Dread was becoming weaker as days passed by.
Even when Charo was lucky enough to find food for him, he could hardly eat anymore.
Still Charo kept looking day after day.
"Dread, I'm going to see if I can find something in the park. Early hours are always good."
"Dread? Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, Charo. Don't worry."
"I'll be right back. I promise."
Charo hurried on, but for some reason, he felt the urge to look back.
He saw Dread back on his four legs again.
Charo looked once more to make sure, but now he was lying down just as before.
It was just his imagination.
Charo never wanted to give up on Dread. But whenever he had to leave him, he was always a bit scared.
On his way to the park, Charo saw two dogs, father and son, walking with their owner.
"Bow-wow. Hey, little kid, hurry up!"
"Arf! Wait, Dad. I can't run that fast."
"You guys be good, and will get you favorite sausage later on."
They all seemed so happy.
Charo couldn't help staring at them.
He was hungry and his stomach growled.
"What are you looking at?"
It was Dread.
Charo couldn't believe his eyes.
"What happened? Are you feeling better now?"
"よかった。I'm so happy. I'm... really, really happy."
"Charo, I need to go now to someplace far, far away."
"We won't be seeing each other for a while."
"Why? Where are you going? Are you really okay?"
"You just worry about yourself. Get back to Japan. There must be a way."
"Promise me that you'll never give up your dream. Okay?"
Charo wanted to say something but Dread started off.
"Wait! Where are you going?"
Hearing Charo's shout, Dread stopped, looked back and smiled.
"Thank you, Charo."
"Wha-what did you say? I couldn't hear you. Dread! Please say it again!"
Charo ran with all his might, trying to follow him.
He turned the corner and noticed that Dread was no longer there.
Charo felt uneasy.
Something told him that he should go back to their nest as soon as possible.
It was Margherita.
"Margherita! Why are you here?"
"I came to see how Dread was doing."
"Where is he?"
"Charo. Now... listen to me carefully."
"Where's Dread? Where did he go?"
"Calm down, Charo. Everything is going to be all right."
There was definitely something wrong in the tone of her voice.
Charo was frightened.
"They carried him away, Charo, a few minutes ago."
"What do you mean?"
"You know what I mean."
"But... but, he was right with me. I talked to him just now. He told me I should never give up my dream. He said there must be a way. He said so! He really said so!"
"His sweet soul must have gone to see you for the last time. Uh, it's really like him, isn't it?"
Deep inside, Charo had known that such a day would come, still he was so shocked he couldn't even cry.
Margherita licked him softly.
"From now on, Dread will always be with us. Right in here."
Charo walked to where Dread had been sleeping that very morning.
He realized that there was something on the sofa.
It was Dread's eye patch.
Charo buried his face in it and quietly closed his eyes.
"Dread... Thank you... for everything. And I promise you... I will never give up my dream. I'm going to show you the sakura blossoms. You said you wanted to see them with me, right... Dread?"
Charo started to weep very quietly.
It was a warm, sunny day. The air was crisp and everything was shining.
Wrapped up in his sadness, Charo wept and wept with Margherita gently sitting by his side.