A few days after the events that had transpired at Temp Pines in the Southern Region, Sakai and I left the town, bringing along our new companion, the four-year-old girl named Iris.
Though, it is not really his companion, but mine. He was originally sceptical of the idea of bringing a “lass” along on a Karma’s journey, and one that barely lived a few years at that. But ultimately, he couldn’t talk me down as he already knew the decision is final.
Why would I bring a four-year-old kid? Well, as Eva had brought the Western army into town to take everyone in custody, the orphanage Iris was living in was shut down as the caretaker was also taken. Her circumstances before being an orphan also reminded me of my past, except that mine involved demons while her bandits.

Before parting ways with the caretaker, I was told that her parents were doctors who were voluntarily helping the poor and needy in the Southern Region. She wouldn’t reveal Iris’ family name as Iris herself insists. So, we are stuck with only her given name.
We share a few similar traits physically, which leads me to think that she was of Northern descent. Her hair is blonde, just like me, with a few strands adorably sticking out from above her fringes.
Her love of flowers is also a point in the “adorable” score as she would pick any flowers that she hasn’t seen before.

Now that I’m the one responsible for her, does that mean that I adopted her? I’m not too sure on that. I’ll leave that decision for Iris.

We’ve been travelling for three days and decided to settle in a town called Tzeoki before braving the home stretch to Chisa, the capital city of the Eastern Region.
Tzeoki is a place with great hospitality and food. Great inns, and especially savoury beef. In fact, I suggested that we stop in this town just for me feasting on the delectable cuisine again. The last time I came here was two years ago, when my mentor broke the bad news to me that she was ill. I guess she wanted to improve the mood between us, so we ate as much as we can and even got drunk. We got embarrassingly expressly to the point that we actually felt like mother and daughter for once.

“So, we’re here. Isn’t this place a tourist trap?” Sakaki expressed his concern.
“Well, I like the food here.” I replied trying not to drool as I could smell the barbequed meat all around me. “Iris, are you hungry?”
She nods her head and murmured a “mhm”.
“Great! Let’s have a feast!”
“Wait, wait, wait, it costs a pretty penny to eat at any of the restaurants here!” Sakaki interrupted.
I gave him a wink and took Iris’ hand to lead her into a restaurant that my mentor and I were once a patron of.
“… What have you left her with, Fuji.” Sakaki said as he scratches his head and followed me.