[Theo]: I'm happy with this.
They don't despise me anymore.


Theo said with an unusually friendly smile.


[Theo]: Now that Iris has purified a dangerous demon, they don't have to be scared.
Theo is just a good pet.
That's how it went, didn't it?

[Iris]: But….You're human, not a pet or a demon.


I had no choice but to keep my mouth shut.
If you look like that, I don't have anything to say.


So our operation is….


My villain regeneration project ended with subtle results.
We're stuck together every day after that.
We were together every day without missing a day.
People now thought of me when they said Theo, and Theo when they said me.
By chance or fate, we became best friends.


It wasn't smooth from the start.


Although the perception of Theo changed a lot thanks to the rumors, there were still children who hated him and shunned him.
But even so, we didn't bother to confront them.


Theo had learned to “flexibly avoid difficult situations” during his time with me.


Of course, behind the scenes, I pounced the kids who cursed Theo, but…After all, he skillfully let the situation go so as not to hurt me.


So our daily lives were slowly and warmly stabilizing.





[Iris]: Do you have wishes already for the new year?


Before we knew it, we were getting ready for a new year.
I and Theo each wore a scarf woven from fur and were blowing ho-ho in their hands.
The shawl was given to each child at Hyllis Nursery School.


In the Latras Empire where I live, January 1st had great significance.
It is said that that day was the day when a goddess saved this world that was full of demons in the beginning.
Therefore, it was a day of obligation to thank the goddess for giving freedom to man.


But now that was just a thing of the past.


People were excited about the national anniversary, serving delicious food, drinking, and dancing.
Also, on New Year's Day, people would each make a wish to the goddess.


This is because there is a legend that the goddess grants a wish to the people every January 1.


[Theo]: Not quite.
I didn't think about it.


Theo replied with a little whimper.


Somehow, he was offended when he mentioned January 1.
Maybe Theo was already tired of the goddess and demon talk.


[Iris]: I'm worried about it too much.
Oh, Theo can grant me one of my wishes.


I said with a smile on my face.
From now on, I hoped Theo wouldn't hate January 1 either.


[Theo]: Iris, you don't believe in the devil, but you believe in stories about goddesses?


Theo said in a voice full of dissatisfaction.
From his vertically wrinkled brow, I could see how annoyed he was now.


I panicked.
I hadn't expected Theo to hate Goddess Day so much.


[Iris]: I don't think Theo is the devil.
Besides, Theo, you know, it's just a game.


Theo didn't answer my words.
But after months by his side, I could see that Theo was just acquiescing.


Note: acquiescing = accepting something reluctantly but without protest.


[Iris]: I'm going to beg her to make me very rich.
It's not just rich, well, enough to run 100 of these Hyllis nurseries!


Note: I'll be changing the name of the nursery from Hailis to Hyllis.


[Theo]: That's what I'm going to do.

[Iris]: What are you doing? Take care of kids like us, and play with you?


Theo smiled wryly.


[Theo]: You can play without money.


At Theo's words, I shook my head firmly.
Are you still young and unaware of the horrors of capitalism?


[Iris]: Theo.
Over time, everything we breathe will be money.


I said, putting one hand on Theo's shoulder.
I wanted to protect Theo's heart, but he also needed to know the grim reality.


[Theo]: You mean you have to buy air so you can breathe?”

[Iris]: I don't have to buy air, but it means that even one space for me to stand and breathe costs money.
You don't need to know the details now, but you need to be aware.


I finished speaking and sighed softly.
I would soon be eleven in a few days, so I couldn't be like a child.
I would have to think about how I could survive without sitting on the streets.
It was mandatory to leave at the age of fourteen in the nursery school, so there were only a few years left.


If I was playing and eating casually, it was easy to become a beggar from an orphanage.
Wherever I went, I would have to have my own skills to avoid starvation.


[Iris]: I can read and write letters, and my hands are savvy, so I can at least be a maid of a small castle.


I'm not bragging, but I am smarter than my peers, and I used to study letters by myself while other kids were playing ball.
There were no educators in the nursery, so I had no choice but to do it alone.


[Iris]: And Theo you….


I touched my chin and turned to Theo.


Speaking of which, what did Theo know how to do? I seemed to have seen Theo read.
But what else?


[Iris]: Theo, what do you know how to do?


I asked with a serious face, and Theo replied:


[Theo]: Are we arguing now?

[Iris]: It's not like that! Let's think about our survival in the future.


I said, clapping my hands.


[Iris]: Think about it.
We'll have to leave this nursery school when we're 14, and we'll no longer have a place to sleep and food for free.
It means we have to make money on our own.

[Theo]: You've got three years left.

[Iris]: Nope.
It's only three years.
If we don't make progress in these three years, we'll either become orphanage beggars or just go to the Temple of Hyllis and live off of chores.


I shook my head.
I didn't want to do that.


[Theo]: What's wrong with that?

[Iris]: Working in a temple means you'll never go out into the outside world again.
You were born here, you grow up, and you're here until

you die.


Children who choose not to leave the nursery school get a job as workers at the Temple of Hyllis, which sponsors the orphanage.
In some cases, they could become apprentices or trainees, but that was not always the case.


The director told me that it was natural and that we should be thankful to go into the temple to work, but I disagreed.
This was because the nursery school didn't give the children options.


As I said, there were no educators in this nursery school.
Moreover, due to the nature of the nursery, it was not free to go out.
Therefore, it was not possible for children who did not even have a basic education to go out into society and find decent jobs.
As a result, the children who grew up here were pushed aside to become the property of the temple.


I wanted to go out into the wider world.


Even if it's only a maid's job, at least it can be done outside of here.
And one day, I wanted to be a traveler around the world.


[Theo]: You know the outside well?

[Iris]: That is….


I was speechless at Theo's words.
In fact, I had never been outside of this orphanage.
I just relied on memories from my previous life.


[Iris]: You can imagine.
The world would be much bigger than this little nursery.
How amazing would it be to see everything you only saw in books in front of you?


But I could assure you.
I'm sure I'd be much happier to leave here.


[Iris]: Okay, let's get out!


I grabbed Theo's hand.
Theo asked, his eyes widening disapprovingly.


[Theo]: Where are we going all of a sudden?

[Iris]: Outside the nursery.


This was the only way to move Theo's heart.
To show the wider world in person.


I rolled my little eyes and started making plans to sneak out of the nursery.





[Iris]: If it's the way I see it on the map, the most important thing is to go through the forest, and then all you have to do is follow the path that people have made.


I decided to escape the nursery through the back mountains.
It was a small aberration to give the grand name of escape, but I chose the word escape, not outing.
That way, you'll feel more liberated.


For today, I also studied the map of the Empire of Latras.
No one was looking for it, so we made an escape route using the dusty map.


[Theo]: Hey

[Iris]: …?

[Theo]: Do we really have to hold hands?


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