Two days after we left Milton. It seems like that the military unit never did send a search party out as I wasn’t able to find any of their presence.
「Ravi, let’s take a little rest 」
「It’s okay……? 」
「Yeah. There’s no worry after we are this far. 」
Having exerted herself, Ravi would also be tired now. Just avoiding the highway and traversing through the forest would’ve been a huge toll. Even if we take it easy, we can arrive in Balzac in a week.
「Let’s get a fire up, and have some warm drinks」
Ravi nodded with strength happily. I’m glad I suggested we should take a rest.
「Then let’s gather some firewood that’s usable」
「Unn……! Just picking the ones on the ground is fine……? 」
「Yeah. But there’s a knack」
「We need to find the driest ones we can find. If it’s too wet, it will be hard to start a fire, and there would be more smoke. Looking at the ground today, it seems like――」
Crouching on the ground, I try crushing the fallen leaves in my palm. It’s to check the humidity of the soil. Touching it with my fingers, I knew it immediately. It seems it had not rain for a few days.
The branches that fell on the ground, will eventually rot and return back to the earth. Because of that, most of them would be wet, but looking at the state of the ground, it seems like there’s no such problem. As I explained, Ravi nodded and listened with an interested expression.
「How to differentiate the dry branches……? 」
「Snapping it will make it obvious. For example――」
I grabbed a branch in reach and snapped it down the middle.
Paki―, a crisp and satisfying sound.
「You can tell them by the sound they make when you snap them. The wet ones will be soft, so they can’t make such sound. 」
「Daddy amazing……. You know everything……! 」
Ravi’s pupil gazed at me.
I coughed unnaturally in attempt to cover my shyness.
「Then let’s get started immediately. 」
「Do your best……! 」
Ravi nodded with a face as if a rookie soldier being handed an important mission as she motivated herself. That expression is lovely, and a smile naturally formed on my mouth.
Ravi picked up the branches one by one and snapped it down the middle as I taught. Looking at her happy face whenever a satisfying snapping resounded, my feelings became light as well.
――Shortly after that. As a result of Ravi’s hard work, we’ve collected enough branches.
「Thanks, Ravi. With this, we can proceed to the next stage. 」
「What we do next……? 」
「Organize the branches we collected. Don’t they have different size and thickness? With that, we separate them into similar groups. Thicker branches have different timing to feed to the fire. If we separated them, maintaining the fire would be easier」
As an example, I separated the branches into three size groups. First is about as thick as a pen. Then about a finger thick. And the rest for those that are larger.
「Can you help me separate the other sticks into the three groups?」
She nodded smilingly full of energy. Ravi as always, helped out as if it’s very fun for her. Even if I looked everywhere, would there be a good child like her. To be honest, I think that Ravi would take the title as the number one best daughter in the world.
「Daddy, I did it……」
「Oh thanks. That’s quick. Then let’s build the foundation. It’s still a bit more until the campfire is completed. 」
There’re many ways to stack the sticks. And they all have their own purposes. Because we are just resting for a short interval today, I will not use the stacking method for a lasting fire. One that need to boil water fast, so that we can brew some drinks. Then, the fittest one should be 「Log cabin fire lay」.
First is making mounds of soil around the area. With this, it will protect the fire from the wind. Although there’s another way by preparing the fire bed, since it’s just a short break it’s not worth the time.
And the next is laying the thinnest branches on the bottom. No matter how dry it feels, the soil will definitely have some water content. By laying the tinder like this, it will isolate the others sticks from the humidity.
Then for the next step, I took two especially thick tinder that Ravi had sorted. And then arranging it in an inverted v shape.
「Alright, the preparation is done. Let’s start the fire. 」
Gathering a handful of thin tinder, using fire magic to light it and putting it on the fire lay. The little red flame set on it, slowly and steadily grew.
「Amazing……! We did it……! 」
Ravi clapped her hands repeatedly excitedly. Although I’ve made fire many times till now, she probably felt a sense of accomplishment as she had helped.
「Starting a camp fire with Daddy, I’m, really happy……. Because Daddy would, teach me many things……. I’m really happy because of that」
Ravi seemed a little shy when she said that. As I didn’t know how to reply, little stutters came out of my mouth. A shy Ravi is cute but, a shy Ossan mustn’t exist. And so, I forcefully changed my mindset.
「Well then……. With this arrangement, the eye of the tinder will be where the heat gathers. The water will boil quickly if we put the pot over it. 」
The water that we collected just past the little river we came across, pour it into the same pot. Plop plop plop. It’s about two cup worth―― Umu, about this much will do.
I arranged the handle to be facing away from the flame while the crackling sound of the fire resounded. I set it to boil for a few minutes while we prepare the others.
「Let’s do our preparation on this side while it boils. Ravi, can you hand me the cups. 」
Ravi took the cup for her use from her orange bag. It’s the silvery cup that’s smaller than mine by a size that we got from Theo-jiisan’s store. After lining up the two cups, I reached inside the Zuta bag. For me, coffee. But for Ravi, coffee is still impossible.
「What Ravi would like to drink? Herbal tea, or black tea? 」
I’ve always had the black tea with the coffee wherever I went. As for the herbal tea, it’s bought on Theo-jiisan’s son recommendation. It’s made from dry lemongrass is what I’ve heard, and it has a fatigue dispelling effect.
「Is it fine that I try the herbal tea……? 」
「Yeah of course. Then let’s put the herbs into the strainer–」
I confirmed the insides of the pot.
「Ravi, it’s already boiling」
「Eh……? Already……? Ah……it’s true. The water is bubbling……! 」
「And pouring it here――」
「The herb smell is really strong. Seems like the water had already caught the color. I don’t think it’s good to leave it in there for too long, let’s settle for this. 」
I removed the strainer that was in the cup. The grassy green tea had a refreshing smell spreading in the air.
「Ravi. It’s hot 」
Ravi who received the cup with both hands, peeked in the cup intrigued. The figure of her sniffing at it is cute too.
「You can drink first」
「Daddy, will wait……. Because let’s drink together……」
My brows loosened naturally. Ravi who conducts like this really melts my heart. No, she doesn’t really have any part that’s not cute. Since it would be bad if she had drunk it and got burnt, I told her「Then let’s wait for a bit」.
Well then, coffee is more suitable for me. And this is just like the usual. Scooping up a spoonful of the grounded coffee just enough for a cup. Using the strainer that was washed simply, this time, an intense aroma pierced the nostrils.
「You’ve wait long. Then let’s drink」
After hitting our cups lightly like a cheer, the steaming cup slowly neared our mouths. The aroma of the coffee became more intense, I felt my desire being sated. As I don’t feel like taking a sip at a time, I took a mouthful of it.
The words that was dropped along with the sigh. It’s not that I was using premium coffee beans. But, in the nature, surrounded by the warming flames and drinking coffee, gives off a joyous feeling that you can find nowhere else.
After catching a breath, I looked towards Ravi. Ravi at the other end, was still holding the cup, and Fu―Fu― blowing on it. Then finally, her lips rested on the cup carefully, and then a gulping sound was heard soon.
「That’s great. Is it refreshing? 」
「Then let’s find for a special store when we arrive in a large city. There’s a variety of herbal tea after all」
「Really? Looking forward to it……」
Ravi had her hands on her cheeks and beamed as she looked at me. I as well, replied with a smile.
And then, we slowly enjoy the tea while listening to the chirping of the birds. No words are needed to be exchanged. Staring into the forest, it’s a time that we just spaced out.
Ravi showed no signs of boredom, just leaning on me happily. The warm happiness filled my heart. I thought that it would be good if such time would go on forever.