Uni has started >< Class is in an hour and 10 minutes, and I haven’t left the house yet cause of this chapter lol. GGGGGGGG
And like be a bro and comment out any mistakes >< A little rushed atm, gtg~
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Silver-haired Maiden, Feeling depressed.
This is why I didn’t want to do this. Thinking about that, Kenneth’s back was sweating uncomfortably.
He should’ve chased after him with all his strength and dragged him back. Judging wrongly in his times of need, was the price he had to pay, having retired from his former profession for such a long time.
In front of Kenneth, who was having those thoughts, was Latina.
“…..Why…. did he leave, so suddenly…. He’s never…. I didn’t even get to say…. Have a safe trip…. He’s never….”
With a pale complexion, Latina seemed to be utterly astonished as she muttered, before looking up at Kenneth with tears forming in her pupils.
Dale had to travel (run away) to the Royal capital for the sake of work. This was what he told her, which resulted in Latina’s current situation.
“I’m sure, Dale has his own thoughts on this. He was…. Called out so suddenly after all. And he told me to look after you, after all.”
“….Why, didn’t he, say it to me directly?”
There was no way he could tell her the truth. If he said that Dale ran away as a result of him understanding Latina’s true feelings, it would only make this needlessly more complicated. What should he say? Nothing good came to mind. Kenneth’s sweating only increased.
“Was it because I distanced myself from Dale? Because I was selfish? ….Because I wasn’t being a, 『good girl』, properly….?”
Even if it was her, who had made the mistake of distancing herself from him, the sight of her blaming herself, trembling as she muttered it, was very terribly painful to look at.
No matter how much Kenneth denied those words, they still wouldn’t reach Latina.
Kenneth understood, ever since she was little, that his words would never be enough for her to truly change.
In any case, Kenneth internally swore at Dale, who had played the 『worst』 possible hand. There was no way he could follow up on this.
“….I’m heading…. To Marcel’s place. Today is the last day, after all…”
Despite being so pale, looking like she would fall, Latina said, and headed out without even taking breakfast.
As Kenneth watched Latina go, he put his hands to his head, distraught about how he was going to tell his wife about the worst possible thing that Dale could have done.
Even if people were curious about why she was acting so obviously strange, she wouldn’t let it affect her work. Latina was smiling 『just as always』 as she worked, serving the customers at 『The Alley’s Bakery』.
Despite that, Marcel, who has been with her a long time, immediately noticed Latina’s slump.
From the small instances of her pausing her hands, to her sighing figure. The sight of her trying to hold back the blurriness in her pupils, and clearing up her mood.
The sight of her hiding her feelings of loneliness, which had become a lot better recently. The sight of her 『when he was away』.
Nevertheless, it was rare for her to be this upset. Just when he was at a loss about what he should do, his recent 『regular』 — likely to be only temporary — his childhood friend, came into the shop.
“….What’s wrong Latina?”
Rudolf too, saw through Latina’s slump with a glance.
Even so, Latina showed a smile to her childhood friend.
“I’m fine. It’s nothing. ….Will you be having the usual?”
“There’s no way it’s just nothing. You don’t look too good.”
“I said it’s nothing!”
She was surprised, that she would end up so ruffled. She showed a smile as if trying to patch herself up, and softened her voice. However, even with that, it was awkward, and painful to look at, considering that he had been childhood friends with her for so many years.
“….I’m sorry, Rudi. It really is nothing, no. I’m fine, nano.”
(Ahh, so 『he’s away』.)
Was what Rudolf guessed to be the reason for her behaviour. The girl who would normally be wholeheartedly enjoying her daily life, was in a 『state』 where she was closing herself in, and had all of her desires and what not, hidden.
She’s been like that ever since she was a kid so, he understood immediately.
That, even if someone like Chloe half forcefully drags her outside, it would be like her heart wasn’t there, and she would just end up looking down at the ground soon enough. Even the fact that he was being more meddlesome than usual, incapable of watching anymore, could probably end as just a good memory.
— You could argue that they’ve had quarrels even when nothing was happening, but those were inevitable. Probably.
And after all, those large grey eyes of hers were slightly wet, and looking straight at him. Even the sound of her complaining, as she slightly puffed up her reddened cheeks, was adorable. During this time, at the very least, she was only looking at him, and not at his other friends.
It was the appearance of his pure desires to have her only look at him.
Right now, he had a ridiculous thought. What kind of face would she make, if he was to suddenly pinch at her cheeks as she was swiftly making the sandwiches?
Firstly, there’s no doubt that she would be angry.
Nevertheless, if she would be able to forget her sadness, 『her current feelings』, for even a moment then, wouldn’t it be fine? — As he was thinking such a thing, Rudolf silently waited for the sandwiches he ordered to be finished.
It was after Latina had left the shop, having finished her work at 『The Alley’s Bakery』, and thanked them for taking care of her, despite the short period of one week, when she let out a surprised voice.
His childhood friend was not wearing his military uniform, and was standing outside in his casual clothes.
“What’s wrong? If you’re looking for Marcel, he’s inside.”
“I was waiting for you.”
“I’ll take you home.”
Hearing Rudolf, Latina tilted her head sideways, puzzled.
“Why? I know the way home, but?”
“It’s not because I’m worried about you getting lost.”
Rudolf had a face as if he couldn’t believe her, but if he would be discouraged by something like that then, he wouldn’t have been able to stay as this air headed childhood friend of his.
“You look really ill. It would be terrible if you were to collapse halfway. And there’s still quite a few outsiders about because of the 『Night festival』.”
After he delivered the sandwiches that he had bought back to the office, Rudolf informed his superior about Latina’s condition as if he was gossiping. Rudolf knew veeeery well, that all his superiors were regulars at the 『Dancing Ocelot』 where she lived, and wanted to dote on her.
And the result of telling his superior that, the cause of her 『Unhappiness』 was because her 『guardian』 was away — For some reason, the conversation ended with him having to send her back home so that he could eliminate any opportunities for ruffians to take advantage of her, his sickly childhood friend, who wasn’t in her best condition.
Since there wasn’t any reason to refuse, and thinking that it couldn’t be helped if it was an 『order』, Rudolf once again found himself at 『The Alley’s Bakery』.
“….Do I look that bad?”
“The normal Latina would probably look more cluelessly happy.”
“Stop being stupid. Look, you’re smiling.”
“Rudi, I thought that you might have grown up a little bit, but your bullying never changes….”
Pomf. Latina’s cheeks puffed out, in response to how agitated she was, and a little bit of liveliness returned to her face.
Rudolf didn’t show his relief visibly, and went to get the last word.
“I can’t help but be fake when I talk to you, you know?” (TL: 「ラティナ相手に、猫かぶっても、仕方ないだろ」)
Rudolf too, would have to be careful when appropriately dealing with his superiors. If he was to thoughtlessly speak casually to them, he would suffer terribly. There would be grueling training in the name of 『guidance』.
He felt like he was going to quite literally die countless times, suffering through 『Hell’s Training』, but there was a 『(Indigo God) Nili’s』 shrine nearby, and even within the military, there were magicians who were capable of utilising recovery magic. To be able to completely restore a body back from 『Hell』.
“Is being a guard tough?”
“I’ve only just started my duties as a member of the official troops, you know. There’s a lot to do just remembering everything. The training’s been tough ever since I was in the reserve corps so… maybe I’m used to it.”
“…You’ve worked hard, Rudi.”
“…You’ve been working hard too, right?”
Just as Rudolf said that, Latina made a gloomy, and confused look.
Latina’s face loosens slightly. No matter who it was, to have one’s own effort be praised, and acknowledged, would make them happy.
“Thank you, Rudi.”
Seeing Latina, with a slight smile on her face, Rudolf had tried to reach out and grab her hand. And the fact that he kept readjusting his grip after giving up halfway, went unnoticed by Latina.