At the Village of the Fairies — First Half
Sieg’s father’s point of view.
I received a letter inviting me to come over to Ritzhard-kun’s village a year after they left this place.
I had thought that he was inviting me over when the auroras are frequent, but he wrote that it might be harsh in winter, since the port close to the village gets frozen and inaccessible and one has to take five hours of sleigh riding. Instead he suggested that I visit in summer.
Indeed, when one grows old the cold becomes more biting. Here, I followed Ritzhard-kun’s recommendation and decided to visit in the relatively warm season of summer.
I asked my wife if she was going, but she said that she will not be going on grounds that both the lord and the lady should not leave one’s fief. When I discussed that with Lüneburg-san, Ritzhard-kun’s grandfather, he said, “Then why don’t we go together.”
I hired more people for the ranch and finished more work beforehand, then left for a trip.
To the foreign village, it took about two days. During that period, I shared drinks with Lüneburg-san and spent a meaningful time.
After travelling like this, I think that it might have been the right move, not having my old wife with me.
Relaxing, drinking, sleeping. Living unlike a noble was rather enjoyable. I was working every day, so it was a good change to relax once in a while.
When we arrived at the port, we were greeted by Ritzhard-kun.
“It’s been a while, father-in-law, grandfather.”
“Ah, it has been a while.”
He greeted us with two arms wide open, so I exchanged a hug with him. I never had done this even with my daughter and my sons. I felt a strange sensation. My son-in-law is ever the kind man.
“Grandfather, you too!”
Lüneburg-san rejected the offer, saying that, “I would not be happy from receiving a hug from a man turning thirty!” As always, he is not very honest.
It seemed that we were to ride a carriage to the village.
We got on the carriage reserved for us and set off from the port city.
In the carriage, we discussed what each of us has been doing recently.
It seemed that Lüneburg-san has recently been focusing his efforts on philanthropic work.
“Father-in-law, how about you?”
“As for myself, I have recently started raising alpacas.”
“Ah, some time ago I bought an alpaca fur coat over at your land. The fur was warm and cozy.”
“Indeed! Even my wife is looking forward to wearing them in winter.”
Before I came here, I finished the first shaving. Apparently, the first shaved fur is the highest grade fur. With those, I made winter hats for my two granddaughters and my wife.
“Ah, right. Grandfather, what happened to father?”
“He is under custody in the mansion so that he will not run away, so you can rest easy.”
Ritzhard-kun’s father is working to finish up his research for the presentation in the academia.
Apparently, he has strong wanderlust so the people of the marquisate are watching him closely.
While talking about those things, we arrived at the village about an hour later.
The first thing that came into my sight was the lush green forest. Unlike the dark forests in my homeland, there was a fantastical sight as if the fairies would actually have lived there. The air was fresh as well.
The next thing that surprised me was the great fortress that surrounded the village. Apparently, it was built to protect against beasts around three centuries ago.
The stone was sturdy. Ritzhard-kun smiled listlessly that most of the village budget went to the maintenance of the walls.
There were surprised even inside the village. Children playing outside, young women working outside, ladies gathering at the wells, everyone had white hair and blue eyes, having an otherworldly appearance.
This really is the village of fairies. I was at a loss for words.
“Ritzhard-kun, this is amazing. This really is the village of fairies.”
I believe Edelgard and Adelgard, who like fairies, will also like this place. I vowed to bring them on a trip here after they grow up a bit.
After walking a while through the village, we arrived at Ritzhard-kun’s mansion.
There were many shed at his place.
A storeroom for storing hunted prey, a storeroom for storing fur, there were various facilities for their self-sufficient life.
When we arrived at the door, Ritzhard shouted inside.
“Sieg, mother, Arno, father-in-law and grandfather has come——!”
When he shouted that, Sieg came out from inside the mansion.
“Aa, it has been a while, grandfather-in-law. Father as well.”
Seeing her after few months, Sieg was still the healthy child I remember her to be.
“My my, Linde-chan’s father and father-in-law.”
Ritzhard-kun’s mother, who came out a little later, also looked healthy.
The one year old Arno toddled along while holding onto her mother’s hand.
To that adorable site, Lüneburg-san reacted first. “You grew big!” he said as he lifted his great-grandson with a big smile on his face.
“So you can already walk?! What a dashing figure! That’s my great-grandson!”
Lüneburg-san was lovestruck for Arno. Seeing that, I felt heartwarmed.
“Grandfather, we should let father-in-law also see Arno.”
“A, aa, sorry about that!”
While still holding him up, Lüneburg-san showed Arno to me. But without letting him go.
“Hello Arno, you grew big.”
Meeting him after a year, my grandson has been growing up well. When I patted him, he opened his eye thinly and made an adult-like smile. Come to think of it, my children did say that he sometimes makes a nihilistic smile.
Recently, he could talk a little, so it was cute seeing him speak with clumsy sentences. I enjoyed playing with my one-year-old grandson.
When we were about to enter the house with permission from Ritzhard-kun’s mother, I felt a presence behind so I turned around.
It was closer than I had expected. It was the first time I let my backside be caught, so sweat formed on my brows.
“——U-Uwa, a bear!”
There stood a white bear hauling a bear.
No, on closer look, it was not a white bear, but someone wearing white bear fur.
“Ah, Teoporon, what is it?”
Ritzhard-kun ran over to the white bear man.
Wearing white bear fur with his upper half exposed, the man had hunted prey for us guests as a sing of welcome with those thick arms.
I did hear about Teoporon, the bear fur wearing hunter from another land, but when I saw him in person I could not help but be amazed at that bulky body and the great white fur.
I heard that he does not understand our language, but nevertheless I introduced myself and held out a hand. However, he did not look at the outstretched hand and pounded his chest with a fist instead.
“I see, so that is the warrior’s greeting of Teoporon-dono.”
When I copied him and pounded my chest in courtesy, Teoporon-dono smiled, showing an expression that was both dignified and serene.
Somehow, I felt that I would be able to share drinks with him even if words did not get through.
I was wondering when the sun would set, but apparently this period was a time called white nights when the sun did not set all day. When I looked at the clock, it could clearly be called night so it was strange seeing the outside being still bright.
“The villagers all like summer.”
In winter, an opposite phenomenon called polar nights when the sun does not rise all day long visits.
During that period, people cannot hunt, and have to stay indoors all day. Ritzhard-kun recounted that living alone in the dark is a depressing thing.
When I thought of Ritzhard-kun being alone, for some reason I was moved to tears.
It seemed like I was not the only one, since Lüneburg-san was also turning his head to not have his teary eyes given away.
“However, I have family now so even the polar nights are fun.”
“I see, that’s a relief.”
I sincerely thanked the miraculous meeting of Sieg and Ritzhard-kun.
After dinner, it was time to give him the gifts we brought.
For Arno, a picture book and earmuffs made from young alpaca fur. Beauty wash for the ladies, and a high-quality knife made from a well-renowned company for Ritzhard-kun.
Lüneburg-san brought clothes in the shape of a baby bear for the baby, and delivered it with an indescribable expression.
“W-Well, it’s summer now, but I brought winter clothes.”
“Ah, but, it gets cold at night, so why don’t we try them on Arno?”
Having understood that he was yearning to see him wear the baby clothes, Ritzhard-kun was putting on the baby clothes to Arno.
Seeing Arno’s dashing figure of wearing the bear clothes, Lüneburg-san nodded deeply and murmured something mysterious, “There’s potential,” or so.
Then, we played games, tasted the alcohol Ritzhard-kun made, spending an enjoyable time.
Like so, the night deepened in the cheerful foreign land.