so I changed the theme, looks better? idk the old theme was annoying on the phone and comments so
Young Girl, Enduring the loneliness
A few days after Dale went to the royal capital.
Latina was in a easily noticeable mood, depressed.
Rather than saying she has no energy, looking from behind it seems like she was homesick. As if she was bringing forth “Loneliness” with her entire body.
“Latina… are you alright?”
There’s no way she’s alright. Even if he understands, he has no choice but to ask.
“Latina, alright. …cause, I’m taking care of the house”
Learning next to Kenneth as always, Latina quietly sat as she answered with a voice like it was vanishing.
This kid was always like this.
Even though her expressions and entire body was complaining that it wasn’t like that, her replies were like honour student answers which worries adults.
Kenneth let out a sigh and looks at Latina.
“….Ah. That’s right. “House-sitting”. Dale is going to come back quickly. That’s what he said to Latina after all.”
Latina looks up at Kenneth, tilting her head a little.
Kenneth showed her a smile. If he did a tedious looking face here as the adult he is, it would only make Latina anxious.
“To the Dale before Latina, this was only a “place” where he left his luggage and used as a base. And now it’s become a “place to come home to”. Him saying “I’m home” to you is proof of that.”
“Dale, always says to Latina, “I’m home” though?”
“Ahh. But, the Dale before you came didn’t. You’re special to that guy”
“Latina, Dale’s special?”
“Ahh. That’s right”
Latina’s expression distorts with a crush. As if she’s holding back from bursting into tears. She tightly grabbed the skirt on her knees.
“Latina, is it alright, to always be by Dale’s side…”
“….If Latina disappeared then, Dale….will go looking for you half-crazed…”
“….It means, to extremely worry, becoming desperate”
After tilting her head at the unknown word, Latina once again looked for words.
“Latina….where I was born, Latina was a bad child so, I was expelled….Even though Latina was the only one expelled, Rag, because he was together with Latina, that’s why he died”
Kenneth continues to work with an indifferent look, he worked as if he didn’t need to catch his breath.
As expected, this kid, understands that she was “banished” from her own hometown.
“Latina’s male parent… even though he was sick, he stayed together with Latina…. The only ones, who said that, Latina wasn’t a bad girl, was only my family. …. Since Rag died, Latina thought that Latina was a bad girl after all.”
After Latina said that, she looked down.
“Dale was the first. Saying that, Latina is a good girl…. even though he is, different to family, he said it to me…. Dale was the first, you know”
And then, she continued with a quiet voice as if telling an important secret.
“Dale, is special to Latina”
I wonder what a powerless adult I was, being only able to reply with that, thinks Kenneth.
Wondering just how much has this kid hid away inside of her tiny body.
“Why haven’t you, told that to Dale?”
Asking why when Dale asked her before, she looked like she didn’t want to talk about it. Wondering why she chose to tell me, and not Dale.
Towards Dale’s questions, Latina,
“If Dale…. knows that Latina is a bad girl then, he’ll hate Latina. …Latina… is scared, of being hated by Dale.”
“I see. Because Dale is important, you can’t tell him”
Latina suddenly nodded at Kenneth’s words.
Dale has already guessed what Latina said just now. Intentionally deciding to bring this small child to his side.
However, this child doesn’t know that.
And she’s afraid of it being known. This child is probably desperate in her own way.
(But, if Dale knew that, Latina told her life story, just like that to me, how would he react….)
No doubt it’ll be with an unpleasant look on his face and attitude. How annoying.
“Hey, Latina. Till Dale comes back, want to practise one thing?”
As is, this young kid, is going to be overwhelmingly depressed until Dale comes back. It’ll probably be better if there’s something to get her into a trance.
And most likely, to Latina, the thing which gives her the most drive, is Dale’s existence.
“Dale will definitely come back with an empty stomach. After all it takes some time to come back from the royal capital to Kroix. Latina, didn’t you said that you wanted to make dinner for Dale. It’s a good opportunity so let’s practise. Dale will be surprised and happy. If it’s said that Latina made it”
“….Can Latina do it?”
“It’ll probably be hard to do everything right now. Let’s just do what we can. …How about it? Wanna try?”
Kenneth was relieved as Latina’s expression lightened up just a little. As expected, to this kid, Dale’s existence is great. In a good meaning or not.
“Latina wants to try. Teach me Kenneth. Please.”
And this kid’s “Please” is her wanting to do something even while that doting parent isn’t here. That’s as far as I thought of it.
“A Shepherd’s pie. It’s discounted so eat it”
“Have you finally started being a hardcore salesman?”
Kenneth stands holding a plate with one hand even though it wasn’t asked for, the regular being a bearded adventurer, looked astonished holding his ale with one hand.
“And what is that, looks terribly misshapen. Aren’t the insides completely packed?”
“Can’t be helped. Cause it’s practise.”
Repeating him, he realises that he knows of a person in this shop who would “practise”. Actually, there is only one person.
“….The girlie, huh”
“Yup. It’s a work of Latina’s practise”
“Got it. Give it here”
Repeating such an exchange, came an unprecedented Shepherd’s pie boom at the “Dancing Ocelot”.
Naturally, the meat sauce inside the Shepherd’s pie was something made by Kenneth. What Latina had to make was, the mashed potato which becomes the pie’s top, stacking that onto a plate and putting on the cheese. Taking it in and out of the oven was Kenneth but, Latina was also timing the degree it was cooking with a serious look.
In the beginning, the sauce would come out and the potato would be full of holes but, she was able to perceive it expertly after repeating it through the day.
After the first day, even if Kenneth didn’t say anything, most of the regulars had become an organisation to help out with Latina’s practise.
Best of all, a big reason for restraining it to this menu item, a tiny specialised waiter would come bring it to them.
“Thank you for waiting~”
Latina who had been hanging her head down depressed since Dale told her to house-sit, had immersed herself, her face which was full of vigor wasn’t bad either.
On the tray which that small body was carrying over as if it was precious, was a Shepherd’s pie which was almost perfect looking.
It’s just a little shoddy but as something to sell, there wouldn’t be any problems.
“Please be careful, it’s hot”
–This little child, might be the most polite server in this shop.
Looking at Latina smile as she hugs the empty tray, the regulars were all singing inside, “Such a thing”.
At first it was like, how should the young Latina serve the guests, the men were obviously bewildered — all of them regulars but, even with them as guests, Latina was cutely and cheerfully smiling.
But sometimes they’ll be in a bad mood. The idiots who take a childish attitude towards that small girl — limiting it to just that, their abilities as an adventurer were worse than second-rate but — even if they meet again, Latina would just stare at them as if she was surprised and, leave the scene as if nothing had happened.
Instead, as if observing a strange animal, inquiring about it from afar, it was precious.
“Welcome. Thank you for waiting”
Today too, at the “Dancing Ocelot” Latina’s deluxe shepherd’s pie was in demand.
(Author’s note: Shepherd’s pie is in the story but, it’s a baked dish which is made by putting mashed potato on top of meat sauce (originally lamb).
It’s called a pie but, it’s not made with pie bases and it’s not a dessert.
Given that what Latina can make currently = mashed potato, it was decided to be this menu item.)