Twins x Twins
What on earth is this…? As she looked at the five children who were a rare sight in that Adventurer’s Guild standing around her, even though Shirley very rarely breaks her cool and calm disposition, she was dumbfounded as she looked at the birds nestled so comfortably on top of her beloved daughters’ heads.
In those three seconds of stunned silence, she felt like she had let her guard down for too long as she drew from the Hero’s Toolbox the blue and red blades, Ig-Alima and Sul-Sagana.
“Don’t move an inch, the both of you. For dinner tonight I’ll make a stew from a bird stock broth.”
“Yay…! Huh!? Wait a minute, mama!”
As she prepared to slice apart the birds resting on their heads, Sophie yelled at her.
“Why would I stop? Those are monsters on your head, you know? Who knows what kind of harm it’ll do if I don’t get rid of it quickly.”
“No, but it’s still just a baby… T-Tio, say something…”
“I’d like a bird pie instead!”
“I mean to say something before they’re killed!?”
“Since these birds have so little meat, it would make sense to use them for a stew instead of a pie.”
“Ahhh, jeez! I can’t keep up with the retorts!”
Sophie was at her wit’s end as Shirley and Tio went on about that night’s dinner. Although Tio seems to be normal, the inside of Shirley’s head is currently worried out of her mind about this unexplained event that has befallen her daughters.
(A-Awawawawa….!? What’s going on with my daughters and these birds…!? I should have gone to school with them after all…!)
Although she kept that cool and calm face on the surface, her pupils shimmered and swam in panic. By the way, on their first day, she had tried to accompany Sophie and Tio into school but was told in no uncertain terms to ‘go to work’, although that’s a different story.
“Everyone, please calm down!”
It was Yumina whose thundering voice overpowered the chaos. It only makes sense that as someone who had to deal with the clamour of rough and tumble adventurers every day, she could deal with five children and a silly mother.
“My goodness, could you at least try and figure out what’s going on before you solve everything with your sword, Shirley-san? You’re usually so calm, but every time your daughters are involved it gets like this.”
“So, can you all explain exactly what happened?”
Yumina bent down and talked to the 10-year-old girls face to face.
“No, I mean, even if you ask us, it all happened so fast.”
“Yep, all we saw was those two lights suddenly hit them in the head, then it was like this.”
“Yeah, yeah, before we knew anything these two were already tweeting away on their heads.”
Basically, the light that had landed on their heads had somehow become birds, the same ones that now seemed to have made their nests amongst that white hair.
Even though Lisa, Chelsea and Mira had all seen it happen, those young girls couldn’t really explain just what exactly had occurred as they shook their heads as one.
“You two, are you feeling ill? Does it hurt anywhere?”
“No, not really?”
“Mm. It just hurt a little bit when it hit me.”
(I’ll kill them after all.)
Although at Tio’s words a murderous rage welled up in Shirley’s heart, the only thing keeping it in check right now was that Sophie seemed to have taken a liking to the birds.
“But, why are you keeping them on your heads? Why not just hold them normally?”
“No, that’s because…”
Lisa didn’t know quite how to say it. Yumina tilted her head in confusion, then as Sophie and Tio tilted their heads since seeing is believing, those two birds of red and blue didn’t move an inch.
“They won’t leave our heads at all.”
Shirley’s differing eyes emitted a faint glow. That strange ability that had awoken within her all those years ago, the ability to see ‘everything’, saw something connecting Sophie and Tio together with the chicks on top of their heads.
“Their magical paths are being drawn together and circulated…!”
Just like blood, magical power exists within all creatures, large and small. And also like blood, magical energy is pumped and circulated around the body though intangible circuits known as magical paths. Right now, the magical paths of the birds and the twins had merged into one.
Right now, they’re like a single living being. That spiritual connection was like a magnet, not letting them become separated from the girls’ heads.
“I-Is it okay?”
“…For now, I can’t spot any problems. There’s nothing strange in the flow of magical energy… But, for baby birds, their magical power is very strong.”
That’s why Shirley called those birds monsters. It’s a reasonable thing to say, since that type of magical energy could never be produced by normal animals.
“But, I’ve never seen a monster like this before… Since it’s a chick, it’s appearance will probably change when it grows up, but if it’s a monster with this much power already…”
Even though she has vast experience when it comes to monsters, there are just such a vast amount of monsters out there with some raising children that don’t leave the nest until they’ve grown, so when it comes to the identity of the chicks riding on her daughters’ heads, she just doesn’t know.
Not to mention there are a lot of undiscovered monsters out there. There isn’t a single person in the world who knows all of the tens of thousands of discovered species.
“But, what should we do? If they’re always on your head, it’ll be difficult for you to sleep or wash your hair.”
“Ah ha ha! This is a pretty big problem huh?”
“Jeez, Chelsea, don’t poke fun at other people’s misfortune…”
But, it’s really as serious as Chelsea said. So long as those things live, they’ll become a hindrance to the girls’ everyday lives.
“It’d be easier to just cut the connection between their magical paths now…”
As if responding to Shirley’s threat, the two birds protested with shrill cries. Tilting her head, Shirley felt there was something strange about those birds before continuing.
“But, since it might cause something to happen to those girls’ magical paths, it would be better to remove them from their heads some other way.”
Those two birds stopped crying at once. Finding out something truly interesting about these creatures, Shirley asked a question as she stroked their tiny heads with her fingertips.
“Is it possible that you understand what I’m saying?”
Correct answer! Just like that, the birds spread their wings and nodded up and down. Watching them perform such a human-like gesture, Yumina gazed in wonder.
“Such high magical power and the ability to understand human language… Doesn’t that fulfil the conditions for a high ranking monster?”
“Yes, the conditions to being one of the mightiest monsters in the land, only outstripped by dragons.”
“Ehhh!? Something that important is on our heads!?”
Everyone stared at those baby birds. The culprits (birds?) who had caused all the ruckus yawned comfortably, looking around with sleepy eyes as if they had no idea what all the bother was about.
It’s hard to see it that way. Even if they have powerful magical energies, even if they’re monsters, they just look like baby birds. Maybe they’re being fooled, but it’s hard to imagine the owners of those silly looking faces are high-ranking monsters.
Maybe that’ll change as they grow older, but that just raises more questions. These young chicks that can’t fly at all, just why exactly did they land on the heads of Sophie and Tio of all people?
(…Did the Empire do this? No, I can’t see a flow of magical energy leaving them.)
It would make sense if this was a plot by that neighbouring country that coveted the twins as successors to the throne, but there are no signs of these two being the familiars of another mage at all. In the first place, there wouldn’t be any point in sending chicks.
“Umm… I don’t really understand all this difficult stuff, but for now is it possible to get them off our heads?”
“Hmm… Sophie, Tio, why not try it?”
Tio grabbed at the red chick on her head… And pulled it off with a flash.
“That was easier than I thought.”
“Just by using force!?”
No matter how much she shook her head before it had stayed put, but this time the bird stuck to Tio’s palm as she grabbed it, though now it seems stuck there. Even if she opened all her fingers and waved her hand, it didn’t budge.
“It’s stuck to my hand now.”
“Is it a magnet!?”
“This bird is in a constant state of attraction.”
Shirley looked at the connection between Tio’s palm and the baby bird, which isn’t even falling even as its held upside down.
The moment Tio grabbed the bird, she replaced the magical path connecting herself to the creature through her head with the magical path in her hand… It’s as if it’s trying to both make sure it never leaves her side, whilst still respecting Tio’s wishes.
“It’s not just attached to your head, it seems like it won’t leave your body at all. So long as it can merge with your magical path, it doesn’t mind.”
Many monsters that act as parasites on magical paths exist, but all of those suck magical energy from their host. But in the case of these birds, since they only circulate the magical energy they receive back into the girls, there’s no harm being done.
(But, I want to get them off as soon as possible… I don’t want to leave it until something happens.)
It may not be completely necessary to hurry and remove them now, but if they’re stuck to the girls’ bodies like this they’ll become a nuisance to their daily lives. At least they can change which part of the body they stick to.
“Yumina, where is Canary?”
“As for the guild master, she was sealed in a garbage bag and mailed to the Trading Country about three days ago.”
Of course, hearing Yumina say that her ancestor was stuffed into a rubbish bag isn’t all that out of the ordinary, but Shirley still had to ask.
“What did she do this time?”
“Ah, don’t misunderstand, I didn’t actually do it this time. When my cousin found out that Canary was lining up her vintage wine bottles and knocking them down with balls as part of her ‘developing a new ball game’ she fled to this town. After that, she got caught by my cousin who chased her here, so it ended up like that. All I was asked to do was stamp and mail the garbage bag.”
So, she’s not going to be back for a while. Shirley will have to come up with a solution from scratch. She was hoping that Canary might know something so she was a little disappointed, but she acted the adult as she spoke to her children.
“So, what will they eat? Since they seem to be intent on staying for the time being, you’ll have to prepare food for them when they’re hungry.”
“It has to be insects, right? Earthworms and stuff.”
“I don’t have any insects, but I can feed them the leftover bacon I took from the school cafeteria.”
“Why do you have that!? But anyways, I mean, to raise a chick I guess you have to use some kind of meat――――”
“Mm, they’re really eating it pretty forcefully.”
“Are they woodpeckers or something!?”
Those five girls chatted so passionately, absorbed in watching those birds who ate up the bacon with incredibly fast pecks of their beaks.
They might not be what you’d call cute, but they definitely have some sort of strange charm to them? Despite Shirley’s anxieties, those girls seemed truly happy playing with those baby birds.
“…I wonder why? I get the feeling that the event that every mother in the world has to go through is fast approaching.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
That is the first confrontation between mother and child. Perhaps it would be more apt to say that it was an inevitable battle. As that moment drew nearer and nearer, the Demonic White Sword stood by anxiously.