“In short, this ink was splashed on the front wall of your friend’s store?”
As George and William had awoken, they discussed the story about the ink with Harold.
“It was a bright red ink.
It doesn’t fade no matter how much we rub it, so it troubles us.
Is there a good way to make it come off?”
“Red… The same color as the ink the noble brat took during the food distribution… Sorry, that ink can never come off.
All the paintings here use that same ink, but let alone fade, the color doesn’t even run, right?”
With one side of its wall collapsed, the paintings in this room, which should have been exposed to the rain and wind, are in perfect condition.
They expected that Harold had some way to erase the ink, but it seemed to be impossible.
“Stingy with food distribution, stole the ink and splashed it on Joshua’s store… The clue leads to one person…”
Emma remembered having met a person who behaves this lame recently.
The same face also floated in George and William’s minds.
“Is this ink being sold somewhere?”
Who could’ve thought that the ink they couldn’t find in the shopping district and the commoner town, they would find it here in the slums in all colors? Maybe it’s made in a foreign country.
“Of course it’s not sold anywhere.
This is what I made after all.”
Harold lined up the inks and showed them proudly.
Each bright liquid ink is put in a simple container.
“Handmade product!? of Harold-san?”
Who would have expected.
It exceeded the level of handmade.
Even the siblings have never seen an ink with such unfading, bright color in their previous life.
“I used to wander around painting pictures, but the cost for art supplies was higher than my earnings, so I got no choice but to try to make it on my own.
After coming up with many things, I got hooked on it somehow and ended up experimenting with everything there is.
Well, I recently have been painting graffiti on the wall while taking care of the kids here without wandering anywhere, though.”
Harold laughed and said it like nothing, but he must have found it hard to leave the kids who were left alone after the good times came and those who can work graduated from the slums.
Even though he wouldn’t have gotten so thin and collapsed if he had been living by himself, this kind-hearted handsome uncle chose to help every kid in this slum based on what they heard from Hue.
He put himself before others.
“You guys too.
If you don’t have anywhere to go, you can live here.
You will be of working age soon.
I can at least teach you how to write and read.”
Just seeing the patches on the siblings’ clothes and the scar on Emma’s face made Harold uttered his willingness to take on more people under his care.
“No, we are fine!”
George hastily answered.
“That so? You don’t have to force yourself, y’know?”
Do we really look that badly off… Not just Harold, but the children gathered around them, too, said, “No need to hold yourself back, y’know?”
Perhaps the shabby scent that once permeated them was hard to wash off.
The three siblings looked at each other’s faces and tilted their heads in confusion.
They started to get worried if their friends at school might also think they reeked of poverty.
Suddenly, the light pouring in from the collapsed wall was blocked.
With a soft landing sound, something intruded into the room.
Noticing its existence a second late, everyone turned towards the sound.
A beast big enough to block the light… was there.
The children screamed at the sudden appearance of a large beast.
Regardless of the height of the third floor, no human could possibly jump from the ground onto the collapsed wall.
Even though these children live in the slums, basically all children living in the royal capital have never seen such a large beast.
They all wanted to run away, but they froze in place, unable to move.
The large beast found the three siblings and went straight in their direction as if aiming for them.
It made a leaping movement without any sound even though it has such a big body.
“H-Hey, it’s dangerous! Come over here! Run!”
Harold noticed and reached for the siblings immediately.
But he didn’t make it in time.
The beast arrived before the siblings in an instant.
The surprised siblings looked at the beast and exclaimed,
” ” “Koumei-san!?” ” “
The large beast snuggled close to Emma and started making a rumbling sound.
The large beast was Koumei, the calico cat.
“Why are you outside?”
Emma asked while stroking the cat who started licking her cheeks, but she got no answer.
Having found Emma, Koumei was engrossed in acting spoiled. So cute.
“H-Hey? You guys alright?”
Harold approached them cautiously.
At a glance, it didn’t look like the monster was attacking Emma.
And the three siblings were patting the monster smilingly.
“This child here is the cat we keep at home.
The name is Koumei-san.”
William introduced Koumei to Harold, who’s coming over slowly.
Koumei, too, noticed that William’s talking about her.
She finally stopped licking Emma and turned to Harold.
“Koumei-san said ‘Nice to meet you.'”
Emma translated to Harold, looking very accustomed to her role as an interpreter.
“……cat? No way, no way!! Are cats that big, again? Huh? But… it meowed just now, didn’t it… But still, it’s too huge!”
It was a very just opinion.
If they say it’s a cat, the form is indeed that of a cat.
The sound, too, is a cat sound.
It’s just …huge.
“What’s a cat?”
As slum children didn’t know the existence of cats that have become super luxury pets, they sought an explanation from Harold.
“It’s the most expensive animal out of all the ones rich people can keep.
I heard that the price of one cat is equal to the price of one house… But… it’s not supposed to be this big… Maybe it’s just me who doesn’t know?”
The cat Harold knew of is supposed to be about the size of a knee lap.
But the one called a cat in front of him is bigger than Emma.
“Luxury pet!? Amazing!!”
“One house worth of money!? for an animal? I can’t understand the rich!”
Not feeling nervous anymore, the children rushed over to them, wanting to touch Koumei.
“H-Hey! It’s dangerous! Don’t come too close!”
Harold, who still found it hard to believe it was a cat, tried to stop the children, but they already gathered around Koumei and began to touch the cat.
“Its throat is rumbling~”
“It’s so huge, but it’s cute!”
Koumei stayed quiet as she was touched by the children.
She has always been good at babysitting.
“But, cat, a luxury pet? How did George and his brothers get it? Did you steal it?”
Hue uttered a question in wonder.
Even after he knew that the three siblings have a high-class pet, the thought that perhaps they are the son and daughter of a Count never crossed his mind.
It seemed that until the end, they still looked poor.
“Koumei-san was a stray cat.
There are also three others.”
“A stray cat? Is that like a stray dog?”
They see stray dogs pretty often in the slums.
People are familiar with dogs as they are often used for hunting and are a common pet for people in this world too.
“But, Koumei-san? How did you come here?”
Opening the mansion door, jumping over the wall is a piece of cake for Koumei.
Even so, Koumei has promised to not leave the mansion, so she shouldn’t have come here alone.
It’s a different story if the three siblings are in danger, but they were perfectly fine and didn’t encounter any danger.
George was overwhelmed by a bad premonition.
‘If Koumei-san couldn’t come here alone, then someone must have brought her here.’
The only person who can do that came to his mind.
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