Hanare Gatai Kemono - Chapter 10 [v1]




Chapter 10

Soon after the good wishes from Empress Kushinada arrived, many new gifts began to appear in quick succession. It seemed that Kushinada wanted to become Ash's backup, as did Yudha and Edna. They were not only from the Empress. The senders listed in the catalog he was given  are people with good titles.

"Ministers, politicians, high-level military personnel, royal aristocrats..."

Dyria looked over the inventory Aaron had brought. Of course, almost all of them were gifts for Ash. Only some of them were written for Dyria.

"Lilliesel..."

Dyria noticed one of the names written in the catalog.

"Lili-chan." Ash crouched down on the floor and sat down between Dyria's legs, lifting his little face and add, "Aunt Lili."

"Did you meet her somewhere?"

"She was in the corner of the room when I went to say hello to Grandma."

"Is that so?"

Most of Lilliesel's gifts were toys for Ash. For convenience she called them "toys," but they were big horses that Ash could actually ride, super expensive musical instruments, and picture books that seemed a little too heavy for a baby's arms. Plus clothes with rhinestones, smooth leather shoes, fruits that grew in foreign countries, sweets, and about ten maids sent especially for Ash.

"Mr. Aaron."

"Yes, I am here."

"I'm very grateful, but can you put all these on hold?"

"That means..."

"I don't want to receive all these myself. I'm an ordinary uneducated person. I'm out of the royal palace tradition so I don't feel good about all this. I can't decide for myself... I want to talk to Yudha first."

"I'm sure the Lord would be fine with whatever you decide."

"Then wouldn't it be insulting if I decided to return some things?"

"It will not."

"Great."

"But why put them on hold?"

"I don't know."

How did all these gifts get here?

What is the purpose of giving these gifts to a baby?

What kind of people are the senders?

Dyria couldn't comprehend. Acting as he always did may disadvantage Ash's future later on. His child, who will be this kingdom's future king. These were a bribe in the form of a gift. Something that put his son in a good mood, but annoys him.

"I'm sure many of these things will continue to appear in front of Ash as long as we remain here, but I don't think it's good. I'd like to wait for Yudha... Please."

"Alright, we can trust the Lord."

"Then please take care all of these so they don't get lost. We'll talk about it again when Yudha gets back from work."

"How about the gifts for you?"

"I will return them too."

Dyria can return all the gifts addressed to him, but he did not think he could do the same for Ash's gifts.

"Then, I'll do that."

"Thank you."

They bowed deeply to each other and let the matter rest.

"Dila, is it over now, can we go to the library?"

"Yes, we can. It was great of you to wait so patiently for me. You did great, baby. Let's go."

After noon that day, Dyria took Ash by the hand and headed to the library. It seemed that Yudha used the library to read books, hide when he was little, and then research when he grew up. Ash borrowed three ghost books from the library. He was sure Yudha read this book when he was little so he wanted to do it too.

"Yudha isn't coming."

"Because he's working."

"Will you read this book for me?"

"Well, why this one?"

"When Dila was sleeping, Yudha read it every day."

"He read it?"

"Yes."

"Well..."

"But he didn't finish it. It's bad."

"It's bad. I'll tell him when he gets back, but it's time for bed, Ash."

After finishing dinner, going to the bathroom, and putting toothpaste on a tiny toothbrush, Dyria changed Ash into his nightclothes and tucked him into bed.

"Are you afraid of ghosts?" The little boy asked when Dyria tried to read Ash a picture book.

"Whether it's scary or not depends on the ghost."

"Dila, can you sleep with me?"

"No, I sleep in the next room, can Ash sleep alone?"

"Just today, please, Dila."

"No."

Ash pouted.

"Why, why don't you sleep with me today, because Ash kicks you in the face?"

"Your tail looks scared tonight..."

Ash's tail, which emerged from the hollow of the blanket, wrapped around Dyria's wrist.

"Please, Dila."

"...There's no other way, baby."

Dyria wanted to encourage Ash's independence, but today was the first day they were spending in the new mansion so maybe, it would be good to sleep together. Dyria lay down next to Ash.

"Thank you, Dila. I love you so much."

"Thank you."

"Goodnight, Dila."

"Goodnight, Ash."

Pon pon.

Slowly, softly, and with a certain rhythmic feel, pon pon, Dyria patted his little boy's back. Ash placed his head on Dyria's arm and snuggled into it as if it was a giant pillow. Dyria held Ash's little head and rubbed his lips around his eyebrows as he sang a lullaby:

"My baby, my baby, the stars will say goodnight to you."

Ash slept well, so it didn't take much work. He was beautiful and obedient to a fault. His baby, his child... The child who taught him the joy of working for someone, cooking for someone, and living for someone. But he didn't want to use Ash for his own happiness.

It's been more than ten days since they arrived at this castle and it might be about ten more days before they had a long conversation, but he believed he should ask Ash about taking him home or living here.

He thought they should talk about it without rushing to make a mature decision. Because even though Dyria wanted to take him home, there were three people here who took great care of him: Yudha, Edna and Kushinada. And it's safer to be here. Definitely safer.

"Here we go..."

Feeling Ash's wet nose, Dyria suddenly noticed something. He gently pulled his arms out from under Ash's head and lifted his tiny little body. The lamp beside the bed dimly illuminated the embroidered pattern on the curtain descending from the canopy... A wolf's hand was gripping the edge.

"......"

Dyria, kneeling on the bed, lifted Ash's body with his right hand and hid him behind his back so the wolf outside couldn't hurt the little boy. A dagger in his left hand...

"Dila?"

Ash woke up at the very violent movement.

"What's wrong?"

"Yudha..."

It turned out was Yudha. Still wearing his military uniform, he was standing in front of Dyria with hair dirty and messy. He raised his hands to show Dyria that he did not possess any weapons.

"I had intended to come in quietly not to wake Ash... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."

"What for?"

"...To see you."

"That's it?"

"That's all."

"You're an idiot."

Dyria turned the edge of the dagger toward himself and slipped it into his ankle belt, the one he had tucked under his pants.

"You're sleeping with that?"

"Of course... Ash, baby, come on."

He held Ash with both hands and stroked the little boy's back to stop him from shaking.

"Is it always like this?"

Dyria was always ready to move his dagger as soon as he felt someone's presence. And at nights, he even tried not to fall fast asleep in case intruders appeared.

"So what?"

"You don't get enough sleep because you're doing that."

"I'm not at home. This is a special case."

"The ghost..."

Ash muttered, looking at Yudha, illuminated by a dim light.

"...Ah."

It was too late when Dyria noticed. Ash, who mistook Yudha for a ghost, slowly began to sob.

"...Dila, Dila...pee-pee."

"Ash, come here."

But the little boy was already crying. Dyria's knees were suddenly wet with Ash's urine on the sheets.

"I'm sorry."

Yudha apologized for shocking the boy so much.


-     NOTE     -

I changed the way Ash calls Dyria to Dila. It's cuter and makes you want to squeal more, haha.






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