「Not living in the city? Isn’t it more convenient to be in the city? 」
On the road back to the house in the forest, Rona asked uninterestingly.
「It was like that before but, since there’s was a problem, I’m living in the forest for the time being. 」
「Don’t tell me you’re wanted over here too? 」
「No, it wasn’t like that――but……, there’re kids that are discriminated against. Living in the city would be troubles. 」
Ardis started out by denying but his reply lost its power as it went on.
「Hnnn―. Then those following us now, should I chase them away? 」
There’re people tailing Ardis as usual as he left the capital. Rona who noticed it looked like he’s totally excited to get into a fight with them immediately.
「Leave them. They don’t have the ability to get through the forest after all. 」
「I see, then that’s good. 」
Rona who heard that suddenly lost his interest. Shoving his head back into the bag hanging from his neck, Rona started chewing on the candy and fruits that were bought in the capital.
「Don’t just keep eating when we’re walking……, nn? Oi, Rona. 」
Ardis looked like he’s had enough but suddenly realized something, and called out to Rona.
「You, where did you keep the compensation pouch? 」
Ardis’s suspicion was natural.
After all, Rona wasn’t carrying anything except the bag full of food hanging from his neck. Rona didn’t have any pockets like a person, nor he was carrying a backpack.
Ardis thought that Rona might’ve put it into the food bag but, he recalled that Rona kept pushing the pouch out to Ardis to buy more food even when the bag was filled.
「Nn? I have it right here with me? 」
What’s wrong? Rona said so as he bit on the pouch and showed Ardis.
「……Just now, where did you take it out from? 」
Ardis who lost his words for a moment eventually asked. After all, Ardis just saw the pouch suddenly manifested in Rona’s mouth.
「Where……, from the other side? 」
「Other side? 」
「Yeah, the other world. 」
The young boy let out a strange noise.
「W-Wait. You’re saying that? It’s troublesome to bring it around, so you placed it in the other world? 」
「Something like that……」
Is possible? Ardis swallowed his words back.
If what Rona said is real, then it’s possible for Ardis to travel between his original world and this world. But Ardis who can’t manage to do it couldn’t judge if what Rona said was true. But if it’s the truth, then it should be possible to let Rona transport himself over rather than something inanimate.
Of course, Ardis didn’t doubt Rona, and Rona didn’t seem like he’s spouting lies, and there’s no reason at all for Rona to do so.
「By the way, where would the stuff you send end up? 」
「At my lair. Al knows where is it right? The cave near the foot of the white mountain range. 」
「Yeah, there huh. I went there once. 」
Saying that, after a long silence, Ardis asked again.
「…………Hey, Rona? 」
「Is it only items you can send over? What about a person? 」
If that’s possible, then Ardis would be able to return to other world with Rona’s help. Now would not be possible but, in the future, when the twins graduate from his care, there’s no reason for him to keep staying in this world.
Having the choice of returning or not will affect his plans in the future greatly. However, what Rona said disappointed Ardis.
「Hmm……. The size I can manage with my hand is probably a baby at most. Anything larger than that would be a no. The hole is too small for Al to go through. 」
「Is that so……」
The hope that came up suddenly deflated in the next moment, Ardis’s voice lost strength.
「But since I’m able to do it, Ardis can do it too. I will teach you how. So try and learn! 」
Rona said some words of console loudly.
「Even if you said you’re going to teach……」
After all, Ardis had recalled Rona’s explanation on 『How to return to the other side』 during their reunion night.
While sensing the presences following them getting further away as they entered the forest, Ardis guided Rona back to the house. And the ones who welcomed them was Nere who didn’t show any reaction at the follower, and the twin sisters who seemed to be afraid of Rona’s size.
However, it seems that the twins are doing better since Ardis is around. Eventually their caution seemed to turn into curiosity at Rona.
「Amazing! Fuwa fuwa――! 」
「It’s Mofu mofu―! 」
Fillia and Riana started to fiddle around Rona’s fluffy fur. It seems like they started by trying to feel the fur, but now they’re already hugging Rona tightly.
「The fox-san is so big―! 」
「Huh? ……It’s a doggy? 」
It seems like Rona decided to act a normal animal.
For Ardis, he didn’t really mind having Nere or the twins know about Rona. But if Rona didn’t seem like doing it, then he’s not going to say anything about it. Having said so, Ardis doubted if the cry that Rona made was even remotely close to any breed of dog.
The twins had completely fallen prey to Rona’s fur but Nere seemed calm as usual. Even if Ardis introduced Rona as his 「Past partner」, it totally felt like Nere would just respond with 「I see, so? 」. It might because that Rona was acting like a normal animal but, of course, Rona couldn’t possibly be a 『normal animal』 with his size.
「The twins, they’re adorable――」
Together with the just-an-animal Rona, it was after the four’s dinner. The twins who had clung onto Rona like he’s a toy or something had gone into the bedroom earlier than usual most probably due to fatigue. As Rona and Ardis were chatting, Nere were together with the twins as they fell asleep.
「Rona. Are you going to keep pretending like a normal animal? 」
「I’m just appraising the situation today. In the first place, those three, how much do they know about Al, it’s not like I can say anything on my own accord right. 」
At the unexpected question, Ardis though for a while, and answered.
「The twins don’t know about anything. Nere don’t know anything about the other world either. It’s true that it’ll be a bother if you exposed it simply. 」
「If they knew I can talk, wouldn’t I be asked for our past? If Al is fine with telling it, it would be another matter, but if you’re planning to hide about the other world, wouldn’t it be better if I can’t talk? 」
Rona’s words were justified.
Ardis haven’t talked much about himself to Nere. It might be because that Nere never asked him about it, and Ardis himself didn’t had the confidence to explain everything.
Just like how Ardis felt something in Nere, Nere probably thought about Ardis’s true self as well. But even if he trusts Nere now, he hasn’t talked anything about his past.
Before, there was the occasion that Ardis told the truth about the information that he got from Marrieda in Reiten since it was obtained with her hair. He thought that he would have to talk about his past because of that but, in the end, Marrieda only revealed that she can see the future with her special ability.
The fact that Ardis didn’t understand fully about his experiences is also one of the reasons why he had held back from telling anyone.
「I didn’t think you are so considerate. 」
「Well, socializing is a trouble. 」
Without a care for Ardis who seemed to be impressed, Rona revealed his true intentions.
「Oi Rona. Is that the real reason? 」
With a hard expression, Rona seemed to be snickering as he cried. It seems like Rona had decided to act a doggy whenever it’s trouble.
「That, no……. I think I need to have to slow serious talk with you. 」
「Nope, I’m already tired, so I’m going to sleep. Leave it for next time. The girl is returning soon too. 」
Rona who was glared at spoke his real intentions tiredly. As if supporting his intentions, there were footsteps coming out of the twin’s bedroom coming nearer.
「Please rest for the day. I’m sure the both of you are already tired. 」
The servant who now has a short Aliceblue hair came to Ardis. It’s Nere’s usual expression which lacked expression but, Ardis felt there was a slight caution in her eyes today.
「How about it? If my Master is going to stay up for a little longer, shall I bring some snacks over? 」
「No, I will be resting soon. 」
「Alright. ……By the way, my master. Where should this guy rest? 」
Nere who seemed satisfied with her master’s words moved her gaze towards Rona and asked.
「Rona huh? Let’s see, anywhere where the weather wouldn’t get to him would be fine……」
After replying a short 「Acknowledged」, Nere started walking outside the house for some reason.
「I shall guide the way. Please follow me. 」
Leaving that behind for Rona, Nere started walking out the house without waiting for a reply. Although she said she will be guiding Rona to his sleeping place, the fighting spirit surrounding her. Ardis could guess what Nere was thinking.
「She’s surprisingly a pushy person―. 」
Rona who muttered after seeing Nere disappear from the doorway spoke.
「Then, I will be going for a while. 」
「……Remember to hold back a little? 」
「I know I know. It’s just a small play. 」