Rockwall Lou – V4 Chapter 5

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓

(5)

Luo’s new daily routine was gradually taking shape.

In the early morning, just before the sun rises, Luo stands in front of the “Star Guardian” meeting place.

“Good morning.”

“Ah, Luo has arrived.”

Around the well, the transport team, bare-chested after removing their jackets, waits with wooden swords in hand. They swing these swords as part of their morning training.

“Overhead strike! One.”

“Sei!”

“Two.”

“Sei!”

Luo also swings his wooden sword, following Gangi’s lead.

It was the senior members of the transport team who had proposed that Luo take part in the morning training.

At a “Star Guardian” meeting, they argued that being a lookout is all about physical strength. 

Without proper training, Luo might be swept away by the wind. As Luo is destined to join the transport team when he grows up, it would be better for him to get used to it now. They complained about the unfairness of only being given lookout duties. If these conditions weren’t accepted, they threatened to secretly support Luo.

Theresa, overwhelmed by their fervor, reluctantly agreed.

Luo was unaware of these circumstances, but he took it as part of his job and swung the wooden sword as instructed.

After the morning training, the elderly members rinse their bodies with water from the well. Luo carefully wipes off his sweat to avoid catching a cold.

Then, it’s time for breakfast. The menu consists of light items like bread, cheese, and soup. To ensure a balanced diet, a special salad is added to Luo’s meal.

“Luo-kun, it’s cold on the walls, so make sure to eat a lot, even if you have to force yourself. Staying hydrated is also crucial. Would you like a refill of the soup?”

Probably the person most concerned about Luo’s well-being is Hamaji, the ledger keeper. The “Star Guardian” finances are in a critical state, as he had sent the transport team’s tools for repairs and had barely managed to replace a broken-down cart. He often jokingly says that if Luo sneezes, the “Star Guardian” will fall.

Of course, Luo was unaware of such circumstances.

After the meal, Crozet checks Luo’s appearance.

“Luo-kun, turn around. Look, you have bed hair.”

After having his hair combed, he finally gets the go-ahead.

“I’m off!”

“Yes, take care.”

While there are several lookouts on the outer wall, most of them are positioned near the elevator tower to quickly notify the transport team if they spot a signal fire. Luo’s designated spot is the farthest from the elevator tower. He sits cross-legged on the edge of the wall, gazing at the northern sky over the “wilderness.”

“Hey, Luo!”

From time to time, Taki, a fellow lookout, comes over and chats with Luo. He brings up odd topics, like whether Luo has decided to become his junior, or that as a man, Luo shouldn’t bathe with women.

“Also, don’t get too cocky just because you’ve been the first to spot things lately.”

“Okay, I understand.”

 ㅤ

For some reason, Taki looked upset as he left.

When a signal fire is seen in the “wilderness,” Luo uses the elevator tower’s spiral staircase to descend to the ground. He doesn’t jump off the wall because he was taught not to let others see his magic.

Sensing Luo’s movement, Taki and the other lookout become anxious, desperately scanning the skies over the “wilderness”. They don’t want to ask younger children where the signal fire came from, seemingly a matter of pride.

“Captain, there’s smoke.”

“What color?”

“Yellow.”

“It’s a “medium-sized” one. Where?”

When Luo points out the location of the signal fire on the map, Gangi decides whether to deploy or not.

The transport team only ventures into the “wilderness” once a day. The “wilderness” has regions with distinct climates and terrains, and different types of demon beasts inhabit them. Since Luo became a lookout, they’ve had more leeway to target better demon beasts.

“The “Cinnabar Lake”, right? Let’s go. Call the seniors.”

When Luo pokes his head into the stable, Pii and Mii start drooling and making a fuss.

Gangi explained that they’re excited.

Pii and Mii are larger and faster than other hippohorses. They love to run more than anything. However, when chasing, they must not overtake the carriages of other transport teams, so they need to adjust their speed.

But now, it’s different.

“They know that when you’re here, they can aim to be the first on the wilderness road and run full tilt.”

After seeing off the departing transport team amidst a cloud of dust, Luo helps with the cleaning and laundry of the “Star Guardian”. It’s not too busy. He chats with Crozet and Sumi over tea, and also learns some sewing.

After lunch, it’s nap time.

Borrowing Crozet’s bed was for a reason, according to Maasa. She mentioned that Crozet has finally started cleaning her room. Crozet, blushing, retorted, “I’ve been doing it properly!” But Maasa ignored her. A lady, she said, should always be aware of being seen by others.

After the nap, it’s study time.

At first, it was about copying characters from the textbook. It was a straightforward task – just copy everything on the page.

“Done.”

Maasa looked puzzled.

“Um, Luo-san. You only need the characters.”

Luo had copied not just the characters but also the frames and inner lines meant for size and balance, which weren’t necessary.

“I’m sorry.”

“Oh, don’t apologize. You did it very well.”

Maasa took out another piece of beast-skin paper and asked Luo to write the same thing again, but this time without looking at the textbook. After Luo did, Maasa and Theresa started discussing something with serious faces.

Arithmetic was also easy. Luo just had to memorize the equations and answers that Maasa wrote down. For verification, Maasa read out the equations, and Luo answered. When Maasa mentioned an unfamiliar equation, Luo candidly replied, “I didn’t see that.” Maasa and Theresa consulted again.

 ㅤ

“There’s no other way to memorize them all, right?”

“It’s ridiculous,” said Theresa in disbelief.

The study will be finished by dusk. After receiving a day’s wage from Hamaji, greetings are given to Gangi, Bekios, and others who returned from the “wilderness.” Then, the work is done.

After returning home and lighting a fire in the “hearth room”, Luo heads to the central market. His favorite shops are the spice store with the oddly bearded shopkeeper, the firewood seller, and the ornament store selling colorful stone carvings.

Once every ten days, he sends a letter at the post office, and once a month, he visits the office to submit a living report.

Upon returning home, he takes a bath, eats fruits and dishes bought or received at the central market, and sleeps on a stone bed.

Money neither increases nor decreases.

There’s no change.

It’s proof that things are going well, thought Luo.

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