Banzai!!! Say hello the amazing editor for Wiseman, Charlotte!!! She translates herself from German to English and even knows Chinese! And she even has prior editing experience.
Onto other good news, my JLPT N4 results came out. I just got 172/180!
Enjoy the chapter now!! (And Chloe is still best girl!!)
A Family Not Joined by Blood.
A year later, my daughter became a small lady.
She grew to the height of a lovable young girl of 12.
Chloe had braided her slightly curly blonde hair.
Wearing a white dress, Fiona was sitting in the birthday girl’s seat.
Today was her birthday; she had actually turned two.
If so, then should the number of candles on the jumbo strawberry shortcake I had prepared be two?
I asked the female camp.
I first decided to ask my teacher Iris, but she beat me to the punch.
「By the way, my birthday cake always has 17.」
From then on, she said nothing but 17.
Even when I asked if it was fine to not count by the month, she said nothing but 17.
Well, leaving aside counting age by the month, baking a cake that can hold 1200 candles would be a back-breaking job even for a master baker. When I said 「I shall only put 17 candles for master’s birthday.」she made a satisfied face.
Subsequently, the one who interrupted was Chloe. She expressed a sensible argument.
「Fiona-sama’s actual age might be two years, but her appearance is that of a young girl. Moreover, Fiona-sama is enrolling in Leangrad Magic Academy as a 12-year-old child. Shouldn’t we place 12 candles on the cake in such a situation?」
Chloe proposed it, but maybe it was the most acceptable solution.
In the first place, I hadn’t told Fiona herself about her age.
She began growing up at five times the speed as soon as she was born, and turned into a five-year-old in a blink of an eye. A year after that, she grew into a lady who could call herself a 12-year-old.
It wasn’t strange even if the person herself had slight doubts about her body.
No, lately, she’d been asking quite bluntly.
「Hey, dad, by any chance, am I not an ordinary child?」
At that time, I was at a loss for a reply.
Master said, at long last her rapid growth spurt has paused, and it seems her growth speed had become equal to that of an ordinary human, but how do we explain the vacuum made by her growing from five to 12 years in a single year?
「Shall we give a false explanation, say she lost her memories?」
My master shook her head at my words.
「On top of being simple, it reeks of a lie.」
「Chloe thinks so too.」
A prompt denial came from the women camp.
「If so, how about we say that when one lives in this mansion, the flow of time changes? It’s a special space overflowing with magic where a witch who’s lived for thousands of years can claim to be a 17-year-old. Seems credible—」
The witch who made my words stop halfway was exerting her authority by glaring at me. She would kill God if she met him, she’d behead the Holy Spirit if she met it, she’d club the devil to death if she met him, and here she was looking at me, making such a face.
I retreated by lightly clearing my throat.
「But if you think about it, there’s a bunch of inconsistencies. There are many ordinary humans moving about in this mansion too.」
When I said so to escape from master’s gaze, Chloe and I wracked our brains.
We had hidden the fact she was a homunculus from Fiona herself. I had the intention of hiding it from her at least until she became an adult capable of making a sensible judgment of things or perhaps until necessity came calling.
However, even if we were able to hide the fact she was a homunculus, her copiously peculiar physical characteristics couldn’t be hidden.
「Well then, what should we do?」
While I was worrying about that, master laughed loudly.
「Ha ha ha.」
With her mouth wide open, hands on her hips, it was a loud laugh not appropriate for a young lady.
I replied in a criticising tone, but she too replied with a sound argument.
「No, there’s three grown adults. And out of those gathered here, two are even called Wisemen, but to still be all worried about a matter of this sort is quite ironic.」
I gave her a wry smile.
After staring into blank space for a while, I reached my decision.
「…Well, I’ve decided. Let’s tell her the truth.」
「We are to tell Fiona-sama the truth about her being a homunculus?」
Chloe enquired so, but I disagreed.
「No, we’ll hide only that. The ones in this world who can know that truth are only three. Only I, Chloe and Master, us three. It’s better that Fiona herself doesn’t know the truth. It might be dishonesty, but that might be the best way to protect her.」
「You’re right. That’s for the best. If we turn it into a strange space now and try to smooth it over with the nonsensical lie of memory loss, that would just get that girl more confused. This is the place where we ought to honestly tell her that she has such a constitution.」
The witch who was my master gave her approval too.
The witch who was more than 1200 years old came to such a conclusion, so perhaps, my choice has no problems.
I who thought so, called out to Fiona and explained to her.
When she came in front of us, she sat in front of me.
I guess I betrayed my tension.
Her intuition was sharp for a child. Her sensitivity was strong.
I spoke with a gentle tone so as to not frighten her.
「Happy Birthday, Fiona.」
「Can you see the cake here? It’s Fiona’s favourite strawberry shortcake. There’s two candles on top of it. Do you know what that means?」
「……That I’m turning two years old?」
As expected, she seemed bewildered. She must have acquired knowledge from books. In humans, two was the age when they finally stood up and began walking. It was an age when they were still treated as an infant.
But still, Fiona’s body was already fully grown.
I wasn’t not so sure I could say that she was still a young girl; she was beginning to show traces of maturity, and glimpses of womanhood were beginning to appear.
Whenever I entered the bath together with her,
「Master is a pervert.」
And such, I was spoken of behind my back quite boldly.
Of course, I was neither a pervert, nor a lolicon, anyhow, she’d become a girl with such a figure. Even if there were no children of her generation around, she would most probably remember feeling out of place.
To say nothing of the fact that Fiona had much more wisdom and sensibility than ordinary children. That heart must be overflowing the feeling of being left out.
That was why I told her truthfully.
「Fiona possesses a special body by nature. Your growth is mysteriously fast. But, from today onwards, you’re no different from an ordinary human. Fiona should grow like an ordinary human. You should be able to live like an ordinary human. No, you will live like an ordinary girl.」
Fiona nodded with a serious expression.
「Why was I born with such a body?」
The one who answered that question was not me, but the maid Chloe.
She said the lines she had already thought of beforehand.
When she placed her hands on Fiona’s shoulders, she spoke while bending her hips in order to match their lines of sight.
「That’s surely because the Holy Spirit-sama gave a blessing to Fiona-sama.」
「The Holy Spirit-sama gave me a blessing?」
「That’s right. Fiona-sama’s dream is to become Master’s wife, right?」
Fiona vigorously nodded with a 「Yes」.
「Then isn’t the Holy Spirit-sama helping you out? You need to be at least 15 in order to get married in this country. If Fiona-sama had spent her infancy in a happy-go-lucky manner, in the meantime, some other bride candidate might have ended up getting married to Master.」
「That’d be a problem!」
Fiona said, flustered.
「Because Master is popular. That’s why, the Holy Spirit-sama blessed you. Saying “grow up quickly and become Master’s wife.”」
「I see, so the Holy Spirit blesses me.」
「That’s right. It’s a cheat. But that cheat is only till here. Fiona-sama will grow like an ordinary girl from the next year onwards.」
「I see. But then, there’s no security for the next three years, right?」
「That’s right. In the meantime, maybe Chloe might become Fiona-sama’s mother.」
「Chloe, too, is a worthy rival.」
She, replying with a smile to Fiona’s reproachful words, turned around and looked at me.
「how about this as a common ground?」
Seemed to make an expression that said this.
I met my master’s gaze.
Isn’t it too simple? Master sent such a gaze, but in the end, I went along with Chloe’s plan.
I’m sure it’s better to have a simple explanation like this for a child.
It’s because I thought so.
It’s better if she learns the complicated social life of adults and their often facadicious appearances later.
Isn’t it better to believe in the existence of the Holy Spirit and Santa Claus… at least when they’re children?
I thought so.
Anyhow, Fiona seemed content with those words.
「Well then, I’m now 12 years old, right!」
When she smiled like an angel, she went to the kitchen by herself and brought back a huge candle.
She put that on the cake.
「That represents 10. The big one means you’re 10 years old.」
「I see, Fiona-sama is too wise.」
Chloe laughed so, but Fiona was certainly a wise child.
Accepting her circumstances unaffected, and she must have been wearing that smile and making those movements in order to calm the worrying adults.
With a cheerful expression, she begged, 「Daddy, light it.」.
I, bringing out a flame from my fingertip, lit the candles.
When the lights were lit, Fiona asked 「Can I put them out now? Can I put them out now?」.
When I gave my permission, she filled her lungs and cheeks with air and blew them out in a single breath.
The light of the candles disappeared in a blink of an eye.
The ten year candle, the fat candle, resisted till the very end, but still, Fiona’s lung capacity won in the end.
Fiona made a triumphant expression that seemed to say 「Isn’t it amazing?」, but certainly she was amazing.
After that she uttered.
「Aunt Iris is 1200 years, so we must arrange for 12 candles twice the size of this one.」
My daughter was certainly amazing. Because even after she said such an extreme statement, the witch gave nothing but a wry smile.
My master did not lose her temper on her true age being told, and even gave a mature response.
「Well, we’ve blown out the candles, so shall we eat? It was made by the no. 1 pastry chef in town. It’s delicious enough to make your jaw drop.」
I thought while looking at that heartwarming scene.
Family is a nice thing.
After that, the four people harmoniously stuffed their cheeks full of cake and got the icing all over their faces.
The wise and noble daughter,
The sharp-tongued yet quick-witted mechanical doll maid,
The witch who had a oddball personality yet was kind to her niece.
None of us were joined together by blood, but I thought the word family was the word used to refer to people like us.
1. The sexual attraction to a young girl-like figure is called lolicon.↩