‘The clothes arrived in the evening. I must say that Leah looks very cute in the female shirt and small skirt. However, she wore thick pants underneath the skirt to stay warm. She can wear the skirt and connected shirt as a standalone in summer, though. This set of clothes is the same as a sukumizu that comes down to her thighs. That will also keep Leah’s stomach covered as best as possible, and she would look real cute when she’s soaked in water. If possible, I’d like to see if we can get a pair of thigh-high socks for her. She’d look perfectly cute with that look.’
Leah sat on the chair and looked around cheerfully. I went down on one knee in front of her to help her put her boots on. Music was already playing outside. Leah was now particularly excited. She looked as though she was ready to sprint outside without even getting dressed. I gently finished up by tying up the laces at the back of the boots.
Leah cheerfully hopped off the chair, and then grabbed hold of my hand and cheerfully shouted, “Papa, Papa! Let’s hurry and go see it! Leah is looking forward to it! Leah wants to go!”
“Don’t rush, Leah, don’t rush.”
I stood up with a smile and turned around. Veirya had finished putting her boots on and was now on her feet. I randomly felt it was a pity I didn’t get to help Veirya wear her boots on. However, she didn’t need me, anyway. Veirya’s new cape had been repaired. There was now a military emblem on the back of the cape, which was a picture of a shield and the head of a wild beast. After draping her cape over her shoulders, she looked at me and said, “We can go now.”
Veirya didn’t change, or rather, all her clothes are the same. She seemed more mindful today, however, as she wore a relatively formal military robe. Thus, it appears that she does consider this festival important, or maybe this is just the clothes she wears to festivals as a soldier.
I nodded and then took hold of Leah’s hand. She gleefully ran to the door, pulling me along in tow. The instant she opened the door was as though she opened the door to a new world. The cheerful laughter of the people outside, as well as the mix of indistinctive shouting and music could also be heard. The aroma in the air was fragrant. Stalls set up with cloth and wooden planks had been set up. The owners were calling and shouting to promote their items. Many people were sat at wooden tables drinking beer and munching on simple snacks. The streets were bustling with people, making it appear as though there was nowhere to walk. The plaza was even noisier. There were already some couples holding hands there as they cheerfully danced to the music around the giant.
Leah was absolutely blown away with surprise. She looked at the bustling crowd in front of her blankly and in a surprised tone asked, “Papa, Papa, are there this many people in the town?!”
“No… We don’t have this many people in the town… I’m sure that there aren’t just people from the town here. I’d venture a guess that even people from the city and villages nearby have come.”
The crowd squeezing in and out started to frustrate and tire me a little. I had no choice but to hold Leah’s hand tightly to prevent us getting separated. Leah’s small body literally got knocked and spun around by the crowds, so she could’ve ended up being separate from me at any given moment. I pulled her to my side and held her hand tightly, “Leah, do not separate from Papa. You must hold Papa’s hand, okay?! Veirya! Veirya!!”
From my side, Veirya looked at me with confusion. She asked, “What?”
I extended my right hand out and hastily said, “Can we hold hands? It’s going to be bad if we get separated in this crowd.”
Veirya looked at me, and then my hand, “No need. I won’t separate from you two. And, it’s fairly pointless to hold hands.”
I looked at her and responded awkwardly, “No… We should still hold hands, nevertheless… Or how about holding Leah’s hand? Otherwise, she’ll get separated from us by the people.”
Veirya didn’t show any hesitation at all this time. She went right up to Leah’s side and took hold of her hand. That hurt my feelings.
‘I’ve helped her many times before, yet she doesn’t care about me. She awe-inspiringly said I was her object that she wouldn’t let anybody touch last time. She doesn’t even care for my feelings now, though. She won’t even hold hands with me…’
What surprised me, though, was that Leah didn’t give much of a reaction. While she did look at Veirya and pout unhappily, she didn’t show disgust or contempt.
‘Has Leah started to fear Veirya less now? They have been living together for a long time, so I guess Veirya’s good will has reached Leah.’
‘I do think that the good will would’ve been understood a lot sooner if it was somebody else, right…? Veirya’s tried her best, though.’
The three of us held hands. Leah cheerfully walked between the stalls on both sides of the street. I’ve never seen these sorts of foods before, but the small colourful snacks were bound to attract kids like Leah. I even saw a snack where they brewed sugar and used the resulting syrup to write words. That gave me a nostalgic feeling.
There was a crowd of very eager children in front of the sugar syrup. Sweets must be the equivalent of a luxurious enjoyment to kids. I was stupefied when I saw the price board to the side. The sugar I know of wasn’t worth money, yet it was now an amazing one silver coin for one small tube. One tube was only enough to write one letter.
‘That’s very expensive. I barely have a penny on me after buying the clothes, so I can’t afford such an expensive food. It didn’t look as though the owner cared what kids thought, either, because his attention was on the women dressed in clean, pretty clothing that gave the impression that they were wealthy.’
‘It appears that even candy is a luxurious item here.’
Leah is a very sensible kid. She wanted some badly, but after looking at me, she just tugged on my shirt and said, “Papa, let’s go.”
“It’s all right…”
Leah shook her head with a smile. She turned around and grabbed out hands to leave. I looked at her small head. I felt so ashamed of myself. I felt so ashamed I could rob the stall.
‘Leah is, indeed, a very sensible daughter, but that makes me feel so ashamed as her father. This powerless feeling is basically the most humiliating feeling a man could experience. It’s a humiliating feeling that nobody can put up with!’
Veirya looked at the owner and Leah. She reached for her sword at her waist with her right hand. I quickly pressed my hand on her shoulder. He didn’t do anything wrong. He’s just doing business. Robbing would put us in the wrong. We can’t do it here.
“My, how coincidental.”
I suddenly heard a familiar voice from behind. I turned my head around with surprise. A man dressed in a black robe passed by me. He took the largest sugar plate on the stand, and then threw down a few gold coins. I looked at him feeling astonished. The man reached his hand out and passed the candy to Leah with a smile. He then said, “I, naturally, need to relax at such a ceremonious festival. A child’s smile can make me a lot happier than money can. Here, cute girl. This candy is to bribe your father. I believe that your father will understand what I mean.”
*Sukumizu is short for “school mizugi”, which is the common swimsuit seen in Anime/Manga.