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Vermillion – Chapter 24.1 Bahasa Indonesia

Hazily, dimly.

Looking up at the tarp propped up by a wooden pole, Kei noticed that he was awake.

Inside the tent, he blinked sleepily and sat up, his body shivering slightly from the cold.

(It’s morning… )

The feeble, frigid light of the morning leaked through the cloth flap at the entrance. It was probably very early in the morning, when the sun had not risen yet. A slightly chilly draft blew gently through the tent, and birds could be heard chirping in the forest canopy above.

Shaking his head to disperse any lingering sense of sleepiness, Kei’s eyes fell on the corner of the tent. On the opposite side of the wooden post lay Aileen, sleeping on a mat. Her blonde hair was loose and spread out over her jacket-turn-makeshift-pillow, and her sleeping face was full and unblemished. A blanket was tightly wrapped around the young woman’s body to keep out the cold.

Being curled up like that means she’s cold, right? Kei thought thus, and so, he took his own blanket and gently draped it over Aileen.

“… Nnnn.”

Mozo mozo. Aileen shifted slightly her position on the mat. Kei was sure she was going to wake up, but in spite of his worries, Aileen simply tugged on her new blanket, buried her face in it, and slept on happily.

“… Fufu”

Kei involuntarily broke into a smile. If possible, he wanted to keep watching Aileen’s sleeping face. However, although it’s a good thing that she didn’t wake up, given the implications of staring at a girl’s sleeping face, Kei reluctantly tore his gaze away with a herculean effect. Were it not for such considerations, Kei would have done anything to brush the hair around the girl’s eyes with his fingers, to touch those cheeks that resembled white porcelain―such desires sprung out endlessly from the source known as a man’s mind.

Expelling such tribulating ideas, Kei picked up his sheathed sword and carefully exited the tent.

Outside, a cool, damp breeze greeted Kei. Looking up at the star-studded dawn sky, the young man muttered to himself under his breath, “isn’t the weather nice today?”

Kei took in a deep breath, savoring the refreshingly cold air flowing into his lungs. He stopped breathing for a while, then slowly exhaled the air that had been adjusted to his body temperature.

The energy flowing through every corner of his body was palpable, making Kei feel like he was bursting with power. Upon a second thought, the word “circulation” came to mind.

Adjusting his sword on the belt, Kei broke into a light jog towards the Morula River, calling out to the barely awake merchants emerging from their tents with “good morning, good morning!”

Presently, the caravan’s campsite was located pretty far downstream, but the river water was still surprisingly clean. Scooping up some water to rinse his mouth, followed by the face, Kei could feel his sleepiness being washed away by the icy water. In the kind of crystal clear water that no longer existed on modern Earth, small fish can be seen swimming along. This was only possible because large cities upstream like Satyna had excellent sewage disposal systems that were careful not to allow dirty water to flow into the rivers.

Essentially, various advanced technologies have been developed in this world. Despite the overall lack of gunpowder, with weaponry remaining at the level of swords and bows, the metallurgical techniques and sanitation levels in this world were incomparable to those of medieval Europe. Especially in the fields of agriculture, civil engineering, pharmacology, etc., it was as if nearly every imaginable so-called “modern knowledge cheat” has been turned on. In essence, this was the result of the natural progression of technology unbound by religion or politics.

“… This would be so much easier with magic.”

While feeling good from washing his face, Kei made an exasperated expression upon realizing that he had forgotten to bring a towel, leaving water dripping from his face. At a time like this, if a person could easily invoke fire or wind to do a task as mundane as drying one’s face, the setting could truly be described as fantastical. However, in this world, the aforementioned action would expend a costly emerald as a catalyst.

However, the one who chose to be in this kind of world, the game called Demondal, was Kei himself. Thus, he doesn’t have any choice but to accept whatever came with it since he did select the setting of his volition after all.

However, Kei swore to himself that if he ever had the opportunity to be transferred to another world again, he would choose a less realistic game…

Why did they come to this world? What would’ve happened if they were playing another game? Kei didn’t know, but he was sure that it was useless to dwell on such things.

With that, Kei wiped his face haphazardly and pulled out his sword.

Recently, Kei had been far removed from combat.

The journey had been treacherous before they had joined the caravan. Of course, peace was a welcome change of pace because, unlike in a game, one’s life was at stake here. Nevertheless, Kei could not afford to have his skills deteriorate in the meantime. It was an old saying that peace was the time to prepare for war.

The young man held his sword at an angle in a defensive stance, using his blade in lieu of a shield.

The air around the riverbank, veiled in a morning mist, seemed to have become sharper. A pair of dark eyes gazed straight ahead at the opponent he would fight one day, just a couple paces away.

After a brief pause, Kei moved.

Perhaps this round it’s a spear wielder? The tip of Kei’s sword careened through the air as if to block a long-shafted weapon trying to pierce him. Using his own slightly curved weapon, Kei thrust forward to engage and parry. The sword made a quick strike before returning, then howled as it moved to attack once more. That swing cut through the opponent’s leg muscles, and with a fluttering flash, followed through to strike the neck.

Leaving behind a lingering afterglow, Kei took two or three steps back to readjust his sword, completing his defensive stance once again. The image of the imaginary enemy he just faced disintegrated and melted into the haze of the morning glow.

After a short breath—next! The opponent this time is a longswordsman who can easily parry attacks to their upper, middle, and lower body with their excellent footwork and the skill in wielding their specialized weapon.

They’re especially well known for their sedate, placid state of mind.

Kei’s body moved as if tracing a pattern. The morning haze that clung around him was mercilessly severed or churned. Suddenly, Kei flipped up his weapon with a kun, and, utilizing the principle of leverage, knocked away his opponent’s own. This was followed by a quick and compact thrust. It might seem like a plain move, but it was perfect to disrupt the enemy’s center of gravity. It was a fatal blow that could carve out someone’s heart. Just like that, Kei completed his defensive stance once again, like water to the point of lowest elevation.

Kei kept his body moving whilst thinking hard about what kind of simulation he should do next. The previous mock battles had taken so little time that it was less than satisfactory. Well, they were short, but seeing that they required so much concentration too, they felt long and taxing. Nevertheless, Kei kept slashing at his imaginary enemies. There was a mysterious and violent harmony to it.

However, that too, was about to come to an end.

Ping. Like a plucked string instrument, a quiet murmur disturbed the otherwise silent field.

Immediately, Kei slashed his sword sideways towards where his senses told him was the source and turned around.

Pashin. With a crisp cutting sound, a tree branch was bisected midair.

Kei frowned. What was up with that? Along with such thoughts, pachi, pachi, an apathetic clapping sound could be heard.

“ Wonderful… Well done sir, well done.”

Looking up, Kei saw a blonde young man with a thin smile slowly clapping his hands.

—It’s Alexei.

“ …What are you getting at?”

Sheathing his sword, Kei asked with an annoyed expression. Which person wouldn’t feel uncomfortable if they suddenly had something thrown at them out of the blue? Ignorant of Kei’s inner protest , Alexei just shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, words of apology nowhere to be found.

“My bad, my bad. It’s just that your swordsmanship was so beautiful that… I just wanted to test it out. You see, I’m the type of guy who can’t resist destroying a card castle when I see one.”

However, before Kei could respond, Alexei continued.

“Anyways, it seems your sword isn’t just a decoration after all. Your skill with it is quite impressive, probably the product of studying with a master. How enviable.”

“… What about it?”

“It’s precise and practical… quite unlike the flashy forms used only to show off to other people. But oi… that isn’t something you should show to other people, don’t you think?”

“You’re the one who came here and saw it on your own though.”

“That’s true. At any rate, I’d be careful. There are many people worse than me out in the world, who knows who will steal your techniques… ?”

Alexei flashed a suggestive smile that made Kei deeply uncomfortable.

“ …Your concern is duly noted. And? If you have nothing else to add, I’ll excuse myself now.”

“Come on, don’t be so cold.”

To Kei’s defiant attitude, Alexei simply laughed. However, there was a serious glint in his eyes.

“ …By the way, there’s one thing I wanted to ask.”

Alexei’s smile disappeared as he raised a single finger.

“To tell you the truth, I’m in love with Aileen. What I want to know is your relationship with her. I’ll be blunt here, is Aileen your woman?” (ED Joke: Does this count as NTR? Should I add a tag to Novel Updates?)

Even after being warned, Kei was still caught off guard by Alexei’s question.

“That’s… quite direct.”

“Well, that’s because I’m absolutely serious about this. If she is indeed your woman, there are certain ‘manners’ and ‘etiquettes’ to be had, no?” (ED Joke: Kei, you got to do the cooking by the book.)

Alexei stated thus in an uncharacteristically sincere manner. His straight look too removed any shred of doubt Kei had and, on the contrary, brought some sort of veracity to Alexei’s usual sardonic words. In spite of this, Kei’s eyes swam as he worked out what to say.

“Aileen is my… she’s a close female friend of mine: a girl friend. However, if you mean to ask whether we are in a relationship or not… that’s quite difficult to say.”

“From the way I see it, you two don’t feel like you’re lovers. Your relationship is best described as… That’s right. It’s just like that between a princess and her loyal knight who protects her.”

Alexei nodded his head repeatedly, seemingly smug with the analogy he came up with. On the other hand, Kei wore an expression reminiscent of a crush worm.

“ …Hey, could it be that you really are a princess-knight duo?”

“Sighs, that’s impossible. Do I look like a knight to you?”

“I’m not so confident in my judgement of character that I can just base it on looks. In the first place, while I’ve met plenty of knights, I’ve never seen a princess, so I wouldn’t know how they look together anyway… But you’ve got to admit, both of you are quite mysterious.”

A dopey smile debuted once more on Alexei’s face as the man turned to look squarely Kei.

“Aileen said ‘I miss my hometown.’ ”

At those words, Kei forgot to breathe. Alexei continued without looking away.

“Hearing that, I said ‘if that’s the case, just go back and have a visit.’ To that, she replied with a sad look on her face, ‘I may not be able to go home anymore.’ Aileen never said much about her hometown, but at least it doesn’t seem to be a tribe I know. You both seem to have come from far away.”

From Alexei’s tone, Kei could tell he was trying to bait new information from him. However, Kei was too preoccupied with Alexei’s previous statement to care.

(So Aileen talked about that sort of thing… )

Kei didn’t know much about Aileen’s hometown nor the woman in real life either. That knowledge was limited to two things: that Aileen was Russian and that she lived in Siberia.

(‘I miss my hometown” …Aileen never told me anything about that. I never heard her say—)

—She wanted to go home.

“Now, now. If there’s special circumstances that you can’t talk about, that’s fine too.”

It’s unknown what Alexei was thinking, but he seemed to be in a panic at Kei’s unexpectedly serious silence.

“No… that’s not really the case… ”

“In any case, even if Aileen wasn’t your woman, I’ll let you have first dibs if you want.”

As Kei nodded vaguely while fluttering his hands, Alexei quickly left as if escaping.

Once he was alone, Kei silently sat down on a fallen tree near the riverbed.

As he looked at the water, he vaguely wondered about the flickering feeling of loneliness in his chest.

( …It seems that I’ve forgotten that Aileen is a person too.)

Aileen has her own way of thinking and acting. Unlike Kei, who has imminent circumstances limiting his lifespan should he go back to his original world, it would be natural for her to be primarily driven by nostalgia.

Kei doesn’t have any regret or attachment to his previous world. He couldn’t say that he’s not sorry that he can’t see his parents again, but for the past few years, they hadn’t seen each other in real life and had only been communicating by email once every few days. Also, because he had been locked up in a hospital room from an early age, he had little attachment towards his hometown or culture. As he was now, the joy of gaining a new body was greater than the sadness of losing his original world.

It’s a shame that I’ve lost contact with my friends too, Kei thought dejectedly, until another thought occurred to him. Isn’t my closest friend, Aileen, here with me right now? he realized.

Aileen’s existence was a sustancial source of support.

Kei was only just beginning to realize that fact.

( If Aileen hadn’t been with me when I came to this world… )

What would’ve happened to me? Kei wondered.

Initially, he probably could’ve survived. Although he couldn’t stay in Tahfu Village because of Mandel, as long as he had his arms and a bow, he could make a living as a mercenary or a hunter. (ED Note: FYI, Mandel was the hunter at the first settlement, Tahfu Village, Kei and Aileen stumbled upon. I kept the names from the previous translation.)

But would that be a happy life?

Could he still be positive and enjoy the world as he was doing now?

( …No, I really couldn’t be sure.)

If he was alone, Kei was sure he would be swallowed by anxiety. Why was he here? What was he supposed to do? How would he do it? Even as he was now, there was no end to the stream of concerns about the future. However, currently, Kei could stay positive because he was able to share his worries and uncertainties with Aileen, who was stuck under the same set of circumstances. Kei couldn’t know the extent of the influence of Aileen’s positive attitude and sense of humor.

Without it, Kei would likely be trembling on a dark night, alone.

(But… what about me?)

Thinking about his own position, for Aileen, what kind of person is “Keiichi Nogawa?”

When he thought about it, Kei felt like the ground was giving way beneath him.

In Satyna, when they were at the inn worrying over drinks over how they couldn’t find any ships to take them and talking about their future course of action, Aileen seemed like she wasn’t worried at all.

She was always cheerful, and Kei simply took it for granted. However, if you think about it, that kind of behavior is unnatural.

(No, it’s not that Aileen wasn’t anxious… )

At the time, Aileen had said she had no idea what to do. She also said she had no idea what she wanted to do.

But, that can’t be true! How was her family doing? Is there a time lag between the original world and this one? What happened to her body in the original world? Is it still possible to go home?

In the face of such crippling questions, she simply expressed that she was at a loss as “I don’t know what to do.”

It’s not like he didn’t think of asking something like you can always talk to me if you’re worrying about something, but then he came up with a terrifying hypothesis.

What if the problem lay in him, Keiichi Nogawa?

What if he was no longer worthy of Aileen to reveal her worries to.

One instance Kei vividly recalled that supported this theory was in the city of Satyna. It was the evening when Lily was kidnapped and he confronted Aileen over the pros and cons of the rescue.

Of course, Kei wanted to help Lily, but he was reluctant to go because of the risk of injury and even death. As a result, Aileen took the initiative by herself and rescued Lily. While that in itself was good, afterwards, Kei couldn’t help but feel guilty.

Logically speaking, what he did was correct. Being wary of the risks involved, his conclusion shouldn’t have been a mistake.

However, at that time, Aileen had decided against abandoning Lily, and instead, chose the humane decision to rescue her against rational.

Was she disappointed in him?

Kei was afraid. Was that why Aileen talked to Alexei without consulting with him first? Wasn’t Aileen just playing tough by showing that bright smile of hers?

Kei didn’t think that was the case, but when he dwelled on the thought, it seemed that he started trembling.

His tightened chest called out, not wanting her to hate him. Anyone but her.

[…What should I do?] (ED Note: Running out of brackets to use for different languages!)

No one could hear Kei’s muttering in Japanese. Only a gloomy sigh came out from his mouth.

Last night, he talked to Aileen in the spiritual language Esperanto, imitating what Alexei did to get back at him, but it just felt empty. After comparing Alexei with himself, he thought that he couldn’t compare himself to a native as expected. It was a complicated feeling that he felt, like he wanted to think and not think about it at the same time.

[What do I want to do… ]

It was true that Kei did not want to be hated by Aileen.

As he was thinking, lively voices could be heard from the direction of the camp.

When Kei turned to look, the sun was already climbing the horizon before he knew it. It seemed that more time had passed than he expected. Sighing again, Kei stood up heavily.

(I wonder what kind of expression I should make when I face her.)

Around this time—No, since coming to this world, Kei had been unable to determine the distance between him and Aileen. However, it was going to get worse starting today.

With the rising of the sun, the river surface shined brightly.

However, despite the dazzling display of glittering water.

Kei couldn’t afford to enjoy its beauty.


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