Youth, Expressing his doubts again. First.
“I don’t really get it, but I know that you said something rude to me, okay.”
Dale replied, turning towards Wind who just spoke with his gaze looking up at him from the bottom of the bed, and rolled his eyes. Although asking for some decency from an animal may seem somewhat absurd, was it truly so wrong to request it from such an 『abnormal beast』?
“…That’s right, Latina. After this, go get a proper check up from Rose. Although it’s nothing major, I’m inflicted by 『Magic Impairment』 so… I can’t say for sure that you won’t catch it.”
Although it was a low chance, it was a 『chance』 that caused him worry precisely because it was his precious Latina. However, seeing such a worried Dale, Latina smiled and answered.
“It’s alright. I… can’t get 『Magic Impairment』.”
Looking at Dale, who questioned her with a dumbfounded face, Latina answered as if it was something obvious.
“I can catch light illnesses. However, nothing truly harmful like 『Magic Impairment』. I won’t catch anything major. Nothing that would harm my life.”
“What’s with that?”
It was something he had never heard before. Nevertheless, Latina made a face as if she was still puzzled at Dale’s response.
“That’s what Rag said. Just like how 『Those who possess the protection of the gods』won’t be afflicted by the 『Demon Lord’s』 power; 『Those protected by the laws of fate』, also won’t be afflicted by the 『Demon Lord’s』 power… that’s what he said.”
“No…. I’ve never heard of anything like that.”
『Those who possess the protection of the gods』, most likely refers to those with a high ranking 『Divine Protection』.
However, he did not have the slightest idea at what she meant by 『Those protected by the laws of fate』. Speaking of which, Dale had a feeling that she’s mentioned something along the lines of being 『protected by fate』 before.
“Latina…. The 『Fate』 that protects you… what is it?”
“….I don’t…. Really know….”
She needed a little bit of time before she could answer.
With a gulp, he swallowed down his desires of wanting to ask her. If he was to do as his feelings dictated, and threw her that question then, it would just scare her and cause her to close up.
This girl was stubborn in a strange way. If he made a mistake here then, she probably wouldn’t say anything about 『this matter』 anymore.
“Latina…. Is that, something that would…. Be harmful to you?”
“I don’t know….”
Latina repeats herself, and looks at Dale. With her own eyes, she saw that there was a certain 『worry』 within him, then made a slightly troubled face.
“Um, you know…. I really 『don’t know』, nano…. It’s been 『normal』 to me ever since I was born, and my parents, too, explained it to me like it was something 『normal』 so…. I didn’t really know that, it was 『different to other people』.”
Having it explained to there, Dale couldn’t possibly investigate any further.
Dale could understand a little as he possessed a 『divine protection』, which he too came to know as merely『that sort of thing』, and was a 『power』 that he just had to come to understand. He also recalled how difficult it was to explain with words, especially to those without a similar 『power』.
And so Dale decided to switch back to an earlier topic. One that he had raised previously, and didn’t get a proper answer to.
“Why… are you here?”
“I mean, after I had reached the Royal Capital, I had asked Gregor to contact Kroix and…. Only 3 days should’ve passed since. The time doesn’t match, you know?”
That was the reason why Dale felt strange as to why 『Latina was here』. He was skilled in horseriding, and by pushing the horse to the limit, as well as the use of Recovery magic, the trip would take around 2 days. If it was Latina, who couldn’t ride horses, and used a stage-coach equivalent; it would probably take at least a week, even if you assume that the journey had gone well.
No matter which way he thought about it, it didn’t match the time period.
When Dale pointed that out, Latina looked startled, and stiffened up.
He remembered that reaction and that look on her face. It was like back when Latina was a child and had gone out to play with her friends, playing pranks and plotting small conspiracies, as appropriate for her age. An 『easy to understand reaction』.
Geez, even that easy to understand part of her, is cute, but… She’s definitely planning something! Although, I’m sure that if I was to purposefully fall for the 『prank』 right in front of a heart-pounding Latina, her reaction would be so cute!
As Dale was thinking that, he didn’t let his thoughts show on his face, and asked her another question.
“….Did you leave Kroix without saying anything to Kenneth and the others?”
If that was the case, he honestly couldn’t bring himself to be mad at her, seeing that he『ran away from her』. He sweated a little in his heart.
However, Latina shook her head at Dale’s words.
“No. (Uun). I got Kenneth’s permission properly. He told me that if I was going to the Royal Capital then I had to prepare properly.”
It was at her next words, where he started actually sweating.
“But he said, if I had reflexively tried to run away, that would’ve been no good and he would’ve gotten angry….”
Although they weren’t『related by blood』, it’s definitely true that they seemed very similar in some certain aspects.
“So…. Latina. What did you do?”
“Um, you see…. So uhh… Wind and I, you see…”
Latina’s gaze swam hesitantly, but after some time, she seemed prepared and started to narrate her tale as if she was confessing her sins.
Next to her, a bold Mystical Beast dog gave a refreshing and energetic reply.
In the letter from the Royal Capital, that arrived in Kroix, was a simple, and plain message; but it had noted that Dale’s condition wouldn’t become a big deal, and that high ranking priests of Nili, such as Rose, were treating him.
Nevertheless, Latina was in a furious panic.
Sensing that Latina was about to try and impulsively rush out of the 『Dancing Ocelot』, Kenneth made her stay by force.
“NO, LET ME GO!! DALE, I’M GOING TO WHERE DALE IS!!”
The strength used to seize her two arms, was not so weak that Latina could swing herself free. Despite that, she changed the look in her eyes and looked up at Kenneth.
Kenneth could also perceive the dangerous glint burning brightly within her grey eyes, and growled in a quiet, yet strong-willed voice.
Latina flinches a little in shock. As someone who once used to lead a party of adventurers, Kenneth’s voice had a 『strength』 to it that only those with such a past could accomplish.
“Latina…. If you’re going to the Royal Capital, don’t be so reckless….”
Rita, who hadn’t been able to interrupt, came to hug Latina from behind with a pale face. Latina couldn’t bring herself to throw off the pregnant Rita. Which is when Kenneth let go of her arms.
“If you’re going to the Royal Capital then you can after you’ve done the proper preparations. You should know that travelling isn’t so easy that you can go without preparing travel clothes or your itinerary, right?”
Hearing Kenneth’s answer, it wasn’t just Rita but even Latina was surprised.
Kenneth didn’t dwell on the two’s reactions, he just turned to look at the regulars at the shop.
“Gilbester, do you have any reliable acquaintances in the Royal Capital?”
“I have a few in mind.”
“In that case, please write a letter of recommendation for Latina. Is there anyone who’s familiar with the roads?”
“Yeah, I have a customer from over there.”
“I want to know of the recent movements on the roads as well as an inn where female travellers can stay without worry.”
“If that’s the case then, wait ‘til tonight. I’ll ask some of the other guys, and get the full details.”
Seeing Kenneth who was giving out these brisk instructions, Latina interrupted with panic. Her face had a never-been-seen-before look of surprise on it.
“Weren’t you… going to stop me?”
“Do you want me to?”
“Uun. I want to go….”
“Then, you need to prepare properly. Go pack your clothes, and gear as well. I’ll go check on you later.”
After seeing Latina off, who was rushing up to her bedroom as if she was bouncing, Rita came to her senses, and was looking at her husband with a sense of blame.
“Kenneth, what are you thinking…..”
“With how she’s acting right now, even if we tried to stop her by force; she would probably sneak out by herself and head to the Royal Capital. If she’s going to do something reckless then, it would be more constructive if we prepare her well, and 『have her do something reckless』with a higher success rate.”
Having been driven into the corner, Latina’s face had a determined look, as if nothing could stop her, even if she had to beat down Kenneth. Such a danger was present.
Right now, even if it looks like she had been persuaded and appeased somewhat, she would probably head to the Royal Capital alone and out-of-sight. There’s also a limit to how much they could keep a watch over her. Of course, they could explain the situation to the gatekeepers; but he didn’t want it developing into a big problem where she gets heavily questioned at the gates.
“To be honest, I almost want to ask for a female-only party of adventurers to escort Latina but…”
Hearing Kenneth mutter that, Gilbester too had a tough look on his face.
“That would be rather difficult…”
Compared to men, there were far fewer female adventurers. Furthermore, to form a female-only party of adventurers whom they could trust, just wouldn’t be possible on so short notice.
“Rather than leaving Latina in the hands of some dirty men…. It might be better to have Wind go.”
Kenneth said it with a little reluctance, turning towards the 『dog』who had showed his face hearing the previous chaos. Gilbester, too, answered with a sigh.
“Things like this have nothing to do with age after all.” (1)
They couldn’t eliminate the possibility that the adventurers, who were nothing like gentlemen in the first place, would make a move on Latina using the reason that they were comforting her, who was currently in a state of unrest.
“Although, I think that even alone, Latina would be able to manage somehow once she’d prepared to head to the Royal Capital. What I’m worried about the most, is Latina’s safety.”
“How good is the girly’s ability as a magician?”
“It seems that she’s learnt offensive, and defensive barrier magic. She knows how to protect herself. Which is why, after that, it’s all good as long as she has the time to chant her spells.”
“Then…. Maybe this 『dog』 would be a reliable bodyguard.”
Wind, who had only understood that he had become the topic of discussion, tilted his head sideways in puzzlement.
(1): (TL: 「こればっかりは、歳も関係ねえからな」) or as Blue also suggests: “they’re trash no matter what age after all”