Haruhana, now back in the kitchen after she had gone to check on the children, noticed a vase of flowers on the counter.
“Arent these… casa blanca”
They were none other than the white flowers that Lina had received.
Seeing them brought a smile to Haruhanas face.
“Yes, Hornel gave it to us as a gift.
They smell so nice!”
“Oh, my… that is good to hear.”
Haruhana replied with a smile, then headed into the dining room to set the plates on the table.
There, she saw Bruce, grinning to himself… and Hornel, head down on the table.
“Is something the matter, Sir Hornel”
“Nah, hes just meditating.”
Bruce winked as he told Haruhana so, then proceeded to look around the room, as if he just remembered something.
Haruhana, curious, asked Bruce while she set the table,
“What is it, Sir Bruce”
After he was done looking all over the room, Bruce turned to look at the door; at that very moment, he heard voices coming from the washroom, where the children were currently gathered at.
“Oh Oh You picking a fight with me, you little pup!”
“You! I will not allow you to set foot in my territory again – and especially not steal my food! You deserve the death penalty!”
Maïga and Tarawo confronted each other, while all the children around them cheered them on.
“Maïga! Try not to hit him too hard!”
It seemed to be quite a frequent occurrence; the children were having fun contemplating the outcome of the match.
“Tarawos gonna lose.”
In terms of combat capabilities, it was clear that Tarawo would lose.
The curse he had on his powers was one large factor, but even the difference between the twos physiques was already too great.
Tarawo still was in his little Chihuahua form, while Maïga had grown almost to a.d.u.l.t size ever since he had formed the contract to be Hornels Familiar.
“Hmph, how does it feel! The audience clearly favors me over you!”
“Ooh, sho scawwy! Imma piss myself to death right about now!”
Maïgas face cramped up in response to Tarawos statement.
“…H-heh! As if Im scared of a little girl like… her!!”
“WHAT! Are you insane!”
Maïga was, needless to say, not fond of Tifa.
Several weeks prior, Maïgas claw marks had been found all over the Magic University, as a result, he had gone through quite a painful experience, delivered by Tifa, the Universitys Public Morals Enforcer.
“Of course Im not! Who the hell would be scared of that washboard!”
“H-hey, youre threading a really thin line here, you know that!”
“Hah, she shouldve put some meat buns in her shirt!”
At this point, Tarawos gaze had already moved to above Maïga.
The children flooded out of the washroom, heading instead to the dining room…
…Splitting apart and away like water, so as to avoid a lightning strike.
“Hahahaha! Ha ha… hmm”
While letting out a hearty laugh, Maïga looked up and saw… thewashboard.
Frozen in place, his mouth agape, the last thing he saw was an ultra-high concentration of arcane energy wrapping Tifas body like a heat haze… Devilkin Tifa has appeared.
Concurrently with Maïgas scream, the children in the dining room started partaking in their meal.
Itsuki sat next to the small children and helped them eat, and Natsu did the same.
Hornel, having decided to accept Bruces invitation to stay and eat, seemed to have more or less recovered; he picked up his spoon and tasted the soup.
“Speaking of which, it looks like Sir Blazer isnt coming back today, is he”
Itsuki, while she wiped the kids mouths, suddenly asked as if she had just remembered.
Bruce, cheeks stuffed with bread, quickly chewed and swallowed it down before answering,
“Theyll probably be back late tonight, actually.
Hows it going on Ryans end, Lina”
“My brother told me that theyd be going to the Giants Passage, so I think theyll be back sooner.”
To Linas statement, Hornel proceeded to add,
“Idéa recently went there, too… They sure have been appearing too often lately, havent they”
Although he was keeping it vague as to what he was talking about, Hornel realized a second later that it still shouldnt be discussed with children around.
That, and the topic was sure to drag on too long to wrap up in a single meal.
As such, Hornel hurried to change the subject; noticing Tifa walk in, he pulled out a chair for her.
Then, as Tifa quietly sat down, he noticed a red mark on her face.
“Oh, Tifa Theres something stuck on your cheek.”
Hornel pointed at Tifas right cheek; Tifa, defaulting to mirroring the directions, touched her own left cheek instead.
“Hahahaha, were you picking your scabs again”
Hornel laughed in good humor, but Tarawo, trembling as he stood behind Tifa, kept silent as he looked up at his Master.
The children, too, continued eating in silence.
A while later, the children tidied up their plates, and Itsuki brought some tea for Bruce and Hornel.
After seeing the children off to their afternoon classes, Bruce rested his elbows on the table.
“I must have mentioned that topic too carelessly.
“Oh, no, Hornel.
I was the one who brought it up first, after all.”
Hornel bowed his head down, while Itsuki insisted that he shouldnt be doing that.
Seeing that, Bruce cracked a smile and said,
“Yeah, and I was starting to talk, too.
We were all at fault there, so dont worry about it.”
Lina chuckled, and after confirming that all the children had left the dining room, brought up the topic proper,
“Speaking of those monsters with dark auras… The Duodecad Conference has officially classified them as the Inspirited, or so Ive heard.”
“The Inspirited… Hahahaha, yeah, that sounds about right.”
Bruce thought back to the various kinds of monsters he had defeated in the past.
“So far, these so-called Inspirited have only appeared in the regions between Beilanea and Regalia.
The most recent sighting was at the Giants Passage south of Beilanea… could this be a sign that they have been heading further and further south”
“”-There are still reports of sightings near Regalia from time to time.
Rather than going south, it is more likely that the range is expanding.””
Bruce was about to raise a counterpoint to Hornels guess when Tzar, who had just returned from working in the courtyard, talked over him.
“There you are, two-headed snake bastard…”
“”Yes, We are here.
What of it””
Ignoring Bruces insult, Tzar slithered to the table and started sipping from the teacup that Itsuki brought for him.
“Hmph, damned talkative geezer…”
“Still, its quite unexpected, Sir Bruce… The Silver receiving requests directly from the Nation, I mean.”
“It wasnt as if they had that many options, after all.
This sort of relatively unknown territory is too dangerous for their usual people… And, well, it goes to show how well-known our team has become now, isnt it”
Itsuki sounded quite proud as she stated the latter point – and she had a reason to be…
“Itsukis been advertising us a lot at the Guild, too, you know.”
Natsu, as if to emphasize that point, told Hornel as such.
“That might have been excessive…”
Hornel replied with a bitter smile, to which Natsu tilted her head, oblivious to the wry undertone.
“Shes been doing that out of her own pocket – has that proven to have a positive effect in any way Duncan was grateful for that extra pay and all, but thats not the point here…”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk! Youve much to learn, Hornel – its called an investment! All that matters is that we turn a profit from it!”
“Heh… and Sir Blazer let you do that”
“Yes, as he carried most of our expenses!”
Itsuki pushed up her glasses… despite not wearing any, prompting a chuckle from everyone present.
“Shes a promising newcomer to our ranks, Ill tell you that.”
Receiving praise from Bruce, Itsuki proudly puffed up her c.h.e.s.t… as non-existent it was.
Recently, she had been exclusively working for the Pochisley Agency.
She was responsible for managing the childrens pocket money and work dispatches.
Her role included managing The Silver, too, and she hadnt had much difficulty doing everything.
Seeing potential in her abilities, Blazer had already had his eyes on recruiting her for a while now, and very recently did so.
Although Itsuki was a non-combatant, she has been thriving as a valuable part of the team.
“Oh, speaking of which… Ill have to prepare some food tonight for you to take tomorrow, yes”
“Yeah, well also have to leave tomorrow.”
To Bruces statement, Lina tilted her head, wondering what he meant.
“So theres me, Haruhana, Natsu, Lala… and her Familiar Tzar who will be exploring deeper into the Forest of Deeprooted Sins.
Theres been sightings of a bunch of monsters… thats what one traveling merchant told us, you see”
“Haruhana I can understand, but isnt it too soon for Natsu to go out there”
“The pace were going at… its too slow.”
Only those who had heard of the Devil Kings resurrection would understand the true meaning behind Bruces statement.
Hornel, confused, turned to look at Lina.
Lina, in response, turned to Bruce and nodded to him.
Bruce scratched his head a little and let out a long sigh.
“Hmm… Well, to tell you the truth-“
Before he could even start the explanation proper, a voice came from another room, as if to interrupt him,
“This is a stupid big deal!”
It was Lala.
Everyones attention shifted to her instead.
Lala pointed in the direction of the washroom.
“Maïgas got blood all over him! And hes drying in the sun!”
Hornel, having stood up upon hearing the wordblood, looked at Tifa as if he had made a connection.
Tifa herself, standing in front of Tarawo – who still was trembling – averted her gaze and spoke…
“Oh, these scabs on my face sure hurt~~”
…Calmly and utterly unconcerned.
Silavin: Man! After so long, we finally hit the 3 chapters a week! Thank you for all your support! I would also like to thank the translators and editors for persevering for so long