copy. This forest village was a mockery of her father, the elf king Nelwick. Her feigned happiness was an insult to Saro, whom she loved. Beneath the starlit sky, fear and loneliness forced tears of anguish from Rosa's eyes. "Thank you. But you think too much of me," Saro said, gently patting his lover's back. "Isn't this enough, what we have now? Aren't you happy?" "No. No!" Savoring the pain of her decision, Rosa stared right into the eyes of the man she loved. "What we have now is a lie. A daydream. I made a mistake pretending. I feared waking you up." "What are you saying?" Saro groaned. "You look like you've been possessed by a monster." "I am," Rosa nodded seriously. "By a monster called you." She paused. "Dah, let's get out of this tepid water. The wind will be cold on our skin, but...." _______________________________________________________ Notes: 1There's a sea inside their house? Huh? I don't quite understand what's going on here. Maybe she was crying for hours and covered the floor of the room with her tears (though it doesn't mention the sea being red)?? Or maybe there really is water in there. No idea.
  15. Sorry it's been so long! I've been studying for the JLPT, interviewing students and fighting sickness. Not to mention this scene is pretty long compared to previous ones. Anyway, here it is. Introduction Part 3 (Part 3.2) Rosa sat at the edge of the fountain lost in thought. The water mirror reflected her lost eyes and sorrowful look. She casually touched her finger to the water and the ripples contorted her reflection. It looked like she was crying, the way the tiny waves rolled across her eyes. The birds and butterflies did not come to rest by her side. They could sense her mood and stayed away. Rosa didn't know how long she had been sitting like this. Sometimes it felt like Saro had just left, other times it felt like she hadn't seen him in a year. When he was gone, she sat here waiting for him. For that beautiful Youma that meant the world to her. Time flowed funny in that place. Rosa lost track of the days. When her heart burned with desire for the Youma, when she got impatient, time slowed to the pace of a slug's crawl. And during those long waits her heart was filled with worry. Now the winds of war blew through the monster world. She wondered where he was, what he was doing, if he had been injured. Sometimes Saro would tell her about what happened on the outside. They were all stories of bloodshed, cruelty, conspiracy and destruction. She thought that he should spend more time here with her, where he could relax and be at peace. (52) As the length of his absence stretched on and on, her anxiety and suspicion grew worse, and the innocent smile was snatched away from her cheeks. When she thought about growing old in this place waiting for him, tears rolled down her cheeks. She thought many times that it would be better to die soon than to rot away, alone, in this place. Her lover was kind, but he was cold. He did as he pleased, free like water. Just when she thought she had something to hold onto, he slipped through her fingers. She just couldn't keep him there. Her lover was hateful. He had brought her here to this lonely place and kept her here against her will. She couldn't help but love him, and she felt bitter for it. But love is beyond thought. Once you have been seized by the madness of its flame, nothing can save you: not reason, not emotion, not magic or any kind of amulet. When fate brings you together with another, and you fall in love.... Rosa sighed. Then she looked up, wrinkling her nose. A smell like sulfur pervaded the air like a fog. Rosa felt dizzy. No, not dizzy. The ground was actually shaking. The landscape around her was wavering violently. She closed her eyes and opened them again. Rosa gasped. The surrounding scenery had changed completely. The land that now spread out before her was a rich, green forest. It was not the artificial world she had been trapped in. She inhaled softly and the refreshing scent of grass, trees and bushes filled her chest. (53) The mirror fountain had morphed into a cool, clear mountain stream. A young deer was taking a drink from the side of the stream. When it saw her, it looked up and bowed its head lightly in greeting. On the opposite shore, a stripe-tailed raccoon was diligently cleaning its forepaw. Fish sprang out from the surface of the water, twisting and splashing. Multicolored birds fluttered by playfully, landed on her shoulder as if inviting her to play with them. Above her, a radiant light poured down through the spaces between fresh green leaves and branches. There could be no mistake, it was the light of the sun! (Samulraan...) This place resembled that "City of Slumber", her father's capital. Her memories of that vanished paradise and her life there had grown hazy during her time in Saro's fake garden. Now someone had brought it all back with an accuracy that bordered on cruelty. An ironic kindness. Smiling, Rosa felt her eyes get wet. Here in the green forest she felt the absence of her beloved father and family more than ever. They had not been brought back by whoever it was who performed this unfathomable feat.. Whoever.. She only knew of one person who could do such a thing. "....Rosa? Why do you have that look on your face?" Raising her chin to that sweet voice, she saw a tall young man standing beside her. It was none other than the "one person" she had been thinking of. Rosa raised her fist and was about to shout at him, but she felt something strange and stopped. (54) The young man was wearing a dark green tunic and sandals woven from tree bark. It was not the noble, all-black form she was used to seeing. Atop his head he wore a headscarf to shade himself from the sun. Over his shoulder he carried a shovel. Around him stood several dwarves. Their short bodies were dripping with sweat, the aftereffects of a long day of work. The young man had Saro's face. She could see the crescent earring, the mark of his imperial pedigree, hanging from his ear. But was this really her arrogant Youma? His dark presence, his frank self-confidence and his mysterious charm were nowhere to be found. He stared back at her with a look of simple honesty. His face was colored with the clumsy shyness of a confused young man. Just before, when Rosa had raised her fist at him, he shrank back in surprise even though he had no need to fear a strike from someone like her. "What's wrong? You look like you just woke up from a bad dream." The young man lowered his shovel and came close to her. Wrapping his hands around her fist, he hesitantly locked fingers with her. "You tomboy. I bet you were fighting someone in your dream, weren't you? It wasn't me, was it?" Rosa trembled as she looked into the eyes of this man, her lover. She felt like she didn't recognize him. Something strange had happened. It was like someone took his body and soul and extracted the parts that were most like him. This man was a cast off skin. Or was he a look-a-like impostor? Was this someone's clever trick? Was someone trying to deceive her? (55) "....Saro...!" Rosa grasped her lover by the chest and shook him. She lowered her face so that she wouldn't see his eyes and she called his name again and again. "....Saro, Saro. I'm the one who wants to ask 'what's wrong'. Did something happen to you? Are you really Saro....?" "Hey, hey," Saro laughed. There was no maliciousness in his laugh. "Did you forget my face? There is only one me. Isn't that right guys?" He looked around and the dwarves voiced their assurances. "Aye, aye. That fellow surely be Saro." "You still be half-sleeping Rosa. Harhar." "He been with us the whole time. He done nothing bad. Ye have me word on it." The rabbits and foxes that had gathered there too nodded their heads, showing their agreement. It seemed Saro was loved by the animals here. He was accepted as an equal, a friend. He behaved like he was nothing more than a simple young man. It was as if he had been implanted with false memories. Memories of coming here to live long ago. Or maybe she had been pulled into another world, another time. One that resembled her own world? (56) "Rosa....?" Saro took the dumbfounded girl's hand and caressed it lovingly. "You aren't angry with me are you? Because I left you alone for such a long time? But weren't you the one who told me you wanted me to build a shrine? That's why I'm here, wearing a hat to block the sun even, working so hard to get it done quickly. For you. Please understand me." "....Ah....!" Rosa backed off, staggering. The Youma hated the sun more than anything. He would never come out to the surface in the noon sun. To be bathed in the light from heaven, for him, would be something akin to a fish in the open air, or a bird deep under the water. He could endure it for a short time, sure, but it must be torture to be out here for such a long time. For Saro to willingly submit himself to such pain. For him to soil his hands with earth, to drench his forehead with sweat, to do back-breaking labor, and to do it in harmony with dwarves and animals! "Rosa? What's wrong? Are you feeling ok? Here, hang on to me. Can you walk with me to the tree over there? Let's get you under some shade." Saro supported Rosa with his arms. Together they walked into the shade of a large elm tree. Saro lowered her gently onto a soft carpet of moss. He didn't seem to mind getting his hands wet from grass dew, or getting his knees dirty on the forest floor. He straightened the wrinkles out of her dress and then pulled himself back from her side. It was like she was a fragile treasure that he feared breaking. It was as if he didn't want to touch her, even with one finger, without her permission. (57) The dwarves exchanged worried glances. Seeing her condition, they judged it was best not to get in the way. They tapped each other on the shoulders and quietly walked away. Saro remained silent, but he gave them a thankful bow as they left. Rosa pressed her nails into her palms. She felt sick to her stomach. Her body shook with isolation and fear. She loved Saro. The Saro she lost. That arrogant Saro. The Saro brimming with self-confidence as if there were no man in the world grander than he, she loved him dearly. Rosa now realized just how much she adored him, yearned for him. He was born to rule. Dangerous, cruel, uninhibited, kind yet cold, direct yet ambiguous, careful and precise and possessing a dark charisma that she couldn't resist. But the Saro she knew wasn't there. Saro had changed. Rosa covered her face with her hands and sobbed. Saro was flustered. Seeing that her body wouldn't stop shaking, he gathered some fallen branches and cautiously started a fire. When the weak flame started to blaze, Rosa immediately stopped crying. The Youma didn't call forth thunder from his fingertips to start the fire. He used a small piece of flint covered in lint and threads that he pulled out of his pocket. Saro had lost his powers. Or he had forgotten how to express his powers. And he didn't appear to find that especially strange. (58) This wasn't the time for tears. She calmed herself and tried to think carefully. Saro didn't remember the old Saro. The Saro that could call thunder at will. The Saro that treated her like a musical instrument made for him. The Saro who prospered in the Underworld as a prince. The Saro who would never mix with dwarves and others of low status. That Saro was gone. He had forgotten all of it, all of it. What happened? The elf girl gathered her eyebrows suspiciously. Could Saro have been banished from the World of Darkness? It seemed like that was the case. Power was a breeding ground for suspicion and mayhem. Rosa, a princess herself, understood the burden of those those who stood above other people. They were always sitting beneath the sword, in danger of being taken by someone and replaced. It's possible that the Ruler of Evil Nargoth himself feared Saro's power and popularity, and shunned him out if jealousy. Or .... She heard that Prince Miasof was cruel and sly. Saro was in the way of his inheritance. Maybe he hatched a scheme to remove Saro from the picture. The fact that Saro was sheltering an enemy princess was an ideal pretext to do so. (59) Is it my fault that Saro has been punished like this? A snug, comfortable pain, a sweet throbbing pounded in the girl's chest. Now the man she loved was like a young bird who had just hatched from its egg. "Ahh, Saro..." Rosa grabbed the bewildered man's hand and held it over her head as if praying. "Rosa," the young man's cheeks blushed innocently. After much hesitation, he brought her in close to him and embraced her.
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