Silver-haired Maiden, After the Red God’s Night Festival.
“See you next time.”
“Yes, come by the shop as well, okay?”
The newcomer troops who heard that Silvia was the daughter of the vice-general, became extremely stiff. Taking those attendants with her, Silvia calmly headed home with a smile.
It seems that she felt like going straight home today.
“Chloe, you too.”
“Yes. Latina, stay strong.”
Smiling towards her friend who said that, Latina heads towards the Southern District together with Rudolf. The next time that she goes to pick up her clothes, she would probably have to tell Chloe about the 『Results』.
The left behind Chloe smiled up bitterly at the young man by her side.
“Sorry. To think that we actually got you guys mixed up in this and act as guards for us.”
“…..No. This is my job after all.”
Chloe smiles, revealing her carefree and bright attitude, and although she wasn’t so beautiful that she would cause others to go speechless like Latina, she was still quite charming.
Despite being beside a peerless beauty like her best friend, Latina, she didn’t feel inferior in terms of looks, and the sight of the young girl, Chloe, proudly putting out her chest, was 『charming』 in a different sense to Latina.
What the young man thought about that smile as he followed behind Chloe, who was walking ahead by a step, could only be known by the person himself.
“Was the reserve corps’ training difficult?”
“That’s true. Rudi is super tough. So much stronger than the rookie adventurers who come to our store.”
Latina’s smile was so innocent, so unguarded.
She was oblivious to what her surroundings thought about her, which was why it was dangerous.
She had always been chasing after one person ever since she was young. Only one person had ever been in her eyes.
Because of that, she was oblivious to the interest her surroundings had towards her, and had a low evaluation towards herself because the person she likes 『treats her as a child』. Another reason for her low self-evaluation, was due to her past, since she had been 『exiled』 from her hometown.
Furthermore, she was sensitive to 『interest』 itself. Due to the influence of the 『ability』 she was born with, Latina was extremely sharp towards 『negative intent』, and as a result was also sensitive to its complete opposite, 『positive intent』. On the other hand, it seems she was extremely dense when it comes to the 『details of the positive intent』.
Rudolf had vaguely noticed that part of Latina.
Even after all these years, it seemed that that part of her had not changed, was what he was thinking.
“Hey, what’s wrong? You’re so quiet.”
She was a girl who would make others think that she was glowing, but as expected, since she was standing next to someone wearing a guard’s uniform, there were no rude people approaching them. Nevertheless, Rudolf could feel the gazes from many who had ulterior motives looking towards Latina, and kept a watchful eye on his surroundings in order to frighten them.
Latina’s long hair flutters, glistening with faint flashes of light, and she stops walking a little before arriving at her destination.
At the 『Dancing Ocelot』 Dale was super, super, super, duper worried, and was walking around in circles, unable to calm down.
To be honest, he was in the way.
“Isn’t Latina…. Isn’t she a bit late??”
“Didn’t the 『Fire flowers』 just end? The central plaza would be crowded, so just coming back from there would take some time. Besides, Latina also said that she would be sending her friends home.”
“I know that, but you know…”
“If you know then, behave.”
No matter how sound an argument Rita expressed, Dale wouldn’t change.
He’s been like this ever since he got back to Kroix after sending Gregor and Rose off. It seems that Rita’s patience was just about to reach its limits.
“If you’re that worried then, why don’t you go wait in front of the store?”
The meaning behind Kenneth’s words, said with a poker face, basically meant, ‘You’re being depressing, so go somewhere else where we can’t see you.’.
Despite it being night time in the city, there were still so many more people walking by compared to normal.
From within that crowd, he was looking for his target, the young girl, and the reason Dale stiffened up was because she wasn’t alone.
She was wearing a one piece he was unfamiliar with, but there was no way he would mistake her for someone else. She was smiling intimately at a young man around her age.
No matter if it was a guard, or an adventurer, it didn’t make too much of a difference to Dale. A young man who would look at Latina pervertedly, was no different from an insect.
As soon as she discovered the figure standing in front of the 『Dancing Ocelot』, her voice sprung out.
Rudolf felt a painful ache in his chest hearing Latina’s voice, not hiding her joy at all.
He knew about, this. Which is why, he can’t lose heart, at something like this.
Feeling a suspicious gaze coming towards him, different from how he was treated before this, when he would come to play at this store, 『as one of her friends』, he felt some shivers, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t endure.
The presence Dale leaked out, was similar to killing intent, and Rudolf, despite not knowing the fact that the reason he could even resist it was due to him enduring his hellish training, pretended not to notice the sweat dripping from his forehead.
Latina didn’t take notice of Dale’s bad mood.
To her, the one next to her, was 『Her childhood friend, Rudi』. Meeting with a friend she hasn’t met in a long time, talking to him happily, and coming back, walking next to each other peacefully, was nothing guilty for her.
Dale too, didn’t think that Latina was a young girl who didn’t care about who she walked next to. However, seeing her unguarded figure like this, his heart couldn’t calm down.
His irritation was obviously a reaction that stemmed from his worry.
Which is exactly why, the voice that Dale came out with, was a rigid one, as if there was a bone in his throat somewhere.
Hearing Dale’s words, Latina tilts her head, puzzled.
Her behaviour, wasn’t particularly strange or anything, but this 『situation』, where she was bringing home some 『random guy』 , made Dale’s blood rise to his head. And all that, in addition to his 『worries』 and 『anxiety』, was slowly chipping away at his patience.
“Come on, hurry on inside.”
Latina’s expression dulled seeing him treat her just like a small child.
If there was something that was also chipping away at Latina’s patience, it was that.
It was her first time 『playing at night』, and the festival’s atmosphere was at its peak of excitement. Also, having been stirred up by her friends, Latina was feeling a lot more 『agitated』 than usual.
As if she was reacting to Dale’s displeasure, she tossed out her thoughts emotionally.
Except, those thoughts did not appear in the form of 『Anger』.
“….Dale, I’m, no longer, a small child.”
“You’re still a child as long as you keep saying things like that.”
“You’re wrong, mon…..”
With a squeeze, she clenched her fists tightly.
To be honest, she still wasn’t completely prepared herself. However, on this day, today, having the encouragement from her friends, and the power of makeup and her new, more mature one piece, she thought that, if she didn’t say it 『now』, she would never say it.
In order to convey her own feelings, she thought that she would try to take the first step for the sake of changing their 『relationship』 they’ve had up until now.
That, she was no longer, his young 『Small Latina(child)』 anymore. The love that she wants from him, was a love different to the one a parent would give to 『their child』.
“I’m not, a child, anymore…. And…”
Nevertheless, she just couldn’t look straight at Dale’s face. Having her eyes shut tight, Latina tried her best to loudly convey all of her feelings.
“I don’t want to be called as such by you, Dale…. Dale isn’t, someone like, my 『dad』…. I never thought, of Dale, as a substitute for my dad….”
Rudolf was shocked to hear the words coming from the Latina in front of him, who was red to her ears. Even if he knew that this was coming, it was tough to hear the feelings voiced by the girl in front of him.
However, it was precisely because he was standing a step behind her, that he was the very first person to notice the 『current situation』.
He would call out to his childhood friend, every now and then.
However, she, who was trying her absolute best, didn’t seem to hear Rudolf’s voice. – Nor see the 『tragic scene』 unfolding in front of her.
After not hearing any reaction from Dale for a while, Latina couldn’t handle the situation anymore, and slowly opened her eyes to look at the sight in front of her.
Which was when she finally noticed.
Dale was as white as a sheet.
Latina had always seen Dale as a much calmer, older adult. This was the very first time she had seen Dale so pale.
Surprised, she took a step forward, trying to approach him, and seeing Dale who was walking back a step, like he was trying to run away, she wanted to cry.
Thinking that, ‘Was it really so incredibly tough for him to accept her feelings’.
However, the one who ended up crying, was Dale.
The words that he managed to squeeze out with a trembling voice, explained everything.
“Latina is…. Finally… in her rebellious phase…..!”
In a certain sense of the meaning, it was an expected yet terrible thing to say.
After a beat, Latina understood what Dale was muttering, and screamed out grandiosely in her heart. It was so, crazily ridiculous that, she was rendered speechless.
Without noticing how rigid Latina was nor how she was screaming inside, Dale was hugging his head, looking like he was about to cry. ‘I’m the one who wants to hug my head’, was what Latina thought.
It was tragic.
Rudolf mutters without thinking, but the other two people in the scene, each panicking in their own way, didn’t notice at all.
“Latina is finally, in the rumoured 『Rebellious phase』……hic. I’ve heard about it but, hic, this particular reaction from a girl in puberty…. what do I… what do I do…. About this!?”
Saying that, Dale looked at Latina once again, made an indescribably pathetic expression, and turned around with a spin.
On top of that, he ran away from this very place.
He didn’t stop for a moment, demonstrating prompt movements deserving of his top class title.
Seeing Latina screaming internally like she would foam up, Rudolf placed his hand on her shoulder, thud.
Although he told himself to hold onto the slimmest of chances, no matter how impossible it seemed, his voice came out before he even thought about it.
“Well… I mean. Try your best?”
Rudolf was thinking that, although they weren’t really father and daughter, they were very similar in a strange way. It was hard to explain, it was as if she was influenced by him. Although truthfully, he had no idea what he was saying.
Latina looks at Rudolf with a teary face as Dale’s pathetic voice from earlier was resounding off into Kroix’s night.
(Author’s note: There’s no way it would go so smoothly)
(TL: That jesus Christ was really just “So mean” or “that’s ridiculous” but I mean…. Jfc Dale….
EDIT: cause Holy Ahmar > jesus christ amirite kek))