Mother and Daughters’ Morning
As the snow melted away, spring arrived in the Kingdom.
Even in this frontier town, set against a backdrop of a savage wilderness, the first flower buds of the season that had forced their way through the cracks in the dry earth were beginning to bloom.
The adventurer lodgings they were staying at wasn’t large, but it contained a bath and a dining room, and their room was spacious enough. Shirley, who had just woken up, glanced down at the two young girls who clutched her chest.
“…Really, you have your own beds, why do you climb into mine every single night?”
Did they simply come in here half asleep, or are they doing this on purpose? She sighed at the ten-year-old girls fast asleep on top of her.
However, contrary to her words, there wasn’t a single hint of anger in her eyes. It was a tender, loving look.
The sun had risen, and its rays poured through the gap in the curtain.
Doing her best not to wake the two up, Shirley slowly wriggled out of bed and pulled the covers back over them, stroking their white hair which resembled her own.
The two of them resembled her strongly, except for those eyes which were hidden in slumber. Shirley relaxed only for a moment, before beginning her morning routine. Changing out of her sleepwear and washing her face, she proceeded to the dining room.
“Good morning, Mrs. Martha.”
The brown haired middle-aged woman with the exceptional physique who greeted her with an energetic smile was Martha, who ran the inn with her husband.
She turned forty-one just this year. Ten years ago Martha ignored the girl’s blunt words and fierce look to take in Shirley, who is now tying an apron around her waist.
“Do you mind if I borrow the kitchen for a while?”
Deficit House¹ is a small and beautiful inn for traveling adventurers and is successful despite its name.
In the corner of the kitchen sitting silently was Martha’s husband’s grandfather… He must have been a fan of irony when he named this place as a founder.
The inn caters to adventurers who do not have permanent lodgings in the town for a monthly fee and also offers meals for additional costs. Adventurers who cannot afford to or do not wish to pay for meals are provided space in the kitchen to prepare their own food.
“Even if it’s you, aren’t ya tired? You were out all day yesterday crushing those goblin nests, so you should eat with us for once.”
“No, I’m not particularly tired, it was just a regular day.”
“Oh well, I suppose you know best then.”
Fried eggs on toast, with a side of smoked fish salad. The typical morning menu. When she first started cooking, she would injure herself constantly, but now after ten years of experience, she’s grown used to it.
“In addition to fighting every day, I really admire that you still find time to make meals for those two, y’know. It’s not the normal kind of attitude you get from adventurers.”
Battling day in and day out against monsters and villains. There aren’t many adventurers who can do that and not be physically and mentally drained outside of work.
As Martha said, typically adventurers will do their best to laze around and relax in the cafeteria for that reason when they’re not on a job, not giving much thought to making food for themselves.
Actually, among all the residents, Shirley is the only one who uses the kitchen. And it’s a rare day that she won’t use it at all.
“…Because our lives are hanging in the balance every day.”
Keeping an eye on her work, Shirley mutters.
“In this kind of world, whether you’re an adventurer or a normal person, you never know when your time is going to come. I just want to do my best with what time I do have.”
She blushed a little because it was embarrassing to say, but it was what she honestly felt.
It’s true that there were many safer jobs than her current line of work. However, since advancing through the novice ranks, she was now earning enough to keep her family in relative comfort compared to other households.
It’s not only the problem that she would earn less money, but the nature of adventurer work when weighed against safer professions, is that she can choose her own hours, and is able to spend more time with her daughters.
And above all that, Shirley is still a wanted criminal in the Empire. Fortunately, there is no extradition treaty between the Empire and the Kingdom, but a vagrant woman who has no desire to disclose her personal history is not exactly the most desirable hire.
(I really did miscalculate though, didn’t I?)
When registering as an adventurer, there are no inquiries into personal circumstances, be it vagrancy or criminal history. As such, being an adventurer was really the only path open to Shirley from the beginning.
However, she purposefully stays at B-Rank, since she’s worried her name is beginning to spread around too much.
(Even if it sounds arrogant, to me it really is a big problem.)
Martha beams at her answer.
In the nine years Shirley and Martha have known each other, Shirley hasn’t seemed to age a day. But Martha has always seen her as a mature mother for moments like these.
“Mama, Mrs. Martha, morning~”
“Ah! Morning, Sophie!”
While Martha was admiring Shirley with warm eyes, two girls with white hair had entered the dining room.
Unlike Shirley’s sharp gaze the first girl had gentle blue eyes, the beautiful eldest twin, Sophie.
There’s already plenty of adventurers in the dining room, and of course, their eyes turn to look. Especially the men. Even though they’re young, that innocent beauty that’s a reflection of their mothers isn’t diminished because of their youth. It’s only natural people would stare.
“Jeez, Tio! Stop leaning on me, walk on your own!”
“Nn… Morning, Mum.”
“And a good morning to you as well, Tio.”
The younger sister being dragged into the dining room by Sophie is Tio, who has difficulty getting up in the morning.
If the elder sister could be compared to an angel, she would be like a fairy. Unlike her mother and elder sister, her sleepy red eyes weren’t quite as striking, but in every other aspect, she didn’t lose to her elder sister in terms of charm and beauty. Together with her quiet personality, she seems like a character straight out of a fairy tale.
“Please wait just a little longer, it will be ready soon.”
“Ah, then I’ll get the dishes!”
“Oh, please do.”
Seeing the two girls take the initiative to help their mother, Martha patted them on the head as an encouragement.
“Ah, you two are such great little helpers! My word, if only my own daughters took lessons from you!”
Martha has two sons and two daughters. Both the sons are independent and are currently gaining experience to someday take over the inn, but her daughters are both wastrels only good at spending more money than they have.
Thanks to having such daughters, Martha and her husband endlessly dote on Sophie and Tio. Since the girls also love them both, Shirley always feels at ease leaving them in their care when she needs to work.
“No, it’s nothing special, you know.”
While Sophie and Tio were being praised, Shirley nearly snorted with pride, thankfully no one noticed.
Whatever trivial thing it may be, there’s no mother who wouldn’t be happy to see her daughter praised.
Even if someone considered her overreacting or being silly, she didn’t care, she was just happy that people saw her daughters in such a way.
That being said, she wasn’t about to start bragging. In a desperate attempt to keep her dignity as a mother intact, Shirley fought tooth and nail to suppress a goofy smile as she quietly prepared breakfast.
“Well then, dig in.”
“Thank you for the food.”
It was an out of place scene in such an inn.
Some would call the inn’s dining room neat and minimalist, but more honest people would call it modest and plain. Yet every morning, in the same corner of the room, those three beauties with white hair would have their breakfast and draw the eye of every adventurer in the room.
To an onlooker who didn’t understand their circumstances, the sight of these three taking their meal felt picturesque.
Even when just having breakfast, the beauty of those three caused women to stare in envy and men to gaze in admiration.
With the dining table bathed in the light from the window above, it looked like a painting created by a master artisan. This gentle scene came to an end on Tio’s account.
“Oh yeah, that boy in class who confessed to Sophie yesterday, are you dating him now?”
At that moment, the dining hall… No, the whole inn was plunged into a strange combination of icy murderous intent and fiery passion.
Even back in the rooms, the adventurers throughout the whole building felt pressure like they were about to fight a terrible foe.
Those still asleep sprang to their feet in fright at the sudden sensation, as the adventurers desperately tried to figure out where this was all coming from.
The one place they never considered was that the murderous intent being radiated throughout the building was coming from that peaceful breakfast scene in the corner.
“W-w-w-why do you know about that!?”
“It was an accident. I just happened to see it. Thinking that no one would ever go to the back of the schoolhouse was a big mistake.”
“…Hmmm… Is that so…?”
The source of that murderous intent, whose low murmur disguised that her voice rang from the depths of hell, was none other than Shirley.
Even though the adventurers are shuddering under the pressure, the two young girls aren’t affected at all.
Trying to figure out why on earth she was so angry, the braver adventurers pricked up an ear to try and listen in.
“I said no, anyway. I didn’t really know that boy well…”
“Hmm… I thought I might get in the way if I stayed so I left early, but I was worried about nothing.”
The killing intent suddenly dissipated.
Wondering if the Demonic White Sword had calmed down, the adventurers tried their best to steal a glance.
“Anyways, Tio, I saw you get a love letter as well! Now it’s your turn, right?”
“Muu… so you saw…”
And we were back to square one.
Deficit House was awash in a murderous rage that threatened to collapse the building yet again. This time the occupants were visited by fleeting visions of white calamity hacking and slashing through everyone present, and they began to panic.
“So? Who was it?”
“Kevin in first grade.”
“Ohhh! He’s really popular with the girls! So, are you going out now…?”
“I still haven’t replied.”
The palpable bloodthirstiness becomes even thicker as the story goes on. At this point, half of the adventurers had fainted.
“…I see. There was such a boy? As a parent, I’ll have to do something.”
The voice that muttered that had a frightening implication.
Her daughters were the cutest things in the whole world. It only makes sense that they would be popular amongst the other children, and they’d want to form a special relationship.
When this sort of thing happened, the father would typically be opposed whilst the mother would want to watch over the relationship with a gentle eye.
( ( ( BUT THAT FATHER IS ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD ! ? ) ) )
However, in the case of this mother, it seems like the positions are completely reversed.
The adventurers are trying to finish their meals as quickly as possible and evacuate, but the food is getting stuck in their throats.
Finally, at this late stage, some of the adventurers begin to pray. But the end of this drama came as quickly as it had begun.
“I’ll refuse, anyways. I can’t really think of anyone like that right now. For me, it’s just mum.”
“Ehehe, me too!”
At the moment the two hugged both of Shirley’s arms from either side, the murderous intent vanished once more. But instead of being replaced by an aura of happiness, it was a pleasant bashfulness.
“Ah, you two, stop it! Not at the table!”
Even if she was trying to sound dignified and strict, the words came out in an embarrassed sounding high pitch.
The demon who in the eyes of the adventurers seemed like she was going to swallow the world whole had been replaced with a silly doting mother who was smiling despite herself at her daughters.
Later on, rumours began to spread that the residents of Deficit House had developed an unexplainable resistance to demonic auras, but that’s a story for another time.
No, I’m not going to be dumping multiple chapters every day from now on, I’m just being an idiot who does the opposite of what he’s told to do.
¹タオレ荘, the grandfather really did have strange naming sense.