Youth, Ponders About Paying The Annual Tribute
“Recently, I have started to seriously consider marrying Latina.”
“I do feel that it is very late.”
“After all this time, huh?”
“Although it would have been okay to get dumped too.”
In response to Dale’s sudden, spontaneous decision, the whole household, and a puppy, answered in unison. Is it okay to cry now?
Theo’s little sister, Ema, who was in Kenneth’s arms, had reached out her hands to pat Dale. Rustling his black hair and making them messy, she smiled contently. It looked like she was trying to console him.
“And so, I am genuinely looking for a house but…”
“It doesn’t matter to me if Dale leaves but big sis is fine here”
“Uttering the same things as the parent….”
“If Dale encounters an unforeseen accident, I will take big sis as a bride”
“I’ve been wondering for quite a while but, the old men who visit this shop are the worst in preschool education, aren’t they? ”
“It’s a real relief that Latina grew up to be upright.”
Kenneth also agreed with Dale there, glancing doubtfully at Ema.
“I won’t kick the bucket that easily, okay?”
“Big sis is a Demon, so there will be many chances. I am younger, so I have a long way to go.”
“….. Really… What are those old men drilling into them? “
“Mufun” – Theo did not get depressed by Dale’s refutation but wore a triumphant look on his face. In fact, owing to the child’s confident statement, Dale was at his wit’s end.
“Even still, marriage…. you’re rushing quite a lot of things, aren’t you? Just when I thought you were set on postponing it, you suddenly decide on that.”
It was obvious that Rita would be surprised. Leaving Latina aside, to think even the well-grown Dale, who had been continuing his lenient, platonic relation, would come to this decision.
“How do I say this, you see…. the part of me being Latina’s Guardian still remains now but”
“Well… you are still her Guardian, after all”
“As a Guardian, I think of it like this- ‘I will beat the people who try to lay their hands on her for fun to death’.”
‘You… even if it is not for fun, you will not show any mercy to anyone who lay their hands on her, will you?’ – such a retort had formed in the mind’s of the husband and wife but they held back.
“And as such, it is also the same for me, personally. I did not want to do anything half-baked towards Latina. She also thinks of everything in a different way after all.”
“And so, marriage eh?”
“Frankly, these days, I am scared I might lay my hands on her little by little”
“Latina… she sure grew up too huh….”
“She sure did….”
“She herself was worried about it so much too… the next thing you know, it was in a blink of an eye, wasn’t it? …. It’s even bigger than mine now….”
Precisely because they knew her as a child, the adults felt as if it was too quick.
As for Rita, after glancing at her own chest, she let out a slight sigh. It was absolutely not that being big meant better and she did not really mind it that much either, anyway. Even still, having someone she thought of as her little sister to establish such a lead; she was left in a complicated mental state.
“We are sleeping together but…”
The two, Dale and Latina, had separated beds for a period of time before but the place where they live, the Dancing Ocelot’s attic, was too small to make a two part room. The small, narrow space Latina created to put some distance between her and Dale was really only to take refuge for a short period of time.
As a result, along with their reconciliation, Latina returned to Dale’s place.
Originally, in regards to home heaters and room numbers, especially in the countrysides, sharing a bed between one family was not that rare of a thing.
If you think like that, even Dale and Latina being covered in one futon is not a conduct which would bring about suspicion.
Having slipped into his side, Latina’s happy and comfortable figure was extremely sweet. Maybe unconsciously but, Latina’s gesture of snuggling up to Dale in search of warmth had healed Dale. It was like that before but, sometime in between, in the process of that behavior, he had started to feel a soft, tender touch.
After realizing what that actually was, Dale had been subtly attempting to put distance in-between them. But Dale did not possess any special ability which could completely restrain his conducts while he was unconscious in his sleep.
“Waking up to that nice feeling and hugging Latina before I realize is the pattern nowadays.”
“Well he would feel like bragging, huh”
As usual. This man can’t be a little timider at these points.
“Well, Latina being cute is an irrefutable fact, after all”
Their skill to circumvent talks on such a matter is also increasing gradually each year.
“Did you find a place that suits your needs?”
“That is the difficult part… for what it matters, I am searching for a place in the western ward but…. Latina would definitely want to come here, right?”
“Without Latina, it would be difficult for us too, after all”
“Thanks to Latina, Theo did not go through infantile regression too.”
Both of the parents, especially Kenneth, and the grandfather of the newly born Ema, had started to dote on her more. The mother, Rita, had drawn a line for that matter but still gets caught up, as Ema is still an infant.
Theo didn’t sulk and go through the so-called infantile regression because Latina spent all her time with him to that extent.
It was not like she did not take an interest to the infant.
But even still, Latina was perceptive in noticing that Theo was feeling lonely after her little sister was born. And for that, she gave her full attention to Theo.
Loving elder sister more than his parents – for Theo, it turned out alright in the end.
“While that may be true, it will be a concern while I am away at work around here…. to settle with the safety while making a round trip, or with the assurance of public order while I am absent… that’s the concern….”
In the past, Dale had thought about plans to set up a new home with Latina multiple times.
Especially when Latina was even younger, having her live by herself while he was away on a long trip was the cause for concern. When thinking about Latina’s personal security, Ocelot’s environment of the attic gave him the most peace of mind compared to that of the stately mansion of the high-end residential area.
At a well-off mansion in the west ward, the public order is good but there is the risk of robbery. If he were to hire an employee for maintenance or security, he would also have to verify their personality.
To work at Ocelot, Latina would have to commute really early in the morning or at night-time when pedestrian traffic is low. It is obviously worrisome to have a girl walk alone during these times.
Nevertheless, if they search for a home near Ocelot, it would be in a place where the public order is not well-maintained. There are a lot of travelers or ruffians in this area whose origins are not clear. And it is not as if everyone is a good person either.
“I understand that Latina can defend herself to a certain extent, being a magician. Even then, it does not change the fact that it is dangerous. …. Latina is a girl who is kind at her core so even against hoodlums, she might hesitate…. even though it is completely alright to be in a position ready to kill”
“You can’t be that unbound normally, you know….”
“I will beat them to death!”
“You aren’t very good at pre-school education yourself, are you?”
To his son, who had declared that with his small clenched fists, the father passed his calm judgment.
“And your absence is also something that will be easily felt… in a lot of different meanings, you are famous. Among the youngsters these days, there are a lot of those guys looking at you as a hero, The Renowned Dale Reki of the Royal Capital.”
And most of these young men were shocked after seeing the real thing.
It is no longer an exaggeration that the Kroix specialty, his appearance as a doting parent, is as well known as his name.
“And if word gets out that you are away from home and Latina is living alone….”
“It wouldn’t be surprising if perverts appear every day”
“If Wind is there, he could be the watchdog but…. Honestly, I still can’t do it”
“And so I was thinking if it was at least necessary to properly announce to the those in the neighbourhood and make our relation clear. Let them know that Latina is mine.”
Knowing that seeking reasons like that was also a form of Dale hiding his embarrassment, the person who was like Dale’s elder brother, and his wife, did not try to dig any further.