༺ Storm-Summoning Entrance Exam (2) ༻
There is a saying that a child is a mirror of their parents.
In other words, you could recognize the parents by looking at the child.
It was such a famous idiom that you could almost smell its age.
But the saying resonated deeply with me.
“Oh, holy shh, Naru’s interview is all done….!”
As Naru emerged from the interview room, her joy was evident.
Did she have that much fun?
I couldn’t help but feel a bit worried.
A child like her—talking about endless slaughter.
The slaughter that Naru was thinking of was a good thing.
Something beautiful and innocent.
However, the professors were obviously flustered, coughing nervously before ending the interview.
Each of them seemed to be scribbling something onto their evaluation sheet.
I hope Naru’s interview went well…..
Regardless of the outcome, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable that my daughter was being judged by other people.
“It was a lot of fun spending time with grandfather and the other uncles! They were good people!”
I couldn’t be certain of how the professors evaluated Naru.
But it was clear that she liked them very much.
They were surely the peak of educated individuals on the Pangea continent, which was brimming with bandits, swindlers, and thugs.
The fact that they didn’t scream “…Hey, you barbarian!” upon seeing me gave them extra brownie points.
“Graham Academy. It might be better than I thought.”
If Naru grew up in a place like this, she might blossom into a truly remarkable individual.
Was this the heart of a parent, even willing to move in order to send their child to a better school?
At that moment, Naru made a strange noise.
More specifically, it originated from her stomach.
“Naru, are you hungry?”
Now that I think about it, we have been out for quite a while since eating breakfast.
Since we’re done with the interview, we should go eat lunch.
After lunch, Naru would have her written and practical exams.
As her guardian, I couldn’t accompany her at that time.
In other words.
Lunch would be our last moment together during today’s entrance exams.
What would she like to eat?
Looking around, there were many restaurants that we could choose from.
“Hans, let’s eat!”
“Yay! We’re eating the lunchboxes mom made! There are a lot of strawberries too!”
“Mom, where’s my sushi lunchbox?”
“Eat slowly. We can’t have you getting a stomach ache in the middle of the exam.”
In the nearby park, I could see other families enjoying a picnic on top of blankets spread across the lawn.
It was a good day for a picnic.
Naru mumbled to herself quietly as she watched other children enjoy their lunch boxes.
Did she want to eat a lunchbox as well?
“Now that I think about it…..I ate a lunchbox that mom made with dad…….yes…!”
Oh? It seemed that she was recalling the past.
A lunchbox, huh?
In the future, I must have gone on a picnic alongside Naru and my wife.
Still, I had a hard time picturing that in my mind.
“Did you eat on the lawn? With Mom and Dad?”
Whilst imagining a peaceful picnic, I asked her a question.
In response, Naru nodded.
“Cabaret Bar…! Naru likes them…! There were lots of pretty women…! We ate our lunch boxes with those women and Dad…!”
…Why did the future me take the child-like Naru there?
The Cabaret was a playground for violence and crime.
Why did I eat with her there….?
To be honest, I really didn’t want to know.
I took Naru and began looking at nearby restaurants.
“Dad, look…! Pork cutlets…!”
Naru’s petite finger was pointing to a pork cutlets restaurant.
“Please wait your turn!”
“Please get in line!”
There was an insane number of people.
Was this place famous for its food?
There were so many students and parents who had come as a result of the entrance exam, it was hard to find a place to put my feet.
Our waiting number was in the 100s.
Would we even be able to eat before the exams started?
Should we try cutting the line?
No. If I was alone, I might have tried, but Naru was with me now.
She was like a sponge, soaking up my every action.
She shouldn’t learn bad things like that.
“Still, there’s far too many people here.”
“Ah…I wanted to eat pork cutlets….”
“Well, there’s nothing we can do. Is there anything else you want to eat?”
“Naru loves eating anything!”
It seems Naru isn’t picky about what she eats.
That was a huge relief.
When I was young, I refused to eat ginger, bell peppers, mushrooms, and pretty much any type of vegetable.
I was like that even when I was in grade school.
No, it persisted even after I went to the military.
It was only after coming to this world and almost starving to death in the first month that I corrected my picky eating habits.
In other words—I had to eat whatever I had to survive.
“Naru, you have to not be picky with your food in the future too.”
“Yeah! But I’m still hungry…”
“We’ll go to a different….”
All the other restaurants were filled to the brim.
I was too naive.
I thought I had experienced everything there was to experience on Pangea, but I had never expected to encounter a situation like this because of my own child’s entrance exam.
Should I just force my way through?
Tell all the customers to get lost?
But then Naru would learn from what I did…
No can do…
* * *
With no other choice, we returned to the playground.
It was already 12:30.
There were only 30 minutes left until the written exam would begin.
As we sat on a park bench, Naru’s stomach rumbled softly once more.
At the age of six, children were in the process of growing.
There was no way they would be able to bear their hunger.
Feeling sorry for Naru, I scratched my head as I spoke to her.
“If I knew something like this was going to happen, I would’ve bought bread or something before the interview.”
At that moment, the wind began to blow.
I could hear the noises of the other children and their parents enjoying the beautiful spring day.
While everyone was eating happily, we had to starve while sitting on the bench.
I didn’t know why, but time seemed to be moving so slowly.
This situation…. made me feel utterly powerless.
Even when I was attacked by the Wizard of Devastation – Valdez and was on the brink of death, I didn’t feel this powerless.
Even though I was hailed as a hero, I thought that I might be better suited to being a villain.
“Sorry Naru. I couldn’t even do something like this for you.”
I was actually pretty used to going without food for a day or two.
After going a while without food, I often didn’t feel hungry anymore even if I didn’t eat.
Consequently, I never paid much attention to ‘eating’.
How could I call myself a good father?
Naru then spoke.
“Naru is fine! I’ve gone without food for two days straight once!”
A child like her went without food for two days straight!?
What on earth happened?
Did her mom or the future me hit her or starve her?
“Naru isn’t hungry when I’m with dad…!”
No, Naru liked me far too much for that to be the case.
More likely, there was probably an extenuating circumstance.
I had to ask her what had happened.
But just when I was about to do so, I heard a voice.
I heard a familiar voice.
When I turned, I saw a girl wearing a pointed hat.
Her navy-blue hair swayed in the wind as it reflected a dim light.
It was Brigitte.
“As I thought, you guys weren’t able to get anything to eat. That’s how it is if you don’t get in line early on a day like today. Naturally Judas, I didn’t expect you to do that.”
“Because of that, I prepared lunch boxes for you guys in the morning. I just forgot to give it to you guys earlier because I had to leave so quickly….”
Brigitte handed over a square package.
“Spread the mat out! We still have some time left before the exams start!”
We began laying out the mat Brigitte had brought.
After we had finished, we sat down, opening the lunchboxes she had given us.
“Oh, holy shh, a sandwich! Naru likes sandwiches! There’s even katsu inside!”
Naru was clearly delighted.
Watching Naru eat so hastily, it was clear that what she had said earlier about not being hungry was a lie.
Indeed, Naru must have been starving.
“Thank you, Brigitte ! I wish you were my mom…! You’re so pretty and gentle…!
As Naru cried out.
Brigitte blushed, clearly taken aback by her words.
“You wish I were your mom? You can’t just say something like that. Wouldn’t your real mom be sad if she heard that? Still, I guess it wouldn’t be a problem if I was your mom….”
“But this tastes like crap…! Mom was good at cooking…!”
“…You little brat….”
“Dad liked Naru’s mom because she was good at cooking…!”
“It would be nice to have a good cook since I can barely fry an egg. My future wife was good at cooking, huh?”
“Hmph…! Sorry I’m a bad cook Naru. Still, it probably would have tasted better if it was warm…”
It tasted fine to me.
It seems Naru’s tastes were more picky than mine.
Regardless, we were able to survive because Brigitte had her wits about her.
Without her, we would have had to starve.
We had finished our meal and were drinking tea.
Then, Brigitte asked a question while pouring tea into a teacup.
“Did the interview go well? To be honest, I’m so curious I could die.”
Using the Barboi secret technique 「Chatter, Chatter」, I explained what had occurred in a panicked voice. Hearing that, Brigitte began giggling.
“What on earth!? This is your fault for teaching Naru words like ‘slaughter’. Good grief. Regardless, if those strict interviewers didn’t say that you failed, it means that you passed.”
How did we pass?
Were they understanding because of Naru’s kindness?
My evaluation of the Academy’s staff continued to improve.
We had passed.
Only now could I breathe a sigh of relief.
“Bri, it seems like being a parent requires a lot of preparation. It’s not easy at all. It’s as difficult as invading the Demon King’s Castle.
“I thought my Mom and Dad raised me in a fairly laid-back manner. Especially since our household was completely laissez-faire, I even stayed at a friend’s house for a week when I was young, and they never looked for me.”
“Well, I heard the Barboi are known for raising their children to be strong and independent.”
“The Barb…. regardless, how was your childhood? Were your parents strict? Did they hit you if you came home late?”
Brigitte was a young lady.
Although it was only my intuition.
Brigitte was dignified and elegant in a world full of savages.
Wouldn’t someone like her be an heiress of a high-up noble household?
After all, she had walked along an elite pathway at Graham Academy to become a magician with an assigned ‘color’.
From what I had heard, it took a tremendous amount of money to become a magician.
However, Brigitte didn’t respond to my question.
Even after five seconds had passed.
I didn’t know whether it was just me, but her expression seemed a little darker than normal.
Did I ask about something I shouldn’t have?
Now that I thought about it, I knew nothing about Brigitte’s childhood.
Suddenly, Brigitte brought her hands together and clapped, freshening up the atmosphere.
“Now you have the written and practical examinations left. The written exam…just requires you to pass. The rest will take care of itself. Work hard, okay?”
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