An Adult and Two Children
Daniela dragged the child out of the snow by the one ankle that protruded from the snow. Then she carried the little prisoner under her arm as she walked back to our camp. She did all of this without saying a word.
“…Ah, I’m supposed to set up the barrier.”
I had been dumbfounded by all that had happened, but then remembered what it was that I was supposed to be doing. And so I quickly returned to work.
Once I was finished setting the other three devices in place, I activated them and made sure they were working properly.
I could feel the flow of magic. Thunder magic. It was a golden yellow color.
Then I did another scan of the area with Presence Detection and Eyes of the God Wolf. But it seemed that the child really was alone… Hey, I knew what that felt like.
I returned to the camp to see a bonfire blazing in the center. It was easy for us since we had an ignition tool and lots of firewood we had stocked up on. Otherwise, it would have been hard to secure firewood out here where everything was covered in snow and ice. But we could fit plenty of it in the hollow bag.
The beastkin child was lying asleep on top of a thick blanket that was placed close to the fire.
Daniela stopped poking the fire with a tree branch and looked up at me.
“Its clothes were wet, so I thought to make a fire so that they could dry.”
Daniela said as she glanced at the child.
“Well, it was your fault from what I saw…”
“And how else should I had prevented an escape?”
“I could have used Legs of the God Wolf?”
I just needed a second more to get ready.
“But you looked indecisive. And this one looked faster than you would expect.”
“Well, I’ll admit that it caught me by surprise…”
The kid was fast, to be sure. And the forest was dense and thick with treacherous snow. And yet he…her? Was running through it as if it was nothing.
“So, I am clearly blameless.”
“Hmm… I don’t know if I agree with you wholeheartedly, but the results are decent enough.”
Nothing bad had happened, at least. Yes, my hand could have been obliterated, but that didn’t happen.
I looked at the beastkin child again. It had pointed, triangular ears on its head. They were cat-like, I suppose… I wasn’t sure. No visible tail. Well, maybe it was hidden underneath all of the winter clothes.
“Still, why is a child out here in the forest and all alone?”
“Lost, I assume. Perhaps the parents or others from their settlement will be arriving soon…”
I spread out Presence Detection upon hearing Daniela’s speculation. But there was still nothing to detect. The sun was coming down already. Perhaps they wouldn’t start to search until tomorrow morning…
“For now, I think we should just let the child sleep by the fire and wait until morning.”
“Right. Well, might as well eat then…”
I took out a low table and some street food from the hollow bag.
I just wasn’t in the mood to cook up a whole meal.
We then chose what we wanted and started to eat. This boat journey had been our first in a while, and so I had become over-excited the first few days and did a lot of cooking. But I definitely felt different now. Perhaps it was because we were closer to the deep forest.
We ate in silence for a while until we were full. And since there was nothing to do, I stared into the fire.
The sleeping child suddenly rolled over and slowly opened its eyes.
“You’re awake then?”
How very polite. But it probably didn’t understand what was happening. The child rubbed at its eyes and looked around.
Now it understood.
“Alright now. It’s time for a little talk.”
“Yes. Let’s start with an introduction. I’m Asagi. This is Daniela.”
I said while raising my hands to show that we meant no harm. Daniela was still looking at the fire.
“Uh…I’m Mishka…please don’t kill me…”
“Since you asked nicely, we agree not to kill you. We’re very good people after all.”
Yes, this was going well.
“Bro…brother. You’re not going to hurt me…?
“Of course, not. We’re just people who happened to be passing by.”
Mishka was nice enough to not insinuate that I was old. It had nothing to do with applying any pressure.
She seemed relieved at this, and let out a long sigh.
“Are you hungry?”
“Uh, no, I’m…”
But her stomach betrayed her. She looked embarrassed.
“I don’t know if you’ll like this, but you can try it if you want.”
I took out several items from the hollow bag. Mishka’s eye seemed to shine as she looked at them.
“Ca-can…I eat this?”
“Sure. There’s plenty more.”
She must have been very hungry, as she held the skewer with both hands as she ate. Yes. Children should eat a lot so they can grow tall. It was common sense.
Daniela on the other hand, could probably refrain a little.
“Hmm. I seem to have some unoccupied space in my stomach now.”
“You sure are quick. But no, this is for her.”
“Hmph… So you are sweet to other girls.”
“Don’t say it like that. Besides, aren’t you the oldest, most mature one here?”
“Hey, who is the one that needs to choose their words here!”
A ridiculous argument erupted after Daniela attempted to eat some of the food I had laid out. Daniela was much older than me, but she underwent a change when food was involved. I liked that about her, but there were times when she went too far.
Just then, I heard someone chuckling to the side. Of course, it was Mishka.
“Hehehe…oh, I’m sorry…”
“No, there’s no need to apologize. In fact, you can laugh all you want. She deserves it.”
“Hey, Asagi. How can you say such a thing? I was just going to eat some meat as I was getting hungry.”
“There are more important things to deal with! Have some self-control!”
Daniela didn’t budge, and so the stupid exchange continued. This time, Mishka opened her mouth wide and laughed. After that, neither of us felt like continuing.
“Ahahaha! Ha… You are both so childish.”
“You got half of that right. It’s just her that’s childish.”
“I am an adult, Mishka.”
“Hehe. You are both like children.”
She stated flatly. Daniela and I looked at each other in surprise. Then we chuckled.
“Well… It’s also important to have a young heart.”
“Indeed. Those who forget what it is like to be a child are not truly grown up.”
We said, desperately trying to vindicate ourselves after being laughed at by a child.
…In any case, there was no suspicion or fear left. So that was good.
We just needed to find out why she was here… But I suppose we could wait until all of the hot food was gone.
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