Relying on the memory of the young Cosette, who was only five years old, we came close to the place where she was separated from her mother. According to what we heard on the way, she had wandered off while her mother went to a restroom.
“So you have separated from your mother somewhere around here, yes?”
Cosette nodded dejectedly.
As a former tomboy, I can understand why you would want to walk around whenever you have time.
I used to get lost in the woods near my house too.
“It will be fine, we will find her soon.”
While I was vaguely remembering the past, Jed was next to me carrying Cosette on his shoulders.
She smiled back, happily.
“I will go talk to the shopkeeper.”
“Alright, I will leave it to you.”
When I entered the store that stood near the restroom where Cosette had left her mother, I found it was a bakery.
A lady in her forties or so greeted me with a smile and a “Welcome.”
She looked kind so I decided to talk to her about it.
“I’m sorry for asking you this out of nowhere, but do you perhaps remember if a mother with a child visited your store today?”
“That really is out of nowhere. What is this about?”
“Actually, the girl over there seems to have lost her mother… do you know anything?”
I pointed at Cosette, who was playing with Jed outside the store. When the bakery lady saw her, she let out an “ah” and clapped her hands as if she had noticed something.
“Come to think of it, the mother came looking for her.”
“Yeah, she was here just a moment ago. She left searching outside immediately after hearing that her daughter wasn’t here.”
“Do you remember where she went?”
“I believe she headed towards the central square.”
It seems that the mother is also looking for Cosette.
The central square is where the guard station is located.
She may be there, or she may be looking elsewhere.
Either way, it would be good to know the mother’s characteristics.
“Excuse me. Do you remember the color of her hair or the way she was dressed?”
“Her hair was dark brown. She was wearing a white one-piece dress and a light blue hat. She was a young woman in her twenties.”
“Understood, thank you very much.”
I thanked her and left the bakery to find Jed in pain as Cosette pulled on his hair.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of a big man being played by a little girl.
“Elle, did you laugh at me just now?”
“Sorry, you were doing something amusing.”
“No way. More importantly, I got some information about your mother, Cosette.”
I ignored Jed, who gave me an exasperated look when I said with a laugh, “More importantly…” and continued talking.
I told them what the lady at the bakery had told me.
“I see. Let’s look around the central square then.”
“Alright. Is that okay with you, Cosette?”
The three of us started walking again.
We went to the patrol guard station again, but it seemed that her mother had not visited. I just reported the current situation and went out to the central square, which was crowded like a festival.
It was going to be hard to find Cosette’s mother among all these people.
“We have to find her here?”
“That will be difficult.”
We both chuckled.
We know her features, so it will probably be fine.
Cosette muttered, clutching her stomach as we walked past the stalls selling snacks.
“You are hungry?”
“Yeah. I have not eaten lunch yet.”
Cosette said sadly. It seems that she and her mother had drifted off before she could have lunch.
I thought it would be a good idea to give her something to eat, but it was Jed who spoke up first.
“Let’s get something to eat then. What would you like, Cosette?”
“Hmm… ah! That! I wanna eat that!”
Cosette pointed to a crepe stall.
It certainly looked delicious.
Since I had meat for lunch, I wanted to eat something sweet too.
As I stared at the stall, Jed laughed at me.
“Do you want to eat too, Elle?”
“… Well, I thought just a little bit would be nice.”
I’m embarrassed that he knew I wanted to eat it, so I told him, my cheeks reddening.
“You have nothing to be embarrassed about.”
“I, I’m not embarrassed.”
“Haha. I want some too. Let’s eat crepes together.”
Jed, smiling happily, leading us toward the stall.