Although the couple was subject to playful mockery, Lily refused to leave Junius’ side and continued her task of tending to his every need. After all, once he left, the two might not be able to meet for a long time. Thus, she wanted to treasure every last second she had remaining with the youth.
Meanwhile, Shin had finally managed to pry Elyse off his body. The cute, bubbly faced girl had managed to calm down, but she still let out the occasional sniffle.
“Shin, you must remember to write me letters!”
Elyse pointed her left index finger directly at the black-haired boy as she instructed him. The Instructor had said that although they were moving away, the duo would be able to send back letters frequently. Hence, the back and forth messages would form some sort of solace for the orphans who are staying behind on Frie Mountain.
“Of course I would! Who knows, maybe I would be able to send back a souvenir for you!”
The Frie Clan sends a caravan every month to Chilyoja Waypoint to deliver products and collect items from the store located there. Hence, Shin and Junius would be able to send letters back monthly via the convoy.
“Hehe, you better! I want candy!”
Shin’s words instantly cheered the downcast girl up. Seeing the girl now, Shin could imagine an invisible tail wagging gleefully, as she requested for her favourite treat.
“No can do. Your teeth are already starting to decay!”
Pinching open Elyse’s mouth, Shin located a browned tooth that was showing signs of deterioration. Evidently, this little girl had more than a few sweets in her lifetime.
“But you’re going to a new place! I’m sure the sweets there are much more delicious than the ones in the clan!”
Disputing with Shin, Elyse tried hard to convince the boy to send back candy.
“Fine, fine… If you promise to eat your vegetables, I’ll send back the best sweets I can find!”
Seeing her puffed cheeks and unwavering gaze, Shin finally yielded to her demands. In the end, he was the person who spoiled Elyse the most.
“Ewww… But I’ll do it in the name of sweets!”
Flashing a brilliant smile, Elyse let go of Shin’s hand and stuck her tongue out. Soon after her exchange with Shin was over, two purple haired girls, no older than ten years of age, walked over with grim faces. Their faces were precisely alike bar the small mole on one of the girl’s face.
With misty eyes, Emma sauntered into Shin’s arms. The usually cheerful and gorgeous smile was replaced with a dark and sorrowful frown. The orphans were like one big family. Having Shin and Junius forced out of their lives would undoubtedly form a hole in their hearts.
“Emma, don’t be like that…”
Emma tried to be optimistic in front of Shin to prevent him from worrying but every time she imagined that the next morning, the boy who brought so much fun and laughter into her life would be missing, tears started to well up in her eyes. As far as she can remember, Shin had always existed in her life. She knew nothing about her parents or where she came from. All she knew were the Frie Clan and the orphans.
Being of similar age to Shin, they had often played and trained together. His antics with her twin sister, Ella where her sister chided Shin when he did something silly always made her laugh. Thinking that from tomorrow onwards, the boy that was ever-present in her life was disappearing, was too much for her young and fragile heart to bear.
As Emma tried to speak, she realised that her mouth was unable to form any words. She had thought of words to say at their parting, but currently, her mind drew a blank.
“I’ll send letters to you too. Look at you, you’re wearing two different types of shoes!”
At Shin’s statement, Emma’s eyes darted down to her feet. To her surprise, she found that on one foot, she wore a straw indoor sandals and on the other foot, a white training shoes. Due to Shin’s departure, the purple-haired girl had been absent-minded the entire morning. She hadn’t even realised that she donned two different types of footwear.
Exclaiming in shock, the round-faced girl frantically tried to hide her feet.
“Hahaha! It’s alright! I’ll send back a pair of shoes for you!”
As if treating the exile as a vacation, Shin promised to send back souvenirs for his fellow orphans.
“Hmph! I’m ignoring you!”
Emma turned her back to the black-haired youth with a smile. Although she had brightened up slightly, there was an ostensible cheerfulness concealing her sadness. To prevent Shin from seeing her tears, Emma tagged in her elder twin sister to say her goodbyes.
“Hah… Shin, you’re really good at handling Emma…”
Ella had mixed reactions towards Shin. Some days, the boy would drive her absolutely nuts, and she would wish for him to not exist. On other days, Shin would show his usefulness in helping her appease Emma when she did something wrong to her. But overall, Ella saw Shin as an annoying brother that was of similar age to her. Hence, although she might not be as emotional as her twin sister, Ella was still slightly depressed about his departure.
“Well, we have been together for a long time…”
“I’m her twin sister, and I’m still not as adept as you when it comes to dealing with Emma.”
“I guess you must be more observant.”
“Hmph! As if I’m less attentive than a lazy bum like you!”
“It’s the truth though…”
Even as Shin was leaving, the two had to enter one last argument. But before the two got into a fight, the duo scoffed at their interaction and started to laugh in mockery. Some things just never change.
“Hahaha… I’m going to miss this…”
Ella lightly tapped Shin’s chest as a tear begun to form in her eye. No matter how much he bothered her, Shin was still one of the orphans. One of her family.
“Yeah me too. Take care of Emma for me will you? As the elder sister, you should be more responsible.”
“Hmph! Needless for you to say, I’ll take care of my baby sister even without your words.”
“Wow, so reliable…”
“You! Hmph! That’s alright, I’ll save this fist for the next time we meet. Oh, by the way, I think there’s someone else here to send you off.”
Pointing to a nearby limber pine tree, Ella directed Shin’s attention to a lone girl flipping pebbles over with her left leg. Her scarlet red hair that was usually tied into a bun was flowing down her shoulders like a waterfall bathed in blood. The adolescent amazonian figure of hers full of muscle unusual for her age suggested that she would one day grow into a powerful warrior. Her pale-white face was littered with tiny freckles that suited her flashy, vibrant robes. Feeling a gaze on her, she twisted her head to the side as her eyes met Shin’s.