༺ Who is Naru’s Mom? (3) ༻
“How about that woman? Doesn’t she resemble Naru a bit? Should I go talk to her?”
“You should go and see.”
“She’s not. She doesn’t seem to be Naru’s mom.”
“I thought so.”
The elf martial artist emptied his glass of strong liquor with a chuckle.
Is he having a laugh?
All that to get me rejected by that purple-haired woman?
It’s now 1 PM.
The time when most people start working again after lunch.
I sat in the tavern, drinking with the bald elf.
Some might think that I was just fooling around.
Brigitte definitely would.
But I wasn’t just fooling around; I was trying to save the world.
“I need to find Naru’s mom quickly.”
Finding Naru’s mom to protect world peace.
That was my mission now.
So I talked to anyone who looked similar enough to Naru, asking if they were her mom, but the responses were all like, “Oi, Savage…!”
“Look over there, might that be Enkidus?”
“Look at that shining head. He looks really smart.”
Even the bald elf Enkidus received subtle advances from women.
Was my hair the problem, after all?
Was being bald more popular in this world than having black hair?
I imagined how I’d look with a shaved head.
Then I shook my head.
Shaving my head would just turn me from a black-haired barbarian into a bald barbarian.
That would be even worse in a way.
“Another fruitless day.”
I, too, downed the strong liquor in my glass.
It was incredibly potent.
“Damn, I can’t even get drunk.”
As I mumbled in frustration and restlessness, Enkidus poured himself more liquor.
“Instead of searching among people you don’t know, why don’t you start with whoever is close to you? Like that female hunter. She looks a lot like Naru, especially her hair color.”
“I also think Cariote is a strong candidate to be Naru’s mom.”
Above all, Cariote seemed to harbor some “favor” toward me.
She wouldn’t say something like, “I’ll give you my virginity” if she didn’t.
What I’ve been feeling lately is that most women ignore you unless they’re really interested. Unwanted men are as uninteresting as NPCs.
“But I don’t know what to do.”
Even if Cariote showed favor toward me, I didn’t know how to proceed in the way I had envisioned.
I was extremely inexperienced when it came to matters related to romance.
How do you graduate from being an eternal loner?
For someone as inexperienced as me, this was harder than extracting the Demon King’s heart.
I never learned this from my master.
I don’t even know if I can call that guy my master.
Then Enkidus added.
“Do you have an estimate of when you should do it? Just because you found someone plausible doesn’t mean you should rush things without a plan.”
“What do you mean?”
“You have to calculate Naru’s birthdate correctly. If, for example, Naru isn’t born when she’s supposed to, or if she’s conceived earlier than expected…”
Enkidus’s voice was very serious.
His eyes were as sober as someone who hadn’t drunk strong liquor at all.
And I understood instantly what he was trying to say.
“Depending on my choice, Naru might disappear from this world. Is that what you want to say?”
“This little monk is a novice on the subject and this is just a theory of mine, but…”
Enkidus’ speculation seemed quite plausible.
Suppose Naru’s mom is Cariote.
Suppose I really got lucky and spent a night with Cariote.
But the child born of that deed might not be Naru.
For example, if Naru’s birthday is in October, she should be conceived at least in December or January.
But if she was conceived in August…
The child born might not be Naru but someone else.
There are plenty of movies and comics like that, right?
Going back in time and remarrying your wife, and instead of the daughter you were supposed to have, a son is born…
“If things like causality and time get messed up, Naru might disappear from the world.”
That’s what I’ve been deeply worried about.
To be honest, it’s terrifying.
The fact that Naru might disappear because of my mistake.
In this state, even if Cariote were to say, “Tonight is the night!” directly, I might still refuse.
Why do I have to endure such harsh trials?
Does this mean I have to stay a virgin until I accurately determine Naru’s birthday?
“I’d rather kill the Demon King twice.”
My heart was in pure turmoil.
Or so I realized when Enkidus spoke.
“How about talking to the Grand Abbot?”
I trusted Enkidus.
I didn’t show it, but I could entrust my life to this guy.
In a world full of barbarians and ruffians, Enkidus was the only man I could trust.
But that Grand Abbot was someone I didn’t know at all.
So, I couldn’t trust him.
Some might think that this was a little bit close-minded, but this was my own know-how that I had acquired while living on the continent of Pangaea.
Trust is like bullets.
You shouldn’t give them away carelessly.
As they might shoot you in the head.
Our conversation ended there.
“Now, let’s get going.”
After getting up from the chairs and settling the bill, we stepped outside.
The alcohol’s effects wore off quickly.
In that state, Enkidus said to me.
“If you’re not willing to meet the Grand Abbot, there’s another way. I heard a rumor during my pursuit of the fugitive, Mara.”
“Word has it that there’s a famous astrologer in Freesia. They have mysterious ways to predict the future. Would you like to meet them?”
A kind of prophet.
Honestly, I wasn’t someone who trusted prophecies and such.
Still, it seemed like something worth keeping in mind.
* * *
“Holy shh! Dad’s here!”
Naru, who was playing in the park, rushed towards me when she saw me.
Her actions were swift, like a squirrel after spotting its food.
“Naru, it’s time to go home.”
The sunlight that hung above the park was slowly fading away.
It must have been around 5 PM.
Kids had to go home early, have dinner, and do their homework.
At that moment, someone nodded at me.
It was a girl with red hair, styled in braids.
She had been running around until just now, so she was quite disheveled, but her princess aura was of A-grade quality.
After all, just because gold gets muddy, it doesn’t lose its value.
An A-grade princess.
She was quite extraordinary!
“I see, are you Elizabeth Lanafelt? You’re very kind and pretty.”
I recalled that Naru had made a new friend.
Wasn’t she her second-best friend in the class?
Indeed, Naru had good taste when it came to making friends.
The kid was excessively timid, however.
Does she need to use the restroom?
I then casually said.
“Elizabeth, be good friends with Naru in the future.”
As I said this to her, I couldn’t help but inwardly smile.
Living in this world, I never thought that a day would come when I’d worry about my daughter’s friends too.
I had no idea how I even had a daughter to begin with…!
“Why aren’t you saying anything to this Cecily Von Ragdoll?”
At that moment, a little girl with cat-like features growled at me.
Blonde-haired, little Cecily pouted while standing next to Naru.
Cecily Von Ragdoll.
A potential daughter of mine.
Since the topic came up, I quickly examined the girl’s face, clothes, fingers, and such to see if there was any resemblance to me.
I was trying to see if there was any part that looked like me.
In reality, Cecily didn’t have many similarities with me.
She was a nobleman’s kid through and through.
There’s no way I could have given birth to a kid like this.
Of course, it wasn’t me who gave birth; it was the kid’s mom.
I then casually said.
“Cecily, you should be friends with Naru too.”
“I don’t need you to tell me! As a noble lady, this Cecily has the duty to take good care of Naru!
Even though Cecily, who said that, was quite picky, her princess rank was about B-.
What’s this? Why B-?
Wasn’t she at least B+ or even an A- princess level when I met her the last time?
Why did her princess rank drop?
Shouldn’t it have gone up after entering Graham Academy?
“I don’t know.”
Maybe my princess rank measuring skill had malfunctioned a bit.
Yeah, it’s been a long time since I have kidnapped any woman after all.
“Then, see you all tomorrow! We’ll play together again then!”
Naru waved to her friends.
We were now on our way back.
I then asked Naru.
“What did you do at school?”
Yesterday, Naru didn’t say much.
Today, she seemed in a good mood, so when I asked, Naru replied.
“I had curry rice for lunch!”
“Elizabeth bought red bean buns from the school store again!”
Elizabeth bought red bean buns, huh?
Seems like Naru has a good friend.
“Anything else happened?”
“Elizabeth also bought me ice cream!”
“Ice cream, huh…”
“Also, Elizabeth bought me candy too!”
No, why was she buying you so much?
Is she a generous friend?
While I was thinking this, Naru started chattering about what had happened during the day.
“Naru wanted to try honey candy made from honey! But they ran out of the special honey candy in the school store, so I just had regular sugar cane candy…!”
It was mostly about what she ate.
Naru seemed to have picked up and eaten various things throughout the day.
“Did you learn anything at school?”
…No, you should know that.
If she continues like this, Naru’s SSR improvement plan might be in jeopardy.
Of course, it’s only the second day of school.
It’s better to give her some time.
“More importantly, Dad, you smell like alcohol…! Did you go to a cabaret?”
“…No, I didn’t. I was at the tavern with Uncle Baldy.”
“I see! If you ever go to a cabaret, take Naru with you!”
I think I should refrain from drinking during the day from now on.
With that feeling, I returned home with Naru.
Home sweet home.
Holding my daughter’s hand on the way home was more enjoyable than I thought.
Why do I feel like I’m being domesticated?
Even though I don’t even know my wife’s face.
And strictly speaking, the place we’re going back to isn’t our home.
It’s Brigitte’s research lab, not our home.
“While we’re at it, it would be nice to have a home.”
It was better to stay attached to Brigitte’s research lab than to move from one inn room to another with a 6-year-old. But that couldn’t last forever.
If I kept accumulating debt with Brigitte, it would become difficult to repay eventually.
“Should we look for a house?”
“Can we have a room for Naru too? It would be nice if there was a garden! I want to have a tiger in the garden! Naru likes tigers!”
Naru seemed to like tigers.
Does she know that my real name is Taeho (太虎)?
But I had to make a disappointing statement.
“We can’t get a house with a garden. And we can’t have a tiger. I don’t have money. In fact, it’s difficult for me to raise a single cat.”
“Dad, are you poor?”
“Yeah. If I was rich to begin with, I wouldn’t have resorted to stealing.”
I confessed to Naru.
The fact that I was, in essence, a beggar.
What I had amounted to just the clothes I was wearing and a single dagger.
And I even have a daughter now, which wasn’t part of my plans in the first place. It was a headache in many ways.
Of course, others would be curious.
Why am I so poor?
I was once called the king of thieves and labeled the world’s worst criminal. It normally wouldn’t have been strange if I had piled up hundreds of tons of gold in a mansion like a drug lord.
But I couldn’t do that.
It was all because of my skill, 《Hungry Socrates》.
This is a secret I’ve never told anyone, but my thieving skills are greatly influenced by the wealth I possess.
As my wealth increases and my pockets get thicker, my skills inexplicably seem to drop to about one-tenth of their usual effectiveness.
Maybe thoughts like “What’s the point of stealing when I’m already rich?” arose in my mind?
When I was hungry and poor, I had the mindset of “I’ll die if I can’t steal!”. My fighting strength rose to some extent then.
So, I named this mindset 《Hungry Socrates》.
Living a day-to-day life, earning just enough to eat.
Rather than becoming a gluttonous pig, I’d rather lead a philosophical life like Hungry Socrates.
However, things are starting to get complicated now that I have a daughter to feed.
Do I need to start accumulating money again?
But with no idea when and where those who target me might attack, having a lot of money could also mean reducing my combat capabilities.
I was lost in such thoughts for a while when Naru spoke up.
“It’s okay! Dad, I don’t need things like a garden or a house! I just need to be with Dad!”
“And when Naru grows up, she’ll make lots of money and let Dad live the good life! I promise, Dad, I’ll work hard at school and become an amazing person!”
Naru hugged my leg.
“So Dad, you have to stay with Naru for a long, long time! It’s a promise! You must never leave Naru behind!”
“Alright, I promise.”
Only after Naru made me pinky swear, stamp my signature, and even copy it, did she finally seem reassured.
It seems she still thinks there’s a chance that I might abandon her.
Now that I think about it, I should earn some money properly.
I could take on a few gold-rank requests from the “Shadow Council,” the Thieves’ Guild in the Freesia Underground Market.
Gold-rank requests might be a bit risky, but for me, they’re just a piece of cake.
Rate 5* on NU and Naru might share some of her strawberries with you!
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