“Hic, sob, hic.”
A sobbing sound of a young girl resounding nearby the pier that had turned into wreckage. The onlookers and soldiers were crowding there, but there was not even a clamor, and the place was strangely quiet.
It was because of the should be kidnapped girl of Sea-dweller tribe who flew down from the sky, the human boy who jumped into the sky and caught her, and there was the black dragon with a girl riding on its back in the sky. However, the biggest reason was how the boy greatly scolded the girl from Sea-dweller tribe. Well, actually, it was how the young girl called the boy who scolded her.
“Sob, Papa, sorry…”
“Promise me you won’t do anything that dangerous again, okay?”
“Un, Myuu will.”
“Okay, that’s good. Come here.”
The figures of Hajime, who was on one knee as he scolded the young child, and Myuu, who obediently reflected as she scolded by him though she cried then and jumped into Hajime’s chest when she was forgiven… were as normal as that of a father and his child. It was also shown by how Myuu repeatedly called him “Papa.”
The situation where the should’ve been kidnapped child of Sea-dweller tribe “adoring” a human boy enough to treat him as her father, and how Hajime treated Myuu as his own daughter made everyone dumbfounded, not understanding what had happened. Their minds were asking the same thing. Which was, “How did it come to this?”
Hajime lifted Myuu with his arm and patted her back to calm her, and finally, the surrounding people returned to their senses and began to cause a great commotion.
As he leered at the clamoring, perplexed people, Hajime patted Myuu’s back and someone hugged him from behind… when he looked over his shoulder, there was Kaori’s figure whose head was on his shoulder, slightly trembling.
“I’m glad… I am really glad~, hic, hic.”
This time, Kaori had begun to cry. Even though she acted firm, inside, she was worried Hajime might be dead. She believed in Hajime’s survival, but there was no way she didn’t feel worried about him. That added to how he went missing for the second time shortly after they finally met again, enduring it was impossible for her
“I am sorry to make you worry. But as you can see, I am full of life here. That’s why, please don’t cry… if Kaori cry… I will be imensely troubled.”
“Uh, hic, th-then, let me stay like this for a little more…”
Troubled, Hajime patted Kaori’s head whose hands were wrapped around his arm. However, maybe because she couldn’t stop crying, Kaori buried her face more and more into Hajime’s shoulder. Both of her hands were now tightly embracing around Hajime’s stomach from behind.
“Oi, you, explain what are yo-gah!?”
The above was the commander-like person who was dripping wet due to being blown away into the seas as the consequence of Hajime’s jump. He didn’t read the mood and tried to question Hajime. However, he was knocked by Tio (deactivated her Dragonform when she landed) who was running in short steps towards Hajime, thus the man once again fell into the sea.
Not minding the man that much, Tio came beside Hajime, held his head and pressed it into her cleavage.
“What the—!? Oi, Tio.”
“This one believes, thou know? This one believes… even so, Master… too much time hath pa.s.sed until this reunion.”
When Hajime quietly looked at Tio’s face from her cleavage, her expression was one of ascerting her important one inside her arms with tears acc.u.mulated on the edges of her eyes. This time, Hajime felt it couldn’t be helped and let her do as she pleases because he had relied on her to do something unreasonable.
While that happened, Myuu said, “Myuu will hug Papa too~,” and she clung to Hajime’s nape. s.h.i.+a, who was beside Yue, who was beside Hajime, began to hug his free arm.
The surrounding gazes couldn’t even see Hajime, as his whole body was covered by a beautiful little girl, beautiful girls, and a beautiful woman. The surrounding gazes were gradually changing from one of perplexion to one of looking at them warmly. Even the agitated vigilante corps and soldiers had lowered their arms, dumbfounded.
“You people… not only once, but twice… I will arrest you for obstructing the Kingdom’s soldiers’ work.”
Once again crawled up onto the pier, the commander-like person was angrily glaring at Hajime’s party. With weapon in hand, he seemed to be ready to attack at any moment. Though Hajime couldn’t be thought of as the kidnapper from how the kidnapped Myuu was abnormally too attached him, there were too many unknown things about him, so of course the man wanted to question him.
Ever Hajime since the beginning had wanted to explain that he was entrusted by the head of Fhu-ren’s guild branch, Ilwa, to escort Myuu. However, he was troubled as he had nothing to prove that, but now it was at hand.
With “Treasure Box” returned by Tio, Hajime took out his status plate and the request form from Ilwa, then he presented them to the commander.
“… Let me see… a “Gold” rank!? Moreover, a direct request from the head of Fhuren’s branch!?”
Other than the request form, there was also the letter from Ilwa where the details were written. It was addressed to the Elisen’s mayor and the top bra.s.s of the soldiers who resided in this town, the man before the party. After reading the letter intently, the commander spated a big sigh and after he hesitated a little, he gave up as he drooped his shoulder then saluted.
“… The request has been completed. Nagumo-dono.”
“It is good that all doubts have been cleared. You must have things that you want to ask, but we are in a hurry. So I want you to not ask anything because… I want to let this child meet her mother right now. It’s okay, right?”
“Of course it is. However, as a soldier of this Kingdom… I can’t overlook about the dragon, you jumping, and the s.h.i.+p-like thing from before.”
Radically changing from the previous oppressive manner, the commander’s att.i.tude became one which paid Hajime with respect. Even so, he appealed with his strong gaze to Hajime that it was impossible to overlook those.
“About that, can we just talk about it in another time? I am going to stay in this Elisen for a while, after all. I also think there’s no need to report about it to the kingdom because they probably already know about it…”
“Mm, I see. Anyway, it’s good as long as we can have a chance to talk. Now please return that child to her mother… does she know of her mother’s condition?”
“No, she doesn’t. But it’s okay. After all, we have the best medicine and healer here.”
“I see. Then let me question you once things are settled.”
The commander lastly introduced himself as Saluz, then he went to control the crowd by dispersing the onlookers. A dutiful person.
The people who know Myuu seemed to want to call out to her, but Hajime used his gaze to stop them because much time would pa.s.s before she returns to her mother if they did that.
“Papa, Papa. We are returning to home. Mama is waiting! Myuu wants to meet Mama.”
“Of course… so let’s hurry and meet her.”
Pulling Hajime’s hand, Myuu urged on with “Hurry, hurry!” It had been around two months since the last time she returned to her house and mother. So it couldn’t be helped. Though she was usually laughing as she was taken care of by Hajime’s party on their way, at night when the time to sleep came, she wanted to be spoiled because she indeed missed her mother.
On their way to Myuu’s house, with Myuu as their guide, Kaori came close to him and asked him with a small, uneased voice.
“Hajime-kun. About what the soldier from before said…”
“Well, it doesn’t seem to be life threatening. It’s just that her wound is rather severe and it’s also the physiological one… well there’s no need to worry about the latter with Myuu being here. So please check her injury.”
“Un. Leave it to me.”
While having that kind of conversation, they heard a commotion from the road ahead. It was the voice of a young woman and several voices of men and women.
“Lemia, calm down! It’s impossible with the condition of your legs!”
“That’s right, Lemia-chan. Myuu-chan will surely come back!”
“I don’t want to! Didn’t you say Myuu have come back!? Then, I must go to see her! I need to welcome her!”
Apparently, the woman tried to get out of the house, and she was stopped by several men and women. It was likely because an acquaintance had told Myuu’s mother of her return.
With the resounding of the frantic voice of the woman called Lemia, Myuu’s face bloomed and shone. Then, as loud as she could, she called out to the woman in her mid twenties, who had collapsed at the entrance door, while running.
“—!? Myuu!? Myuu!”
Running with all her might and with an expression full of smile Myuu jumped into the bosom of the woman — her mother, Lemia, who tried to steady her legs before the front door.
Seeing the figures of a mother closely and tightly embracing her daughter, expressing she didn’t want to be separated again from her child made the surrounding people look at them warmly.
For so many, many times Lemia repeatedly said, “I am sorry,” to Myuu. It was either because she had lost sight of Myuu or her incapability to come looking for her or may both.
Tears fell as Lemia both feel relieved from her daughter’s safety and also the grief from being incapable of protecting hear. Looking at Lemia with anxious eyes, Myuu gently patted her mother’s head.
“It’s okay. Mama, Myuu is here. So there’s nothing to worry.”
Never did she thought she would be comforted by her four year old daughter, so Lemia’s teary eyes unconsciously wide opened and she watched Myuu.
Myuu was also looking straight at Lemia and there’s indeed worry about Lemia lodged inside her eyes. Myuu was a mama’s girl and couldn’t stand being alone before she was kidnapped, and although she also had painful times herself, she was more brokenhearted about her mother than herself in this reunion.
Surprised by that, Lemia was unconsciously watching Myuu in seriousness which made Myuu smiled, and this time she was the one who hugged Lemia tightly. Lemia wasn’t that badly injured both in body and mind, but she was suffering from the sleepless night, overly worrying about Myuu, but it seemed her daughter had returned all grown up more than before.
This fact made Lemia inadvertently raised a wry smile. With her shoulders relaxed and her tears stopped, Lemia was looking at her daughter with eyes filled with love.
Myuu and Lemia once again hugged each other, but suddenly, Myuu raised a scream-like voice.
“Mama! Your legs! What happened!? Are you injured!? Is it hurt!?”
Apparently, Myuu noticed the state of Lemia’s legs from over Lemia’s shoulder. Both of her feet peeking from Lemia’s long skirt were bandaged all over, they were in a miserable state.
This was the thing Saluz talked about, and it was what Hajime’s party heard from the young man on their way to Elisen. The thing that made the Sea-dweller tribe agitated was not only was Myuu kidnapped, but also how her mother was seriously injured that it became impossible for her to walk.
Though Myuu said she was kidnapped when she was separated from Lemia, the Sea-dweller tribe wouldn’t be able to say it was a kidnapping unless there’s an eyewitness. They were able to declare so because it seemed Lemia had actually encountered the kidnappers.
Lemia had discovered suspicious men erasing their footprints in the sand near the coast when she was looking for Myuu when she got separated from her. Though she felt a bad premonition, she approached the men to ask whether they know her daughter… the men’s faces were expressing “Oh s.h.i.+t” and began to chant all of a sudden.
Convinced the men had a part on Myuu’s disappearance, Lemia tried to somehow get Myuu back, running along the footprints.
However, one of the men fought back by firing flame bullets. Fortunately, she avoided being hit on her upper body but her legs were hit instead, then she was blown into the sea by the impact. Lemia lost her consciousness from both the pain and impact. When she woke up, she was being helped by the people from vigilante corps who went looking for her because she have not returned.
Her life was saved, but as the time pa.s.sed, Lemia still couldn’t feel her legs, thus she became unable to walk nor to swim. Naturally, Lemia tried to search for her daughter, but she couldn’t due to her legs. In the end, she could do nothing but to leave it to the vigilante corps and the Kingdom.
Lemia was in a state where she couldn’t even stand properly now.
Lemia smiled to try not to make her daughter worry more than this, so she tried telling Myuu, “It’s okay.” However, faster than her, Myuu asked for help from her “Papa” whom she depended on the most in this world.
“Papaa! Please help Mama! Mama’s legs are injured!”
“Eh!? M-Myuu? Just now…”
“Ara? Arara? You said Papa? Myuu, who is this Papa?”
Confused, lot of “?”s floated above Lemia’s head. The surrounding people were also clamoring. A lot of absurd remarks were flying from here and there such as:
“Lemia… has remarried? No… NO WAY.”
“Finally, Lemia-chan’s spring has arrived again! Congratulation!”
“It’s lie, right? Someone, please tell me it is a lie… My Lemia-san…”
“Papa… Myuu said Papa!? Isn’t it me!?”
“I am sure it is someone with stage name like Ku***ngpapa, yup, it must be it.”
“Oi, time for an emergency conference! All members of “Watching Lemia-san and Myuu-chan warmly” gather now! Storm is coming!”
Apparently, Lemia and Myuu, this mother and daughter were popular here. Lemia was still young, in the mid of her twenties. Although she was considerably emaciated now, she had a well-sculpted looks similar to Myuu’s. It was easy to imagine how attention grabbing her beauty would be once she was recovered, so it was understandable for her to be popular.
With the commotion that kept growing, Hajime’s expression cramped expressing, “I don’t want to go there now.” Though he thought these people would understand once he explained the details about how Myuu came to call Hajime papa, he was just a “subst.i.tute (though inwardly they didn’t think so)” of her Papa, and he wasn’t aiming to marry Lemia, but the current misunderstanding were growing at an uncontrollable pace.
However, Hajime thought it was a G.o.dsend. After all, Hajime and his party wouldn’t be able to continue their journey unless they left Myuu to her mother. It will be a goodbye once his party conquered «Meljeene Bottom Sea Ruin». Hajime thought Myuu had come close to Hajime’s party because she was in a place away from her hometown and been forcibly separated from mother, so once she returned to her mother her desire to be by Hajime’s party’s side would surely weakened as time pa.s.sed, though she would be saddened at first. The surrounding people were strongly concerned about Lemia and her daughter, so they would surely helped them.
“Papaa! Hurrry! Please help Mama!”
Myuu’s gaze was firmly looking at where Hajime was, thus Lemia and the surrounding people noticed Hajime once they traced Myuu’s gaze. Hajime gave up and walked to where the mother and daughter were.
“Papa, Mama is…”
“It’s okay Myuu… I will surely heal her. So please don’t make such a tearful look.”
Hajime rustled Myuu’s hair who was looking at him with tearful expression, then he moved his gaze to Lemia. Lemia was watching Hajime, dumbfounded. While thinking it couldn’t be helped for her to do that, Hajime decided to carry her into the house to heal her because his appearance had made the commotion grow we more.
“I am sorry, but excuse me for a moment, okay?”
“Eh? —!? Arara?”
Hajime lifted Lemia in princess carry while looking like he didn’t feel her weight at all. Then, he carried Lemia into the house guided by Myuu. With Hajime carrying Lemia, screams and roars were raised behind them, which he ignored. Lemia herself could only blinking from being suddenly lifted and carried by Hajime.
Having entered the house, he found a sofa in the living room, so Hajime slowly lowered Lemia there. Following that, while watching the blinking Lemia who was sitting on the sofa before him, Hajime called out to Kaori.
“Kaori, how is she?”
“Let me look at her… Lemia-san, I will touch your foot. Please say if it hurts.”
“Y-Yes? Umm, what’s with this situation?”
When she thought her kidnapped daughter had suddenly returned, a man whom her daughter adored and called Papa appeared. Furthermore, unknown beautiful girls and a beautiful woman gathered in her house. Such a situation made Lemia eyebrows frowned, troubled.
While that happened, Kaori’s examination ended and she told Lamia that her damaged legs’ nerves would be able to be recovered with her healing magic.
“However, it will take some time. The damaged nerves were in delicate places, so I will need around three days for there not to have any side effects to occur. Also, I think it will be better for them to heal little by little. Although it will be inconvenient, please hang on until then because I will surely heal you.”
“Ara ara, maa maa. I had thought I wouldn’t be able to walk anymore… how can I repay you…”
“Fufu, don’t worry about it. You are Myuu-chan’s mother after all.”
“Umm, come to think of it, what is everyone’s relation to Myuu… furthermore, umm… why did Myuu call that person “Papa”…”
While Kaori immediately begin to treat Lemia’s legs, Hajime’s party decided to explain Lemia the details about things. About how they met Myuu in Fhuren, the riot, and how did Hajime came to be called Papa. Having heard everything while being treated by Kaori, Lemia deeply bowed her head in place, then repeatedly thanked them in tears.
“Truly, how can repay you for this… It is thanks to you that I was able to reunite with my daughter. I will surely repay this kindness of yours even with my life. As long as it is something I can do, whatever it is…”
Although Hajime’s party told her to not mind it, Lemia couldn’t consent not to repay the benefactors of her daughter’s life. In the mean time, the treatment from Kaori ended for today. When they told Lemia they were looking for an inn, Lemia thought it was a G.o.dsend and asked them to just use her house.
“Please at least let me do this much. Fortunately, this house is big, so there’s room for everyone. Please don’t hold back and use this house while you are staying in Elisen. Besides, Myuu will be happy with this. Right, Myuu? You are happy that Hajime-san and the others stay in our house, right?”
“? Papa is going somewhere?”
Hearing Lemia’s words, Myuu who was resting her head on Lemia’s lap woke up, blinking, she was dumbfounded. Apparently, she seemed to think it was a natural thing for Hajime to stay in her house. Her expression said she didn’t understand why Lemia asked her that question.
“I thought of putting a little distance once she returned to her own mother…”
“Ara ara, ufufu. It isn’t good for Papa to take a distance from her daughter, you know?”
“No, didn’t I explained it before? We are…”
“I know that you will continue your travel sooner or later. However, that’s why please keep being her “Papa” until that day comes. If you take a distance know, then it would be a sudden goodbye… right?”
“… Well, if you say so…”
“Ufufu, it is okay too for you to always be her “Papa”, you know? After all, I have said “with my life” before…”
Saying so, “Ufufu ♡”, Lemia laughed with one hand on her slightly blus.h.i.+ng cheek. Such a calming and beautiful smile would normally calmed anyone… but a blizzard generated around Hajime.
“Please don’t joke like that… the atmosphere turned cold now…”
“Ara ara, how popular. However, it is almost five years since I lost my husband… Myuu also want a Papa, right?”
“Fue? Isn’t Papa Papa?”
“Ufufu, she said it, so Papa?”
The blizzard became much more intense. Though he didn’t know whether Lemia actually notice the cold atmosphere, her calm aura made her words neither be taken as a joke nor a serious one. “That’s a good courage, you!,” was what Yue and the girls’ gazes said, which was easily warded off by Lemia with a smile along with, “Ara ara, ufufu.” She might be an unexpectedly great person.
In the end, the party decided to stay in Lemia’s house. When time to allocate the rooms, Lemia said, “Shouldn’t the husband and wife be together?” which responded with silent reply from Yue and the girls. Then, Myuu said, “Myuu will sleep with Papa and Mama,” which turned the place into a chaos, but at least it calmed down for now.
The party were going to conquer the next Great Dungeon from tomorrow onwards, so they needed to resupply and mend the broken and lost fixtures while it was also necessary for them to train on the newly acquired Age of G.o.ds magic. However, while thinking he couldn’t neglect his few remaining time with Myuu, Hajime dozed off on the bed.
Three days after that.
How strangely short distance between Lemia and Hajime made the bloodshot glares of envy from men of Sea-dweller tribe stabbed Hajime. The neighbourhood aunties were also gossiping about Hajime and Lemia. In addition, Yue and the girls’ approach became even more intense as they became ill-humored. Yue at night was also becoming more lovely. Even so, Hajime completed the party’s preparation and about to begin to search for «Meljeene Bottom Sea Ruin».
When the time come for them to part, Myuu wore a truly lonely expression. She greatly pulled Hajime’s back hair, but he somehow managed shake her off on the pier and board the fixed submarine. Waving her hands, Myuu firmly shouted, “Papa, have a safe trip!” Following that, with an atmosphere that could neither be taken as a joking nor a serious one, Lemia waved her hand saying, “Have a safe trip, D-A-R-L-I-N-G ♡.”
From the side, they could be seen as wife and daughter who were sending the husband off to work. Sharp glares were coming from Yue and the girls behind him and the surrounding Sea-dweller tribe. It made Hajime slightly hesitant to return here after conquering the next dungeon.
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