I called Rashiok into the tent, and the children were all agog in amazement, but also excited as they surrounded him.
“It’s okay, he’s just like a horse or a sheep, he’s docile as long as you don’t do anything bad to him.”
I smiled wryly at the overwhelming excitement coming from the children at seeing a real live draconis for the first time, while I stayed by Rashiok’s side and stroked his nose. This is also the first time that Rashiok’s ever been surrounded by such a large number of children like this, but he just took it all in stride although he seemed a bit confused.
“Eliza-sama, is it alright to touch him?”
“Since Rashiok has scales instead of fur, you have to pet him gently.”
Several of the older children, gingerly began to start touching Rashiok gently in turn. They made sure to be extra careful.
“Wow, his scales are glistening.”
“This is completely different from a horse!”
Maybe they all now believe that Rashiok isn’t any danger to them, the other children began to reach their hands out to pet Rashiok as well. Since they’ve been dealing with livestock ever since they were born, it only took them a little while to get used to Rashiok. The older children have already petted Rashiok without incident, so the rest of them relaxed unconsciously as well.
After that, they observed Rashiok even more closely with great interest, and some of them seemed to really enjoy the feeling of stroking Rashiok’s scales, while some of them stood off to the side after looking, with an expression of great satisfaction on their faces.
I tightly grasped the reading stone in my pocket, and called out to some of the children who had finished with their interest in Rashiok.
“Hey, do you guys know what shape snow is?”
“Eh? Snow’s shape?”
I couldn’t help but feel a little excited inside when I saw all of them having blank looks on their faces. All of them confirmed to me that they didn’t know the answer. Some of them asked if it was similar to grains of earth.
“So you haven’t seen it, eh.”
“But how do you look at it? They’re too small, and look like grains.”
“I brought a secret tool with me today.”
And after saying so, I brought my hand out and opened my fingers. Calling it something like a secret tool, I tried my best to contain the laughter I was feeling inside, and I could feel my cheek muscles twitching as I held it in.
“What is this? Wow. It looks like ice.”
“That’s not it. Doesn’t this look like glass?”
“Hey, for some reason Eliza-sama’s hand seems a little weird.”
“Yeah. It looks bigger than usual…… Ah, maybe this is what you can see snow with?”
As I nodded to the child who seemed to understand what this was for, the children’s eyes began to sparkle with the light of curiosity.
“I want to see snow!”
“Yeah, I want to see as well. Shall we go outside?”
The children all nodded to each other, and each of them began to tightly wrap their scarves around themselves. I thought that this might take them a while, but some of the girls that really enjoyed helping others had everyone’s scarves wound up around them in the blink of an eye.
After they prepared themselves against the cold and everyone exited the tent, even though it shouldn’t be that late yet, the sky had already gotten quite dark and covered in snow clouds. Although it’s slightly dim, the snow piled up on the ground seems bright in comparison.
This time, the children all surrounded me. I laughed a little as I remembered the way they had just surrounded Rashiok earlier, and I held out my hands to accept some snowflakes onto my mittens.
Then, on top of the snowflakes on my mittens, I placed my reading stone. Well then, is the crystallization of snow in this world a hexagonal flower shape just like my original world, I wonder?
Looking into the lump of glass on my hand, I saw a beautiful hexagonal flower, just like how I imagined.
“I can see it!”
As I held my hand out to the children, they looked at it with great interest, then suddenly there was a huge uptick in their excitement levels.
“Wow! It’s pretty!”
“What is this?”
As the children raised their voices and made a commotion, I could see some adults peeking out of the tents nearby in confusion.
“Well, snow is incredible. It looks like a flower.”
There was an expression of wonder on her face another girl commented, and I felt joy in my heart as well. As I expected, it looked like a flower.
“Let me see, let me see! ……Oh, it’s true. Is this what snow is shaped like? Amazing.”
A man who was watching from another tent came over and looked into the reading stone, and agreed with the earlier girl’s comment as he patted her head and praised her. Ahh, that’s right. Patting someone’s head while praising them will make them feel better.
I remembered back to when I was having Ratoka work for me, we never even touched each other. Children should be praised more often and receive more affection, I realize my mistake now. As he patted some other children on the head as well, he put his hand down and looked at me in a bit of confusion on what to do. He seemed like he was hesitating on what to say, but then he returned his line of sight to the other children.
“……Don’t catch a cold out here now.”
And with a gentle chuckle, he returned to his tent. While I silently watched him leave, someone suddenly patted my head from behind.
“Eliza-sama, you’re incredible.”
And with that, it was like a floodgate was opened and all the children came rushing over to pat me on the head as well. I’m being pushed around on all sides, I feel like a piece of food they’re fighting over.
“Hey, it’s about time to eat!”
When one of the children who had stayed with Rashiok called out to us, the children filled the entire area with cheers. Like always, someone was holding my hand and guiding me, but today there’s so many kids around me that I can’t even tell who’s holding on to me. They’re everywhere around me, and their warmth is much stronger than that of my mittens.
“-Ah. Everyone being together, it’s so warm.”
Someone noticed this fact and said it out loud, and it was decided from then on that the children would move together in great clumps like this from now on.