The Daughters While the Demon is Away
The entire castle shook a little as the sound of something crashing echoed through the halls. And yet, none of the soldiers or maids walking down the hallway seemed to notice. As a matter of fact, even when Sophie, Tio, and Hilda pulled on their clothes, they just kept walking on as if nothing had happened.
“No good. They aren’t responding at all.”
“Then it really is like Kyle and the others said, and nobody in the castle will notice us?”
“Looks like it. We’ll have to find a place to hide like we were told.”
For three days now since they were first told that their mother had been forcefully separated from the castle and Canary had been probably detained because of the enemy’s plot, the girls have felt lost and confused, but still they held the hand of their demon friend and continued on deeper into the castle.
Their hearts had been uneasy since a while ago. Their skin felt clammy, and an absurdly unpleasant premonition enveloped their entire bodies. It was just like when they were being chased by Gran in the forest before.
It was at times like this, when they were feeling anxious because they knew their mother wouldn’t be able to come save them like she always has before, that Sophia and Tio felt a small part of the danger of battle that adventurers face all the time.
“The three of us, are going to be okay right?”
“Mm…….right now, he have to believe and wait.”
Nonetheless, right now they were here to protect Hilda. Scolding their own trembling limbs, the two sisters each took one of the princess’s hands and continued searching for the best place to hide in this enormous castle.
“Besides, we sent Beryl and Rubeus to go help, and we can immediately recall them if there’s ever an emergency.”
“Mm…….you’re right. I’m sure those two will help.”
After being given the magic to protect their brains from being interfered with, the three girls had been told what to do in advance by Kyle.
With the Phantom Thief disguised as Shirley, it was necessary to forcefully keep everyone as preoccupied as possible with errands or anything else. They needed to minimize any chance of Crowley discovering his ruse had already been made until they could confront him directly since according to Cudd’s communication magic, had been severely weakened.
The girls summoned Beryl and Rubeus afterwards and directed them to follow and help Kyle, knowing they could immediately recall the two with summoning magic if things became dangerous. It was a strategy with very little room for error, but it seems that luck was on their side.
“The plan of using Sophie as a disguise must have been a success.”
“Uuu……don’t remind me of that. Even if it was to trick him, I honestly really hated it.”
It was thought that it might help to have Kyle transform into Sophie in the same way that this suspicious person had transformed himself into their mother. ……although if we’re being perfectly honest, Sophie had some seriously mixed feeling about having a guy five years older than her dress up and practice talking like her.
“Hm? What’s wrong Hilda?”
Hilda immediately turned her face away to try and hide how green she was looking, but the twins could still easily tell how uncomfortable she was feeling from how sweaty her palms were in theirs hands.
Thinking back, Hilda had been strangely quiet ever since the Phantom Thief first revealed himself. The girls thought about what could have happened and instantly reached an answer.
(Of course you’re going to be nervous if a pervert is targeting you.)
(……we know that ourselves.)
Having had two similar experiences themselves, there was a sense of relief between Sophie and Tio that the pervert wasn’t after them this time, but for Hilda, it’s only natural that she’d be nervous when the man who has come to kidnap her was currently fighting nearby with some young adventurers.
She might talk like a princess, but she’s still just ten years old like them…….these two, who understood how Hilda was feeling right now quite well, held her hands even tighter.
“You’re nervous, but it’ll probably be okay. Something like this has happened a couple of times to me and Sophie before, and it all worked out. I’m sure this time will be the same.”
“So let’s not think about anything unnecessary and focus on being saved. Just stay close to Tio and me…….okay?”
It was small comfort when confronted with an extraordinary monster. Still, it’s much better than being alone. Especially if its with the first girls your own age you’ve ever met.
“Y-Your comfort is unnecessary! I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I am not scared in the slightest! Come you two, follow me!”
Saying it like that is almost as good as openly admitting how scared you are, but sharing a wry smile between each other, Sophie and Tio followed after Hilda down the hall without saying anything.
The two of them were happy she was back to how she usually is. A bit unreliable, but it’s much better than having her dispirited.
“What’s wrong Tio?”
“Nn……I thought I saw something shining…….”
A faint light leaked out from underneath a vase in the dark night. Curious, the girls picked the vase up and found a glowing magic crest carved underneath about the size of a finger nail.
By the second night since her battle with Marion had began, the tremble in Shirley’s hands had become much more pronounced.
The black lance transformed into a trident and grazed Shirley’s flank. Unfazed, Shirley immediately flashed her own counterattack, but her opponent was more agile than a body fully clad in armor would suggest. After a clean evasion, their battle once again fell into a cloud of sparks popping all around them.
“What’s wrong!? That shouldn’t be all your sword has to offer!! Come, show me what you’re really capable of!!”
The guy says whatever he wants, but Shirley had come to understand over the course of their battle the last couple of days that he wasn’t the type to ever cut any corners.
Marion would never expect that the reason for her worsening condition is actually her withdrawal symptoms for being unable to see her daughters for more than a day, but even if she told him, it wouldn’t change anything. In the worst case, it would only make him angry and cause the strength behind his blows to increase.
And most annoying of all is that even if she were to piss him off, it probably wouldn’t throw him off kilter. Chances are that it’d do the opposite and make his technique even more precise coupled with increased power and speed.
(If only…….If only I could at least take a look at a photo……..!)
That would at least get her hands to stop shaking for a bit. …….if this were just a monster, she could fight it with one hand while gazing at a photo of her daughters in her free time, but obviously her opponent isn’t going to allow something like that here.
She’d die if she were to pull it out in the middle of a life or death struggle……and she needed to avoid at least that much.
“So far all we’ve done is wreck some nature……. However, it’s been a long time since I’ve been allowed to wield my spear like this! Come, show me your strength!”
It’s hard to claim that Shirley with her slender frame and originally average physical strength is suited for a long-term battle. It is with that in mind that her fighting style focuses so heavily on ending fights with a single blow.
With that being said, she’s worked up quite the supply of stamina. Her body might not be built for it…….even though with her superhuman abilities, she could go for a whole week fighting at full strength before becoming exhausted.
Even still, she’s at a disadvantage with long-term battles…….because her withdrawal symptoms will always hold her back.
(Somehow, I need to create an opening to look at my photo………!)
With trembling hands gripping the sword’s hilt, a soft sword clashed with a hard lance.
When that stream of sword flashes collided with the solid wall of lance thrusts though, it was Shirley’s Shul Shagana that ended up being pushed back.
But it was Marion who was caught off-guard by this. He had assumed his lance would be pushed back just like it had been during each of their previous encounters, but this time the sword had suddenly lost power, pulling back, and so his lance pushed forward too far, its edge pointing towards they night sky and creating a slight gap.
An abrupt loss of strength…….there is a technique where you can pull back the strength of an attack to break your opponent’s stance, but nobody is going to try that trick on the eleventh hour of a death match when you and your opponent are standing on equal footing.
Especially if they’re somebody riddled with a mysterious condition and their whole bodies have begun to tremble…….that was more or less what Marion, a thoroughbred military man, thought at least as he shouted out in surprise.
Her red and blue swords came together in a flurry of movement. Most of her slashes were halted by Marion’s black lance, but Igarima and Shul Shagana managed to break through Marion’s black armor and leave four deep cuts up to his right shoulder.
“Hu………KUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Not bad! This is why it was worth coming all this way to see you!”
Bits of his hand and wrist dropped into the dirt followed by a stream of blood oozed down his muscular arm, but Marion belted a roar of laughter instead of a scream. It was a scream of joy from a man who had finally found someone strong enough to drive him into a corner and force him to risk his life.
(Wounds like that aren’t enough to make him flinch……..but his movements should have slowed down a bit.)
He can stanch the bleeding by tightening his muscles, but that means he’d have to focus on his arm and place extra strength into it. He may be a semi-immortal, but it will still take some time for Marion’s wounds to heal.
He can’t afford to use magic in this situation either. But regardless of how long it will take for him to fully heal, Shirley was determined to give it everything she had to put him down in the meantime.