Ex Strongest, Meeting with a Lost Child?
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As he headed to the place where his voice was heard, Soma was tilting his head reflexively the moment he saw the scene. It was because he didn’t understand what kind of situation it was at a glance.
There was a crying girl and a girl that he knew.
The crying girl was small, and she was probably about three to four years old. The other girl was shouting something to the small girl. To be honest, it was a situation that could be misunderstood if it was seen by a complete stranger.
He didn’t have to say what kind of misunderstanding it was, but…
“So, stop crying already… aah.” (Steina)
At that moment, their eyes interlocked.
Then, the girl, Steina, opened her eyes wide because she knew exactly what the situation would like from the other party. When the cheek was pulled, the body was turned to him in a hurry.
“Wh-why are you coming here in this timing!? You got it wrong, you know! I didn’t really…” (Steina)
“Hmm… I’m not impressed to see someone bullying children…” (Soma)
“I-I told you, you got it wrong!?” (Steina)
Steina became more flustered when Soma told her so, but while looking at that appearance, Soma loosened his mouth a little.
Well, obviously, he didn’t really meant what he said. If that was true, the situation would be a little bit different. So, there was no way he would invite a person who would do such a thing to journey together.
So, he was joking, and it seemed that Steina noticed that. Her mouth that was trying to make an excuse closed, and she stared at him.
“Well, I think you’re aware of it, but it’s a joke.” (Soma)
“It wasn’t a joke to me especially when I was flustered, you know! What a bad guy…!” (Steina)
But, thanks to me, you have quickly recovered from the confusion, right?” (Soma)
“I don’t deny that, but…” (Steina)
Whether Steina was convinced or not, Soma shrugged his shoulders at her who was still glaring at him. Then, he turned his eyes to the side. There weren’t only Soma and Steina in this place.
However, the small girl, who had been crying before, wasn’t crying any longer at that time. On the other hand, rather than stopped crying, it seemed that she became more scared because of the appearance of a new stranger.
“Hmm… she is wary of me.” (Soma)
“Well, that’s right. That was why I told you were a bad guy.” (Steina)
“I don’t think you have to include me into that. So, let me confirm the present situation… were you trying to help that girl there?” (Soma)
He judged by a guess from the situation.
When Soma saw them, they weren’t walking but their hands were connected. It seemed that Steina was trying to guide a lost child, and there was a feeling that she was trying to stop the girl from continuing to cry.
The conversation he heard a little before this was simply because of Steina’s personality. Incidentally, the two of them weren’t holding hands anymore, because she turned her body to her and let her hand go. Perhaps, it was intentional, and that seemed to contribute to the fact that the young girl was wary.
“Wh-wha? I was trying to help her, you know? There is no other reason. I heard her crying and tried to tell her to stop because it was annoying!” (Steina)
Soma let out a breath to Steina who said such a thing. There was no way to believe the words that weren’t an excuse.
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“Hmm… does that mean you’re not going to help her?” (Soma)
“Of course, I am! I came here and asked to stop crying! Instead, she became rather angry, you know!?” (Steina)
“So, you’re saying that girl was alone in this back alley?” (Soma)
“I-I don’t know about that! I’m not sure why she is here and I’ve got nothing to do with her!” (Steina)
“I see… I feel very nostalgic about this.” (Soma)
Steina wasn’t aware of it, but the small girl had changed her standing position before she knew it. She was as if trying to run away from a stranger, Soma, and went under someone’s protection.
Yes, she was at Steina’s feet. As soon as Steina noticed it, she was caught in the foot.
“Aauu!? What are you doing! Hey, get away from me! Or I’ll get angry, you know!?” (Steina)
“What do you mean by ‘No’!?” (Steina)
Steina persistently asked the girl to leave, but she clung desperately and didn’t leave. She looked like a child who didn’t want to be separated from the parents.
“Are you angry just because the girl does that? It’s not masochism, and I don’t think that’s true, no?” (Soma)
“I told you, I don’t know! Why do you feel nostalgic suddenly!? Hey, get away from me!” (Steina)
Looking at that scene, who would believe Steina’s words were true? It would be better to admit that she was being unreasonably irresponsible.
Even if Steina told the small girl to get away and pretending to raise her arm, she didn’t feel shaken as if she was fully aware of Steina’s true nature. That was why the girl felt so attached to Steina.
Then, why she became scared to Soma? Well, in a sense, Soma was like a pullout blade. It might be a bit overwhelming to the child.
“Well… it just came to mind for the time being, and I don’t think my help is needed. Are you sure you can handle this?” (Soma)
“I’ll be angry if you leave this child to me. By the way, you also have finished with your staff, so I guess it’s fine to do whatever you want, right? I also want to do whatever I want, so… I’m going to leave you…!” (Steina)
Soma tilted her head to Steina, who continuously tried hard to be stubborn. It might be because she was embarrassed. That might be so, but it might be something else as well. Somehow, she pretended to be a bad guy.
When he thought about it, he might have seen that kind of attitude in the past. Soma wondered if there was a reason for it…
In any case, when Soma tried to turn around since it was fine to leave them here, something entered his view unexpectedly. It was the head of the child who was still clinging on Steina’s feet. Though it was hidden, there were horns that were still growing on her head.
There was only one race that had such a thing that most human beings wouldn’t have. It was Youma race or also known as Demonis.
So, Soma was convinced of this situation with one more fact. That was the reason why Steina and the small girl were walking in such a back alley.
There was no doubt that the child was lost, but normally, they wouldn’t walk in the back alley. Doing so would cause unnecessary trouble.
However, the matter had different meaning if the child who was with Steina was a Youma. This had been mentioned before the appearance of Youma race was occasionally mixed with the appearance of monsters. As a result, they were often hated, and it was easy for them to become a target of persecution.
It would be different if they had a certain degree of social standing or got a job, but the hurdles that led to that would be very high. In regards to having a job, it would be easier to become a source of trouble, since the common people didn’t like it.
For this reason, in order to find a Youma race, people must go to a place that was difficult to find such as this back alley.
Apparently, it looked like this…
“That fact doesn’t really change here, huh?” (Soma)
“…Well, you’re right.” (Steina)
Steina must have guessed what Soma was thinking from his gaze. Without talking about the details, Steina nodded.
The discrimination existed as they were lumped together with the Demons. It was such a thing.
“But, that has nothing to do with me!” (Steina)
Nevertheless, as if Steina was still acting to be a bad guy, there was a bitter smile on Soma’s face, and then he shrugged his shoulders. After that, he turned his feet this time.
“Aah. “That reminds me, have you found an inn? I couldn’t find any of them.” (Soma)
“What did you do? Of course, I have already found it. What’s more, it’s a pretty good place!” (Steina)
Judging how she puffed up her chest, it didn’t seem to look good at all.
Soma let out a breath of relief because of that. If worse comes to worst, even if Soma couldn’t find an inn, that girl was seriously looking for it. She didn’t look like thinking something bad about him after all.
“Hmm, is that so? You seem to be devoting yourself in finding one.” (Soma)
“I don’t know what you are talking about, but… well, I thought I was done, but I still have some work to do. It’s troubling since she isn’t only crying, but she sticks to my feet. I think I’m going to preach her for a bit… so, I’m probably going to be delayed.” (Steina)
“…Got it. Well, if you’re late, I’m going to explain to the other two, so you don’t have to hurry, alright?” (Soma)
“I understand. Well, I’m just going to preach, so I think it’s probably fine!” (Steina)
It didn’t seem Steina wanted to admit by all means. As Soma looked at her, he began to walk as it was with a smile, while shrugging the shoulders.
“Look, that guy has gone away, right!? So, you can get away from me!” (Steina)
While listening to that voice with a bitter smile, Soma let out a breath, thinking that she would do well.
- Now we know what is Youma race. Back in chapter 22, I’ve wrote (which I crossed later) that Youma race is also called Demonis.
- The Demonis is mentioned for second time in chapter 140, but the chapter doesn’t say anything about Youma is Demonis.
- Again, there are big interval of information from chapter 22 to 140, then 150 to remember what is Youma or Demonis.
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