A Story of a Cannon Fodder Volume 2 Chapter 12

“Chapter 12: A Momentary Respite
 

As the cold weather began to set in, on a certain day,
 
Approaching dusk, the temperature dropped considerably. At such a time, two figures walked side by side. Maria, wearing a hair ornament of red flowers, and next to her was Fei.
 
In Fei and Maria’s hands were paper bags containing food.
 
“I’m sorry, Fei. I asked you suddenly.”
 
“Don’t worry about it.”
 
The dead eyes with unchanged emotions. Fei’s expression remained the same. Just walking alongside him made Maria happy.
 
Fei doesn’t adjust his stride. He walks selfishly. Maria can only walk with him by forcing herself to adjust.
 
“Um, hey.”
 
“What is it?”
 
As they walked, Maria asked as if nothing was wrong, sometimes nervously avoiding Fei’s gaze and sometimes meeting it.
 
“Um, what kind of person is Yururu-san?”
 
“She’s a master swordsman. There aren’t many wielders as skilled as her. Like me, she has no affinity for magic other than the neutral element, but because of that, she’s mastered body enhancement and swordsmanship.”
 
“I see. That’s not really what I asked about…”
 
Maria smiled wryly at the words that Fei described about Yururu. She was worried that beyond the relationship of master and disciple between Fei and Yururu, they might become more than that.
 
“Um, do you have a type of woman you like?”
 
“Why are you asking that?”
 
“Well, you know, just as a general idea…”
 
“I don’t particularly have one.”
 
“Oh, I see. Well, the question didn’t really have a meaning, you know?”
 
Maria breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that Fei and someone else wouldn’t be in a specific relationship.
 
“I think I’ll make stew today. What do you think?”
 
“If that’s what you’ve decided, then go ahead.”
 
“Yeah. Then, I’ll make stew.”
 
Even in conversation, Fei doesn’t force it. If Maria doesn’t force it, silence would dominate.
 
Yet Maria’s face looked happy.
 
“I’ll put my heart into making it, so look forward to it.”
 
“…Yeah.”
 
The two return to the orphanage. And that day, she made the best stew filled with love.
 

 
Night fell in the capital city. In a corner of it was an orphanage. The children were already beginning to fall asleep. Only a few remained awake.
 
And Fei was still awake. Fluorescent lights made from special magic stones. The orange light illuminated the room.
 
Lying on his bed, he absentmindedly counted the stains on the ceiling. Someone knocked on his door.
 
“Fei. It’s me, can I come in for a bit?”
 
“…Sure.”
 
Maria, in her pajamas, entered Fei’s room.
 
“What do you want?”
 
“I just wanted to talk for a bit.”
 
“…You don’t have to do this, you know.”
 
“Is it okay if I do?”
 
“…Keep it short.”
 
“…Thank you.”
 
With a sigh, Fei reluctantly accepted Maria’s invitation. Maria sat next to Fei, looking happy. The two sat side by side on the bed.
 
“Um…thank you, really.”
 
“…Again with that?”
 
“Yeah. But, I wanted to properly thank you when it’s just the two of us.”
 
“…Enough.”
 
“Yeah. I only say it occasionally.”
 
“…Don’t say it again. If I accept that, then I’ll have to thank you every time. It’s troublesome.”
 
“What do you mean?”
 
“Figure it out…yourself.”
 
With an annoyed click of his tongue, Fei crossed his arms. From there, Fei didn’t say anything. It seemed he didn’t want to say it himself.
 
“Um…is it because I cook for you every day?”
 
“…?”

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The silence was affirmative.
 
(I see…he’s thankful for me cooking. So, if I were to worry about it, then he feels the need to say something…)
 
Maria’s cheeks turned slightly red. Before she realized it, her hand was resting on top of Fei’s hand on the bed.
 
When Fei shot her a sharp glance, questioning her intentions, Maria gave him a lonely look, and Fei closed his eyes without saying a word.”
 
Maria is… being watched by Fei. She felt both joy and sadness at being directed pure gratitude by such a person. Because she was holding back the flames of revenge and tragedy using the pure, innocent feelings of Fei and the others.
 
At that time, she showed her weak self to Fei. Fei protected her from Terror when she was helpless.
 
So, she wanted him to know. She wanted to talk about herself. She wanted to spit out the anxiety, anger, and foolishness she had accumulated so far, to extinguish them. Even if she was disappointed.
 
“I… you know, I’ve been through a lot in the past. Recently, too, it was almost all over. So, I think I’ll always be grateful to Fei.”
 
“……”
 
“I’m scared… I’m sure, from now on, I’ll always have to live in fear. I made this orphanage… for myself.”
 
“……”
 
“The smiles of the orphans, their happy voices. I just used them to gain a sense of happiness and suppress ugly emotions… D, do I have the right to be here with Fei and everyone? Do I have the right to be here? I, I don’t know anymore. Just using them… what am I…”
 
Maria squeezed his hand tightly. She wanted to escape from the fear of being denied.
 
Maria wanted to extinguish revenge. If she knew that she was using the orphans with such evil intentions, there would be those who would denounce her. She is prepared for that. She thinks it’s natural. But, maybe she didn’t want Fei to deny it.
 
Perhaps she thought he might protect her.
 
“……I don’t understand what you’re saying. I don’t know about your past. I can’t understand that conflict.”
 
“Yeah, that’s right. Sorry, I said something weird–“
 
“–But, if there’s one thing I can say… it’s that doing it because of hypocrisy is better than not doing because of kindness.”
 
“–“
 
“I don’t know why you’re raising the orphans, but it’s certain that some have been saved by your hypocrisy. They’re grateful to you. I’m not very close to them, nor do I want to be. They don’t need me, and I don’t need them. But they need you. So–“
 
Fei’s indifferent eyes captured her. There was no sympathy, no subjective impression. Just an opinion as a fair third party.
 
“I felt I should be with you.”
 
“……Ah, ah, ah, I, I–“
 
So maybe she was saved. The fear, anger, hatred, lamentation, repentance that Maria had been feeling, all burst out.
 
Even though she tried to suppress her voice, she couldn’t. She couldn’t stop crying, and she felt ashamed in front of Fei.
 
But there was none of that.
 
Fei gently embraced her. Her face buried in his thick chest. She felt she could cry now.
 
“……Don’t get me wrong. I just don’t have a taste for seeing crying women.”
 
“Ah, ah, aah, uh…”
 
She cried like a child. After a while, Maria stopped crying, her face slightly swollen.
 
“I’m sorry.”
 
“No, don’t worry about it.”
 
“Um, hey, do you always say things like that?”
 
“What?”
 
“That you don’t have a taste for seeing crying women, and stuff…”
 
“…”
 
“Fei, you’re a trickster, aren’t you?”
 
“Not really.”
 
“I’d rather you didn’t say that outside.”
 
“I won’t, so don’t worry.”
 
Fei didn’t seem to have any intention of talking anymore, so he lay down on the bed.
 
“Hey, can I sleep with you? I sometimes get lonely.”
 
“…Do as you please, but don’t disturb my sleep.”
 
“Okay.”
 
Maria fell asleep in Fei’s room. She looked happy in her sleep.


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