Thank you very much (*^▽^*)
A few days after adopting Kou, I was called by the king.
The fact that I didn’t report to the king meant that Kou wasn’t recognized as a citizen of this country.
But it didn’t make sense for him to go report when he wasn’t even able to speak the language.
So I thought that he should at least know some words before we go…
I had written about the guardianship, but I was given a letter that I have to go and report.
Moreover, it said to bring Kou.
This was probably because it’s rare for someone to humanize in the form of a child.
Besides, Kou’s race remained unknown.
I don’t even know what language Kou’s using.
Thinking back on it, I wasn’t being very cautious.
The possibility of him being a spy from another country is not zero.
Did I lose my vigilance because he’s a child?
…or because he’s Kou?
But I don’t think Kou is a spy.
──or maybe I just don’t want to think he’s like that.
Called by name, Kou, who had finished eating breakfast and was changing clothes, stopped moving and looked up.
“Royal castle (ojou), go.”
It seemed like he didn’t know the word for royal castle.
But how should I explain it…
(If I remember correctly, there’s a picture book with a castle drawn on it.)
Now he knows we’re going to the castle, but he still didn’t why we’re going there.
He’s tilting his head.
“Didn’t Kou come here? I need to report it to the king.”
As expected, he didn’t understand.
How can I explain it…
Is it faster to just take him there?
“Today (kyou), royal castle (ojou), go (iku).”
“Chastle (chiro)? …Ryodo, togwether (itcho)?”
“Yes. Together (issho).”
“Ryodo, togwether (itcho).”
He didn’t know what they’ll do there, but he’s hoping we’re together.
That’s why I strongly felt that I don’t want to let go of him.
Why do I think he’s so cute even though he’s not my child?
(Is it because Kou’s a good child?)
But there’s no one else like him.
Kou knew quite a lot of information despite his appearance.
As to where he got such information…
He could change his clothes by himself, and sometimes even showed how to tie a complicated string.
…maybe he’s younger than I thought?
He used to say “10, 8”, so maybe that meant he’s 10 or 8 years old.
…even so, he’s still a kid.
However, I don’t understand why he looked so young.
If he’s 10 or 8 years old, he should be bigger.
No one would humanize at this age, so it’s impossible to compare.
I told Renneiga and the others that we’re going to the Royal Castle and rode on Sig.
Kou, who was scared at first, seemed to have gotten used to him since they met every day.
He’s no longer afraid.
Sig treated Kou like its offspring.
It treated him more like a “child” rather than a “master”.
Kou seemed to be special to Sig as well.
“Chig, big (ooki). Kou, small (chiicha).”
When riding Sig, Kou’s body is fixed to my body.
That’s why Kou won’t fall off Sig even if I released my hands.
Kou spread his hands and compared the size of Sig to himself, then called himself small.
Kou, who tried to convey it with his whole body, was smiling.
“Small, Kou. Town (machi), none (nai).”
Kou pointed his finger to the surroundings.
Is he wondering why there are no children like Kou?
Had he never seen another child?
There are children in the town, so he should have seen them before.
…maybe he didn’t understand beastmen?
When I pointed at the children, he made a blank expression.
…as expected, he didn’t seem to understand.
Even when I said it again, he just tilted his head.
It can’t be helped because he didn’t understand the world “children” itself.
How could I make him understand?
(Would he know if I turn into a beast?)
However, though he’s no longer scared of Sig, there’s a high possibility that he’d be scared when he saw my beast form.
I have never been fond of children.
Especially in my beast form, they would not come near me.
Most would be frightened of Akinists.
…even adults are afraid.
(I can only teach using other things.)
If it’s Renneiga’s beast form, it might be a little better.
I should try asking after we returned.
At first, he was quiet, but perhaps because of the long way to the Royal Castle, he began to sing what seemed to be a song.
Certainly, it’d be boring.
The scenery didn’t change that much and no one would talk to me, the Captain of the Third Corps, casually.
…perhaps me being an Akinist is also a reason.
Seeing Kou’s happy state, a smile naturally appeared on my face.
I stroked his head and the song stopped.
(Did I disturb him?)
I was looking forward to it.
His voice was muffled because he asked while covering his mouth.
Moreover, he didn’t pronounce it well, so if it’s someone else, they wouldn’t understand.
“Shut up (damaru), wrong (chigau).”
I shook my head and he let go of his mouth.
Kou could speak more words day by day.
There are more words he could understand the meaning of and he’d be able to say short sentences in a little while.
He’s just combining those words for now.
Then he sang and looked around for a while, but he must have been bored.
He fell asleep.
I was fascinated by my desire to protect Kou, who’s sleeping while grabbing my clothes.
We slept in the same bed at night.
At first, he made a disgusted face as if asking, “Are we going to sleep together?”, but now, he didn’t.
Kou might have felt lonely in this place where he knew no one.
He’s trying hard to learn the language, but not being able to understand it could be quite stressful.
I hope he feels a little relieved.
I could still feel a wall, but he’s becoming less stiff in my arms.
Sometimes, he’d even show a sweet gesture.
Even if Kou’s parents were found, I probably won’t be able to let go of Kou.
One of the reasons was that I don’t want Kou to stay with someone who’d leave him behind, but “I” just don’t want to leave Kou.
…even if Kou wants to go back.
I don’t want to make Kou cry, but I’ll convince him that he’ll be happier with me rather than anyone else.
If persuading him didn’t work and he really wanted to go back to his parents, I’ll have to keep an eye on them.
Then, if they did the same thing, I’ll separate them without any questions.
It’s not good for Kou to have such a person by his side.
I arrived at the Royal Castle.
I stood in front of the gate while riding Sig and waited for permission to enter the castle.
In the arms of a rare Akinist riding a rare Doniklon, there’s Kou, who humanized in a young figure they’d never seen.
It’s unavoidable that everyone would stare.
Even without his title as the Captain of the Third Corps, he still had to line up this way.
Because of that, many people looked at Kou.
I’m glad he’s sleeping.
Even for a bold person, they’d become nervous when seen like this.
He might even be scared.
However, the noise was so loud that Kou woke up.
Seeing him yawn and blink a few times, perhaps he’s still sleepy as he looked up at me.
The still sleepy eyes moved around for a while.
And curious gazes were directed at such a Kou.
Kou, who was looking around, looked behind him and froze.
Since we’re facing each other, the one behind Kou was the reason for our travel.
Seemed like he’d finally seen the Royal Castle.
Knowing that we’re at our destination, he seemed to be thinking about something.
Kou looked up again.
“Kou, tatake cay (iteterassha)?”
What did he want to say?”
“Ryodo, Kou, …gwib up (chuteryu)?”
I lost my words at Kou’s utterance.
“Wrong! Give up (suteru), wrong!”
Did he think I came here to get rid of him?
I don’t think Kou’s existence is a nuisance at all, and I want to live with him forever.
“King (ou), Kou, see (miru).”
“Kwingー, Kou, shee (miryu)?”
Nodding at his words, he muttered something.
But I don’t know what he said.
I can’t understand what Kou says.
With that in mind, just how smart is Kou to be able to speak so many words already?
It seemed like their turn had come before they knew it.
When I handed over my ID, they glanced at it and immediately returned it.
“Third Corps Captain, Rodokiaus Serafine. Who’s that?”
The gatekeeper glanced at Kou.
“A child of an unknown race that I’ve taken guardianship of. His Majesty sent me a letter to have an audience with him.”
I handed over the letter from His Majesty. He read it then immediately returned it.
Probably because it had His Majesty’s sign.
The gate was opened and Sig’s legs advanced.
After leaving Sig to the stables meant for visitors, I headed to the audience hall while holding Kou.
When I opened the door of the Royal Castle and entered, Kou said something.
He shook his head.
(Is he talking to himself?)
Maybe he didn’t mean to say it from the beginning, or he couldn’t translate it to the language of this country…
He often said that it’s nothing.
As expected, is he still wary?
First, I headed to the waiting room.
One can’t go to the audience hall without being called.
I sat on a chair and let Kou sit on my lap.
The others in the waiting room looked at me with startled expressions.
Even though I’ve never had a smile on my face, what on earth were they looking at…
I’ve never been close to a child, but rather than dislike them, I’ve never been approached by one, so I didn’t know what to do and wasn’t good at handling them.
Kou was wary at first, but he never avoided me.
He didn’t even cry when I approached him.
This was the first time a child had done this.
The “children” I remember would be crying in fear whenever I approached them.
“Third Corps’ Captain. Audience to His Majesty has been allowed.”
The guide appeared in the waiting room and called me.
It seemed like I skipped some people quite a bit since he’d like to see Kou sooner.
While holding Kou, I followed the guide.
(Are you nervous being in a place you don’t know?)
There were also people around me that I’ve never met.
Also, I’m worried he’d be afraid of the unique atmosphere inside the castle.
…but Kou, who had his head down, had cold eyes.
He’s on alert… somehow, he gave a different feeling.
…it’s not like he’d never been alert at all.
What’s he thinking about?
Upon arriving at the audience hall, the guide turned on his heels.
I moved forward while still holding Kou.
His Majesty immediately became visible.
In this country, Marihecto’s (marihekuto) king ── Kursedam Miadlog (kurusedamu miadorogu).
He looked a little older than me, but though he looked like that, he’s already 632 years old.
Gatrea (gatorea) beastmen are famous for their longevity.
He had waist-length blue-gray hair and red eyes.
When Gatreas transformed into their beast forms, they’re about one size smaller than the giant Sig.
…but it’s still quite huge.
Compared to the Akinists, their fertility is not that low.
His Majesty already had His Royal Highnesses involved in political affairs.
“Is that person the child you reported?”
When I lowered Kou and knelt in front of His Majesty, I immediately heard such words.
Normally, I would mention my name and title here, and there’d be a simple greeting from His Majesty.
But it seemed like Kou’s matter was really worrisome.
“Yes. His name is Kou. At first, he’s just a “child” whose race was unknown as you can see. Now he could speak a few words, but he’d often speak in his previous language and I don’t understand them.”
“…and you still picked it up? Will that power be used for your advancement? Or will you use it for a rebellion?”
He’s probably referring to Kou’s power.
“Kou is still unaware of his power. Even if he has the power, he has no way to use it. He’s learning letters now, but as to what would happen after learning magic is up to Kou to decide for himself. I think it should be up to Kou to decide whether to become a magician by making full use of his unique power or aim to be a civil officer by making full use of his intellect which made him able to speak some words in just a few days.”
Kou’s future belonged to Kou.
I don’t intend to send Kou to another country, but I want him to be free to choose which profession he wanted.
The profession was naturally decided by the royal family.
Even for me, I decided to become a soldier by my own will.
Even if it isn’t, Kou, who suddenly came to a place where he couldn’t understand the language would be very lonely.
I wanted to give him as much freedom as I could.
“…Kou, is it? Come here.”
At His Majesty’s words, I looked at Kou standing next to me. He was holding my sleeve and trying not to move.
He probably couldn’t understand what His Majesty said.
When I called his name, those eyes looked at me.
“King’s side, go.”
If I speak easy-to-understand words, he could understand them.
However, he shook his head.
“No. Ryodo, togwether (itcho).”
He shook his head and hugged me.
Seeing Kou not wanting to leave me is cute, but he can’t ignore His Majesty’s orders.
Why didn’t he want to go to that side?
…did he think I’ll leave Kou to His Majesty?
“Kou, give up (suteru), wrong. Later, together (issho), go home.”
Then I have to resolve the misunderstanding.
“Kwing (oo), no. Ryodo, togwether (itcho).”
However, he’s unwilling to go to His Majesty’s side.
What didn’t he like?
He could approach Renneiga without much dislike.
…even when we first met, he just looked at me warily.
However, now that he could have conversations, he’d sometimes talk to Renneiga and the others, even play with them.
Though when I saw him sleeping on Renneiga’s body during a break, I didn’t feel good about it.
“…are you saying you don’t want to come to my side?”
“*******! ********! *********.”
He’s complaining about something, but…I think his eyes were swaying in fear.
(Are you scared of His Majesty?)
He’d never been scared like this even with Sig…
Is it related to race?
…until now, did something happen?
…maybe Kou was kidnapped and left behind in that place?
Then it made sense to be afraid of similar races.
I hugged and stroked Kou’s back to calm him, who’s breathing hard.
“It’s okay. It’s okay.”
As I repeated the words over and over while stroking his back, Kou seemed to calm down.
However, he didn’t seem completely calm.
He reached out while crying.
He usually didn’t ask me to pick him up.
When I held him, his arms went around my neck.
I stroked his back to comfort the crying Kou.
“…it seems like he’s very fond of you. Educate him well to work for Marihect in the future.”
“…by your will.”
Although I feel resentment at those words, the opponent was His Majesty.
Understandably, he didn’t want people, who’d become excellent in the future like Kou, to leave Marihect.
But I have to give priority to Kou right now.
“Please excuse me.”
I gave a bow and left the audience hall.
I stroked the crying Kou’s head while saying that.
I was thinking of going around the Royal Capital, but it would be better to return as soon as possible.
I rode Sig and aimed to my house.
─Rodokiaus Side End─