39 Young Child – Past the Stressful Delivery

I slumped into my chair and let out a deep sigh of relief.

Mama Lily wiped her hands clean and gave me a fatigued smile. "You did a wonderful job, Rudy."

"Please don't talk to me right now, Mama Lily. My head hurts."

Note to self: emotions directly correlate with strength of magic spells and ability to manipulate mana. High tension greatly improves efficiency and effectiveness... at the cost of SEVERE mental fatigue.

I was still topped up on mana and I barely did any physical exercise this morning. Even so, I felt more exhausted than I was after sparring all day with my dad AND dumping all my mana out.

...Maybe it was just coming down from an adrenaline high? No, it couldn't be that because my passive <Healing> would wipe that away.

Meaning this was all mental... and something I'd have to get over myself.


I shook my head and then looked over at the result of dealing with all that stress.

My mom was fast asleep, propped up on her bed against a stack of pillows. Cradled in her arms was a beautiful baby girl, also fast asleep. My new younger sister, completely oblivious of all the trouble she caused.

Damn. Wish I could do that. A nap hugging mom sounded great right about now.

Mama Lily laughed and then walked over to pat my head. "You worked hard, Rudy." She looked back at my mom and my new baby sister before frowning. "...I don't think this would have ended up as well if you weren't here."

"I'd rather not imagine that, Mama Lily."

"Ah. Of course." She frowned and then rubbed her belly.

I paused and then narrowed my eyes. "...PLEASE tell me that you aren't going into labor or something too, Mama Lily."

She smiled and then said, "Don't worry, Rudy. That's still a few months away."

"Great. I'm glad I- Wait, what?" I quickly glanced at Mama Lily's belly.

...I hadn't noticed since she usually wore her loose-fitting maid uniform. But now that I focused on it... Yeah, her belly bigger than usual.

Which meant...

"...I'm going to have to go through this again in a few months, aren't I?"

Mama Lily laughed and patted my head. "It will be fine. At that time, your mother will be there to help. All that you'll need to do then is to distract your father so that he does not run around like a headless chicken again."

"Ugh. Don't remind me."

You'd think that this was Dad's first time seeing a child being born-

Ah. Wait. I was an unusually quiet and problem free delivery.

...Okay. I guess I could understand the panic when comparing my little sister's birth to mine.

But speaking of Dad...

"Well... I should probably grab Dad now that everything's settled. Knowing him, he might do something stupid from all that stress."

Like getting into a bar fight with the villagers with Mister Laws.

Mama Lily smiled and said, "That would not surprise me."

I glanced back at Mama Lily and said, "Do you still need me here, Mama Lily?"

She waved me off and said, "I will take care of your mother and your new sister."

I glanced out the window to check on Whitey.

...Nope. That guy was gone.

Knew it. He was probably just waiting for a chance to screw things up here.

That outta show you. Can't make me panic that easily, you dick.

...Hm. Maybe I should stop trash talking with Dad in our spars. Might be getting a bit of a temper...

I shifted my gaze back to Mama Lily and said, "Then... I'm going to take a walk to clear my head. Er..." I glanced at Mama Lily's belly and said, "...You don't feel any pangs or any signs that my other baby brother or sister is getting impatient either, do you?"

Since I had healed Mama Lily's legs a while back now, she had been starting up sword practice and staying in shape so I wasn't worried about her health. But...

"It will be fine, Rudy."

"That's not a no or a yes."

Mama Lily laughed and said, "Well. Even in that worst case scenario..." She lifted her bracelet and said, "I paid careful attention to your instructions on this gift. I am at least confident enough to hold on until you return."

I hesitated. "...Maybe I should-"


A panicked young girl's voice. No, not just any young girl's voice. Sylphy's.

I narrowed my eyes and ran out of my parents' room.

My room was still open. It seemed like my dad never shut the door after grabbing me.

Since that was the case, I reached out with a thread of earth mana as I ran past my bedroom and used it to summon my sword from my room.

My real sword.

A silver flash flew through the air as I pulled the unsheathed blade into my hand.

Heavy. It was still a bit too big for me to use properly.

But that didn't mean I couldn't use it.

I tossed it in the air and then focused, drawing out a thread of earth mana and weaving it into the sword.

Metal could hold mana. Steel wasn't the best for all types of mana, but if it was earth mana.

A faint vibration and a low hum. The blade and mana bonding together and abiding by my will.


I ran out the house, five barrier magic circles primed in my left hand and six attack magic circles primed with the wand in my right. Earth, fire, wind, ice, lightning, and water.

Sylphy was never panicked. So if she was shouting my name like that, something happened.

And since I told Dad to go grab her, that meant the something involved my dad.

And also since she was panicked, that meant the 'something' had to be dangerous.

"Sylphy!" I looked up, scanning the area for her. "Where are you? What happened!?"

A gust of wind blew from above and then Sylphy landed on the ground. She ran up to hug me and said, "It's scary! Some strange men wearing armor showed up at the village and said they'd burn it down if we didn't show them where a criminal was! But then Mister Paul showed up and then they started fighting and I don't know what to do!"

Sylphy trembled against me, tears streaming down her face.

"Shhh. It's fine. It'll be alright." I hugged her and then patted her back.

Calm. I had to stay calm about this.

Alright, me. Think.

Strange men wearing armor... that had to be knights. Probably from the capital.

But Dad was the one in charge, so that was weird. And apparently, he was cozy with the one in charge of this region, so they wouldn't send knights over to audit him.

Unless the kingdom were suspicious of the region lord and wanted to get a closer look at things? There *had* been an uptick in magical creatures apparently-

No. Not important.

Think about what to do.

Sylphy was crying in my arms. Mom and my new sister were both exhausted. Mama Lily was keeping an eye on them, but she was apparently pregnant as well and close to the end of the second trimester from what she implied.

Dad was dealing with things in the village, and there were knights attacking with the pretense of looking for a criminal.

Was it real? Fake?

I didn't know, but either way, there was a fight going on.

The problem was...

I grit my teeth and looked around.

I didn't see any signs of Whitey. But that was obvious. From that laugh I heard earlier, he was satisfied with this result.

Dammit. That guy was smarter than I gave him credit for. He pulled off a Xanatos gambit while I was thinking I had pulled one over on him.

If I ran over to help Dad, he could try something here with Mom and Mama Lily being defenseless. And since Sylphy was a crying mess from terror and anxiety, she wouldn't be able to stop his manipulations. And since he pulled a fast one on me, I *really* didn't want to test if my protective magic items were enough.

If I stayed here though and the situation was bad enough in the village, people could get hurt. And if the knights were being as cliched as the setup seemed to be, they were here to cause as much destruction as possible and hush things up.

Maybe to use the increased magical creatures as an excuse to raze the area.

But even if nothing happened here and I ran over to help my dad... if we won and took care of the knights, that was an even bigger problem.

My dad was a low-ranking knight in charge of Buina village. While he had some say, he really didn't have anything at all.

And while my mom was technically a noble from Milis, she had run away from home and was probably disowned. Meaning that we didn't have any sway there either.

And since Mama Lily was supposed to be a disposable maid in the Asura Kingdom's concubine palace...

"R-Rudy!" Sylphy looked up at me and said, "What do we do?"

I patted her head and frowned, thinking. "...How many knights were there?"

"U-Um..." Sylphy started to calm down. "I... I think thirteen?" She took a deep breath and then shook her head. "No. I'm sure. There were thirteen knights there."

"Was Mister Laws there with Dad?"

"Y-Yes. My dad is there too. But..."

"When you saw the knights, how strong was the silver mana in them?"

"Eh?" Sylphy blinked. "Silver mana?"

I nodded. "Right. Silver mana. They're knights, so their mana should be silver."

That was what I figured anyway. People who specialized in sword fighting instead of magic had their mana turn silver, like Mama Lily and my dad.

Well, mine didn't. But I was an exception to a lot of things.

"How bright was it? More than Mama Lily's? Less?"

"U-Um..." Sylphy stopped to think.

At that time, footsteps echoed from behind me. "Rudy?" Mama Lily's voice called out. "What's wrong?"

Sylphy looked over and then her eyes lit up. "Oh! They were about the same."

I glanced back to look at Mama Lily. "About the same, huh?"

Mama Lily was around an Intermediate-ranked swordfighter when she was working at the palace. Since then, she had gotten weaker, but because she was also training again recently, she should roughly be on that level.

"Then that should be fine then."

Thirteen Intermediate-ranked swordsmen... that wasn't a problem for my dad. Especially if he had back up.

...Although there was the chance that Whitey was planning something still...

"...No. I trust my dad."

He was silly and immature, but he pulled through when it counted. And he was also a ridiculous genius when it came to the sword... and if he really did flip through my sword notes journal, then he would probably be pulling off some ridiculous stunts right about now.

...I just hope he didn't flip far enough to read my notes about ultra instinct and combat flow though.

I *really* hope he didn't flip far enough to read about ultra instinct and combat flow.

Because dammit, that was going to be a pain to have to deal with later if he did.


"I'm impressed." Ghyslaine crossed her arms and looked at the knights rolling around on the ground, moaning. "You got stronger, Paul."

Paul sheathed his sword and frowned. "...I guess so?"

Ghyslaine blinked. "You guess so? What, have you not been training?"

"I don't know if you can call sparring with Rudy training... Ah. No, I guess he's seriously trying to smack my face all the time, so it pretty much is. But huh." Paul looked at his sword and at the dozen knights sprawled out on the ground. "Guess the secret really *is* to just not think."

Trust in your body, trust in your training, trust in your instincts and then just move.

That was what Rudy's notes said at the end.

Paul didn't get it, but just that little nugget of info was enough for him to clear out that group of knights.

Ah, no. There was still one person remaining.

"I-Impossible!" The knight commander pointed at Paul and said, "Why is there a Sword Saint stationed here? No one told me-"

A flash of steel, followed by a low thud.

The knight commander crumpled to the ground, knocked out by the hilt of Paul's thrown sword.

Ghyslaine raised an eyebrow. "I thought you hated using North God techniques?"

Paul walked over to pick up his blade and sheathed it. "Yeah, well. I've had to get over a lot of things in recent years." He looked over at Laws and some of the other village guard quelling the panic and then shook his head. "If it can protect the people I care about, I don't mind being shameless."

Ghyslaine paused and stared at Paul.


"...Heh. Seems like Zenith really reined you in, huh?"

Paul laughed. "Well, her and Lilia."

"Lilia?" Ghyslaine blinked. "...Seems like I've missed out on a lot."

"Well, if a certain muscle-head bothered to learn how to read, I might have sent you letters to keep you up to date."

Ghyslaine rested her hand on her sword and narrowed her eyes. "Say that again."

Paul laughed. But then he turned serious and looked to the fallen knights groaning on the ground. "So Uncle Sauros sent you here, huh? Meaning these guys were sneaking around like actual rats."

Seeing Paul shift tone, Ghyslaine turned serious as well. "That's right." She looked at the knights on the ground and said, "I don't know what got in the head of these idiots to think they could just run around like this, but Lord Sauros wants them back at the Citadel of Roa for questioning." She frowned and said, "It seems like there might be some turmoil down in the capital."

Paul rubbed his chin, frowning.

He didn't like this. The fact that Asura Knights went all the way out here... and the fact that there was even an arrogant prick from the Notos family...

It was weird. No, not just weird. It was dangerous.

Paul thought he left all of that behind, but if those guys showed up here of all places... "Seems like I might need to pay a visit to my cousin and uncle."

Ghyslaine blinked and then lifted the eyepatch over her right eye to stare at Paul.

Paul blinked. "What are you doing?"

"Huh. Not an imposter." She lowered her eyepatch and said, "Looks like being a parent really does change you."

"Well, like I sa-" Paul froze

"Hm?" Ghyslaine frowned. "Did I say something wrong?"


"What do you-"

"Thanks Ghyslaine! Tell Uncle and Philip I'll visit later." He spun around and started sprinting back home. "Agh... Rudy's not going to let me live this down, is he?"

"Wait! Explain-"

Before Ghyslaine could finish, Paul dashed off, using the same technique he did earlier to go back home. Swing the sword, sheath, gather speed, repeat...


Ghyslaine watched Paul hurry off and then clicked her tongue. "I thought he was retiring with Zenith. What the hell has he been doing out here in the middle of nowhere?"

That technique Paul was using... since when could he perfectly combine <Flow> from the Water God style and the <Longsword of Silence> from the Sword God style? And when could he use that as a movement technique?

She glanced back at the fallen knight commander and said, "That guy called Paul a Sword Saint, but..."

It wasn't technically wrong.

Using the <Longsword of Silence> didn't require consciously using Battle Aura. But the fact that Paul could repeatedly use that technique to move meant that he had to be using Battle Aura in order to not wear himself out. Especially since he was continuously speeding up by redirecting that force with <Flow> to move faster.

"...I think Paul's a bit stronger than that?"

Ghyslaine was curious. She wanted to see just how much stronger Paul got... and she was also curious about the kid that he and Zenith had.

"Well. Let's save that for next time."

First off, she had to get these numbskulls back to Lord Sauros. And then she had to deal with that feisty young lady she was teaching who kept trying to do night ambushes to get out of lessons. Then there was helping Philip find a proper tutor who wouldn't run away like a chicken after meeting the young lady...

Ghyslaine sighed. "Working a proper job sure is hard..."

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