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3. [The Book of Names]

UNTIL THE MOON SETS #3

tl by danluffey

1)
3. [The Book of Names]

2)
sfx: hic
1: General!
2: No one's there! It's deserted!
3: What?!
4: Hey! You mongrel!
5: Where did they go?!
6: I...I don't know! They were here in the morning!
7: If I knew, I'd tell you! How could I lie right now?!

3)
1: Do you have any idea as to where they might have gone?
2: I...I don't.
3: I
4: didn't
5: hear anything about this...
6: Master, how could you?! He cut me out of the deal!
sfx: Hey
7: I don't believe it!
8: He's trying to steal all the profit for himself!
9: The White Child has weak legs, so they couldn't have gone far.
10: I always did my best for him...!
11: I know that. We've already shut off all routes out of here. We won't let them get away.
12: We'll hunt for them in the mountains! Send a messenger to summon more people.
13: Calculate how many we'll need.
14: Yes, Secretary General? Did you find something?
15: I don't know if this will be any help,
16: but...General...

4)
1: This is the journal of the late thief, Bel Fran.
2: Really?!
3: I can't prove it,
4: because no actual names are noted within,
5: but the dates are all very old, so I doubt it belongs to his son, who we believe to be the kidnapper. And in the beginning, this is written:
6: 'This is the journal of a criminal.'
7: 'I will not name any names,'
8: 'but everything written here is the truth.'

5)
1: rustle
2: Dammit...
sfx: drip
3: Guess we can't light a fire.
4: We'll dye yours tomorrow.
5: This is sarde powder, an Eastern agent used to dye white hair.
6: It dyes well, but you need to be careful.
7: For some reason, when the full moon begins to set, the color fades.
8: What...?
sfx: whap

6)
1: You look like a wounded beast. Get out of there.
2: What are you afraid of?
3: You look
4: like you a stranger.
5: ...really?
6: It's just hair.
7: It's the same color as yours.
8: Is that what you're afraid of?
9: Do as you like, then!

7)
sfx: rustle
sfx: snap

8)
1: I look like a stranger, huh?
2: That's a good one.
3: But the truth is,
4: you know me well.
5: When I was still a small child, I was separated from my parents.
6: I barely spoke to anyone, and hardly anyone ever spoke to me.
7: I simply looked down and read the bible over and over again.
8: I answered questions with my fingers.
9: I drank their holy wine and emptied myself.
10: I was a nameless White Child.

9)
1: The same as you.
2: And I didn't think anything of it.
3: But one day,
4: a man came to me.
5: He was an infamous thief,
6: so he wasn't allowed to receive a prophecy from the temple.
7: His son was lost in a storm at sea during one of his journeys, and he had been traveling the land looking for him.
8: His wife died long ago,
9: and he had no other family.
10: His son was all the man had.

10)
1: He asked me to ask God where his son was, but
2: ...I...
3: ..you understand, don't you?
4: I couldn't do anything.
5: Then I started having fits. I covered myself in my own vomit,
6: but he desperately tended to me.
7: "Zeal!"
8: "Hang in there!"
9: "You can't die here!"
10: "Zeal!"

11)
1: He suddenly started calling me by his son's name.
2: Soon, it became mine.
3: I couldn't do anything,
4: but he never scolded me.
5: He called me Zeal and patted my head.
6: He called me Zeal and gave me the world.
7: Then, when he died, he held my hand.
8: "Zeal."

12)
1: "Zeal. Where are you?"
2: "I'm sorry."
3: I don't know who he was calling to,
4: or who he was apologizing to.
5: The White Child he kidnapped?
6: Or the son he lost to the sea?

13)
1: "Where's Zeal?!"
2: Watching his dying face pissed me off for some reason.
3: I wonder why?
4: Then, the next thing I knew, I was in a temple.
5: And you were there,
6: looking down, just like I once was.
7: Drinking that terrible holy wine and emptying yourself.

14)
1: You were sitting there just the same, as if nothing had happened.
2: As if my name, my father's life, and what we had both lost meant nothing.
3: I couldn't accept it.
4: And I never will...
5: It's sacrilege...
6: It's all bullshit!

15)
sfx: thud
1: Being a White Child doesn't mean anything!
2: It sure as hell doesn't mean I'm a stranger!!
3: Just who do you think
4: you are...?!
5: /Is he...
6: /going to kill me...?

16)
1: /Is that
sfx: thud
2: /why he brought me out here...?
3: /Zeal...if that's the case...
4: /then you're wrong.
5: /Because I...
6: I'm not an empty child!

17)
1: /I'm filled
2: /with pieces of you...!
3: /But
4: /if that isn't enough.
5: /Then I'll close my eyes
6: /and empty myself...

18)
1: Zeaaaaal!
2: /I'll spit everything out and become a White Child for you. If you truly need to kill me in order to survive...

19)
sfx: thud

20)
1: Hey...
2: Hey.
3: You're kidding me, right?
4: Breathe!
sfx: hooo

21)
sfx: cough
1: Zea...l?!
sfx: hug
2: Zea...l...
sfx: grab
3: That hurts...
4: If I...
5: shouldn't be alive
6: then hurry up...and stop me...

22)
1: Uuu...
2: Guh...
3: No...that's not it, dammit...
4: What am
5: I doing?
6: You haven't done anything wrong.
7: That's not it...

24)
1: Hurry up and get these men along the Southwestern side! As soon as preparations are complete, we'll immediately head for the mountaintop. We've received orders to begin searching the mountains.
sfx: clink
2: Haah...look at all of them...
3: I wonder if Master's gonna be OK...
4: Hm?
5: Heh! What am I doing, worrying about that rat?
sfx: mutter
6: I just need to focus on getting myself outta here..
sfx: whisper
7: A journal?! Bel Fran's journal?!
8: They actually found such a thing?!
9: Yes...the Secretary General is reading it to the General in the tent as we speak. What should we do?

25)
1: What should we do? If the details of a certain incident are written in there, we're finished...go and confiscate it at once!
2: But...it's in the General's tent!
3: I've an idea, masters!
4: How about I go and fetch it for you?
5: What?
6: And how could you do such a thing?
7: Despite how I look, I happen to be an established thief. There's no way I'm going to escape through their encirclement, anyway...
8: Well? How about it? If you'd just untie these ropes, I could be of great help to you.
9: And then, if all goes well...
10: I hope you'd be generous enough to return the favor.
11: I hear they're planning to execute me, of all things!

26)
1: "Hagre 4, 16th of the Horse's Moon. Stole from a fief lord who had been taxing his people double the standard.
2: What? Who in God's name was doing such a thing?
3: Like I said, there are no names written here. "On the 17th, I returned the spoils to a neighboring village."
4: "In the same year, on the 7th of the Wind Moon, I stole a golden effigy from a noble's villa. On the 8th, I melted it into a long sheet."
sfx: grin
5: "On the 10th, I bought wheat and pigs with the gold,"
6: "and delivered them to a village that had been sealed off due to a plague."
sfx: thunk
7: Oh, I heard about that!
8: He charged through the blockade with wild hogs, and then ate them with the villagers.
9: What are you laughing at? He makes a mockery of our army!
10: Bel Fran was infamous in his day, you know...
11: I don't like your tone!
12: He was a lone wolf, a man amongst men! I grew up pretending to be him with the other boys.
13: And I can see that made you into a fine civil servant of the Empire!

27)
1: "Hagre 5, 3rd of the Bull's Moon."
2: "My wife gave birth to a baby boy, and then died due to childbed fever."
3: "I am a criminal, so this must be my punishment."
4: "My heart has lost all its light,"
5: "but I will go on living now for my son."
6: The poor soul...and he's actually writing about his feelings for once...
7: Hey, why are you reading all this out loud?
8: What happened to that speed reading you claim to be so good at?!
9: Everyone told me to read it aloud until I got used to his writing style.
sfx: clank
10: You've read more than enough! Just check and see whether there are any clues written in there!
11: Where are you going?
12: The High Priest has ordered me to gather what we need to take care for the White Child upon her return.
13: You may pass.

28)
sfx: smack
1: General...
2: Please empty the room.
sfx: murmur
3: Now then.
sfx: drip
4: I haven't found any clues, exactly. But I did find something shocking within.
5: What is it?
6: First, in Hagre 17,
7: he reported losing his son in a storm at sea.
8: Then...he searched for his son for two years, believing he was still alive. But he never found him...
sfx: flip

29)
1: "Hagre 19, 23rd of the Bull's Moon. In order to find my son,"
2: "I kidnapped a White Child."
3: Wh...what?!
4: Let me see that! Was that really ten years ago?!
5: That can't be! I never heard about anything like that! This must be some mistake!
6: The temple hid the incident...go on, please read the rest.
7: "On the 24th, the White Child became sick, and couldn't tell me a prophecy."
8: "On the 25th, the White Child threw up his food."
9: "On the 26th, the temple reported that the White Child had been taken by God. On the same day, they installed a new White Child."
10: "He isn't a White child anymore."
11: "They seem to have abandoned him...?!"

30)
sfx: thud
sfx: flip
1: "On the 30th, he ate a bit."
2: "On the 7th of the Great Festival's Moon, I dyed his hair. When he saw that his hair had become black, he started crying."
3: "On the 10th, I bought clothes and toys for him. On the 15th, I bought him a sweet. He ate it, kept it down, and looked happy."
4: "On the 29th, I carried him on my shoulders, and he smiled for the first time."
5: "On the 31st, I cut his hair."
6: "Hagre 20. On the 8th of the Cock's Moon, I taught my son how to use a slingshot. On the 14th, the painting I had commissioned came. On the 25th, we ate a bird my son hunted."
7: "On the 11th of the Fish's Moon, I lost to my son in cards."
8: "On the 22nd of the Goat's Moon, I was followed in town by a man who seemed to be a spy from the temple."
9: "I decided to take my son on a journey. I may never return here."
10: "I"
11: "will go on living with my son."

31)
1: That's the end. He probably hid this journal in the trapdoor I found and then left.
sfx: smack
2: Then...the criminal in this incident, Bel Fran's son...was the previous White Child?!
3: A White Child was kidnapped by a bandit, raised...and then went back to kidnap another White Child?!
4: Secretary General, you come from a common background.
5: Tell me what you think would happen if the public found out about this...
6: They would realize that the White Child, a vessel of God, was raised up by a public hero...and all clout the temple and the Empire now carries would be negated...
7: I suppose...
8: "This place is not fit"
9: "for the word of God..."

32)
1: And then...?
2: It would give them a great excuse
3: for all manners of rebellion.
4: And so...?
5: Why are you making me explain all this?!
6: We need to hurry up and kill them before the truth gets out!
7: General! The soldiers have assembled. We are prepared to begin searching the mountains.
8: Alright. I'm going too.
sfx: fwap
9: Yes sir...additionally, something happened to the High Priest.
10: The thief escaped...and stripped him bare?
11: Tie him up and bring him to me!

33)
1: /After that, I think I fell asleep.
2: /When I woke up, my head was resting on Zeal's chest.
3: /I enjoyed moving up and down as he quietly inhaled and exhaled,
4: /watching as our hair melted together.

34)
1: /I...can understand Zeal...
2: /I know I can see the true him...
3: /I can understand the White Zeal...
4: /like no one else can.
5: /And that...makes me happy.
6: /I'm glad I was a White Child...

35)
sfx: stare
1: Haaa...you sure are warm.
2: It's funny, though.
3: How can you sleep on my chest like this after what just happened?
4: It make no sense...
5: No sense at all...
6: Uuu...
sfx: uuuu...
7: And now you're growling.

36)
1: A bright...
2: full moon...
3: Natori...
sfx: snap...
4: Natori.
5: That's your name.

37)
1: Na...tori?
2: My...name?
3: That's right.
4: That's what they call the moon in a distant country.
5: There, the moon is known by the name "Natori."
6: They believe that when a person dies, their soul shatters into fragments and floats up to heaven,
7: and that's what keeps the moon so bright.

38)
1: When the moon phases out, those pieces split back into light and become souls that fall down to the earth
2: and enter the bodies of newborns.
3: They also enter rocks, grass, trees, and earth.
4: Bugs, beasts, men.
5: They give all things souls.
6: Natori. Through life and death...
7: the moon is filled...and emptied...

39)
1: Nice name, isn't it?
2: Natori.
3: /My name...
4: /At the same time...
sfx: jerk
5: /the ones who were searching for the missing White Child spread fragments of light all over the mountain.

40)
1: According to the thief,
2: Bel Fran's son is a tall man with black hair.
3: You'll identify his face for us.
4: You're familiar with his face. Even if he's dyed his hair and changed his countenance a bit, you should be able to recognize him.
5: What are you talking about? Why would I know the face of a brigand?!
6: Floundering at a time like this will only worsen your status, you know.
7: Floundering?! I...have given my all to serve God and the Empire for as long as I live!
8: You think you'll get away with treating me like this?!
9: Woah...what happened to the High Priest?
10: The thief surprised him and got away, apparently.
11: Why is he tied up, then? Is he alright? This whole incident seems to have really pissed off the General...who knows what would have happened if it I had been one of us who let him get away.

41)
1: Keep your spearheads up when checking the bushes!
sfx: rustle
2: This thief has committed a severe crime!
3: Don't just stab your weapons into suspicious places! The White Child must not be harmed!
4: If you find him, you are to kill the thief at once!
5: They're over that way, too.
6: I guess we'll just have to charge through their most vulnerable spot.
7: Come on, Natori. Get on my back.
8: I'll drop you if we get into a fight. But we'll crawl until then.

42)
1: Zeal...I can run, you know.
2: No. If you start running you may have another fit. And if it happened to be a big one...
3: /I'm so weak.
4: Hold on tight.
5: /I'm just a useless child.
6: The White Child must not be harmed!
7: Kill the thief at once!
8: /Why?!
9: /We're both White Children! You're the ones who made us this way!

43)
1: Get off, Natori!
sfx: thud
sfx: slam

44)
sfx: crack
1: Is he dead?
2: Probably.
3: Either that, or his neck's broken.
4: You're...bleeding...
5: What's so funny?
6: I dunno...
7: You're the one making a funny face.

45)
1: Zeal...
2: It's alright. Cover up your hair and get on my back. They may be able to see you from afar if the moonlight shines on your head.
3: Zeal, please...
4: Just leave me and run.
5: Huh?
6: I...I'm holding you back. At this rate, they'll catch both of us.
7: And then...
sfx: shiver
8: they'll kill you...
9: How could you say such a stupid thing?
10: It...it's not stupid!
11: Zeal, please! Just listen to me!
12: No matter how strong you are...
13: you won't be able to escape from all of them with me!

46)
1: That's why...you need to escape on your own...
2: They won't kill me.
3: And then? You'll happily return to being a living corpse in the temple?
4: No.
5: What do you mean no? That place is a graveyard to you, isn't it?!
6: Not anymore...!
7: You gave me...
8: a name...
9: From this point on, even if I sit back on that throne again,
10: I will no longer be a White Child.

47)
1: I
2: will never forget this name.
3: The time I spent with you,
4: everything you gave me,
5: everything you told me...your words..I'll never,
6: /never forget them!
7: /No matter what...!

48)
sfx: hwap
1: Natori!
2: Get back here, you fools!
3: There they are!
4: They're chasing the White Child!
5: Don't shoot, you may hit her!

49)
1: I got her!
sfx: fssh
sfx: stare
2: Uuuu!

50)
1: Hieee!
2: Tch!
3: Fiiiiire!
sfx: fwip
sfx: hop
4: What the hell was that? Where were you aiming?!
5: B-but General, he...
6: He...might be related to the White Child somehow!
7: The hell he is! You idiots!

51)
1: His light blond hair probably just looked silver in the moonlight!
2: Or it could have been a disguise to try and throw us off guard!
3: Why did you order them to fire?
sfx: stare
4: If he had been killed like that, they would have found out for sure.
5: I panicked. Did you see his eyes?
6: We should withdraw here. Many of them have already seen him.
7: I know that, dammit!
8: Where is the White Child?
sfx: clunk
9: With the priestesses we brought form the temple.
10: White Child.
11: I'm overjoyed to see that you're alright.
sfx: tap
12: /And so

52)
1: /the light disappeared from the mountain,
2-3: The White Child has returned!
sfx: clang clong
4: /and bells began ringing, signaling my return to the temple in the Holy Capital.
sfx: silence...

53)
1: Natori...

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