Translator’s tl;dr: hey there, it’s been a couple of months since my last update. This will be the last one for 2021 (for some of you will be the first one of 2022, but whatever), so I feel like talking a bit.
First and foremost, I’m sorry for not keeping up with the monthly release of Dick and New Game as I wanted to. I really hope I’ll fix this bad habit of mine, but I’ll keep saying what I really feel: I care a lot about these series, so I want to keep working on them. Thank you all for sticking around this year too.
Talking a bit more about my life: this year has been a rollercoaster with a lot of nosedives. I lost faith in what I do, I lost my almost-inexistent self-esteem, I lost my will to walk on the path I wanted to walk on… and that’s exactly what made me feel the little spark that rekindled my passion.
I’ll be honest: this year I thought to stop being a translator a lot of times, because I thought I’m worthless. I felt miserable and lost… like it was the end of my dream.
But once I found myself surrounded by these “walls” in my mind, I managed to get a better look at myself and what I was gripping at, and I understood that I felt so bad because I had stopped walking in front of them, instead of walking along them looking for the next corner. I’ve been motionless for a lot of time and that made me feel suffocated… so I tried to change my surroundings and the drive I thought I had lost finally started to push my back again.
I met old acquaintances, worked on new projects, stopped waiting… and re-evaluated some people. I went as far as leaving some as well. These last two points has been the hardest I had to face in a long time, because the people I decided to leave were close friends I thought very dear of, and even thought I knew everyone grow up eventually, I wasn’t ready yet. I didn’t want our roads to divide just yet… and I failed to notice that our roads took different routes years ago. The love I felt in my heart burned for the people that were in those memories, not for the people they are now. I was just gripping at fleeting memories.
And yet, no matter how distant or dreamlike those memories are right now, I don’t want to turn my back on them, and I thank all those little happy moments from the bottom of my heart.
This year has been hard for me, but I won’t forget it. I will keep it close to my heart, like all the others, and try my best to be a better person and someone my little self would look up to.
Again, thank you all for sticking around, I hope I won’t let you down too much in 2022!
Wish you all the best!
This is the last chapter of Dick’s second arc, so from 2022 we’ll begin the third one!
On the road of melting snow, on the way from student to teacher
The night shift began, and customers started to walk in the bar. The male customers could tell under those masks were beautiful faces, but none of them pried into the girl’s identity or were rude.
Cody, as expected, was very popular with our female customers, and soon got the gist of the work. Aileen was as much popular with men, as they called out to her each time they had the chance to, even when she brought new customers to their seat.
The resolute men of the slums were regulars, and they were now toasting with their mugs high, while the women spoke about their problems in the corners of the bar, sipping at their gentle blends. I could see Rigel and McKinley as well sitting face to face, drinking their usual ale, and next to them sat Zect, who was quite rare to see.
Lia, Leeza and Sakuya were interested in Teacher, who got used so quickly to welcoming guests and leading them to their sits that she was now strolling up and down the hall like Cody and Aileen.
Teacher kept her eyes on us whenever she could, and whenever Mimia felt her gaze, she shuddered in fear.
Teacher had yet to apologize. She did tell them it was her fault, and I expected her to apologize at least to Gustav, but she never did.
Even if Gustav’s daughter had been kidnapped, he didn’t blame Teacher, which was unexpected.
The wolfrim duo were now sitting at the counter, taking it easy. Mimia had her hands on her lap, her back slightly bended over as if to curl on herself to make herself invisible, but feeling the lively mood in the bar, her ears moved around under her hood, curious about what was happening around her, and sometimes her fluffy tail swayed at unexpected sounds.
Then, Gustav turned slightly to talk to me.
“Those demi-humans aren’t hiding their ears. I saw many who didn’t wear hoods in the streets… I’m impressed you really treat them like any human.”
“People in the capital don’t usually look at them with prejudice. For example, Lia leads a thousand-human-men legion although she’s a woman and a demi-human. They trust each other so much it’s impossible to copy.”
“I see… so not every demi-human here has to live in contempt…”
Gustav patted his lustrous beard, drooping his triangular ears. Probably Mimia imitated him as well, as her hood looked less puffy than a few seconds before. Demi-humans showed a lot of emotions through their ears, and she probably didn’t feel much at ease while hiding.
However, her father was a dauntless man. His massive build wasn’t just for show.
Also, looking at them reminded me of Yuma’s family: her father was huge too, unlike Yuma who was cutely little. I could feel the same familiar warmth between them as well.
Verlaine handed Gustav a black ale, making sure that the foam on it looked as it should have. At the same time, Mylarka handed Mimia the drink she prepared. She followed the instructions without the slightest of changes, going as far as using a weighing scale. How ‘teacher-y’ of her.
“Sorry for keeping you waiting, Sir.”
“Wait, I had yet to order…”
“That sir over there… I mean, this is a treat from our owner.”
I was playing the drunkard in the corner of the counter like usual when Verlaine called out to me. If I didn’t, they would’ve seen me blushing right now.
Gustav accepted the black ale taken aback, then let out a soft snort and smiled.
“Mimia, can I drink this? I promise I won’t get drunk.”
“It’s… it’s fine… I don’t mind. Drink as much as you want, I know you like it.”
She hesitated to answer. Was it the aftermath of the shock she had yet to get over? Thinking about it, I felt my heart tightening.
Then, Gustav turned to talk to me, and probably read what I felt on my face.
“You don’t need to feel bad for us. That Rabbirim… Sakuya brought me to my daughter, so it’s all thanks to your guild if this story ended well for us. I can’t imagine that your comrade created those collars without a reason, but I’ll probably never understand her choice. The only thing I’m sure about is that Mimia would rejoice if I killed that woman with my own hands.”
“I understand how scary that woman can be, given her knowledge and power… but rest assured that we’ll try our hardest to watch over her and never let her do something so dreary again.”
Teacher was watching and listening to us from a distance. However, I couldn’t figure out what she was thinking. Her eyes looked almost inorganic.
“I’m a simple man, I just can’t figure that out. If she did that only to harm someone she hated, why going so far? Especially looking at her. How can a young girl like her hate someone so much? If she can be so cruel, at least have her look like a monster, not like a beauty.”
“Gustav… can I ask your daughter what she remembers?”
The man nodded and turned to look at Mimia, who was unmoving, her hands barely touching the glass in front of her.
“Honestly… I don’t remember much. I shape-shifted, then everything got confused, and before I knew it, I found myself in an hospital room with a doctor… then dad came in. I was really afraid when they put me the collar, but now it’s water under the bridge.”
She let me see her neck: there was no trace or scar of the collar. I bet it was thanks to the demi-humans’ natural regenerative ability.
“I wanted to come here to thank you all. Especially the good man Sakuya acts for.”
Mimia shared a positive feeling for us and our guild because she knew we saved her and brought her back to her father. She was especially grateful to Sakuya.
I had to be as well, since Mimia never doubted that I helped Teacher to do all of this. If it wasn’t for Sakuya, I’m sure things wouldn’t have been so easy on me, given my relationship with Teacher.
“I apologize for butting in your talk, dear customer, but the foam of your beer is supposed to be enjoyed as it sits atop your drink.”
“You’re right… again, let me thank you for everything. Especially for saving my daughter.”
“Dad… make a toast.”
Mimia prodded her father with her elbow, and he smiled wryly. Then, the two of them raised their cups, and I joined too, speaking first.
“Yeah. Sorry about this, it looks like my daughter looked up to bars’ customs.”
“I’ll drink like you when I grow up, dad, I’m enjoying the moment… even though I’m not drinking alcohol right now.”
“It’s still a bit early for you, sweetie. I heard that here in the capital you can drink once you’re sixteen.”
Gustav took a few sips from his jug and made a pleased face, Mimia kept watching her father and didn’t taste her drink.
I was positively surprised to hear what he said. If he knew that, it meant that he looked a bit into the capital’s law, even though he surely had a terrible first impression of the place where his daughter was stolen.
Demi-humans usually tried to understand humans, but many of them also tried to push people away. Demi-humans are stronger than humans, so people were scared that one day they would unite and march against humans.
That fear pushed people to do horrible stuff to demi-humans to keep them under control. The capital was just another place where humans were the majority, so they inevitably pressured demi-humans.
“Not all people will ever accept what’s different, but now I think some will learn to. I hope humans will never use demi-humans again, and that they won’t have too many hard feelings… like you, Gustav.”
“If there were more people like you, I’m sure that wouldn’t happen. But yeah, I know I should try to do something about it as well. My old man was already thinking about it, and soon I’ll take his place and be our next chief. As the representative of the wolfrim race, I’d like to face other demi-human races and create a place where we can live together with humans. In harmony.”
If Gustav and Riko, who was the tiger-race chief’s last descendant, were to join forces for that sake, they would probably manage to carve the moment when all demi-humans could finally walk hand in hand with humans in Albein’s history.
Their first move would be talking to His Majesty and call a huge meeting for all the races to join. What I might do to help them would be acting from the shadows like I’ve always done, and earn each race’s consent little by little.
Demi-humans don’t want humans to meddle with their business, so they live by themselves, far from the capital’s hands. Gathering all of them wouldn’t be an easy task. First, we should try to talk to the ones living in the capital to understand each other better and soften our relationships, then we might reach out to others and show them that all dreams can come true.
That would surely be carved in history along with the names of all the people in the limelight. All I would want to do is setting the table and grant Manarina, the successor to the throne, the credits to be remembered for the next centuries… no, millennia. Of course, I had to talk to her before trying to act for something this big.
Anyway, what I felt now wasn’t to apologize for my teacher, but to understand what demi-humans felt and do something to help them.
“Let’s drop this topic. I never had a drink like this at my village.”
Gustav brought his jug to his mouth and gulped down all the remaining black ale in one go, then grumbled a bit.
“Wooow, daaamn…! This thing is sooo goood!”
He placed his jug on the table and let out a pleased comment as his cheeks slightly colored red. Mimia looked at him with surprise, but knowing that her old man was just a sweet drunkard, she didn’t pay him great mind and focused on her own drink.
Her drink was called White Moon and had two layers: the lower one was simple milk and looked white, and the top one was Moonberry’s syrup, which wolfrims were fond of, and looked yellow. She understood how the drink was made of by smelling it and was very curious about its taste, so she cupped the glass in her hands and brought it to her mouth.
She sipped it and her eyes started to shine. Verlaine and I waited for her comment, and so did Mylarka and Yuma who were now behind the counter looking at her, but Mimia’s mouth moved silently. She was probably looking for the right words to express what she was feeling.
Gustav placed his hand on her head to calm her down with a smile on his face, and feeling like she had failed to find the right way to convey her feelings, she flushed a deep red and got back to drink.
I heard that wolfrims of every age loved Moonberry and they knew a lot of ways to use it in many different plates. This time, I used it as a sweetener.
I collected the nectar I needed to make that syrup from the nest of a monster called Queen Killer Bee and I was glad to see Mimia enjoying its sweetness.
“I never tasted moonberry this sweet before! This would taste great on bread too!”
“We have some left, let me bottle it for you. I am sure it will take some time to get back home, so take it as a sweet souvenir from the capital.”
“Thank you. I’d like my wife to taste it as well, since there’s barely anything sweet where we live…”
Sugar was very requested and pricey, so it was hard to find even in some parts of Albein. I heard that in those places, sugar cost as much as gold, and their caravans where as much as guarded.
Queen Killer Bees were dangerous monsters due to their poison. Luckily, I could neutralize it, so I wasn’t afraid as I managed to look all nooks and crannies of their nest. That allowed me to find a way to do bee-keeping and harvest their honey. If I taught that to demi-humans, they would finally have a chance to sweeten their food.
“We don’t know much about each other’s culture, Gustav, but I believe that there would be many people moved by our local products. You have been moved by our black ale and I’m sure many humans would be moved by some of your food or drinks. Maybe my thought is too commercial, but I’d like to cover that chance too.”
“I’d like to tell you that I’m just a guy loving booze, but you do have a point for that.”
Yuma poured another jug of black ale, then handed it to Verlain who gave it to Gustav. Seeing the refill, he smiled like a kid receiving a present, but trying to keep his cool in front of his daughter, he cleared his throat.
“Cuisine cultural exchange…? I never thought about it. I’ll talk with my brethren, that might actually work. To be honest, there are many booze-lovers in our race, so… mh? What is this nice smell?”
“You should enjoy your drink along with some nice food. Here, dear customer, have some rib roast with herb.”
Verlaine placed their plates in front of them and the wolfrims’ tummy grumbled as they had yet to get some food.
Gustav looked puzzled to see something in the corner of the plate.
“Are we supposed to use this trident-like fork and this knife…?”
“Yes. Let me show you how they are supposed to be used.”
Wolfrims usually ate food with their bare hands, unlike tiger-race people who used tools. Each race had their own customs.
Mimia intently looked at Verlaine’s movements and waited until she had finished, then accepted the fork from the elf’s hand and carried the piece of meat to her mouth.
Both she and her father, who had copied Verlaine just in time to taste the meat along with his daughter, let out a pleased cry, their tails wagging happily.
Mimia was so pleased she almost jumped out of her chair, and she didn’t notice her tail was repeatedly hitting her father’s back.
Cody and Aileen let out a soft chuckle while watching that funny scene from the hall.
“What did you do to this meat…?! The part closer to the bone shouldn’t be this tender…!”
“If you let it cook with some fruit juice or milk, the meat’s fibers soften like this.”
“This is just too good to be real…! I can’t believe it…! This isn’t meat, it’s something way better!”
Even meat could change its flavour depending on how it’s prepared, but only humans did that as far as I knew. There were tons of meat-lovers among the demi-humans, so I hoped to share some recipes with them soon.
Then, Mylarka brought them a plate of salad, not minding that they never had some, and so they knew another flavour. They were so delighted to eat our things that even the cook came out and smiled at their beaming faces.
Gustav and his daughter kept drinking and stuffing their mouth with food until the end of our shift. When we were wrapping the day up, the male wolfrim was singing along with Rigel’s party, arms around each other’s shoulders. Rigel’s positivity and frankness was a blessing in times like this.
They had Zect join too, and Gustav, knowing that he was having fun with Mizuha’s brother, encouraged his daughter to get along with the fox-girl, who looked happy to make a new acquaintance. The two girls knew their tribes didn’t live too far away, which brought them to get along in a jiffy driven by a sense of closeness. Mimia finally got to talk more and smile often.
Sadly, happy times end soon.
Gustav spoke to her when we were about to close up.
“Mimia, we have to go. They have to clean everything up and close for the day.”
“Right… Mizuha, see you soon.”
“Yep! See you soon, Mimia!”
They saw each other off without saying anything else, then Gustav approached Teacher.
“This guild saved us, that’s why I cannot loathe you. Our forgiveness won’t be the same as the country’s law, though.”
“I will pay for what I’ve done, no matter how hard the punishment. That’s the only condition I have to keep Dee by my side.”
“I see. I’ll call it even, then. How about you, Mimia?”
The girl steeled herself up and faced the woman.
“I don’t need your apologies, but you have to tell him you’re sorry.”
“Yeah… I’ll tell him every day, even though it will never be enough.”
Mimia pointed to me with a gesture of her head. I didn’t know young girls could be so sharp, how much did she guess of our relationship…?
“Let me sound like an old man and tell you not to do anything like that ever again. Now it’s time for us to go. See you, Guild Master.”
“Take care. We’ll be here for you if you need anything.”
Gustav turned one last time to me before waving and getting out of the shop. Mimia bowed in our direction before following him.
“Now that we are done with this big case, Dick, I only see a mountain of issues to fix. Is there something I can do for you?”
Cody asked me with a smile. Rigel and McKinley, who were near her, cut in our conversation.
“Bro, that guy was glad as heck! He said he didn’t see her daughter laugh like that since forever!”
“I’m glad she made friends with someone around her age. I joined this guild exactly for our master’s virtues.”
Sometimes McKinley could say some uselessly sweet things, but that was due to his kind personality, and it was one of his good sides. He was hanging out just fine with Rigel, who was more fiery than meets the eye.
Even Lia and Sakuya, despite their serious faces, had spent the whole evening drinking together and talking. They were trying to deepen their friendship and were now looking at me, letting out their thoughts on the matter.
“There was a time when I believed that solving the racism between demi-humans and humans wasn’t a task for adventurer guilds… but if our Master will lead us, maybe we’ll manage to…”
“I will follow my Master’s every order. As I did so far and will from now on. I hope you keep counting on me for anything.”
“Thank you, girls. I hope I won’t let you down in the future.”
Even the expedition party tried their best to help me today. I owed them so much I didn’t know how to repay them.
Cody was the first to speak.
“You don’t want to stick out, right? Is there something we can do for you?”
“I think that you’re dreaming too big, but it isn’t a bad thing. I’ll just contribute to annihilate all the people against the races’ reconciliation.”
“We can reach out to everyone’s feelings if we manage to talk to them. Then, we can walk together to our promised land.”
“Yuma, that sounds like you wanna send them to Heaven… anyway, as the representative of the demon race, I’m gonna talk to my father about it. Some demi-human tribes live nearby us, so this matter always bothered me. Like, what if we manage to get along with everyone…?”
Knowing that we always shared the same opinion about this matter was very reassuring. When we changed the world with our expedition, we never really thought about ‘doing it for the world’s sake’, but only ‘for completing our mission’.
The first to talk about the world’s good was Cody, who was always drove by her inspiring sense of justice. Maybe it was thanks to that side of her that we managed to get closer in those years.
Mizuha and her brother showed me their support as well and so did Lize, who was with everyone tonight.
“I went on about this ter me brother, right, and we agreed that joinin’ this guild were fate.”1
“Guild Master, I’ll gladly be part of your scheme as well.”
“Dick, I would’ve never imagined to see such a serious look on your face… meeting your old teacher has really changed you this much?”
Then, Teacher spoke.
“I’m not his teacher anymore. I have nothing left to teach him, now I can only take from him.”
“T-Take? Like, taking it whole? I mean, taking him till dawn?!”
“Hey, I would never say or mean anything like that, peachy demon, you know?”
“What would you take from Dick, exactly, Lady Teacher? I am asking only for future references.”
Teacher looked at Verlaine and fell in deep thought. Then, she smiled slightly.
“It’s something silly, feel free to laugh at me. I want to learn what’s obvious from him.”
I was sure she’d find her answer once she purged her sins.
Harming people and trampling their hearts wouldn’t be part of Teacher’s actions anymore. I was looking forward to seeing the end of that horrible side of her.
No matter how unworthy of being her student I thought to be, now all I wanted was to be by her side and watch over her.
Sorry for the late release!
Thank you very much for reading this story, it’s a huge encouragement for me.
This was the final chapter of the second arc, the next one will start soon.
We are at a turning point in the story, I hope you’ll like it and stick around some more.
Wish you all well!