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Holding the fort, commence.

“I must have you watch our home by yourself for a while.”

In a pleasant, song-like voice, Mother spoke to me.

Hearing that I would have to watch the house, my ears and bushy tail drooped. This body is too honest.

“The truth is I have been summoned by the King, you see. …I spoke to you of the King earlier, did I not? He governs this Kingdom of Aridora, and is the most high ranked amongst the humans.”

I had been taught before that this country was apparently a monarchy. And that Mother was 『cooperating』 with that King.

Spirits are fundamentally fond of the humans that live on the same land as them, and sometimes help them.

For example in wars and stuff, the spirits that live in Aridora will help the Aridoran humans.

They hate when strangers──humans from other countries, noisily intrude on their land, after all.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that all spirits will actively cooperate with the humans. There are some that think that humans should solve their own problems, but on that point, Mother is cooperative.

“Lately there has been trouble brewing with the neighbouring nation, you see. Until matters settle down, I shall be by their side. That one is quite likeable as far as humans go. I have been watching him since he was a child, after all, and it would be a pity to let him die.”

Mother continued.

“It pains me to leave you alone when you have not even been born for a year yet, although I am also hesitant to bring you with me to the Capital. It is a maelstrom of human ambition and desire after all. There are also those who would seek to make the power of a spirit their own. It is a poisonous place to one pure as you.”

That can’t be… I’m not pure at all, so take me with you.

I’m stained with desire too.

“I shall return in one month, so endure until then.”

Hearing Mother’s smooth words, I doubted my ears. To think that I would have to stay here by myself for a whole month.

Mother had gone to the King before, but she would always come back after a day at most.

Kyun kyun, I cried as I clung to Mother’s leg. Leaving an infant alone for a whole month… That’s neglect. Abuse!!

Mother spoke to me with a troubled expression.

“I had thought that you had some oddly mature parts to you, but you truly are still a child. But as one who will inherit the name Snowlea, you must live more strongly. Live without relying on your mother for this month, and fix that cowardly nature of yours.”

Snowlea is apparently the name that each generation of our clan inherits, and is Mother’s current name.

Mother is usually gentle, but when it comes to upbringing, she believes in being Spartan, and rather than having me brought up girly and gentle, she apparently prefers for me to grow up strong and tough.

There was even one time when she told me “Climb up from the bottom.” before dropping me off a cliff. If I wasn’t a spirit, I would’ve died.

“Well then, try your best, Milfiria, my beloved child.”

Mother gave my fluffy head a kiss, before a small blizzard seemed to rise from the ground and wrapped her up. When it was gone, so was her figure.

She left for the castle with the King.

Wahhhh, Mother you jerrkkk!

It’s impossible for an infant like me to live by myself for a monthhh!

I gave a resentful cry, but thinking about it calmly, it actually doesn’t seem that difficult.

As a spirit, I don’t feel hungry, and I can survive even without eating anything. That’s why I don’t particularly have to hunt.

The other problem is outside invaders, but it’s never seemed to be a problem before. Reason being that it’s too cold on the summit where we live, and there are almost no animals here.

When it comes to large carnivores, occasionally a non-hibernating bear called a snow bear will come along, but we’re spirits, and they’ve never attacked us before. Animals are sharp, so they apparently know by instinct that we’re a different dimension of being to them.

In other words, I have no enemy animals on this snowy mountain, and even if I fail at hunting, there’s no worry of starving to death.

If it’s just a month then even the young me can survive without problems.

Geeez, isn’t that easy then?

It was only for a few months, but I lived by myself in my past life as well, so it’s just the same thing. Easy peasy.

Or so I was thinking and getting cocky, but I had totally forgotten that when I moved out by myself for university, I fell homesick on the very first day.

❄❄❄

Suddenly waking up in the middle of the night and realising that Mother wasn’t by my side, I somehow felt terribly forlorn. The cave that we were using as our den was quiet, and the silence hurt my ears. Snow was falling heavily outside.

I closed my eyes to sleep again, but my restless feelings kept me awake. It’s lonely living by myself in a mountain like this.

“Kyuuun!”

Getting up and leaving the cave, I cried into the air. It was the cry that I used for calling Mother, and was higher pitched than normal. There was a trick to putting lots of grief into it as well.

Normally when I get lost in the mountains and I cry out with this voice, Mother always comes to pick me up.

“Kyuuun! Kyuuun!”

But this time, no matter how many times I continued to cry, Mother wouldn’t come to greet me.

Even the time when I had been tossed off a cliff for training, when I cried like this, Mother had said “Honestly, what a hopeless child.” and picked me up.

Being by myself for a whole month really is too muchh!

There aren’t any attackers, and I won’t starve either, but I’ll die from being lonely.

But right now Mother is in the capital, and no matter how loudly I cry, she won’t come back.

In that case――

*imouto*

I’ve decided.

I’ll follow Mother to the capital.

If I make it to the King’s castle by my own strength, Mother will be surprised and praise me for my toughness.

Now that I’ve made up my mind, it’s time to head down the mountain.

With my tail up high, I left the cave behind, powered by vigour alone.


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