The Witch’s Plot
As the army of intelligent monsters led by Martial and War Dragons soar through the sky and scurry along the earth whilst the King of the West moves towards the remote border town, Sophie and Tio thought of their mother who had already gone to intercept them.
“Mama… Is she going to be okay?”
“Mm… I’m sure she’s fine.”
It was three days until the Parent Visitation Day when Shirley had gently stroked their heads with a strangely apologetic look on her face.
“There’s a large group of monsters heading towards town. I have to intercept them or the town might not survive so I may miss the class visit.”
Without telling them what she was really facing, their mother had departed.
Even if the visitation day that Shirley had been looking forward to so much didn’t happen, Sophie and Tio wouldn’t have had any regrets. Because they knew it in their hearts.
Their mother was an adventurer. A person who is free, but still responds to cries for help. How could they, as daughters, ever regret having a mother who stands up and defends the people of the town in their time of need?
(But, for Mama to have to not go to the event she was really looking forward to, is it really serious?)
People naturally become uncomfortable when something that has never happened before occurs. Especially if it’s that mother who brought them up all by themselves.
It was the younger twin who spoke quietly to cut off the anxious silence.
“Mum is going to be okay. I think she might even finish quickly, and show up for the visit day to surprise us.”
Seeing her younger sister’s hands shaking on the windowsill, Sophie finally noticed.
Even though she’s putting on a brave face to try and make her older sister feel better, Tio is worried herself.
“…Yep, you’re right! Even if it might take her a little longer than usual, she’s still our mama!”
Sophie tries to lighten the mood as well with a cheerful answer. She shouldn’t be worried, her mother Shirley is the strongest there is.
Even if the two of them had never seen her fight before, they had heard all kinds of majestic tales from the adventurers about her exploits.
She fought with the grace of a flower. A woman who stood peerless on the battlefield and extinguished the lives of monsters wherever she went, the Demonic White Sword couldn’t be defeated so easily.
“So, should we go to bed now? If we stay up late and mama finds out later, she’ll be cross.”
“Who knows… That time may never come, hm~?”
A voice echoed from behind the twins, a place that had been silent just moments ago. As they turned around with fright, they saw a beautiful blonde girl who seemed to be about their age, standing there with a bewitching smile.
“I am sorry to call at such a late hour, you daughters of Shirley. I have some small matter to discuss with thee.”
“The guild master… Wasn’t her name… Canary?”
“The very same. I see I need not introduce myself.”
The two of them knew this ancient witch in the body of a young girl by appearance only. They had heard Martha and Shirley talking about her, and spied her once or twice visiting Shirley at the inn in the past.
“Um… What did you mean before? About that time not coming?”
“What’s this~? Do you truly not know?”
The Canary who had snuck up on the twins without them noticing at all… Now wore a sorrowful expression on her face.
“Do you not even know the nature of the quarry it is that she fights?”
“…What is it?”
Tio noticed that sweat had begun to drip down her arms, and form on the fists she had unwittingly clenched. The witch before her eyes almost seems like a harbinger of doom, a prophet who only tells of future calamity.
“The dragon that heads towards this town is no less than a King, at the head of ten vassal dragons and some hundreds more monsters besides. That Shirley, she went to fight that army all by herself, like a champion of yore…”
Sophie and Tio were lost for words.
They couldn’t have ever imagined the idea of their mother being killed. But, with the words from the guild master weighed on their young minds heavily.
“A dragon king… And an army of monsters… She’s fighting all alone!?”
The tales of the Dragon Kings have been handed down through legend. It’s not difficult to imagine what a hopeless situation fighting it alone would be, not even considering the army around it.
An image of their mother breathing her last on a bleak battlefield, on top of a mountain of corpses. As they considered this coming true, their eyes began to swim with tears at the despair of it all.
“Mama… Why would you…?”
“Why? Because it’s what she decided.”
Canary looked into the girls’ eyes and told them.
“She did it to protect the two of you. What other recourse did she have?”
“To protect us…?”
“All living things, not just humans, need a place to call home. Is it such a simple thing to abandon a life one has built? Not so. How can one believe in their own exceptional strength, if the beating of a dragon’s wings forces them to abscond with their children in hand?”
The girls remembered the apologetic look that their mother had on her face as she left that day. They thought it was about not being able to attend the class event, but was it really apologizing for the fact that she might not come back at all?
“For the sake of their child, no parent would regret losing their life. Such has been the way of mothers since time forgotten. For that person, she goes to that battlefield for the sake of your futures. …My goodness, to run off and die without telling her daughters nary a thing, it leaves a rather poor taste in the mouth.”
You fool… Even if it seemed like those unkind words came from the bottom of her heart… There was a hint of sadness to Canary’s voice.
That reaction made Sophie and Tio realize just how much danger their mother had thrown themselves into, and they cursed their own powerlessness.
The two of them had wanted to become strong themselves one day to travel the world with their mother. So, when it came to this, to them their young age was irrelevant.
Why hadn’t they already become strong enough to help her? That sense of regret tore at them.
“I too wish to help her… But such things are already out of my hands. There is not much time left to lose. So, I offer the two of a choice.”
Canary proposed the suggestion to the two girls, with an enigmatic smile.
“How about it? You could ask the adventurers of the guild to help her, no? If they fight alongside Shirley, most of them might even survive to return home, hm~?”
“B-but, we don’t have any money…”
“And we can’t ask even more people to risk their lives…”
They wanted to save their mother. Although that’s what they truly want, they aren’t at an age where they can coldly weigh lives against their desires.
As if seeing into their hearts, Canary gently went on.
“Why, that’s nothing you should worry about. Any adventurer who accepts a request knows the risk they embark upon. I’ll provide the capital… And I’m sure there are plenty of adventurers who fancy themselves legendary dragon slayers, at least for the right amount of coin, mm~?”
Canary answered resolutely. Of course, they would not be foolish to work without pay, but what kind of adventurer doesn’t dream of also carving their name into legend?
All the more so if a woman they disliked was heading into battle to monopolize all that for herself. The adventurers of this town… There were certain to be quite a number of them who would feel that way, Canary knew.
“Of course, I have my own conditions. An adventurer is not a philanthropist, after all. For the act of providing funds, I should have to ask something of you in return… What shall you do? How much are you willing to go through to save your mother? It would be a hassle for me to lose an adventurer as competent as Shirley, you know~?”
She held out a small white hand. Their mother was in danger. Even if they have no idea what the conditions of the agreement are, they’ve already decided.
“Please help mama…!”
Sophie and Tio took Canary’s hands and bowed deeply. Looking at the girls before her, The Golden Witch had a smile like a crescent moon.
A part of the guild no one from Deficit House had ever set foot in… Canary had teleported to her own room in this remote town’s branch.
She sat at her desk with her eyes closed as if lost in thought, then suddenly began cackling as she recalled it.
“Kukuku…. Kahahahahahahahaaaa! Child’s play! That was just too easy! Or rather, should I say that it was so trivial because of how amazing I am!?”
If Evil was ever looking for a Commander in Chief, they wouldn’t have to search any further if they saw her as she is right now. That childlike face was full of nefarious mirth.
“To fall so easily into my ploy for the sake of each other… That must be love. That truly must be love!”
For the sake of attending her daughters’ classroom visit, she accepted to help and even reluctantly agreed to owe the witch a favour, that mother who surpasses even a dragon king.
And fearing for their mothers’ safety in front of an army of monsters, they had agreed to the witch’s conditions, the two daughters of the Demonic White Sword.
It was an absurd situation no matter how you looked at it. Nevertheless, Canary didn’t care about such things as her mocking cackles rang around the room. The pleasure she felt from watching that doting mother and her daughters dance about in the palm of her hand was too much.
“So be it. So be it, then! The touching wishes of that sweet family, I shall grant them for a price!”
She will be busy from now on. The defense preparations, preparing enough money to pay the reinforcements and finding the right words to persuade them to risk their lives in the first place.
There’s no one who will simply throw away their lives for money without reason. Since ancient times, it hasn’t just been money and contracts that moved adventurers, but the romance of the quest.
And, for the Golden Witch, it is easy to arrange for both. She will wring her prize out of that mother and her daughters without fail.
“First thing’s first, I need to consider the reward. For now, the base compensation should be one hundred gold coins per head. After that, more should be promised for deeds of merit… Two gold coins for each peon? And for a dragon, a hundred gold coins? And for the King himself, five hundred.”
Canary talked about such a ludicrous amount of money without batting an eyelid as she scribbled notes in her notebook.
“Hm. Fine work, if I do say so myself… Unfortunately, that bald branch chief is going to be busy. No matter what he says, it’s not close to good enough. Trying to hide his shame with that toupee.”
The closely guarded secret of the head of this branch was flippantly revealed, but luckily no one was around to hear it.
Incidentally, the branch chief is only trying to reduce the burden on himself by pressuring his employees to the point of stress to promote reluctant B-rank adventurers into A-ranks, since he himself is constantly getting caught up in Canary’s whims.
“Now, it’s almost time for things to progress. I’ll soon get to witness Shirley’s face twisting in humiliation! Kukukuku! AHAHAHAHAHA!!”
With a bang, a project plan that had been bound together with a large clip was slammed down on the desk.
Written in flashy black characters on the cover were the words ‘Maid Cafe’.
For today’s MotoMusu (this is the abbreviation I’m thinking of going with) there is going to be a lack of Shirley, instead, it will be about Canary’s sinister plotting. Please tell me what you think.
Truly nefarious. I think I might translate some author’s notes from now on if they’re something more than “please give me your comments”. Also, only two more chapters until the end of the first volume.