Troubles of a Doting Parent
By a stroke of good fortune, there was a request to subdue perytons available, so she was able to secure the rental of a dragon mount from the guild. Once she discovered the flock of birds that appeared like a haze on the horizon, she flew into them and demolished them in no time.
The bodies of monsters with inherent magical powers are very useful for the creation of potions, tools and magical rituals, especially horns and antlers which are especially valuable.
Since ancient times, horns have been worshipped as symbols of wisdom and power. Following the origin of the story, the first and foremost amongst horned magical creatures are dragons, who are said to store their magical energy in their horns.
Likewise, for the peryton, a creature who traps its prey through its magical shadow, their magical power flows from the antlers.
“Well… Three should be good enough.”
She cut off the three biggest antlers she could find amongst the corpses and loaded them onto the back of the dragon.
“Break time is over, so please fly for me once again.”
Instead of packing food for the dragon, she simply fed it sections of one of the perytons she had knocked down.
Shirley took its happy cry as affirmation and jumped on the saddle, when she took the reins the dragon roared and took to the sky.
Her white hair rippled as they flew, the air is incredibly cold compared to the air back down on earth, but that’s no obstacle to a mother who wants to get back to her children straight away.
(It’s 12 o’clock now… If nothing happens, I should be back in time for supper.)
She looked at the pocket watch she took out from her breast. She took the flying mounted dragon not just because it would be advantageous for an aerial battle, but because this fight was on a plains quite far away from that remote town and this was the fastest dragon available.
Even if she’s desperate to find out the culprit, she wants to be away from Sophie and Tio’s side for as little time as possible.
(Martha’s there, sure, but to think I’d leave my daughters in the care of someone who I only just met yesterday…)
She’s not quite sure if she should be happy about just how much she’s changed.
In the first place, she doesn’t completely trust Grania yet, it’s still possible that she’s working with whoever Shirley’s enemy is.
Even so, no matter how much Shirley wants to protect her girls, as a swordsman protecting is all she can do, she’s powerless to actually solve the crime.
The only solution was to borrow the power of a real mage. She regretted not ever having studied curses and suggestion magic herself.
(I’m still so inexperienced… With these weak hands of mine, how can I protect anything?)
She promised herself once more. That no matter what happened, Shirley will always do the best she can for her daughters.
“Wawaaa!? I did it!”
“Fufufu… Yes, it seems so. You really are very talented, hmm?”
With that resolution powering her, Shirley managed to get back to the Deficit House at 3 o’clock. When she returned to the room carrying the peryton antlers, she saw Sophie and Grania having a pleasant chat.
Suddenly deciding to watch them from the shadows instead of revealing, she saw a small ball of water floating in the palm of Sophie’s hand.
With Grania teaching elemental manipulation magic in such an easy to understand manner with Sophie faithfully reproducing it, they seem really happy together, like an older sister teaching the young one, or perhaps… When she imagined the other possibility, Shirley began to get upset and shake on the spot.
Shirley tottered back down to the dining room like a newborn deer, not exactly living up to the moniker ‘Demonic White Sword’.
“Hmm? What’s wrong?”
“They! …They!! They!?”
“No, I have no idea what you’re talking about?”
Although the skilled warrior seemed completely lost for words, Martha still comforted Shirley as she raised a quivering finger and pointed it towards her room.
“My position as a mother… My position as a mother is at stake…!”
“Ha? What do you mea- Ahh, now I get it.”
Martha nods as she finally understood.
“Since she had free time waiting for you, Grania decided to teach Sophie some magic. I don’t think it’s something worth getting so upset about.”
“But… If it’s just about the basics of magic even I can teach that…! To think that… That person would teach Sophie her first spell without me…!”
It seems that Grania, who embodies the very picture of an adult woman, has shaken Shirley’s belief in herself as a mother to the very core.
Since magic isn’t taught in school and is usually left up to the parent, Martha understands Shirley’s fretting, but still admonishes the single mother.
“Just why are you so upset? You didn’t want to teach Sophie and Tio magic, right? That’s why it should be fine for Sophie to learn it from another mage.”
Not just limited to magic, but handling elements, in general, can be quite dangerous, without receiving basic magical instructions one’s magical power could run amok.
Small-scale elemental magic like moving water from glasses and moving wind about a room. Despite not being a professional like Grania, Shirley was capable of doing that much.
She knew basic magic and if she wanted to could teach it as well, but…
“…Sophie and Tio said they wanted to become adventurers.”
“But, those two are still just children. If they just focus on one thing at such an early age, won’t they deprive themselves of other opportunities?”
“I see. I understand how you feel.”
It’s a little like a bartender patronizing a particularly troublesome customer complaining over their drink, but Shirley is completely serious.
As a parent, it’s only natural that she wants those two to live a peaceful life rather than braving danger as an adventurer.
Shirley did tell both of them that if they could pass a test at age 15, she would accept them being adventurers, but this is something else entirely.
She didn’t teach her children swordsmanship or magic because she didn’t want to cut down on their future opportunities, or the dreams that might blossom for them once they grow up.
“But… If the time ever did come to teach them… I wanted to be the one who…!”
“So, that’s the problem, huh.”
Truthfully, she never thought too badly about actually having mother and daughter training sessions, in fact, the idea got her a little giddy, even if she wouldn’t admit it.
But, having been beaten to the punch by Grania, Shirley’s secret desire had been scattered to the wind.
Even if no one has actually done anything wrong per se, this silly parent had to retreat to the dining room to calm down and collect her thoughts.
“I always thought that I wanted to do everything for my daughters, but something like this… My confidence as a mother… But if I got in their way and Sophie hated me, I wouldn’t be able to live…”
“You may not think so yourself, but you’re an excellent mother. In the first place, it was Sophie who asked to learn magic. And that’s not the only thing, is it?”
Shirley must have been really conflicted. Nonetheless, Martha pet the head of the youthful semi-immortal, who was trying her best to respect her daughter’s wishes.
“It’s because you trust Grania that you came back here instead of interfering, right?”
Shirley nodded silently. Despite being a disciple of Canary, she was relieved that the adventurer recommended by Yumina and Asterios turned out to be such a good and sensible person, although she hadn’t expected her to inflict this kind of damage on her.
“Ah, Mama! Welcome home!”
Looking at that face lifted her mood instantly. Sophie rushed over to Shirley, holding a cup of water in her hand.
“…Yes, I’m back. So, what are you doing?”
Shirley did her best to keep up her usual prudent attitude. Although it might have seemed like an awfully abrupt change to any onlooker, Shirley desperately didn’t want to show such a miserable appearance to her daughter, but Sophie is in such a good mood she didn’t seem to notice at all.
“Um, I came to return this glass to the kitchen… Oh yeah! Watch what I can do!”
Placing the cup on the table, Sophie pointed both her hands at it and began to murmur.
It’s a little stilted, but it’s definitely a magical chant… It is the verbalization of the self-suggestion that can transform the world around the caster through the power of magical phenomena.
The water in the cup began to vibrate on its own and eventually forms a sphere in thin air, floating above Sophie’s palm. This is 《Water Bullet》, it is among the most basic of beginner’s magic, a magic that shoots water projectiles at such strength and speed that it can even pierce iron.
“I did it! Hey, mama, isn’t this amazing!? I learned it from Miss Grania!”
Sophie, who usually tries her best to act like an adult, can’t help jumping up and down with excitement as she boasts to her mother about learning her first magic.
Compared to Shirley who could produce swords from thin air without chants and fought with extreme speed and strength in combat, it was a rather lousy magic, but when Sophie showed her a face full of smiling wonder, she couldn’t help but pat her head.
“Yes, it’s still a little rough around the edges, but this is very good for your first try.”
Sophie doesn’t even try to hide how much she enjoys it when her mother stroked her soft white hair.
Seeing her daughter so happy, who was she to interfere? Shirley thought that to herself with a sigh.
“Hmmー… What’s wrong? I’m flattered, but it’s hard to work if you stare at me so much, you know~?”
Later that night, as Grania worked on the ritual using the peryton antlers she had gathered, Shirley stared at her from behind with those piercing red and blue eyes.
She opened her mouth and spoke as if she had been mulling the words over for a while.
“Um… Thank you. For taking care of Sophie.”
“Ahh, you mean for helping her with the basics of magic? I just had free time, so don’t worry yourself about it.”
Even if she was just killing time until she returned, Shirley still thought it was right to thank her for giving her daughter some guidance.
Then, as if to ruin the moment, Grania held her hand to her mouth and laughed haughtily.
“But really, I was slightly worried since I’m sure you’d loved to teach her magic yourself, but she was so lovely I just couldn’t refuse, I’m glad that you aren’t angry with me~”
“That reaction… Oh, I see? Fufufu… That’s cute as well. To think you’re older than me… I can’t believe you’re in your thirties.”
Hitting the bullseye, Grania seems to be enjoying teasing the ‘Demonic White Sword’ more and more. Shirley wants to withdraw what she said before, this woman really is Canary’s disciple and relative through and through, she really should trust her instincts better.
“…More importantly, have you identified the culprit?”
“Ah, I’ll be starting now. Please look.”
Deciding not to press her luck with the woman who so obviously wants to change the subject, Grania holds an upside-down pyramid shaped object attached to a piece of string above a sheet of parchment.
Covering the dowsing tool in powdered peryton antler, it dangles above the black stained parchment that contains the sealed information of the caster.
As Grania held it suspended above the darkness, the tool moves and manipulates the stain in swirls, with white light beginning to emerge.
The dowsing tool and the black stain moved in tandem as if they were alive and eventually letters began to form on the page, letting Shirley see information about the abhorrent caster with her own two eyes.
“The name of the caster is Grace Barnes… Having a family name, he may be nobility, but does he sound familiar?”
“He does not… What else?”
As if at her urging, the dowsing tool swung once more and further information appeared on the page.
“Twenty-seven years old, he appears to be a minor researcher who has published several papers, personality wise he’s quite a typical man for his age. Height 170 centimetres, weight 56 kilograms. His favourite meal is a full breakfast with a boiled egg, his hobbies are――――”
“I don’t care about his personal life. Is there anything more useful?”
“So impatient… He is the fourth son of a Baron and has been working in a mansion in his parent’s fief for five years. His motivation for targeting your daughters was not a personal one, but because he received a request to do so.”
Shirley frowned. It’s all well and good to identify the caster, but now there’s apparently a mastermind as well?
“The identity of the client is unknown… But, from where the caster lives, I feel you might be able to figure something out.”
“Where is Grace Barnes?”
“The Barony is in the suburbs of the Imperial Capital… He lives in a mansion near the centre of the city.”
The Imperial Capital. More than anything else she’d heard about the caster, that news shocked her most of all.
For anyone keeping track, that’s the 100th chapter released on this blog.
“If only you actually dedicated all that to one series instead of trying to do like 20 maybe you’d actually finish something.”
Yeah, I know, don’t rub it in.