Youth, thinking to the little girl’s smile.
Latina’s grey pupils were like circles when the hot and steaming milk and cheese risotto was placed in front of her.
Across from that, placed a soup cooked with smoked meat and small vegetables.
Next to that extremely neatly arranged food, was Dale’s portion which was double that. Furthermore, to Dale’s plate a large sausage was also placed.
“Latina’s share, ain’t that too little?”
“You idiot. This small a kid, there’s no way she could eat the same amount as you like an idiot right.”
Rita who was waiting on them, said shockingly.
“Also if you make her eat too much, she’ll get sick you know”
Rita smiled widely as she handed the spoon to Latina. The difference in treatment for Dale and the other guests was like heaven and earth.
「Dale？ ” *********？ ” 」
“Yea, eat up.”
Dale also slightly noticed it, how this small kid was asking for his permission for every little thing.
She didn’t understand the meaning of his words but, just by looking at his face she understood.
Latina put the spoon into the risotto, scooped up one spoon, carrying it’s way into her mouth- and was shocked.
If you see her opening her mouth huffing and puffing like that in such a panicked way, you would think that the food was hotter than it seems.
“Rita, some water”
“Ara, was it too hot?”
She was blowing on the second spoonful with a ‘fuu fuu’ for dear life. Whilst laughing at that sort of Latina, Dale raised his voice, attracting the frowns from Rita.
Latina’s expression lightened up as she started to gulp down the risotto.
It was easy to understand.
“I see, it’s good huh? That’s great.”
Dale too, warmed his expression as he ate his food. It was strange since having such a enjoyable expression next to him, made the ordinary meal feel that extra bit delicious.
Within Dale’s words, a gentle tone could probably be detected.
Latina, smiled sweetly.
It was the first smile she showed.
“Un, eat more, Latina. Want some sausages too?”
“Hey, I just told you that making her eat too much is bad for her right!”
After moving an ample amount of food from his own plate to Latina’s plate, Dale got hit on the head ‘Pakon’ with a tray by Rita, who was coming back with the water.
Latina made a surprised face.
“But… if she doesn’t have enough nutrients it’s not good right…”
“I’m talking about making her eat all that in one sitting! I’ve already prepared the snacks for this kid! Kenneth! Once wasn’t enough, increase the count!”
“I’m the one who made it-… well, it’s not a problem anyway…”
a voice like that could be heard but, the two didn’t even stop to pretend to care.
Due to Latina, who was eating away slowly like always, regardless of the fact that there was quite a difference, Dale still finished his meal first.
So that she could see and manage when Latina finishes her meal, Rita brought over an additional dish.
If you look inside, there would be a number of sliced fruits covered in syrup.
At this store which did not normally have sweets on the menu, it was the first time anything dessert-like was seen.
“Kenneth being sweet to kids… you can’t count on appearances…”
If you see the slight warmth, then its probably something improvised. Something made just for Latina to eat.
Placing it in front of Latina, she once again looked to him for permission. Seeing Dale nod, she put a fruit into her mouth.
her expression brightened up, making the happiest expression she’s had until now. Her eyes were sparkling.
Latina who was eating like she was in a trance, seemed to enjoy the compote very much. In that forest, it probably took her all just to find anything to eat. There shouldn’t have been anything sweet either.
“How is it? Good?”
Rita who was passing by, bringing the food to the other customers took a peek at Latina, Latina turned towards Rita and gave a smile that was even better than before.
A smile so wide, that is seemed like flowers were blooming behind her.
Even if she couldn’t communicate with them, it was more than satisfactory answer.
(I need to teach her words soon… so that she won’t be baited by food and follow some weirdo away.)
Towards that smile of Latina’s, Dale who grasped his fists tightly under the table, was self-conscious that he could fed Latina.
Even when everything’s been eaten, Latina kept looking at the compote plate.
Dale gently patted her head. It could be due to the surprise of how sudden it was but, her body sprung up in shock.
However, she relaxed after looking at Dale’s expression.
“Did I surprise you, sorry. Today’s been a tough day right? A lot of things have happened after all.”
Listening to Dale speak, Latina tilted her head.
During this time too, she didn’t turn her eyes away as if she was seeking Dale’s true intentions. Speaking of which this kid, looks around quite a lot. Her observational skills might be pretty good.
But it’s quite a difference from her wariness, which seems to be quite low.
Latina wriggled her way around Dale’s neck and arms as he picked her up once again. Although somewhat awkward, the way she put her strength into Dale was as if she was depending on him.
Thanks to Latina clinging on to him like that, she was nice and stable. Dale supported her using one of his hands and once again moved towards the counter.
“Rita, Latina should be resting soon, we’ll be going to our rooms.”
“Alright. Rest well, Latina-chan.”
To Rita’s voice, Latina once agained smiled sweetly. Somehow it seems that during this short period of time, she’s recognised Dale and Rita to be safe people.
Compared to when they just met, her expressions have softened considerably.
That was an extremely happy, and embarrassing feeling.
Shortly after the meeting, even Dale was the same. Thinking of how he was now accompanied by such a small like this, it would have been completely unimaginable for the him of yesterday.
Entering once again from the side of the counter, exiting from the kitchen.
Towards his stressful back,
“Kenneth. Latina said the fruits were delicious.”
came a voice.
Passing behind Kenneth who gave a reply without turning his back, Dale went up the stairs, inside of the place where all kinds of food materials were stacked up.
Without stopping on the second floor, he continued climbing up the steps.
What he reached, was the attic.
Various types of luggages thrown around messily– Most of them were inventory merchandise that are to be sold to the adventurers on the first floor. –And further inside was one corner which felt like a living space.
It was Dale’s rented corner.
Having this place was also one of the reasons why Dale decided to take care of Latina.
It wasn’t like Dale was one of the town’s residents, but he rented this place, in the case that he needed to stay in a base for a long time, and it doubled as a living area. The lodging having only one room has it’s inconveniences here and there, it was a story of how he relied on his old friend Kenneth.
Before Rita got married, it was being used as a vacant, private attic space, and it was decided with no objections that the space was to be rented out. If you ignore the fact that the ceiling was a little low, it was enough to live in.
Dale was good with rent, his belongings and closet didn’t stink of cheap, old rip-offs either. To the landlord couple who understood his basic lifestyle and personality, he didn’t seem to be a bad candidate at all.
Dale lowered Latina into his ‘room’.
In that room thick, foreign rugs were laid out, with a chair and a shelf was near the window. Behind that was a bed and a container with a huge lid. As a resident he didn’t have much luggage but, as a traveller it was probably quite a bit to carry around.
[“Short, Wait, This place”]
After Latina nodded to her head to confirm, Dale went back down one more time to get bring up his coat and the luggage.
When Dale came back, Latina was walking aimlessly inside the ‘room’. As expected this kid’s curiosity was quite strong. Even so to be able to not just try and touch everything, her self-control was probably strong too.
It was hard recalling what he did when he was around that age but he thought her reliable, even with the children running about the town floating in his head.
Dale kicks off his boots, entering his territory.
His hometown was a place with no chairs, and had a culture of sitting directly on just the floor, so his room was a place of joyful familiarity for him. Another reason for that were the rugs which had his hometown-style to it. He wouldn’t even think to dirty those rugs with dirt.
He hangs his coat next to the box with his luggage. The shelf near the bed was also the home for his weapons.
After opening the window letting fresh air enter, he removed his tunic made from the blade blocking material and thick pants.
“Latina, come here”
Latina who understood him via his gestures, approached him obediently. Dale took the girl, and went to bed.
Compared to the rhythm of his normal life, this was quite early, but being able to rest when it is time to rest is a skill that was indispensable for adventurers.
Sleeping just like this was no problem whatsoever.
He worried about if Latina would fuss around in bed like she wouldn’t like it, but on the contrary she was laying quietly, flat next to Dale.
Latina was just like a kitten, curling her body up, the time until she starts making sleeping breaths shouldn’t be very long.
(Just as I thought, she was tired huh. She didn’t understand the words, or the situation, and was even lead to a place where she was surrounded by unknown people.)
Dale even surprised himself as he stroked Latina’s hair gently.
He had just decided to become her parent, so thinking about these things were also slightly mysterious. But living with someone else like this might not be too bad.
While thinking about these things, Dale fell asleep feeling the warmth of someone warmer than him.
Not long after that, he was woken up by a pale Latina’s barrage, ‘pechi pechi’.
The first thing that Latina could remember was the request for “Toilet”.
By the way, her dignity was protected.
(Author’s note: Concerning the clothes, accessories and foods, it was described pretty loosely on purpose.
I mean, wouldn’t you wish to wear an outfit that’s impractical but cute! (to my daughter!)
Describing just bread and cheese, that wouldn’t be any fun! (for us!)
Like this, please understand that these points will be how it’s done now.)