Chapter 72 – The Night and the Return
It was night.
Well then, shall I go to sleep? – Eiji and the rest were able to borrow rooms, however, as he was, about to go sleep, the creaking sound of a door opening was heard.
The sound was small, and it wasn’t coming from this room.
I wonder who’s sleeping next to me? – At the time he thought so, there was only a single person.
That was Fran.
Rising up from his bed, he followed after her.
*Gigii* – The sound of creaking, heard directly, was noisy.
Perhaps it was due to Eiji’s eyes being accustomed to the dark, but the outside looked unexpectedly bright for him.
Since he first arrived on this island, he would be astonished every single night at how many stars there are.
The sounds of waves reverberated in the distance.
*Za za* – In addition to that, sounds of quickly walking footsteps were heard.
And then, the sound of a horse breathing and trembling from the cold followed.
Eiji directed his sight toward the sounds from inside of the darkness.
Fran was riding on Yan under the starlight.
Hugging Yan’s neck, she looked very relaxed.
Her eyes were closed, and her gentle expression was spellbound.
Fran’s appearance was unlike her naive one, and yet again, different from her usually energetic figure.
It was another side of her, which Eiji hadn’t known.
To think that she was able to make such a face.
– What’s up, Eiji?
– Why are you at outside?
– I can’t settle down and sleep whenever I’m inside a house.
– You can’t sleep? That’s why you are together with Yan and Yun?
– Gyusu and the rest are my family. What’s more, I can’t calm down myself when I sleep on a soft bed.
– Does it…. also happen when you’re together with Dylan and Chiara?
Eiji asked timidly.
Could it be that Fran didn’t consider humans as her family?
Not wanting to hear the expected answer, Eiji’s throat became dry.
He gulped down his saliva frantically.
Fran nodded without hesitation.
– When I’m at home, there’s Gyusu next to me.
– Is that so….? I guess, it’s really alright then?
– It’s fine. Good night, Eiji.
– Yeah, good night.
Usually, there tends to be a barn attached to each household.
In that case, it’s certainly true that Gyusu would be next to her.
However, her reply felt a little bit sad.
Even though Fran was living together with Dylan and Chiara, where did her heart wander?
Provided, she cannot constantly maintain her relationship with humans….
Despite that, being told to stay together with humans after spending one’s life with animals must feel difficult.
Dylan and Chiara, who had raised her together as their own child, as well as Fran herself, must have it tough.
It was a type of problem to which Eiji had no answer.
Fran and her parents could only search for that answer.
Eiji kept silent as he returned back to his room.
Not feeling in the best mood, for some reason, it took him more time to fall asleep.
The next morning.
Eiji and the rest arrived near the boat which was already loaded with cargo
The direction of the bow was switched and ready to embark on.
– Hey, Eiji-kun.
– No, it’s not like I don’t believe you, but, is it really possible for us to go upstream?
– Fernando-san, have you ever swam in a river?
– I guess there were times like that.
– Then, were you able to advance when swimming against the river?
– Yeah, I was.
– In that case, it’s simple to understand it’s possible for us to go upstream, you see. If you can swim against the river, then it’s the same for the boat.
Fernando seemed to be anxious.
Even if he understood what Eiji said, going upstream with a boat was hard for him to imagine no matter what.
Fernando would take control of the rudder and Fran would raise up the anchors.
Eiji quickly spread the sail and operated the oar.
– Well then, we are moving. The wind is okay!
– The rudder is okay!
– Raise up the anchors!
– We are departing!
As the anchors were raised up, the boat received some recoil from the added weight.
The boat gradually moved as it began to leave the coast.
Receiving the wind in its sail, the boat produced a dull sound.
At the beginning, it was really slow.
And then, the boat advanced steadily and favorably.
The distance between Marina and Auman could be covered within a day.
Despite the terrain being the same, the outlook was quite different.
– Well, we are getting close to Auman.
– Fran, soon we will be reaching your place, so be prepared. Sigh…… even though we hurried ourselves, it will still become a problem, won’t it?
– We don’t know. The only thing we can do at that time will be to apologize in all sincerity.
– Don’t worry! Fran did it because she wanted to.
– Hey hey, there are some people waiting there again.
– They’re Dylan-san and Chiara-san……
As soon as Eiji and the rest came alongside the riverbank, they dropped the anchors.
This time again, Dylan and Chiara arrived to welcome them under strange circumstances.
There was a considerable distance from the river to the village.
If it was not for them waiting here everyday, it would be, by no means, a coincidental meeting.
Eiji looked at Fran’s face. On which, there was no sign of surprise visible.
– Fran, can Dylan-san and Chiara-san communicate with horses as well?
– Not to Fran’s knowledge?.
– Then, how did they know despite Fran not being here?
– Perhaps Gyusu called them.
– Is it possible to treat a horse’s call as an information about our arrival?
Fernando-san, can you believe it?
– I do.
– Still, I can’t place my trust on that….
As one would expect, was such a thing possible?
It isn’t something doable unless you completely have your faith in the senses of a horse.
Could it be that a family living together with horses had this much trust placed in their horses?
As soon as Eiji and the rest disembarked, Dylan and Chiara dashed toward them.
– Dylan-san, we are here to return your daughter.
– Fran! Just when we were worried about your whereabouts, you went out with them!?
– Thank god…… I’m glad you were safe.
– Since we knew about your personality, we usually wouldn’t be that worried, but, because Gyusu was left at home this time… you had us scared. You should’ve told us before departing.
– I’m sorry.
Dylan and Chiara embraced Fran.
Chiara was trembling, so she was most likely pretty much worried.
Eiji felt like he truly did something inexcusable. Perhaps, he should’ve returned Fran that time.
– I’m truly sorry. I thought about hurrying up with her return after we had finished lodging.
– No, it seems that my daughter has caused you trouble on your boat.
– Once we noticed, she was already with us. We were debating on whether or not we should return her immediately, but, we also had our next destination ahead of us, so……
– I can imagine that, since she disappeared right after Yun and Yan had left the village. A long time ago, Fran would wander off many times.
– I told Eiji that I wanted him to let me sail together.
Once Eiji bowed down, Fran began with her explanation.
Dylan shot a fish eye glare in her direction.
It was as though Fran’s body turned stiff within a moment.
– Fran, inform me before you intend to go out.
– Good grief, don’t make us worry.
– Sorry, Mama.
– After that, you need a good lecturing.
Chiara showered Fran with her kisses,
Eiji didn’t know how far she reflected on her actions; nevertheless, the problem seemed to be no longer relevant to him.
However, if possible, he wanted it to happen only this time.
Though Fran caused few problems during this trip, the most important thing would still be sincerity.
Eiji felt relieved.
As soon as their water supply was restored, they prepared to resume their sailing.
With just food and water supplies for their return trip, Eiji and Fernando had no intention of making any long stays.
– See you, Eiji! Fer!
– Yeah. Treat your parents well, got it? Dylan-san, how was the saw?
– I tried it out right away, and the work became truly convenient. I’ve already managed to make shelves and a desk.
– Is that so? I’m glad.
Gently waving back toward Fran, who was waving broadly with a smile on her face, Eiji asked for Dylan’s impression about the saw.
If feasible, Eiji wanted to ask for an impression from every single village; nonetheless, it was probably better to leave it for the next time.
Was Fernando thinking about arranging a carpenter for Auman? A hard expression surfaced on his face.
– Regarding a carpenter, I’ll figure out something later.
– Before, I tried to invite Eiji enthusiastically, but what about you, Fernando? Won’t you come to Auman and join us?
– No, thank you for your consideration, even so, I’ve got lots of things to do. Maybe I should forward you somebody from our village….. perhaps, my subordinate, Thomas? …..Still, I am unable to make a prompt decision.
– Yes, I don’t mind. I’m greatly looking forward to that. Hopefully, I can count on you before my house falls down.
At Dylan, who was smirking, Fernando replied with a smile.
The boat has been progressing for 2 days.
Eiji and Fernando wanted to advance while depending on the moonlight during night as well, however, they gave up as there was the fear of running aground.
As they continued their sailing from the early morning, they finally reached the halfway point.
– Looks like the wind is gone, isn’t it?
– Shall we disembark the horses and prepare for pulling?
– Who’s going to come down?
– I’ll keep my eye of the rudder. Eiji-kun, take care of the horses.
– Got it. Stop the boat for a moment.
Eiji landed Yan and Yun from the boat.
It seemed that the top of the ground, which gave a sense of stability, was more reassuring than the top of a shaking boat. For that reason, the horses trembled repeatedly and moved their legs back and forth while making sure of the surface below them.
He put belts on the horses and tied them with a rope in front. The belts were chest-type ones, called harnesses, used to attach plows and harrows.
The boat and the horses were connected.
– Excellent, let’s move forward. Fernando-san, raise the anchors! It’s fine not to spread the sail. If we don’t pay attention to small adjustments, it will be dangerous.
– Yan, Yun. I’m relying on you. If you are troubled, don’t hesitate in telling me.
Eiji spoke while looking in their eyes.
Yun and Yan’s big pupils were glittering and shining as they gazed at Eiji.
Perhaps, they can understand one’s emotions when staring fixedly at that person’s eyes….
Was that really so?
Nevertheless, Eiji didn’t plan to be forcible.
Were he to exhaust these horses with hard labor, he would probably feel very sorry for them.
The boat once again started to progress
They would take a considerable break every hour.
When the horses became tired, they would even rest for 30 minutes.
Anyway, it was essential to return back steadily without wearing them out.
However, this speed was clearly dull.
At this rate, their journey would take them 120% longer.
Were Yun and Yan exhausted from their daily pulling job? – Eiji thought.
However, he soon noticed it wasn’t true.
As they continued to approach the highlands, the river stream became clearly fast.
The water wheel in Siena would move with an unusual power.
Even the river’s flow toward Tal was remarkably quick.
Eiji forgot that the upper river was quite strong.
– Fernando-san, once you can leave the rudder still, please come down and help me.
– Understood. I’ll be there immediately.
– Yan, Yun, are you okay?
Wearing leather gloves, Eiji pulled the rope next to him
the gloves were obtained through a trade. Even if Eiji was to make a mistake, he wouldn’t get injured.
Holding the rope, he could feel the resistance passing through his hands.
Incredible, so they were pulling a heavy thing like this.
Carrying the rope on his shoulder, Eiji walked forward.
Placing it from his hands to his back, Eiji could feel the profound weight of the boat.
Each time he stepped on the pebbles, his steps would produce a sound.
Following that, Fernando dashed over to support Eiji.
– Let’s go, Fernando-san. Fight!
– That was the signal to start!
– I don’t get what you’re saying!
– Damn, this is indeed heavy.
Could it be that commercial slangs don’t work?
Making a wry smile, he continued to diligently pull the rope.
– We have arrived
– You’ll probably remember once you see it, it’s the watermill.
– Ah, I’m glad….. Both my shoulders and lower back are already at their limit.
It was a long trip.
Both the horses and the people were exhausted.
Eiji thought that the first part of their trip went a little bit too smooth; nevertheless, it seemed to be canceled out by this.
As much as he would look, Fernando’s face returned to its original shape as well.
They both gave up on approaching near the coast from which they first departed.
If it’s near Eiji’s workshop, the boat shouldn’t cause a big problem.
I’ll recover it another day. – He thought.
Having the familiar scenery in front of them, they lost strength.
It didn’t look like they would move a step more.
– Finally, we have arrived, haven’t we?
– Yeah. Guess I’ll have to figure out how to return for the next time.
– Good grief.
Eiji felt like agreeing with Fernando.
I wonder if, starting next time, we should cease going together on the trade expeditions. – He thought.