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Chapter V: The Cook’s Daughter

“That was so amazing!”

“Indeed. It certainly generated an exceptional force.”

“How are they just talking about it so casually...” Ende muttered, his head still reeling as he looked over at Frei and Quun excitedly chattering.

I was completely limp. I had no energy to stand. It was kind of funny, really. I hadn’t remembered roller coasters being quite so exhausting. I couldn’t feel my feet. It wasn’t just me and Ende, thankfully. Lu and Hilde looked completely defeated. Yae, Sakura, Leen, and Lycee were fine, though... It must’ve just varied from person to person.

“Jeez, dad! You really couldn’t handle it?”

“Huh?! N-No, Allis! That’s not it!”

Ende’s daughter struck him right through the heart with her words. Not wanting to be the target of similar abuse, I quickly fixed my posture and acted cool. I didn’t want to be put on his level, after all.

“Dad, are you okay?” Elna seemed concerned, so she tried comforting me.

My daughter... She’s... She’s so kind...

“I was nervous just watching...” Elze mumbled. She seemed more concerned about herself...

It’ll be fine... You’ll get used to it...

The second ride left the platform. This time it was carrying Linne and Linze, Elna and Elze, Allis and Melle, Ney and Sue, and Yumina on her own.

Wonder who’ll thrive and who’ll barely survive...

I sat in the station, opened up [Storage], and pulled out a nice cup of tea. Magic was apparently usable within the station, so that was nice.

After giving everyone else some tea, I finally felt like my jitters had settled.

The monolith next to Cesca began to glow blue. The gynoid set down her cup of tea and immediately started sliding her finger across it. I wondered what it meant.

“Worry not. It’s a call from Doctor Babylon,” Cesca said as she whipped her hand up, and an image of the doc was projected into the air.

“Yo, sorry to bug you on your big day out. I got a call from the castle saying they couldn’t get through to you.”

Wait, really? Our phones might be blocked, but mine should still be... Oh, crap. I turned mine off earlier when God Almighty told me off.

“The prince of Panaches arrived at your castle. But he fell asleep because he used his ability to get there.”

Huh... Yeah, I guess that’d happen. But what’s he doing in Brunhild? If he went with Blau, it might have been for something important.

“The issue isn’t the Prince. It’s the little friend he brought with him. The one claiming to be Lu’s daughter.”


Lu, who was listening in on the video call, couldn’t help but let out a small murmur of confusion. She paused briefly, turned toward me, turned to the screen, then took another sip of her tea.


A clatter rang out as she stood up, knocking her chair to the floor as she screamed tea out of her mouth. Talk about a delayed reaction.

I, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so shocked by the news. It was the fifth time I’d heard it, after all.

“Why’s she with Robert?”

“She appeared in Panaches, apparently. She then sought the prince out immediately and had him warp her to Brunhild.”

...Jeez. There’s taking initiative, and then there’s that... I feel a bit bad for Robert, honestly. I’ll have to apologize.

“That sounds like Arcy. She tends to do whatever she can to achieve her goals... But she’s pretty direct...”

“Well, that’s true enough. But she’s largely harmless, you have to admit. She’s never really caused major harm with it... Mostly... She can just run a little far with herself sometimes...” Frei and Quun sighed quietly as they shook their heads.

Sakura suddenly asked them a question. “Where does Arcia place in the order?”

“Fifth. Older than Elna.”

That meant the order of birth was Yakumo, Frei, Quun, my fourth child, Arcia, Elna, Linne, my eighth child, and then my ninth.

“What about my Yoshino?”

“Yoshino was born after Quun... Ah, wait! You’re trying to trick me!” Frei realized she was being coaxed for information and shut up. But the damage was already partially done. Now we knew Yoshino was our fourthborn. That meant Yumina and Sue’s were the two youngest. It made sense in Sue’s case, since she was the youngest of my wives... As I started to ponder the pregnancy order, Lu charged forward and grabbed me by the collar.


“Let’s not waste any time! Arcia needs us, Touya! We need to leave at once!”

“Oh, uh, yeah... R-Right, sorry. Uh...I agree, but...”

The pressure she emanated was immense. I understood her feelings, but she needed to calm herself.

Quun let out a small sigh and walked over to break the tension.

“You two can go and meet with her. I’ll explain everything to the others when they’re done with their ride.”

“Thanks! Hey, Cesca! Get us out of here!”


“Got it. Sending you now.”

Before I could even say anything, Lu had yelled over at Cesca and the two of us were out in Babylon’s garden.

“Let’s go, Touya! To the castle!”

“Right, I’m on it!”

I quietly hoped Lu would calm down as I activated [Teleport] to bring us both to the castle.

We manifested in the living room. Karen was there sitting on the couch, next to a small girl who looked to be about seven or eight. Prince Robert was sleeping in a guest room, apparently. The little girl immediately turned her eyes toward us. Her gaze was as sharp as her mother’s, carrying with it a beautiful emerald hue. She stood up, the motion bobbing her silver-green hair.

She looked familiar...and it was then I realized that I’d seen a vision of her through Doctor Babylon’s jewel so very long ago. She looked a little older compared to that vision, though. But there was no doubt about it. This was Lu’s daughter.

Lu took a big step forward.

“Are you... Arcia?”

“I am!”

Arcia ran forward with a huge smile on her face. Lu smiled too as she reached her arms out to hug her daughter...only for Arcia to run right past her and give me a big hug.

“It’s so good to finally see you, father!”


Lu slowly turned her head toward me. She was reeling with shock. So much that she hadn’t even brought her outstretched arms back in yet.

Th-This isn’t my fault... Probably...

“You’re amazing in the future, father! But I must say, the past you is rather dashing as well!”

“Oh... Uh... Thanks?”

I didn’t really know how to react to the sudden hug, so I just gave her a tight hug back. I was happy, but I certainly wasn’t used to this kind of treatment.

“What?! Arcia?! Wh-What about your mother?!”

“You seem well. That’s nice.”

Arcia turned around and gave Lu a small curtsy before turning back to me. It was quite the mature greeting, but it stood as a stark contrast when put up against how she interacted with me.

“Arcy here loves Touya lots! But don’t worry, Lu. She loves you too! Just slightly differently!” Karen chuckled quietly as she watched from the couch.

...So she’s a serious daddy’s girl, huh? I don’t know whether to be happy or worried.

“It’s normal for daughters to love their fathers. That’s why I work hard every single day to ensure I’ll find a husband like you! Just like you, actually!” Arcia spoke proudly, but her words were more than a little dubious. Either way, she seemed like a sophisticated young girl.

“A husband?! Aren’t you a bit young?”

“How naive, mother. You should know that initiative is the key to a happy marriage. Or maybe you don’t know that, hm?”

H-Hold on! Don’t go bickering like this! This is a weird subject to get into... We just met, you know...

“Still, I’m glad you’re working to better yourself. Any daughter of mine should! You’re doing well, I hope.”

“Of course, mother. I happen to be a phenomenal cook, you know? I might even have surpassed most housewives out there...”

“Hoh...” Lu’s eyes narrowed. There was a clear competitive atmosphere.

“Well, you certainly talk big. Shall we put those skills to the test?”

“But of course. Why don’t we see how your skills are at this point in time, mother?”

The two girls sneered at each other.

Wait, hold on... What’s with the confrontational atmosphere all of a sudden?! Lu, aren’t you taking this a bit personally?

“Very well. Father, I know how to settle this. We’ll both cook something, and you can be the one to judge which is better.”

“That sounds good to me. Shall we choose what to cook? Or is it a specific meal?”

Uh...guys? I’m kind of losing control of the situation here... Neither of you even asked if I agreed to be the judge... I know I don’t really have a choice here, but it’d be nice if you pretended.

“It’ll be easier for him to judge if we make something similar... Let’s theme it around Japanese food, shall we?”

“Japanese cuisine, you say? Are you sure? I happen to have visited Touya’s homeland and partaken in authentic Japanese cuisine, myself.”

Uh...Lu? That authentic Japanese cuisine you had was just a meal at a regular family restaurant... I’m not really sure if it qualifies... Then again, who am I to say it doesn’t? Pork cutlets and gyudon are considered Japanese food... Even if they’re not in Japan. Maybe Japanese food is just anything with Japanese style attributed to it. Is hamburg steak Japanese food? Is it Japanese food if it’s eaten by a Japanese person? Maybe it’s a bit pointless trying to assign so many labels.

“Oh, I’m sure it’ll be no problem. After all...father’s given his personal seal of approval to my Japanese cuisine before. I can’t possibly lose.”

The two of them locked eyes again. The atmosphere quickly grew frightening. They were both smiling, but I could feel evil welling up behind their expressions. One thing was clear, though... They both hated losing. She really was Lu’s daughter.

◇ ◇ ◇

“So it turned into a cook-off, then...”

“Yeah, somehow...”

Yumina couldn’t help but sigh when I explained the situation to her. She didn’t seem amused.

In front of me sat a large dining table. It was flanked by two different kitchens. We were back in the miniature theme park... Or to be more specific, the fire zone. Cesca brought us here after I came back in with Lu and Arcia in tow.

We were about ready for lunch, but I wasn’t sure how to feel about this. The middle of the table was stacked with various foodstuffs I’d removed from [Storage]. Lu and Arcia were both to freely use any of the ingredients to make their dishes. The two were already hard at work in their respective kitchens. Linze and Sue were on Lu’s side, while all the kids were on Arcia’s side.

“You’re really into it, Lu...”

“Mhm... She’s really confident. I think it’s commendable.”

“It’s not just that... She has a real force of will. It’s a drive to achieve her goals at any cost. The blood of the Regulus royal line at work, no doubt.”

Yep. That adds up. The emperor of Regulus is pretty single-minded like that too. Can’t go against your pedigree.

“I certainly won’t complain about being served some pleasant food... But Touya, are you going to be able to judge fairly?”

“’s just a matter of my preferences, right? It should be easy to say which one I like the most... It’s not like it really matters who wins this...”

Ugh... Don’t make me choose, please... My stomach’s in knots just thinking about it... Urgggh...

If I were to judge off the bat, I’d say Lu would be the easy winner. She cooked for me just about every day. Three times a day, even. She knew the tastes and preferences of everyone in the castle, me included. It was obvious she’d be able to cook perfectly to my tastes.

I couldn’t play favorites just because my daughter was cute either... Though I was tasting blindly, so I wouldn’t actually know who cooked what.

“Hopefully this doesn’t turn bad...”

I weathered the stomach ache as I waited for the food to finish cooking.

◇ ◇ ◇

Meanwhile, in the Arcia kitchen...

“Jeez... You’re the same as ever, Arcy. Challenging mom like that right after seeing her...” Frei sighed quietly as she stood behind her sister. Most people tended to believe that Arcia loved her father so much that she had a problem with Lu, but Frei knew it was actually different. Arcia so desperately wanted validation from Lu that she constantly strove to be better. In short, she was a real pain in the butt.

“Are you gonna win, Arcia?”

“Can she win? I don’t think she’s ever outdone Mama Lu...”

“I don’t care who wins. We’re all gonna eat good!”

“Silence in the kitchen, children!” Arcia growled in irritation as she reached for a carrot. Elna, Linne, and Allis all shrunk back, silently grumbling that Arcia was a child as well.

“How do you think your chances are, Arcia? Would you have made the challenge if you thought you had no hope? We may be in the past, but our mother isn’t one to be trifled with in the kitchen...” Quun leaned against a nearby wall as she made her doubtful comment.

Arcia simply responded with a grin as she clutched a radish, saying, “Hee hee hee hee... My dear Quun... Do you remember the meal I served father some time ago? The one he lavished me with praise for?”

“Huh? Oh, something like...the one from his homeland that even our mother had never cooked for him... Wait, don’t tell me...”

Once the realization struck her, Quun couldn’t help but push herself off the wall and walk toward the middle of the kitchen. Frei too realized what Arcia was planning.

“Precisely... The first meal I was ever truly praised for... One that I know my mother hasn’t made yet! One I know my father hasn’t eaten yet! One that I can’t possibly lose with!” Arcia exclaimed as she thrust the radish skyward as if it were a sword. The girl was clearly a little overconfident... It might even be more appropriate to say she was drunk on her own ego.

A few of the kids in the kitchen piped up in unison with, “Cheeeaaater.”

To which Arcia replied... “Silence again, children!”

Allis, Quun, and Frei found themselves rebuked once more.

Frei had a few more words for her sister, however.

“I’m not saying it’s cowardly, but...won’t it make the first time you serve it less special later on? Is there any point?”

“In father’s homeland, there’s a turn of phrase. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might. In other words, I need to win at any cost!”

“I’m not really sure if that’s right... But okay...” Frei wondered if it was fair to use such underhanded tactics against their own mother, but she knew she couldn’t stop Arcia at this point. After all, Arcia was a girl who kept her eye on the prize at all times, for better and for worse.

“What about history, though? Won’t it change if he eats it here instead of in the future? Will the time spirits correct it or something?” Allis chimed in with her own curious comment. Elna and Linne tilted their heads in thought, but neither could come up with an answer.

“It’ll be fine. If anyone suffers as a result of this, it’ll only be the future me... Or well, maybe the present me! Or the past me! If I can defeat my mother, I’ll gladly drink deep of my own miserable fount.”

Quun wanted to mention that splitting the timeline here could potentially create a different Arcia who’d be negatively impacted, but she neglected to say anything. It was all a bit too complicated to think about.

No matter what happened, Granny Tokie would probably take care of it. Probably, at least...

“I’ll win my father’s heart with this, no problem! Elna, help me out.”

“Oh, uh... Got it.”

Elna was the second-best cook of all the children. She was small, but she’d learned well by watching and copying. Fortunately, she was different from her mother Elze in that the dishes she cooked never came out horrendously spicy.

The other girls weren’t nearly as good at cooking as Arcia or Elna. The only one who could kind of do anything close to cooking was Yakumo, the eldest, so the only one suited to be an assistant cook was Elna.

Arcia pulled back her chopping knife and swung it down against the meat on the countertop.

“This is one game I can’t afford to lose!”

◇ ◇ ◇

“Oooh... Wow!”

Two tasty meals were lined up in front of me. Both were served with rice, miso soup, and pickled veggies. The only major difference was the meat. One was pork, while the other was chicken. Ginger-fried pork...and chicken nanban.

They were two quintessentially Japanese meals.

...Actually, is chicken nanban Japanese? Let’s not worry about that right now. If even I’m not sure about that, nobody else here will know. No point bringing it up.

I’d had the ginger pork a few times since I’d come to this world, but I hadn’t had chicken nanban in a very, very long time.

Wait...does Lu even know how to make it?

I couldn’t tell who’d cooked which dish by sight alone...but my gaze kept drifting toward the chicken.

It reminded me of the chicken I’d been hunting earlier on...and I distinctly remembered threatening to turn it into chicken nanban!

“...This food looks delicious, it does...” Yae said. She couldn’t help but salivate over the sight. She was right, but she was also in front of her children... I hoped she could keep her appetite in check, at least for appearance’s sake.

“Don’t worry, I’ve prepared all my mothers some food as well.”

“Amazing! You are truly Lu-dono’s progeny, you are.”

As if sensing Yae’s feelings, both Arcia and Lu revealed even more ginger pork and chicken nanban, enough for the whole table. They sure were considerate...

Well...I can’t stare at this stuff forever. Time to eat.

“I’ll start with the chicken. Yum...”

...I can’t stop thinking about that chicken from earlier today...

I picked up my chopsticks and plucked a piece of the meat up. The golden-brown coating was the perfect contrast to the white meat. The way the tartar sauce mingled with the sweet vinegar made me want to keep on eating. The crispy texture was divine... I could feel the juices flowing from within the tender chunks. All the different flavors melded together in perfect, idealistic harmony.

Ahhh...I gotta have some rice with this... Mmmh!

“It’s amazing!”

I kept on devouring it. I savored the chicken, enjoyed the rice on the side, cleansed my palate with the pickled veggies, then washed it all down with the miso soup.

I’d been pretty hungry, so maybe the taste had been accentuated by that and the fact it’d been so long since I’d last had it... But still, it was insanely good. I couldn’t finish it all, though, since I had another dish to try.

“Let’s see here...”

I moved the chicken plate to the side and brought out the ginger pork. It looked really, really good.

Ginger pork was usually served one of two ways. Either it was pork fried with onions or thinly sliced, sautéed pork. This one was the former. It was cut quite finely, and the onions were cooked just the way my mother had done them.

I took a heaping helping of pork and onions between my chopsticks. I didn’t want to waste any of it, so I held a bowl of rice beneath it to catch any juices. Then, I plopped it into my mouth. It was delicious. I shoveled some rice into my mouth for good measure. The rice, onions, and pork all mingled in my mouth, spreading out the flavor more as I chewed. It was...about as good as the chicken.

Hm... It’s a little stronger in flavor compared to my usual ginger pork... Just a little, but it’s noticeable. Did Arcia make this one, maybe? Wait, no...I can’t make judgments like that. It’ll affect my final score! Strong or not, it tastes great. Even the cabbage is good... It’s soaked up some of the ginger through the oils. Mfh... It’s hard to compare this to the other one...

I glanced over and saw Arcia and Lu staring at me expectantly.

Ugh... They’re both so good! But I have to choose! Agh! Hrmm... Hmm...

I took another bite of the chicken, then the pork. I compared the rice, the miso soup, and the pickled veggies. They were both good, but if I had to pick one...

All eyes were on me now.

...Don’t think, feel. Whatever happens, happens!

“All right!”

“Have you decided?”

I nodded in response to Yumina’s question. I decided to go with my gut. They were both good, so I’d simply say which one felt better.

“The ginger pork!”


When I gave my final answer, Arcia screamed to the high heavens.

Huh? Did I mess up?!

I looked over at Lu, who seemed so relieved she was patting her own chest. She was careful not to let Arcia see her do it, though.

So Lu made the pork, huh? Which means Arcia made the chicken?

“But why, father?! You always spoke so highly of it!”

“I what?”

“Oh...forget it. But why did you pick the pork over my chicken?”

I can’t really explain it... It’s just what felt right. I don’t have a reason...

“Arcia. Why don’t you try the pork for yourself and find out?”


At Lu’s urging, Arcia picked up some chopsticks and ate a piece of pork. She closed her eyes and slowly savored the taste as she chewed.

“It’s delicious... But my chicken nanban is just as good...” Arcia mumbled, still unsure why the pork had won. Frankly, I still had no reason. It was just what felt right.

“Touya, what did you make of the pork?”

“Huh? I mean, it tasted great. It’s a little...richer than usual, I guess? Stronger in taste?”

“Stronger? No...wait!”

As if suddenly realizing something, Arcia took another bite of pork. She then took a sip of the miso soup. What had she figured out?



“There’s...just a tiny excess of salt... Not enough to upset the balance...but there’s more salt than there should be.”

Huh? Really? I don’t think I’d have noticed, to be honest... I knew it was a little stronger, but still...why?

“A workout... Ah!”

“Right. When you sweat, salt leaves the body. It’s only natural your body would seek to restore what was lost. Even if he wasn’t aware of it, his body would subtly crave saltier food. And that’s why I added just a little more salt, not enough to spoil the taste... But enough to win.”

Oh... So she was using my exercise today against me? I guess that makes sense. Even though I have an enhanced body, I still sweat. I still use the toilet. Granted, I don’t sweat as much as I used to... I can actually toggle off stuff like that, but it’s a pain in the ass... Plus, doing it toggles off a lot of my senses, like pain. That’d be bad! Either way, I did sweat a lot today...

The fact that Lu had picked up on that and conspired to make me unconsciously prefer her dish made me feel like I was being puppeteered.

“Ugh... You thought so far ahead... What a crushing defeat...” Arcia muttered as her shoulders slumped. Lu reached forward and took a bit of the chicken nanban.

“Oh! I see... Goodness... You’re almost at my level. No wonder you were so confident in yourself... This is a wonderful dish, Arcia.”


Lu smiled as she took her daughter’s hand in hers. It was clear they both had a true love for cooking.

Whew... That should be that, right? No more turning my stomach in knots?



The smile on Lu’s face remained the same, but her eyes turned sharp.

...Did I hope too soon?

“Don’t think I missed what you said earlier, young lady. You knew from the outset that Touya liked this dish, didn’t you? That it was a dish he missed from his home, right?”

“Wh-Wh-Whatever do you mean, mother?” Arcia said as she awkwardly glanced away.

Now I get it... I must’ve enjoyed this in the future. Hmm... I don’t know how long it’ll be, but if Arcia ever makes me this in the future, I’ll be sure to praise her immensely for it.

“You can’t just use underhanded tricks like this, Arcia! That’s not how we cook!”

“Huh? But Lu, didn’t your salt trick rely on Arcia not knowing Touya had been sweating?” Elze’s idle comment stopped Lu dead in her tracks. Elna started jabbing her mother with her elbow as if to tell her to be quiet, but Elze was fairly oblivious to what she’d done.

“...She’s right, mother.”

“Wh-Wh-Whatever do you mean, daughter?” Lu said as she awkwardly glanced away.

...They really are mother and daughter.

“I’d have used more salt if I’d known about father’s tired state! It’s not my fault at all!”

“It is your fault! Your fault for not thinking ahead far enough!”

The two of them began bickering. Everyone ignored it and continued eating their food.

“They get along well.”

“I...suppose they do?”

I wasn’t sure if it was exactly as Sue described, but it was certainly something. All things considered, their parent-child relationship wasn’t so bad.

◇ ◇ ◇

“How frustrating! Mother outsmarted me yet again!”

“I think it’s more that you were just careless, Arcy.”

It was the same night Arcia had arrived. The kids were all dressed in pajamas, gathered in one of the castle rooms. Frei simply sighed at Arcia, who was pummeling some cushions to work out her stress. As if to change the subject, Quun turned to Elna and Linne.

“Tell me, you two. Are you certain it was Arcia who was in front of you when the impact happened?”

“Mhm. When the core exploded, Arcia protected us from it.”

After hearing Linne speak, Quun was convinced of her hypothesis. It was all but guaranteed. Her siblings were appearing in this world based on how far away from the core they were when the flash occurred.

“So, Arcia...who was in front of you?”

“Er... It was so bright I closed my eyes... But I think Yoshino was the closest to me...”

“Yoshino? I’m sure she’ll be fine, then... She has [Teleport], so as long as she doesn’t take any detours...”

Yoshino was Sakura’s daughter, so she could use the same Null spell. Unlike [Gate], [Teleport] could take the caster anywhere so long as they had the distance calculations right in their head. It required a considerable amount of magical power to cast, but Yoshino’s mana reserves were deep enough to allow her to go to Brunhild multiple times even from the furthest edge of the world. If there was any real issue, it was the girl’s personality. Yoshino was a moody girl. She didn’t like doing things she didn’t like to do. She only did what she felt like doing. She was the kind of girl who’d go, “I should see my family...but maybe it can wait...”

She loved new and interesting things, and would often pursue them with no hesitation. But she also got very bored, very easily. Her storage card was a graveyard for hobbies she quickly grew tired of. In other words, she had a capricious nature.

Quun knew that Yoshino was unlikely to come straight to Brunhild even after being sent to the past.

“If we’re not careful, Yakumo’ll arrive before she does.”

“What do you mean? Is it bad if Yakumo comes first?”

Quun’s words confused Elna, but Linne could only chuckle.

“Think about it. If Yoshino just shows up casually after Yakumo does, she’ll probably have a lot of random junk she picked up.”

“Oh... Yakumo’ll definitely give her a serious lecture again...” Elna smiled wryly as she pictured the scene she’d seen a few times before.

Yakumo was the picture of seriousness. She was dutiful to a fault. But Yoshino? She was lackadaisical and relaxed to the extreme. The two were polar opposites. They weren’t on bad terms or anything, but it felt simply natural for Yakumo to constantly chastise Yoshino.

“Yoshino... You better hurry back before Yakumo talks your ears off...” Frei muttered quietly to a sister she didn’t even know had arrived yet. She didn’t really care if Yakumo gave Yoshino a stern talking to, but she could probably do without the headache.

Though she would be more inclined to help her whimsical sister if the girl brought her an interesting weapon from her travels...

◇ ◇ ◇

“Achoo!” Yakumo suddenly sneezed in a manner not quite unlike that of an old man.

“Mnh... Someone must be talking about me...” she mumbled and rubbed her nose as she continued through the town. She was in the nation of Orphen. It was the western counterpart of Eashen, her mother’s homeland.

Eashen was in the far east, while Orphen was in the far west. Yakumo had never been to Orphen before, but the place was geographically similar to her mother’s home. Still, she’d been forced to get a ship from Lassei to reach the island, as she had no memories of Orphen through which to use [Gate].

She’d come here in search of a peculiar golden powder she’d discovered in Isengard. It was a powder rumored to be made from the Puretree’s branches. One effective against a particular illness ravaging Isengard. An illness that caused fever, emaciation...and eventually death... The most terrifying thing about the affliction was that it caused a golden flower to bloom from the infected’s head... A flower that turned them into walking corpses.

Those who knew the truth were aware that it wasn’t a disease at all. It was a method once employed by the wicked god to turn humans into mutated monsters. Most people didn’t know this, however, so they believed it was a disease.

The wicked god had been defeated, so any current cases of the sickness were only those who had been infected in the past. It was no longer an active threat. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so easy to quell such long-held anxieties.

If this golden powder was just a simple scam, Yakumo wouldn’t have come all this way. She would’ve reported it to the nearby guild or gotten Isengard’s authorities involved. But there was something off about it. The powder she’d recovered gave her an immense feeling of dread.

After following various clues, the trail brought young Yakumo to the nation of Orphen. It was a land culturally similar to Eashen. They wore garbs not unlike kimonos and their homes were built of wood and brick, but the streets still bustled with magical glowing stones and Gollems, things that would seem out of place in the far east.

If Yakumo’s father had been here, he would have recognized the more developed architecture. It might have reminded him of Japan’s Meiji and Taisho eras. The swordsmen and Gollems in the streets called to mind the images of samurai. They even wielded katanas.

That worked to Yakumo’s advantage. Though she stood out in many nations around the world, here she looked like any other Orphenese citizen.

She marched straight down the main street. It was her first time here, but she had a map on her phone that displayed her surroundings. Her destination was a dilapidated building on the outskirts of town. The golden substance was said to be sold by a peculiar dealer who lived there. She had no real plan. She simply intended to attack him, take him into custody, and make him talk. In that straightforward regard, Yakumo was much like her mother.

The abandoned building on the outskirts of town used to be some kind of production facility. She proceeded through it, but couldn’t sense anything in the way of human presence at all. She wondered if they’d been tipped off and escaped...but then something shot out of the darkness on the second floor.


Yakumo ducked and jumped back as three knives embedded in the floor where she’d been standing. The young girl drew the sword at her waist, casting her gaze up toward the dim space the knives had come from.

“...Who are you? You’re not one of my regulars... Your eyes are too lively...your gait too vigorous...”

Her assailant emerged from the dark, wearing a peculiar helmet. The helmet was spherical in shape. It had round peepholes attached to the sides with iron bars crossed along them. Pipe-like tubing came from the helmet and connected to a tank on the person’s back. It was a very odd sight, overall.

If Yakumo’s father were here, he might have remarked that whatever this individual was wearing, it looked pretty much like a diving suit.

At first, Yakumo thought her enemy might be a Gollem, but it was clear upon closer inspection that it was a human being in a heavy clunking outfit.

“You are the one spreading the golden drug, you ar— Er...aren’t you?”

“That I am. And what are you? A lapdog of Orphen? Come to sniff me out and put me down on orders of your nation? Your country’s swifter than I expected.”

Her enemy had made a mistake in identifying her, but Yakumo decided not to correct him. It was more convenient that way.

“What is the truth behind your medicine? It isn’t just fraud, is it? There’s more to it.”

“Hoh. You’re rather astute, aren’t you? I suppose it’s something of a screening process. It helps us identify who has the right aptitude and who doesn’t.”

Yakumo had no idea what her attacker meant. She wasn’t sure how medicine could screen for people in that way. Therefore, she decided to get her answers directly.



Yakumo opened a portal right next to the person in the diving suit, but found her sudden strike blocked by a hatchet pulled out from her enemy’s waist.


The two of them jumped away from each other.

Yakumo was completely taken aback. Her blade was composed of phrasium. It was forged by her father. It was her most precious possession... And yet, somehow, her enemy had blocked such a mighty blade with naught but a tiny hatchet.

The individual in the diving suit seemed just as surprised by the clash.

“...Your weapon actually clashed with my Deep Blue...?” the person mumbled and glanced at the hatchet in their hand, which was now glowing a metallic azure.

Yakumo saw her chance, so she took it. She closed the distance in the blink of an eye, slashing at her enemy.


The tip of her sword cleanly sliced through a pipe near the suit’s neck. A second later, a golden mist began spewing forth from the pipe, dispersing around the area. Yakumo, sensing something amiss, jumped back immediately.

“Ack! Damn it... I’ll have to retreat for now... Feel free to tell Orphen’s dragon emperor that we’re done here for now... But mark my words...we wicked devout will return the world to how it should be! How it was meant to be!”

“Wicked devout? Wait, you cannot mean... Wait, you mustn’t—!”

Before Yakumo could finish shouting, her enemy dove into the ground as if it were water...and then they were gone.

It was likely a form of teleportation magic. Wherever her foe was now, it wasn’t here.

“The wicked devout... Grandmother Tokie was right to have a bad feeling, she was...” Yakumo’s voice seemed troubled. She silently sheathed her beloved blade and let out a heavy breath.

◇ ◇ ◇

“Man...I’m beat...”

Putting the ruckus with Arcia’s arrival aside, the theme park tour ended without a hitch. I’d figured out a lot of things that would work for Brunhild’s own theme park, and stuff that I felt wouldn’t work...but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to impart this level of exhaustion to all the dads of the world. Still, seeing the look of joy on the faces of my kids didn’t really give me much of a choice in the matter.

Arcia’s arrival meant making yet another excuse to the castle staff, but I’d had the foresight to warn everyone in advance, so it wasn’t really questioned. When she got back to the castle, she headed straight to the kitchen to help out our head cook, Crea. We ended up having a great dinner, but I wound up with a stomachache after because our newest arrival ended up feeding me dish after dish.

I thanked Prince Robert for bringing my daughter over, and after I let him sit in for dinner, I sent him back home to Panaches through a [Gate]. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him this time, after all.

With Arcia now here, that meant more than half of my kids were now in Brunhild... Quun, Frei, Arcia, Elna, and Linne.

The only ones left to show up were Yae’s, Sue’s, Sakura’s, and Yumina’s... Though Yae’s daughter, Yakumo, was technically here already.

Hm... I wonder where she is right now?


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