༺ Who Is Naru’s Mom? (4) ༻
“Isn’t Cariote here for dinner tonight? I specially prepared a Barbarian-style barbecue.”
Bridget tilted her head.
It was her first time making dinner in a long while, but the one she had made it for wasn’t there.
“This little monk is here instead.”
Instead, there was an elf with a bald head.
He casually tore a piece of meat and asked Naru.
“Naru, how’s school life?”
“I had red bean bread at school!”
“Indeed, red bean bread. When this monk was done with his 40-day fast, the first thing he ate was red bean bread. It was very delicious back then.”
“I’m going to try pizza bread tomorrow! The school store has 31 different kinds of bread, and Elizabeth promised to buy them all for me!”
“That sounds like a good friend.”
The table was bustling with activity, which was nice.
It reminded me of the old days.
Back when we infiltrated Pandemonium, we would light a campfire just like this and camp out.
Back then, Brigitte did most of the cooking, and Enkidus would engage in a somewhat meaningless small talk in his calm voice.
As the atmosphere began to settle, Brigitte asked.
“Naru, how do you like your homeroom teacher?”
Naru’s homeroom teacher.
I just realized that such a person existed
I never even thought to ask Naru what kind of a person her homeroom teacher was!
It was at this moment I realized that I wasn’t ready to be a parent.
Perhaps Brigitte, despite being an airhead, was knowledgeable because she was a professor.
If she became a mother, she would definitely be a good one.
“I’m a professor for the undergraduate and graduate schools, so I don’t really know. I heard she was recommended by the Western Teacher Association. She seems to be in her early twenties. Impressive, isn’t it?”
Naru’s homeroom teacher seemed like an impressive person.
An impressive person like her would surely provide Naru with an education worthy of an SSR princess.
“Homeroom teacher Salome is scary..! Naru keeps getting scolded…!”
There’s no way this teacher wouldn’t know who her father was.
So this teacher who isn’t afraid of me and can scold Naru must be an excellent one.
I should visit her with a gift or something.
Lost in thought, I realized that it was already late evening.
Brigitte popped open a bottle of champagne and brought out a cake.
Naru was surprised.
Brigitte soon explained.
“It’s a congratulatory party for entering school.”
When Brigitte shook her hand, balloons popped up all over the ceiling of the lab.
The magically-created bright lights hung here and there, instantly brightening up the atmosphere of the lab.
“Party! Naru loves parties! It feels like being at the cabaret!”
Then she looked at Enkidus and me.
“You guys didn’t happen to take Naru to a place like a cabaret, did you?”
“While this monk may have broken many precepts in the mundane world, I haven’t fallen that far.”
“Yeah, I haven’t either.”
I shook my head.
Then Naru raised both hands and shouted.
“I haven’t gone yet, but I’m going to, in the future!”
Brigitte couldn’t understand.
If things continued like this, the party atmosphere would become strange. Thinking that, I clapped my hands and cheered.
“Now, let’s light the candles and sing. Congratulations on entering school! Congratulations!”
Naru blew out six candles one by one.
Bang! Magical fireworks burst in the air.
Soon, Brigitte brought a large box from somewhere.
It was a beautifully wrapped box with colorful wrapping paper.
“Naru, it’s a gift for entering school.”
“A gift! Naru is receiving a gift for the first time since her birthday!”
Naru was very pleased.
“Naru Style! Tear the package open!”
Soon, Naru unwrapped the packaging with a rustling sound.
In front of Naru, a tightly rolled scroll appeared, tied with a red ribbon.
After Naru untied the ribbon, she playfully spun the red ribbon in the air.
“Such a beautiful ribbon! Brigitte, thank you!”
“No, Naru. The ribbon is just for wrapping; the real gift is the paper. Take a look at the paper.”
“Uh… an exam paper?”
Perhaps due to studying diligently for the entrance exam, Naru thought that the paper was an exam sheet just by looking at the writing on it.
However, Enkidus, more perceptive than Naru, recognized the true value of the paper first.
“Oh, isn’t this a ‘Magic Scroll’? Even those without talent in magic can use it to perform magic.”
A magic scroll.
I was familiar with it as well.
It was such a rare and expensive item that even our Demon Castle raiding party had never used one.
To give such a thing to Naru!
“What kind of magic is stored in the scroll?”
Then Brigitte spoke.
“The scroll contains a ‘Contract Spell.’ It’s a familiar contract spell. Now, Naru will be able to turn any animal into a familiar.”
“Oh, that must have been quite expensive.”
“Well, it cost around two hundred million arcs for two big ones.”
Two hundred million arcs.
Considering that the arc’s exchange rate is strangely similar to the won, it was roughly around two hundred million won.
No way, she spent two hundred million won on a child’s school entrance gift?
“Hey, Brigitte. isn’t that too extravagant?”
“Naru’s potential is boundless. If we can protect Naru with two hundred million arcs, it’s worth it. I would have liked to put in more effort, but this was the only thing I could make right away.”
“Naru, with this, can you use magic?”
Naru was very pleased as she looked at the paper.
Brigitte gave a brief explanation to Naru.
“Naru, you just need to put a drop of blood from the animal you want to be friends with on it. Of course, both parties need to agree, so don’t go around stabbing random animals with the Butterfly Knife.”
“Naru wants to find a tiger!”
Naru was really excited about it.
Watching Naru like that, 25-year-old Enkidus chuckled warmly, like a grandfather.
“It’s a gift. Coincidentally, I have something good for you too. This is a scale of Narmir, the owner of the sun, obtained by our Great Abbot.”
Enkidus took out a scale the size of a 500-won coin from his pocket.
It was shining in rainbow colors and looked like an extraordinary item at first glance.
“It’s said to increase the luck of the possessor and ward off misfortune. You could call it an amulet. Of course, whether it really works is a matter of belief.”
It was an amulet.
I thought that Brigitte was quite surprised, to put it briefly.
“Isn’t Namir the owner of the sun, served by the Solar Ascendant Demiurge? A scale from such a being. It’s like an item you can’t find anywhere. I’d like to research it someday.”
If Brigitte found it interesting, then it definitely wasn’t a simple amulet.
Of course, Naru, who didn’t understand its value, seemed to like it simply because the scale was warm.
“It’s like a piece of a rainbow!”
Naru was also a little thief and a girl, so maybe that’s why she liked shiny things.
Now, everyone’s attention was on me.
“Judas, do you have a gift for Naru?”
It seemed like Brigitte was curious if I, as Naru’s father, had prepared a gift for Naru’s admission.
Of course, I had prepared something.
I took out a butterfly-shaped ribbon lockpick from my pocket.
Compared to the gifts from Brigitte and Enkidus, it seemed a bit modest.
“I originally wanted to give it to you a little earlier, but the timing didn’t work out.”
It was a yellow ribbon.
When I handed it to Naru, her already round eyes widened even more.
“It’s a butterfly ribbon! Holy shh… Wait… Now that I think about it, it’s not just a simple ribbon, it’s a lockpick! With this, Naru can pick any lock! Naru can become a seasoned thief now, right?”
Naru was very excited.
It wasn’t particularly expensive, and I received the ribbon for free, but I was very pleased.
Naru hugged me.
I couldn’t help but feel quite proud.
That’s when Brigitte spoke.
“Put it on her head yourself, don’t just stare.”
“It’s a hair clip ribbon? As a monk without hair, I couldn’t even imagine such a gift.”
Upon hearing Enkidus and Brigitte’s words, I received the ribbon and skillfully tied it on Naru’s head.
It looked as if a butterfly had landed on Naru’s head.
Naru spun around happily.
Naru stood in front of the mirror and was messing with her hair.
And then she giggled.
“Naru feels like it was her birthday! I wish we could have an entrance ceremony every day! How can I receive entrance gifts again? Should I drop out and re-enter? Holy shh…! Naru is a genius…!”
It’s nice to see her happy.
But there was something I became curious about among the things Naru had said.
“Naru, did you also receive gifts on your birthday?”
“I received gifts!”
“Do you remember when your birthday is?”
Naru’s birthday was important to know.
I needed to know when Naru was born.
But Naru hesitated, lost in thought, and then shook her head.
* * *
“Naru fell asleep.
She fell asleep without even untying the ribbon I had given her.
It seemed like she really liked it.
But I felt a slight pang of guilt.
As her father, I had given her the cheapest gift.
Money is indeed necessary.
Around 11 PM.
It was time for everyone to start going to sleep.
I was getting ready to leave with my coat on.
Then Brigitte, who had been sitting at the desk signing documents, asked.
“Where are you going? Enkidus is out, and you’re leaving too? You’re not planning to go to the cabaret with Enkidus, are you?”
Brigitte furrowed her brow.
I felt unfairly accused.
“Enkidus is going out for fun. I’m going to work.”
“Work? Why all of a sudden?”
“I can’t just play all the time when I have a daughter. I have to pay for her tuition, repay the money I borrowed for uniforms and other things, and I can’t keep living here forever.”
Brigitte had recently helped me quite a bit.
If I were alone, I would have continued to rely on her, but with Naru watching, I couldn’t do that.
Listening to the conversation, Brigitte put down her pen after signing the documents.
She then stretched and yawned while wiping her moist eyes with her hand.
“… Do you think it matters to me? You guys can keep living here. After all, it was my plan to enroll Naru in school. You don’t need to feel indebted to me.”
“No, I can’t.”
“Do you know the housing prices in the Principality of Freesia? A one-room apartment costs about 100 million arcs.”
“Is that true?”
Even during the war, it seemed that the neutral Principality had not been invaded, and the housing prices were incredibly high.
It looked like I would have to rely on Brigitte for a while longer.
“Also, just like the Alubaba thieves were after Naru, other guys might target her too. Like that Mara or whatever, and villains planning something.”
“And there’s no safer place than my research lab. Especially here, in my mage workshop, I even have an intruder-repelling barrier among other things.”
Brigitte was indeed wise.
Listening to her, there seemed to be no safer place than this research lab.
I had to postpone my plans for independence for a while.
A strange noise resounded, and all the lights went out.
Everything was engulfed in pitch darkness.
In the darkness, Brigitte said.
“It seems like the magic power generator has shut down again. Who does experiments in the research building this late at night? It’ll come back on in about 5 seconds.”
When you use a lot of power, sometimes the magic power supply goes down.
It seemed that this was the case when mage professors used magic devices excessively in their research buildings.
I counted to five.
One, two, three, four, and five.
But even after five seconds had passed, the lights didn’t come on.
Something feels wrong.
I asked Brigitte in the darkness.
“Brigitte, what’s the grade of the barrier in your research lab?”
“Gold grade, approximately.”
“What if an intruder is more powerful?”
“They might break through.”
“Then be careful. There might be thieves tonight.”
“Come on. Thieves breaking into a professor’s research lab? Especially when you and I are here? No matter how you look at it, it’s too reckless, isn’t it? If there were such people, they wouldn’t be normal.”
Brigitte chuckled as if she had heard a joke.
Her theories were always sound, as usual.
Indeed, she was smart.
But she was overlooking one thing.
“People who think rationally wouldn’t engage in theft to begin with.”
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