The smell of wood.
With the sun shining in through the window, Alpha who was organizing the documents suddenly looked up.
Standing up and walk towards the window, she sees a big tree growing on the street from outside of the window, surrounded by the cityscape of the kingdom’s capital.
Autumn is coming to an end. The trees on the street were already bright red and the fragrance of the wood carried by the wind.
During this time, the air always smells like warm tress.
Alpha closes her eyes and reminisces.
The days that they all lived together. The nostalgic smell of wood——.
Shadow Garden, back when it was only two of them, Shadow and Alpha were living in the forest.
During the day, the boy would work on building a wooden cabin by himself.
Inside the cabin, filled with the smell of the wood, the boy would cut down trees and build the shed from scratch. Alpha learned how to make “Two-by-four” boards at that time.
(Two by four is a length of wood with a rectangular cross-section, nominally two inches by four inches.)
At first, she could only stand there and watch him, but she did help little by little, in the end, the girl was able to finish building the cabin alone.
The boy and the girl, the cabin built by the two of them.
It was simple and a bit shabby, but Alpha loved the hut filled with the scent of wood.
The boy can only come here at night. That’s why Alpha always looked forward to the time when night falls.
During the day, she would focus on sword and magic training, harvesting vegetables, and hunt small animals.
At night, the boy brought bread and meat and Alpha cooked them a meal. While the two of them having dinner, he always talked about various stories.
“Steam has the power to move a huge mass of iron.”
One day, he said such a thing while eating the stew which Alpha had made. Steam was coming off of the stew, Alpha watched it for a while.
I can hardly believe that such weak steam has such extraordinary power.
But the knowledge he has spoken of thus far is real no matter how absurd it may sound. Also, he claimed that this world is a sphere rather than a flat plane. He denied Alpha’s perception of the world, and that it was the Earth orbiting around the sun, rather than sun revolving around the Earth.
That’s why steam must surely have such power.
“How can I draw such power from steam?”
The boy sat there quietly as he continued eating Alpha’s delicious stew.
He is, as always, thinking about what knowledge he can share and the knowledge he should not speak of.
“Heat the water, and it will become steam. And, it will produce a large force. The hint… Was it a piston or a turbine?”
He said that and smiled looking interested.
He will not merely explain everything. Giving only small hints, he makes sure to have Alpha think over the answer carefully.
“I don’t know with just that.”
This is more difficult than usual. Alpha was planning to immediately get down to researching it tomorrow, as it will take too much time to reach the answer with a hint like this.
“With the power of steam, you will be able to run a large car, you can sail the sea on a metal boat.”
However, what he explained was not a hint but an example of the use of a steam engine.
If it really can move an Iron car or boat, it would be ridiculous. And if he says it is possible to accomplish, surely it can be done.
“That means that the steam engine is worth spending time on…..”
He only smiled with interest. The boy, as always, pushes Alpha to think.
In this way, she was given knowledge and the chance to train her ability to think and solve problems. And such training led to her dramatically improving her skills, allowing her to have many times the experience that she would have received at a top grade education facility in any country.
Armed not only with great strength but also with great knowledge allowed her to become a significantly powerful individual.
Alpha, considered herself as a smart child. There was no one smarter than her in her hometown.
But, even so―― although he was in the same age as alpha, her knowledge could not compare.
There was a limit.
Alpha was dazed, looking at the boy’s greatness.
(TN: ability, or something. the raw is 横顔)
“Nn? What’s wrong? “
“……No, nothing is wrong.”
The two of them eat the stew then she has him guide her in swordplay and magic, after that she sees him off before sunrise.
Every day, the girl would wave her hands until he disappeared from her sight.
The girl had a happy life.
As the season’s change, the time the two of them spent alone come to an end.
The crying silvered-haired Beta joined the group.
At the start Beta was shy and afraid of him, she was always hiding behind Alpha. Back in their home country Alpha and Beta had known of each other. They weren’t exactly friends, the two of them of them had only gone as far as exchanging greetings in social circles, but the two of them had the same circumstances, so they quickly become close.
[TN: Last line: (Alpha was Beta no koto shitteita shi, Beta mo Alpha no koto o shtteita.) it’s a repeat.]
Then Gamma and Delta joined soon after, the lonely cabin quickly became very lively.
With the skills she had learned from the boy, Alpha expanded the cabin’s size, resulting in an elegant house. It was a warm, cozy home, filled with the fragrant scent of wood.
One day, the boy put an end to Delta’s and Gamma’s training earlier than usual and gathered everyone.
Delta was looking down on Gamma proudly, and Gamma halfway glares at Delta. It’s the usual sight.
“Delta is stronger.”
“I… I am older… … I am the senpai… … sobs~tsu …”
“Gamma’s not impudent.”
“Wait, st, stop!… ”
Delta pushes Gamma down to the ground and sits on her back. This is also a common sight.
Anyways, a dog’s understanding of seniority is that the one who sits on top of another is to be the senior.
“Yeah, yeah, now stop it already.”
Alpha pulls the two apart. Delta obediently listens to what Alpha says. For better or worse, Delta is faithful to the hierarchical relationship.
That is why she does not want a person weaker than herself to stand above her.
Gamma is also a muscle brain like Delta.
(EN: I thought Gamma was supposed to be the ‘brains’ of Shadow Garden?)
Those two had a relationship akin to a monkey and a dog.
(TN: similar to English “Cats and Dogs” but in this case, Delta is a dog, while Gamma is the smart one, a monkey.)
“Being powerful is not only about having strength. It’s also about having the necessary knowledge to control the world.”
The boy gathered everyone and said.
Delta and Gamma looked up at the Boy. Delta’s expression looked confused, while Gamma looked on expectantly to hear more of what the boy had to say.
The wind blows by, carrying the fragrance of the wood.
“I’ll teach you. The power of knowledge that can make the value of gold coins fluctuate many times with the use of just a single gold coin. A technique to manipulate money and control the world’s economy.”
Then, The boy told them of a grand scheme to create a banking institution and establish a system of credit.
Alpha’s mouth hung open, agape like a shocked child.
Alpha was trembling at the complexity and scale of his terrifying knowledge.
Beta, who was hiding behind Alpha, was trembling in fear of Shadow.
Delta was asleep while trembling in the cold night breeze.
And Gamma was ―― trembling in excitement.
A glimmer of strength returned the girl’s eye that had seemed dark and exhausted.
“Shadow-sama, I… have found my path.”
He simply nods.
From that day on, Gamma had changed. She greedily asks for his knowledge, spending the majority of her time on research.
Alpha got more opportunities to talk with Gamma, Beta also joined and helped draw out the shape of the organization.
Eventually, Epsilon, Zeta, and lastly, Eta joined.
In the house surrounded by the smell of wood, the girls lived happily.
From that day, Alpha had continued running, towards her goal.
She had not noticed the smell of wood, as she was late to see it while living there.
The madder red leaves of the tree beautifully dance in the Autumn breeze.
“Alpha sama, it’s time.”
A knock was heard, and Gamma entered the room.
“Do you remember? The smell of the wood, where we first spoke…”
“The smell of the wood…?”
Gamma stood next to Alpha and looked towards the big tree.
She Inhaled the breeze that carried the fragrance of wood and narrowed her eyes.
“How nostalgic …”
“My dream from that day is coming to shape… But, it’s still only in my dreams.”
“…Yes, it is gradually coming to shape.”
“We… We will continue on the path that we believe in. We will show no mercy to those who stand against us. Now then, shall we go?”
The two of them left the room.
The scent of the wood of that day will forever remain in her heart.