39—Legend of Sun Knight Volume 1
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 2 My…, Part 1: …Father – translated by lucathia
“Elaro, I’m starting to like you again.”
Judge watched Valica bustling about. Neither the pen in his hand, nor the commands from his mouth had ever halted. Following that, the crammed piles of goods started becoming more organized, divided into categories. The present scene grew more and more orderly, no longer resembling the previous, despairing mess.
Valica always handled matters properly and logically. Although Shuis took his work seriously as well, he was the type of person who worked hard but not necessarily smart. He was not particularly good at this type of work, which required categorization, and he wasn’t good at recording down trivial details either.
Even when infuriated, Elaro still made the best arrangements. Judge decided to forgive the fact that he had just sent both Valica and Shuis over together.
“Thanks for the help.”
When he found an opportunity, Judge sincerely gave his thanks. This was originally not within Valica’s range of duties. His main duty was diplomacy, such as forming good relationships with members of the palace. However, regarding this point, Elaro was doing well on his own, too. But his job kept him busy, so he only interacted with the most important people such as the king, the princess, and Elijah. He let Valica deal with most of the other aristocrats.
Valica raised his head from a document filled in with the categorized goods. “If you really want to thank me, put in a good word or two for me with Big Bro Elaro, so he won’t be as angry anymore.”
“Haven’t you already asked Ludia?”
“If he knows that I have been seriously doing my job, Big Bro Elaro will always cool down quicker.” Valica gave Judge a weird glance. “You don’t call Elaro ‘Big Bro,’ and you don’t call Ludia ‘Big Sis’ either. Although Hungri doesn’t call them that either, with your personality, I expected you to call him big brother. I’ve always thought that it’s unlike you to directly call them by their names.”
Judge shrugged and said, “Teacher doesn’t allow me to. He said that if I dared to allow Knight-Captain Sun’s student to eat me whole, like you and Shuis, then he would swallow me alive. So I, I don’t dare to.”
When Valica heard this, his face immediately turned ugly. “I’m not like Shuis!”
Judge really didn’t understand why they couldn’t stop fighting. “If you got along and didn’t fight, Big Bro Elaro wouldn’t get angry.”
“I don’t want to get along with him at all!”
“Why do you hate Shuis so much?”
Judge felt that if they kept chatting like this, they really wouldn’t be able to finish the job. But if he could help the two of them reconcile, he would be able to get Elaro to send them over together next time. With one being attentive and the other hard-working, the two of them would definitely finish the job in the shortest time possible! For this reason, Judge was willing to take some risks.
“I just can’t stand that guy!” Valica spat out, “He clearly has a father and a mother, and even brothers and sisters, so why does he still cling onto Big Bro Elaro?!”
“I heard that his home is very far, and he usually can’t go back.” Judge was like everyone else. He didn’t understand Shuis’s home situation very well. He had only heard that both of his parents were alive and well, and he even had a lot of brothers and sisters. Also, they stayed in the faraway Kingdom of Kissinger.
Valica said agitatedly, “He’s even more of a jerk for not returning home! He has a family, yet he doesn’t treasure them. He never goes home, not even during the long vacations. Someone who doesn’t even know how to treasure family has no right to call him Big Bro Elaro!”
Valica was an orphan, and it just so happened that this generation of the Twelve Holy Knights did not have many orphans. Several of their families were even in Leaf Bud City, so they would return home now and then to visit. They didn’t even need long vacations to visit their parents.
Judge was one of those people. Once, he had even suggested to Valica to go home with him during a long vacation. He had even talked it over with his parents, that when that happened, they could even directly recognize Valica as their godson. In any case, his mother had always felt that one son was too few, so being able to take in yet another one of the future Twelve Holy Knights as a son made her incomparably happy!
Regretfully, Valica rejected it solemnly. He was very happy to remain in the Holy Temple, because Elaro was also an orphan, so it was a given that he had no home to return to either. Besides, Elaro always had more time then. Not only would he personally instruct Valica in swordsmanship, he would even take him out to buy daily necessities with Ludia, almost like a true brother and sister taking their younger brother on an outing.
For Valica, Elaro and Ludia were even better than actual relatives—but it would be even better if Shuis didn’t follow along.
Judge said carefully, “Shuis probably has his reasons for not going home. After all, he hasn’t returned home for several years. It doesn’t seem like he’s merely having a fight with his mom and dad.”
When he heard this, Valica fell silent. He had also vaguely thought that there might be something off about Shuis’s family. It was just that the grudge between them made it so that he refused to believe it.
“Have you asked Shuis before?”
For a moment, Valica wasn’t able to refocus, but then he hurriedly asked, “What did you say?”
“Have you asked Shuis why he doesn’t go home?” Judge said mysteriously, “I-I have asked him before!”
Valica stilled. He was a little curious. “What did he say, then?”
“Shuis said that he can’t go home. When I asked him why, he fell silent for a long time before he replied, ‘I just can’t.’” After saying this, he looked at Valica and asked, “Doesn’t that sound like it’s not that he doesn’t want to go home, but rather, that he can’t?”
He clearly has a family, a father, a mother, brothers, and sisters, yet Shuis says he can’t go back? Valica felt rage burn inside his chest. He threw the inventory list in his hands at Judge, and following that, turned to run off.
Judge froze, and then yelled at Valica’s back, “W-What about making inventory?” However, the other person only ran farther and farther away. Judge sighed. “Forget it, this was originally my job anyway. However, Elaro, I have decided not to like you or hate you anymore.”
Valica didn’t have a home. He only had the orphanage. He had been there since he was seven. It happened because he had been wandering about on the streets and picking up expired bread from the bakery to eat. In the end, the bakery’s chef sent him to the orphanage. He no longer remembered why he didn’t have parents and had even been wandering the streets.
The orphanage in Leaf Bud City had always been commendable. In fact, the children there lived pretty well. But no matter how well they lived… It was only that. After all, there were a bunch of kids there. Being able to fill one’s stomach and wear warm clothes was already good treatment that was hard to come by. He really couldn’t ask for more.
Valica had been very satisfied. From constant hunger and cold to a full stomach and warm clothes, the orphanage was practically like the God of Light’s heaven. He had been perfectly satisfied staying there.
When it came time for the selections for the Twelve Holy Knights, the orphanage would always send a group of children, who more or less matched the age requirement to participate in the selections. At the time, Valica was a bit too young, but the orphanage probably thought it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try and sent him over. They sent a large group of children, after all.
No one thought that Valica would remain all the way until the last stage of the selections, and this selection even had several young candidates. In the end, the holy knights-in-training who had been chosen were rather young, even nearly causing the Sun Knight to vomit blood.
Having to leave the orphanage did scare Valica a bit. After all, he had only been eight years old. It couldn’t be helped that he would feel flustered having to leave a familiar place. However, at the time…
That day was the last day of the selections. The Twelve Holy Knights would personally come to select their successors. Several of the candidates were fairly nervous, especially those children who had trained since childhood and had constantly been waiting for this day.
In comparison, Valica felt much more relaxed. He was merely there because the orphanage had sent him over to give it a try. Even if he didn’t get selected, there was no need to feel disappointed. Therefore, he treated it like a tour the entire time, and was walking here and there to take a look. Even when some helpful holy knights advised him that the Twelve Holy Knights might be observing nearby, he didn’t immediately start practicing his sword like the others—he didn’t have a sword anyway.
“Hi! Do you like the Holy Temple?”
Valica raised his head. The person he saw was a holy knight full of smiles. He carried a bow on his back. This wasn’t very common among the holy knights. The majority of the holy knights used swords.
Valica gave it careful thought and honestly replied, “I don’t know, but it’s very pretty.”
“Is being pretty not good?”
Valica tilted his head to think and said, “There are many places that are very pretty, but when I’m hungry, it doesn’t matter how pretty they are.”
The holy knight before him showed an expression of pity, and he asked softly, “Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat?”
“I’m not very hungry.” Valica answered honestly, but he then used hopeful eyes to ask, “But is there anything to eat?”
The holy knight laughed. “Yes, of course there is. What do you like to eat?”
“Warm soup!” Valica answered without the slightest hesitation.
“It’s so hot right now, but you still want to eat warm soup?”
Valica rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment and said, “Yeah! I love warm soup the best! Because…”
It was a cold, winter day. Valica sifted through cold bread that gave off a sour smell in the trash bin, but the owner discovered him. He had thought that he would be chased away or even given a severe beating, but the owner lady was very kind and sent him to the orphanage.
At a loss, Valica curled up on the chair. He rubbed his small hands for warmth, and what he received was a bowl of steaming soup. He would never forget the deliciousness of that bowl of soup.
From then on, he fell in love with warm soup. He even formed an especially good relationship with the cook, hoping that the other person would make warm soup every day.
After he finished talking about why he liked warm soup, Valica raised his tiny face, using hopeful eyes to look at the other person. Usually, after listening to this story, and being faced with such an expression, there was a high chance that the other person would immediately take him to eat a bowl of warm soup, just like the cook at the orphanage. It was a time-tested method!
Unexpectedly, after the other person stared at him for a long while, he did not take him to eat soup. Instead, he asked, as if he was thinking about something, “Which Twelve Holy Knight’s selection are you participating in?”
Because this question was too far a jump in topic, Valica blanked out for a moment before he could respond. “Storm Knight.”
“Storm, huh? But he…” For some reason, the other person showed a distressed look and spoke hesitantly.
Valica felt that this holy knight was a little strange, causing him to remember what the orphanage always cautioned—“Beware of strange uncles.” However, holy knights shouldn’t be strange uncles, right? Therefore, Valica continued to do his best, maintaining the innocent and naïve expression of a child to prevent his warm soup from flying away.
The other person pondered for a while—Valica didn’t know what there was to ponder about at all—and then stared directly at Valica, whose back grew cold from being stared at. Finally, he used a gentle and approachable voice to say, “Child, let me tell you something. My best dish is stew!”
“Have you ever had cheese and chicken vegetable stew, or sweet basil and tomato seafood soup?”
The super long names of the dishes stupefied him. At the orphanage, even cheese was rare, so of course there wouldn’t be dishes with such long names. If the soup had meat in it, that would already be a luxury.
“So…” The holy knight showed a smile and asked, “Want to eat it?”
He had wandered the streets since young, and then he had stayed at an orphanage, so Valica was definitely not the average, ignorant child. He knew that there was definitely something wrong with the holy knight in front of him! He might truly be a “strange uncle,” but when Valica thought about the cheese whatchamacallit veggie stew, and the something something seafood soup…
“I’ll even add a lot of spices. Saffron is the most suitable for soup of the seafood variety. Cheese makes soup thick, so sprinkling some vanilla will make it palatable. The sweet aroma will make even clerics from the Sanctuary of Light come running to the Holy Temple, wanting a taste! Do you want some?”
“Yes!” Even though he wasn’t the average child, Valica still couldn’t resist his favorite food.
The other person smilingly said, “Great. As long as you switch to the Leaf Knight selection, you’ll have so much stew you won’t ever be able to finish eating!”
Switch to the Leaf Knight selection? Valica didn’t quite understand. Even though he wasn’t dead set on becoming the Storm Knight—the orphanage merely approximately assigned them by personality—he could only shake his head and say, “But that can’t be changed.”
“Don’t worry, there won’t be a problem. Later, all you have to do is stand among the selection ranks for the Leaf Knight. Leave the rest to me.”
When he heard this, Valica began to have doubts. He felt that this holy knight was a strange uncle, but for the sake of stew, he was still willing to give what the other person said a try.
“Do I really only have to try out for the Leaf Knight, and then I’ll be able to have the stew you just mentioned? You aren’t tricking me, right?” He wasn’t very reassured. The orphanage said that strange uncles only ever told lies!
The other person said seriously, “I swear on the name of the Leaf Knight to the God of Light, I am definitely not deceiving you.”
Soup bowl cupped in his hands, Valica still couldn’t wrap his mind around how he had somehow been chosen as the Leaf Knight-in-training. All he had wanted was soup!
His little head was full of questions, but Valica couldn’t care less anymore. The bowl of soup in his hands was made by the Leaf Knight… Ah, he should call him “Teacher” now. Teacher said he was currently rather busy and didn’t have time to concentrate on making stew, so for the time being he made some simple cheese and corn soup for him.
“Eat up!” Teacher said with a smile—Aren’t you busy? Why are you able to stay here and watch me eat soup?
The soup was unbelievably savory. The moment he received permission, Valica could not resist eating the soup at once. It went down smoothly and was so delicious that he didn’t even care about how scalding hot it was. He ate mouthful by mouthful, without stopping.
Leaf Knight said happily, “I was going to ask you if you liked it, but I can tell from just your expression that it must be super delicious. It’s only a simple cheese and corn soup, but you’re eating it so happily. I’m highly anticipating what kind of expression you’ll show when you have some of my carefully brewed stew! Choosing you was the right decision!”
Valica was so busy eating the soup that he didn’t pay much attention to his teacher’s words.
“Sun even said, ‘Is it right using ‘liking to eat soup’ to pick someone?’… But he’s also super biased. He chose Elaro way in advance, and even Storm too…”
As he ate soup, he listened to his teacher’s prattling. Since he wasn’t listening very carefully, Valica wasn’t very clear about what his teacher had said.
This happened several times. When his teacher discovered that the secrets he had accidentally let slip did not get revealed, he cherished Valica even more. Valica had soup nearly every single day. Weekends even came with specially prepared grand meals. Those were truly so delicious, that Valica nearly swallowed his own tongue.
His situation after becoming a Twelve Holy Knight-in-training was a lot better than when he had been at the orphanage. His teacher treated him very well, brewing stew for him every day. Valica lived practically without any worries, no matter that the sword and archery lessons he later had were actually very tough. Judgment Knight and Hell Knight were the sword instructors, and both teachers were rather strict, causing each and every young holy knight to cry out in pain from the training.
However, Valica still considered himself blessed. After all, once he finished training, he would have delicious soup to eat. Besides, if he didn’t exercise, he suspected that he really would turn into a pig, getting fed by his teacher like this.
The teachers had busy jobs, so they couldn’t actually give lessons often, and the one with the best swordsmanship among the vice-captains, Adair, was even busier. In the end, that was how Elaro, who was a student himself, became a substitute teacher—the reality of it was, he was pretty much an official teacher.
He had strong swordsmanship, superb archery skills, and had even mastered ninety percent of the Storm Knight’s kicking techniques. According to some rumors, Elaro had already started helping the Sun Knight handle documents. Valica felt that Elaro could only be described as omnipotent!
In addition, since Elaro was much older than the rest, a lot of them inevitably considered him an older brother. However, Valica didn’t have that intention, because he didn’t know what an older brother was in the first place. Even with the older kids in the orphanage, Valica didn’t think of them as older brothers either.
This continued until a certain day when his teacher went out on a mission. As usual, Valica went to attend sword lessons, yet discovered that not a single person was at the training grounds…
“There’s no lesson today?”
He pulled a few holy knights over to ask. When he received this answer, he asked in confusion, “Why not?”
“Vacation, that’s why.” The other person was rather surprised and asked, “Didn’t you know? The Twelve Holy Knights are out on a mission. It’s the perfect time for a long vacation. All of you can go home and visit.”
Valica stilled. He had heard that his teacher was going on a mission, but he hadn’t heard about the long vacation plus going home.
“Hurry and go home!” The other person reminded helpfully, “The vacation this time is only two weeks long. If you don’t live in Leaf Bud City, just the trip home will take several days, right?”
Valica shook his head and said, “I don’t have a home.”
There wasn’t much of a point returning to the orphanage. He had only stayed at the orphanage for less than a year before coming to the Holy Temple. He had been really young then, so even if he returned, he probably wouldn’t remember anyone.
“I-Is that so…” The other person was a bit at a loss. “Ah! Holy knight-in-training Elaro is also an orphan. Maybe you can seek him out!”
Valica nodded, but he didn’t intend to. They were on vacation, so he didn’t want to bother Elaro. Even though Elaro was also a holy knight-in-training, he always seemed like he had never-ending work.
Without anything to do, and since his teacher hadn’t assigned him any homework, Valica idly wandered about for a day, then two days. It was the first time he noticed how long a day was. Five days. Six days. He had no clue what there was to do, so he could only shoot arrows by himself. Eight days. Nine days. He hadn’t spoken to anyone for several days already. Valica suddenly realized that it wasn’t a good thing to only interact with Teacher and the young holy knights-in-training, the way he’d done up until now.
Valica turned and saw Elaro. The other person was stunned at first, but he soon asked gently, “What’s wrong? Why are you sitting here by yourself? Are you sad?”
He didn’t mention the tears on Valica’s face at all.
Valica rushed forward, hugging Elaro’s waist tightly without letting go. He forcefully buried his small face in Elaro’s chest, and finally, couldn’t help bawling his eyes out.
Elaro didn’t say a word. He merely reached out with his arms to hug Valica, letting him cry for several minutes, all the way until his sobs grew quieter. Once there were only tiny hiccupping sounds left, he could tell that Valica was feeling a little hesitant and embarrassed. Only then did he ask, “What’s wrong, did someone bully you? Don’t worry, you can tell me.”
Valica shook his head hard. However, his face was still buried in Elaro’s chest, so it just looked like burrowing, causing Elaro to feel quite amused. After a moment, a stuffy response came from his chest. “Everyone has returned home. I don’t have a home. I don’t have anyone to t-talk to. I don’t know why I started crying…” Having said so much, he felt really embarrassed.
Elaro immediately refuted, “Nonsense, of course you have a home. The Holy Temple is your home, the Leaf Knight is your father, and I am your big brother.”
Big brother… Valica lifted his head. His reddened eyes saw Elaro show a gentle expression, smiling as he said, “I also have a younger sister called Ludia. You know that, right? She can be your little big sister, okay?”
Elaro patted Valica’s head and said, “Then, go wash your face and change into casual clothes. Accompany big brother out for shopping today.”
“I don’t have casual clothes,” said Valica timidly. Back then, he had only brought two outfits with him to the Holy Temple, but two years had already passed and children grow very quickly. Those two outfits were already so small that he couldn’t fit into them, so he had been using them as cleaning rags.
Elaro smiled openly and said, “Perfect, Shuis also needs to buy clothes. We can go together.” After he finished speaking, he waved at a particular corner.
Valica was taken aback. Shuis was standing in the shadow of a tree. He didn’t have much of an expression on his face and was looking at Elaro and him quite indifferently.
Did my bawling face get completely seen just now? Valica’s face reddened. Even though Elaro had also seen it, but Elaro… Big Bro Elaro was different!
Elaro didn’t notice anything. He held Valica’s hand and led him toward Shuis.
Shuis frowned and was staring fixedly at a certain place. Confused, Valica followed his line of sight and saw that he was staring straight at the hand that Elaro was holding.
Valica immediately shook off Elaro’s hand, his face so red, it was like he had been burned by fire.
At this time, Shuis walked over and naturally took Elaro’s hand. This action stunned Valica.
Enthusiastic, Elaro told the two children, “Shuis, Valica, neither of you are returning home, so when there are long vacations in the future, you can play together—“
“No way!” Shuis shot it down immediately. “I only want to be with Big Bro Elaro and Big Sis Ludia.”
Valica’s face turned ashen. He deeply regretted that he hadn’t said no at the first opportunity he had as well.
Elaro’s expression turned conflicted, but only for a moment. He came to his own conclusion, thinking that it was just that Shuis didn’t want to leave his side, not that he opposed Valica. He immediately smiled and said, “Alright then, let’s go shopping together. Let’s go find Ludia first. Come on!”
Elaro held Shuis’s hand but only waved Valica over. Valica had just shaken his hand off, so he figured Valica didn’t like the action of holding hands.
Valica hesitated for a moment. Then, he promptly rushed forward to grab Elaro’s other hand. Elaro paused momentarily, but merely smiled. He held Valica’s hand back, his two hands holding one child each. Slowly, they walked toward the Church of the God of Light.
Shuis shot a glare at Valica. The latter frowned, wondering what this glare meant. Then, he heard him say, “Valica, bring money. Big Bro Elaro doesn’t have money to buy clothes for you.”
When he heard this sort of rebuke, Valica angrily said, “I’m not going to make Big Bro Elaro pay for my clothes!”
Elaro smiled and said, “I still have some money. Don’t worry, I just received my salary.”
“No!” Shuis immediately retorted, “Big Bro Elaro, if you do that, you’ll run out of money again before the middle of the month!”
“I don’t need much money in the Holy Temple anyways. Oh, but I think I’m almost out of essential oil again…”