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The little girl hiding behind Letobell-san was staring at me.
She looked to be about five years old, like Letobell-san had told me, and was easily comparable to the children from the orphanage.
And, I couldn’t stress this enough: she looked nothing like Letobell-san.
While Letobell-san had black hair, the little girl’s hair was of a beautiful, silver color.
He hadn’t simply kidnapped her, right? I was beginning to doubt him at this point.
The little girl finally spoke up, looking up at my face.
「Hello, my name is Yuna. And you are?」
I said, crouching down to make it easier to converse.
She acted shy, though, and quickly hid behind Letobell-san again.
「Go on, tell her your name.」
「Aruka? What a cute name.」
Aruka finally came out from behind Letobell-san and looked at me happily before walking over and hugging me
Well, it was a costume, after all.
「Why are you here, Bear-san?」
I already introduced myself, so why was she still calling me Bear-san?
Well, I wouldn’t ever get angry over something like that anymore.
I was a mature adult now, after all.
「Your grandfather asked me to come.」
Aruka looked at Letobell-san.
「Grandpa knows Bear-san?」
「I just met her today so I asked her to come meet you straight away, Aruka.」
Looking at Aruka’s face more closely now, I failed to see the resemblance between her and Letobell-san.
If it turned out that they weren’t actually blood related, then that would mean that this old man was dangerous. Still, based on their conversation, they had to be related, right?
I looked back at Aruka while deciding to ignore the potentially dangerous old man for now.
「I brought a present for you, Aruka.」
I took out volume one of the picture book from the Bear Box and Aruka immediately smiled, recognizing it.
「It’s the Bear-san’s picture book!」
She exclaimed excitedly as she took the book from the Bear Puppet.
「I can have it?」
「Yes, it’s a present for you.」
Aruka was now smiling from ear to ear, and I needed no more; the book was hers.
I glanced at Letobell-san only to see he was clearly wearing an expression of a winner.
He then whispered to me.
『So, what do you think? My granddaughter is adorable, right? It’s my complete victory.』
『Although, the smile is all thanks to my picture book, not your hard work.』
I looked back at Aruka, and seeing her smiling face while she read the book also made me feel like I had won completely. She accepted it happily, after all. I would have only considered it a loss if she said she didn’t want it.
『Yes, but Aruka’s smile is still the best, right?』
I had to agree; her smile really made my heart warm up.
Completely focused on our whispers, I suddenly felt a tug on my hand.
I looked down and saw Aruka had grabbed onto my Bear Hand.
「Bear-san, read it.」
She asked while looking up at me with big, round eyes.
I had no reason to refuse, so I took the book from her.
「I’m going to head downstairs for a moment. Can I ask you to take care of Aruka while I’m away?」
I agreed, so Letobell-san left the room, leaving us on our own.
Somehow, we ended up reading the book with me sitting down, and Aruka between my legs, so that she could look at the book as I read it to her.
And then, I performed the very embarrassing act of reading out the book I had made myself.
Just as we got to the second volume, the door opened. It wasn’t Letobell-san, however, but rather a woman with silver-colored hair.
「There really is a bear in here, huh.」
Aruka got up and ran over to the woman, who appeared to be her mother. Unlike Letobell-san, she actually looked like her daugher. Letobell-san was most likely not related to her, but rather the father of Aruka, judging by the stark difference.
Well, this woman could still be his daughter if she had only inherited her mother’s genes.
「Thank you for looking after my daughter. I’m Sefull, by the way.」
「Has my daughter made any selfish requests?」
「No, she’s very cute and obedient.」
「That’s good to hear. Oh, is that the picture book?」
Sefull-san said, noticing the book her daughter was holding.
「Bear-san gave it to me.」
She patted her daughter’s head happily.
「I heard the story from father-in-law. Thank you for giving my daughter your picture book. Someone showed it to her while we were at the capital, and she really liked it but was sad that she couldn’t get a copy of her own. Father-in-law did everything he could but to no avail. He was just about to give up before he found you.」
「Well, I’m glad he did, seeing how happy it made Aruka.」
Well, my job here was done, so it was about time for me to leave. As I stood up, however…
「I’m sorry, we didn’t even serve you tea.」
Sefull-san hurried towards the door.
「It’s okay, I was about to head back anyway.」
「You can stay a bit longer if you would like. Father-in-law would like to thank you as well, so he asked me to keep you here a little longer if you wanted to leave.」
I had already gotten to see Aruka’s smile as payment, so there was no real reason for him to thank me.
「He’ll be coming soon, so please have some tea while you wait.」
「He doesn’t really need to thank me, though.」
「You’re going home, Bear-san?」
Aruka asked me while grasping my Bear Suit.
There was no way that I could shake off an attack like that.
It was the same unfair tactic that Princess Flora used. I could only call it cheating.
Knowing I couldn’t run away with this, I obediently accepted the tea.
I still made sure to tell Aruka that I would have to go home soon and gently made her let go of my suit.
As I sat down on a chair, Aruka quickly climbed onto the chair next to me and grabbed onto my costume again. My gentle request didn’t work it seemed.
「Fufu, looks like my daughter likes you very much.」
Sefull-san let out a small laugh before taking a sip of her own tea.
「It’s because of this outfit of mine.」
「At first, I didn’t really understand what Father-in-law was talking about. He told me a girl dressed like a bear gave my daughter a bear’s picture book, and that this mystery bear girl was taking care of her at this moment. I was confused, and was still thrown off when I saw you and your bear suit.」
Sefull-san explained and smiled. To hide my embarrassment, I took the book from Aruka and started to read it again.
「By the way, where is Letobell-san?」
「He’s downstairs doing some work right now, but I think he should get here pretty soon. Sorry for making you wait.」
After I finished rereading the picture book, Letobell-san finally returned.
「Sorry for taking so long.」
「All right, I’ll be going, then.」
I tried to use my chance to escape.
「Please wait, I haven’t expressed my gratitude yet.」
「I already received my payment, so it’s fine.」
Aruka’s smile was payment enough for me.
Letobell-san just shook his head at my response, though.
「No, that just won’t do. Could you please let me give you something to express my gratitude?」
Even if he said that… I really wasn’t intending to ask for his money or anything.
「I really don’t need anything. We had a deal, right? Picture book for Aruka’s smile. I had received generous amounts of those, so it’s more than enough.」
I said and gently patted Aruka’s head, who looked up at me and smiled again.
「Yes, I do understand that you don’t need the money. However, it just doesn’t sit right with me to give you nothing. If there’s anything you want, within the limits of my power, I will give it to you.」
I was still troubled, but since he offered it like that, I could actually think of something I would love to have.
「Okay, can I ask you something, then?」
「Would it be possible for me to buy a house in this city?」
To use the Bear Transfer Gate to get to this city, I needed a house to put it in.
I recalled needing a recommendation letter to purchase a plot of land in the capital, so I hoped he could do the same for me here. That way, he could help me out, and we would both be happy.
「Do you plan to start living in this city?」
「Not really, but I do have a reason for wanting one.」
Obviously I couldn’t tell him about my Bear Transfer Gate.
This city was quite far from my previously traveled zones, so a gate here would be great.
「I see, in that case, as long as you have the money and something to prove your status, you should have no problem buying it.」
「Don’t I need a reference letter or anything of the sort?」
「Not particularly. The price of the house will differ on the location, though.」
In other words, it would be fine as long as I had the money. Which I did.
「That means I can just head to the Commerce Guild and chose a location, right?」
「You’re serious about this, aren’t you?」
「Well, I must warn you that even a small house most likely won’t come cheap, for a child like you.」
「There’s no need to worry about that.」
I had plenty of money from my former world, not to mention all the income from the shop and the tunnel. Hmm, I hadn’t ever checked how much I had been getting, but I was told that it was quite a reasonable sum.
「Father-in-law, why don’t you just sell her that house cheaply?」
「Oh, you mean that house. It’s quite far from the center, though.」
As I continued listening, I learned that they owned a small house somewhere on the edge of the city. They took it over a few years ago, but found no use for it, and because nobody was interested in buying it, it ended up just sitting there.
I had no problem with that if I could set up my Bear Transfer Gate there.
I also wouldn’t have to buy a plot of land and suddenly pop out a Bear House there, so I wouldn’t draw attention to myself that way.
Not to mention that it would be troublesome to go to the Commerce Guild to purchase a house, especially with all the paperwork that came with it. Also, with all the commotion I would cause just by going to the guild, having Letobell-san directly sell me a house was definitely a better idea.
「If you’re willing to sell it to me cheaply, it would be of great help.」
「Okay then, let me take you there, and we can decide on the price if you are still interested after seeing it.」
Letobell-san got up from his seat, so I tried to follow him, but Aruka still hadn’t let go.
「I’m sorry Aruka, but I have to go now.」
She looked really sad.
「I’ll come again, don’t worry.」
「She really likes you, Yuna-chan. Aruka is quite shy, so it’s rare for her to get so attached.」
I was happy to hear that, but it also troubled me to see her sad.
Luckily, I had just obtained something that could easily soothe any child; I took out a set of bear plushies from the Bear Box.
Aruka cried out when she saw them and loosened her grip on me.
「My, how cute. They are Bear-san plushies.」
「Not only did you draw picture books, you even made plushies?」
「Please don’t try to copy them, okay?」
「I wouldn’t do something like that.」
「Aruka, just think of them as me.」
「You’re giving them to me?」
「That’s right, so take good care of them, okay?」
Aruka finally let go of me so she could hug the plushies.
「I’ll come again.」
Letobell-san would sell me a house, so I could come here anytime by just using my Bear Gate.
I parted from Aruka, who still looked at me with a sad expression even while hugging the plushies, and headed out, where a carriage was already prepared for us.
I noticed that Rodis-san would be driving us again. I was sure he complain about something, but surprisingly, he stayed quiet.
The carriage set out, and quickly turned off the main road. After a while, it stopped outside a small, cute looking house with a red roof.
「This is it. What do you think of it?」
It was away from the main road, so not many people passed by; it was a great location for me.
「Hmm, I see no problems with it. How much would you like for it?」
Letobell-san whispered something to Rodis-san, who took out a piece of paper.
「I don’t need your money; I’m giving you the house.」
Letobell-san shushed him and proceeded to explain.
「You gave the picture book to my granddaughter and then even presented her with plushies. I think this should be an appropriate return gift.」
「I don’t think that the value of what I gave to your granddaughter and this house are equal at all, though.」
「That’s not for you to decide. I couldn’t get my hands on that picture book, no matter what I did. So, it was quite priceless to me. That’s why, please don’t worry and accept it.」
Letobell-san handed me the piece of paper he had gotten from Rodis-san; it appeared to be the deed to the house.
「Please, take it.」
I was a bit concerned with how this turned out, but I thanked him anyway and reluctantly accepted the deed to the house.
She got a (TL note: normal) house!
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