Roxy called Zenith and Lilia inside and then handed off the baby girls to their mothers.
Norn went quietly, immediately clinging to Zenith just like she did with Roxy. But as for Aisha...
"Nooo! Rossy!" Aisha teared up and held her hands out to Roxy. "Wan go!"
Roxy shook her head. "Not this time, Aisha. There's something important that I have to do with your big brother and Sylphy today."
Lilia huffed and shifted Aisha in her arms so she couldn't squirm. "You are being a bother to Roxy, Aisha. Honestly, you have as much energy as your older brother did when he was a baby..."
"No!" Aisha shook her head. "Wan watch Ruty an' Sifi!"
Lilia walked away and said, "You can watch later. For now, come keep Mommy company while I do some chores. If you behave, I'll tell you stories about your big brother."
Aisha gasped and gave Lilia a bright smile. "Yay!"
Lilia sighed and then headed outside with Aisha.
Zenith shifted Norn in her arms and then smiled at Roxy. "Thanks for watching out for the girls, Roxy. And sorry if they woke you up. I know how late you study..."
Roxy waved her hands and said, "It's fine." She smiled and reached out to poke Norn's cheek. "The girls are cute, so I don't mind."
Norn flinched and then buried her face in Zenith's chest.
Zenith laughed and said, "Seems like Norn's still shy."
Roxy pulled her hand back and said, "She might just feel a bit guilty. Aisha seems to keep dragging Norn into a lot of trouble."
Zenith looked down at Norn and patted her back. "Yes, well at least she's being a responsible big sister. Aren't you Norn?" She cooed and then tickled Norn's sides.
Norn giggled and then let out a bright smile.
Roxy smiled as well but then she looked outside. "Well, I should prepare for Rudy and Sylphy's return." She glanced back at Norn and waved. "Bye Norn. I'll see you later."
Norn shyly looked at Roxy and then waved. "Bye Rossy..."
Zenith let out a happy squeal and then hugged Norn tight. "You're so cute Norn! Mommy loves you so much!"
"Luv Mama too...?"
Zenith squealed again.
Roxy shook her head and then walked outside.
It was a beautiful day. Clear blue skies, a bright and warm sun... that was getting close to the highest point in the sky. At most two hours away from that point.
Roxy covered her eyes at the bright light and said, "I slept in more than I thought."
She usually woke up at the brink of dawn, so quite a few hours had been wasted today.
Roxy sighed and then made her way across the courtyard and past the gate surrounding the Greyrat household to the open fields outside.
The vivid green grass shifted as a breeze blew past, making it look almost like an emerald ocean. Altogether, a perfect and picturesque setting, just like a pretty painting.
That would be ruined as soon as Rudy and Sylphy arrived. And speaking of those two...
The gentle breeze shifting the grass grew more intense and then light giggles drifted from above.
"You're too slow, Rudy!"
"Well sorry for not being able to make the wind my best friend like you, Sylphy!"
Sylphy and Rudy.
The young elf girl did a loop in the air before gently touching down on the ground next to Roxy. Smiling, she waved and said, "Good morning, Miss Roxy!"
In contrast, Rudy plummeted to the ground. Just before he collided though, a pillar of magic circles flared to life and slowed his descent, letting him land lightly. Of course, because his landing was much more violent, his silver hair was completely windswept and spiked up in random places.
"Gah." Rudy scowled and quickly conjured some water to wet and fix his hair. "How do you stick the landing so easily? Even if I skip the magic circles to slow me down, I either crash or bounce off the ground a few times."
Sylphy giggled and said, "Well maybe Rudy just needs to believe more? Mana can do whatever you imagine, you know?"
Rudy gave up on fixing his hair and started smoothing down his clothes and tidying up his usual gray scarf instead. As he did, he said, "Yeah, but still... And morning, Master Roxy. Sorry we're late." He sighed and said, "Some Terminate Boars tried spearing us on the way back so we had to deal with those first."
Roxy walked over to tidy up Rudy's hair and said, "It's fine, Rudy. I woke up a bit late today anyway."
Rudy's face turned red as Roxy fixed his hair.
Off to the side, Sylphy started to pout.
Roxy noticed and laughed before leaning back. "Relax, Sylphy. I won't take Rudy away from you."
"I know, Miss Roxy. But I wanted to fix Rudy's hair..."
"Oh!" Rudy immediately walked over to Sylphy and turned around. "Could you check to see if my scarf is on right, Sylphy? I think I fixed it, but it might be messed up."
Sylphy immediately brightened and said, "Of course! Here, Rudy. Move this, tuck this in... and done!"
Rudy smiled and said, "Thanks, Sylphy. You're the best."
"And Rudy's my best!"
Sylphy blushed and said, "I-I mean, y-you're my best friend!"
"Y-Yeah!" Rudy blushed too and said, "Y-You're my best friend too."
Watching the two interact so cutely, Roxy felt a slight pang of yearning in her heart.
But she quietly tucked it away and instead let out an exasperated sigh. "You two are still like this, huh?"
"W-WhAt do yoU mean, M-Master Roxy? Hahaha..."
"Y-Y-Yes. I-I don't know what you're talking about, Miss Roxy?"
Hopeless. Absolutely hopeless.
Then again, they were still children and probably didn't understand the emotions they had...
But that was a talk that Paul and Laws had to give, not Roxy.
She decided to ignore the usual awkwardness those two had and instead focused on what they were doing today.
"So Rudy." Roxy focused on her disciple and said, "You mentioned yesterday that you pinpointed an oddity in the mana of both you and Sylphy and wanted me to look at it?"
Hearing Roxy's professional teaching tone, Rudy calmed down and nodded. "That's right. It's something that I've been thinking about since we got back from Roa but only just ironed out. I think it's a bit dangerous though, so I wanted you around before I tried anything with it."
Roxy blinked. And then she slowly turned to look towards the house. Specifically how close they were to the house.
"...Is this dangerous in the abstract sense? Or is this dangerous as in 'the incident' dangerous?"
Rudy's ears turned red and he said, "T-That was ONE time! How was I supposed to know Advance-Ranked spells blew up for me if I chant them?"
Sylphy giggled and said, "So Rudy makes mistakes too, huh?" She looked at Roxy and said, "You know, I've never heard how Rudy was learning magic from you, Miss Roxy."
"Oh, it was a disaster whenever he tried applying it." Roxy looked off into the distance, recalling how she had to cast <Cumulonimbus> just to stop Rudy's fire spell from burning up the entire farmland. "I wondered sometimes if it was worth the trouble."
"I-I wasn't that bad!"
"How many times did you make your master apologize that day again, Rudy?"
"..." Rudy cleared his throat and said, "A-Anyway." He looked at the house and said, "...It should be fine. But, um... Put up a lot of magic barriers just in case?"
Roxy rolled her eyes and then waved her hand. Her <Magic Array> flared and the magic circles flew out, encircling the house to form a giant magic barrier formation.
Seeing that, Rudy let out a sigh of relief.
But the moment that happened, Zenith's voice called out. "Rudy! Don't blow up the house or I'm making you build a new one from scratch!"
Rudy flinched and said, "I-I won't, Mom! Promise!"
"You'd better! Don't be like your father!"
Rudy started to sweat and looked at Sylphy. "U-Um... Could you keep an eye on it too, Sylphy?"
She paused, tilting her head.
"But building a new house for everyone sounds fun. And I think we can do it, right?"
Rudy started to sweat some more and said, "W-We can do that later. But I'd be happy if you kept watch too. I don't want to scare Aisha and Norn, you know?"
"Oh." Sylphy nodded. "That's true... Okay~ I'll make sure Rudy doesn't cause a mess like Mister Paul."
"...Please don't tempt fate."
Rudy sighed. "Never mind. But anyway, Master." He turned to Roxy and said, "I'm going to recreate it, alright? Let me know what you see. And if I start doing anything weird, um... Scold me a bit? I think that should be enough to pull me out of it."
Roxy blinked and then slowly said, "You aren't making a good case for why we shouldn't do this experiment far away from your house, Rudy."
From the sound of it, Roxy was starting to feel like this was a bad idea.
Rudy paused. "...It probably is. But at the same time, if this works like how I think it does, this is probably the safest place to test it as well. The thought of accidentally hurting my cute baby sisters should be enough to stop it. And if it isn't... 'That' should work to fix it."
Roxy blinked and then narrowed her eyes. "What did I tell you about keeping things to yourself again, Rudy?"
"I know, I know. It's bad. But it's something that I'd also not rather ever want to test... or have a way of easily explaining it. I'll think about it more and tell everyone when I sort it out. But for now." He held up his hand and focused. "Let's get started."
Roxy sighed. "Alright. But after this, no more magic studies for a month."
Rudy blinked. "Wait, what? Why?"
"Because a certain someone has completely forgotten that he's still recovering and has yet to restore his mana reserves to full ever since he got back."
Sylphy gasped and then rounded on Rudy. "You said you were fine!"
"I am! I just, uh... Haven't taken the time to refill yet." Rudy paused and then looked at Roxy. "Wait. I thought I was doing a good job of hiding that? How could you tell, Master?"
Roxy shook her head. "I couldn't. But I figured that you would be doing something like that. And it would be impossible for you to have rested with how often you have been using magic."
"...As expected. Master Roxy can see right through me."
Sylphy pouted. "I could tell something was off with you too!"
Rudy laughed and patted Sylphy's head. "Then sorry to worry you, Sylphy."
Roxy cleared her throat. "The anomaly?"
"Oh. Right." Rudy stepped back from Sylphy and said, "Anyway... I'm starting now. Let me know what you see, okay?"
Roxy focused, carefully staring at the bright and vivid crimson mana circulating throughout Rudy's body. "I'm ready."
"Sylphy, you watch too, okay?"
Rudy nodded. "Then..." He took a deep breath and said, "On go. Three. Two. One... Go."
At first, nothing happened.
But then Rudy's expression shifted. As if he was recalling unpleasant memories... No. As if he recalled something that angered him to his very core.
And with it, there was a pulse.
Roxy's eyes widened. "What in the world...?"
Around Rudy's heart, the flow of his mana started to invert. And the moment it did, flickers of silver and emerald mana started to appear.
It was foreign.
That mana didn't belong to Rudy. It didn't look or feel like Rudy's either.
And yet... it was. It had to be, since it wasn't being rejected by Rudy's mana and perfectly melded inside of it.
"Heh." A cold voice. "Like I thought. So this is the power of a Demon God."
But it wasn't a happy expression.
Sylphy's eyes widened. "R-Rudy?"
He laughed and said, "What was I so worried about? Like this... Yeah. If it's like this..." Rudy laughed again and then looked up at the sky. "Let's try it. That bastard's sitting in another dimension, but if I do *this*..."
A ripple. Rudy's crimson mana continued to change to that eerie silver and green. At the same time, it started to reach out, lacing with something invisible.
She couldn't understand it. She couldn't understand it, but she could sense that something unthinkable was going to happen if she let it happen.
Then she remembered what Rudy said to do if he started acting up and quickly ran towards him.
"Hm?" He looked at Roxy and smiled. "What is it, Master? Is it impressive? Do you finally-"
Roxy lightly chopped Rudy's head and said, "Dummy! Stop being like your father! I hate that!"
Rudy's smile froze. And then his mana immediately changed back and he started to tear up. "B-B-But I didn't do anything?!" He sniffed and then ran over to Sylphy. "Sylphy! Master Roxy's being mean to me again! I need hugs!"
"E-Eh?" Sylphy blinked, still confused. "U-Um... T-There there?"
Roxy pinched the bridge of her nose.
...And here she thought she couldn't get any more headaches...
[author] You see, Being W! You aren't dealing with an average human anymore! You're dealing with a-
This message has been claimed by To*i Animation.[/author]