Youth, Embracing the small girl’s aforementioned worries
Because of Obon, the posting time will be changed. This is the last one. Releasing serially will also stop for a bit. It will return in intervals. From now on it’s stock reliant.)
Latina was more clever than I had imagined.
After one week, Latina could hold ordinary daily conversations, and she became able to break down words without difficulty.
And then at that time a problem suddenly occurred to Dale.
Latina became emotionally attached to Kenneth.
Without even thinking of hiding her grumpiness~ and seemingly pouting face in front of Dale, as if she’s a baby chick following after the papa bird, Latina follows after Kenneth, ‘tote tote’.
An apron which Dale had no memory of having bought was being worn on top of Latina’s one piece, as well as a triangular bandanna are made from the same cloth.
It’s the kiddy “helper” look.
Opposite Kenneth who is cleaning up the store, Latina is trying her best reaching out with her hands to wipe down tables.
(It’s just like copying the parent. Matching up with Kenneth…)
In the first place, Dale was being cautious towards Kenneth.
(Since the beginning, Latina’s stomach had been seized by Kenneth!)
Rather than a problem, it’s pure jealousy.
“Yea. That’s right”
After checking with Kenneth as he’s packing up the cleaning equipment, Latina goes to the kitchen, climbs onto the table and washes the tablecloth. Since she’s weak, she couldn’t properly rinse out the tablecloth properly and left it there like that.
Close to the washing place she moves, slowly pulling her table.
Doing so she fixes it back to her ‘Home position’, and sat on the table slightly.
This too, was prepared in the kitchen at some point, tightly grasping her small knife with her tiny hands, she starts to peel the skin off vegetables with difficulty.
If you look at her pace then rather than a ‘helper’ she’s just taking up their time. That’s how it is but, Kenneth without acting cruel, came in and sat next to her peeling the skin silently as well.
— Despite being taught just a few days ago, even though it’s bad, being able to do it by herself shows that she has matured more than enough.
That’s Kenneth’s story, and while he was anxious, Dale tried his best restraining himself from wanting to attack him by instinct.
“If you’re so bothered by it, it’s fine if you just don’t look”
“But didn’t I miss out on Latina’s growth?”
This man ends up refreshingly declaring.
As Rita sorts out the books, a lukewarm expression clings to her face.
It seems that after finishing peeling the skins Latina decides to take a rest.
Fetching the picture books she left in the corner of the ingredients storage, she turned up to Dale who was in the store.
She had two picture books.
The first picture book was the one she had been using from the start to learn the language, and the other was quite a lot more difficult in comparison, and was a picture book with a story.
“Dale, book, read”
To Dale, he thought that since it was a book Latina had selected for the purpose of letting him read it out loud, she found it was too hard to read it by herself but, in this short period of time she was able to read alone albeit with a little stutter.
Usually she would be reading silently but, with Dale here, she seems to have the intention of correcting herself by having him read it aloud to her.
Reading until the very end and receiving Dale’s acknowledgement, next Latina opens another picture book and a notebook. In the notebook she was able to diligently write out clumsy characters left behind by childhood.
“This too Rita, you didn’t speak of it like this. It seems like she began studying by herself?”
“I mean, when Latina started talking about wanting paper, I thought she wanted to do some doodling but, I would have never thought that she would start practise characters.”
“Even at the school held at Asfaru’s temple, there’s no one there as young as Latina right?”
“Un… but, Latina knew how to hold a pen since the start. She was taught by Kenneth on how to hold a knife but, she was able to use the pen properly without even hearing about it from anybody. I wonder if this kid was a child born in an environment where you can study”
Even now that Latina can hold a conversation, she didn’t seem to want to talk about herself much.
What she talked about was only a few things.
Such as that the remains in the forest was indeed her father. After her horn was broken off, she left her hometown together with her father. The place where she was born was a colony just for the demon race — so it seemed.
If so then from this kid’s cleverness, it wouldn’t be strange if she knew more about various other things.
What’s scary is that, this kid probably also understands what ‘Breaking off the horn’ means. If she talks about her lineage in detail, she might be anxious that she might be expelled like she was in her hometown.
Personally if Latina tells him then he would want to hear about it but, he wouldn’t think about forcing it out of her.
Even in the short time that they’ve spent together, he couldn’t imagine this child as an evil existence like a criminal. In that case the ‘Crime’ is probably something attached and has nothing to do with her personality.
I don’t understand if it is a political thing, or a religious thing but, it’s definitely unreasonable.
Which is probably why this kid’s father left their colony together with her.
“Dale, what’s wrong?”
As Dale was thinking that, he looked like he was troubled. At some point Latina was tilting her head and looking up at Dale.
“Hn? It’s nothing. Latina you’ve become better with the language”
Saying that and gently stroking her head, she smiles in delight.
“Able to converse I’m happy. I tried my best.”
Dale had a gentle expression looking at her smile.
Dale too, since he’s been living with Latina, has realised that he has been able to smile more.
Even when he talked about stupid stories with Rita and Kenneth, until now there hasn’t been a time when he was smiling as gentle as this.
It was a change which came from the arrival of Latina.
The interval of time for lunch, afternoon nap, and snacks is like Latina’s free time. On the days Dale is not going out for work and such, she spends her day near him.
Sometimes from the store’s entrance she glances outside but, so far it seems like she hasn’t walked outside by herself recklessly.
It’s only strolling around the neighbourhood with Dale or Kenneth, so it probably also means she hasn’t recognised the area yet.
However when Kenneth genuinely prepares for the night training, Latina goes to the kitchen and follows Kenneth around.
A repeat of Dale wanting to go check up on Latina but returning sadly without a word as he looked at her extremely serious expression which seemed to say “I’m trying my best” kept happening.
Right now, she was challenging a task which was to mash a large amount of potatoes with a serious expression.
“Calm down a little”
Rita says as she carries a jug of ale.
Basically “Dancing Ocelot” exchanges the exact amount of money for the item they order. This is done to prevent those who don’t pay. However this doesn’t apply to regulars, and they can just pay it all at the end.
Everything Dale has accumulated is calculated together with the rent.
From Rita’s apron, the reason why sounds of small coins jingling is because she is skillfully handling the orders and payments.
While Rita is in a hurry, her words also contained a hint of anger, due to Dale not answering properly.
From the kitchen, Latina came out holding a tray. Slightly unsteady on her feet because of the weight.
In a moment the store’s liveliness calms down.
In this one week Latina’s presence was recognised by the regulars.
She’s tiny but without even a reason to bully her, she dashes around inside the store. You would notice her even if you didn’t want to. And somehow it’s quite pleasant. This kid.
She carries the tray carefully, very carefully.
Once she finally arrived to Dale’s side, she showed a full-faced smile with a Nipah~
A smile as if her mission was complete.
From the customers he felt like he had heard soundless applause.
“Dale, food, here you go~”
Dale takes the tray, and puts it on the table. Recently Latina’s greatest trial was setting up the table for Dale’s dinner.
There’s no way she could send it to other customers yet but she wanted to practice so he ended up compromising.
Returning from the kitchen, this time Latina carried in her own share. Due to the amount being quite different, her steps are clearly lighter than before.
Sitting next to Dale, she said in a proud voice in front of her dinner.
“Latina, today, made some too. Dale, try”
“Yup. You did good today as well Latina”
Latina smiling as if telling him what happened, pointing at the mountain of Mashed Potatoes, as well as Dale’s praising, was their standard exchange these past few days.
By the way, after the conversation between the two, the next few days you could tell that the sales for the menu that Latina helped out with was raising for some reason.
In his break Kenneth smiles widely at the figure of Latina who is eating happily today as well, while he simultaneously proceeds with the complicated food preparations.
Latina was trying her best everyday.
Someday, she wants to cook for Dale. She put that as her objective. And she knew she had to tackle it seriously.
Kenneth likes people who puts in effort diligently.
She kept doing her best to the point where it was more than enough, and the results are obvious. Even Kenneth says she is someone who learns quick.
Only Dale doesn’t know.
That the reason Latina is able to pass time calmly in this store is only because this store is “The place where I can be at ease because Dale brought me here”.
That the reason Latina can be in a state of unconditional lasting peace is because Dale is by her side.
When Dale isn’t here Latina, with that small body of hers desperately braces herself with the surroundings, even having times when she would be a threat. Only Dale doesn’t see this.
“It’s not so bad having a person who you can slightly rely on. Even if it’s that guy”
Proclaiming himself as Dale’s older brother, the man who understands what being trusted means in his own way, whispered as he was arranging the contents of the pot.
Latina can talk.
So that she can be even cuter than before, it’s would be good if I could draw her but.
And, Dale-san… is that fine for you? is what I mutter as I write this right now.)