‘‘Mister! You can’t catch us if you are that slow!’’
A little girl wearing a long white dress and having short light brown hair, and a face that was cute like a doll, could be seen running in grass while laughing with a smile while looking behind her.
Running right next to her was a young boy with light brown hair, wearing a white t-shirt and short black pants and laughing alongside the little girl.
And since they were twins, the resemblance between them was uncanny.
‘‘Yeah, mister. If you are that slow you would never be able to catch us.’’ Calvin also said.
‘‘Slow…’’ Tatsumi watched the two and said with a light smile. ‘‘If you want me to catch both of you that bad then I’ll fulfill your request.’’
The young man's body suddenly becomes a blur and disappears before Lily and Calvin's eyes, leaving them shocked at his sudden disappearance. Before the shock could leave them, they could feel something grabbing them and lifting them above the surface of the ground.
They simultaneously turned their heads behind and looked. What they saw was the face of a youth who had short brown hair, and on top was a cowlick that fell from the gravity.
Tatsumi wore a broad smile while having Lily and Calvin in his grasp.
‘‘It seems that I caught you two.’’ He expressed his words by rolling his pupils toward his hands. ‘‘Game over.’’
Right as Tatsumi declared that the twins in his grasp puffed their cheek and pouted at him. Perceiving their look, he dropped his smile and tried his best not to meet their gaze while gently putting them back down on the grass.
‘‘Um… did I do something wrong?’’ He asked while feeling slightly confused as to why they seemed dissatisfied with him catching them.
‘‘Hmph, you cheated’’ Lily and Calvin crossed their arms and glared straight at him with the same pouted expression. Tatsumi rubbed his face with his forefinger and felt more puzzled and awkward at the gaze they gave him.
‘‘Hoho, silly lad. You aren’t supposed to actually catch them.’’ The moment Tatsumi heard a voice behind him, he didn’t turn around as he could directly identify the owner, as outside of his village the only person he met so far in his short Journey who would call him that was Old Man Brown.
‘‘If I wasn’t supposed to catch them? Then what was I supposed to do?’’ He asked, still confused. Old man Brown didn’t answer his question immediately as he walked toward him and the twins, reaching them in no time. The old man in casual clothes and wearing a straw hat to block off the sun knelt on one knee and placed each hand on the kid's head that was full of hair.
‘‘It looks like you don’t understand kids that much, but it’s fine you're still young. When you play with kids their age, the key is to always let them win somehow or another,’’ he said. ‘‘As it boosts their self-confidence, though then again letting them win all the time isn’t all good for them either. That's why you gotta be delicate and gentle with them, and strain when it needs to be as they are impressional.’’
The old man then smiled wider and patted the head of Lily and Calvin, and said. ‘‘Now-now, you two should be nice and stop showing him such a look.’’
His gentle voice calmed the two and caused them to release their pouted expression, they smiled at him and said in unison, ‘‘Yes, Uncle!’’
‘‘Now that's a good lad.’’ The old man praised the two children.
‘‘Hehe, I didn’t think I would learn a life lesson from just playing games with children’’ the young man chuckled to himself while finding it kind of funny. ‘‘Thanks, old man, I’ll make sure to remember you're teaching next time I have to deal with kids.’’
‘‘Oh, I almost forgot to ask…’’ Old Man Brown suddenly changed the topic while veering his gaze away from the kid and toward the young man.
‘‘Since you say you’ll be leaving today, what time would it be?’’ The old man said to Tatsumi. Hearing his question, the young man tilted his head up to the clear sky and replied, ‘‘... maybe during when the sun goes down and evening arrives.’’
‘‘Why during the night, though?’’
Tatsumi just gave him a small smile, ‘‘because I feel like staying in this village a little longer.’’
‘‘Mister! Are you really going to leave!?’’ When the twins heard the conversation between the old man and Tatsumi, they rushed to him and shouted with small tears spelled from their cute round eyes.
‘‘Haha, it looks like the twins got really attached to you even though you only know them for an hour at most. You must have a natural gift for making kids like you.’’ Old man brown laughing.
‘‘Mister, why do you want to leave so early anyway?’’ While having a small tear spelt from their eyes, the twins question the young man who has a troubled look on his face. He didn’t know why they had reacted so extreme like this, from him saying he was going to ‘leave’, when he had just met them.
He couldn’t understand, so the troubled look on his expression just became deeper while looking down at them.
‘‘You two, stop putting him in a tough spot. A young man like him would never want to stay in a single place for long.’’ A deep and rough voice was suddenly heard, the voice instantly caused the twins to stop crying and became still right away.
Tatsumi directed his sight toward the voice and saw a middle-aged man who looked to be in his thirties, he had rough and muscular arms; his palms were filled with calluses, his face was round shaped and he had hair layered down to his facial features.
The middle-aged man had a tall stature and wore a simple plain white shirt and black jeans. He was looking at the twins with a strain expression. The middle-aged man's name was Robert Dave, he was the friend that Old Man Brown had introduced him to and was also the father of the two twins.
The twins look at their father and lower their heads under his strained gaze, Robert, seeing his two children lower their heads causes him to loosen the strain on his face. He walked toward the twins and lowered himself down to them while smiling faintly.
‘‘No need to look like that, I'm not mad at you two,’’ he said softly. The twins brought their heads up to Robert, ‘‘really?’’ Lily and Calvin's expressions seem to be lifted up as they ask him.
He placed his hands on their head and patted the twins. ‘‘Yes. Now what should you both say to a young friend over there for putting him in a tough spot with your antics?’’ Robert question. The twins nod at their father, knowing what he had wanted them to do.
The twins turn themself away from their father and to Tatsumi who was just standing awkwardly the whole time while watching Robert interact with his daughter and son. When the twins look at him, he smiles with somewhat awkwardness at the two children.
‘‘We’re sorry mister for putting you in a tough spot.’’ The twins said earnestly while raising their voices as if wanting him to hear them clearly.
Tatsumi let go of his awkward smile, shook his head and spoke. ‘‘I don’t know why you two got so attached to me when we met for such a short amount of time?, but I don’t dislike it.’’
He lowered himself to the twins and hesitated for a moment before giving them both a hug, after hugging the two, he said. ‘‘Since I’m still here do you want me to play with you two some more.’’
When they heard that, the twins, who resemble one another, gave each other a deep look before smiling brightly and cutely at him. ‘‘Then catch us but don’t cheat, alright!’’ Not waiting for Tatsumi to reply, they distance themself from him and start to suddenly run while laughing.
Knowing what they wanted from him, Tatsumi didn’t hesitate to run after them.
Hours pass by after that, around 7 pm when the sun has quickly disappeared and evening is just around the corner.
Tatsumi says goodbye to the twins who have a reluctant and tearful look on their faces as their father, Robert, takes them away. Although, not before he was forced to make a promise to them, that he would come back to this village one day and see them.
Tatsumi waved at the father, son, and daughter shadow while Old man Brown stood close to him with a warm smile. After the family shadow completely disappeared from his view, he turned his head sideways and said to Old man Brown, ‘‘... why did Lily and Calvin suddenly get attached to me the moment they saw me?’’
Curiosity and confusion were plastered on Tatsumi's face when asked Old Man Brown this. For him. The way the twins looked at him when first seeing him was something he couldn’t understand, and when they were with him their attitude was even odder and unnatural.
‘‘...it was almost like...like, I’m a family member that they haven’t met in a long time.’’ The old man just stood still without saying a thing, a moment later he let out a breath of air and sighed deeply with a somewhat sad expression.
‘‘Your appearance really does resemble him a lot,’’ the old man spoke with a sad expression and a nostalgic look on his old face.
‘‘Resemble who?’’ Tatsumi questions, wanting to know the name of the person the old man says that bears resembled him.
‘‘... Robert's oldest son, and also the brother of the twins, Luces Dave.’’ The moment he heard Old Man Brown mention Robert's oldest son, Tatsumi already had a theory in mind as to what had happened to Lucas Dave judging by how the twins had acted toward him but still asked just to confirm it.
‘‘He’s… not around anymore isn't he.’’
The old man fell in silence, and with some hesitation, he spoke softly with a smile. ‘‘He was a really bright and kind boy, everybody in the village loved him because of his ongoing personality.’’
The old man's smile becomes wider when talking about Luces Dave.
‘‘He would take care of his siblings and play with them when Robert and his wife were not around to do so.’’ The old man started to chuckle a little when saying that. ‘‘Those were really blissful times.’’
The old man's smile disappeared and sadness replaced it again, ‘‘hah… one day while going out of the village alone. He was eaten by a danger-beast, his corpse was found while most were eating and only a few parts were left. The few parts of him that were left was how we identify that it was him.’’
Tatsumi only observed Old Man Brown without interrupting him, he could see small tears that couldn’t be seen if one didn’t look closely enough, welling up from the old man's eyes.
‘‘Hah, when you are my age you tend to get emotional quite easily.’’ Said Old man Brown as he wiped away those small tears that were coming from his eyes. He then spoke again, ‘‘The likely reason for them to warm up to you the moment they saw you was because you look so much like Luces, and they must have seen you in him.’’
‘‘Thank you, Lad. For indulging and playing with the twins, it must have made them feel like their brother is still here with them.’’
‘‘I see.’’ Tatsumi said as he felt sad for the twins who have lost their brother at such a young age. ‘‘Have the twins not fully accepted that their brother had died and is it because of this they see me in him?’’ He hesitated for less than a second and added.
The old man shook his head gently, ‘‘No. Although the twins are young they are not that naïve, they know that their brother has already died and that you are not him, but, even though they know that you are not him.’’
‘‘Your looks resemble Luces so it must have made them feel that there brother is still here with them even if he’s not.’’
‘‘Hm…’’ Tatsumi fell silent for a short moment after mulling over all the information he had learned from Old Man Brown as to why the Twins were acting so close to him even though they had just met.
‘‘Lad, you shouldn’t think too much into it. Something like this happens all the time in the world we live in.’’ Looking at the young man who fell silent while looking down, because of what he had learned, the old man spoke a few words of comfort to cheer him up.
Tatsumi shook his head at the old man's words, ‘‘It’s not that.’’ He moves his gaze toward the direction of where the twins and Robert disappear from and continue what he is saying. ‘‘I’m not that naïve, I know that these things happen… It's just that I have a soft spot for kids, and knowing that these twins have lost an important person in their life, makes me feel a little sad for them despite not knowing much about it at all.’’
‘‘You really are too kind, I wish I had a grandson like you.’’ Knowing that Tatsumi was sincere with his words, the old man couldn’t help but say.
Am I really that kind, though?... As the young man heard what the old man said, he couldn’t help questioning it when he remembered how he had killed those bandits without batting an eye.
‘‘Anyhow, lad. You shouldn’t think about such a depressing thing when you are about to leave,’’ old man Brown advised earnestly.
‘‘I know.’’ Tatsumi replied with a simple nod, he knew that what old man Brown said was correct since he was about to leave anyway, thinking too much into it would just make him feel a little depressed.
Besides, he had only just met the twins so even if he felt sad for them for losing their brother at such a young age, it’s not like he could do anything about it since it happened a long time ago.
And, it's not like he could have tried to become their new brother either, since that would be kind of ridiculous. Also, Tatsumi isn’t a saint either, although he had felt sad for the twins, the feeling of sadness within him didn’t run that deep either.
‘‘It's already quite dark, would you be leaving now?’’ The old man asked.
Tilted his head toward the dark sky, he replied. ‘‘Yeah. It looks like that is the case.’’
Before he had said goodbye to the twins and Robert, he had already packed his stuff and his weapon tied around his waist. So he was already set to go from the start.
‘‘I meant to ask you this, why did you want to find a village in the first place? At first I thought that it was to buy a supply or something, but since your just going to leave like this, I’m puzzled now.’’ Old man Brown said with puzzlement.
‘‘Well, that was simple. I just wanted to see what other villages were like since I have never seen another village except for mine before. You can say it was just out of curiosity that I had searched for a village in the first place.’’ Tatsumi shrugs his shoulders slightly and clarifies to the old man.
Old man Brown just listens and accepts the reason without asking further.
‘‘Then it looks like this is goodbye, would you be visiting again in the future?’’ The old man's question. Tatsumi flashes a smile at him and says, ‘‘I have no choice, I promise those two I come back.’’
‘‘Then this old man would see you again someday, far in the future.’’
6 days later. Tatsumi arrived near the entrance to Daiken town, he could see a few guards dressed in the Empire military clothing guarding the entrance while chatting among themself.
When the few guards saw him, they stopped chatting among themself for a moment and looked over at him, but when they saw that he was just a kid they moved their gaze away and continued to chat among themself again.
Tatsumi felt them turning their gazes away from him and felt a little relief at that, when the guards had put their attention on him he was a little nervous because he had thought they might stop him from entering the town.
But feeling them turning their gaze away from him, he knew that wasn’t the case.
Not paying the guards any more mind, knowing that they wouldn’t stop him from entering the town. Tatsumi walks forward and enters the town at a steady pace.
After entering the town. He was greeted by the sight of a huge and wide road full of people moving about in a bustle manner, and building everywhere around the entire place. He couldn’t help but marvel at the sight as this was the first he had ever seen this many people in one place and a huge building that he had never seen before.
This place is so big, it is worth walking for so long to get here!... Looking around, Tatsumi thought back to the past few days that he had to travel here. However, he didn’t actually mind the long walk as he loved seeing new places, and traveling was something he had always dreamt of when he was a kid.
And sleeping out at the woods wasn’t bad either, though he did alway have to watch out for dangerous beasts that roam the woods or every other place for that matter.
But then again, every danger-beast that comes near him ends up becoming his food anyway, so he couldn’t complain about that.
However, that wasn’t all too the last 6 days of his Journey. Along the way he had met many bandits and ended up killing all of them, and even taking their money.
He felt a little weird and lost at that, simply because he went from someone who had never killed people before going out of his village, to someone who had killed more than 50 people by now.