It’s been the ninth day walking on the pathless path in the forest. Ravi and I are under the starry night sky currently, we are slowly enjoying it after our dinner.
「Finally, we would arrive in Balzac tomorrow. 」
The burning campfire was crackling. Our lines were lesser than usual.
As I spaced out staring into the flames, I recalled the day I first met with Ravi.
『I don’t have……anywhere to return……』
『Eh? Don’t have a place to return……your family? 』
『Families……no more 』
『But don’t you have a place to live before you got cursed? How about there? 』
『N-No……. I don’t want to return there……! ……I will do anything, so don’t send me back there…… 』
In the end, towards the scared Ravi, 「I will take you to Balzac, and find someone that would take care of you 」was what I promised. And with Balzac as the destination, our journey started.
……And it’s ending tomorrow. It’s not just a journey. The days of being a foster father would end at tomorrow as well.
I raised my face as I felt a gaze on me, and I met with the eyes of Ravi who looked like she had something to say.
I asked, and she just panickily made a smile awkwardly.
「Arriving in Balzac, really exciting……. Someone living together with……I’m sure daddy’s friends would be good people…… 」
「Ah……yeah, that’s a given! 」
「Say? I, when I stay in Balzac, I will make many friends. And will try my best continue studying skills. 」
「Daddy, that’s why, don’t worry……」
Looking at the face that is on the verge of tearing up even while smiling forcefully, I felt like something was stopping my breath while crushing my chest. I took in the intense emotions that came all at once and forced a smile back.
「If it’s Ravi, I’m sure you can make many friends. 」
「Yeah. Because you’re the world’s best daughter. I will guarantee it. 」
Having long trips isn’t suitable for young children. I’ve been always thinking to provide her with residence to settle down. Living in a peaceful town, living her life along with kids of her age, of course that would be the best choice.
She can also learn many things that I can’t teach. I’m a wanderer, also a thirty-seven Ossan. On top of that, I don’t know how to raise a child. Furthermore, I can’t make out the tiniest feelings of a girl. And such thoughts had always weighed down on me.
But even so, there’s one thing that was still unnatural.
It’s about the assassin. It’s only that single matter that’s haven’t solved. While the possibility of the assassin appearing again remains, is it really fine to entrust her to someone else. No. Thinking closely about Ravi’s personality, it’ll be impossible
Ravi is a kind child. She is definitely afraid of dragging in others and injuring them. It might be that Ravi will――. The suspicion floated in my mind.
「Ravi, sorry but I will be breaking the promise. There’s something I want to confirm no matter what. 」
Ravi blinked a few times in confusion, before nodding.
「It might be the matter that you’re afraid of. Sorry. 」
After saying that, the next words didn’t come out easily. Ravi looked up at me and asked with a soft voice.
「About the person that attacked in Milton……? 」
「U……. Y-yeah. 」
「It’s alright……. I will tell……that’s why…… 」
Ravi took a deep breath, as if to calm herself down.
「……Daddy, hand, can I hold……? 」
Ravi said so before stretching out the small hand towards me. I panickily caught it with both my hands. And I asked.
「That assassin, is there a possibility that he will come again? 」
The color of blood drained from Ravi’s face. Her fear was told through her hand in my palm. Ravi with a pale face, shook her head vertically slightly. The hand I was holding was trembling.
「As I thought so…… 」
「S……Sorry, daddy. 」
She probably said that because she worried for me. I felt the suspicion floating in my heart became conviction. It’s about Ravi. I bet that even after entrusting her in Balzac, she would just disappear on her own. Like the time she went to the orphanage in Addinton.
Even though she’s this afraid……. To not drag me in, carrying all the burden by herself…….
Deep inside my heart, a natural emotion gushed out. I want to protect this child. Not entrusting that duty to anyone else. Even if I fail because of my awkwardness. I will let Ravi find her happiness with these hands.
「Ravi, let me tell you what I wanted to tell you the most. ――Please allow me to be your real family. 」
「I said that I will entrust you to someone else when we arrive in Balzac, didn’t I. I’m taking that back entirely. I won’t let anyone else do it. I will let you find your happiness with these two hands. 」
Ravi’s large pupil widened. Ravi looked me in disbelief and raised a sound that’s not a sound.
「I don’t know how to raise a child. I will probably barge into your personal feelings many more times in the future. But even so, I don’t want us to be separated. 」
「Ah……. B-but……I will just cause a lot of troubles if I’m together with daddy……」
Ravi’s eyes became wet. The tears seemed to be the verge of overflowing.
「I’m fine. I want to hear Ravi’s opinion. 」
「Do you dislike the idea being a family? 」
「No……I don’t hate it. But, you can’t……」
Ravi’s voice that came out on a spurt became softer, and she shook her head sideways.
「The scary people, they would definitely come again……」
I grabbed Ravi’s shoulders, and told her straight in the face.
「So what about it. I will protect you! 」
From Ravi’s eyes, the feelings that had become unbearable overflowed.
「I―I……! I want to be together with daddy forever……! 」
Ravi shouted, raising an unusually loud voice. With the messy face, she leaped into me. I stretched out both hands, and received the little mass that impacted.
Ravi said that she wants to be together forever. That itself is enough for me. All the stupid hesitation I had disappeared.
「I will protect you no matter what kind of enemies appear. Rest assured. There won’t be anything scary. I will definitely let you be the number one happy person in the world. 」
I embraced Ravi with strength. This child, she’s my daughter that I’ve ought to protect with all my life.
And this is how, we had become family in the truest sense.