Parent Visitation Day and the Golden Witch
Shirley found out about it as she was helping her daughters write their report, after returning from finishing the day’s errands.
“Sophie, you misspelled that word.”
“Eh? Ah, it’s true.”
“Tio, you wrote that sentence wrong. The one that says ‘Mother went to the blacksmithers and used sword’, read that back to yourself and rewrite it.”
“…This is hard. Writing is so annoying.”
It’s not easy to understand a language that is constantly developing in an era of innovation. It’s not just grammar, it’s natural for a child going to school to have a hard time learning to read and write in general.
“I did it!”
Through using the dictionary and learning grammar tips from her mother, Sophie had finished her one-page report.
“…Yes, well done. It’s up to your teacher to give you a grade, but so far as I can see there aren’t any spelling or grammar mistakes.”
“Mm… I’m done as well.”
After Sophie’s report was finished being reviewed, Tio finally handed in her own.
“…There are no real mistakes through most of it. But why are you saying the rookie adventurers are zombies in the final part?”
“…? Is that wrong?”
Tio was genuinely confused. She thought back on Kyle and the others shuffling back home like zombies after finishing training, so it doesn’t really seem like she made a mistake.
“Personally I think it’s quite funny, but it might cause a misunderstanding that really couldn’t be treated as a joke anymore, so please correct it.”
Even though she wasn’t happy about it, necromancy is strictly forbidden by law, so Tio obeyed.
…By the way, strange and funny sentences like this come up in the student’s writing all the time, and the teachers back at school often have to take a break from grading reports because they’re laughing too hard.
“Both of you worked really hard, didn’t you? Since it’s still only 3 o’clock, Martha shared some cookies with me, so help yourselves.”
“Wow! Thank you!”
As a girl with a sweet tooth, Sophie is delighted and shares the cookies in the paper bag with Tio.
Perfectly peaceful family quality time. Shirley watched her daughters enjoying the sweets, and was wondering what she could bake for them herself when Sophie took something from her school bag.
“Oh yeah, mama. I forgot to give this to you… Here.”
Sophie handed her a piece of paper. As she carefully unfolded it, the first line said ‘Parent Visitation Day Announcement’ in big bold letters.
“In five days time, there’s an event where parents can come and visit during class. The teacher wanted parents to sign up beforehand.”
After the details, in a section of the paper indicated by a cutting line, there was a space for the parent or guardian to put their name and address.
“Visitation day… Once every three years… So, there are events like this in the Kingdom’s schools?”
There weren’t any events like this back in the Empire, and even if there had been, Shirley’s parents who hated her would never have come.
For Shirley, unless she had a genuine reason, the school wasn’t a place she could snoop around no matter how much she wanted to.
Children often bully one another for the most trivial of reasons. If she had tried to sneak into the school to keep an eye on her daughters, it might have caused bad rumours to float around about them.
This news was truly a blessing. It was as if she was finally being permitted to watch over her daughters at school, something she had been struggling to stop herself from doing for three years.
“But mum doesn’t like those boys in class. What if they say something embarrassing?”
“I don’t think they will, but even if everything else is the same as usual, it will be hard to focus with mama being there.”
“So, are you going to go, mum?”
“Of course, I am going.”
Throwing the paper in the air, it fluttered for but a brief moment before it was cut by a dagger that suddenly appeared in her hand.
On the permission slip that was sliced from the paper cleanly, Shirley had somehow already written her name and the address of the Deficit House in her beautiful handwriting.
(Since it has been decided, it is time to prepare.)
She had to choose clothes suitable for a parent, striking a balance between not being too plain and not being too flashy. Not only that, but she needed to get her hands on a state of the art magical projector that could capture scenes of her daughters in class without making a flash.
The other adventurers wouldn’t have been able to believe their eyes if they saw just how happy the Demonic White Sword looked as she planned for the event five days from now. At this heaven-sent opportunity to watch her daughters’ day without causing them trouble, Shirley was truly thrilled.
But, as this was going on, no one in that remote town was aware.
Formed up in a column bristling with fangs and claws, that army flew against the wind.
An ordinary person would be stricken with fear if they heard the earth-shaking roars of those mighty monsters.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it the direst crisis in the history of the Kingdom, a grand invasion mounted to take the head of a Dragon God.
The peaceful days that people thought would roll on undisturbed forever were about to be trampled.
Shirley received the bad news the day after she learned about Visitation Day.
A single piece of paper, this time handed to her by Yumina. It was written with a quill and ink, both luxury items.
“At 8 o’clock tonight, come to the guild’s training square.”
Under this short instruction were the crossed weapons that symbolized the adventurer’s guild and an emblem with an image of a girl in front of the dawn.
Shirley knows of only one person who uses the latter symbol. She dabbled with the idea of just ignoring the message, but since that would only bring more trouble she reluctantly visited the guild that night.
“Shirley, hasn’t it been too long~?”
The voice that echoed throughout that silent training ground, far removed from the hustle and bustle it saw during the day, was an old-fashioned tone of voice that had a feel of child-like mischievousness.
From a visible distortion in space, she emerged amongst a shower of golden magic, a beautiful girl that looked to be no older than ten.
Her rich blonde hair stretched down to her feet danced like golden threads in the breeze, and in that pale face that looked like it never saw the sun a pair of blood red eyes shone. Even though she wouldn’t lose in terms of beauty even to Shirley’s daughters, the truly eye-catching quality of the person in front of her were the two black horns on her head that distinguished her as a demon.
“Even having said that, our last rendezvous was naught but three months prior… Truly, when one grows old, does it not seem like the wheel of time spins ever more slowly, mm~?”
Nihi… The girl laughed and flashed her razor-sharp canines that were in contrast to the rest of her harmless looking body. Unlike Shirley, who had a pure sort of beauty, this fascinating younger girl had a charm that could be described as avaricious.
“I didn’t come here to catch up. What do you want from me, Canary?”
Don’t be misled by her youthful appearance. That woman is a monster who has been spoken about in legends the world over for more than a thousand years.
A semi-immortal of the already long-lived demon race, the person described as the mother of the guild and also its current head.
A financial genius and champion of the business world who holds sway over 30% of international capital, a symbol of chaos throughout the ages, the strongest sorcerer knowns as ‘The Golden Witch’.
“Like always, still incapable of simply enjoying a conversation, hmm? So be it, once I tell thee why I’ve called you hence, you will have little choice but to move into action.”
She suddenly seems disturbingly assertive, Shirley began to ready herself for whatever the news might be, but even she was appalled by what she heard next.
“And so… It seems like the visitation day thou looked forward to so eagerly is to be cancelled, hm~?”
Her thoughts froze.
She has known for Canary for more than ten years. Even if she tries to hide it from others, this person knows just how much of a silly doting parent Shirley is.
The fact that Canary is telling her about the cancellation personally is… Strange, but not impossible. She does serve on the school’s board of directors, after all.
The real problem is… The visitation day, an opportunity for Shirley to admire her daughters in their everyday school lives without having to trespass on school grounds has been cancelled.
“…I’m sorry. I don’t understand at all? Can you at least tell me why?”
After being silent for a long time, the Demonic White Sword managed to choke out the words whilst she covered her face a hand.
“Have thou not heard of the cases where dragons are leading thrall swarms of intelligent monsters?”
“In truth, all of them were but scouts of dragon kings. I found out only a day prior that, alongside the Dragon King of the West, the kings of the South-East and North-West have attacked the royal capital at the head of their own armies. Frankly, it’s the worst calamity in the history of this Kingdom.”
A dragon king is the second highest ranked existence in their race, and in the eight different directions of the world there exist eight mighty dragon kings who each hold their own dominion.
Siegfried of the North.
Fafnir of the Northeast.
Susanoo of the East.
Vritra of the Southeast.
Georgios of the South.
Beowulf of the West.
Níðhöggr of the Northwest.
Collectively known as the Eight Dragon Kings. Each of these named dragons held strength that far eclipses those of the ancient dragons in the tier below them and their greatest quality is the ability to make subordinates of those prideful dragons below them.
It’s an extremely troubling thought, a monster that can subjugate a dragon capable of destroying an entire army division. The strength of humans has always lay in cooperation and intelligence and using those they have culled both beast and monster to secure their livelihoods. It seems that monsters have begun to adapt, and now even the most powerful beasts will band together to attack.
This was the kind of menace that could set human society as a whole into a death spiral.
“Their aim is definitely the one who exists beneath the capital, Aion. Originally they were subservient to the dragon god, but since Aion himself is so snuggly, those three ruffians probably didn’t feel like playing along anymore… Inevitably, they must have conspired to attack him, hm~?”
“Naturally, we’ve already made moves Adventurers of A-rank and above from throughout the kingdom and from neighbouring countries have already been mobilized. However…”
Canary’s voice trails off as she looks down.
“The Kingdom’s elites intend to keep it all secret until the last possible moment. Since the armies are approaching from three different directions, any confusion would only serve to hamper the defense, no?”
Shirley understood the reasoning.
If a natural disaster more devastating in scale than any before it was suddenly announced, any merchant worth his salt would pack up shop and move the very same day.
That’s what it means to live. It’s hard to blame those in the path of the dragon kings able to escape doing so, but if all the sellers of food and goods evacuate, the Kingdom will be thrown into chaos.
In light of just how much the anarchy alone would damage the kingdom, the judgment of the powers that be seems reasonable. Even though it may prove to be an unpopular decision once it becomes public, they will stand by it all the same.
“Well, if myself and the adventurers join hands, the people of the Kingdom shall not come to harm. I will cast dimensional magic that not even a dragon king can tear through.”
The secret sorcery of the witch that transports entire areas to other dimensions, and prevents them from being physically interfered with by anything from the original dimension.
Certainly, it’s a perfect protection, but that’s what’s so strange about it. If she was this confident in her technique, why did she go to the trouble of contacting Shirley personally?
“Well, even if I say the Kingdom… I have scant little time to protect all the scattered towns and villages dotting the countryside. If we’ve assumed the speed of the invasion right and the adventurers assigned to hold them off aren’t defeated rapidly, after three days I will call for a general evacuation to be organized by B-rank adventurers to bring people into the range of my spell’s protection.”
“Did you just say… after three days…!?”
The class visit was in four days. Is she not being caused undue suffering by this dragon invasion?
“Moreover, we don’t have enough people who can reliably fight against dragons. The Holy City to the northeast and the Trading City on the southeastern coast are going to be protected, but this remote town that is directly in the path of the dragon king of the west… It has been decided to evacuate it instead.”
The calm part of her mind knows that there’s no point in getting angry. But, that calmness was soon blown away by a raging murderous intent, like an out of control fire or the most bitter of snowstorms.
“Beowulf of the West… Is that so… Those other two decided to go after the big fish, but this lizard decided to specifically interrupt my visitation day…”
“Well, something tells me that he didn’t just come to disturb visiting day, you know.”
“If that’s the result, it’s all the same to me.”
The look on her face could belong to the cruelest of warriors. Taking her daughters and fleeing was not an option. Shirley knew all too well how bitter it was to be forced from your home to live in the wilds, and it was not something she ever wanted her girls to experience.
“So, since the hands of yours truly are a touch to busy to deal with the west right now, could I not trouble you to deal with it for me, mm~?”
“Yes. I won’t let even a single one escape.”
For that woman who intends to face down the dragon king and his army… Canary knows that there’s a technique that could wipe them out completely.
But, Shirley wasn’t considering the power of the dragon king at all. A dragon king alone would take a day to defeat… If it brought an army, that would extend to three days.
Even if she went out to battle right now, it’s unlikely that she could make it back in time for class visitation. Ah, how could this happen… Why did the dragon king have to attack at such a crucial time?
“…I’ll kill you.”
Pure murderous intent leaked from her mouth. She won’t be satisfied until this ‘Dragon King of the West’ is mutilated and cut up into the most unrecognizable of mincemeat.
“If I made arrangements to make attending visitation day possible, would that be to thy liking?”
At that time, the whispers of a demon snaked their way into Shirley’s ears.
“If I worked hard, it may be possible for thou to defeat the dragon king and his flock in but one day, and attend the class event without fail. Is this not a wonderful suggestion?”
“…And what would I have to pay? What on earth are you plotting?”
As Canary beams at her with a smile that seems to only hold good intentions, Shirley bluntly demands to know her real aim.
In the first place, this witch’s guiding principle is chaos, she has no interest in the welfare of the people.
Even if moving to help the Kingdom might not be strange considering her investments… Shirley can’t help but shake the feeling that she’s definitely planning something.
“What I seek in return if but a trifle. This one cannot move herself to subdue the dragons, so it only stands to reason to rely on those who can.”
“I’ll tell you right now, I have nothing with which to pay you back, you know that right?”
Shirley knows that Canary isn’t lying about being able to make it happen.
The ‘Golden’ part of Canary’s moniker isn’t just for the colour of her hair. It comes from raw financial strength and the powerful connections that stem from that.
If she willed it, even if it meant risking death, she could bring even the most powerless of commoners to fight on a battlefield.
Canary possessed power in every sense of the word, all she had to do was give the word and the impossible became reality.
“I too am sorry that I cannot protect this town. Therefore, I have but one thing I wish to ask of thee. I wish for you to give me one night of your time… That is all.”
Suspicious. This is all too suspicious. Though, if a person who didn’t know better saw that girl, they’d think what she had on her face was a pure-hearted smile.
But, if there’s one thing that is true about merchants is that the trustworthiness of their word is their most valuable asset, and the same is true for Canary.
And, as things stand, there’s no way she would be able to attend class visitation day. Even so, she can’t help but feel nervous about what exactly this night she would have to give up to Canary might entail.
Choosing between herself and choosing between witnessing the growth of her daughters, she made her decision in less than 10 seconds.
“I accept… your offer…”
She replied as if she were spitting blood. But, if she can participate in this event with her daughters, she will have no regrets.
With everything going according to plan, the infamous Golden Witch had a truly nefarious smile on her face.