“But did you know that he is not your father?”
Hill’s words made Zeno’s heart go cold. Since he was still pretending to be an ignorant child, he behaved as if he could not understand what the man was saying.
This strange and powerful man tied a butterfly knot with the bandage, and then turned to face Zeno helplessly, “You don’t need to pretend with me, I know you understand me. The children of the Shadow Race have always been intelligent from a young age. I have never heard of any two or three year olds among those people who were ignorant.”
“Shadow Race?” A surprised Zeno blurted out this response immediately, and was so caught off guard that he knocked his little bald head.
How could Zeno not know about the shadow race? The shadow race was a branch of the demon race1. In “Curse” there was a younger sister from the shadow race. Her looks were enchanting, and her personality was charming. The vast number of otaku readers welcomed her—the comment section was constantly filled with calls to pull her into the harem. It was only natural, since that would have usually been the author’s style.
Each sister that did not enter the harem had compelling reasons. One such sister was Xiao Wu, who mainly stayed away because of her father. Another example was the little sister from the shadow race, who was actually a little brother.
One of the innate skills of the shadow race was imitation. They were able to imitate the appearance of others; even becoming a completely different person was not impossible. The shadow race individual posing as a little sister had extremely pure bloodlines. Due to this, his status as a non-human was not discovered, even though he attended Prault Institute.
Sure enough, Hill saw that he had exposed himself, and went on to say, “It seems that you have come to understand that although the bloodlines of the shadow race that you possess are extremely weak. So, even though you have lived with this young man for so long, you don’t share the same appearance. You have only managed to somewhat resemble him.”
Zeno gave up his resistance, and he suspected that Hill was dressed up as God to play the devil. Although it was possible that he may really be a god.
Zeno, who did not grow up in this world, was still not accustomed to it. He was still in awe when he met these powerful individuals. He surmised that, rather than the protagonist’s aura, was it his own aura that attracted this mysterious person?
Thinking over Hill’s words, Zeno suddenly took the initiative to speak for the first time, “So, will I change to look exactly like him?”
Hill was the type of person to hold a grudge, so he replied with a very decisive, “You will change, and you will look exactly the same.”
Zeno’s still innocent little face turned as black as the bottom of a pot. Not to say that Xi Wei looked bad, but putting himself in someone else’s shoes; if a small, unrelated child that you were caring for grew to look more and more like you, how many heart‘s could endure it?
Zeno was quite melancholy.
Hill sighed. “To tell the truth, I actually came to you specifically. I do not know how much you remember about your mother. She was a beautiful woman, very gentle and kind, and she was my friend. Two years ago your father died in a fight with another clan, and your mother took you away and became a fugitive. Your mother asked me for help, but by the time I received the message, I did not know where she was. After many inquiries, I found that she had gone to Ye Sa City, and that the only one who remains is you.”
Zeno asked, “Then, will you take me away?”
“As long as you want to you can come, and if you do not want to become just like him. Until you are ten years old, you can still reverse the effects. Just follow me, and I will teach you how to control your mental power, and how to control the power of your bloodline, so that you can become a good magician.”
“I refuse,” Zeno replied without any consideration.
Hill did not seem surprised. He continued speaking, “What are the benefits if you follow him? Although it is clear that he has not unintentionally treated you poorly, the truth is that he only has so much strength. He cannot give you more than this.”
Zeno raised his face, and carefully explained to Hill, “Thank you for coming to me, but I think the best way to explain it is with this—you may not be familiar with a saying like it. If you have a hundred gold coins, and give me a silver coin, I will certainly thank you. However, he has only one copper coin, yet he gave me a copper coin. He has given me everything.”
Hill had never heard such a statement, and was temporarily unable to refute those words.
Zeno cared only about one thing, “Could it be that I should not look like baba?” Although Hill said he would be exactly the same, Zeno did not believe it. He did not think every member of the shadow race around this world had to grow his or her face like someone else’s.
Hill felt a headache coming on. Typically, in this type of situation, he should take responsibility and care for the child, but this child happened to be unwilling. Although Zeno’s facial features were similar to Xi Wei, he could still vaguely see his mother’s shadow. Hill thought of his hard-working friend for a moment, and answered, “Yes, although the transformation of a member of the shadow race is not completely reversible, it should not matter if it is only a bit similar.”
Zeno looked at him expectantly, and Hill sat back in the corner and stretched out, “Actually, I was lying to you. Although you were unconsciously affected by him when you were a baby, it should be completely fine in two years. No need to do anything.”
Zeno wanted to bite him; he had spoken so seriously, and in the end he was just a swindler!
Hill smirked in a self-satisfied matter, and felt his mood change for the better. He looked at Zeno’s bald, little head for a bit, and found that he could not hold back his hand from petting it, and then laughed.
Zeno ground his little teeth, but after measuring the difference between them in height and strength, he decided he would not bother reacting.
Hill smiled, and his tone became serious, “You think about it, because this will be your only opportunity. I can look after you for your mother’s sake, but if you reject me then I will not come back again. I was an old friend of your mother, but you and I have no friendship between us. In the future it will be too late to regret.”
Zeno snorted, and turned his head to show his disdain for Hill’s words.
Hill put the tarot cards back into the wooden box, and pushed it towards Zeno while speaking, “I will give these tarot cards to you. The friend who named them was your mother. It was originally a gift for you, but unfortunately, with everything that happened since you were born, they were never completed.”
Zeno was surprised, “They don’t predict the future?”
“Oh, that was also a lie, in fact, they’re just some ordinary wooden cards.”
Hill really should be dragged out and beaten a hundred times!
Zeno continued to stare at Hill, causing the young man to be puzzled. Finally, he could not help but ask, “Why are you looking at me instead of sleeping?”
Zeno wanted to say something, but then stopped. When Hill had spoken of the baby’s mother, he shook a bit, and tears ran down his cheeks—it made a beautiful picture. Although, to him, she was not actually Zeno’s mother, he was still touched.
In the end, Zeno still spoke up. For some things, if you do not take the chance to learn when you can, it may be impossible to go back and find out again.
Hill noticed Zeno’s change, and looked over. The little boy lowered his head, and in a voice as quiet as a mouse, asked, “What was her name?”
Hill drew the child in his arms and patted him on the shoulder, “Your mother’s name was Evelyn, and your father’s name was Thorne. Since you have chosen a new life, you don’t need to know any more than that. Do not become entwined in your parents’ struggles from the past. I think that this must also be Evelyn’s wish.”
Zeno tucked these two names deep within his heart, and nodded his head.
Although he did not look reliable, Hill was actually a warm and caring person. After Zeno drifted off to sleep, he moved him so the two children were close together, and got to witness them immediately cuddling together because of the cold. He felt a hint of relief settle into his heart. Evelyn should not regret the choice he had made on this night.
When morning light finally crept into the boat cabin, Zeno awoke, rubbed his eyes and then broke free from Xi Wei’s arms. He quickly noticed that Hill was sitting nearby with his eyes closed, and could not help but blurt out. “Why are you still here?”
Hill slowly opened his eyes, dissatisfied, “Why can’t I be? There is so much snow. Don’t tell me that you want me to get on with my journey through the night?”
Zeno laughed out loud, and thought to himself that he would not inform Hill that strongest characters in the novel would always stealthily leave when the protagonist was sleeping.
When Xi Wei woke up, and the outside world grew noisier as people hurriedly disembarked from the boats where they had ‘celebrated’. They all seemed to be attempting to do it covertly, despite still being in a drunken stupor.
It was at this time that he heard the thick and deep voice of a man calling out in front of the cabin, “Xi Wei, Xi Wei?”
Xi Wei tried to ignore the strange feeling in his heart, and went out to see who it was.
Zeno also leaned over and popped his head out, and saw that it was actually one of Xi Lun’s subordinates. He was carrying a wooden box on his shoulder, and when he saw Xi Wei he placed it in front of him, and explained, “Miss and Mr. Xi Lun leave Ye Sa City today, and the young Miss told me to deliver this box to you.”
The warrior left after he had said his piece.
Xi Wei looked at the box in a daze, and hesitated for a moment before he opened it. Zeno’s curiosity led him to look inside as well, and it turned out it was a box of clothes. After a quick look at the styles, it became clear that they! Were! All! Girl’s! Clothing!
A smile spread across Zeno’s face. Sister Xiao Wu, you were very good to me! Before leaving, you still remembered to send me clothes.
Once again, Zeno began to regret that he did not explain his identity properly to Xiao Wu. Looking at this box, it seemed he could not escape his destiny of wearing girl’s clothing for the next thirty-five years.
Xi Wei moved the box under the bridge, and found a relatively dry and clean stone to place on top of it. It was impossible to store such a large box in their tiny little boat cabin.
Hill had been watching with great interest, and Zeno kept sending countless, very fierce, glaring looks towards him.
Life was always going to continue, and in order to be able to survive, Xi Wei still had to go to the Mercenary Guild to accept tasks.
As they once again stepped through the door of the Mercenary Guild, Xi Wei felt that the atmosphere was rather unusual.
Nami came in behind them, and when she saw Xi Wei, she greeted him, “Hey handsome, you’re here early today.”
Xi Wei nodded in response. Nami seemed to have grown accustomed to his cold demeanour, and sauntered closer before she cryptically asked, “Handsome little guy, did you know that yesterday, to the north in the city of Nice, there was an avalanche?”
I ended up picking up a night shift at the hospital on Friday after working my usual job, so this was delayed from my intended release. Also, it’s finally summer here, so it’s possible I will slow down a little bit. Family comes first (but I will strive to stick to a similar speed, if it can be called that).
- I have changed this a bit. The original term here was mozu, and originally I had translated it as demon clan, but it makes more sense as demon race. So I will use demon/demon race interchangeably. ↩