(光与夜之恋 Light and Night) Evan’s 6✩ Inspiration: Umbrae Secrets [繁荫秘语] Date Translation (END 7 + 8: Heart-throb)
"It feels pretty good to have your wish granted by someone else.”
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✥ Choice: Heart-throb [心动] ✩Light & Night★
After pondering for a while, I finally decided to…
✩ E7 LIGHT: Rest here ✩
MC: The view's pretty nice. How about we rest here for a while?
Evan: Sure. Let's sit here then.
I followed Evan and seated myself atop a rock by the river and gave a good big stretch, easing the tension out of my slightly sore hips and legs.
The vegetation around us was a little sparser now, and the golden sunlight fell upon us in mottled spots. The river had crystal clear water. The sunlight pierced through the waves, leaving shimmering gold patterns that wavered along with the current of the river.
There were occasional grey shadows that darted through the water. I excitedly patted Evan's arm to catch his attention the moment I saw it.
MC: Look! There are fish in the river!
Evan: There's quite a bit of them. Those look like striped bass.
MC: They're so big…
Staring at the plump and juicy-looking fishes, I suddenly became acutely aware of the snarling abyss that was my stomach as it slowly woke back up.
I never expected to get hungry just from that short trek.
Those fishes would be delicious steamed! Add soy sauce, a little wine to taste, and the meat will become tender and succulent, absolutely flavorful...
But it would also be equally good braised! Deep fry it first, then add soybean sauce, Sichuan pepper and star anise to spice it up. Then add water to let the sauce soak in, producing a flavourful, mouthwatering, aroma!
I couldn't help but swallow in anticipation. I guiltily cast a glance at Evan, hoping that he didn't notice my guilty inward musings of a glutton.
Evan: Don't tell me you're thinking whether this fish would be better braised or steamed?
MC: ??? ...Remove the camera you installed in my brain!
Evan: Why would I need a camera? It's written all over your face.
Evan: It'll be a little hard to steam or braise anything here, but we can try grilling the fish if we have a stove to work with.
Hearing the words "grilled" and "fish", I instantly felt rejuvenated. Gone were my sore hips and aching legs.
I jumped up from the rock I'd been sitting on with a start.
MC: Grilled fish sounds good! I've got the stove! And grills! And seasonings!
MC: Then there's only one thing missing… How are we going to catch the fish?
Evan surveyed the area and pondered for a while before speaking.
Evan: There are traces of grilling being done on the ground. Someone must have grilled fish here before.
Evan: We can look around and see if there is any equipment left behind that we can make use of.
Evan and I each took one side of the river as we scoured the bank for any items that may be of use.
Soon after, I moved a patch of tall grass aside and lifted something in triumphant joy.
MC: Evan! Look at what I found! A harpoon!
Hearing me call out to him, Evan headed over. He took the rusty harpoon from me and gave it a once over.
Evan: Sharpen it on the rocks and it should be good to go.
Evan took the harpoon to the rocks and gave it a thorough sanding to get all the rust off. Soon, the once-rusty harpoon regained its sharp, deadly, metallic glint. It looked as primed as ever.
After he was done polishing it up, I excitedly picked it up. Evan looked at me in slight surprise.
Evan: You want to try?
MC: Yeah! Plus, I'm wearing a dress, so I don't have to worry about getting my pant leg wet or anything like that!
Evan took one glance at the way I was brandishing the harpoon, looking ever so eager to try my hand at it, and softened. A helpless yet tender look dyed his orbs.
Evan: Alright, but be careful not to slip.
I took the harpoon to the river bank and quietly searched for my quarry.
Soon enough, a shadow slid smoothly across the water. But, it had already gotten long out of reach before I had the time to react.
I observed the waters for a while more, familiarizing myself with how the fishes moved.
When another fish appeared, I timed myself, raising the harpoon high and bringing it down hard!
The harpoon jostled the river and disturbed the dirt at the bottom of the riverbed. However, there was no fish in sight when the waters came to a standstill once more. There was only a harpoon, firmly embedded into the riverbed.
MC: Feels like I'm swerving my hits a bit…
A small laugh came from behind as a warm hand enclosed mine, wielding the harpoon together with me. He dislodged it and returned it to my grasp with surprising ease and finesse.
Evan: It's alright. Try again.
Evan: Throw the spearhead further to prevent hurting yourself.
I nodded and took the harpoon.
Soon, I took my aim at another incoming fish.
I inwardly encouraged myself: I'll get it this time!
I swung the harpoon and sent it stabbing downward. This time, I felt like I'd hit the target quite accurately!
However, the fish wiggled for a bit beneath my harpoon before speedily making its slippery escape…
MC: *Sigh*...Is it because I'm too weak?
Evan: It's because you hesitated.
MC: Hmm, maybe a little. I suddenly feel a little hesitant to deal the finishing blow when I think of how this harpoon inevitably pierces the fish’s body.
Evan: Reluctance to deal the finishing blow is only normal. How about I do it instead?
A strong wave of reluctance surged up within my heart. I swiftly hid the harpoon behind my back.
MC: Nah. I’ve only tried it twice! Give me a couple more chances and I’ll definitely be able to do it!
Evan: If you say so.
Evan: Then you'll have to be faster, and you'll have to land harder hits than that.
Evan: Or you can think of it as your enemy, or maybe someone you dislike?
MC: Hahaha… Well, about that…
I thought about it seriously for a while, but I couldn’t think of anyone I particularly disliked.
Hence, I looked back at Evan and casually dropped him a question.
MC: I can't really think of any off the top of my head. Do you have anyone you dislike?
Evan was taken aback. His eyes were slightly lowered as if he was hiding some sort of emotion that dwelled within.
I suddenly recalled that we’d come on this trip precisely because something had happened beforehand to make him unhappy. Now, his expression only made me understand it more with stark clarity: yes, he did have someone he disliked...
MC: You don’t have to think about unhappy things! I’m sure that person’s not a good person if they’ve made even you dislike them! I’ll teach them a lesson!
Evan: Why, thank you.
With the harpoon in tow, I returned to the river bank. Reflected in my mind was none other than how Evan had reacted to my earlier question.
Just what sort of issue would trouble someone as strong as him? On that same note, just what sort of person would cause someone as powerful as him to become this restless and uneasy?
Then, a fish slowly swam into my line of sight. And it was precisely with this sort of mood that I raised the harpoon high in the air, sending it plummeting downward without a moment’s hesitation!
However, the sudden force I’d flung it down with made me lose balance as I went down with it. I felt my waist move backwards from the force as my feet slipped from beneath me...
Water splashed in all directions as I slipped right into the river...
Fortunately, this river wasn’t deep and only reached my waist. Evan swiftly support me as I stood up.
Evan: Are you alright?
MC: I'm fine… my butt's just a little sore… Ow…
He supported me back to sit on the rock. I looked down to inspect myself. My dress was soaked and dripping water everywhere.
I gathered my dress and wrung out a load of water from it. Ah, how I’ve screwed up...
Evan: Does it hurt anywhere else?
I gathered my hair together in slight embarrassment as I shook my head.
After ensuring that I was not injured in any way or manner, Evan moved to light the stove by my feet. He then removed his jacket and placed it over my lap.
Evan: Be careful not to catch a cold.
My stomach gave a loud rumble in protest the moment he finished. I quickly covered it in embarrassment.
Evan: Alright. Let me procure our lunch.
MC: I'll have to trouble you with it then…
Evan: It's no trouble at all.
Evan removed his glasses, rolled up his sleeves, and picked up my abandoned harpoon on the river bank.
Wrapping his jacket around myself, I looked up at him curiously.
I wonder what the CEO of Warson, ever dignified and well put-together, would look like brandishing a harpoon of steel?
Just as I was thinking about that, Evan suddenly went rigid; and I, in turn, watched him with bated breath.
His gaze seemed to be transfixed on a particular fish. His dark red eyes narrowed with intent as the light in his orbs instantly turned to a cold glint; one as sharp as a deadly blade.
He raised the harpoon, the muscles on his arms and chest rippling as they made themselves known in their usage and exuded a raw, primal, sense of power.
The sun's rays glinted off the sharp blade of the harpoon, reflecting the cold light of the forest.
I watched him in a daze. It was almost as if I was watching a formidable and ruthless beast at work after having set eyes on its prey.
I'd rarely seen Evan with such an expression on his face. A thought suddenly popped into my head out of nowhere.
Maybe this was how Evan had always dealt with his enemies; swift and ruthless.
Then, the harpoon flashed through the waters as quick as lightning.
Water splashed everywhere as a muffled thud sounded. Evan had made his quarry, no doubt.
With another slosh, the harpoon was withdrawn from the waters. A huge fish followed the length out of the water, trashing incessantly, its tail flicking to and fro.
When Evan turned to look at me, the usual warmth found in his eyes had returned.
Evan: Can you help me fetch a bucket?
I snapped out of the trance, hurriedly moving to fetch a bucket and brought it before him.
MC: You got it in a single strike! You're really awesome, Evan!
Evan: A young lady is waiting for me, hungry and cold, after all.
Embarrassed, I stuck my tongue out at him.
He removed the fish from the harpoon and dumped it into the bucket before returning to the river bank.
Following his return, the harpoon made continuous sounds as it pierced through the waters again and again. His actions grew increasingly precise, and I could tell that he was trying to let out some steam with how much strength he packed into each stab.
Soon, he managed to spear another two fish out of the river. They were both huge and plump, and he seemed to be much more relaxed when he turned back around again.
He knelt down and weighed his spoils with satisfaction.
Evan: The biggest catch weighs nearly 2kg. It should be enough for us.
Afterwards, he neatly killed the fish by the bank before putting them all on the grilling rack. I brushed the fish meat with the barbecue sauce that I'd brought.
The stove burned ever so strongly, and the place was instantly doused with the delicious aroma that rose into the air alongside the smoke. I rubbed my hands in anticipation, so excited about it that I couldn't quite sit still.
The fishes were finally cooked. I quickly took a bite out of it, leaning back in satisfaction as I did.
MC: How fresh! This is too delicious! You should try some too, Evan!
Evan: Sure. Careful not to burn yourself on it.
Saying so, he too, took a piece of the fish and brought it to his mouth. Under my watchful gaze, he gave it a serious chew or two as he contemplated the taste. Eventually, he gave a nod of approval.
Evan: Mmhm. Your sauce does a mean job too.
MC: Not bad, right? This is my personal recipe!
MC: With the fish you caught and my speciality sauce, these fish taste way better than any I've ever had in high-end restaurants!
Evan: We can always eat this again whenever you want to, so long as you're willing.
I nodded, unwittingly flashing him a smile, almost as if making a silent promise to him that we most definitely would.
MC: Have you ever gone fishing, Evan? You technically score full marks in wilderness survival!
Evan: I once lived out in the wild for a while at a time in the past, after all. But, I never had a harpoon back then, so today's my first time using one.
MC: Then you must be a naturally born hunter!
MC: I felt like you were exuding a predatory area when I saw you fishing earlier!
MC: How should I put this… It's as if you'll definitely catch the prey you set your eyes on.
MC: Unlike me… *Sighs*...
Evan: Why the sudden sigh?
MC: Well… I just thought that I'd put up a rather disappointing performance today.
MC: I was the one who got all enticed by the tasty-looking fish, but in the end, not only was I unable to spear a single one, but I've also rendered myself into a right state.
MC: The cat depicted in the cat emote pack online's definitely me. "Small, pitiful, and weak, but eats a whole lot like Tubbs"!
Evan smiled and shook his head. He rested his big hand on my head.
Evan: I don't think this is a fair comparison.
Evan: A kitten won't help me deal with the people I dislike, but that throw of yours earlier was one done with all your might behind the harpoon.
Evan: It makes me feel like I've met someone whom I can entirely trust.
His tone suddenly turned tender and very soft. So soft, that it was almost as if he had all his guards down; but so heavy, that it was as if he'd placed all his trust into it.
It was akin to a small drop of honey, the vicious liquid slowly spreading through my heart.
MC: Of course… I'll always be your most reliable buddy, ever!
MC: But, I'll be happier if I can really be of help to you!
Evan: You've already helped me plenty.
Evan: Next time I have to deal with them, all I have to do is to remember how brave you were and draw strength from that.
I froze. The only thing that my helpful brain provided was the image of me slipping right into the river, butt first. I panicked, instantly setting my chopsticks down.
MC: No! Forget that terrible throw I made earlier! Vanquish the thought!
I laughed as I ate, making a fuss of it all. Before we knew it, all the fish on the grilling rack had been swiped clean.
I embarrassedly put the chopsticks away, awkwardly coming to the realization that I was, in fact, not full yet.
70% filled is still considered full… I inwardly hesitated, mentally debating with myself. I was so absorbed in it that I failed to notice how Evan had a clear view of the expression that flickered across my face yet again.
Evan: I'll go catch some more fish to grill.
MC: Uh… About that… I'm sure the fish meat gets digested quickly! I'm sure that's just what it is!
Evan: No worries.
Evan: The charcoal fire's still going strong and it's still early before sundown. Plus, your dress isn't completely dry either.
Evan: We have more than enough time to slowly eat here, and we can do it until you're full and satisfied.
Evan: And as for just how many fishes you ate… I'll make sure to keep it a secret for you.
MC: Evan! I never pegged you for one before, but are you actually up to no-good!?
Evan: I'm being serious here.
Evan: It lifts my spirits whenever I see you eat.
Evan: It makes me feel like there's no simpler pleasure than that.
⊹ ˚✩ ━━━━━━━━━━━ ∘◦ ✥ ◦∘ ━━━━━━━━━━━ ✩˚ ⊹
After pondering for a while, I finally decided to…
★ E8 NIGHT: Walk a while more before resting ★
MC: I'm good. Besides, it'll be hard to get going again once we sit, so how about we carry on a little while more and see how it goes?
Evan: You're here for fun, so you don't have to be so hard on yourself.
But he'd probably seen the determination colouring my eyes, for he immediately added on to his previous sentence.
Evan: But I'll listen to the leader.
MC: Hehe. Now that's more like it.
We continued our trek deeper until the forest. Enamoured by the various sights and sceneries, the sky had turned dark long before I knew it.
Evan: Let's find a place to put up the tent. I think this place is pretty suitable.
We chose a location with a wide expanse of flat ground. Then, we set about executing the next step of the plan: set up the tent.
I took the tent from my bag, spreading it out on the ground.
First, we had to insert the two rods into the tarpaulin sheet. Then, we had to insert each end of the pole into the small hole on each corner of the tent.
However, this tarpaulin sheet was just way too big. One corner came loose right after I secured the other.
I tried my hardest to spread my arms as far as they could go, but it was still a struggle to secure both ends of the pole at the same time. I fought valiantly, only to end up covered in sweat from my moot attempts.
MC: This is the only time I hate having short limbs…
Evan: Let me help you.
I looked back in surprise. Evan had already returned from fetching water by the river.
He put the bucket down and came up behind me, spreading his arms and holding the curved poles in place with ease.
However, doing so made our positions very close to one another.
His arms were warm, firm, and much longer than my own; long enough to entrap me within when he spread it out horizontally like that.
Adding on to that, our clothes were both slightly damp and sticking to our skin. I could acutely feel the faint rise and fall of his chest from behind.
The surroundings seem to be growing warmer, and I felt an inexplicable sense of panic.
Evan: You just have to pin the four corners down.
I fumbled as I ducked out of the cage of his arms, putting the rods into the small holes.
With Evan's help, the tent was soon set up in no time at all.
Afterwards, we ignited the kerosene lamp again and set up a simple table and chairs. And thus, our little fort out in the wild was finally complete.
Everyone has an innate love of small secluded private spaces at least once in their lives. Looking at our small lodging, I felt a sense of joy well up from the confines of my heart.
MC: Evan, let's go in and have a look inside!
I couldn't wait to delve right inside. It was only after I'd spun a full round in fascination that I realized Evan was still standing outside.
That's not right. How could I have fun all by myself? The goal of coming here today was to make Evan happy!
I thought of a way to nudge Evan into action. A light bulb lit in my head.
MC: Evan, I'm the leader today, so you'll do everything I say, right?
Evan: Yes. What do you want to do?
MC: I want to play a game.
MC: I'll be your personal Doraemon for the day. I'll help you fulfil any wishes you want!
A flicker of surprise passed his face.
Evan: Why do you want to play a game like that?
I pulled him along with me, sitting him down on a chair before sitting right across him.
MC: You've always been my Doraemon, so today, let me enjoy the joy of giving just this once.
Evan: I mean, it's not like you can't; but, what are you sure you want to be doing that here?
MC: Challenges only make it that much more interesting! Feel free to shoot any request you may have!
Unable to ignore my insistence on this matter, he folded his arms and lapsed into thought.
Evan: Then I'll just make a random wish… I want this tent to look prettier.
MC: Gotcha! Leave it to me!
This was probably the first time Evan had ever wished anything of anyone…
And now, the one to listen to his wishes was no one but me… Thinking this, the yearning to fulfil his wishes for him only burned ever stronger.
I suddenly remembered how I'd brought a string of small, colourful, fairy lights with me; if only because I'd seen someone decorate their tent with it online some time before!
I held my excitement in check as I rummaged through my bag for the fairy lights, connected the battery to the string of light and turned it on. Then, I flashed it before Evan.
MC: Ta-daaaa! Look!
It was well into the night. Dishing out the fairy lights in peak darkness lit up our surroundings in a dazzling array of colours.
Evan widened his eyes in surprise, gently taking the fairy lights from me and scrutinizing them.
Evan: You actually bought fairy lights? You're a competent Doraemon, all right.
The bedazzling lights shone on our faces, adding a couple more watts to his smile.
Evan lowered his eyes, seemingly lost in his memories.
Evan: You know, these fairy lights remind me of the New Year holidays.
Evan: I walked on the streets and saw the doors of many families decorated with fairy lights like these.
Evan: Celebratory and homey… I really adore it.
Watching Evan's wary manner of carefully selecting his words, I couldn't help but feel my heart clench slightly.
Maybe… this was what he imagined home to be like…
However, he quickly snapped back to reality, his gaze falling to the fairy light before us once more.
Evan: The workmanship of these fairy lights are very intricate, and each bulb is shaped differently.
MC: Yeah. Look, this one’s a small pepper and this one’s a little eggplant...
Evan: Yes. And this one here. This one looks like you; the little rabbit.
MC: It really is a rabbit! You've got some keen observation skills.
MC: But, why am I the only animal? That sounds a little lonely…
Evan: You won't be lonely; because the one right beside the little rabbit's me.
Evan spread his arms, displaying the light bulb beside the little rabbit on the string of lights. But, all I saw was a red ball of light there.
MC: And what does this one look like? I can't really tell
Evan: It doesn't matter what it looks like; because I'm the only one who will stay by the little rabbit's side, regardless.
Although his smile was much warmer in the light, his tone still held an undeniable wistfulness.
I felt an odd sense of panic, but I didn't feel like fleeing from it.
Eventually, we put the fairy lights up on the tent.
The constantly flickering and changing lights made the tent look cuter, and much more lovely. It felt like home.
I watched as Evan entered the tent, settling himself comfortably within, his eyes narrowing into happy little slits in a closed-eyed smile. Seeing him this relaxed made my heart fill with joy.
MC: Time for your next wish, Evan!
Evan: Are we continuing? I'm already pretty satisfied.
MC: The game's only just started! You can be a little more willful; just like a little kid!
I gently tugged at his arm, softly coaxing him into giving in.
Getting him to relax was no easy feat; and now, I was finally seeing a glimmer of hope! I can't let it go to waste!
Evan: Alright, one more then.
MC: I'll say this first, but you're forbidden from wishing for something overly simple! I'm Doraemon; you've gotta put your trust in me!
Evan: Okay. Then I want to drink hand-brewed coffee.
He levelled a calm gaze at me, seemingly waiting for me to admit defeat; but I only smiled triumphantly.
MC: Just you wait and see!
I knew that Evan loved coffee, so I’d brought some ground coffee powder along with a set of simple brewing tools.
I lit the stove, boiled a pot of hot water, and slowly poured it into the filter where I’d placed the powder, balanced atop an empty cup, going in circular motions. Soon, a cup of fragrant hand-brewed coffee was made.
I handed the cup of coffee to Evan. He lowered his head to give the aroma a whiff, a pleased smile appearing on his face.
Evan: A fragrance that I love.
Evan: But it's missing a little something.
He then moved to personally make a similar cup for me. We both sat down across each other, nursing our cups of coffee and taking small sips from it.
Even while sitting on a foldable chair, the way he drank his coffee was still as elegant as ever.
The forest was silent. The only thing that could be heard was the sound of intermittent chirping of the insects hidden within the foliage, adding to the relaxed and leisurely atmosphere.
MC: Evan, don’t you think that it’s been a long time since we’ve stepped away from the bustling city life to simply spend time together like this, thinking about nothing?
MC: You seem busy lately. I'm honestly a little concerned if you actually have time to wind down…
Evan: Thank you for your concern. I do have the time to do so once in a while.
He raised the cup of coffee in his hand.
Evan: This is the aroma I settle down with every lunch break, to watch a movie, or to read a book.
MC: Right, I often do the same as well.
A flicker of thought entered my mind, and I immediately latched on.
MC: I know! I've helped you think of your next wish!
Evan: Oh? And what is it?
I smiled mysteriously at him, turning around to rummage through my bag.
I happened to bring a book along with me today, so I searched the contents of my bag for it, pulling it out and handing it to him.
He ran his fingers across the gold-gilded text that had been printed onto the book cover. After a while, he suddenly returned the book to me. I raised my head in slight surprise, only to see the slight smile hidden in the corner of his eyes.
Evan: If that's how it is, then could I trouble you to read a paragraph for me?
Opening the book, I picked out a story that was about the forest and slowly started reading aloud.
It was seemingly enough to please him. He held onto his coffee, slowly leaning into the soft pillow, closing his eyes in satisfaction.
After finishing a paragraph, I closed the book, only to find him staring at me seriously. There was a fire flickering within his crimson orbs.
Evan: You know, I actually like this story a lot.
Evan: The first time I read this book, I imagined myself in the protagonist’s shoes.
Evan: Riding a small boat in a remote and secluded river, letting the current take me wherever it goes.
Evan: Expecting nothing, with no destination in mind. It doesn’t matter if I get stuck in a rapid, or if I’m just turning around in place.
MC: Sounds romantic enough. What happened after? Did you ever try doing so?
Evan: Not yet. Later, I ended up coming to the forest many times, but unfortunately, none of it was to seek recreation.
Evan: Which means, this is my first time.
Evan: So, thank you; for making this a memorable night for me.
He seemed a little tuckered out, and his voice was as soft as a mere whisper. His eyes were slowly fluttering shut as he spoke.
His eyelashes slid down as his eyes closed, casting a faint shadow on his features. I quietly observed how picturesque he looked like that as I thought back to everything he’d just said. A new plan was born within my heart.
Perhaps this wish was something that I could truly fulfil for him.
The next morning, at exactly 5 AM. I was roused from my slumber as my alarm clock rang.
I gave a big wide stretch, casting a glance at Evan. Thankfully enough, he hadn’t been awoken by the alarm and was still curled up in the sleeping bag next to be, fast and soundly asleep.
After doing a simple wash up, I quietly exited the tent.
We passed by a commercial campground yesterday while searching for a suitable campsite. It provided rental services of a wide variety of camping equipment.
That’s why my first thought had been this place when I heard Evan mention boating last night. Hence, I contacted them and reserved an inflatable kayak.
With the help of my mobile GPS navigator, I walked the forest for about half an hour before I finally arrived at the campsite.
After waiting outside for a good long while, the owner whom I’d previously made an appointment with came up to me in a right state of panic.
Campsite Owner: Sorry! Some trouble cropped up, so I’m late…
MC: Don’t worry about it. What happened though? Do you need any help?
Campsite Owner: Can I bother you? If so, then yes please! I’ll tell you what happened…
After a while, I handed a trembling kitten to the owner.
It began rolling about as soon as it returned to its owner’s arms, acting like a baby as it rubbed itself against the owner’s palm, as if expressing regretfulness for its actions.
MC: The little guy must have been scared out of its mind.
Campsite Owner: Yeah. Thank you so much, Miss! I have no idea what I'd have done without you.
MC: Don't worry about it. It's no big deal.
When I came to the campsite earlier, the owner had been in the middle of a cat problem. It had climbed to the top of the tree without anyone's notice and didn't dare come down.
It had been meowing helplessly at the very top. Hence, I immediately joined the rescue effort without a second thought.
I hear that it had already been stuck up the tree for about 10 hours or more. We didn't have a tall enough ladder, so it took a great amount of improvisation to finally save the poor kitten.
Campsite Owner: Oh, right. J nearly forgot your kayak. This isn't light, though! Can you carry it alone?
I stepped forward to test its weight. The folded inflatable kayak was indeed heavier than I expected. But thinking about how Evan would react upon seeing this kayak, I suddenly felt that this extra weight meant absolutely nothing in comparison.
Campsite Owner: *Sigh* Since you've helped me, I ought to repay you the favour by lugging this back for you. But I've still got appointments later so I really can't afford to leave...
Campsite Owner: Rental's free of charge then! Have fun with it!
MC: It's alright, I can just take my time carrying it back. Thank you!
After bidding my farewells to the owner, I took the kayak with me and left the campsite.
I hadn't made it fat when my arms started feeling sore. All I could do was to put the kayak on the ground and take a short breather.
As I spaced out, I suddenly heard a muffled sound coming from within the depths of the forest.
My ears tuned in to the sound in full alert. Whatever that was, it was by no means small.
Was it an animal? Or was it someone?
The crunching sound of leaves approached closer and closer. Now, I could tell without a doubt that those footsteps were most definitely human. And it sounded a little rushed; panicked, even.
Feeling a little uneasy, I couldn’t help but stand back up.
Then, a familiar figure emerged from the dense forest.
He seemingly breathes out a long sigh of relief upon spotting me. He quickly strode up to me.
Evan: I finally found you, at least.
Evan: I woke up in the morning to find you missing, and you never picked up even when I called. I was worried sick.
He looked as calm and unruffled as ever at first glance. The only difference was that he seemed a little out of breath.
This place isn’t close to our campsite at all. How long has he been searching for me out in the woods?
Thinking about it made me feel a little guilty.
I ended up telling him briefly about the unexpected situation I’d encountered in the commercial camp and everything before that.
MC: I left really early. I initially thought that I’d be back before you woke up, but I never thought that I’d take that long to get back...
MC: I’ve been busy this entire time so I didn’t have the time to check my phone. Sorry for worrying you.
Evan: It's okay. Just… Don't leave my side without saying anything next time, alright?
I nodded and lowered my eyes in embarrassment. Unexpectedly, I then noticed that he’d buttoned a button near the hem of his dress shirt wrong.
Having never seen Evan disregard his appearance in this manner before, I very nearly failed to suppress my snort of laughter.
Evan: Hm? What's the matter?
I shook my head, undoing that button and rebuttoning it right. It was only then that he noticed his slight gaffe. He laughed at his own mistake.
Evan: …Thank you.
Looking into his eyes, I couldn't hold back the urge to ask him the one thing that had been nagging at my mind.
MC: This place is not anywhere close to our campsite. How did you know I was here?
Evan: I couldn't contact you in the morning, so I searched around the tent to see if you left anything resembling a note behind.
Evan: I remembered that you seemed interested in this place when we passed by it yesterday, so I thought that maybe this was where you'd gone.
I hadn’t expected him to see completely through me as he cast a glance at the kayak on the ground.
MC: *Sigh* Why did you figure everything out like that? I wanted to surprise you!
Evan: Don't worry about it. This is also a surprise in and of itself, don't you think? Thank you for all the effort you've put in.
Evan: It feels pretty good to have your wish granted by someone else.
He gently took my hand in his, enveloping my palm in his bigger one, transmitting his unusual body warmth.
Evan: But I also want you to know that just you being by my side's more than enough for me.
My train of thought was disrupted by his tender gaze, making it hard for me to gather my thoughts together.
MC: But I don't think that's enough.
MC: You’re always taking care of others and listening to their wishes, but you can’t forget yourself and your wishes.
MC: I want to hear more of your wishes. You can always be a little greedier when you’re with me, Evan...
He looked at me for a fleeting second before suddenly closing in on me. He only stopped when my figure was completely enshrouded within his shadow.
Evan: Then, can I be greedy one last time?
Not waiting for me to give him an answer, he advanced a step forwards, pulling me into a hug.
His arms were solidly wound around me, and the fragrance of wormwood that came with his embrace was lasting and stronger than ever.
The strength behind his action made it hard for me to reject him, hard for me to escape.
Oddly enough, I felt a little intoxicated by it, slowly closing my eyes.
The next day, early morning. I woke up to the melodious singing of birds.
Evan was already awake, neatly dressed and sitting on the folded chair at the entrance, sipping on a cup of coffee.
Evan: Good morning. Sleep well last night?
MC: Brilliantly! I was so tired from walking so long yesterday that I fell asleep the moment my head met the pillow.
MC: Oh, right. It’ll take quite a long time to go back where we came, so let’s eat something, pack up, and leave as soon as possible!
Evan set his cup of coffee down,
Evan: Aren’t you forgetting something?
Evan: I recall you wanting to see bamboo piths, but we have yet to see any.
I froze, awkwardly laughing it off
That had originally been an excuse to get him outside and I’d totally forgotten about it.
MC: Hehe. I’m not that adamant about seeing bamboo piths.
MC: I only said that back then as an excuse to get you out so that you can relax.
MC: I heard that you had things rather rough before that so I was a little worried about you.
He looked slightly surprised. Then, he lowered his eyes, a warm smile catching onto the sides of his mouth.
Evan: So it was because of me.
Evan: Thank you for accompanying me here. I’m certainly much more relaxed now.
MC: But considering how you were previously… Are you really okay?
Evan: Yes. It’s probably not as bad as you’re thinking. I was just thinking about some old people and old things and felt a little glum about it.
Evan: I never thought that I’d end up alarming others.
MC: Why am I “others” now?
MC: Don’t bottle your troubles up to solve them yourself. You need to remember to share them with people close to you as well!
Evan: Okay. I will keep that in mind.
I still didn’t know what he was troubled by, but I suppose this was still within my expectations.
From my impression of him, he has always been strong. It was almost as if he was shouldering a mission that no one knew about, walking down a similarly obscured path.
After finishing breakfast, we packed and prepared to leave the forest.
We idly chatted with each other along the way until suddenly, Evan stopped short while we were passing through an area.
Following his gaze, I saw a unique-looking umbrella-shaped thing growing within the shrubbery’s shade.
Evan: See? We still managed to chance upon it.
MC: Wow, are all of these bamboo piths?
We walked over together, squatting beside the small white fungi.
It had a small black cap and had grown out a long white mesh skirt.
This was the first time I ever saw a bamboo pith growing in the soil. I widened my eyes in surprise, unwilling to blink as I drank in the sight. After observing it for a while, I finally raised a finger, reaching out to touch its “skirt”.
MC: It’s so wet and soft-looking! It’s adorable! Have you seen it before, Evan?
MC: I can’t believe you managed to recognize it at a glance!
Evan: Yes. It was back during the first time I’d been driven into the forest as a child.
Evan: I witnessed the law of the jungle and escaped from the jaws of death of a snake. I felt like the forest was a place filled with danger and wanted nothing but to leave the place the faster, the better.
Evan: Then, just as I was hungry and exhausted, I saw a bamboo pith.
Evan: At that time, I didn’t know what it was and if it was actually poisonous.
Evan: Deep in the throes of despair, I thought “why not just take it, eat it, and see what my fate turns out to be”?
Evan: But guess what I saw while I was hesitating?
Evan: I saw it growing its fungus skirt. All it took was a little effort on its part, and its little skirt grew longer and longer.
Evan: I stared at it blankly, in a daze. I didn’t even notice that my legs had gone numb from how long I’d stared at it.
He retracted himself from his memory palace, turning around to face me with a smile.
Evan: It was as simple as a little young lady, capable of encouraging me with its adorability and enchantments.
Evan: It made me understand that forest, in all its gloom and doom, still has its own little interesting spots.
Evan: And that one is only capable of seeing it by living on, don’t you think?
His expression was quiet, but within those calm eyes of his, I could see that little boy who’d struggled his hardest to remain strong. I felt my heart constrict slightly at that and moved to hold his hand tightly in my own.
MC: Evan, that’s all in the past. You’re no longer that helpless little boy.
Evan: No, I’m fine.
Evan: I might have forgotten even this if we hadn’t seen the bamboo piths today.
Evan: It feels a little unbelievable when I think back on it now. It was a memory plagued by darkness, yet it still held its own beautiful moments.
I felt a pang of sorrow creep into my heart. Words of comfort were right at the tip of my tongue, yet I felt like they’d be completely helpless.
This man before me, strong as a warrior; someone who’d been forced to face life-or-death decisions from a very young age… Maybe he wasn’t as complicated as I initially thought he was.
There are many reasons why one would choose death, but to choose life? The reason was simple; just a little spark was required, and Evan was no exception.
MC: I forgot who said it, but someone once said that the meaning of existence that people spend their entire lives seeking out is actually hidden in the simple things.
MC: Evan, won’t you say that you might end up thinking similarly as well one day?
MC: You might not be able to find it immediately, but that’s fine. I will accompany you in your search for it, no matter how long it takes.
Evan fixed me with a profound look before stretching out his hand and reverently crossing it over my own.
Evan: Alright. Together we shall be.
⊹ ˚✩ ━━━━━━━━━━━ ∘◦ ✥ ◦∘ ━━━━━━━━━━━ ✩˚ ⊹
✥ Choose your Ending:
END 1 | Choice: Do Nothing [都不做]
END 2 +3 + 4 | Choice: Call Out [呼唤] ⊹Speak⊹
END 4 + 6 | Choice: Approach [亲近] ⊹Touch⊹
END 7 + 8 | Choice: Heart-throb [心动] ☆Light & Night★
❖☆————— ⊹ For Night, For Revolution⊹ —————★❖
Previous Part: (Prologue)
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A Mitsuhide Akechi fanfic, approx. 1800 words. This scene occurs well after the events of the romantic epilogue when Mitsuhide, Sasuke, Miyake, and MC are wormholed to the future.
First: Mitsuhide and the Maiden
Previous: Middle Ground
Mitsuhide did not know what an amusement park was. Park - yes, amusement - again, yes. Put the two together and he found himself picturing a stretch of grass full of laughing people. That was he thought of when his little mouse suggested they 'go somewhere' for a day or two. Just for fun.
That was not this. This mass of milling people, the smell of cooking food, and the distant roar of mechanized attractions. It reminded him of a festival, if he had to call it something.
His little one clutched his hand tightly, as if afraid they might get separated in the milieu. Her smile was bright, excited. “That,” she pointed at one huge circular contraption, “is a ferris wheel. And those are swings. And that’s a, well, they call it a pirate ship but it’s nothing like that. It just goes back and forth. And there, that’s the rollercoaster.”
He nodded at each one, “Excellent. And these are for entertainment. Show me how they work.”
“I’m afraid that would take more time than we have here today,” Sasuke spoke up. “Rather than explain, it is my hypothesis that you’ll best understand through experience.”
“It will be fun.” She grinned ever wider.
Miyake looked around suspiciously. “I dunno. It looks like the whole point of these things is to put you in the air. People aren’t supposed to be in the air like that.”
“Are you afraid?” Mitsuhide couldn’t help his teasing tone.
“Of course not! It’s just - ya know. Not natural.” The warrior shoved his hands into his pockets.
“In that case, my little mouse, what is the highest ride you have here? The one that goes up the furthest?”
“Hm, probably The Tower? I never rode on that one though. It looks really scary.”
“Then we will do that one first.”
Sasuke opened his mouth, perhaps to disagree, but closed it again. He set off toward The Tower, beckoning the others.
Mitsuhide heard it before he saw it. Screaming. Laughter. How strange to hear them together. Then he spotted it. A blue needle that pointed skyward, and on it, little yellow carts that dropped and rose again.
Miyake’s eyes went wide. “You have got to be kidding me.”
“It is completely safe,” Sasuke reassured him. “There hasn’t been an accident on this ride in years.”
“Years?” The warrior paled.
“Come on, Miyake. It’s safer than a battlefield.” Mitsuhide led them into the line that wound toward the ride. It didn’t take long to get to the front.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” The chatelaine eyed the tower, her fingers tightening on his hand.
Mitsuhide squeezed back. “If you get scared, you can lean on me.”
They boarded and got buckled in. Miyake tugged at the harness. “Is this the only thing keeping me from falling? This?”
Sasuke nodded. “The straps are extremely effective. You’ll see.”
“I’d rather no-aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Miyake’s reply turned to a shriek as the ride rose. He stopped when it went still.
Mitushide would never admit it, but his heart was racing. This . . . amusement . . . was interesting. In this time, people frightened themselves for fun. The sensation of being lifted like this was incomparable to anything he’d lived through, but the rush of adrenaline reminded him of battle. The crystal-sharp clarity of the moment. Pulse pounding. Every breath precious.
Beside him, his little mouse gasped. “The view! This is amazing!” And she was right. He’d been so caught up in the sensation that he hadn’t looked around. From this vantage point, the world spread out below them. The ocean glittered sapphire blue. The grass was rolling, emerald green, and the park around them a bustling grid of tiny people and little shops.
Then the cart dropped.
His stomach flipped, his equilibrium spun. For a moment, his whole body lifted as if weightless, held in only by the fabric straps of the harness.
Miyake silently gripped the handles of the bar in front of them, eyes clenched shut.
Sasuke’s expression was flat, but Mitsuhide thought he was enjoying himself. He gave very little away, beside the twitch of his cheek muscle, a slight widening of his eyes.
The chatelaine shrieked and then laughed, pure joy at the experience.
As the little cart rose again, Mitsuhide found himself joining her. Both of them laughing, hands clasped. This was fun. This almost-fear. Exciting. He thought he was beginning to understand where his lover was from. This world where people were so safe, they created things to be afraid of as entertainment.
The Tower finally ended and they exited the ride. Sasuke was almost-smiling, and the his little mouse was beaming. Only Miyake looked displeased.
“If I’m gonna feel like I’m falling, I want it to be because I’m actually falling,” he muttered.
Mitsuhide chuckled. “I take it you aren’t interested in the rollercoaster then? Or the ship?”
Miyake sighed. “If you go, I’ll follow you, my lord.”
“I didn’t expect you to be afraid of the rides,” the chatelaine said. She patted Miyake’s hand. “You know, there’s an aquarium to look at and some chil-ah, some rides that don’t go so high, or high at all! Maybe we should try those?”
Sasuke nodded. “I’ll take Miyake to the kid-ah, the shorter people rides.” He blinked both eyes several times as if trying to impart something.
“Sure. That sounds good. And maybe pick out a place for us to get a snack later?”
“Can do.” Sasuke gave her a mock-salute, then off he went with Miyake in tow.
Mitsuhide watched them go. “You sent him to the children’s rides? Why?”
“I think he’ll have more fun that way. Just don’t tell him they’re for little kids, ok?”
“I will keep your secret, on one condition.” Mitsuhide smiled down at her.
“You have to kiss me.”
She blushed. “Here and now?”
“Here and now.” He leaned closer. “Or are you afraid to-” He got no further in his taunt. She went up on tiptoe and pressed a kiss to his mouth. Not a shy one either. It left him breathless and in no doubt as to how much she’d missed him the last few nights.
“If you keep that up, I’ll be the only ride you take this afternoon,” Mitsuhide mock-threatened.
“Oh? Think you’re more exciting than a rollercoaster?” She raised an eyebrow, teasing him back.
“I don’t know - but I am sure you are.” He ran a finger along her palm.
It had the intended effect. Her face flushed and her eyes went wide. She was getting better at taunting him, but he knew how to get the better of her every time.
They rode the rollercoaster next, and it was worth it. Hanging upside down over the ocean, speeding through curves and down impossible hills. Mitsuhide imagined how Masamune would love this, and Hideyoshi telling him it was dangerous and unnecessary. Mitsunari would probably spend his day looking at the underside, and be able to tell him how it was built. And Ieyasu . . .
“What are you thinking about?”
“Home,” Mitsuhide admitted.
“Me too.” His little one leaned against him with a sigh. “I am so glad I can show all this to you, but I can’t help but miss everyone. I thought coming back would be like coming home . . . but I feel like a visitor. Everything is familiar, but, it’s different too. Like - like I don’t really belong here anymore.”
He hugged her close, nuzzling the top of her head. Inhaling the sweet smell of her. “Does that make you sad? That this isn’t your home anymore?”
“Yes. And no. I know I will miss my family, my friends, when we go back. But I don’t think I’ll miss them more than Nobunaga and Hideyoshi and, well, everyone. I keep wondering what they are up to and if they are ok.”
“I do as well.” He kissed the top of her head. “I am sure they are fine, and miss us too.”
“Yeah.” She smiled up at him, wiping her eyes. “We’re at an amusement park. Let’s not talk about sad things, ok?”
“Masamune would never forgive us for not enjoying the moment,” Mitsuhide smiled back. “So, what’s next?”
“Well . . . we could ride the ferris wheel?”
The two of them made their way toward the giant wheel, only to find Sasuke standing by himself nearby. Mitsuhide looked up at the little colorful cars swinging in the air. “Miyake is not up there.”
“Correct.” Sasuke gestured to a closed off arena to the right. “He’s in there. Bumper cars. I think this is his fifth round.”
“What is a bumper cars?” Mitsuhide asked over the sound of his little one’s laughter.
The ninja shrugged. “You get in a little car and try to smash against other little cars.” He looked toward the ride. “It is mostly full of teenagers and small children.”
Mitsuhide shook his head. “I suppose he found a battlefield he can handle.”
The chatelaine covered her mouth. “Ooh, Mitsu! That’s mean! Let him have his fun.” She gave him a look and then focused on Sasuke. “Did you find a good spot for a snack?”
“I did. I assumed the two of you would end up here so I waited. Would you like to get something to eat before or after your incredibly romantic ride in the ferris wheel?”
“After, I think.”
Mitsuhide turned to her. “Incredibly romantic?”
“Of course. It’s a common trope in media that when a couple rides in a ferris wheel, it’s a very romantic moment.” Sasuke adjusted his glasses.
“I see.” Mitsuhide pulled her toward the ride entrance. “Then that is something I want to experience with you.”
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