"Mom! Look what I managed to catch today?" a rough, burly youth in furs shouted as he entered. Though he did look like a youth, he was actually a child of nine years of age.
"A greathorn deer? Claudius, good job!" the shapely woman happily said, "I'll make some deer soup for you tonight!"
"Hehe…" Claudius smiled brightly. He put the dead deer in the middle of the yard and started cutting away at it with his knife. Not long after, his mother came to help.
While they considered each other mother and child, they weren't actually related by blood. The woman was called Frenda Torimia and was a mix-blood barbarian. Her real son had died during a hunting excursion with the other barbarians from having his throat ripped out by a wolf. No longer being able to provide for the tribe, she was exiled from it. Claudius, on the other hand, was the son of the barbarian king, Legg. However, his weak constitution also made him a target for exile.
Back then, Leguna pitied the two of them and used his authority to settle them down in human society. But later, an orc nobody expected came in and disrupted their former lives. Frenda and Claudius were forced to move into a mountain jungle and relied on hunting and trading at a settlement at the foot of the mountain to make a living.
"Teacher has gone out for about a month now, right?" Claudius said as he skinned the deer.
"Yes. He should be back soon," Frenda said. The two of them weren't worried in the slightest that the orc Claudius called his teacher would be in any danger in the human world. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to call him a dragon in humanoid form. Who would worry about a dragon getting injured?
"Oh? A greathorn deer is a mid-order magic beast. I didn't think you'd grow so quickly in the month I didn't see you," a rough, orcish voice said as the two busied away.
"Teacher!" Claudius dropped the knife and jumped into the arms of the orc despite his bloody hands.
Even though Claudius was now around 1.7 meters in height, he was still much smaller than the gigantic Kreighdon who stood 2.5 meters tall.
"You're back, Sir Kreighdon," Frenda said happily. She looked up and asked, "Are you carrying…"
"What? Don't recognize him after a few short years?" Kreighdon cracked a smile and turned the face of the person in his arms to Frenda.
"This is… Sir Leguna?!" she cried in surprise.
"I didn't think something like that would happen…" Frenda said as a tear streaked down her face while she touched Leguna's forehead with her shivering right hand. Kreighdon had given them a summary of what happened. "What a tough life this child must lead. These humans could actually do something like that…"
"Child?" Kreighdon chuckled nonchalantly. "I remember that Claudius said you almost squirmed into this child's bed naked one night."
She blushed at the teasing but wasn't in the mood to joke around. Sighing, she said, "What do we do next?"
"The life is his. Let him decide what to do with it. But first…" Kreighdon took a piece of roasting deer meat from the fire and bit into it. "We'll have to wait for him to awaken."
"I see…" Frenda muttered.
Kreighdon was a little surprised to see her expression. He probingly said, "Say, don't tell me you don't like having him around here…"
"What are you saying?" she said, getting a little mad, "Sir Leguna is my and Claudius's benefactor! Now that he's in trouble, we can't just sit by and do nothing! From now on, don't worry about him. We will take care of him!"
"Why are you getting so mad?" Kreighdon muttered, scratching his head, "You looked hesitant just now, so I asked."
"Hesitant, huh…" She began working to comb Leguna's hair and tidy it up. "I only thought that perhaps remaining in deep slumber would be the best for Sir Leguna… After all… the waking world is hell for him."
"Hell, huh… If reality is hell, he'll have to face it nevertheless. No matter what kind of heaven his dream is, it is ultimately fake."
Just like that, the unconscious Leguna started to live in deep seclusion with Frenda and Claudius. Kreighdon had estimated that he would wake up in another ten days to half a month. However, Frenda's casual remark seemed to have come true. It seemed the damage to his mind and soul was far worse than the damage done to his body. Whether it was an attempt to escape reality, he remained in his comatose state for the whole time.
As he lay there, unconscious, Frenda and Claudius gave him unconditional care. They fed him food in semi-liquid form three times a day. Claudius also washed him on a regular basis. Frenda even went picking medicinal herbs for him every week. It was the recipe Kreighdon had given her. As being unconscious for too long could cause biological functions to slowly fail, that medicinal recipe was required to prevent that from happening. Claudius and Frenda would go into the mountains regardless of the weather to gather the ingredients needed for the paste.
"Isn't it enough that he's kept alive? Why do we have to do something so troublesome?" Kreighdon asked Frenda.
Back then, her reply was thus: "I'm not too sure when Sir Leguna will wake up, but I know that when he does, he'll need enough power to face all sorts of troubles. So, we have to make sure he's the same strong man from back then. That is my responsibility."
Seeing Frenda so adamant, he didn't bother to advise her against it. He had come to Chino on Oljharok's orders due to the prophecy in the first place. Oljharok had seen that Leguna would suffer a twist of fate and sent Kreighdon to help him and prevent the worst of his fate for impacting him. In the end, he really managed to save Leguna's life.
But after the rescue, he no longer had a reason to stay in Chino. He bid the mother and son farewell and returned to Ogrimma on Lance. Now that the orc was no longer living with them, they could finally reintegrate into the human town. Despite the various changes in their lives, their attention and care for Leguna didn't change in the slightest.
Just like that, days turned into months, and months into years. Leguna didn't wake up during the whole time. Frenda felt that time passed in a flash. Claudius, who only looked of average height from back then, was now almost two meters in height. He had matured into a strong youth and the girl he had been pining over in town had also grown into a beautiful woman. Only when she saw the children grow did Frenda realize how much time had passed.
"A decade flew by just like that…" Frenda muttered as she fed Leguna, "Sir, much has happened during this time."Previous Chapter Next Chapter