Judgment and Reunion
“And ・ So ・ Then~ ……..after coming a~ll this way to see little old me, just where are you off to in such a hurry? Hmm? Raccoon.”
Canary’s smile deepened as took a step forward, and Crowley…….or rather, Canary’s familiar Raccoon lost the strength in his knees and collapsed down on his butt.
He almost looked like a raccoon dog that could walk on two legs. There is a type of monster out there smaller than a hare, yet extremely intelligent. To Shirley’s knowledge, they’re also a species that excels at deceiving others and also has the ability to transform their bodies.
“A tanuki……I’ve heard about them before. This is the first time I have actually seen one though.”
“Mm-hmm. This one was a little too interested in humans, and when I first met him a thousand years ago, I saved him from a mob looking to end him over his extraordinary obsession with little girls……it was the type of favor he would have never been able to fully repay.”
But the raccoon dog took issue with those words.
“B-Big Sis’s errands were much crueler than anything those villagers would have done!! Day after day I almost died from overwork!! And if I ever made a mistake, the punishment would be worse than torture!! If staying means more of that, of course I’m going to run away!”
“Hmph…… You didn’t finish copying every book inside the Empire’s largest empire in under three days like I told you to, so you just give up when I make you stay inside a room filled with disgusting, creepy crawly bugs for three days as punishment? …….don’t you simply lack loyalty to your master?”
Apparently every day was a new horror for him. Even Shirley felt a bit of sympathy.
“Y-Y-Y-You strong and beautiful woman there! Please consider saving this poor, pitiful one against that evil-looking, swindler witch!!”
Perhaps sensitive to that fact, Raccoon crawled in front of Shirley while rubbing his hands together. In order to draw out as much pity as possible, he used all the power that a small, adorable animal has at its disposal and looked up at her with watery eyes.
“H-How about this time I become your familiar instead!? I could do all the chores in your house, be your daughters’ playmate, and……..”
“By the way, were you the one peeking out of the drainage port inside the castle’s bath?”
Raccoon froze in place. But a reaction like this is as good as affirming it himself…….he had made a fatal mistake trying to draw her into this.
“Pufwahahahahaha!! You always did like to dig your own grave Raccoon!! It’s because you always assume things will work out for you that you were bested by a bunch of lower rank children!!”
“…….so you saw my daughters bathing…….that’s how I’m supposed to interpret that yes?”
“Y-You’re wrong!? There was a ver~y good reason for that…….r-right!! It’s because of how beautiful the demon princess and your daughters are!! All the fault lies with their small, delitcate bodies and angelic features for tempting me!!”
“Thank you for complimenting my daughters. Come with me to a special place, so I can properly show you my gratitude.”
A hard boot stomped down and trampled Raccoon’s body, preventing him from moving. A whirlpool of wind formed overtop Shirley’s head from the magic power emanating from her red and blue swords as her odd-colored eyes shot daggers of bloodlust down onto the tanuki.
“《Open air’s reason ・ this body spins the eve of creation》”
The surrounding back alleys broke apart into swirling distortions before giving way for a newly constructed world.
“《Shut the guidepost to paradise ・ that body is pierced by the surging stars》”
The surrounding scenery continued to morph as Shirley’s aria continued to spin out her world.
“《Star of the beginning and the end ・ know and look down upon the giant》――――”
A new world was fully formed within a space isolated from the rest of the world. It rested inside the palm of a star-sized giant floating amidst the vastness of space.
《Seven Heavenly Cages》, world creation spatial magic performed through the powers of Igarima and Shul Shagana combined. This was the third world, 《Space King’s Palm Garden》.
Originally the world created by the 《Seven Heavenly Cages》 are meant to restrict any and all space magic, but the palm of this giant floating through space was an exception…….any and all space magic can be used so long as it is not meant to escape.
You would be able to use offensive space magic or take out any weapons you need from the Hero’s Toolbox. And beyond the framework of stars, this world that is meant to simulate the greater universe itself can withstand any and all forms of destruction.
Simply put, this world is the perfect place for a duel where the participants are free to put everything they have into the fight.
“And so begins the punishment.”
And then, the Golden Witch’s anger finally exploded. Canary raised one hand to produce a tremendous tornado that tears up the earth on her right, raised her other hand to form a wide thunderstorm that covers the heavens on her left, and lifted her chin to create a pseudo-sun that burns a bright red overhead. Any one of these attacks were powerful enough to crumble a star.
“Ah, I almost forgot. I’m not going to kill you, so there’s no need to worry.”
A round barrier appeared and completely wrapped up Raccoon’s head. It was a powerful shield using the strongest of space magic that would block all attacks.
“I shall begin by tearing apart everything below your neck 100 times over. After that, I have all sorts of plans in mind for you.”
“…….B-Big Sis? I just wanted you to know that I always thought of you as the most benevolent and forgiving woman in the world. So there is no way someone like you would be rough with me as weak as I am right? I’ll sincerely apologize for everything I’ve done, so can’t we just put this all behind us?”
Canary offered Raccoon a warm smile as he begged for his life with a cramped smile and a cold sweat rolling down his back.
A storm of destruction and death capable of ruining planets rained down.
The sun, a raging storm, a flash of lightning, the occasional iceberg created from Canary’s magic power, a huge tsunami, a landslide, a maximum strength heat ray. It wasn’t until she had used pure space magic to rip Raccoon apart piece by piece, wrapping all the little chunks into a small ball and causing him to vanish in mid-air that Canary finally finished. She turned towards Shirley saying just one thing before scampering off herself.
“Shouldn’t you be returning to your daughters about now? I will go ahead and make sure to train this one a little more thoroughly.”
Shirley immediately returned back to the castle. She jumped from roof to roof across the city and leapt over the castle’s highest ramparts to return as fast as she could. She landed on the balcony of the room she had been assigned and threw open the glass door as she bolted inside.
As soon as she walked inside, there were the two girls she had wanted to see with all her heart for the past three days. It was already past midnight and they were exhausted from all the turmoil caused by the Phantom Thief, but it was probably because of their clairvoyance that they were now sitting on the edge of their beds, rubbing their eyes in a desperate attempt to stay up a little longer and wait. They had already forseen it. And you don’t even need to guess for what…….or rather who they were waiting for.
“……Is it really you Mom? It’s not that weird man making himself look like you again right?”
“Yes, it is definitely me. …….I’ve, caused you both so much trouble.”
For the first time in three days, Shirley was able to give off the gentle and warm atmosphere that only a mother can make as a small smile spread across her cold yet dignified expression. She gently stroked the cheeks of her two daughters as she realized that this had been the longest that the three of them had been separated since the day they were born.
“I’m back. Did you two take care of the house while I was gone?”
Shirley set her knees down onto the floor, throwing out her arms as both of her daughters jumped into her embrace. It was easy for her to see how uneasy it must have been to have a dangerous man target them while pretending to be their mother just from looking at the teardrops forming in the corner of their eyes.
Despite all the challenges though, the mother and her daughters were able to meet each other safely once again. That alone made all the fighting she had done the past three days, the trembling of her hands and feet, the confrontation with a powerful enemy, and all the pain from this cumbersome body completely worth it.
The white-haired family stayed just as they were until the moon began to set, and the twins broke the tension by slipping into slumber inside their mother’s arms. Even asleep though, they refused to let go of their mother as the three of them moved into the bed, remaining glued together until morning came……..as if to make up for all the time they had spent apart.