p>“Thank you.”

 Murau’s family was a family of four.

 Her husband, Dassi, was a stout middle aged man who transported grains for a store.
Two children, the freckled Barr, and the similarly freckled Mitch.
They were 12 and 10 respectively, and it seemed like they had already finished eating and had returned to their rooms. 

“Rowe, how’ve you been recently, how’s things with your work?”

 A monthly dinner meeting.

 Dassi’s conversation always started like this.

“Yes, thanks to you, it’s going well.”

 Rowe had been chosen as the Sherpa of the Hero of the East.
He had reported that in his first labyrinth exploration with them, he was able to obtain large rewards. 

 The bread was stale, and the soup had few ingredients. 

 Sitting next to Rowe was Mariete, who was eating like she was trying to hold her breath in.

“Ho, that’s great.”

 The expression in Dassi’s eyes had changed, but Rowe pretended not to notice. 

 In the middle of their meal, Rowe conveyed that it was thanks to Dassi and Murau that he was able to complete his work successfully, and also dive into the labyrinth with peace of mind. 

“No, no, you don’t need to thank us.
Well, even if we’re relatives, it’s true that it’s a huge responsibility to take care of a kid from another family.”

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“We are always in your debt.”

 In terms of compensation, they had already been handed them more than enough, but neither Dassi, Murau, nor Rowe mentioned anything about that.

“By the way……”

 Dassie began to ask.

“About how much did you save?”

 Rowe put the spoon down in the middle of the plate and showed a look of contemplation.

 In fact, this had all already been calculated in advance.
From the sum of Rowe’s own savings – half of it was passed onto Dassi and Murau. 

 In the unlikely event that an accident occurred in the labyrinth and Rowe never returned, Rowe had an arrangement to hand over his assets to Murau, provided that they took care of Mariete until she became of age. 

 Dassi and Murau knew that as blood relatives, according to the law, they would be entitled to the legal right of custody over Mariete, but they also knew that Rowe could just leave his assets to someone else. 

 If that was the case, then Dassi and Murau might not find the prospect of custody appealing enough, and there was a risk that they would simply reject custody over Mariete. 

 That’s why Rowe came up with this plan.

 The amount of savings Rowe accumulated while diving during his time as an Adventurer was considerable. 

 Dassi, who doted on his selfish sons and spent money like water, and the dissatisfied – or put another way, the stingy Murau was anxious about Dassi’s spending.

 The interests of the two were exactly the same.

 Like this, they would surely conspire to provide only the bare minimum for Mariete, but Rowe was not expecting any more than that.  

 Most of the assets that would be transferred to the two of them in the event of him encounterring misfortune would definitely not be used for the sake of Mariete. 

 That was why Rowe had taken into account their despicableness and devised a plan. 

 In fact, what Dassi and Murau would be receiving was only half of Rowe’s fortune.
The other half would be transferred by Gunji to Mariete when she turned 12. 

 Neither Dassi nor Murau knew about this.

“This is a big deal for someone your age.”

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 The slightly sullen Dassi started snorting heavily, probably thinking about his own meagre household savings.

 The occupation that makes the most money in this town are Adventurers.
Next are Sherpas. 

 As someone hired to transport grains, his salary did not amount to much. 

 Pretending to be depressed, Rowe sighed.

“No, exploring the labyrinth is not work that should be praised.
I’m just doing it because I don’t have any other skills.
There’s not even anyone willing to be my wife.”

“Well, that’s right.”

 While degrading himself to lift the other person’s mood, Rowe endured through the awkward meal and the briefing session on his assets. 

 A while after finishing the meal, Mariete started to nod off, so Rowe decided to take advantage of this to make for home. 

 He carried her small body on his back and walked down the night streets. 

 As they moved away from the centre of town, their surroundings became lonely, but there was not a single cloud in the sky, and the stars were beautiful. 

“…bro… tha…”

 Hearing cute sleep-talking by the side of his ear, Rowe smiled. 

 No one – not even himself included – could overcome the temptation of that thing known as self-interest. 

 Still, in this world, there existed something beautiful and valuable. 

 The solid weight he could feel on his back, that slight warmth. 

“Marin.”

“…Nuu”

 No matter how dirty these hands might get.

 I’ll protect and guide you.

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