The Two Together
Flora and I were on our way back together after the red bear was defeated.
We stayed mindful of our surroundings because there could be monsters other than the red bear nearby.
While I walked slower to match Flora’s pace, I noticed that she was holding the flower of union close to her chest as if it was something that was really important to her.
We’ve been walking for quite a while now, but we haven’t spoken a word to each other.
If anything, it was because we were both aware about what happened nine years ago now and we had no idea what to say to each other.
When I came to Nordende nine years ago, I had saved a little girl. And, that little girl was Flora.
Now that I think about how she has been acting around me, it was obvious that she remembered me.
Although I had helped many people back in my adventurer days, I did not think that there would be someone who would still remember me after nine years.
It wasn’t anything like killing a dragon or saving a village from the threat of a strong monster; I had merely saved a little girl. And yet, the person who was nine years old at the time still remembered me.
Moreover, I’ve reunited with her again in the same fashion…
Knowing that she was the girl I helped from nine years ago… I have no idea what I should say to her.
I’ve treated her as an important friend all this time but now I’ve realized that I’m in love with her. My mind has become crowded with thoughts.
As I pondered about how to talk to her in the future, we’ve exited the forest and returned to the field of flowers.
Before our eyes was a single tree that stood alone in the field.
Its lushly thick leaves swayed in the wind with a *zzaaaa* sound.
It was here where I reunited with Flora three months ago when I first came here.
She came out like a fairy of this field of flowers.
I wonder if she had already remembered about me at that time.
「I was shocked when I first saw you at that time. To have the person who saved me nine years ago suddenly show up before me…」
Flora said in a quiet voice as she suddenly stopped and looked at the tree.
I turned around to my surprise from her words that broke the silence.
「…About that… I’m sorry. I did not remember about you until now」
「No, it’s fine. You were an adventurer at that time. You wouldn’t remember a little nine-year-old girl from some village. So please, don’t mind it」
Flora grasped my hands in a hurry and said to me with a bitter smile on her face as I apologized to her.
However, her smile looked extremely lonely.
I felt sad when I thought of how shameful I am to have made Flora feel that way.
The past me really didn’t care about anything else, since all I did was think about myself.
「Of course, I also felt sad when you did not remember me. It was like, what will I do if you weren’t going to remember about me at all? What would I do if I had completely disappeared from your life? 」
I could only let out a husky voice after hearing her innermost thoughts.
「But, I was happy when I found out that I did exist inside your memories. And with that, I am able to say what I wanted to say」
Then, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
When I looked at her closely, I understood that she was feeling nervous since her hands and feet were trembling.
Next, she opened her jade colored eyes with a gentle smile on her face as she handed me the flower that she held by her chest.
「Thank you for saving me nine years ago. I’ve been in love with you ever since」
When I heard those words, the entire world went silent.
The leaves and flowers all seemed to have gotten brighter as I felt like I was on cloud nine.
Ehhh? Flora… she likes me? And she had liked me for the last nine years?
I was sure that she wanted to thank me for saving her, but I did not think that she held such feelings inside of her.
「…Are you serious? 」
I asked her with a shaking voice from being overjoyed. Then, she answered me with a red face,
「Yeah, I’ve liked you since nine years ago 」
My chest felt hot and tears almost came out of my eyes as she said those words to me along with that smile of hers.
I managed to hold back my tears somehow, but I couldn’t help but smile.
「I like you too, Flora. Your gentle smile, your kindness. You make me feel warm just by being by my side」
「…R-really? I’m so happy」
Then, I received the flower from Flora. I guess that this is a flower that is used to confess.
「This is the flower of union. It’s a flower that’s said to surely connect you with the person you give it to. In the language of flowers, it means “a secret crush” 」
「… The flower of union, huh」
I muttered as I embraced her slender shoulders with both my arms while she was shedding tears of happiness.
Her soft body, warm body temperature, and her sweet smell were all transmitted to me directly.
I was filled with a feeling of extreme euphoria inside.
After a long hug, we looked at each other and overlapped our lips.
◆ ◆ ◆
「Ohh! Isn’t that Flora and Aldo?! 」
「Ohhh, they’re both safe! 」
After we came out of the field of flowers, we went back on the single path that I went through earlier which leads to the village center. And there, we saw villagers there including Loren-san and Ergys-san」
Ergys-san ran at us as he led the pack, but there was a woman who ran at us at a higher speed than him.
「Waa, Aisha. Kyaaa?! 」
Aisha rushed over to Flora and hugged her.
Flora couldn’t stop that momentum so she fell over with Aisha on top of her.
「FLORA!! Are you hurt?! 」
Aisha looked up at her suddenly and asked her that as she hugged her.
「Um, yeah. I’m kinda hurting right now because of you」
It was exactly like she said.
When Flora said that with a bitter smile, Aisha got off her in a hurry and pulled Flora up by her hands.
Even though I was not surprised from Aisha’s usual thoughtless actions, this panicking side of her was very rare. I couldn’t help but grin at this since we have plenty of room to relax now.
While this was all happening, Ergys-san and the crowd of villagers caught up to us.
From within the crowd, Ergys-san then walked out to me and Flora.
「FLORA! You aren’t hurt anywhere, are you? 」
「Thank goodness… seriously」
When Flora nodded as she replied to Ergys-san, he muttered as he hugged her while overjoyed.
She also returned the hug with her hands on his back with a smile on her face.
The people around us were also smiling at this daughter and father reunion.
When Ergys-san stopped hugging her, next was Fiona-san’s turn, who then came out and slowly embraced her.
Parents and children who have such a strong bond are so nice…
「Aldo, you went to the dangerous area where the red bear was for Flora’s sake, didn’t you? 」
As the touching mood in the air dispersed, Loren-san spoke to me.
「Yeah. He did do something like that, didn’t he? 」
「Truly a respectable man」
I accepted their praise as the villagers patted my body.
This somehow felt like the adventurer’s guild.
「Well, it’s good that you’re alright」
He said that as he hit my shoulder while holding his bow. He seemed to have been worrying about me and Flora.
I’m scared of you when you’re holding a bow, so I wish you’d just hurry and go home.
「I’m so sorry, Flora! Because of all the unnecessary things I’ve said to you… I thought I had gotten you attacked by the red bear… 」
「Ah, no, I did get attacked」
Everyone was shocked silent when Flora bluntly replied to Aisha when she was apologizing to her while shedding tears.
Apparently, everyone here thought that we got back here without being attacked by the red bear.
「…Attacked, what do you mean by that? 」
Ergys-san timidly asked the question that was in everyone’s mind.
Flora also smiled bitterly when she realized that everyone had a misunderstanding about what happened.
「Ummm, Aldo-san saved me from the red bear when it was attacking me」
「Ehhh?! So, you mean you guys managed to escape while the red bear was attacking you?! 」
Aisha drew closer to Flora as she asked in a loud and surprised voice.
「Oi, hold on a minute. Does that mean it’s on its way here chasing after you guys…? 」
「No, it’s alright because Aldo-san had defeated it」
Flora cut in with a reply to answer Loren-san’s worries.
After hearing her, everyone looked at me with a different expression of surprise.
「I took down the red bear. I used to be an adventurer after all」
「You… Are you kidding? 」
In the midst of a dumbfounded atmosphere, my good friend Toack said out loud the hardest thing everyone wanted to say.
In order to prove it to them, I took the red bear’s claws, teeth, and a patch of its fur out of a hemp bag and showed Loren-san.
Everyone can have an ease of heart if they hear it from Loren-san after he sees the red bear’s remains.
「…The red bear’s teeth, claws, and a patch of its fur. They’re real」
When Loren-san answered in a serious tone, the villagers all raised a surprised voice.
「I know that Aldo was an adventurer before, but isn’t a red bear considered a pretty strong monster? I heard that it’d take a party to defeat one 」
「For Aldo, who usually seems so out of it, to defeat a monster like that…」
Aisha and Toack were really surprised since they know how I act in my daily life here.
Well, since there were a lot of things that I had to rely on the others for in my new life here, of course they would think like that.
「Aldo-san really defeated the red bear! He did it like this, like with a slash! 」
Aisha and Toack looked at Flora with weird looks as she tried to reproduce the movements of my sword as well as she could.
「R-right. That’s unexpected」
Flora’s imitation of my movements was cute and funny, but she seems to have gotten her point across that she was serious, so the other two were convinced as they nodded.
「Well, seeing how you usually hunt, I do believe that you could easily defeat a red bear. Rather, I thought it was strange that you can use a sword and a bow so well」
「Ah, that’s right. With Aldo around, I can feel safe even if something like today happens again! 」
From Kyle and Loren-san’s words, the other villagers all looked to be feeling relieved.
「Alright, we hunters will go back and retrieve the rest of the red bear」
I figured from his words that I’d also be going with them. However, I was stopped by Loren-san.
「You’ve already defeated it, right? You should take a rest. We’ll go handle the rest, so just stay next to Flora today」
With those words of his, I turned my face back to Flora, who I see had a lonely look on her face.
She was just attacked by a red bear not too long ago. Truthfully, there might still be fear left in her heart.
「I understand. I marked the direction of the bear on a tree at the entrance of the forest located in the back of the field of flowers」
「Ohh! That’d really help. Let’s go, Kyle」
I did not hold back on taking a rest for the rest of the day. Loren-san and the other hunters started to walk towards the field of flowers. As for the other villagers, they also returned home after talking some more with us and Ergys-san.
Ergys-san seemed to have asked many families to help in the search for Flora, since he was bowing his head down to thank many of them.
I also joined in to thank them. After all, I was able to go there with no hesitation thanks to the information that they had provided me.
The people who remained afterwards were Flora, Ergys-san, Fiona-san, Toack and Aisha, the usual gang.
「Well then, shall we head back too? 」
「Yeah. A lot has happened today」
「It’s been a while since you’ve cried and showed that kind of miserable expression」
Aisha said with a chagrined face since she could not make a comeback to any of Toack’s teasing.
It was just her crying. But, she would probably be made fun of by Toack for a while for that.
While still having that expression on her face, Aisha came up in front of us to say her goodbyes.
「I’m really sorry about today, Flora」
「No, really, don’t worry about it. I am not hurt anywhere」
Although it didn’t turn out bad, she had still put her best friend in danger.
Of course, she would not be able to forgive herself so easily.
Aisha had a face of uncertainty, while Flora showed her a flustered smile.
「If you didn’t tell me all of that, I would not have been able to make a step forward」
「So that means, you have succeeded? 」
From hearing Flora’s words, Aisha looked over at me with a smile.
My face went red as a bit of shyness and embarrassment mixed together.
Flora’s face was as red as usual as well.
「Tell me in detail next time」
「Yeah. Let’s do it over a drink」
After saying that as she laughed, Aisha went back together with Toack after she gave us a small nudge.
…It’s embarrassing so please don’t pry further into this.
「Well then, shall we go back as well? 」
With Fiona-san and Ergys-sans words, the time for me and Flora to part has come as well.
We’re in the same village so we can meet again any time, but I feel like I want to be with her on the day our feelings have reached each other.
Flora was looking somewhat lonely, but she was just attacked by a red bear today. It would be better for her to be around her family since she should feel safe being around them.
「Well then, Aldo-san. Take care of my daughter」
Just when I was about to say goodbye to Flora, unexpected words had flown out of Fiona-san’s mouth.
「Your confession was successful and you two are together now, right? 」
Flora was fidgeting from the embarrassment she felt from being told by her own mother again as she answered.
Then, Fiona-san nodded with satisfaction.
「In that case, why don’t you stay over at Aldo-san’s place tonight? 」
「Ehhhhhhhhh?! Hold on, mother?! 」
When Flora screamed out in surprise, I turned my face towards Ergys-san to ask him.
「Ergys-san, what is this about…?」
Ergys-san slowly looked up in the sky as he answered,
「This is a somewhat complicated feeling… My little girl has turned into an adult so quickly and is about to be married off…」
He muttered with deep emotions.
It looks like my relationship with Flora has been approved already by her parents.
Their hearts might be ready for this, but our hearts might be not quite there yet…
「You may call me father-in-law, okay? 」
「Ara, then you can also call me your mother-in-law」
「Hold on a second, Father! Mother?! 」
Flora was protesting with reddened ears, but the two did not mind her as they laughed.
I am feeling the frightening part of her parents now.
Rather, is Flora really going to stay at my place tonight?
There is only one bed in my room… Does that mean… It’s going to be like that?
My eyes matched Flora’s for a second, then we quickly looked away from each other.
She probably thought of the same thing as me just now. It’s so embarrassing that we couldn’t look at each other in the eyes.
「Well then, I’ll be depending on you to take care of Flora」
While Flora was looking down in embarrassment, Fiona-san gave her a push from behind. It made Flora lose her balance and she fell nicely into my arms.
She looked up at me while she was at a loss of what to do.
I was also feeling the same thing. Mou, I have no idea where to go from here.
Fiona-san and Ergys-san looked at us and nodded in satisfaction and then they headed on home.
The two of us, who were left behind, were just hugging in the middle of the road.
「…For the time being, shall we go home? 」