Mother and Daughters at the Spring
How the heck did this happen? That question echoed through Kyle’s mind as he looked at the scene in front of him.
“………..So that’s why, since my swimming style is too advanced to teach to beginners, I called for the help of someone who is better at teaching than I.”
“…..Please teach us.”
In the forest close to the town, the sounds of children playing in a nearby shallow and crystal clear spring can be heard. In an area protected by a magical barrier that kept people out, the boy in his bathing trunks had a complicated expression as he stood in the water, looking at Sophie and Tio who were prepared for their lessons wearing very plain swimsuits, as well as Shirley who wore her black bikini, her face slightly red but seemingly determined to hide her embarrassment.
The mother and daughters whose white locks of hair were drenched reflected the light of the sun and, although the three of them looked like water fairies out of the old tales, Kyle didn’t feel comfortable gazing at them in wonder because of how vigilantly the children were staring at him.
(Just how did we decide on this?)
How had this happened? The answer was simple, Shirley was just not able to learn how to swim in such a short span of time. Although Shirley possessed a body that could part the seas to run along the surface of the ocean, for some reason she sunk like a stone whenever she came into contact with water and her attempts at swimming were so clumsy it was as if she were under some kind of curse.
What’s more, when Kyle began to teach Shirley how to swim at Cudd and Leia’s cajoling ――――
“….PUHAAA! Haa…. Haa…. It really is hard to swim well, after all… HYAAAAAAAAH!?”
“UWAAAAAAAAAAH!? I-I’m really sorry!! This is really too embarrassing after all, right!? Let’s stop here, okay!?”
“I-I’m okay…! I’ll bury my shame for my daughters’ sake…!”
Naturally, when teaching someone to swim, their bodies have to touch. As well as her delicate looking limbs and narrow waist, when those plump breasts that inevitably grazed against his skin, the crimson torrent of blood rushing from Kyle’s nose very rarely stopped.
What’s more, Shirley was as Shirleyish as ever. Determined to press through the shame of being exposed for the sake of her daughters, her cheeks were dyed just as red as Kyle’s nosebleed as she came close to Kyle with tears in her eyes, but now that boy who she was concerned was going to die of blood loss the other day turned to her.
(Shirley-san, is it really fine not to explain to them that you can’t really swim after all…?)
(I don’t like the idea of lying, but it would be even worse to ruin the good image my daughters have of me…!)
Kyle and Shirley whispered in each others’ ears so that Sophie and Tio couldn’t overhear them. In the end, to preserve her dignity as a mother, she had decided to have him be the instructor for today because ‘her swimming techniques aren’t something that can be so easily taught’.
But, Shirley still wanted to help teach her daughters how to swim, so she bore the embarrassment of her swimsuit and entered the water with them.
(So for now, if you can just teach these two how to swim…)
(I think I’ll be okay. It’s been a while since I’ve played in the water, but I’m pretty confident in my swimming, I used to teach the other kids back at the orphanage. Actually, the children I taught were around Sophie and Tio’s age.)
So long as he has a track record, I can rely on him. Shirley thought that to herself as she gave a satisfied nod. Meanwhile, Sophie and Tio had scrutinizing looks on their faces as they stared at the two of them who were whispering so close to one another.
“…Hey, Tio. What do you think?”
“Mm… He’s a strong opponent.”
Ever since the end of the Duel Ordained by the Goddess and their return from the Empire, those two had been keeping a close eye out for Kyle.
It wasn’t that he was a particularly bad person or anything. In fact, he was a kind and polite young man, someone most people would quite like. After he had risked his life to protect the two of them from Rudolph and being kidnapped by the Empire, Sophie and Tio had given Kyle quite a high evaluation.
But, for some reason, he seemed to be interested in their mother. Even if he wasn’t a bad person, for Kyle, who was close enough in age to them that they could be considered siblings, to suddenly become their stepfather… Although there are still obstacles in his way such as the age difference and their own mother’s denseness, right now the two of them wanted to monopolize their mother, Shirley, at least for a little longer.
“M-Mama! Let’s start soon!”
“Mm… We don’t have much time.”
“? I… suppose? Then, can I count on you?”
“Ah, yes. Leave it to me.”
The two of them urged things along to interrupt whatever was going on. Sophie and Tio breathed a sigh of relief as Shirley and Kyle moved away from each other at their words.
(From now on, we have to be extra careful of Kyle.)
(Mm. He’s a hundred years too early to try and marry mum without getting our permission.)
As if to confirm their fears, after seeing Kyle sneak a bashful glance at Shirley as they separated the twins looked at each other and nodded.
Just as their mother was wary of boys approaching her daughters, those daughters are also keeping a close eye on any men trying to approach their mother. That family really were all birds of a feather.
Looking at the white hair splashing through the water, it was as if you were seeing a ghost skip across the surface. But really, it was actually just a heartwarming scene of young girls learning to swim on their day off.
As she listened to those happy voices floating on the calm forest air, Shirley smiled, realizing that having Kyle be the twins’ instructor had been the right choice after all.
He’s not just good at teaching swimming, he’s also good at handling younger children due to his time at the orphanage. And most important of all, she’s glad that she could find a teacher for Sophie and Tio who, even though he was a boy, didn’t harbour any wicked intentions.
“…….Puhaaa! How’s that, mama? I can swim really well now, huh?”
“Yes, that was almost 15 meters, wasn’t it? You’re making very good progress.”
Sophie and Tio were learning to swim from Kyle in the same way that Kyle had attempted to teach Shirley before.
Gently guiding Sophie with his arms, when she began to sink too low he would lift her up slightly, letting her correct her swimming posture. He’s not just good at teaching, but he’s also good at adjusting to the student. Sophie had already made enough progress that she could swim a little bit on her own.
“…Well, I can’t compare to Tio, huh?”
“I think that child is a bit of an exception.”
Sophie and Shirley both had a hint of envy in their eyes as they watched Tio swimming around the spring effortlessly, leaving rapid splashes of water in her wake. Had she really never been taught before? Kyle was stunned by her ability to absorb his teachings already as he watched her swim laps.
Although she had always known that Tio was quite the gifted little athlete, Shirley didn’t realize just how extraordinary she was. She’s not even a teenager, but her athletic ability probably already exceeded some incompetent adventurers, not to mention all the boys at her school.
“….Mum, I learned how to swim.”
“I was watching. You really are quite amazing at exercising, aren’t you?”
As her mother gently stroked a hand on her cheek, Tio wore a bashful smile. But when Tio turned to look at Sophie, she gave her the usual deadpan look.
“…Do you want me to teach you? It might be easier to learn from someone the same height.”
Once again, Sophie’s pride as the older sister had been wounded. Whilst it’s true that Tio’s athletic ability is incredible for someone her age, somehow it feels like she’s lost something important as the supposed older sister once again.
…Lately, it feels like Tio has been taking centre stage a lot, not least of all because of a certain recent growth spurt. Sophie isn’t doubting her own future potential, looking at the buxom chest of her mother next to her, but she can’t wipe away the taste of defeat when the difference between herself and her sister becomes even more pronounced because of the swimsuits.
“I-I’m okay! Because, when it comes to this… 《Water Flow・Control》”
Without moving her body, as soon as she finished the spell, a current that hadn’t existed in the spring before began to flow. It was a simple beginner’s magic called 《Water Stream》that can manipulate the motion of water.
She had been practicing in the bath every night and now her spell was powerful enough to be able to move a child in the flow of water. It’s quite easy to see a glimpse of her potential talent when you notice how stable her control over her magical energy is.
“Even if I can’t swim that well, so long as I can do this, I’ll be fine.”
“Okay, but you’re not going to be able to use this in class, right?”
“Uuu… That might be true…”
It is a swimming class, after all. No matter how well she can move the currents of the water around her, there’s not much point if she can’t improve her swimming.
“Besides, my swimming is faster.”
“Oh!? You’re so sure!? Want to race?”
“Mm, I’ll show you.”
“Mama, can you be the judge?”
After that, Sophie and Tio walked toward the shore. Shirley watched them calmly as they went. Of course, they’d like to have a little more fun than just simply practicing.
“Wow, maybe I should have expected it, but Tio-chan learned everything so quickly. And as for Sophie-chan… Is she really only ten? To be able to control magical power so well at her age…”
“Yes… I was a little worried at first about today, but I’m glad they aren’t similar to me when it comes to this.
After kicking off from the shore on the count of three, they moved through the water with all the momentum they could, using either their athletic ability or their magical skill. As Shirley talked with Kyle, from slightly farther away, she used her eyes to keep a close watch on their race.
“Let me thank you once again. It was thanks to you that I could teach my girls how to swim.”
“Ah, no, not at all. It’s no big deal.”
As for Kyle, he’s just glad to be able to spend time like this with Shirley. Usually, he was plagued by encounters rare and powerful monsters in the most unexpected of places, but despite his embarrassment, he also got to experience things like this, so he was quite confused about the true state of his luck.
“Besides, from tomorrow onwards I’m going to be quite busy, so I’m glad I was at least able to fulfill my promise to the children today.”
“Busy? Did something happen?”
“There was a request from the guild… Apparently, there have been sightings of strange monsters recently. The details aren’t clear, so I’ll have to do some investigating.”
In this world, there were monsters that can propagate a poisonous fog across a wide area and monsters that could even spread diseases on the scale of epidemics. If the monsters in the rumours are anything like that, then they could become a threat to her beloved daughters. Based purely on that worry, Shirley accepted that request.
“I’d like to finish the request as soon as possible, but it may keep me busy for a while.”
“Um… If that’s the case, if you like――――”
I could help you? Is what he was going to say, but the boy’s words were blotted out by Sophie, who had swept herself around the spring in her magical water flow and Tio, who had long since passed beyond the realm of a beginner at swimming.
“So, who was quicker?”
The twins both seem to have awoken to a competitive spirit, as the race was too close to call between them. If it was an ordinary person, they would have said that they had tied, but the Sword Demon, who had the power to see ‘everything’, perfectly saw the moment of victory and defeat.
“In that race, the winner was…”
As she patted the heads of her two daughters who had an unusual blazing spirt in their eyes, Shirley told them who the winner and loser were with her customary bluntness.
One girl’s victory cheer and another girl’s groan of defeat slightly swayed the surface of the water.