Hopefully I can churn out the next 3 chapters by today. Who knows if I have any plans for NYE….
Round Little Toddler, Playing with the Grey Fluff ball.
With Ahmar’s Night Festival approaching, there was a lively, bustling atmosphere floating in the air everywhere in Kroix. It was a festival lead by Kroix, a large city. All the shops were working towards being ready for the travelers who were coming in for the festival. Matching that, the number of adventurers who came to guard the arriving merchants had also increased, and thus the 『Dancing Ocelot』 became even busier than usual.
Despite the young Theodore coming in from the back of the 『Ocelot』 to say that, Latina looked slightly troubled. Currently, she was holding up a pile of sheets that the 『Ocelot』 used. Laundry was extremely laborious work. There wasn’t any way of making it easier by using magic tools either. Because of that, she could personally wash smaller items like clothes, but for larger ones like these, it had to be gathered up and entrusted to someone who specialised in that line of work.
Latina was currently in the middle of going to that someone.
“….Sorry, Theo. I can’t right now.”
There were so many sheets that, if she lost focus, she would drop them. It was an impossible task for Rita herself, no matter how you looked at it, and it used to be something that Kenneth was responsible for. Since Latina was able to change the weight of the sheets with magic, she was currently carrying an unbalanced load of laundry in her thin arms.
“Sorry, I’ll come play with you after I finish up the laundry. Just wait a bit, ok?”
Hearing Latina say the same thing again, Theo puffed up his cheeks.
(Theo’s puffy face is so cute….)
Seeing the toddler’s squishy, smooth cheeks, Latina didn’t realise that that action of Theo’s was copying his 『beloved bigger sister』, and despite being troubled, loosened up her expression.
“Th-Theo, that’s danger-…..”
Nevertheless, the moment Latina let out a voice of surprise as Theo threw a tantrum and dangled from her apron, that weight suddenly got lighter.
Wind had the scrape of Theo’s neck in its mouth, facing off against Theo’s violent rampage. Wind positioned his mouth superbly so that Theo couldn’t come loose, and it seems this action to deal with Theo was a 『familiar』one.
Puff, it swings its tail and, looking at Wind who seemed to suggest her to “Go quickly”, Latina looked at it with relief and Latina called out to Theo one more time.
“Sorry, Theo. I’ll play with you once I get back.”
Carrying the laundry back into her arms, she left, despite her painful reluctance to part.
Once it couldn’t see Latina’s figure anymore, Wind finally let Theo fall to the ground. Crash. It was a relatively rough way to make him fall to the ground, but Theo wasn’t crying.
He got up from falling down onto his back, and tried to chase in the direction Latina had headed. Wind smoothly stopped Theo before that.
“Wii, in the way!”
Even when he tried to circumvent Wind, Wind would blockade him with its body. Even when Theo would puff up his cheeks and sulk, Wind still wouldn’t stop.
After all, to 『him』, it was in his biggest interest that Latina wouldn’t have any disadvantage brought upon her. Even its decision to look after Theo was because it knew that Latina had found Theo cute.
If anything was to happen to this small child then, Latina would be sad. That could not happen.
Which is exactly why, right now, this toddler that wouldn’t let his hands go, being an inconvenience to Latina, as well as, right now, when he was trying to make a scene after Latina had left, wasn’t something he would allow happen.
Theo started to let out a disgruntled moan, but he didn’t cry as expected. This toddler, no matter how you spun it, looked like his mother. He had the black, fluffy hair characteristic of infants, but the impression remained.
However, it wasn’t clean cut whose personality he had.
Both of those couples were strong-willed people. Rita was easy to understand, but Kenneth was also quite something. After all, Kenneth was a man who was acknowledged as superior even amongst the influential adventurers who visit the 『Ocelot』.
Theo, the one to continue the legacies of such parents, wasn’t one to twist his face in agony and cry facing this level of obstruction.
He turns toward Wind, charging at him.
Suddenly intersecting each other, his balance was broken, and was tripped over with Wind’s forefeet.
As expected, a few tears were spilled.
He was all the more aggravated by the feeling of the meatball on his back. He hates just being “touched by it”, what more could you say about it being pressed on his back.
Wind didn’t interfere when Theo tried to get up.
Coming in to take up the challenge once again, Wind was an opponent far above his level.
Making Theo, roll, roll, and fall over, 『their』 game always found them ending up in the dirt.
Theo forgot his initial goal and changed it to challenging Wind, it was then that Dale showed his face from the rear of the 『Ocelot』.
“….What are you guys doing?”
The one person, one animal responded to Dale calling out to them.
Even though Theodore calls Latina 『(Bigger sister) Neene』, he would call out to Dale without any formality for some reason. Dale felt stupefied. It was incomprehensible.
“Were you playing with Wind?”
“I, beat Wii, no!”
“….Isn’t it still a little difficult for you, Theo?”
Although it was still a child, Wind was a 『Mythical beast』, thus was much stronger than even magic beasts. It was inconceivable that an infant could be its opponent. It seemed that Wind, with its slight grin, also agreed with that.
“I can, mon!”
“….I think it would be difficult.”
Hearing Theodore insist on it, Dale lightly shrugged his shoulders, and goes to pick up the stick lying on the ground next to him. Swinging it once to check its condition, he looked over at Wind.
“Wind, you want some?”
In the moment after it gave its answer, the grey beast leapt towards Dale. Just as Dale was dodging it calmly, no panic at all, Wind landed on the ground, fixing his stance in the same moment, then jumped forth once again.
Dale dodges that by moving just his upper body. Then swung the stick in his hand.
Wind ducks down and Dale’s attack swings past it.
Theodore left his mouth agape seeing the dizzying offensive and defensive movements, and continued to stare at their exchange.
Wind was still a cub. He wasn’t an opponent for Dale by himself. Which is why for Wind, Dale was a 『play pal』 who he was to overcome.
“….Wii, stronger than Dale?”
“Is that how you see it Theo?”
Dale would sometimes receive Wind’s attacks with his arms. However, Dale’s stick wouldn’t even touch Wind.
The reason being, neither Dale nor Wind were going all out. It was because, no matter what they did, they were still technically 『playing』.
If they were to seriously 『do this sort of stuff』 then, they would gradually get more heated and, at that point in time, someone would probably end up injured.
It probably wouldn’t be a severe injury, enough to hinder life, but the man and animal weren’t anxious about that.
If Latina found out that they got injured, then she would probably scold them.
Latina would make them sit next to each other in seiza, have their hands at their waists and lecture them.
And maybe, if she got angry, she might not talk to them for a little while.
That was something the two of them avoided at all costs.
Dale played with Wind for some time — Although it was a kind animal that understood what was going on, there was no way he could just always go easy on it. It was important to vent out stress when it couldn’t be piled up anymore — This time he looked towards Theo.
“Theo, don’t swing a stick at people, okay?”
“It hurts when you get hit, right? If you did that to someone then, wouldn’t they do something bad to you?”
Dale gave out a warning, seeing Theodore start to copy him and swing a thin stick around, as expected of a boy.
“….Once you grow up a little bit more, I might even teach you the sword.”
As Dale was saying that, he faintly thought whether the one that duty falls to should be Kenneth, Theo’s father. However, he also felt that having Theo use a battle axe all of the sudden would be way too difficult for a toddler who was just starting out.
— It wasn’t like Kenneth only knew how to use the axe, but it seems the impression of him using one was the strongest. Dale couldn’t imagine Kenneth using a sword. It just felt wrong.
In front of Dale, as he was thinking that and looking on carelessly, the toddler had his stick knocked away by the grey cub’s tail, and was made to fall onto the ground once again after that.