「Good morning Cyril.」
When my eyes opened Lucy’s gaze met mine.
Lucy was sitting in a tree while keeping watch of the surroundings.
I felt a warm and soft sensation on my right arm. I glanced over to see Kuu hugging my arm as she slept soundly.
「Good morning Lucy. How long was I asleep?」
「Since you collapsed last evening. It’s around noon right now.」
I slept that long? It was partially that black-haired girl’s fault, but the damage from overusing 【Samsara Recursion】 must’ve exceeded my expectations. There was a reason why I had set a limit on it.
「You kept watch? Sorry about that. Did you get any sleep?」
「Uhuh, Kuu-chan was keeping watch until just a while ago and I was sleeping.」
「I see, thank you Lucy, thank you Kuu.」
I thanked each of them and patted Kuu’s head as she slept.
Nevertheless, Kuu’s sleeping face was adorable.
Kuu’s eyes were still damp with tears. I’m sure she had been crying up until she fell asleep.
「Cyril, is your body okay? You weren’t injured but we were worried since you suddenly collapsed.」
「Don’t worry. I had to use too much magic to fight that Hero and it exhausted me.」
As if saying ‘thank goodness’ Lucy let out a sigh of relief.
「Sorry for making you worry about me Lucy.」
「No, the reason Cyril has to work so hard is because we’re still weak. We’ll work hard to become dependable.」
「Just the sentiment alone makes me happy.」
「We don’t want it to stop with just sentiment.」
Just talking normally with Lucy like this felt like it was healing me. Because she’s here I feel like I can still remain as myself despite everything.
「I’d feel bad to wake up Kuu at this point so this time I’ll carry her in my arms and I’ll carry you on my back Lucy. We need to hurry back or there’ll be trouble.」
It wouldn’t be strange if snow started to fall any day now. I had placed plenty of feed inside the goat barn, but by now they had probably eaten through most of it and if they stayed in such an enclosed area for too long their health would worsen.
There was no way I could let our newly bought goats die so easily.
「Got it. But, are you really okay now? If it’s too hard then you don’t have to carry me, I can walk on my own.」
「Don’t worry. Leave it to me. I feel even better than usual right now.」
I said and carefully lifted Kuu into my arms so as not to wake her.
Her tears hadn’t disappeared, but her sleeping face looked happy right now. If she woke up now she’d be engulfed in another wave of sadness. For now I’d like her to continue her happy dreams for a little longer.
As I was thinking that Kuu mumbled in her sleep.
「Cyril-kun, we’ll give birth to a healthy baby right?」
Lucy looked startled.
「Hey Cyril…you did things with Kuu that could make a baby?」
「…..yes, we did.」
「I’m a bit…envious, I want a baby or someth….No nevermind, it’s nothing.」
She said and quickly hid her face as she blushed and hopped onto my back.
I didn’t say anything and simply carried her.
As I felt their comforting warmth I began moving.
Upon returning to Erucy the first thing we needed to do was put the goods in the storehouse. I gave Lucy the task of dividing up the cloth amongst the elves.
Kuu had awakened by then so I went with her to where the Fire Foxes were living.
In her hand was a bag with the tails of their brethren.
First they were all overjoyed with the nice clothing that we delivered to them.
The clothes were cute and comfortable, they were happy that they could finally change into a different set of clothes after so long.
However, once that excitement settled down…
Kuu spoke of the other Fire Foxes that had gone to the other town…then she opened the bag with their tails.
The Fire Foxes all broke down in tears.
There were girls who clutched at tails crying that it was their mother’s amongst them.
The Fire Foxes knew instantly whose tails they were. According to Kuu the families had split up to escape, so most of these tails were from one of their family members.
I’m sure that these girls had been praying and hoping that their families would be safe.
The decision to split up the families was made by Kuu’s father. It was in order to preserve their diversity.
In all respects a rational yet harsh decision.
Thanks to that most of their bloodlines were preserved, but the survivors were forced to experience the sadness of losing their family.
「Everyone, let’s take the day and cry as much as we want. But from tomorrow forward we have to do our best. Our lives were saved through their sacrifices. We have to live properly for their sake. We can’t just cry. We need to live.」
Kuu spoke out with a firm voice. No matter what happened she refused to cry in front of the Fire Foxes.
Even today that did not change.
The next day the Fire Foxes got to work.
They cared for the goats and cultivated the turnips. Each and every one worked proactively.
It was as though they were working hard to forget the sadness they had experienced.
Then two days later after their boiling feelings had calmed a bit, we held a funeral for the Fire Foxes.
「Please Rest in Peace.」
Kuu took the lead and held a solemn funeral ceremony.
Fire Foxes had a tradition of cremating their dead so it was by this custom they held the ceremony.
They used their magic to create an enormous roaring fire. They held the tails of their dead relatives as they spoke their final goodbyes and placed the tails in the inferno.
Despite taking two days to calm their feelings, this ceremony stirred their sorrows once more and they began to cry.
「No! I don’t want to burn Mom!」
Among them a young Fire Fox clutched at her mother’s tail and refused to let go.
For her that must have been the final thread binding them together.
Kuu walked over and crouched in front of her while patting her head.
「Nee, Kuron. We should let your mother rest.」
「I don’t wanna, I wanna be together forever!」
「If you hold onto her tail…then your mother won’t have it with her when she’s in heaven. Wouldn’t you feel bad about that?」
「But…but…Kuron…will be all alone then…」
「It’s okay, even if you don’t have her tail…your mom will be watching over you always. Plus, you won’t be alone Kuron. I’ll be with you, and so will everyone else.」
Kuu said and hugged the girl close to her chest.
She was still 14 years old, barely an adult, yet I could sense a feeling of motherhood from her.
「Kuu-anesama I know…」
「Kuron is such a good girl. Why not say farewell properly?」
「Un…mom…goodbye…please be happy in heaven.」
And so the final tail disappeared into the flames.