It’s been a long week and man, am I tired. Allergies got the better of me. I seriously have no idea what’s going on with my body. Skin specialist won’t let me do an allergy test as they believe it’s just a temporary onset allergy. It’s not allergies till I have it for 3 months straight (dank!).
More group related news, I have to put the manga scanlations on hold pending an update from the translator. Yikes. So all openings for the manga division are closed indefinitely. Will update once I hear news.
Meanwhile, the editor position has reopened. If you would like to edit for us, please PM me. Don’t worry, we won’t bite. Also, on a major lookout for Japanese, Chinese and Korean translators/TLCs to join us. We need you urgently to kickstart a couple of projects that’s lying in our Google Drive. Help free out chapters from captivity!
2-9: I Became a Mother
First published on Ainushi
Whilst the both of them were doing the magic lesson, I baked a pound cake for tea. After all, it’s delicious and relatively easy to make.
Mix butter and sugar until the whites firm up. Then, add the grated orange zest and a little bit of orange juice for flavouring. Add two-thirds of whipped egg white and mix in all-purpose flour before incorporating the balance of the egg white and butter-sugar mixture together in with the cut-and-fold method. Then, leave it to bake in a heated oven. It is honestly easy as all these ingredients: sugar, flour, and butter are used in equal amounts. However, it’ll be more delicious if it’s left to rest for a day after baking.
When it’s baked, I’ll cut it, decorate the warm pound cake on a plate with sliced oranges and garnish it with whip cream. As for drinks … Black tea has a lot of caffeine so I don’t want to give it to Jill, maybe I should make some herbal tea?
I unconsciously screamed being called out so suddenly. Immediately, I recognized it was Leonard-sama and turned around. Huh? What about the magic lesson?
「Leonard-sama? Where’s Jill?」
「I had Sid look after her. Leaving that aside, you were making a weird face」
「Eh? Ah! Oh, I was thinking about the tea I should make」
「Tea ..… To have with the sweets?」
Leonard-sama peek into the oven after surveying the kitchen, smiling broadly.
「It smells fragrant」
「It’s pound cake, I’ve added orange to it」
「I look forward to it. So, what about the tea?」
「I thought of making herbal tea that even Jill could drink but all I have are the ones for relaxing like camomile and linden so I was wondering what to do」
「Just go pick them then」
Pick them? Where? When I looked at him doubtfully, he quietly held his hand.
「The garden. I haven’t shown it to you yet」
「The garden? That’s right, I have yet to set foot in it」
The fact that it’s where I hang my laundry out to dry is another story though. I feel that it wouldn’t do if I arbitrary walked around. It would be a big problem if I were to thoughtlessly step on an important medicinal plant, wouldn’t it?
— So, why is Leonard-sama smiling?
「Lily, you’re voicing it out」
「Oh …Pardon my rudeness」
「No, it’s fine because I’m happy」
You’re happy? Wondering why, my head tilted sideways. Leonard-sama who was unusually talkative, smiled cheerfully.
「Because it means you’ve been careful not to damage what I value. Isn’t that the same reason why you avoided entering my room as well?」
「Eh? Ah, Yeah …」
「That’s why I’m happy. You’ll never do anything unreasonable」
Before I noticed it, Leonard-sama had spoken a lot more. I can tell that those words are what he truly felt – what he wished to convey.
But it’s natural not to do anything unreasonable.
Normally, one mustn’t take actions that can cause trouble to their master. Moreover, if I were to carelessly damage a rare plant or a magic tool, it’ll be beyond the level that I can talk about compensating.
「Lily, you can go anywhere that isn’t dangerous and take what you want. I’ll allow it」
“So let’s go”, he asked, and unconsciously, I had placed my hand on top of his.
What’s with this situation? Even so, I couldn’t shake him off when he look so delighted.
Ah seriously, I hope Sid-san doesn’t see us!
After picking some lemon balm from the garden that Leonard-sama brought me to, I made preparations to carry the afternoon tea over.
I placed the plate of pound cake and lemon balm tea on a tray when Leonard-sama suddenly snatched the tray from me.
「Let’s have tea outside」
「That’s not a problem but, um」
Why are you carrying the tray? That’s my job!
「No, it’s not」
Helplessly, I chased after Leonard-sama who had begun walking immediately, exiting the gardens and then walked until we were at the top of a small hill. In the establishment over there, as though it appeared from a fairy tale, there was a snowy white table and chair.
Beautiful petals from the arches entwined with roses were fluttering down. Somehow, it was really stylish.
Right near it, Sid-san and Jill were having the magic lesson.
「That’s right, don’t release the mana that’s surrounding your body into the air, return it back …」
Yup, I heard a little bit but I don’t get any of it at all. How should I put it, can Jill understand those words?
“Don’t release, return it”, there’s no way a child can understand that.
「Mm… Like this?」
「No, not like that … Ah, master!」
At Sid-san’s voice, Jill lifted her head with a gloomy expression on her face. I wonder if the magic lesson isn’t going too well.
「Hmm, well then, let’s take a break」
Leonard-sama returned the tray to me and agilely held Jill who approached us looking dispirited, and with her in his arms, he sat down on the chair that I mentioned earlier. He looked at Jill’s expression as she sat on top of his lap, tenderly brushing her hair.
「Is it hard?」
「Nn … Not really, I don’t get it」
「You’ve just started, don’t rush」
While I listened to their conversation, I placed the cake and herbal tea on the table. Upon which Leonard-sama gave bite-size morsels of cake to Jill as she seemingly pouted with discontentment.
Yup~ No matter how I look at it, it’s like he’s feeding an animal. Strange, I seemed even more moved even though it’s just the closeness between a father and child.
Chewing on her snack on top of Leonard-sama’s knee, I’ll say Jill looked more like a pet compared to a child.
Whilst thinking that, I smiled bitterly and took a seat as well. I went through all this trouble after all since I wanted to eat it together with them.
Now then, how’s the cake … Mm~ It’s delicious. Sid-san looked pleased with it too when I glanced over at him, he broke out into a smile with one mouthful.
「This is delicious. Once I put it in my mouth, the taste of the oranges drifts out」
「Thank you. I made another one, so tomorrow you’ll be able to enjoy a different flavored pound cake」
「Yes. It tastes better after leaving it to rest overnight. Though the fluffiness of a freshly baked one is irresistible too」
As I spoke to Sid-san, I examined Jill and she seemed crestfallen as expected, like she was brooding over something.
Hmm, I want to help but I don’t really understand magic.
「Sid-san, what you said earlier, what’s the difference between release and return?」
「Ah~ … that? Master would understand it better」
“He’s the expert, as you know”, Sid-san said as Leonard-sama nodded his head. Oh, right! He’s a magician.
「Release means just that, you let your mana out of your body. When you do that, this happens」
The moment Leonard-sama said that, a gust of wind blew with a whoosh. I felt like I was struck by something that flowed out from Leonard-sama. Yeah, I somewhat get it.
「Returning means to return your mana to the world. By doing that, no phenomenon occurs as it melts in the air. If you release without retuning it, it’ll cause a phenomenon to occur」
「I see, so then it means Jill needs to first understand the foundation of the mana that fills the world or it won’t work」
Without that, she can’t return it. Hmm? Huh? Why is everyone staring at me in wonder?
「I get it now … Thank you, okaa-san!」
Eh? Did I say something in particular?
Jill was amazing after we were done with the afternoon tea. She mastered returning. It was hard to believe she got the hang of it after struggling earlier with much difficulties.
Right now, Jill was at a slight distance, reviewing today’s lesson with Sid-san. Softly, Leonard-sama muttered, “It should be fine now”.
「With this, the chances of her losing control is really low now. Mana runs out of control when there’s too much stored in the body」
「Does releasing also consume mana?」
「It does. All that’s left is it easily running out of control when she’s emotionally unstable. That’s why magicians are told to be careful with love during puberty」
Making another helping of herbal tea to drink, I pondered over it.
Love. Love, huh? Certainly when you’re in love, your mind won’t function normally. In various senses.
「Love steals a person’s ability to think. That is very dangerous for magicians. To a certain extent, once you’re an adult, you’re unlikely to lose control but it’s still dangerous in puberty」
「Puberty is an emotionally unstable time」
「But in the first place, I don’t really understand what love is like. Do you understand it, Lily?」
「Love, was it?」
Faced with the anticipation in Leonard-sama’s eyes, I hesitated on how I should answer him.
I had been in love before. But it’s an experience from my previous life. Hence, I don’t know how best to put it.
「Though we just call it love, it isn’t something that can be summarized into a single word」
「Yes. There’s love where you don’t mind even if you’re not rewarded as long as your beloved is happy, and love where you don’t want to be hated, you absolutely have to be loved by them. Love where you’re happy just being near them and love where you desire far more. That’s why it’s a difficult thing to define」
「But that means you can’t keep tabs on it」
「Yeah … That’s just the way I see it though? If your heart feels warm when you think of that person, you want to see them smile, you want them to rely on you, then I’m sure that’s love」
It’s also how I felt about『him』. I loved it when he smiled gently only for me that I wanted to be with him forever. These precious and painful feelings are definitely love.
「Have you been in love before, Lily?」
「… A long, long time ago」
「I see … Is it something unforgettable?」
「I’m sure it is in some cases while other times, it’s easily forgettable. But as long as you don’t part because of hatred, it will surely remain in the heart」
「Even for you, Lily?」
「Yes, well. I haven’t forgotten it yet. We were separated by circumstances out of our control so 」
I didn’t want to be separated. However, we weren’t allowed to live in the same time. That’s all there is to it.
But even now,『he』is still calling out to me.
I can’t forget, I won’t forget. His voice that calls out over and over, that is my punishment—-
「… –ly, Lily」
I noticed my name being called. Startled, I looked up. Leonard-sama gazed at me worriedly.
It looks like I was brooding before I realized it. If I don’t reflect on it…
「I’m sorry, Leonard-sama. I unconsciously spaced out」
「It’s fine …」
With an expression as though he had something to say, Leonard-sama gently stroked my head.
His hand was very gentle and warm. Honestly, even though I had resolved myself, I couldn’t pull myself away because it would be painful to.
After letting him stroke me gently for quite some time, Leonard-sama murmured something and removed his hand. I didn’t quite catch his words but I was still a bit caught up in the mood that I wasn’t in the mind to ask him to repeat it again.