Leah didn’t dare to accept the candy. I looked at the man. He kept his hand out in front of Leah. He smiled, and then looked at me, “I was just joking. It’s not likely possible to win you over by with a candy. I, honestly, really like children, and Leah is so cute. No man wouldn’t want to put a smile on such a cute girl’s face, right? Here, take it, Leah.
I looked at him. He certainly didn’t have any noticeable ulterior motives on his face, and a candy wouldn’t be considered a condition at the negotiation table. The price is too low. Further, I didn’t feel that he intended to talk to me about anything, so I nodded, “Leah, thank him and then take it.”
“Thank you, Uncle!”
Leah happily smiled. Her bright smile makes the sun and candy pale in comparison. Her innocent smile on her cute face was the most beautiful scene in the world. The man’s expression that looked awkward. He hopelessly said, “U-Uncle…”
“Ah, call him Big Brother!”
“…” Leah looked at the man in front of her with surprise. She then looked at me feeling awkward and softly replied, “Papa, he doesn’t look like a ‘big brother’…”
“Forget it. Forget it. I’m fine. I don’t mind it.”
The man shook his head with a smile, and then stood up. We squeezed out of the store together. The kids on both sides of the store looked at Leah with envious gazes. Leah vigilantly watched them and quickly licked her board of candy.
I looked at the man and asked, “You came here this time to see the Fire Torch Festival?”
“How did you know there are two of us?”
He chuckled softly, while I pursed my lips. I then said, “I don’t think your bodyguard would let you come to such a rowdy place alone. You didn’t let Angelina come along when you came to see us, because of her relationship with Veirya, am I right?”
“Yes. After all, I want to see you three, so I can’t let her come. However, I don’t actually have any business. I just noticed that the person who organised this Fire Torch Festival was somebody I knew, so I felt that I should come and greet you.”
I chuckled, and then turned around to look at him. He then lowered his head and leaned into my ear. His behaviour disgusted me out, so I almost pushed him away. My gut feeling telling me he was gay got stronger and stronger. Next to my ear, he softly said, “You sure are bold to organise such a grand festival that belongs to heretics in an area the Chapel manages. They won’t just watch with their arms folded. I hope that you will be a little cautious.”
I remembered the simple life in the city that resembled the life of a suffering monk. Then I looked at how prospering and lively the town was. The Fire Torch Festival is considered a festival for heretics. The humans residing here aren’t believers of the Chapel and Veirya seems to have a grudge with them, or else she wouldn’t have refused to wear a cape with their emblem on it.
“Yes. The Chapel is in the city at the moment. If you are not careful, and the Chapel extends their claws here, then that will make Angelina and Veirya very upset.”
“Angelina is a knight serving the Chapel, right?”
The man nodded, and then moved away from my ear. He chuckled and continued, “But you do not need to worry too much. I believe that the Chapel will not do anything today. However, their power is now very significant, so I hope you be attentive. After all, I do not want for our collaboration to end prematurely. That is all from me. I must go and look for my bodyguard. Goodbye, and I hope you enjoy today.”
I nodded and watched him gradually go into the crowd. Leah then suddenly placed the board of candy in front of me. She asked with a smile, “Papa, do you want some? It truly is very sweet.”
I looked blankly at the board with sugar stuck to it.
‘This is the candy Leah just sucked. On it is Leah’s… No, no, no. Leah is my daughter. I can’t have any thoughts that cross the boundary. This doesn’t count as a kiss, either. It’s just… No, no. No! Leah is a succubus. Her body fluids might affect me in some way as a man.’
“Papa doesn’t want any. Enjoy yourself.”
Leah looked at me a little bewildered. She then looked at the board as though she was somewhat sick of it. Perhaps she was a little sick of it, because it was too sweet. However, it’d be a waste to throw it away now. Leah looked at the candy in her hand, and then she looked at Veirya next to her. Veirya didn’t care about candies, so she didn’t say anything. Leah frowned, and then pursed her lips. After a moment of hesitation, she held the candy up to Veirya.
Veirya froze up and then looked down at Leah. Leah shuddered and then pulled her hand back as if nothing happened. However, Veirya certainly didn’t see it as if nothing happened. She extended her hand out and snatched the board of candy from Leah’s hand. She then poured it down her mouth and bit down onto it, crushing the candy in her mouth.
At first, I thought Veirya stole the candy from Leah, but on second thought, Veirya is that sort of person who does pointless things. Leah looked at Veirya feeling a little intimidated, but Veirya didn’t care about the way Leah looked at her. She chewed the candy and then tossed the wooden board away with an indifferent expression as though nothing happened.
‘Was that… a kiss between Leah and Veirya?’
The crowd suddenly cheered loudly. Both sides of the street suddenly got congested. I held Leah’s hand as tight as I could. The crowd bumped Leah silly, leaving her at a loss for what to do. The three of us got swamped by the crowd so suddenly. Veirya, who was eating just a moment ago, couldn’t grab Leah’s hand in time. Leah hugged my thigh and shouted, “Papa! Papa! That woman has gone missing… That woman has gone missing…”
“It’s all right. It’s all right. Leah, hang onto me tightly. Don’t get lost!”
It doesn’t matter if Veirya gets separated from us. An adult would know where they are if they get separated, not to mention that Veirya will stand in place without budging, so we’ll be able to locate her once the crowd disperses. I picked Leah up to avoid letting her get lost, as well as to avoid leaving her blind, since she can’t see the centre of the street.
A large burner was then carried over by over ten people. A large wooden puppet sat on top of it. Behind the large burner was a musical band that followed along and blew their instruments as they walked. Everybody behind the crowd was holding a jug of wine, walking while pouring wine onto the people on both sides of the street. The air quickly smelt like wine. Everybody cheerfully watched the red wine spray through the air. Some even opened their mouths to try and catch it. They didn’t care that their clothes got stained with red wine. Leah curiously licked the wine on her hand, only to then immediately scrunch her cute face up and spit.
They walked to the centre of the plaza and placed the large burner on the ground. Everybody stood around the burner. They then raised their pots of wine up and poured it onto the crowd on both sides. The music band gathered underneath the burner then began their playing. The crowds on both sides cheered loud as ocean waves. Plenty of couples eagerly rushed over underneath the burner and began dancing. Leah then pointed in a direction and exclaimed, “Papa! Papa! That woman is over there!!”
I squeezed through the crowd in the direction Leah pointed. I saw the corner of a blue cape. I quickly reached out to grab her arm. Veirya turned her head around and looked at me with surprise. I was thrown off a little by her surprised gaze. I asked, “What’s wrong?”
She simply nodded without a word, and then grabbed hold of my hand. I was somewhat surprised. I looked at her. Her gaze was lifeless once again.
‘Could she have gotten a fright when she got separated from us just now? But, whatever.’
Veirya’s hand was indeed very warm. Her hand wasn’t smooth, but it put me at complete ease. I looked at the side of her face feeling a little surprised. The side of her face is so beautiful, except that she’s expressionless. However, I cherish this warm sensation from her hands.