Chapter 0 The Girl with Black Hair and Red Eyes
「This is, what on earth…」
There was a girl born that day in a small village that greatly confused her parents because of her appearance.
Black hair and bright red eyes, neither of which were characteristics she inherited from her parents.
Her Father Enbray, thought that something like this happening is just outright impossible.
First of all, her parent’s hair was gold, and eyes were blue, and that is the common characteristics of people living in this continent.
Not to mention that there were only few villagers living in that area, all the residents are familiar with each other. You can’t find anyone with black hair and red eyes or anything closer in hue among them.
Above everything else, his wife Rihanna is not a woman who would try having an affair.
「Oh my, now this is rare」
The midwife who lifts up the baby was looking at it with rounded eyes.
「Has something like this happened before even if rarely?」
When Enbray asked, the midwife shook her head and nodded a little.
「Yeah, I have heard of it, though I haven’t witnessed and also, this is the first time I birthed a child who didn’t even cry out」
Just like what the Midwife-san said, Akiko* didn’t show anything like raising a fuss and crying and was simply moving her red eyes as if checking out her surroundings. Enbray receives the baby while a bit anxious about her hair and eye color which is certainly different from theirs and her strange gesture of observing her surroundings.
…And that was, that girl’s… Toto’s first time awakening in that world.
The baby named Toto grew quickly.
Learning how to walk early, showing interest in various things, broke a good amount of things because of her not being used to her strength.
And now she is two year old. Toto often gazed at something.
Like gazing at her father Enbray when he was swinging his sword in the garden or watching her mother Rihanna harvesting crops on the fields.
However, as her parents noticed, it was not the wind that she was chasing with her eyes, and Rihanna tilted her head trying to figure out what it was that she was actually doing.
By the time her age reached three, her parents realized that their daughter was not normal. Her speed of learning words was really bad. Rihanna was uneasy when she found out that her neighbor, Barbara’s daughter was able to talk when she was just a year and a half old. However, no other abnormalities were found out other than just not being able to talk at that age. And when Enbray was asking people in the village as to what he should do, an effective solution couldn’t be obtained so they just continued watching over her.
Since that time, even though it was hard for Toto to learn words, she was still growing up spiritedly.
Barbara’s daughter who was the same age as her, Rikka, was interested in teaching Toto, and although she struggled it was now possible for her to speak various commonly used words.
「Okaa-san. Me Help?」
Toto asked Rihanna who was preparing for work on the fields.
「I will be fine for today, you can go play along with Rikka-chan」
Rihanna’s cheeks loosened seeing her daughter running down. It’s a good thing that she was now an energetic child, is what she thought at the corner of her mind, and thinking about Rikka’s troubles she shook her head a little.
Rikka was born with a weak body. But it isn’t really that bad that she has to stay in bed all day long. It’s only that she doesn’t have enough stamina to run all day unless it’s a really good day.
Even when they brought her to a doctor in the neighboring town where they went with a horse carriage, he only shook his head and told them that it was nothing he could cure because it her natural constitution.
There was a time when Tote never returned home when Rikka was not feeling well and couldn’t play with her.
However, when I asked her where she went, she never answered anything else beside saying 「Secret」.
One day when she was eight years old, Toto, whom they thought have gone out to play, returned bloody which surprised Embray and Rihanna. To be exact as how bad it was, it was on a level that it wouldn’t be a surprise if they fainted from shock.
「What happened? Are you ok!?」
They quickly ran towards Toto to check her out, but then they discovered that there weren’t any scratches at all on her. She was only having an awkward face.
「Sorry, but I want to understand. Can you tell me what exactly happened?」
Is what Enbray said. It seems that she was searching for the proper words to explain and was moving her mouth for a few times while looking down, then she apologized again because she just can’t find the right words to explain the situation.
Embray was groaning while crossing his arms thinking about what words she was looking for in order to explain this, which she couldn’t find.
「How about Rikka-chan? Is everyone in the village alright? 」
As Rihanna asked, she look straight into her eyes.
Rihanna and Enbray embraced her, and confused why they did that, a question mark popped out of her head.
It was impossible to think that Toto who the one harassing the livestock of the village. It’s also the same way with Rikka.
There have been reports of damage from wolves in the past few days, and thinking about this current situation where Toto ended up covered in blood yet not wounded, one conclusion can be made.
The damage those monsters did were not really that great. But it will still be a fuss if a monster appears near villages and it’s strange that the former adventurers didn’t even report about it.
Is what Toto replied. She seems to have been deep in thought.
「For the time being let’s settle it with this, I’ll ask around the village if there’s anyone who can explain the situation」
「Please take care of it. And as for Toto, you don’t really have to feel bad about it you know? Let’s first clean you up」
After that event, even if they asked anyone in the village, the mystery just furthermore deepened. The only thing they knew was that the day Rikka-chan was asleep 《Toto went somewhere alone》, is what everyone else said.
Six months after that, Toto spent her time quietly for a while… However, she returned to the time when she was just staring on empty space as if looking at something though there was nothing there.
As expected, something happened for her to end up like that when she returned home, is what Rihanna thought, but anything similar to that didn’t happen since then.
Toto is now nine years old. At this time, Enbray talked about going to the kingdom’s capital for a bit.
Toto got hooked on the topic, though she can’t properly speak, she asked Enbray about a lot of things.
When Toto fell asleep, Rihanna who had a history of disliking village life and attempted to run away from the village a long time ago laughed a bit, 「It feels like I’m looking back at my old self from that time」
「Why not try bringing her to the capital even if it’s only once?」
Rihanna asked, and Enbray also nodded.
「Well, I didn’t expect that she would be that interested about it」
「Is there something wrong?」
「No, it’s just, I was thinking as to what will happen to our fields」
When leaving the village heading towards the capital, a horse drawn carriage will be needed and it will take a good number of days to move from here to there and back. He also could not help with maintaining other carriages being used by the villagers for other things at those times. And so Enbray was groaning as he was thinking of a solution.
「If that’s what you’re worried about, it’s fine I stay behind」
Rihanna said so, but Enbray shook his head.
「No, if that’s the case wouldn’t is be much better if it’s you who goes? Your sword skills haven’t dulled yet right?」
Rihanna smiled, remembering the times where she wielded a wooden sword and was secretly practicing in the old days.
Both Rihanna and Enbray were adventurers in the past, and both of them were skilled with swords. Rihanna was the stronger one if comparing the two of them, and even now her sword skills haven’t dulled yet.
「That is certainly good, now that I think about it, it’s about time for the kingdom’s festival, so you can have her look around」
「Alright, but it will probably be crowded. I just wish she wouldn’t be too surprised to see so many people……」
And around that time, it is close to her tenth birthday…
[ED: Akiko should be MC’s previous name]