Silver-haired Maiden, Going to the Red God’s Night Festival. (Part 4)
The main event of the Night Festival came around as the sun came down.
It was because that was when the colour symbolising 『Ahmar』 was the most beautiful; The visualisation of the natural world — In other words, Fire.
The warrior priests of 『Ahmar』 continue down the city of Kroix in a neat, uniform line, with light shining bright, coming off their polished armour.
Although just the sight of the fierce soldiers advancing in a neat order, proud of their god, the god of war, attracted all the attention, in the middle of the troops, were dancers doing a victory dance. These Priestesses, dressed in thin silk, were also wearing gorgeous makeup.
The party that left from the shrine, circled around the main street with the Mayor’s office as the center, before finally gathering at the center plaza of the city.
The final ceremony was to be held at the shrine, but apart from the pious disciples, ordinary citizens would normally enjoy their time by heading towards either, the main street that they would pass by, or at the central plaza.
The swaying flames that brightly lit up the city, was the very symbol of their belief. Even if you tried to conceal your guilty deeds in darkness, you were unable to conceal it in front of 『Ahmar』 — Which is exactly why, there were a large amount of bonfires being lit, and the city that should normally be enveloped in night’s silence was brilliantly lit up.
Without being pressed up and hindered within the crowds, the young girls, having secured a safe location, was looking at that 『particular』 sight.
Although there was a great amount of people, there was no one being reckless, or causing trouble, since it was essentially a ritual. Nevertheless, unless people were right up in front of each other, they wouldn’t even be able to hear each other.
In the hustle bustle that was like a wave of people, the girls were enjoying an atmosphere, separated from their everyday lives.
Maybe it was precisely because it was such a 『Special』 time, that Chloe was able to casually say to her best friend, the words she normally couldn’t.
“When are you going to tell him you love him?”
Hearing Chloe’s words, Latina couldn’t speak. Latina, illuminated by the red flames, looked as if she didn’t know how to react to those words.
“She’s right. Why don’t you? It’s not like that person has a special woman by his side or anything. So why are you hesitating?”
Having Silvia question her as well, Latina shyly looks down.
“I did, mon.”
She emphasized in a childish tone.
“I’ve always…. Always, constantly, told him. That, I love Dale…. That, He is the person I love, above anyone else…. That, he was different to everyone else, and was special…. But, he doesn’t get it…..”
It was a 『feeling』 that has never changed since a long time ago.
Which is precisely why, it was a feeling that she had told him countless times now.
With an expression knowing that she would be red to her ears in embarrassment if it wasn’t for the fact that they were under the light of the bonfire, Latina told her best friends about her feelings.
“To Dale, I’m still just his 『Small Latina』 after all…. Which is why, it doesn’t get across. No matter if I tell him, 『I love him』, or that 『He’s special』…. The words…. Won’t reach.”
How do you react when not even words could convey her confessions of love?
It wasn’t just any 『love』. — She『Loved』 him the most. A 『Special Love』 unlike the 『love』 she has for other people. Yet no matter how much she says it, how can her feelings, that can’t get across to him, be conveyed?
And, why, isn’t it being conveyed?
Having understood that since a long time ago, she found out that answer when she became an 『adult』.
She had thought that, the words that her child self couldn’t convey, would definitely reach him once she grew up, and became an adult.
So she wanted to grow up as soon as possible.
The age gap between him and herself was large, and no matter how much she desperately tried, it still wouldn’t reach him.
Nonetheless, at the very least, she had wanted him to see her as a woman, so that she could tell him her feelings.
Sitting next to her, Chloe grabs her hand, and squeezes it. The 『words』 that Chloe had swallowed down, was said by her other friend without hesitation.
“Is that really….all it is?”
“Latina, you really do know why, right? Why your confessions aren’t reaching him. ….But, you’re scared, right?”
“The fear that, you might not be able to stay together like you have been up till now.”
Latina looked astonished hearing Silvia.
Not because she had hit the bullseye, but rather the fact that those 『thoughts』 she had inside, had been noticed.
Despite all of her trembling, the reason why Latina was able to calmly come back to her senses, was because Chloe was sitting next to her, quietly holding onto her.
Her best friend, Chloe, knew that Latina’s great fear was 『To part with her surroundings』.
“….I wonder if that’s really it.”
Silvia confirms the conclusion Latina reached after a short while, as Chloe quietly supported her.
“Way before you even need to become an adult, the necessary thing for you, in order to properly convey your thoughts, is to break your current relationship.”
Up until now, being treated by the person she loves as 『His cute, small child』 has always been a precious, comfortable time for her, something that was supporting her.
However, if she wished to have a relationship different from that then, that was probably the first thing she would have to change.
“However, is that alright…. Is it really alright? If I told Dale that I really do love him….?”
Even Silvia, who was trying to argue back at her with jarring words like ‘What are you talking about?’, quietened down after seeing Latina’s heartbreaking expression. Chloe looked worried.
“Since I’m of the Demon race…. No matter how hard I try, I can’t become a Human…. So….”
“Even so, you will always be you, Latina.”
The reason why Chloe was unable to hold herself back from saying that, was because she knew what Latina had done in the past.
“Un…. that’s why, I’m worried. Even though the time that Dale and I spend together will be the same, it’s totally different….. Even if Dale says it’s okay in spite of it all, it will definitely hurt him, since he’s kind.”
It was a truth she came to understand in her head. However, at the same time, it was also a truth that she had continued to avoid looking straight in the eye.
That, one day she would have to tell the important people in her life, that the time they were sharing would end.
Whilst everyone is getting older, she would be left behind.
She wouldn’t be able to escape from this truth even if she avoided it, but it was because she’s so happy right now, that it was a 『truth』 she didn’t want to think about.
“And also….The Demon race….is a race that doesn’t give birth to many children.”
Saying that, Latina looked like she was about to cry.
“I’ve really… received a lot of things from Dale. And yet, even if Dale was to accept my feelings, I can’t even show Dale…. A baby.”
Latina knew that Dale liked children.
It wasn’t just because he took her young self in, and raised her.
Even in the 『Ocelot』, no matter what he says, she knew of this from the fact that he didn’t hate looking after Theo and, that whenever he heard stories about the children being born by his brother and his wife back in his hometown he would always wear a gentle and kind smile.
Given that she wouldn’t be able to show someone like Dale his own children, she truly did not 『wish』 to want to stay by his side.
That was the 『feeling』 that had been haunting Latina for a very long time now.
Thud. Latina looks up in surprise, after having an attack fall onto her head.
In front of her, was the angered face of her best friend.
Then thud again. Chloe’s hand, in the shape of a knife, hit Latina’s head, and seeing the stunned Latina’s dumbfounded expression, she smiles wryly.
“Even though you have such a good brain, why is it that you think of such bad things.”
“Even amongst Humans, it’s not that rare for couples to not have children, right? Despite that, aren’t they happy? Aren’t they living together?”
“It would be such an absolutely terrible waste for my best friend, to be with a loser of a man who would decide a woman’s worth by such worthless things after all!”
Hearing Chloe’s statement, Latina’s surprise changed to something else entirely. Noticing that, Silvia shouts out in panic.
“No! Latina, you can’t cry! The makeup will be ruined and it’ll become a mess.”
“Don’t you have 『Someone you want to show this to』 when you get back?”
Latina turns and looked upwards so that her warm tears don’t end up falling, tightly gripping onto the hands of her best friends next to her.
— So that she would never forget this night’s memory, this warmth.
“….Dale isn’t a 『Useless man』.”
“Which is why…. I’ll try my best.”
In front of the determined Latina, the festival was about to reach its climax. The large fireballs created by magic, were dancing around in the city like they were alive, as they scattered into even more detailed flames.
The flames were rising up with the excitement and commotion from the people; Burning with the people.
During that, Silvia showed them a smile as if she was thinking of planning something bad, just like always.
“Hey, Latina. Although it’s true that 『races』 with long longevities have low birthrates, it doesn’t mean that it’s completely impossible.”
“So you know, why don’t you increase those chances by getting together as soon as possible?”
“You might be onto something. You can start tonight, and approach him yourself.”
Hearing her friends’ terribly, terribly irresponsible suggestion, Latina completely forgot about her crying, and shouted out nervously.
(Author’s note: Truthfully, the romance tag has been doing its thing since quite a while ago.)