Summer on the Frontier
As the forests grew green and lush the days had rolled into summer in that frontier town, with the scorching sun hanging in the sky as close as ever. Although it has been hundreds of years since the ‘Golden Witch’ Canary invented magical tools to cool the interior of homes in order to prevent heat stroke, going outside in this weather was still a tribulation.
As the unbearable sun beats down on the town, the ordinary workers suffer from both its rays and the heated ground, whilst children on their way home from school sweat and groan.
“I want to eat something cold… I think we have a popsicle at home…”
“Isn’t that mine!?”
As Sophie and Tio walked back from home, they were accompanied by Lisa, Chelsea and Mira who were all looking to stay at the nearest house with magic air conditioning, the heat was making their walking speed more languid than usual.
It’s not so bad going to school in the morning when it’s cooler, but by the time it hits midday even if you’re in the shade or using an umbrella, the irritating high temperatures and humidity are torturous to those girls.
“It really is summer, huh? But, if we went and played in the river now, wouldn’t it feel great?”
Being one of the only two sensible people in the group, even though the hopeless cases known as Tio, Chelsea and Lisa were shouting things like ‘Stupid, hot sun’, ‘Just disappear’ and ‘We only want you here during winter’ at a celestial body, Mira tried to cheer them up a little bit.
“Last year when Shirley-san took us all to that nearby river, it was really nice, remember?”
“Ah, mama did an amazing job with that place! That’s a good idea, why don’t we all go there when the summer holidays start?”
Last year, when they had asked their mother if there was somewhere cool to spend their summer days, Shirley had asked them to wait just one day and had disappeared that night.
She returned the next morning and led them all to a mountain river deep in the forest, with all the craggy rocks and boulders smoothed out to a polished stone floor so that there was no risk of injuries, she even used her magic swords to create all sorts of slides and floats, and also manipulated the river currents to be easier to swim in.
It was a water theme park built overnight using spells and magic swords. They played there until they were exhausted, caught fish in the river for dinner and wrote a deeply fulfilling page in the diary for that summer day.
“Oooh, that sounds great… But right now, I want to idle away the summer eating sweets in an air-conditioned room!”
“I’m going to hole myself up in a cold room until my parents force me out!”
“Mm. After we do that it’s not too late to play outside in summer.”
“J-Just how lazy can you be…!? If you just sit in an air-conditioned room all day and don’t go outside, are you even human anymore…!?”
Those three girls seem to have a thousand-yard stare, it looks like their sun aversion is a serious condition.
“But, I hate summer. If I forget to use sunscreen, my skin will get all blistery and sore.”
“Well, that’s true.”
For Sophie and Tio whose skin is pale as snow, the summer sun is a natural enemy. Rather than developing a tan, their skin just gets sunburned and red.
These days there are many magical tools and products that have effects similar to the spell《Guard Skin》that will protect your skin from things like poison, heat and cold. Shirley keeps ointment like that on hand, but the one time she forgot to wear it, Tio suffered heavily.
“See, even Tio, the wonder child of physical education is like this. Us normal people can’t live without air conditioning.”
“They should put air conditioning in the school classrooms as well. Otherwise, we’ll all get heatstroke and collapse.”
“Oh, they’ll have to do that eventually, right?”
“Yeah, if it’s the director, she can probably do it.”
The classroom during summer is hell. It might be a problem with the location, but those classrooms let in a lot of sunlight and don’t ventilate well. The students that couldn’t handle the heat spent entire lessons fanning themselves with books, their faces pressed against the hot desks, whilst spending their entire breaks seeking out any shade or cool air they could find.
In the school, the only places with air conditioning were the teacher’s lounge and the janitorial room. The janitor’s storage aside, the students have always found it deeply unjust that they have to suffer in the heat whilst the teachers got to enjoy their air-conditioned room.
So, they were hoping to maybe one day appeal to the heart of the director, Canary, in order to install air conditioning in the classrooms. At any rate, that person has more than enough money. As soon as she said the word, air conditioning magic tools would be installed immediately, but ――――
“Oh dear, what’s wrong? You’re groaning and moaning like the walking dead! …Hmm, ~? You want me to install magic tools~? Why that won’t do at all (grin). If you young people depend too much on my magical tools now, you’ll grow up to become useless layabouts in the future. Ahhh, that said, isn’t it wonderful to drink such cold orange juice on such a hot summers day~?”
And, as if to mock those poor students, she would drink an entire glass of cold orange juice in her air-conditioned room with one gulp. When they thought about actually asking the school’s director, Sophie and Tio frowned as they imagined a scenario like that playing out.
“But it’s probably not gonna get any easier with this heat, right? That one class? Not until after the summer holidays.”
“Mm. To be honest, if I earned some money I’d buy the air conditioning myself.”
“Ahaha… But I’ve never really had a job before, so I’d be a little nervous…”
Everyone agreed with Mira’s words in silence. The class they’re worried about is actually the first of its type being trialled in the Kingdom.
“Well, if it’s really that bad, mama can――――”
‘Help us study’… Before she could say it, red and blue lights fell straight onto Sophie and Tio’s heads.
“You two, are you okay!?”
Suddenly, a strange sound that came from those lights echoed through the streets.
Even for adventurers, summer is a rough season. It should be an obvious thing to say, but battling is severely taxing on the body and in this heat, you lose bodily fluids to sweat even faster than normal, so it’s not unheard of for adventurers to completely collapse due to dehydration and exhaustion and die out in the wilds at this time of year.
In recent years, ‘cooler potions’ have been developed to help keep body temperatures down and has become highly popular amongst adventurers and soldiers alike, but it’s not a luxury that rookie adventurers can afford.
Even the pride of the guild, the B-Rank adventurer Shirley, once had a hard time with summer. After skimping on buying cooler potions to buy her two beloved daughters new clothes for summer, she had fallen victim to a bout of dizziness during a fight with a huge tiger-like monster and suffered a grievous bite to the right side of her body.
That was the first time she had been truly thankful for that regenerative ability of hers, even if it was imperfect.
…That said, her real worry was that she’d lost a lot of her clothing during the attack, although anyone who dared even look in her direction received an intense glare for their troubles.
She had told the three rookie adventurers about her experience, impounding just how fearful heatstroke in the middle of battle can be, then yesterday saw them off after they had bought their own set of cooler potions.
“What is that?”
Right now, though, Shirley was casting a cold glare at the object that Yumina had put down on the table she was sitting at in the guild’s tavern area.
“Don’t you think it’s in bad taste to just leave underwear out in the open like this?”
“No, it’s not underwear, it’s a bikini.”
“Bikini? Like the armour with that name? Honestly, I don’t get it… What separates it from underwear?”
The former noblewoman couldn’t quite grasp the difference. The only thing she can say for certain is that the cloth in front of her is split into two parts, the top half covering the breasts and the lower part covering the privates and buttocks.
They look very similar as well. It’s quite an adult-like design, with the chest part framed with frills and the bottom half tied together with string like a ribbon.
“This is a swimsuit? Didn’t you know that?”
“‘Swimsuit’…? You mean a bathing suit!? This thing!?”
Shirley can’t believe it as she stares at in complete amazement. The bathing suits she knows about are meant to be suitable clothing for swimming, covering the entire torso all the way down to the knees.
Personally, she was always a bit worried about how those bathing suits had exposed the shoulder, but she thought it was understandable if it meant she could swim better. Shirley had to persuade herself that level of exposure was allowed in order to let her daughters go swimming last summer.
“Are you supposed to wear this outdoors? Wouldn’t people be able to see your navel and the soles of your feet, let alone your back?”
“You know, this is pretty normal these days.”
“Where in the world is this normal? When did the Kingdom become a country of perverts?”
Touching it, it definitely feels like a swimsuit. But, to think that there are people creating things like this swimsuit and bikini armour, Shirley began to get a headache just thinking about what the designers of the world are thinking of.
“It’s fashionable, you know. Come summertime, adventurers accept lots of requests to go to places like lakes, rivers and oceans, right? And they’ll want to make sure they look good.”
It’s not as if monsters that lurk underwater are only active one season a year, but in terms of accepting the requests adventurers are much more likely to be interested in summer compared to winter, naturally.
In that way swimsuits are actually part of an adventurer’s equipment, but because of the bad reputation they had amongst female adventurers for looking dull and unflattering, swimsuit design has advanced steadily over the years.
Of course, Shirley, who was satisfied with those old unstylish bathing suits doesn’t know anything about all that, those different coloured eyes looking at the bikini as if she couldn’t understand today’s young women at all.
“I think this kind of thing is wrong.”
“I thought so from the beginning, but Shirley-san you really are a bit of a foss… Uh, I mean, a bit old-fashioned, huh?”
She was about to say ‘fossil’, but a murderous glance forced her to correct herself very quickly. Over the past ten years, Shirley’s come to learn that it really is only the nobility who value the old-fashioned, whilst commoners are more interested in new trends, but that doesn’t mean she has to accept it herself.
(Because it’s so shameful…)
She’s been living as a commoner for a long time now, but this is the one thing she can’t bring herself to live with. Because she’s so old-hat herself, Shirley has always been a little worried about her daughters being left behind when it comes to what’s popular, but she’d rather that happen than for them to expose themselves.
(If they wear lewd things like these, won’t they be surrounded by perverts all the time?)
To Shirley, Sophie and Tio are like two angels that have descended from the heavens. And of course, whose eyes wouldn’t be drawn to such angels? In this era where lawless wretches do their best to sully beauty with impure thoughts, it’s only natural for a mother to worry about exposed skin drawing the interest of unsavoury men.
…….Although in Shirley’s case, she goes a little overboard.
“Anyways, why are you showing this bathing suit to me?”
“Oh, actually, the guild master…”
“I absolutely refuse.”
“I didn’t say anything yet…”
She should have been surprised when Shirley immediately expressed her disgust as soon as Canary was mentioned, but when Yumina considered her ancestor’s bad reputation she couldn’t really argue.
“Well, please just hear me out. Apparently, this was something that my cousin ordered for herself, but there was a mistake in the size.”
“When you say your cousin, do you mean the one that works as Canary’s private secretary?”
“Yes, the same.”
It must be a tough person who can pull on the ear of the Golden Witch and actually get her to work.
“It would be a shame to throw it out just because it didn’t fit, but when she described it to me I thought it seemed like the perfect size for Shirley, so I asked her to send it to me.”
“Muu…. Honestly, I don’t think I’d even have an opportunity to wear it.”
Shirley only accepted it since it would have been thrown away otherwise, storing it in her Hero’s Toolbox with no intention of ever wearing it. Once that was over and she stood up to leave, the door to the guild was suddenly thrown open and two girls came running in with a shout.
“Is Shirley-san here!?”
“There’s a big problem!!”
It was her daughters’ friends, Lisa and Chelsea. Surprised by the sudden appearance of these two who they’ve never seen around the guild before, Shirley and Yumina quickly walked over to them.
“Well, actually, Sophie and Tio are…”
“…Did something happen… To my girls…?”
Mira, who had entered alongside Chelsea and Lisa, turned her eyes towards Sophie and Tio behind them. Catching her gaze, Shirley followed her eyes and glared unintentionally when she saw that sight.
“Ah… Mama. This is…”
“…What do we do?”
Sophie rubbed the back of her head with an embarrassed smile whilst Tio looked at her mother with upturned eyes. As they both looked slightly bashful about the whole situation in different ways, each of them had a single baby bird nestled comfortably in their hair, one blue and one red.
For some reason NU isn’t picking these updates up automatically now, I have to do them manually. It’s a hard knock life.