Friday, November 6, 2015

TKDG 001: A Frigid Town, Part 2

Translated by Star'sWish
Edited by Caz

Ninuo City, a small city located in Heaven't Gold Empire, at Biernuo Province's northernmost point, also considered the northern extreme of the Continent. The days are short, the nights long, the weather frigid all year round. Most of the residents here fish in the icy seas for a living.  Throughout the year, icebergs float about in the icy seas, which produce an abundance of seal and walrus furs that are beloved by the aristocrats.

Dark clouds drifted across the sky, as if bringing another snowstorm with them. Within a dark alley in Ninuo City, a few people in worn out cotton jackets were crowded together. Among them was a middle-aged man with a scar from a knife wound on his forehead, looking angrily at a dark haired, dark eyed, 12 or 13 year old girl in very sparse clothing. The little girl was very thin, her complexion like pale yellow wax, her medium length hair like a curtain above her nose, making it difficult to see her face. She was shivering from the cold.  Through the curtain of her hair, her big bright eyes watched the middle-aged man with fear.

"Pa--" The middle-aged man hit the little girl to the ground and scolded "You damned girl, you are so dumb, can't even finish such a simple task. If it wasn't for Ah Dai bringing you back, you would have gone and apologized to that Old Grandma. I must have been blind, how could I keep such useless trash. You only know how to eat, don't know how to do anything else."

Next to the middle-aged man, a boy slighter taller than the little girl rushed to help her up, carefully wiping away the trace of blood at the side of her mouth, foolishly telling the middle-aged man. "Uncle Li, forgive Ya Tou again, one more time, I... I'll go catch a few more fish and bring them back."

Uncle Li snorted, looking at the similarly dark haired dark eyed boy with a foolish face, his voice eased, "Ah Dai, every single time you always plead on her behalf, the few fish you bring back, is that enough to feed everyone? At my place, there is no one who can get something for nothing. Ya Tou, today for Ah Dai's sake, I'll let you go again, but if this happens again, humph. Let's go." At that, he brought the few other kids along and walked towards the outside, but before reaching the entrance of the alley, he turned back and said pleasantly to Ah Dai, "Don't forget what you just said, it better be a few large fish, understood?"

 Ah Dai nodded stiffly and Uncle Li was satisfied enough to leave.

This group of people lived in Ninuo City as its lowest level petty thieves, they were unfit to be called real thieves or robbers as they relied on small petty thefts to sustain their lives. The so called "catching a fish", refers to stealing things, and Uncle Li is their head. He controlled roughly ten kids, Ya Tou was the only girl, all these kids were orphans picked up from the streets. Among these kids, the boy called Ah Dai was the most capable. Initially, Uncle Li was interested in Ah Dai's nimble hands and kept him.  This child has always seemed slow, sometimes he could not even speak eloquently, he didn't even know his own name. He was also slow in learning the skills to steal, his mind didn't seem too agile, so everyone called him "Ah Dai". However, although Ah Dai was slow-witted, he had a lot of determination.

After a few months of Uncle Li's teachings and his own hard work, he finally remembered the move "smoothly pass, lead away goat", and at that point it was already trained to perfection. To hone the speed of his hand movements he even practiced stabbing snow piles in the cold streets.  The less the snow melted, the better his accuracy. Although this method seemed dumb, it had a very good effect and within months, it helped Ah Dai build the fundamentals to catch fish. The part that Uncle Li was excited about is that Ah Dai is too foolish, he doesn't know what is called fear and doesn't understand that "catching fish" is a bad thing to do.  As long as he is given mantou to eat, he will follow orders.

Strolling on the streets, no one will pay attention to a boy with ordinary looks and honest eyes. However, all it usually takes is just one tiny mistake in movement for their purses to enter Ah Dai's hands. The first time Uncle Li saw a money purse Ah Dai brought back, he couldn't help but gape at its fullness and bulge. Ever since then, Ah Dai became the most "doted" on kid and received at least one to two cold, hard mantous each day, causing his comrades to feel envious. Although Ah Dai is slightly slow-witted, he has great character. Oftentimes, even though he wasn't full, he would give a portion of his food to others, even if those friends of his do not appreciate his kindness and end up teasing him or snatching his food.

Ya Tou was found by Uncle Li a year ago. According to her, since she can remember, she has always lived with an old grandma. Although life was difficult they managed to fill their stomachs and keep warm. Roughly a year ago that old grandma pass away from an illness, and so Ya Tou lost her means of survival and barely lived through each day by begging. The reason Uncle Li took in Ya Tou, was because he was interested in her, or rather, he was interested in the worn down house her grandma left her. In the frigid Ninuo City, what is better than a house to keep out of the wind and snow? Ya Tou is the opposite of Ah Dai, she learns everything quickly and well. The "skills" Uncle Li taught her, she managed to learn in under a month. Yet, Ya Tou is the only one who hasn't caught any fish to date. It is not because she is lacking in skill, the main reason is because she is truly too kind.

There has been multiple occasions where she succeeded, but upon seeing the owners worrying and panicking, she couldn't stand it and ended up returning the purses. Thus, she has been subjected to numerous beatings, and each time, Ah Dai will bear the brunt of it for her. These two kids, one smart, one foolish, naturally became good friends. They were the most eye-catching among the small group of thieves, because the were the only yellow people. Maybe because of this reason, the friendship between Ah Dai and Ya Tou deepened. Today Ya Tou was beaten by Uncle Li because once again, she returned the purse to the anxious lady.

Uncle Li's silhouette finally disappears at the end of the alley. Ya Tou immediately thew herself into Ah Dai's arms and started crying out loud. Ah Dai stared at the small figure within his arms, wiped off his runny nose, and gently patted her shoulders, "Ya Tou, don't, don't cry. It hurts doesn't it?"

After quite a while, Ya Tou's sobs lessened, she raised her head to look at the boy in front of her, with teary eyes, she said "Big Brother Ah Dai, living is really painful!"

Ah Dai clearly did not understand what the girl meant, he took out half a mantou that was as hard as a rock from his clothes and passed it to her, blankly saying, "Ya Tou, eat this, it won't hurt anymore once you are full."

Ya Tou looked at the boy in front of her, so blank and slow-witted and yet so full of sincerity. She slowed took the mantou and sobbed, "Big Brother Ah Dai, why are you so nice to me?"

Ah Dai lead Ya Tou to sit in a corner. He then took off his worn out cotton jacket, wrapped it around both their shoulders and huddled together, naively saying, "Am I nice to you? Quickly eat the mantou, it won't be so cold after eating. I still have to go catch a few fish later." He hungrily gazed at the rock-hard frozen mantou in Ya Tou's hands.

Seeing Ah Dai's simple and honest face, Ya Tou started feeling sentimental, exerting strength with both hands, she split that half-mantou into half and gave one half to Ah Dai.

Ah Dai swallowed his saliva, "I... I'm not hungry, you should eat it."

Ya Tou stuffed the mantou into Ah Dai's hands, "I have a small appetite and don't eat a lot, let's eat together." At that, she took a bite out of her quarter-size mantou.

Ah Dai consented, ravenously finishing the quarter-size mantou.  He ate too fast and ended up choking, "Ahhh... wuuu."

Ya Tou couldn't help lightly laughing at Ah Dai's red face, one hand patting his back, another hand stuffing some freshly fallen snow into his mouth.

Ah Dai strove to melt the snow into water, after half a day's worth of work, he finally managed to swallow the dry mantou that was stuck in his throat and let out a long breath.  Patting his own chest, he said, "Thank you!"

Quite some time passed before Ya Tou finally finished her mantou with much effort. Suddenly, she blurted, "Big Brother Ah Dai, wait for me to grow up and marry you, okay?"

Ah Dai took a moment to think about the meaning of the word "marry". After half a day, he stammered, "What's marry?"


Smoothly pass, lead away goat : to smoothly steal in the passing

Mantou(s) : a very tasty steamed bun

Humph : initially "heng heng",  a warning sound. Like a mean "humph"

Ah Dai : his name translates to dull/foolish/slow-witted

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  1. Hey TL, are u translating the manga too? I find the manga better as it shows his hilarious stupidity

    1. Nope, I'm not translating the manga. Well... he ends up incredibly smart, just that he is pretty naive (don't know how long that naivety will last).

  2. Finally i read the LN! Thank you for the chapter