「Ara, Douglas-san? Didn’t you say you were going on a journey……」
When I finished buying the necessary items and stepped out of the general store, someone’s voice was directed to me. I turned around, there was a white-haired old lady whose head was wrapped in scarf. She waved her hands while supporting her hunched back with a walking cane.
(That old lady is……)
The one I helped on the morning day before yesterday when I was leaving the village.
I greeted and moved nearer to her while bringing Ravi. Ravi was hiding behind me as she was shy towards strangers.
「You returned so quickly?」
「That’s right. There’s a situation that made me need to return, so I’ll be staying here for another night. 」
「Well well, isn’t that great. I haven’t repaid you properly for that time, yet right? Please do come and have your dinner at my house. Of course, the lady there is also invited. 」
「No, it’s ……」
「It’s not going to be a feast but just some of our village’s dish, you don’t have to be reserved about it. 」
I didn’t help because I wanted to be repaid.
(But refusing it out right is……)
As the old lady kept telling me to please come, in the end, it became that I will be visiting her in the evening with Ravi.
But securing accommodation comes first. There’s a bar inn named 『Resting Spot of Farmer and Deer』, right across the road from the general store. So, we went our own ways and headed to the inn for now.
As I opened the door of the inn, the sound of bell is rung. The innkeeper that was cleaning the dining room turned towards us.
She had a bright orange hair tied on top of her head, and a high and solid figure. She talks very fast, giving off an impression of impatient person. She didn’t seem to have a friendly face when she saw us.
「Welcome. Staying for another night? Nn? Who’s that child? You didn’t have a child at that time, right? 」
「Ah, there’s some situation……」
As I said vaguely, the innkeeper raised her brows. She glanced at Ravi who’s hiding behind me. Ravi gripped my pants tighter.
「……Fu―n. It doesn’t seem like a kidnapping case, I won’t ask you about it. But I will charge adult price even if the bed is for a child. 」
「Ah, I understand. Of course, I will pay fo――……」
Just as I was in the middle of saying, the innkeeper cut me off.
「Even so, she’s quite dirty now. I won’t let her use the bed if she’s like that. I will put out the tub at the back, so let her wash up before using the inn. 」
Ravi’s shoulder shook at the words of the innkeeper. But before I even had the chance to talk, the innkeeper put her hands on her hips and said in a stern voice.
「It’s not like I said it to be mean, so you don’t have to be so upset. It would be okay if you just cleaned yourself. Understood? Where’s your reply. 」
「Such a soft voice, whatever. I’ll say it first, I won’t prepare any hot water for you, so go fetch some water from the shared well yourself. Get moving now if you understood! 」
The storm-like innkeeper was overwhelming, we didn’t have a chance to even get in a sentence.
The shared well is in the center of the village. By the time I filled a bucket from the well, the innkeeper had already readied the tub. The water splashed loudly as I poured into the tub, after that……
(I must heat it first)
Even if it’s still an afternoon of spring, I don’t wish to wash my body with cold water.
《The spirit of fire, bless me with the flames of anger that you hold―― Fire Magic Salamander》
I used the skill for fire magic and made a fire ball, then I sunk it into the water. It’s the same as heating up water using heated stones. As I sunk the third fire ball, steam started to rise from the water. I put my hand and checked. The temperature is just right.
「Wait, you! Aren’t you quite amazing!! Even though you look so lame!! 」
(Lame she said……)
I returned a bitter smile.
「Well, Ravi. Let’s wash your hair first. 」
Ravi looked at me with a surprised face.
I tilted my head as I didn’t know why she was so surprised…….
「Hey!! She’s a girl right!? Be more mindful about it! 」
It came to me when the innkeeper scolded me. Although I knew she’s a girl, she’s still a kid to me.
(No, well, I guess she’s right……)
「Well then, Ravi. Use this soap here to wash yourself. I will hang the towel on the tree there so it wouldn’t get wet. I will leave your change of clothes there too. 」
It seems the water I prepared isn’t nearly enough to properly clean Ravi’s dirty state thoroughly. I planned to change the water every time but, it’ll be difficult if I wasn’t there.
「I’m sorry but innkeeper, can I trouble you with changing the bathing water? 」
「Goodness, there’s no way huh. The dirt on her won’t come off with that much water, so go get some more hot water prepared. 」
「Ah, I understand. 」
Certainly, there isn’t enough hot water. But I don’t have enough time to carry the water from the community well one by one.
(Mu-, come to think of it, I’m able to use two kinds of skill at the same time now huh)
If so, there wasn’t a need for me to go get water manually.
《The spirit of fire, bless me with the flames of anger that you hold―― Fire Magic Salamander》
《Oh holy spirit of water who seeks the love of a blank soul, grant upon me the water of blessing――Water Magic Undine》
I activated the skills for fire magic and water magic at the same time. The water that is overflowing from my left hand, and the flames that is spewing from my right hand spiraled and became one. As the two magic met, it started to become hot bathing water.
(Good, now let’s fill the buckets with this……)
「……!? W-what was that……!? What in the world was that!? 」
The innkeeper widened her eyes in disbelief.
「Ah, that’s two-fold skill usage.」
「Two-fold skill usage……!? I-it can’t possibly be true……. Wasn’t the Hero the only one who could do that……? Ha― No way! You’re the hero!? …… But you seem too old to be him though……」
(……The two-fold skill user, Hero Alan that was acknowledged by the King, huh)
It seems that, people know him no matter who and where they are. My difficult feelings resurfaced after remembering about my curse, but I forced out a smile to pretend I’m calm.
「Haha……. I’m definitely not the Hero. 」
「Then how can you do such outrageous……」
「Two-fold skill usage is something you can acquire if you work hard enough.」
「Work hard enough…… as if there’s such nonsense…… You- don’t tell me you’re actually some amazing adventurer……」
As the innkeeper delivered her own judgement, I shook my head with a troubled face.
「No, I’m not an adventurer. Just a wanderer. 」
As I kept pouring out hot water into the buckets, the innkeeper used them to bathe Ravi. As I was told that it’s enough already, I left her to the innkeeper and waited for them in the dining hall.
A little while after that, the innkeeper had a proud-looking face as Ravi followed behind her. I swallowed my breath unconsciously.
「How is it? It’s much better now, right? 」
The honey-colored hair that was dirty, had regained its luster. The skin had regained its pearly white after washing up. It seems the one-piece is too long for Ravi after all, but she looks much better in it than my oversized coat.
Above all, her bangs that had been cut short to around her eyebrows. Her hair was shorter, but her big eyes which can be seen now gives off a totally different impression.
(She looks so different with just the bangs cut……)
Even though her gestures are still the same, she looked much more energetic. Her mood should change when compared to when she was still looking through the gaps of her bangs.
(The feeling of nothing blocking your vision is great after all)
「Because her bangs are so long that I can’t help it but trim it. Of course, I’ve gotten permission from her. Hey, it looks nice, right? 」
Although Ravi looked embarrassed as she covered her bangs, it seems that the innkeeper was right as Ravi didn’t look like she disliked it.
「You look cute now that you look like a proper children.」
Ravi’s cheek is painted with red as she tried to hide her embarrassment.
(With this I can read her expression better)
After I said my thanks to the innkeeper, Ravi bowed to her too.
It’s my turn to wash up now that Ravi is done. I borrowed the tub and went on my way to clean my dirty and sweaty body. I also washed my old wears at the same time. Originally, leaving them to dry naturally is best, but I won’t make in time since it’s already afternoon. After I changed my clothes, I used wind magic to dry them quickly.
When I took a breather as I finished up, the village’s scenery is starting to turn red from the sunset. The time is just right. I brought Ravi with me and left the inn.
The old lady served us with soup filled with vegetables, bacon made from venison, soft and fluffy bread, then lastly, wine. Ravi had milk instead of wine. The old lady said it was freshly squeezed from the cows in her backyard. Ravi seemed to like it a lot as she gulped it down.
「Was it a trip to pick up your daughter?」
The old lady smiled gently while giving out another bowl of soup.
Since I told Ravi earlier in the inn that we would be pretending to be family temporarily, I nodded back. It’s a bad habit that my gaze seems to swim around every time I lied.
「Is it fun to travel around with your father? 」
The old lady asked Ravi.
She became silent again after muttering that. Although she was facing downwards, I can see her expression clearly now that her bangs are trimmed.
(I can see her expression but……I wonder what’s Ravi thinking about now……)
She was shutting her eyes and a faint smile was on her face……
It’s a face that’s like the warmth of the soup spreading throughout your body.
(Is she thinking about her father? She did say her family is no more but……, does that mean they had already passed away……)
I felt my I shouldn’t touch that topic, so I hadn’t asked her about it till now. I still didn’t know how’s my relationship with Ravi. Even if we are to separate at the city of Balzac, we are going to be travelling together for a few months, so I would be lonely if we weren’t close.
(I hope we can get closer bit by bit)
I wished that deeply in my heart.