Chapter 19:

Leap of Faith (Shiro Kaeda) - Part 1

Mages and Dragons in a New Land? They Obviously Haven't Seen a Modern War Man! Book 2


“Mom,” Kaeda shouted, “I’ll be going fishing again!”

“Alright!” Yoshiko responded, “Take the rod with you, no?”

“The gig is enough,” Kaeda said, holding a long, two-pronged rod. “You know how I fish, right?”

“Don’t hurt yourself okay?” Yoshiko warned, “It’s a long way down.”

“I won’t, thanks.” Kaeda replied with a grin, “I’m off! And I’ll be cooking today.”

“Alright~ Stay safe.”

Kaeda stepped out of her two-storey house. She walked through the grassy path down Edhil Hill to Quickleap Cliff. It was her regular fishing spot for the days when she wanted to do the cooking. She waved at a couple who was buying some veggies from Yokio’s. She saved Shoji’s fresh fruits from falling down and getting ruined. She even met with Rin who was teaching some kids how to shoot with a bow. Everything seemed normal for her nowerdays, her past almost seemed like it had never happened. But she never forgot what she used to be, she couldn’t forget. Even through the smiles she had smiled and the laughs she had laughed, she couldn’t forget the fact that one wrong move and it would go back to how it used to be.

But she dismissed these thoughts whilst looking down at the deep sea; its currents rushing like little children to the top of the hill in the evening, to play and have a good time sure enough. She could see a school of fish swimming playfully. Kaeda faced the opposite side of the cliff, preparing herself for the 65 feet drop.

With a deep breath, she flipped backwards down toward the clear sea. The wind rushed past her clearing her mind of all her thoughts and worries. She felt the sound of the sea getting closer.

It was time.

She repositioned herself midair like she had been doing for as long as she could remember and faced the seawater head-on. She formed an air bubble and braced for impact.

The impact was soothing. Partly because of the bubble but also because of her durable body. She had experienced worse after all. She took a deep breath and dismissed the bubble. Swimming slowly with her breath held, she noticed the school swimming around surprised.

‘When a fish is scared…’ she thought, ‘It’s easier to catch.’

She thrust her spear forward, impaling one, two, three, four, a GRAND total of five fish.

As long as this process was, she enjoyed it quite a bit. All for five fish. But it at least shifts her focus away from the things that remain in her mind. Things she didn’t want to think about and yet, this place was bringing it all back. She never expected the door to lead home. Sclandora wasn’t answering her calls either.

As she walked out of the water up to the shore she couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was wrong with this place.

She focused her attention on the path back home. She saw the sun set slowly on the horizon. She fastened her steps.

“Gotta get home to start off with the fish stew,” she told herself.

But something stopped her when she was nearing the top of the hill. She noticed a girl on the ground surrounded by a bunch of other girls. The boy on the ground had a petite figure. His blue eyes were brimming with tears, his sky orange hair covered with a green-ish-coloured mud, his face very much bruised. Kaeda unconsciously thought back to years ago when she had faced the same predicament.

The strong always like to play on the weak

A voice resounded in her head. Kaeda felt something snap. She began walking up to the group.

“What do you think you are doing huh?” she asked, raising her gig up high as if it were a reflex action.

An expression of terror fell on the group’s faces.

“W-we-” one of them started, “We were-”

Playing? Is that what you people would say?”

She raised her fist as if aiming for a punch but realised what she was doing.

‘What’s wrong with me?!’ she thought, ‘I almost…’

She loosened the grip on her

“J-just get out of here, alright!” She commanded.

“Y-yes ma’am!” the group ran away from them leaving Kaeda with the hurt girl. She extended her hand to the child whose eyes radiated a sort of fear.

“Don’t worry…” she said, “Everything is okay now.”

“I…I” the boy couldn’t phrase his words. His eyes drifted to the gig which now seemed like a weapon to his eyes. Kaeda noticed and dropped the gig to the ground.

“It’s fine.” she lied, “I just wanted to scare them off. That’s all.”

‘What was I trying to do right now?’ she thought to herself, ‘Surely I wasn’t trying to-”

“I’m… alright.” the boy responded, taking her hand. His hand was soft and felt as fragile as his build.

Life Flare

A blue flame enveloped the boy’s body. His eyes were more fearful than before but Kaeda only pat his head.

“Stay still, alright?” she said, “It’s fine, see?”

She pointed to the scars and wounds, healing slowly but steadily. It did its job and disappeared just like that, like a wisp, leaving the smell of fresh air with it.

She helped the boy up. “All good?”

A slight smile crossed his face as he took her hand, “Yeah… I’m fine. Thanks, big-sis!”

Kaeda breathed a sigh of relief. “I’m glad~”

Kaeda and the boy walked back up to the hill. The boy was following reluctantly, fidgeting with his hands while looking down. Kaeda bit her lip. She could see that the mood was not getting better. And she herself was staring into space, pondering over what had happened.

‘The voice in my head…’ she thought.

But she shook her head and slapped her face.

“Now’s not the time for this!” she accidentally shouted, only to turn red soon after. She stared back at the boy who titled his head quizzically.

“Are you okay, big sis?” he asked.

“Y-yeah! I’m fine.”

The boy sprinted towards her, joining her side. They were nearing the top of the hill.

“Big sis,” the boy asked, “What’s your name?”

Kaeda’s eyes lit up. “I’m Kaeda! Nice to meet ya’.”

A pinch of shock was shown in his face, “Kaeda… As in Shiro Kaeda?”

“Yeah? What’s wrong?”

Then her mind was bought back to last year.

“Ah… I see how it is”

“No, I-”

“Don’t worry,” she said with a grin, “I’m not as intimidating as they make me out to be. Nor are the others.”

The boy continued fidgeting, “Sorry… I judged you just like that.”

Kaeda laughed, “Nah, don’t worry about it.”

“I’ve been there… That had happened…” she mumbled. Her face darkened for a slight moment before regaining her smile.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Toma Makoto. Nice to meet you too, big sis Kaeda!”

The two walked toward the village and Makoto stopped there.

“Well, my house is just a small walk away.” he said, “Thanks for everything!”

“No problem!” Kaeda responded, “If you get into trouble, call my name and I’ll be there in a jiffy.”

“Really?”

“Yep!” Kaeda replied, “It’s a promise.”

Kaeda stuck her fist to Makoto’s chest and grinned. Makoto’s ears fluttered with joy. The two split ways, one with newfound courage and another with doubts in her head.