Big Bear came up and scratched my head.
Still, it was sweet.
“Because we need you.
You’re such an outstanding kid.
Good at analyzing situations.
Your mana is also incredibly strong.”
“I also think you’re stronger than me.
This time, Little Bear patted me on the head.
It didn’t hurt, but unlike Big Bear’s touch, it was a little rough.
“What? Oh, okay…”
The Little Bear’s touch softened as the Big Bear’s words came out.
He was a little smaller than Big Bear, but his touch was equally warm.
‘…It feels nice…’
Big Bear suddenly asked,
“Illusion Magic… I don’t think they teach you that in an orphanage.
Did you do self-study?”
I learned it in my previous life.
But I couldn’t say that…
I hesitated for a moment, and Big Bear added,
“Self-study means that you learned it by yourself.”
“I know what you meant.
If it makes any sense, I just looked and copied.”
Just like that, I glossed over it.
Big Bear and Little Bear were very impressed.
“You taught yourself! I can’t believe you learned such advanced magic on your own! Dia, you’re amazing! What a genius!”
“As Juliano said, you are indeed a genius.
A kid like you is really rare.
Our Leocardia Duchy always welcomes strong talents.
Won’t you come with us?”
I asked to confirm.
“If I say I won’t go, will you get rid of me?”
The Little Bear looked shocked and Big Bear’s eyes slightly widened, perhaps that was also a look of surprise.
“Absolutely not,” said the Big Bear.
It was said in a very quiet and solemn tone.
I could feel a steel will behind it.
One saying that ‘I will never do that even if the world ends.’
“Even if you decide to not go with us, we won’t kill nor hurt you.”
“But we can’t send you back to the orphanage.
That place is truly rotted to the core”
The Little Bear motioned an X with both hands with a determined expression.
“You don’t have to work for our territory.
But first, come with us.
You’ll be much better off than staying in that orphanage.”
It doesn’t matter what you choose to do later, we’ll take care of you until you become an adult.”
They were saying such nice things with sincerity, to the point that I almost believed them.
‘I don’t think they’re lying…’
But, I couldn’t believe them completely.
“Are you worried about your orphanage friends? Is that why you can’t bear to leave?”
The Big Bear asked, and I nodded.
It wasn’t a lie.
Before leaving at the age of ten, I had intended to punish the orphanage staff and the Lord.
After all, there was a real problem.
The entire purpose of the orphanage was disgusting, but aside from that, if all the orphanage staff who took care of them disappeared, it was the children who would become more miserable.
“They’re all unable to use magic.
They’re just normal kids.
I can’t just burn everything and everyone to the grounds.
But I don’t mean that we’ll leave it as is.
I’ll get them all to transfer to a normal orphanage in another estate.
I, Leocardia Helladius, promise this in my name.”
The Big Bear had me at his disposal.
He could have just kidnapped me, taken me away, tie my body with artifacts, and detain me.
It was just a matter of torturing me and forcing me to obey his orders.
However, the Big Bear did not do so, even going as far as to make a promise under his name.
Of course, I couldn’t believe everything he said.
But, my trust and favor had risen.
‘If they save the children, I think… it might be okay to follow them.’
Living in the Duchy would mean that I needn’t worry about food, clothing, and shelter.
It would be helpful.
“Dia! Come with us! I’ll give you a lot of delicious food! Like this.”
The Little Bear pulled something about of his subspace.
The round object wrapped in paper was a little larger than a thumbnail.
As the Little Bear pulled the paper out, what appeared was something smooth.
I asked with a tilt of my head, “A bead?”
It’s not a bead, it’s candy.
Is this your first time seeing one?”
I had heard of it, but never seen, let alone eaten it before.
“You can’t chew on it, because you’re young and your teeth will hurt.
You’ll have to do with just sucking it.
Here you go.”
I didn’t open my mouth and looked at the candy with a suspicious gaze.
Poison didn’t work on me, but other substances and drugs did.
‘The food was okay, but… There won’t be sleeping pills in it, right…?’
The Little Bear smiled broadly as if my suspicious gaze was something amusing.
He then took out another one and placed it in his mouth.
It was funny to see his right cheek bulge out a little.
The Little Bear then spoke loudly, as if for me to hear.
“Yum~ How delicious~! Go ahead and eat too, Dia.”
I didn’t want to, but Big Bear took the candy out of Little Bear’s hand and placed it in mine.
Afraid that there was something strange, I carefully scanned it with some detection magic.
I carefully placed the candy in my mouth.
Mimicking what the Little Bear did, I rolled it around to the right of my cheek with the intention of sucking it.
After no more than a few seconds, I could taste the candy.
It was sweet!
It was a sweet taste that I had never tasted in my previous life.
One that I had only tasted once in my current life when I stole some dessert.
Compared to the candy, the dessert I had before was no longer so sweet.
The noble sugar melted in my mouth and seemed to shake my whole body sweetly.
It was an ecstatic feeling as if the stars were shining right in front of you!
When my mouth opened wide in admiration, the candy escaped out of my mouth and fell onto my clothes.
Before I even realized it, I was already crying.
However, instead of leaving it as it was, I grabbed the candy in my hand and put it in my mouth again.
After all, I should never give up!
“Hyuk! Dia! That’s dirty!” cried the Little Bear with a startled look.
The Big Bear’s eyes opened wide and said sternly, “Spit it out.”
I shook my head and kept sucking on the candy.
It fell on my clothes, not on the dirt floor, so I didn’t think there was anything wrong.
‘Actually, there indeed may be a little dust on my clothes…’
However, I had also picked up and eaten what had fallen on the ground before, dust was nothing.
“If you spit it out, I’ll give you two more!”
The Little Bear shouted, hurriedly taking another two candies out of his subspace.
Of course, I spat it out right away.
The candy fell down my clothes and finally, to the dirt floor.
I reached out to the Little Bear.
The Little Bear gave me two candies as he nodded along.
I quickly placed one preciously in my subspace, and the other in my mouth.
‘Oh, I like it so much!’
I had no idea the taste of sweetness could make me so ecstatic.
I glanced at the candy on the dirt floor with sad eyes.
‘What a waste… Maybe I can take it back secretly…?’
As if reading my thoughts, the Big Bear quietly turned to the candy and used a magic spell.
The candy disappeared into dust without even a single sound.
The Little Bear wiped the sweat off his forehead and stared at me with pity.
I was too ashamed to look at the sight.
‘Ugh! Why are you crying!’
I covered my eyes with my hands.
“Dia? What’s wrong?”
“I’m ashamed of being such a child…”
‘Why am I so childish…’
I lived until I was 18 in my previous life.
If you added the seven years from my current life, I’m practically already 25.
But even in my view of the current situation, my actions were clearly not that of a 25-year-old.
I knew it was because of the abnormal environment I was around.
In my previous life, I lived in a temple starting from the mere age of seven.
My mind had hardly grown since then.
I couldn’t stay this way.
I had finally gotten a new start after reincarnation, but my world was still very narrow.
Above all, my body was still too young.
‘I don’t think there’s anything I can do about acting like a child…’
Still, I was embarrassed.
A long time passed before I raised my lowered head.
What greeted me though was the sight of two bears closing their mouths tightly, their faces, however, were full of laughter.
The Little Bear grinned and whispered, “Dia, if you come with us you can eat things far more delicious than that.
Let’s go together, okay?”
‘Something more delicious?’
It felt like my eyes were spinning.
Still, I wouldn’t fall for that.
My mouth, however, was still diligently sucking on the candy.
‘If it’s better than this… Oh no! I can’t fall for it just because of some candy like a kid!’
I focused on the two bears again.
Their appearances were terrifying, but they seemed decent.
However, I still couldn’t be a hundred percent sure.
‘Even if they’re villains or someone related to the Cardinal, wouldn’t it be fine if I just take a look at the situation and then run away?’
The Big Bear was strong, but he didn’t seem to have that much capacity.
I nodded after finishing thinking.
“Dia will come with.”
If the proposal they made earlier was true, I would only have to stay for about three years.
‘I’ll leave when I’m about ten and come back here after.’
If the Big Bear kept his promise, the children would be fine soon.
However, even if he was a high-ranking noble, it would still be difficult to touch a Lord.
‘I’ll take care of it later.’
By then, my body would be miles stronger, so it would be okay.
“You did a great job!”
The Little Bear smiled brightly and hugged me.
It was a careful and gentle touch like one would use on a treasure.
It was really warm.
It was awkward and strange, but I didn’t hate it. So, I stayed in his arms.
Suddenly, the Little Bear let me go.
He frowned a little as his nose flared.
“Let’s wash up for now.”
I bowed my head in shame.
“There’s a lake over there.
Let’s go and wash up over there,” said the Big Bear
“I’ll go with her.
Juliano, you go to the village and get Dia’s shoes and clothes.
Get ready to go.”
“Right away Father.”
The Big Bear came forward and picked me up.
Hugging was already awkward, but now that I was aware of what state I was in, I was even more worried.
“I know you can smell it.
Put me down.”
I banged on his back, before bowing a little.
I sniffed myself.
But I couldn’t tell because it was the smell of my won body.
The Big Bear said convincingly, stroking my hair with one hand.
It was still a soft touch.
Like touching something lovely and cute.
‘Am I that cute?’
I had never heard such words in my past life.
However, after reincarnation, the orphanage staff often told me that I was cute.
But whatever they said was naturally horrifying to me, so I ignored them all.
The lake was not far away.
“I’ll go take a shower then.”
I’ll help you.”
“I’m used to doing it alone in the orphanage.
And turn around! Protection needs to be drawn.”
“Protection needs to be drawn? Oh, privacy…”
The Big Bear stared at me, and when I didn’t back down, he sighed briefly before pulling a basket out of the subspace.
There was a big towel and soap in the basket.
I yelled as I received the basket.
“Don’t you dare look!”
“Yes, I promise.”
When the Big Bear turned his back, I used magic to move the water and began to wash my whole body.
I usually did it roughly, but I did it meticulously this time.
Especially, I paid a lot of attention to my dirty face.
After washing up, I glanced at the water.
The body covered by loose clothes was as thin as a skewer and pale.
The short dark brown hair trimmed in the form of a haircut was rough and uneven.
‘I indeed look pitiful.’
My face, however, was fine.
My cheeks were full of baby fat, so it added a hint of cuteness.
Since I was freshly washed, my skin was a little pinkish and tender.
I had round eyes the color of hair.
It was a common dark brown, but they were very large and sparkling.
The eyelashes were also very long.
‘I washed it quite clean!’
I said as I stepped out of the lake.
The Big Bear looked back at me, and his eyes grew a little bigger.
The Big Bear suddenly fell in front of me. He collapsed with only one knee remaining to support him.
His eyes were obviously fixed on me, but they were cloudy as if looking at something else.
‘What is he thinking?’
The Big Bear closed his eyes.
At first glance, he was just expressionless, but he was clenching his fist.
Strong enough to reveal the blue veins on the back of his hand.
‘He’s suppressing a lot of pain…’
I wanted to know what was going on, but I didn’t think I should ask.
So, I waited quietly.
It was only a long time afterward that Big Bear opened his eyes and opened his mouth.
It was a bitter voice.
“It reminded me of the old days.”
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