Thanks to Loup for helping with proofreading. I have a headache. This chapter was nice <3. This was not planned. May have mistakes due to headache.
Youth, His thoughts on his brother back home.
It had been a long time since he had pulled back on a bow with his own hands, but the arrow which cut through the air, arrived at the target, as he planned.
He let out a satisfied grunt without a thought.
Behind him, his fellow hunters showered him with praise at the brilliant sight of the falling bird, brought down by his arrow.
“You haven’t rusted at all huh! Dale!”
Today, Dale was a part of the hunting team
In Tisroh there weren’t any 『Hunters』, people who specialise in hunting as their job. The job of hunting birds and magic beasts for their food and materials, was a job assigned to everyone in the clan. In a group formed by the organisation that trained hunting dogs, 『Suna』, several youths and experienced old-timers went out to hunt almost everyday.
The act of that itself, also served as the lookout for the village surroundings.
In the situation that they discovered an extraordinarily strong magic beast, they would ask for the villages assistance, and using a wave tactic, easily take it down with several groups.
This meant that their entire clan were a group of excellent hunters.
And the 『Leader』, responsible for hunting, was the work of the next head of the clan.
“If you’re going to take over and lead then, can I just laze around?”
“Don’t say something so stupid, this is your job.”
Hearing York mutter that from behind him, Dale let out a shocked voice.
It’s true that before he left the village, the one in charge of hunting was Dale. Since he was still young at that time, he had required some assistances from the elders but, over time he had piled up experiences on how to lead people as the role of the clan leader.
“The one who’s going to be the next head, is you.”
At Dale’s words, York quietened down with a complex expression.
Looking at his younger brother who still wasn’t fit for the job, the older brother once again smiled bitterly with a troubled look.
The mountains in the vicinity of Tisroh are full of 『abundance』.
In other words you could say that it had the strength to support the life of a variety of different life forms.
Even when they went out to hunt, it’s wasn’t too hard to bring back results. You could say that this was due to the people of Tisroh being excellent hunters but, that was 『normal』 to them. They didn’t think of their clan as being particularly skilled at hunting.
However, Dale, having been out to the outside world outside, knows.
As well as the fact that him receiving praise from the elder members of his clan meant that, when it comes to his skill with archery, he was skilled enough to be proud.
Those who receives the title of 『Reki』 are 『Warriors』 who leaves to the outside world.
That is, to become one who protects their clan from the outside world, given that their 『Clan』 had such a limited view of the world.
Since they caught much more than they needed in the hunt, Dale, who gave the bird that he had hunted to Latina, kept looking happily at her smacking her lips.
Waiting until night arrived, Dale made a visit to his father’s office.
The job of Randolf, who diligently undertook the role of the clan head, spanned widely. From the miscellaneous matters in the village to negotiating with foreign merchants. Thus it wasn’t rare for him to be in his office until night time.
As the clan head of Tisroh, he doesn’t command over the people, rather he carries the burden of maintaining the clan, for the sake of making it prosper.
“…Does York still feel a sense of obligation towards me?”
Dale’s words made Randolf smile wryly.
“So even you see it?”
“Yeah. Getting him a bride, was also in order to give him a push on the back right?”
Dale smiled back at his father in a similar manner.
“The next head was obviously going to be you… that’s what everyone, and even the two of you thought after all.”
“So when the head dictated that the role of 『Reki』 to be yours, everyone in the clan was confused.”
The father said whilst looking at his son.
“Since they thought that if one of us were be 『Reki』, it would’ve been York after all.”
“….If it was the usual 『Reki』 then, that probably would’ve been fine. But to have the opportunity to negotiate with a Duke, it probably wouldn’t ever have been able to happen without my ability to 『talk with the gods』. Grandmother made the right call.”
Dale’s bitter smile was due to him thinking back to the past, to what is, and have always been, his brother.
As a 『bigger brother』 and his eldest son, he completely immersed himself in his role, and discarded his doubts about the journey ahead, that sort of understanding expression.
As a father, he thinks from deep in his heart that, he really has grown these past few years.
However this was not the father-and-son moment for him to let that out.
“I’ve heard all about the reviews of your 『job』 from the Duke as well. The 『Reki』 of that place also reported that Tisroh had earned the royal families hidden backing, though unofficial.”
“….Right? I’ve only been doing my job after all. If only York would be like that …”
Saying so he realises the troubles he had given his little brother all those years ago and once again, smiled sadly.
“….You don’t have to worry about me anymore.”
“Did that girly help you?”
The son grinned at his father’s words.
When he thinks of that small and cute child, his beloved daughter, he is always filled with a warm feeling. His expression also relaxes naturally.
“…Latina is my 『medicine』. That girl always knows what to say.”
Returning back to his room, Latina was reading over her diary again. Since the nights of Tisroh came with a chill, she was wearing a warm cardigan that she had borrowed. And since the sleeves were long, only her fingers could be seen.
The one piece she wore in the room was something Wenn-baa had quickly prepared just for her. It was something that Latina would’ve needed in order to stay here for these next few months, but because of Wenn-baa, it became something that had been prepared for her before Dale could have it arranged.
“Are you happy right now?”
Latina made a puzzled look. It may have been too sudden as he had thought. As he thought of how he should explain this, she smiled.
“Latina is happy. I’m with Dale after all.”
Her gaze full of unwavering trust, her words that accepted all of him, and the fact that she was someone irreplaceable to him, was probably unknown to her.
“Are you happy Dale?”
“…Yeah. If you’re saying that you’re happy then, I’m super duper happy.”
With Dale’s answer, Latina’s broad smile widened a bit more.
The thing always support him that itself being his purpose to keep going, is this little girl.
The one who was supporting him, so that he could stay himself, was this little girl.
At some point, she had become an indispensable, important part of his life.
“You look at that notebook a lot don’t you…. is it a diary?”
She hugged the diary up to her chest as if it was something important.
“You know. Since Latina is so happy right now, I’m writing in it so I don’t forget.”
A mature expression — one that she can make because she had accepted her own fate, and an expression as if she’s looking far into the future, was on her face.
“Even if one day Latina 『parts』 with Dale and the others. Even if Dale one day hates me. Latina, is really happy right now, so I’m making sure I won’t forget this moment.”
Maybe he understood the meaning behind those words– or maybe he just didn’t feel like accepting that, Dale purposefully avoided an answer.
The reason he avoided the topic — the difference between their lifespan– was because there was no point denying that.
“I don’t think I’ll ever come to hate you Latina.”
“But you won’t know, once I grow up.”
With a just a tinge of pain in her voice, she continued.
“But you know. If Latina becomes a 『bad girl』 when I grow up. I think I would want Dale to tell me to stop.”
As expected, she was slowly becoming more and more 『mature』.
To have Dale even accept her own 『sins』, she had him look straight at them, so that she could try to accept them.
“If Dale tells Latina to stop, you know, then Latina would know, that Latina is being bad.”
“…I might not be as much of an adult as you think, you know?”
After those weak words leaked out, he panics and tries to look for words to cover that up. Despite that, Latina accepted those words.
“Even so, Dale is, Latina’s number one, nano.”
–He prays, for this child to be able to live happily.
That wish wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, it was just his ego.
To protect her happiness, had become his greatest drive for supporting himself and to keep going.
“Rather than me… the one who is amazing is you, Latina…”
What was muttered in that voice, so soft that it was almost inaudible, was something he couldn’t not mutter, with the faint trace of pride he had as her parent, which was the awe and respect directed towards his lovely daughter.
(Authors notes:it’s been a while since the last slightly serious chapter. And now that’s done, it’ll go back to fluffy days next time.)