332 Smooth Arithmetic
Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. First is to teach them gradeschool level math.
I write the words, and very simple formulas on the ground with the tip of a knife.
What's surprising was how fast the kids absorbed it all, I had no more to teach them in just two hours.
Simply giving a few examples and they got it already.
(What's this? They're like a parched desert that guzzles in all the water...)
The kids likely could never afford to think of anything else but to survive so they had a surplus capacity to take it all in once they were given the opportunity.
There was no need for me to teach them arithmetic anymore, so I urged them to discuss problems with each other.
(There's no point in teaching advanced mathematics in this world. Heck, I'm not good with that subject...)
Just as I was about to reminisce my student days, I shook my head to expel the topic.
I put away the table and chairs into magic bag, and took out a tent. Also, a sleeping bag.
It's getting dark out. The kids were so into it, they lost track of time.
"That's enough for today, kids. We're going in the forest tomorrow."
There's a lush sprawling forest in a road between the kingdom and the federation. This particular road is the shortest route. Gramps told me.
This route is not used nowadays, people take a more winding one instead. That one goes through a prairie, there's even a carriage transport service.
However, I had opted to pick the route with the least contact with people possible.
Which was all for nothing since that got me to come across these kids. All that aside, that forest is an ideal place to teach these kids hunting.
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Before I went to sleep, I handed over some extra mantle and a big sheet I had to the kids.
I thought it would help them sleep a bit better. It wasn't out of pity or anything. I just did it out of reflex. 'Use this to sleep.'
Just enough to cover these kid who're huddling together wearing only their clothes.
But what happened after took me back by surprise. The kids started weeping hard.
Their sniffling resounded in the space. How harsh their living condition had been for them to break from such a trifling act of kindness?
Was this the very first time they ever received a warmth from other people?
(Heavy... Way heavy. Someone like me ain't got the word to say here...)
There's no way someone who's been living without any inconvenience like me can find the right word to soothe these kids who only knows destitution in all their lives. I am not even qualified to.
Feeling awkward, I went in my tent and snuck in the lone sleeping bag.
I could have provided them with a tent. I have an extra sleeping bag as well. Yet I opted not to offer them.
I'm not being deliberately mean, I plan to have them buy those things with the cash they get from hunting.
It's to make them gradually grow independent, able to provide for themselves.
(I'm still gonna provide them with bows and arrows I'm planning to buy from a weapon store though.)
As I formulated what and how to teach the kids, I fell into slumber.