I knew that grandma was gone when her smell disappeared.
But my mother didn’t seem to know what that smelled like.
Grandpa’s words made him understand, and he broke down in tears like never before.
I sat there, unable to speak to my mother, who was crying with sorrow from the depths of his heart.
…I didn’t know why mother was so sad.
But grandpa seemed to understand and was stroking mother’s head.
It’s different from us who were just flustered.
A little while later, father came.
He held mother with care, calling his name and hugging him.
Father didn’t get flustered like us.
Because he understood why mother was crying.
Because usually when mother cried, he would leave us to our own devices.
“I still want to be with her.”
“I wanted to be more filial.”
Even though he could say “that’s not true” or “that’s enough”, father just affirmed all of mother’s words.
But maybe because of that, mother seemed to have calmed down a bit.
He put his arms around father’s neck and buried his face in his shoulders and cried.
“Ko liked mother-in-law.”
“Yes. She also loved you.”
While stroking mother’s head, father conversed with mother in a calm voice.
Mother would feel relieved whenever father affirmed his feelings.
At first, I didn’t understand what it meant, but it’s apparently something like this.
Mother was 29 years old now.
In a place where the average adult age was 100 years old, so many people said that mother was still a child.
──even so, mother gave birth to three children.
Compared to other humans, his humanized appearance was young and many people called out to such a mother.
For us, he’s too kind a mother.
He had never been mad at me.
Instead, father’s the one getting angry.
Even when I did something wrong and didn’t listen to mother, only father would get angry.
But the reason father didn’t do bad things even at work was that he didn’t want to make mother sad.
Besides, he smiled really happily when I did a good deed, so we took the initiative to help mother.
Both Cal and Dee seemed to have the same feelings as me.
Grandma’s funeral was held grandly.
Akinists were a rare race, and it seemed that there was only father left in the world.
Even half-Akinists like us were a rare existence.
That’s why mother was worried about us going out alone.
…as for me, I was more worried about mother going out alone.
After all, mother was a magician and a healer, but he couldn’t distinguish between malicious people like us.
He couldn’t detect hostility or murderous intent and even if he could move with magic, he couldn’t move fast.
I thought mother was in more danger than us.
It’s to the extent that he’s said to be “a one and only existence”.
Not only was it said that there’s no magician like mother, but as a healer, he’s called a “miracle”.
There must be a lot of people who wanted to kidnap such a mother.
Not only that, mother was cute and often talked to us, and even good at cooking.
Many people loved mother.
I didn’t even have to think about it to understand why father was worried.
“Mother-in-law, thank you for loving me as your son. I was very, very happy.”
While shedding tears, mother called out to grandma, who was sleeping in her coffin.
He’s crying but also smiling.
“I will love you forever.”
Inwardly, I tilted my head at the words that weren’t in the past tense.
Since grandma was dead, wouldn’t it be “loved” her?
Would he still love her after she died?
Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand what mother thought.
An Akinist’s death seemed to be important as people from other countries gathered in Marihect.
But was it because His Majesty told them so they didn’t come closer?
Or was it because mother was crying?
Mother’s internal magical power seemed to be greater than anyone else’s.
Magical power seemed to fluctuate depending on emotions, so maybe that’s why they didn’t come closer.
It’s said that if mother’s magical power went out of control, not even father would be safe.
──the reason why the people of Kisetoa hadn’t come near was probably that mother still hadn’t forgiven them.
But mother wouldn’t leave grandma’s coffin.
Maybe because of that, no one could come close.
…I wonder why mother didn’t move?
──when I thought that, for some reason, he seemed to have put up a magical barrier around the entire coffin.
Even though grandma was already dead…
Even if they attacked, it wouldn’t matter.
What was mother afraid of?
It seemed that I wasn’t the only one who thought so.
“…why did you put up a barrier?”
But the only person who could casually ask mother was father.
Father asked this time.
“Hn? To prevent others from doing anything to mother-in-law. Blasphemy against the dead would not be tolerated. It seemed that there were people who thought that they could do whatever they wanted after she died.”
…as expected, even I thought mother’s way of thinking was unusual.
What was “blasphemy of the dead”?
It was my first time hearing those words.
“I welcomed you coming to see mother-in-law for the sake of saying goodbye. …but if you intended to touch mother-in-law’s body for the sake of research, I won’t allow it. You didn’t have the technology or the facilities to examine them in detail, so you’ll just injure the body for mischief.”
Everyone flinched at the strong-willed eyes.
Mother now didn’t look like he was in tears until a while ago.
Mother sometimes became stronger than anyone else.
…where did mother’s strength come from?
Even father, who I thought was stronger than anyone else, had times when mother put pressure on him.
“No one would be able to breach Ko’s barrier. …Arteamiya will be happy. The only person who worried about Akinists is Ko, even when she was alive. I’m sure she wanted Ko to see her off as well.”
However, grandpa’s words made mother shed tears again.
I hadn’t heard the details yet, but one day, mother was suddenly taken into protective custody by father.
Mother, who lived in a different world, came to this world while he was asleep and met father.
I didn’t know what “a different world” was like, but I heard that the culture and customs of this world were different from the world mother lived in before and that at first, he couldn’t even understand the language.
I still couldn’t understand much, but it seemed that he was anxious since he was suddenly in a different world.
──it’s the same with father.
He told me many things, but what surprised me the most was that his life expectancy in the world where mother lived before was less than 100 years old.
In this world, 100 years old was said to be just reaching adulthood, but I was quite surprised to hear that few people live to be 100 years old in the world where mother lived.
However, it seemed that things have changed since coming to this world and that they didn’t know what his life expectancy would be at the moment.
──how long could he live?
──what was his race?
I heard that it’s still unknown to anyone.
“I don’t like that! Father-in-law…please stay with me.”
Mother, who was a healer, probably understood that life expectancy could not be managed.
And yet, he cried and hugged grandpa.
Grandpa said he quit his job before I was born because he was getting weaker, but I didn’t think he’s gotten worse like grandma.
His smell was still strong and I didn’t think it would happen any time soon.
As expected, even I would know…
Did he say that because he wanted mother to worry about him?
…grandpa was flustered by mother crying.
And father was glaring at such a grandpa.
A mother who put family first.
Lately, I had often wondered, “Does mother want to go back to the world he used to live in?”
I understood that we were born because mother didn’t go home, but I still wondered, “what if?”
Even if there’s no way to go home, wouldn’t mother still be sad?
I cared about it because mother valued family.
…if he said that he wanted to go home once we grew up…when I thought up to there, I couldn’t continue.
…when that happened, would father immediately trap mother in his arms?
There were times when mother felt weaker than anyone else, and there were times when he felt stronger than anyone else.
I didn’t think anyone could oppose mother’s decision…
If I asked him not to go home even after we humanized, would he stay with us forever?
If father, grandpa, Cal, Dee, and I asked, would he choose the family he had now over the one he left behind?
I wondered if he stayed because mother loved father, and father, who loved mother, asked him to stay.
…could anyone tell me what mother was thinking?
I was not as smart as mother, so if I didn’t do my best to understand it, I wouldn’t understand the reason.
We’d been talking little by little, but it was going to take me years to understand everything.
─Eldred Side end─
Now that El is 5 years old, Ko is talking about his past little by little.
However, since it’s an unfamiliar story about another world, El is full of question marks because he can’t understand most of it…
But he’s trying his best to understand.
2 thoughts on “ACDWL 137: Mother Is Weak But Strong”
Aaaaah we finally get a chapter from the kiddos pov. Whilst super sad, it was also interesting to read El’s thoughts. I’m sobbingly intrigued.
Thanks for the chapter!
El is such a cute and smart child.