The next day. We sat near the window in the crowded dining hall. The morning sunlight that shone through the window is warming.
「Good morning. How about for the egg? 」
The female innkeeper wiped her hands on the apron and asked how she should cook it. After I ordered sunny side up eggs for the both of us, I explained my plan for the next few days to Ravi.
「We’re staying in Addinton for about 4 or 5 more days. In the meantime, we will resupply our necessity items, and I will do some odd jobs to gather some travelling expenses. 」
It’s because there’s a possibility that we will be needed for the incident of Mattroc. I was instructed to stay in the city for a few days by the military police. I’m glad that we’re not in a hurry.
While I was thinking about that, the smell of breakfast agitated my appetite.
「Well, let’s dig in」
I put my hands together and prayed a with soft voice before starting.
「After this we will have to go to Theo-jii’s place. There’s that case with your necklace after all. 」
Ravi listened seriously while holding the fork.
「It’s okay if we continue while eating. The food will get cold after all. 」
Today’s breakfast is fried egg with bacon, and sautéed mushroom. I sandwiched them between the breads before eating. Ravi saw my hearty way of eating and let out a「Waa」before imitated me.
「The yolk might spill out the side so be careful. 」
Ravi chomped down happily.
As expected it spilled out onto her hand immediately.
「Hahaha. Well, it probably didn’t go well with your small mouth. 」
「It’s fine. Don’t mind it. 」
After patting her head lightly while she was apologizing while looking pale, I wiped her hand using a handkerchief.
(I only bought one in McFadden, but it isn’t enough)
I learned for the first time that various kinds of necessity are needed for a child.
(Come to think of it……)
「Ravi, I have a suggestion――」
I think that maintaining a 『Parent and Child』relationship throughout our journey is better in the future. However, our acting isn’t up to standard. I’ve made excuses that we’ve met for a few days only, but to avoid that kind of cases from happening again, we should play it more naturally.
Last night, I thought of changing our way to call each other is the best.
「I will refer Ravi as 『My daughter』 as much as possible in front of other people. Something like 『My daughter had been indebted to you』. Does it give off an impression of father? 」
「U-unn……. I think it does……」
「I see. I’m glad. Then can Ravi call me as father instead? 」
Ravi held her breath and stiffen up.
「Sorry, did you hate it……?」
「I-it’s not that……. ……Is it really fine if I call you that……? 」
(I’m glad. She was just holding back……)
My shoulders lowered from the relief
「Then, how about trying it. Well Ravi, try saying it. 」
Ravi’s brows drooped down, and her gaze swam. Her cheeks are dyed in pink and she seemed really shy.
「Uu……. ……It’s embarrassing……」
「It’s alright. Things like these are unexpectedly easier the next time after your first clear. Maybe. Come on, try your best」
「U-unn……. ……D………addy……? 」
The soft voice that was overwhelmed by the bustling dining hall called out『Daddy』. And I felt something intense penetrated through my heart.
I panickily covered my mouth as I felt my face heating up.
(Is this how every dad in the world felt, when their daughter called him that……!?)
Even though I said, 『Unexpectedly easier the next time after your first clear』, I felt I won’t get used to it at all.
After finishing up our breakfast. Since it’s almost the time the shops in commercial area start their business, I brought Ravi with me and revisited 『Theo’s General Store』.
(After all I left without even greeting them properly……)
I want to apologize for my rude conduct. And tell Theo-jiisan that I’ve gotten Ravi back.
The commercial area today is filled with people too. And Ravi is still not good at weaving through the crowd.
「Take my hand so you won’t get lost」
Ravi tightly gripped my hand that I offered. I was surprised by the warmth of a kid’s hand. Her small hands were soft like a fluffy bread unlike my rough hands. I adjusted my strength as much as possible and gripped back.
『Theo’s General Store』
I opened the door after seeing the signboard above. As I was entering the store, I heard an excited voice.
(This store is noisy as always huh)
I smiled wryly while entering. I thought Theo-jii was quarrelling with his son again but……
(There were customers huh)
At the back of the store, there’s five, six man by the register counter. And Theo-jiisan with his son is in the middle of them. The atmosphere was different than shopping and more towards casual, and they’re getting more excited with their ‘Oh―’s and ‘Ah―’s. It seems like they’re chatting with each other.
(What are they talking about so passionately)
When I was going to raise my voice with a wry smile, Theo-jiisan spoke first.
「Ah! Look everyone! That one is the traveler I’ve been talking about! 」
「Oh――!!! You’re that―!?」
Theo-jiisan pointed and they looked at me.
「You, good job looking through his nature……! 」
「That director is doing human trafficking, I still can’t believe it……! 」
「The rumor about you is all around in the city!! 」
「I will let the others know too! 」
They yelled loudly and gathered around me. The last guy left a strange sentence before leaping outside. Meanwhile the others were exclaiming ‘amazing’ and patting my shoulders.
(W-what is happening……!?)
I panicked unknowingly and hid Ravi behind me. Even though I don’t feel any malicious intent, they’re too excited.
「W-wait for a bit…… What is happening actually? What do you mean by『You’re that』……? 」
I looked at Theo-jiisan who was sitting at a tall chair behind the human wall. Theo-jiisan smiled at me.
「The arresting yesterday became the topic around the city」
「You exposed Director Mattroc’s crimes right? For ten or so years, getting deceived by that evil person is……. And even though I knew that person stinks, I pretended not to see it…… I cannot help but feel pathetic because many children had been victims because of that……」
Theo-jiisan spoke and the others looked regretful as well.
「And to think that I’ve been worshipping that fellow like a Saint……」
「That is same for everyone. We really were stupid then……」
「That’s why we are so thankful to you. If you weren’t going to visit Addinton, then there would’ve been more victims. 」
「Really……really, thank you very much……! 」
「You’re unmistakably Addinton’s Hero!」
I was shocked by the unexpected words.
The old man took my hand. His feelings flowed with the strong handshake. The others also conveyed their thanks one after another. There’s some that took their hat off to me too.
「I just did what I can do. Please don’t mind it too much」
I said while scratching my head, and then 「He’s also such a humble person! 」 was heard.
I’m already not the age to praise myself.
(And also the orphanage, it’s not like it’s all solved……)
And, that moment――.
「Oi! Is it true that the Hero-san is in this place!? 」
Suddenly, the store’s door was flung open, an unbelievable crowd rushed in here.
「Aah……The crowd……! The products that are still not processed into the inventory are all messed up, dad! 」
「Don’t be so pitiful. Why don’t you rejoice that the store is crowded now? 」
Theo-jii and his son had started their quarreling again. In the meantime, the crowd is only increasing.
(Uwa, t-this is……)
「Ravi! Make sure you stay behind me! 」
I can’t let Ravi get flattened in the crowd.
(I need to escape the store somehow……)
While I was revolving my brain――.
「Oi, you! You’re not really good in front of such crowd, right? 」
The guy that shook my hand just now said, and I nodded.
「Oi, you all. Hero-san shall be protected by us! 」
「Yeah!! Leave it to us! 」
「Later we can also brag about being the only ones talked with the Hero! 」
「Everyone! Go back! Go back! You’re grateful to the Hero-sama and want to show your gratitude right? That’s why disperse already! 」
The guys just now raised their voice and pushed out the crowd from the store. There’re people who were complaining with boo―, boo―. There were voices like 「It’s unfair that only you guys」, 「I just want his sign」or 「Ara, what a handsome man」that made me stiffen.
(I didn’t think that it would evolve into this……)
I looked at the crowd that was chased out of the store and gulped.