ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO TAPPEI NAGATSUKI, THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF RE:ZERO, THIS IS A TRANSLATION OF THE FREE JAPANESE WEB NOVEL INTO ENGLISH
JAPANESE WEB NOVEL SOURCE: HTTP://NCODE.SYOSETU.COM/N2267BE/183/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 17 [Love Story]
[???: Ooh, Ken-san, sure’s rare seeing you wandering around in the morning. Finally got laid off?]
[Dad: Don’t give me that crap, that place’ll grind to halt without me. They just didn’t want me to work too hard and take everyone else’s jobs, so they let me rest a bit to giv’em some motivation]
Even though the owner of the neighborhood bakery passing on a bicycle was only making a friendly greeting, Kenichi threw a middle finger right back at him, cursing. They continued the rowdy conversation like this for a bit, before finally waving goodbye.
[Dad: Gees, whenever he sees someone on holiday that he hasn’t seen in awhile he goes on about laid-off laid-off. I got a loving family to provide for here, how can I do something as incompetent as that. Even if I did do something that’d get me fired, it’s not like I’d let’em catch me, heheh]
[Subaru: As someone you’re providing for, I sincerely hope that rather than being good at hiding it, you actually hadn’t done anything that’d get yourself fired for]
His hands shoved inside the pockets of his jersey, Subaru, who had been waiting at the side of the road for the conversation to finish, shrugged his shoulders. Seeing his son standing in the shade being blown by the wind, Kenichi waved both his hands with [Oyoy], shaking his head,
[Dad: A man who has forgotten the sense of adventure wouldn’t grow, you know? Doing bad things is a different matter, but the view is always best from the edge of the thin line, isn’t it……]
[Subaru: You’re way past the age to be saying stupid things like that, you should’ve settle down by now. You’re already over 40 and still talking about those impractical things like a little kid]
[Dad: Men are supposed to keep their childish innocence even after they’ve grown up. Besides, you’re the one who’s at an age to say those stupid lines, but you don’t join in the conversations, so dad has no choice but to say them for you. What’s up with that anyway]
[Subaru: Nothing’s up, I just can’t talk to random old guys I don’t know]
[Dad: He’s not a random old guy, I always buy bread from him on my way home. Also, he was my junior in highschool, he was one grade below me]
But Subaru still wouldn’t know him even if he told him that.
He didn’t usually pay attention to the bread packaging, and he never passed by that bakery personally.
As Subaru’s silence gave off the feeling that the conversation was coming to an end, Kenichi smacked his tongue saying [It can’t be helped, I guess],
[Dad: On such a sunny and refreshing morning, you with that stink face is going to piss off Mr.Sun-sama you know. You look like you’re being interrogated or something]
[Subaru: If I look like I’m being interrogated, it’d be because my dad pulled me out here by force, wouldn’t it…… I said no and you still pulled me out]
[Dad: You just looked like you were resisting, but your body followed along nicely, right? See, you still love your old man, Subaru. Rest assured, I love you too. Second only to your mom, of course!]
Swinging out his strides again, Kenichi, laughing and in a good mood, roughly patted Subaru on the back. The force made Subaru raise his brows, and somehow, he felt like something was different about Kenichi’s high spirits.
Well, his father always had this kind of TENSION about him, but usually the hyper-moody Kenichi would probably have fussed for a long time about their conversation just now.
He didn’t know why, but this morning his father seemed especially tolerating.
――Unlike Subaru, who was walking alongside him feeling like his chest was about to be crushed.
[Subaru: So um……]
[Subaru: So, you brought me out here because you had something to say, right? Usually you wouldn’t go to so much trouble…… so what is it? It’s something you couldn’t say at home, isn’t it]
Wondering if it was something he didn’t want mom to hear, Subaru asked this.
No matter what it was, Subaru had a vaguely bad feeling about it. Either way, what else could it be except to reproach him for his anemic lifestyle?
When their daily conversations were separated by a layer of futon, he could have ignored them if he wished to, but outside, he couldn’t do this. Although, he could always shout loudly and shut it all out. If he embarrassed himself like this outdoors, perhaps Kenichi would change his attitude, and maybe he’d even drop Subaru’s――no, thinking up to this point, Subaru shook his head.
[Subaru: If it’s my father, he’d probably get a kick out of being shamed……]
[Dad: Even though I don’t know what you’re imagining there, what’s with that kinky remark all of a sudden? This is just a nice average everyday family conversation under the sun you know]
[Subaru: Really, it’s a bit hard to believe you…… But I’ll trust you for now]
[Dad: That’s it that’s it. By the way, Subaru, do you uh……. want a little brother or sister?]
[Subaru: It’s a bit frightening to be asked this question when I’m 17 years old!!]
The change of topic that flew in slanted made Subaru shudder and raise his voice. Seeing Subaru panting with his shoulders going up and down, Kenichi bared his teeth with a smile [Joking, joking],
[Dad: Although your mom and I are still lovey-dovey, it’d be stretching it a bit to make another person at our age. So that means, all of me and mom’s love are all reserved for you alone. Happy?]
[Subaru: Aah, yeah yeah, happy happy. ……You really were just joking right?]
[Dad: Oyoy, don’t be like that. If you give me that face I might just get excited after all and go make a new one you know?]
Sensing they’ve come to a point where joking around wouldn’t be enough anymore, Subaru only gazed at him silently at end of that sentence. And, wryly smiling in return, Kenichi received his meaning.
――Subaru and his father had arrived at a scenic path that was about 10 minutes away from the house.
It was a land where a river that was famous around these parts flowed through. Along the banks, were planted cherry-blossom trees that would become an attraction during the spring. But of course, the season was already over, and instead of pink cherry-blossom petals, it was luscious green grass covering the ground, bathed under the bright rays of the sun.
After breakfast, and before the end of school hours, Subaru, being tormented by the guilt and anxiety of the passage of that time, was brought here by Kenichi.
At first, when he left the house, he had been worried that he might be brought all the way to school this way.
[Dad: You know you look kinda wary whenever we turn toward the direction of the school. But it’s not what you think, we just took the long way round to the river bank]
Having read through his thoughts, Kenichi sneakily dragged Subaru here.
A sweet scent of plants and grass blew over the top of the embankments, and if one merely stretched a little, one would be able to see the full view of the gentle river on the other side of the fence.
[Dad: This fence didn’t use to be here in the olden days. I used to always play here in the river with buddies of mine, it was great fun. Oh, right, you remember Ikeda? One day a typhoon came, and we wanted to see how great the river had become, and that guy wound up getting carried away by the current…… That time, there just happened to be an old uncle who had just got his lifeguard license passing by, Ikeda would’ve been dead if it weren’t for him]
[Subaru: So this fence, was dad and this Ikeda guy’s fault then?]
[Dad: Nah couldn’t have……no, wait a minute? Timing-wise it does seem to kinda strangely match up now that I think about it]
Leaning against the fence, gazing out toward the river, Kenichi, reminiscing about the by-gone days, tilted his head. Behind his father, Subaru, who seemed bored, only looked around him.
Before noon on a working day, it was only natural that there was not many people around. Or, more accurately, there was no one else except Subaru and Kenichi. It wasn’t an easy place to get to in the first place. If anyone wandered around here at this time, it could only be the custodian, or someone who really loved this place.
Just as he thought this, Subaru heard someone’s footsteps on the grass.
[???: Ooooh? I was wonderin’ who it is, isn’t this Ken-bo? What’s this what’s this, still playing by the river at this age?]
[Dad: Speak of the devil…… it’s the uncle from the custodian’s hut, they still didn’t get someone to replace you? You’ll be the one surprised though, I wore my beach-trunks today instead of my river-trunks, so I can’t get in there even if I want to]
[Old Man: Don’t gimme that. I don’t see no difference between beach-trunks and river-trunks, that’s just a load of crap from the guy who jumped in the river in his underpants. But come to think of it, it’s been a long time since I seen ya]
Climbing up the banks, a short, hunching old man greeted Kenichi and shook his hand. He looked kind of like a nice grandpa, and was wearing an old green uniform. Judging from the conversation and the logo on his back, he must have been the custodian of the embankments.
In fact, if he knew Kenichi back when he was still playing in the river, he must have been a veteran at that.
In their long awaited reunion, the two of them laughed and chatted, and then, the old man made a clap with his hands,
[Old Man: Oh, right, if you’re here, what happened to your friend Ikeda? That guy sure gets carried away often, even my net was wearin’ out from catchin’ him]
[Dad: That bastard Ikeda, won big on a horse-ticket 10 years ago, and took his load of money to Thailand and haven’t heard a word of him since. Just the New Years greetings, Summer greetings, Winter greetings, Christmas, Father’s day and Mother’s day and random letters like that]
[Subaru: That sounds like a lot of correspondence for someone who you haven’t heard a word of since……]
Unable to resist the urge, Subaru had to mutter that straight-man observation. Then, hearing the quiet mutter, the old man looked over and raised his brows as if only suddenly noticing Subaru’s presence there.
[Old Man: Ooooh, you got a little buddy ere……eh? Could this be your…]
[Dad: Aaah, that’s right, this is my son. No, I should say my BELOVED SON]
[Old Man: Ooh, is that so! I got the feeling he looked like you when you wer little…… no, not too much though. He didn’t take after ya. Took after his mother more……I’m guessin’?]
[Dad: Yeahyeah. People often say that. Especially the eyes]
The most prominent thing on that otherwise plain face was his Sanpaku eyes. His mother’s eyes were so sharp it felt as though there were steel beams inside, and this part of him in particular, was certainly his mother’s influence showing through.
With that harmless remark, the old man walked up to Subaru,
[Old Man: S’that right s’that right, but it sure surprised me there. So Ken-bo already has a son this big, how the time passes quickly. Then again, I’m getting old. Even if Ikeda got himself drowned again I won’t be able to save him]
[Subaru: Even for Ikeda, I doubt he’d go play in the river and get himself drowned at this age…..]
[Old Man: Sure hope not……They really were brats who wouldn’t sit still though, these two. Especially your father, back then he was causin’ trouble all over the place. So, what bring you wandering around town this time of day anyway?]
[Subaru: ……Eeh, well]
Subaru mumbled this reply. Hearing this, the old man looked as if he had picked something up, and frowned. Then, as he furrowed up his deep, wrinkled brows,
[Old Man: Hm? Sure is Ken-bo’s son alright……but today’s a Monday isn’t it. Why’re you still at the riverbanks with your dad?]
Having been asked the question he most wanted to avoid, Subaru’s expression stiffened painfully.
Then right after, the same sharp, piercing headache he experienced inside his room came. Involuntarily, in excruciating pain, he hugged his head and squeezed shut his eyes, wrenching out an [Excuse me!], he turned his back to the old man and ran.
[Dad: Ah, oy, hey, Subaru! Sorry, uncle-chan. I’ll explain everything next time I see you]
[Old Man: Ah, oh-ooh…… maybe I said something I shouldn’t have. Tell your son I’m sorry for me]
The words that followed behind him did not register in his ears at all.
In any case, Subaru was only trying to escape from the skull-crushing pain in his head, to escape somewhere where his heartbeat would settle, somewhere away from the embankments.
[Dad: There’s nothing to apologize to him for. ――It’s that guy’s own problem anyway]
He quietly muttered under his breath.
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We got a quiet chapter so far, but once again, enjoy the quiet while you still can :3
Time for dinner, I’ll continue the chapter tomorrow!
Chapter 17 Live Draft: