Portrait of Younger Days #1
It was two tomboys that always signaled the morning in Forest of the Elves. Two children would run through dew filled forest laughing loudly amused by something in one moment then they would stop laughing in an instant and focus on a race to beat each other.
Rua: Hehe…. I won this time!
Two kids, both out of their breaths and with their cheeks red finally stopped running when they reached the pond. Short haired kid who arrived first grinned towards the long haired kid who arrived later and made a V sign with her finger.
Rena: That’s not fair! I couldn’t focus because you made me laugh so much!
Long haired kid pouted as she walked past the short haired kid then climbed a giant tree and looked down as if she was used to doing this. That spot was basically the two children’s designated place. Two would race to the pond every morning, and their destination was always on top of this tree that the long haired kid was standing.
Rua: Rena, are you angry?
Kid named Rena waved her head as she looked far out into the distance.
Rena: Rua, look over there. There’s a smoke rising up.
Rena called Rua as she pointed towards a place across from the forest. Rua also skillfully climbed the tree with nimble movements then looked towards where Rena’s hand was pointing.
Rena: Human village that’s supposed to be around here must be that way, I’m sure of it!
Two children blankly stared at the smoke rising up with shine in their eyes then looked at each other disappointingly when the smoke disappeared.
Rua: It’s already over.
Rena: Yea. I wondered if something special will happen today….
Rena looked regrettably at the place where the smoke had been rising from as she followed after Rua who was grabbing her hand and leading her to the slightly higher part of the tree.
Rua: We can come back tomorrow. So for today….
Rua who was looking around smiled brightly as if she found something good then pointed towards the center of the forest.
Rua: Let’s try going over there. We’ve never been there right? There must be lots of mysterious things!
Rena looked towards where Rua had pointed then nodded while smiling brightly just like Rua. Two children instantly jumped off the tree then went off on their own expedition to deeper part of the forest.
Portrait of younger days #2
Rena: Hahaha, guys, that tickles….!
After some time had passed to the point where they now explored most of the forest, a small change started to occur around Rena. Things called ‘spirits’ started to naturally gather around Rena. They protected Rena so she wouldn’t get hurt and granted Rena’s requests from time to time.
Other elves thought ‘spirits particularly follow that child’ and were amazed. This was a same case as the greatest elder of the Erindel territory, Branwe Erindel. Branwe started to observe Rena more carefully but didn’t particularly get close to the child.
Rua: Rena, can you pick that one too?
Rena: Of course! Look closely! These children will help me!
Rua and Rena still liked exploring various places inside the forest. Sometimes near the barrier that they were told absolutely not to leave, sometimes into a deep southern forest that the other elves didn’t visit often…. When the two children went exploring, Rena didn’t hesitate to borrow the powers of the spirits.
Rena: Alright, here it is. Can you cut it in half?
Fruit hanging on top of a tall tree fell down right away when the wind spirits shook the tree strongly. Then other spirits blew winds so that the fruit wouldn’t smash into the ground and got the fruit on top of Rena’s palm safely.
Rua: That’s so amazing!
Rua cut the fruit in half then handed one half to Rena while looking at the spirits that were circling around Rena as if they wanted compliments.
Rena: This is nothing.
Rua: What do you mean by nothing? Those children won’t listen to what I say.
Rena: Hmm… that’s true.
Rena who was looking at the spirits around her shrugged as she took a bite out of the fruit. Spirits that had approached Rena abruptly listened to anything she requested of them. They followed Rena wherever she went and tried to protect her.
She didn’t even have a clue as to why the spirits listened to her but what was certain was that they were of ‘help’.
Rena: I don’t exactly know why they listen to me….. But we can have more fun exploring thanks to these children right?
Rua who was looking at Rena smile brightly withdrew her envious gaze then nodded.
Rua: Anyways… how about we go check on that now?
Rua asked Rena while munching on the fruit. Rena seemed to ponder for a moment at what ‘that’ was then shouted while clapping as if she remembered.
Rena: Ah! I almost forgot! Would that child be alright? We didn’t get to visit yesterday….
Rua: It should be fine. There’s morning dew… and there’s a pond nearby.
Two children started moving even before each other’s words finished. They stopped their steps when they reached the pond that they often visited.
Rua noticed something soon as they arrived at the pond then started running hastily. Rena also followed Rua with a worried expression.
Rua: ….To think it ended up like this……
There was a single small wilted flower at the place where Rua was kneeling. Rua who had been wordlessly looking down at the flower murmured quietly then even started sobbing.
Rua: Is it….my fault? This child wouldn’t have wilted….if I visited yesterday.
Rena sat beside Rua looking down quietly at the wilted flower. She then suddenly put both of her hands on the ground then closed her eyes as if she was determined about something.
Rua: Rena…? What are you trying to do?
Rena: Sssh! I’m going to borrow the powers of the spirits. They might save this child.
Rena gathered the spirits nearby then wished and wished again that she wanted to revive the wilted flower. Spirits gathered and circled around Rena like the usual but none of them listened to Rena’s wish.
Rena: (What…? Why are you not listening to me? You always listened to my requests….I ask you this time as well…..)
Rena: (It’s a precious flower that my friend holds dearly. Very precious flower that she got as a gift from her parents…. Please, I ask you. Save this flower…..)
All the spirits began to circle around Rena and the flower and give off a small light. Light from the spirits seeped into the wilted flower as well and the flower bud slowly started to rise.
Rena and Rua held their breaths as they watched this scene. They wished desperately for the flower to come back alive as they waited for the flower to completely bloom. But light from the spirits eventually disappeared and the flower bud lowered again.
Rena struggled to gather more spirits after getting startled from seeing the spirits around them scatter. But the spirits didn’t answer Rena.
Rena: (Why are you all acting like this….?)
She tried again and again but the result was the same.
Rua: Rena, stop! It’s fine now….!
Rena shook off Rua’s hand trying to stop her then called upon the spirits again. Her vision became blurry and her head felt dizzy but she didn’t care.
Rua: Rena? Rena!!!!
And with that, Rena lost consciousness.
Portrait of Younger Days #3
Rua: Lady, how is Rena doing?
Lilia quietly shook her head after looking at her daughter who twisted and turned while panting thinly as if she was in pain. Rena hadn’t woken up ever since she came home being carried on Rua’s back.
She was getting bad fever which would soak the entire bed sheet in sweat from time to time. Spirits of the wind came and blew winds from beside Rena’s head whenever this happened.
Rua: I’m sorry… If it weren’t for me….
Lilia hugged Rua who looked like she was about to burst into tears at any moment then patted her shoulder.
Lilia: It’s alright child. It wasn’t your fault…. Rena will open her eyes again for sure.
Lilia: Look how the spirits are tending to Rena so sincerely. Rena won’t lose easily.
Rua barely withheld her tears and nodded as she headed to Rena’s bedside. Rena’s face was pale and her head felt hot.
Isilad: Lilia! I brought the elder!
Isilad’s voice came from downstairs and broke the silence in the room. Sounds of wood floor creaking seemed to continue then Isilad and elder Branwe entered.
Lilila: I’m sorry for making you come all this way.
Branwe: No, I should obviously help if there’s someone in need. It’s my job after a….
Branwe trailed her words as her gaze headed towards Rena lying behind Lilia. She had already known Rena’s condition wasn’t good from the rumors.
Just like the rumors, this child’s condition didn’t look too good. Branwe looked towards the spirits beside Rena’s head while petting the head of Rua who was looking up at her worriedly.
Branwe: (…So that’s what happened.)
After nodding and sending the spirits away, Branwe calmly put her hand on top of the child’s forehead. Blue light started to dwell near Rena.
Light disappeared after a while. Then surprisingly, Rena who had been asleep as if she was dead stretched her arms and got up as if nothing had happened.
Rena: Mom….dad….Rua….and even the elder? What are you all doing here?
Rua: Rena…. Rena!!!
Looking at Rua burst into tears and jumping into her arms, Rena scratched her head as if she was embarrassed.
Rena: What’s wrong everyone…?
Branwe: You were deep asleep, very sick.
Branwe spoke with a soft voice. Then she looked straightly into Rena’s eyes then made a strict expression.
Branwe: You should know better why you ended up like this right, Rena?
Rena recalled what happened with the spirits earlier then nodded hesitantly.
Branwe: ….Alright, it’s good if you understand.
Branwe loosened her expression then smiled. She then asked a question that surprised everyone in the room.
Branwe: It looks like you’ll need a proper mentor. Would you like to become my disciple?
Rena seemed to think for a moment with a surprised expression then gave a large nod with an expression as if she had determined something.
Rena: Yes! I will!
Portrait of younger days #4
Branwe: Remember, Rena. People with power cannot use their power carelessly.
Branwe spoke gently as she showed Rena the powers that the spirits held. Rena’s eyes shined brightly as she looked at the images of light that appeared and disappeared at the end of Branwe’s fingertips.
Branwe: When using power, one must take responsibility for their power. Do you remember what happened before?
Branwe put her hands down on her knees then asked while staring straightly at Rena. Rena had never brought up that event ever since she woke up. She kept changing the topic if that event was about to come up.
Branwe: What were you thinking when you asked the spirits to revive that flower?
Rena couldn’t answer right away and twitched her mouth. She barely suppressed herself from answering ‘I didn’t think about anything’ then thought and thought again to find a proper answer. But the answer Rena gave in the end wasn’t too different from the answer she first thought of.
Branwe smiled as if she was satisfied by Rena’s honest answer then continued her words.
Branwe: Thank you for answering honestly. But Rena…..that was honestly a foolish action.
Rena’s face reddened as she lowered her head. Rena was also regretting what happened on that day. I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have forced those children. She even repeatedly resolved hundreds, thousands of times to not use power of the spirits again.
Branwe: About everything that will happen if you revived that flower…. reviving that flower but making the surrounding plants wilt or spirits turning into dew then disappearing after using up all their power to save that flower…. Were you prepared to take responsibility if such things happened?
Rena quietly shook her head. She hadn’t thought that far so she realized once more how foolish her action on that day was.
Branwe: Not everyone can wield this power. There are more people in this world that don’t have power. We, as the people with power need to take up appropriate responsibility and resolve.
Branwe: Always think before you use your power. About the result using your power will bring, if someone will be harmed because of me, if so then what kind of responsibility I need to take because of it.
Rena quietly whispered to the spirits while feeling Branwe’s warm hands petting her head.
Rena: (I’m really sorry.)
Branwe looked at Rena as if she was cute then focused once more and created an image of light in front of Rena again. Light quickly started to transform and started to show image of a giant tree.
Rena: Wow… this is… isn’t this that giant tree near the pond?
Branwe nodded gently as she continued her words.
Branwe: That’s right. This tree is called Eldrasil. It’s a tree that gained enormous amount mana due to the power of El. This tree has gained ‘consciousness’ and is protecting this forest.
Rena: I…it was such an amazing tree?
Branwe: Haha, you don’t have to be so startled. Eldrasil loves all the life residing in the forest. It must be very happy that you two came to visit every day.
Rena started to stare straightly at the light image with a bright expression again.
Branwe: My power is also possible due to connection with Eldrasil.
Rena focused intently on Branwe’s words as she stretched out her hand to touch various part of the light image.
Branwe: This is a most important part in our lessons from now on so please remember well. Also, one more thing.
Rena: Keep the fact that I’m elder’s disciple a secret right?
Rena stood up as if she understood then smiled.
Branwe: Yes, no one except you, Rua and your parents…. Must know that you are my disciple.
Rena answered yes to Branwe’s request as she always did. After that, she reviewed ‘creating light images’ she learned from Branwe then got up to leave.
Branwe made a mysterious smile while looking at Rena’s back.
Portrait of Younger Days #5
Rua: Rena, all we there yet?
Rua spoke in a sullen voice as she moved past the dense plants while following after Rena’s back.
Rena: We’re here! Tada~ look in front of you!
Once Rua saw over Rena’s shoulder, she forgot all about how she was complaining and quickly dashed in front to look around at the numerous archery targets.
Rua: No way….so this place is….
Rena: It’s a place where our village’s archery squad used to practice!
Rena smiled proudly as she grabbed the bow she was carrying on her back. She grabbed couple arrows that were lying all over the area then continued speaking.
Rena: We can shoot arrows much as we want here. There are so many arrows here after all…
Rua: Haha, then we can finally settle the score between us today.
Two of them took their positions and got ready. Calmly just like you learned, Rena murmured this then fired the first shot. The arrow got stuck right in the middle of the target.
Rua: Not bad. But I can also do that much!
Rua took her position again soon as she finished speaking. Just when she internally counted up to three and was about to let go of her hand…
Rua got surprised from seeing something small jump in all of a sudden and fell backwards on her bottom. The arrow cut across the air and got stuck on a high tree branch.
Rena: Rua, Are you okay!?
Rua got up from being supported by Rena then pointed at the creature hiding behind the target with shaking hands.
Rua: O, over there… there’s something.
Rena: Let’s check it out.
Two carefully approached the target and examined the small creature with shiny red eyes. Its entire body was covered in fluffy white fur and it was shaking as if it was scared.
Rena: Oh my…. This child must have gotten surprised too.
Rua: I’ve never seen this child before…
Two of them had explored many areas of the forest so far but this was the first time they’ve seen this red eyed creature that was hiding behind the target, so they backed up to maintain their distance.
Rena: We haven’t come to this place before. Maybe it’s a child that’s been living here?
Rua: I hope so…
Red eyed creature sniffed around the ground for a long time then disappeared into the forest as if it lost interest.
Rua: Ugh… it feels like something scarier might pop up if we stay here, let’s go back.
Rena stared at the direction the creature ran off to and pondered for a moment if she should tell this to Branwe, but she shook her head from Rua’s voice calling her and thought.
Rena: (That’s right, it must be something that lives here… It’s probably not a big issue.)
Rena looked behind her one more time as she walked towards Rua then left the site.
Portrait of Younger Days #6
Night with especially bright stars, the village was in high spirits in a festival atmosphere. Everyone was out in the streets singing and dancing.
Rua and Rena used this chance when the streets were hectic to ditch helping out with the festival and quickly headed inside the forest.
Rua: Phew… we would have served foods until sunrise if we stayed there.
The place two of them arrived at was a pond with the Eldrasil. Two climbed up the Eldrasil as they always did then lied down in their spots to look down at the forest and enjoyed their leisure time.
Rena: This is great….
There were countless stars shining as if they were about to shower down at any moment when they raised their heads up to look up towards the sky. Endlessly vast forest stretched out in front of their eyes when they lowered their heads back down to look forwards.
Rua: Ah….! Look Rena! It’s a smoke!
There was a smoke rising up from the place where Rua was pointing. Rua stood up to climb to a higher spot and stared at the smoke disperse in the air while drawing in her mind picture of the human village that should be over there.
Rua: Rena, have you ever thought about your future?
Rena answered quietly while stroking the spirits that gathered around her.
Rena: Not yet. It’s not like I have something I want to do in particular…
When Rena’s answer ended, Rua seemed to think for just a moment then opened her mouth as if she finally made up her mind.
Rua: For past couple of days I’ve been thinking about what I would have become in the future. But no matter how much I thought, there was only one thing that came up in my mind.
Rua had already moved down to sit beside Rena.
Rua: I want to someday leave this forest and journey all around the world. I want to see the world of humans with my own eyes. I want to go to places that aren’t a forest. I want to talk with humans, befriend them, become companions…. And do something that will help all the people in the world.
Rua held her breath as she carefully chose her words. After a moment, she quietly and calmly finished her words.
Rua: I’m going to become an adventurer. And my first companion will be…
Rua held Rena’s hand and made an expression like a child dreaming of something exciting as she looked at Rena.
Rua: You, Rena!
Rena opened her eyes widely as she looked far out towards the forest where the smoke had disappeared. Fluttering and pounding heart, and a strong will wanting to make it a reality seemed to pass into her through Rua’s hand that she was holding.
Rena smiled as she answered.
Rena: Yes! Let’s go together!
Portrait of Younger Days #7
Forest became darker as she moved deeper inside.
Rena: (I can’t see anything…. I can use this in a time like this!)
Rena focused her power on the tip of her hands and created a small light image. Surroundings became brighter and she could see in front of her properly now.
Rena: (That elder… she said it was a simple mission. But sending me to a place like this…)
Certainly the mission itself was simple, but the place Rena had to go wasn’t very easy. Dense trees were covering up the sky so it was always dark, and dangerous animals tended up appear from time to time so it wasn’t a place that other elves visited often.
Rena: (Anyways, does glowing mushroom even exist? I’ve never seen one…)
Rena: (Map that elder gave me must be correct right?)
Rena moved forwards while having various thoughts. She calmed the spirits that were hastily gathering around her as she arrived at her destination early.
Rena: (Great! This must be the place… the glowing mushroom is…)
Rena looked around searching for the glowing mushroom but got distracted from the spirits gathering urgently around her again. She sighed and halted the spirits.
Rena: Why are you all acting so uneasy today? Is there something dangerous around here?
She knew that spirits sometimes moved hastily to warn her of danger, but they had never been so uneasy before so Rena’s worry started to grow.
Rena: Don’t worry, I’ll get out of here soon as I find the mushroom…But you guys are acting weird today.
Rena quickly searched due the spirits urging her and finally found the glowing mushroom near the root of a giant tree. She grabbed the mushroom and cheered then quickly started to leave the forest.
Rena: (How strange… why are the spirits acting like this today?)
She thought carefully but she couldn’t think of a likely answer. Were they warning Rena how dangerous the forest she entered was? Or were they trying to chase off a dangerous animal that was nearby, or maybe….
Rena: (Because an extremely large danger is approaching…?)
Rena thought seriously for a moment but made a hollow laugh and shook her head while looking at the spirits that were now calm.
Rena: (But they are so calm now. What a ridiculous thought. We have the Eldrasil so we’ll be safe.)
Rena shook off the worries by thinking about the present that Branwe prepared for her as a reward and headed to the village.