After cleaning up the remnants of the celebration, just as I expected, rain started falling.
「That was really close……」
As I said that while looking out the window, Catlie, staring out of the window next to me replied similarly.
「That just means luck was on our side! The reason that we made the roof in one go was also to counter the rain. 」
「Is that so? 」
「Yes. Having the rain fall onto the newly finished frame would just ruin our efforts. 」
Certainly, unlike the foundation which was made from bricks, the frame is made of wood. It would be all over if it was rained on.
「Since as the roof is complete, we can continue our work indoors. So, let’s go all out tomorrow as well! 」
「Haha. How reliable. 」
But on the next day, the way to the inn was weirdly flooded with people. It seems that the neighbors are gathered for some reason. What could it be……?
While getting an unwell feeling, I hurried together with Ravi. After that――.
「T-This is……!? 」
Weaving through the crowds of people, the scenery that entered my eyes was too unbelievable.
What in the world happened? I hurriedly ran, and the situation unfolding in my eyes was shocking.
Unbelievably, the roof that we just made yesterday, there’s a big hole in it. And probably the rain had gotten inside from there. Inside the building was totally wet, it was a terrible sight.
I couldn’t say anything other than that.
「If it’s this flooded inside, then wouldn’t that mean that we have to take it down and build it again……」
「Again? Are you saying that seriously, dad!? 」
At Loy’s words, Nicky raised a surprised voice. Eihab and I too, we known that Loy’s words were probably correct.
「Even though we have some spare wood, we don’t have enough to build it up from scratch……」
I nodded at Eihab’s words. Now it became troublesome. We don’t have the money to buy any new materials. Without the need for me to mention it, everyone here had understood that the situation is grave. Everyone’s face color was bad.
「What should we do……」
At the same time that the pale faced Eihab said so, Catlie turned around us as if asking for opinions.
「S-Sorry……. It’s because of me……」
Her ears became flat, and her voice was trembling.
「I’m really sorry……! 」
After shouting at the top of her lungs, she turned and sprinted away. Noticing the droplets of tears scattering, I was shocked.
「Catlie! Hey, wait! 」
Ravi and I panickily chased after Catlie’s back. Aah, crap. She’s quick……! A beastman’s leg strength is tremendous. If they chose to run at full speed, there’s pretty much no way to catch up.
「Ravi, grab onto me! 」
As I carried up Ravi with my arms, I chanted the skill to strengthen my legs.
《Boil up the expanding power――Acceleration!!!》
Guh! As I accelerated myself, the distance between us to Catlie is closing. Even while minding not to strain Ravi too much, I was able to catch up to Catlie within few seconds.
「Eh, Douglas-san……!? What!? A human catching up to my speed……! 」
Catlie stopped running at the shock. Her cheeks are wet with tears.
「Catlie, please don’t run. Let’s talk. 」
Catlie wiped her face roughly, and as if not able to endure it any longer, she collapsed on the spot. Just like that, she started letting out a loud wail.
「I-It’s my fault……!! Because I’m a woman……! 」
「The karma hit us because we went against the tradition……! Hic……. Even though I’m a woman, I took up everyone’s sweet offer, and attracted such a disaster……! 」
「Don’t say foolish things. There isn’t something like that! 」
I denied Catlie’s words firmly.
「The hole in the roof, it’s someone’s work. There’s no way it’s karma. I saw wood chips around it, so they must’ve done it with a saw or something. 」
Catlie made a surprised expression, but shook her head immediately after.
「Then it’s more of my fault. I can only think it’s harassment to me」
「It’s the fact that I’m a woman, that’s why……」
I tried to console Catlie. But whatever I tried to said, it didn’t seem to go through.
「It’s because of you that Eihab was also happy. 」
「But it was destroyed……」
「A-Also, I think that thorough plans are only something that you can do. 」
「It doesn’t mean anything if the building can’t be finished……」
It seems that Catlie is hurt deeply in her heart. What can I do……. As I racked my brain silently, unexpectedly, Ravi was the one who took a step in front.
「Onee-chan, it’s fine. 」
It was like asking her to listen, Ravi held Catlie’s hands.
「Say, I’m actually the same. That’s why I understand your feelings……. The bad things that people say to you, and the things that are scary become something dark that expands in your heart……」
Ravi was explaining it pause while searching for words desperately to Catlie.
「Even though I feel happy when daddy say that it’s alright and he’s there for me. Whenever scary things happen, the dark thing will attack, and I will feel like everything is going to go wrong. 」
「Even Ravi-chan……? 」
Catlie raised her face finally, and muttered.
「Like how I am now? 」
「Unn, it’s the same. But you see, every time when it’s scary, daddy would say it’s fine many times. And that will beat the scary thing in my heart every time. Onee-chan is the same. If it’s anything scary, I’m sure daddy will beat them for you. Right, daddy」
Ravi’s words pushed me who was still in confusion. I felt that my feelings that wasn’t going anywhere just now had settled in the right location now. How to console Catlie, I don’t even have to think to know.
「The things that have been done to you are really unreasonable. It will probably take time for you to recover and stop minding that you’re a woman. 」
「I know how powerful words can be. With just a single word, you can shatter what the other people have been protecting dearly. 」
I have also had such experiences in my life. It was so hurtful that I couldn’t really recover, even recalling that now, it still made my chest hurt. No, now is about Catlie.
「There were surely be occasions that will hurt you. But you can’t be defeated by it. 」
Catlie bit on her lips, then said in a stressed voice.
「I, I will not be defeated. 」
Her small hands wiped at her tears.
「I mean, I love this job」
In her eyes wet with tears, it’s now holding a strong will. It conveyed her will to not bend under the discrimination.
That’s right. I’m sure it’s frustrating. I could painfully understand Catlie’s feelings.
What is malice? Why do people hurt each other? Why are bad experiences so much stronger than good ones? I couldn’t answer that. But there’s a single thing that I’m certain about.
No matter how much we are hurt, we can still recover. Even if it’s a small and fleeting light, if there’s someone who would give kindness……
Even after people’s malice tramples on your heart, when you’re on the edge of giving up, the small gentle light called hope will never go out.