Youth, and then Silver-haired Maiden – After the tragedy.
Dale had thought, the moment that he had been fearing had finally come. He had been thinking about when it would come, and it had end up coming.
He was thinking that that wasn’t it, but Latina’s recent actions seemed to be distancing from him somehow, which could only be thought of as an omen.
“Latina has….hic, My cute Latina has finally entered her rebellious phase…..hic”
Dale seemed to fly into the 『Dancing Ocelot』, and sounded like he was spitting out blood, before crumbling to the floor powerlessly. Instantly, several of the regulars surrounded him with a hustle.
Although they looked sympathetic, there was something dark drifting from behind them in the background, as if that was not all they were feeling.
“….Girls that age are quite difficult after all.”
“My one at home is a pain as well.”
The several voices coming at Dale, were not said in order to soothe Dale, but rather to agitate his worries even more.
“My one, you know, says ‘Your clothes stink, don’t wash them with mine’.”
“Even if I tell her that they were just washed, she then says that it’s my very existence that stinks, tell me, what do I do then??!!”
“The same with my one’s at home! Like, my wife and daughter would be happily talking, but the minute I go into the room, they would silently, rush out of the room! My pet parrot is the only one that stays with me!”
“I have something to say as well! After a long days’ worth of work, just when I thought that I finally came home, my children would tell me 『See you later』!!”
“Drink!! I’ll pay for everything today! I’ll pay for all of you! Drink as much as you want!!”
There’s no doubt that, the true 『Heroes』, are the 『Fathers』 who endure the cruelty of their daughters in puberty!!
If there was anyone who could hear what Dale had said in his head, they would probably tell him “There’s no way you can say that, right?”, quite disappointedly.
Just as Dale was shouting out, crying, half in sympathy, and being agitated by the 『fathers』 of the world.
In the store’s kitchen, Latina went and hugged Rita in tears.
“What’s wrong Latina? You’ve got some beautiful makeup on. You’re going to ruin it like this, you know?”
“Rita….hic, I, tried to confess, to Dale….hic”
The tragic scene they could hear from the front of the shop, was in comparison, quite a distance from topics of love. There was no a trace of anything feminine.
“It didn’t go well, no! I couldn’t tell him, no! He didn’t even realise that it was a confession, no!”
Rita’s face clearly said, 『That idiot really went and did it now』.
“It was so embarrassing that I couldn’t even look at Dale’s face, noo!”
Rita pets Latina’s head, comforting her, whilst wearing a stunned expression, but of course, it wasn’t directed at the young girl in front of her.
The fact that this young girl had always seen her own 『guardian』 as someone of the 『opposite sex』 since she was young, was something that Rita noticed long ago.
Speaking from Rita’s point of view, there was something wrong with Dale who wasn’t able to see that. She had been saying that her husband, Kenneth, was also incredibly dense, but, why are all men so stupid?
Well, to expect anything from the organisms known as adventurers, who didn’t even know of the word, delicacy, was probably not something that should be done – Things like that, and such foresight, proved that Rita has been in the business for a very long time now.
“That’s true. It is embarrassing. A girl going to confess their love is, a really big deal after all.”
Rita smiles bitterly and takes a peek at Latina.
When it comes to dealing with this young girl, who Rita even considered as her little sister, she would look at her so much more kinder than the customers who come into the shop that there couldn’t even start to be a comparison.
Rita was an only child, and didn’t have any siblings. Perhaps the appearance of her 『little sister』, who she had gained through some unexpected circumstances, was a materialization of an impulsive wish of hers when she was younger, 『How nice would it be if I had a cute little sister』. Adoring on her, in a different way to how 『Dale (Doting Parent)』 did, was natural.
What was wrong with a young woman, like Rita, asking for some sense of peace that these filthy men, that she had gotten used to, didn’t provide?
“It can’t be helped that you felt like you wanted to run away. And it’s not unreasonable for you to not want to look at him either, okay?”
— It wasn’t like Latina was saying that she didn’t want to see him, but considering that it was Rita, it was obvious that there was intense pressure when dealing with 『idiots』.
“You don’t have to force yourself. I know just how much effort you always put in.”
Rita hugs Latina, who was now truly crying with large drops of tears, and lead her to the back of the store.
“It’s not good if we don’t take off your makeup properly, you know? Because It’s bad for your skin.”
Rita watched over Latina as she washed her face at the shower area in the back of the shop, then headed back into the kitchen.
Her husband, Kenneth, seeing Rita’s expression, quietly decided that he was definitely not going to interrupt her by saying anything unnecessary.
The inside of the shop looked like a crazed banquet. He couldn’t understand exactly what had happened just by looking at that Dale, who was in the center of the mayhem. He had gone into the kitchen, where Latina seemed to have come back to, in order to grasp the situation, but just from seeing his wife, it seems that the one who 『did something stupid』 was the one 『he treated like a little brother, Dale』.
“Kenneth, I’m thinking of giving Latina a break starting tomorrow. That girl’s always been nothing but hard working so, it might be good for her to relax once in a while, don’t you think?”
What she probably meant was that today wasn’t going to be her 『break』.
Kenneth’s 『danger detector』 was working even to this day, so he wasn’t stupid enough to show what he was thinking on his face.
“Latina, why don’t you go up to your room? Okay?”
Turning around, his wife looked at the young girl whose shoulders were drooping, and had a face that looked like she had cried, with a gentle expression like she was someone else entirely.
Kenneth watched as Rita took Latina up the stairs, then took a look at the inside of his store which seemed to be on the verge of losing control with the addition of alcohol, and sighed. Following the ending of the 『festival』, as new customers came into the shop, it became more and more chaotic.
It was a sigh, full of pity, directed to his own 『little brother』, who was probably facing them with an『expression that looked like someone else completely』 compared to when he was looking at the young girl in his wife’s possession. (TL :それは、妻の少女に向けるものとは大きく異なる『別人のような表情』を向けられるであろう、自分の『弟分』への、憐憫のこもったため息なのであった)
After drinking for real and making a mess, Dale went back to his room in the attic as always, and gulped, seeing the inside of his room being deadly quiet.
He couldn’t see Latina.
He timidly peeked over at the bed. Dale, having thought that Latina would definitely be sulking in bed, grew cold seeing that there was no one there, and silently began nervously looking around his surroundings.
He had obviously felt something wrong the moment he got up to the attic, but he overlooked it because he thought it was probably because he was drunk.
A section of the luggage, in the place which had been their storage, had been moved.
The luggage that had been stacked there, is now a wall, and it seems that a part of that area had been cut away.
He didn’t let out a squeak even then, and when he tried to quietly go take a closer look, a partitioning screen, which acted like a door was standing there, as if obstructing Dale from doing such things.
Normally, the partitioning screen was used when Latina was changing.
He felt like he had already got a good enough answer from just that, but Dale calms down his breathing, and carefully searches for a presence. Normally, he wouldn’t have a need for that, and know for sure that it would definitely be her 『presence』, but all of that, just showed how panicked Dale was.
(!!!! Does her rebellious phase want to steal all the healing away from meeeeee!!!)
As a result, something hot started flowing from both of his eyes, and Dale let out an inaudible scream, falling to his knees heartbroken, and weak.
— The reason he kept his voice in his heart, was due to his consideration for Latina, as it was already past her bedtime. That may be the most obvious, irrefutable evidence of him being a 『Doting parent』 by nature.
(Author’s note: 『UchiMusume』 has now been going on for a year.
This is thanks to the everybody who has been reading. Thank you for the continued support. As a small commemoration, the next three chapters will be side stories. Thanks be always reading.)
(TL: Thanks for reading as well~ also just kidding at the top :v don’t send nudes, ever, public service announcement)