Chapter 5: I became a 3 year old
「……Do you remember me?」
Otoo-sama asked as he looked anxiously at me.
Of course I remember.
As long as you are my otoo-sama, I’d never forget such a good-looking person.
His face was clearly revealing his thoughts…that since he couldn’t come see his young daughter no more than once or twice a year, it would only be natural for her to have forgotten him.
Ever since the matter of holy magic had passed, I, who had strongly recognized the 【demon】 within me, was ever more firmly determined than before to conduct myself to behave like a human, so I was going try my best as a daughter as well.
When I called out and walked towards him with toddling steps, otoo-sama showed a look of being surprised.
「Ohh…Yurushia. So you would call me father….」
Eh? Come to think of it, was this the first time I called him 『otoo-sama』 in person?
Still…otoo-sama, aren’t you a bit too afraid I wonder? I know how inhuman I look, but if you fear me to that extent, to be honest I feel down.
But I mustn’t lose heart because of this.
As a frail demon hiding among humans, the best idea was to be protected by wonderful people like otoo-sama. It wasn’t because the elegant oji-sama type happened to be my favorite or anything like that.
First of all, I had to get him used to me.
Today was my 3rd birthday.
As for presents, I received a comb made of silver from okaa-sama. I was a little frightened by silver items, holy magic and the like, but no problems occurred. In retrospect, hadn’t I used a silver spoon all this time just fine?
From the three maid girls I received a book called 『A Document on Magic Usable from Age 3』…even though books were expensive in this world….
From Trufi-san, who had completed her work as a wet-nurse and returned home, I received a small painting to decorate in my room. It was very lovely.
From otoo-sama, I received a huge bear plushy, a regular sized rabbit plushy, a bouquet of roses, and a ton of candies bought from a famous store in the royal capital.
When I tried eating the sweets…there wasn’t enough flavor as expected. It wasn’t any less in terms of quality when compared with the sweets from the dream world, but it was somehow unsatisfying.
But I had to persevere and eat it all…or else everyone will be sad.
My birthday party had ended. Otoo-sama would always leave again when night came, but this time I tried to playfully keep him from going away.
I toddled my way to otoo-sama, who had always been hesitant of even being touched by me, and tugged on his leg that was on the sofa.
「……What wrong? Yurushia.」
When our eyes met, otoo-sama visibly lost his composure. ……So it was no good unless I acted more boldly.
Otoo-sama was wide-eyed, responding in a voice that was hard to tell whether it was a reply or a groan. He then perched me on top of his lap with strong arms.
I was kind of excited. Not as a daughter, but as a maiden.
Somehow it became silent.
I was simply emotionally moved from having a lap seat and resting my back against the chest of a man, but otoo-sama seemed to be at a loss as to how to deal with his alien 3 year old daughter.
And from that moment I carried out my plan.
I am a cat.
I will become a cat.
This is definitely not me giving in to my instincts.
I nuzzled against otoo-sama’s chest with my nose.
Otoo-sama seemed to tremble slightly, but I didn’t mind it.When I nuzzled against him even more, otoo-sama timidly patted my head.
With the intended message of, “otoo-sama, please pat me more diligently”, I rubbed my head against his large hands.
……Oh? Something smells good. Smelling the same sweet scent that okaa-sama gave off caused me to further increase my rate of nuzzling.
「……Were you lonely?」
Otoo-sama asked me in a gentle voice.
Eh? Was I? Looking up at otoo-sama with a slightly pondering look, I saw that he was now directly meeting my gaze with a sorrowful expression on his face.
……Ho, how should I reply? I felt a little flustered.Maybe it was the fault of the smell, but my cheeks were hot….
Unable to come up with a response and becoming embarassed in the midst of staring at one another, I escaped into that intoxicating smell by burying my face into otoo-sama’s chest.
「You sure like to be pampered…I’ll dote on you as much as you want then.」
Otoo-sama’s voice became cheery as he gently brushed my hair with his large hands and tickled around my ears and neck. Otoo-sama seemed to be having fun as he swiftly caught me when I twisted my body away from his tickling hands.
What could it be…this feeling. I was feeling a similar sensation to when I had mofumofu’ed with 【him】….By any chance, was I being tamed…?
Letting out a sound that even I couldn’t explain, I escaped otoo-sama’s hands to take refuge in his chest.
「Hahaha. Yurushia is just like a kitten.」
Feeling my face becoming even hotter from being whispered to in my ears, I resolutely stuck my face onto otoo-sama’s chest to find solace in that heady scent.
There was a man named Folt.
He excelled in the sword, and possessed an exceptional mind. His future was full of great expectations, but he didn’t think to use his abilities to their fullest.
He had an elder sister and elder brother. The relationship between the three siblings was quite good.
The elder sister was a willful woman, but kind to those below her, and beloved by everyone around her. She was the pride of her brothers, and even after she married into a family far away, her teachings strongly remained within the hearts of her two brothers.
The elder brother was a man of valor, and his personality was one that was farthest away from being described as delicate. His swordsmanship easily surpassed that of his younger brother Folt, and his bravery won him many admirers.
Folt greatly respected his elder sister and elder brother. The elder sister and brother pair also loved their clever and honest younger brother, and were proud of him.
But his cleverness and capability brought him misfortune.
The siblings’ household was a powerful one. And only one man could succeed the house.
Folt believed in his heart that only his elder brother, who was held in high esteem by many, could be worthy of becoming the successor to their house, and that his duty was to become his brother’s strength. So, seeking higher knowledge, he devoted himself to studying without rest.
But as time passed, there were some who voiced their thoughts of Folt being the suitable candidate for head of house.
Folt denied them all. But when he realized that those voices wouldn’t stop, Folt didn’t hesitate to seek audience with his father, deciding to abandon his family name.
But the one who stopped him, was none other than Folt’s elder brother himself.
The elder brother was aware of the great efforts Folt had made, and dearly valued his strength, because he recognized Folt’s character better than anyone else.
The elder brother didn’t mind conceding the position of next in line to the head of house, so long as Folt wished for it. He knew that Folt had the abilities for the position, but he also knew that Folt didn’t desire it.
He wished for Folt to be free. But even so, he wanted Folt to display his abilities by his side, and devised a scheme that went against the wishes of his younger brother, knowing full well that he would be resented.
It couldn’t truly be called a scheme, because in a way, the elder brother was only fulfilling familial duty.
The plan was to marry his younger brother into a relative’s household which only had a daughter. There would be no problems for the time being, but once his clever younger brother married, and if that household was to grow in influence, that would be sure to bring troubles in the future.
But the attitude of the relative’s daughter wasn’t good, and he had a bitter experience in putting the two together to marry.
The elder brother knew that his younger brother had someone he was mutually in love with. The person he loved was the daughter of a wet nurse, and also his foster sister. She was an extremely kind and beautiful girl.
However, as a foster child, she didn’t have a high enough social standing. Their family would be even more opposed to their marriage than the idea of marrying his younger brother to his relatives.
That was why the elder brother even resorted to forceful methods in bringing his younger brother closer to the house of his relatives.
Even though he knew this would bring sorrow to his younger brother and foster sister, he did so nevertheless.
Several years passed, and two daughters were born to Folt.
Both of them resembled their mother and were of such poor character, that the elder brother had even once asked Folt if these two were really his children. At the very least, it was a relief that they weren’t sons.
Folt couldn’t bring himself to confront his willful wife that was 2 years his senior about their children, while on the other hand, his two daughters favored their mother more than their father.
Folt had a sudden thought. Did I truly love my wife and daughters? Taking after their beautiful mother, the two daughters were also lovely. Others expressed their envy of him, but Folt couldn’t understand why. He didn’t feel that he was loved by his wife and daughters.
Folt knew that all his elder brother had done was for his sake.
He was truly happy to be able to work for his elder brother.
But contrary to those feelings, Folt’s worries only continued to pile on, and his exhaustion only worsened as the days passed.
Seeing him in such a state, his elder brother told him of a place where he would be able to ease his spirit.
He headed towards that place, half in doubt, and there he found waiting for him, the woman that was his foster sister, who had never stopped loving Folt.
The two deeply felt the mutual love they had for each other, and in time, the heavens bestowed an angel between the two of them.
Their beloved daughter, who had come back to life from stillbirth, grew to be an unbelievably healthy child.
She was so pure and lovely that he hesitated to even touch her.
Was it alright for me to even go near her? I have another wife, other children. Am I worthy of being her father?
It was the 2nd birthday of his daughter. Folt was shaken by the sight of his daughter.
His daughter was still only an adorable child just a year ago. Yet at the tender age of 2 she had become almost frightfully lovely.
Was she really human…? Was she really no angel?
Startled by his own thoughts, Folt was more hesitant than ever in making contact with his daughter.
But even so, when he closed his eyes, the figures of the woman and daughter he loved would come to mind.
When he thought to himself, what if this fear of mine caused my daughter to look at me with the cold eyes of my other wife and children?, he was overcome with anxiety that threatened to burst his chest.
On the day of his daughter’s 3rd birthday. Once again, he was harboring doubts and fears in his heart when his daughter called out to Folt, called him father. He had considered the possibility of being forgotten…it couldn’t have been helped.
Nevertheless, the time they spent apart was too long, and he didn’t know how to face his daughter.
But all of a sudden, his daughter made the first move of demanding a hug, and that sight of her caused Folt to realize just how foolish he had been.
His daughter had been lonely. The moment he realized that she had been feeling sad for not being able to see him, all the love he had been repressing in his heart spilled out for his beloved daughter.
Why did I keep my distance from her, just because her beauty was disconnected from the norm?
Just because I didn’t deserve to love her, how could I have caused my innocent and precious daughter to be lonely…
I’ll love the both of them.
With my life.
Even if the world was to become my enemy.
I’ll never marry away my daughter.
There was a young maiden named Serina.
She had turned 20 years old this year, and felt a little embarrassed of being called a young maiden, but because of her baby-face, every elderly folk that knew her called her a maiden, and she had given up on correcting them.
She worked as a receptionist at the main campus of the magic academy within the royal capital.
She was a magician that had graduated from the magic academy a few years back. Her specialty was summoning magic, and the demon summoning incident had occurred at the time of her graduation. As a result, she had some difficulties in finding employment due to the bad reputation of summoners.
Moreover, Serina was of commoner origins without any connections. But the head professor of the magic academy thought it was a pity, knowing how precise her skill in drawing magic circles were, so he recommended her for office work. But for some reason, she was assigned to a receptionist post.
Nevertheless, Serina had no complaints towards her work.
She liked to research by nature so she would help out the professor with his research whenever she had free time, and she was also quite the expert receptionist, making her popular with visitors. Even her personality was good, and there were rumors of secret marriage proposals going around.
But regardless of the talks of marriage, she wanted to continue working for a while longer. Serina was fond of children, and held much good-will toward the children that attended the magic academy. She was extremely happy in being able to see adorable babies once every month when they carried out magical power examinations.
Cuteness was justice and power.
That was a phrase she had heard by coincidence, when during one of her experiments, those words had echoed out from a magic circle. Serina understood those words with her soul, in spite of the language being foreign to her, and she accepted those words as the Word of God.
Although that was a trivial story….
One day. When Serina, due to a lack of manpower, had to head to a branch of the magic academy on the magic examination day to help out as a receptionist, two women had appeared before her.
One of them was a very beautiful woman with luxuriant blonde hair. The other woman wore a maid uniform and appeared to be an attendant of the former. The maid was also good-looking, but more than that, Serina’s attention was focused on the child being held by the maid.
The little girl was wearing a dress that appeared to be meant for dolls, perhaps designed by an enthusiastic noble as a hobby. She observed the girl from the side, looking at that golden hair that was much too pretty and wondered if the maid was actually carrying a doll instead.
Once in a while, out of those who came for the examination, there would be some parents that treated their children like pets, acting as if they were angels and dressing them up gaudily, and this made Serina’s mood turn weary.
But the moment that little girl turned her face towards Serina, she felt as if her heart had stopped.
A doll……? That couldn’t be. There was no way a doll could be this lovely.
Having this girl wear normal clothing for children, was equal to blasphemy against God.
Within the eyes of this little girl who continued to stare at her, Serina saw God…or so she felt.
Later on she found out that the little girl was compatible with summoning and holy magic. If the girl was a noble then one day, in several years or so, she would be entering the main school instead of the branch school.
Unable to hold back her anticipation, Serina looked up the name of the little girl, and fiercely clenching her fist, she speculated to herself that entering a summoning magic related position may allow her to be acquainted with that girl.
Serina was slightly startled as she turned around toward the abrupt sound of footsteps.
Lately, Serina had been spending too much time in recalling the figure of that little girl in her memory, causing her to fall behind on work, and so every few days she would work overtime to finish the piled up workload.
When she noticed, night had already fallen and the only form of illumination was the magic light on her desk while there were no other staff members around.
Of course, there were a few professors staying behind, but they were all people devoted to their research and they would almost never come over to the office work area.
So the most likely person remaining was the security guard. But as I was bracing myself to be scolded and told to go home, what appeared instead was a woman wearing a simple yet well-tailored deep red dress.
「Vi, vice director, -sama?」
「……Oh my. I see there was still someone remaining.」
The woman called the vice director calmly smiled at Serina…but something in her smile gave off the feeling of a bird of prey.
Although she was the vice director, she was still relatively young. Her age was around 30……
She had luxurious red hair that gave off a deep passionate impression, and her lips glimmered with a rosy red color. Her blue eyes shone with a powerful light made you want to avert your gaze. Her simple dress that displayed her alluring arms and legs to their fullest, appeared to have been created just for her, and while the features of her face was a little harsh, even that seemed to only further add to her beauty.
But for all that, her looks didn’t appeal to Serina.
「Thank you for your hard work. …..That’s right, would you mind if I asked for a favor?」
「Ye, yes, what might it be-」
Although it was this late, Serina had no intentions of refusing the vice director. But she felt doubtful in her mind. While there were two vice directors of the magic academy, her post was granted as an honorary position, and she would show up at the academy a few times a year at most. Serina couldn’t understand why she would be here alone and at such a late time.
「I’d like to see the list of names for the successful applicants during the magical power examinations in the past few years…just 3 years worth of examination results will do fine.」
Why would she ask for such a thing…? She puzzled it over in her mind, but didn’t have the courage to ask in person. But perhaps her face had shown her confusion for a moment, because the vice director spoke as if to answer her question,
「I just wanted to know just how many children of the nobles there were that might work for the country in the future, that’s all.」
After speaking, the vice director unexpectedly smiled and warmly laughed.
「I, I’ll bring it right away.」
Fully convinced by the vice director’s speech that seemed to be prepared in advance, Serina swiftly took out a book with the list of names she had always been secretly looking at.
「Thank you. Please wait a moment.」
Flipping page after page…she appeared to be searching for something instead of reading through. After pausing for a moment on a certain page, she immediately closed the book and returned it to Serina.
「That was enough. And I have to say, it isn’t good for a girl to be alone here at this time. If you have work due, make sure to do it early in the morning.」
Serina reacted to her sensible warning by standing up straight and replying yes, after which the vice director walked away, disappearing along the corridor, with the magic light from the small wand she held swaying against the darkness.
Serina remained frozen in that pose of standing to attention, until the footsteps of the vice director were completely gone. Afterwards, she collapsed back onto her chair.
「……Let’s go home.」
Honorary vice director of the magic academy. Her name was Albertine.
Normally, a person of her status would be accompanied by attendants, but they had been made to wait outside of the academy in an inconspicuous spot.
She couldn’t afford to stand out by bringing along a large number of people. And she didn’t trust anyone apart from a select few.
She softly called out, and a thin man in his early twenties appeared out of the darkness, smoothly bowing towards her.
「Yes. Although the ojousama-gata missed oku-sama and danna-sama, they fell asleep a while ago.」(-gata=plural form, oku-sama=wife, danna-sama=hubby)
「Is that so…」
Not long after murmuring those words, Albertine whispered to herself in a barely audible voice.
「So he isn’t there…」
Albertine herself didn’t seem to realize she had let out such a whisper, but Zumana had heard it, and couldn’t help but to cast down his gaze when he sensed the uncontrollable emotions in her voice.
Albertine didn’t look back as she started walking, and Zumana gave a silent bow towards her back before following behind.
The two continued to walk along the corridors within the academy, illuminating the way with a small magic light. After navigating through numerous paths, which would cause an unfamiliar person to lose their way, they finally reached a place where there was a single door, which was letting out a dim light from the gap underneath.
「Gasparl-sama, are you in there?」
Albertine didn’t knock, but called out in a voice that wasn’t loud nor small, and several seconds later the door opened, revealing an elderly gentleman.
「Well if it isn’t Albertine-sama, welcome.」
Professor Gasparl had a warm smile on his face as he greeted the late visiting Albertine, who had once been his star pupil and was now his superior.
「Is this another new experiment of yours, Gasparl-sama…?」
The interior of the room hadn’t changed a bit from the time she was a pupil, but upon seeing a magic circle she had never seen before, she smiled helplessly as she recalled the nickname of the professor: the mad researcher.
「Hahaha. You see, I came across a child with strong magic and a talent for summoning magic. Before that child enters the academy, I wanted to fix up some things that weren’t working due to insufficient magical power.」
Albertine slowly narrowed her eyes, thinking back to the list of names she had read prior to this visit.
「It’s a messy place here, but how about a cup of tea?」
「……I’m fine, thank you. Rather than that, how is the research going on with the magic circle from before?」
「It’s almost finished, however…with the way it is now, its compelling force is rather low, so it will take a while longer.」(compelling force=demon restricting power)
Calling out a specific demons, and specific spirits. A magic circle that didn’t randomly summon by type, but instead summoned strong individuals in accordance with the image of the summoner.
Gasparl had thought it would make for an interesting experiment. Even if two fire spirits were to be summoned, there would be differences in individual strength according to the time they have spent in existence.
It was known that if a user of spirit magic earned the favor of a spirit, and if the user summoned that spirit, then it would not only grow in intelligence, but in power also. However, it wasn’t possible to earn the favor of powerful spirits except for those spirit magicians of exceptional caliber. But if a summoning magic circle could be used to make forced summons, even a lesser magician would be able to gain an above-average power.
However, Gasparl wondered.
「What would you use such a thing for…?」
The mood silently changed as Gasparl shot a piercing gaze towards Albertine.
「It’s because I also like to research. Moreover, ever since that incident, there has been harsh criticism against summoners, so if I could somehow help danna-sama using summoning magic…」
The public impression of summoning magic would change as well.
「So that’s how it is……as one would expect of Albertine-sama. Well then, take this.」
Gasparl smiled, and handed over the experimental prototype magic circle he had readily prepared.
Albertine breathed a little easier, having successfully obtained the item which was the purpose for today.
「Gasparl-sama, thank you very much. I’ll return this favor in time…」