Youth, Going back with a little girl
Rag-like clothes and partially broken shoes. That, and a silver bracelet– One that seemed more fitting for an adult, as it was too big for her– seemed to be the only things that she was wearing.
It’s a great accomplishment if she really did manage to survive in this condition. Perhaps it was a blessing due to the calm season.
When Dale buried Latina’s father, he searched the body hoping for some sort of identification. He hoped that at the very least, the kid could hold on to just a single memento from her actual parent but, absolutely nothing could be found.
“Hmm… If i let Latina walk… the day would totally end.”
Dale talked to himself, looking down at the kid whose pace wasn’t even half of his. Besides we in this situation. It doesn’t seem like there’s much more strength either.
“Can’t be helped…”
Latina made another surprised face once I held out my arms and carried her in them. This kid normally has large eyes but when she makes that expression they become bigger and bigger.
Latina didn’t act violently and stayed put in Dale’s arms.
Latina was so delicately light that I unintentionally let that out.
“Seriously… is she alright, this kid…”
When they had first met he held onto a dangerous thought, but there’s no reason to express it.
In the first place Dale wasn’t a bad guy. Apart from deciding to get involved, his conscience is at work, worrying about that kid to such an extent.
“Nothing on her… i guess we should hurry on back”
After Dale quickly casted earth magic to confirm the direction, they hurriedly walked towards the district.
The district that Dale was currently using as a base was called “Kreuz”. Like it’s name says, it’s a little crooked but, this district which is in the shape of a cross, is a important position for the traffic from the harbour to the imperial city. As well as it being near a habitat zone for magical beasts, it is also a gathering zone for ruffians who survive with only their skill calling themselves adventurers.
A city where goods and people gather, second city of the country of Rabando. That is the district known as Kreuz.
That plot of lands properties as well as their tolerance for travellers are Kreuz’s specialities.
Due to the favourable treatment that those who call themselves merchants get with foreign things, the development of the Kreuz was accomplished. Those funds established the beginnings of the compensation money, to protect the district from the threat known as magic beasts and other potential dangers.
Thus Kreuz became known for being composed of mainly travellers.
The district of Kreuz was being surrounded by a thick wall. There were gates at each of the compass direction, with guards stationed at each. Everyone pays a toll there so they can enter inside.
Dale passed by the southern gate that he always used.
After seeing Dale, the guard, who was an acquaintance, made a face like “Oh my”.
“Toll, for two”
“Ahh… What the? What’s wrong with that kid? …Demon race”
The middle-aged guard who asked took notice of Latina who was being held by Dale, said that while checking the coin which was handed over to him.
“I took care of her in the forest. It seems like she was separated from her parents by death. …I’ve become her guardian, so there’s no problem right?”
“Well, isn’t it fine? Since you’re responsible now. Just in case, you’ve confirmed it with “Dancing Ocelot” right?”
“Well, it’s probably fine then”
The guard let Dale pass after just that, and focused on the next group.
The guard’s reaction was just as Dale expected. He knew that the reputation he had established had that level of power.
Leaving the southern gate, was the area where the common folk reside as well as the shops targeted at travellers, which lined up next to each other.
First of all we have no use for the noble district situated in the elevated areas of the north, nor the residential ward for the high class in the west. At most we might go to the east where the markets, shops and working class gather.
The country of Rabando, has established that Ahmar to be their god, which is why they value the colour red.
You can see that even in the townscape of Kreuz.
For example the walls of the buildings standing side by side, such as various colours painted with plaster and paint were peeling, revealing the gray stone walls, however almost all the roofs were vivid red.
It’s been said that this is, a Shinto prayer for the sake of the building itself receiving god’s protection, as well as an appeal to the god’s who are in the High Heavens that their humble servants are right here.
If you’re talking about the lower ends of town, the streets are full of energy.
The time when the sun starts going down, around now, there are many who are coming and going such as– those hurrying home, those looking for a place to stay tonight, those who spend their daily earnings into snacks and beer, those who target travellers to sell foodstuffs to– etc.
In Dale’s arms was Latina who truly couldn’t calm down, turning her gaze every here and there.
That expression, wasn’t one of fear and surprise. It seemed to be one of genuine curiosity. With a slight dizzy face, her eyes would sometimes become a perfect circle. It seems like she’s charmed by the amount of people, their appearances and street-scape.
“We’ll go see the streets next time alright…?”
She probably wouldn’t understand anyway, thought Dale as he said that to Latina.
「 ” ***？ Dale ” 」
“Ahh… as i thought, not being able to communicate sure is inconvenient…”
Amongst the human race, the most spoken language is the one from the Western Continent thus it is a necessity, Dale thought as he continued with his strides.
He proceeded smoothly at his own pace.
Eventually Dale’s feet stopped, in front a single storey shop.
The entrance, had a iron sign with a mysterious design in the shape an ocelot, and a line up of flags with a pegasus crest embroidered on the green bottom.
It was the shop which functions as both bar and inn known as the [Dancing Ocelot Pavilion].
When Dale turned around and headed for the back, he peeked into the shop from the rear entrance.
“Kenneth, you here?”
“Ohh. Dale, you’re back… wait, what is that?”
That had become the kitchen. The man known as as Kenneth was a noticeably big man with a scruffy beard at the prime of his life, turned his head around as he flipped his frying pan, frowned.
“Well… I’ll into more detail later but… I picked her up.”
“Oi, don’t say it like you picked up a dog or cat”
Kenneth who splendidly placed the finished dish onto a plate, made an even more troubled face at Dale’s response.
This burly man was a fundamentally soft-hearted person but, until recently he was an adventurer capable of swinging around a gigantic battle axe. That was a commonly known truth by the people who use the shop.
“In any case, can i use the bath?”
“Ahh, no problem but…”
After receiving Kenneth’s consent, Dale opened the door on the small house provided opposite the back entrance.
There, stone tiles were spread around where a bathtub was installed.
While it’s simple, it has been arranged to look like a bathing area.
Dale poured his magic power into the heat and water “Magic tool” next to the bathtub. While confirming the temperature, he filled the bathtub with hot water
Because of the magic tool, the supply of water was ridiculous, making hot water wasn’t very hard either. Although I say that, many of the houses of the general public don’t have a bathing area. Everyone usually go to the operating bathhouses here and there as a norm.
The bathing area of “The Dancing Ocelots”, was a place for adventurers where, regardless of when they come back from their requests, could use the hot water. Similar to Dale from a few days back, the number of adventurer’s returning in critical conditions isn’t low.
Latina was stared straight at it. She might be thinking that Magic tools were quite unusual themselves.
Dale took off his coat, and after placing his sword, gauntlets, and other belongings to the side, called for Latina.
After some beckoning, Latina stood next to Dale.
Latina resisted at first when Dale tried to help take her clothes off.
“Ah… She’s a girl, just as i thought”
Dale murmured as she put Latina, who had been stripped naked with a reluctant expression, into the bathtub.
He had thought so given her voice and clothes, but couldn’t come to a conclusion until he was 100% sure. He rinses her hair and pitiful, bony body with hot water. The water in the bathtub immediately becomes pitch black.
Throwing out the water, he makes another bath.
The bath bubbled up once the soap was added to the tub. And he washed Latina’s hair that had become like a rope along with her dirts and oils.
He washed her body too. Then replaced the dirty water again.
After making another bath, while washing Latina’s hair, Dale suddenly realises.
(Huh? This kid, ehh…. isn’t she actually quite a beauty?)
Latina’s hair, which had been washed countless times, recovered a silver radiance.
The horn on one side, was also glossy.
Her ribcage was sticking out, she had lost a pitiful amount of weight but, that’ll likely recover from here on out. The demon race, is originally a tenacious type of race after all.
Because her face appears worn out too, only her eyes were standing out right now but, Latina’s facial features which had the dirt cleaned off was quite well arranged. Her cheeks had a trace of roundness, once her complexion is better she’ll probably become a charming little girl.
(Ahh… this, it’ll be bad to wake up to, it’s becoming even harder now to find a reason to throw her away.)
If I let go of this hand, then before I know it she’ll probably be noticed by some no-good pervert. A demon missing a single horn, ‘abandoned by her own race, without any support’, something like that will probably spread around.
For those who think about children in the wrong way, she would be a considerable trophy.
(I decided to be involved but… am I prepared for it…?)
Dale muttered that in his heart.
(Author’s note: Describing the setting sure is hard. I wrote more this time before i realised it.)