Who is that Happiness For?
And so, the three-pronged invasion of the Kingdom was defeated by the adventurers who intercepted them, in what would later be known as the Dragon War.
There weren’t any civilian casualties, but there were injuries and deaths amongst the adventurers who fought. After the stories spread of them driving away the armies of minions, expelling two dragon kings back to their nests and killing the third, the people’s trust in the Adventurer’s Guild grew.
And, even more than the S-rank adventurers who had participated in the other battles, the name of the swordswoman who had defeated the dragon king by herself echoed across the world.
White hair and pale skin like snow. Differing blue and red eyes framed by a gorgeous face. The pride of the Adventurer’s Guild and the Dragon King Slayer, ‘The Demonic White Sword’, Shirley.
With beautiful swordplay that enchanted onlookers as it cut its way through the threads of life, she was an existence beyond human comprehension…
“Lisa! Chelsea too! Good morning!”
“Tio, isn’t it dangerous to sleepwalk?”
“Mira… Give me a piggyback to class… Oop.”
“Eeeh!? Wa… You’re heavy…!?”
With the same white hair and skin as Shirley, the twins who looked almost identical apart from their eye colours didn’t notice that from the building behind them… They were being watched.
That gaze continued to linger on them. At Sophie, whose blue eyes inherited her mother’s sharpness, and who wore her hair in a braid that hung down her front. And at Tio, whose sleepy red eyes were very different to her mother and sister’s, and who wore a single hairpin in her hair.
Even though that person is utterly enamoured with the off-to-school everyday appearance of her flesh and blood, Shirley isn’t just hiding behind the building as she watches them, she’s completely obstructed by it.
However, despite that, the figure of her daughters was firmly captured in her eye.
Having restored her broken body through an amalgamation of body and soul, she gained both a semi-immortal body and a unique skill that goes along with that. In her case, it was her all-seeing eyes that could even let her watch her daughters through solid walls.
Those people who work normal jobs would typically have to be going to work by now, but the Sword Demon has a day off. In order to recover from the fatigue built up constantly adventuring every day, she will indulge herself today.
The image of the white-haired woman staring intently at a wall and moving her head in time with the movements of her daughters is very strange, but perhaps very strange is the term that suits Shirley best a lot of the time.
“Can I help you with something?”
Shirley talks to the person standing behind her, without taking her eyes of her daughters for even a second.
“…No, I was just wondering what you were doing.”
“Ah… Yumina, is it? I felt that someone had been looking at me strangely for some time now.”
It was the guild receptionist, Yumina, whose flaxen hair was tied behind her who stood behind Shirley.
“And so? What exactly are you doing? Because from this angle, you look incredibly suspicious?”
Shirley can’t find the words to refute her right away. She has an astonished look on her face at the accusation, although if you think about it objectively her actions are unquestionably suspicious.
“…I was just watching over my daughters.”
“…To me, it just seems like you’re staring at a wall.”
“I’m using my power.”
“That is the most wasteful way of using that power in the world. So, you’re going to spend your day off stalking your daughters using supernatural powers?”
How dare you… Is what Shirley wants to say. No matter what it looks like to anyone else, she only has pure intentions of watching over her girls.
It’s quite upsetting to have that referred to as stalking.
“Do you always spend your days off doing this?”
“No, since I always adjust my own days off to my daughters’ days off, I never have to do this…”
The mind of the Demonic White Sword is filled with anxiety. Ever since what her daughters spoke about at the breakfast table some time ago.
“There are several pests that seem to be buzzing around those two… So, I’m keeping my eyes peeled, in case they want to strike when the teachers’ eyes won’t be watching them.”
“Pests… They’re just girls and boys of the same age talking to each other, isn’t that a little harsh…?”
“No, it’s too early.”
Shirley declared with a slam.
Young girls and young boys should mix like oil and water. Outside the realm of aristocracy and their political marriages, ten years old is far too young for a girl to be mingling with boys even if it’s purely a healthy friendship, that’s the conviction of this mother.
“Well, since in the eyes of anyone else you’re just staring at a wall, you’re probably not breaking any anti-stalking laws… But, please refrain from suspicious behaviour from now on, okay? The guild’s reputation might be at stake.”
“It’s fine. I don’t intend to see through the walls of the school. If you still doubt me, I’ll go to the church later and give testimony under the《Sense Lie》magic.”
The amount of people she would have to look through aside, she has no intention of looking into a private building.
The perspective she is currently looking through renders the entire building completely transparent.
Yumina sighed and told Shirley that her behaviour was still a problem, even if they used the lie detecting magic. Her name will definitely go down in history as an adventurer who accomplished great feats, but she’s not interested in that kind of pride at all, she’s just a fiercely doting parent. Is it really such a hard ask for her to at least behave like the ‘pride of the guild’?
“Well, alright. To tell you the truth, there was something that came up that I needed to tell you about.”
“What is it?”
“Actually, there’s a C-Rank party that intends to hunt Man-Eating Ogres tomorrow, and they were hoping that Shirley-san would join them as a party leader.”
“To take on a monster that B-Ranks would have trouble with as a C-Rank… Why would they do something so drastic?”
Since the Dragon War, Shirley’s relationship with the adventurers has changed a little bit.
Up till now, Shirley has always completed requests alone, and was known as a solo expert. Even now, she still undertakes most of her jobs alone but did make it public that she would accept party requests and also wouldn’t demand a larger share of the pay.
No one really knows why she changed the way she did, but from time to time she will accept those parties that request her help.
And now Shirley’s perception amongst the adventurers has changed to a person who exists to help young adventurer parties who try to challenge monsters far above their level whilst also still distributing the pay evenly.
“It seems that the branch chief is even being pressured by the military now to raise Shirley-san to an A or S-rank. Well, I can argue against the chief mercilessly, since I know his little secret.”
“I don’t want to be an A-rank or S-rank, those emergency obligations would be troublesome.”
As Shirley gives a dissatisfied little sniff, Yumina smiled bitterly.
(That being said, Shirley-san, you’re definitely the only B-rank adventurer out there with a nickname.)
The higher the rank of the adventurer, the more requests they specifically receive to join parties. With very few exceptions, this applies to A-rank adventurers and above.
And usually, only the S-ranks above that will ever get the honour of having a publicly known nickname. Of course, amongst the B-ranks of the guild, the Demonic White Sword is the only one with a pseudonym like that.
“So, that was what I wanted to ask, what do you think? Shirley-san’s reward from a four-person party would round up to this.”
Yumina held out a request contract, and Shirley looked at the simple calculation done to estimate her reward.
“Sighting of Man-Eating Ogres on the Road to the Capital… Although there are so many soldiers, do they really have to rely on adventurers for every little thing?”
“That’s just how it is? I think the Kingdom is the only place where this happens.”
In the Kingdom where the adventurer industry thrives, the army and adventurer guild cleanly divide their duties when it comes to handling opponents, outside of emergencies like the dragon king.
The adventurers are tasked with dealing with outlaws such as bandits, thieves, and necromancers that set up their lairs far from prying eyes, whilst obviously also dealing with monsters. The soldiers in the garrisons… Well, for the typical royal soldier… They mostly focused on keeping public order in the cities and manning the borders.
Whilst it’s the adventurers’ job to defeat monsters in underdeveloped or unexplored areas, it’s up to the soldiery to crackdown on crime and keeps military threats from other countries at bay.
It’s because of this that, when the Dragon War was in full swing, no one really brought up the possibility of using the Royal Army.
If instead of guarding and keeping order amongst the civilians evacuating the cities and towns, those soldiers fought alongside adventurers who they sometimes regarded as prideful show-offs, could the adventurers really fight with absolute confidence in the person guarding their back?
(Not that the Royal Army soldiers are weak, though.)
The reason why the exploits of adventurers are well known is that monster problems are widespread, so it’s quite possible to make a name for yourself through exterminating them.
On the other hand, the deeds of the Kingdom’s soldiers aren’t well known, because they don’t fight monsters outside of emergencies and their other activities are kept confidential.
In terms of experience and individual strength, adventurers would probably win a small scale battle. But, the soldiers of the Kingdom trained hard every day to prepare for potential emergencies, conducting drills in large-scale battle formations as well.
The point is, they serve different demands. Whether it’s monsters or people, adventurers and soldiers simply face different opponents.
“Nevertheless, the relationship between the two parties is about as good as it can get, I suppose that’s thanks to Canary?”
“Hrmmm… It’s hard to believe it from the way she usually acts though.”
Even though it seems unfitting for that self-indulgent and mischievous person, Canary has worked hard to reconcile the differences between the Adventurer’s Guild and the Royal Army ever since she founded the guild.
Part of it was the agreement to leave unclaimed treasure from monster nests and dungeons to be returned to the royal treasury, another is the close relationship she has shared with successive members of the royal family for a thousand years.
“Anyways, it’s fine. That request, I’ll do it.”
“Are you sure? Having been divided up this much, the reward is fairly small.”
“It’s not a problem. My pockets have been pretty full ever since the incident with the dragon, and if we use Rangitz we can wrap up the request quickly.”
So long as it’s close enough that she can get there and back within a day using the Dragon Wagon, Shirley doesn’t mind accepting party invitations.
Her feeling is that she wants to stop that so-called ‘lonely adventurer work.’
Those two daughters who were growing up to be so kind and loving, when they finally grew old enough she didn’t want them to worry about leaving behind a lonely mother to take their own paths in the world.
If that happened, it’s possible that they’d miss out on finding their own happiness by staying behind to comfort her. She doesn’t want that. As a mother, she wants those children to only think about their own futures and be happy.
(I can’t be negligent, I have to show my daughters just how ‘happy’ their mother can be.)
If she managed to find some friends, Sophie and Tio would be able to live a fulfilling life without having to worry about her.
Personally, she doesn’t consider herself as a someone who is really suitable for being both the insurance policy for and experienced backbone of low ranking adventurer parties, but relationships have to start somewhere, and lately there has been a lot of demand for veteran adventurers to teach the colourful variety of rookies coming through the guild.
“Anyways, I’ll go to the guild tomorrow and meet up with this party.”
“Y-yes! Thank you very much!”
Although that stern gaze and cold face haven’t changed much, the Demonic White Sword was doing her best to gradually build relationships with adventurers from the guild.
Even if her motivation is of course completely based around her daughters… It’s still a positive change.
“If that’s over with, I’ll return to watching over my girls.”
“…I’d really prefer if you didn’t.”
She’s normally such a cool and capable adventurer. As Yumina thought so, she couldn’t say anything in the awkward silence that followed.
I might be a bit busy over the next couple of weeks so I don’t think I can keep up daily chapters. Fingers crossed though.