Chapter 29 – Familiar Caduceus
“How is it?”
Today’s breakfast was white bread, fish soup, and a salad with bacon. It seemed that Ashley was the one in charge of the soup’s flavor. It was a situation that made you gaze at the soup and hold your breath anxiously as you brought it to your mouth.
It was a bit sour and had a light flavor.
“Ashley-sama has progressed quite rapidly.”
All of the housework done by Ashley was under Grace’s guidance.
Although I doubted that the head of a Baron household had to do housework…it appeared that Ashley longed for a life of making homemade meals for her husband, similar to those she had read about in books from a study. Ashley’s condition was also improving, since the Circulation Refining had become a daily routine, and it seemed she was happy that she could move her body more freely.
Just like that, three people were currently carrying about inside the house.
After we finished breakfast, we had moved to the living room to drink tea and have a light chat.
Although a feeling similar to accommodating every one of our plans had developed ever since we took a short rest–
Grace was snuggled next to me on the couch in the living room and had been leaning lightly against me. Ashley was a bit more modest and nervously held my hand. We were close enough so that we could feel each other’s body heat, and although I had accidentally ended up sitting up straight…ummm.
As for Grace, a reliever for her vampiric impulses was necessary, so I had decided to put aside the necessary time where I would touch and hug her. If she was starved of contact, then she would build up stress.
That was why, until now, maintaining our daily lives…was still okay. Since Ashley was just looking at me, the two of them had proposed spending time like this.
Although I tried to say that they weren’t that awkward, it seemed these girls lacked some knowledge. We were currently in an era comparable to the time of Japan’s greatness education or its information society.
I understood that Grace was a bit detached from the common sense of society. Although Ashley had tried to prod at that a bit…it appeared that the education she had received was merely to prepare her to be a Noble. It looked like she didn’t really know that marriages between Nobles were generally more of an obligation.
Although the two of them did say that they didn’t care if I was shameless and abandoned them, they clearly stated that they had no intentions of leaving me at all. Hmm.
If I took into account our age, knowledge, present positions, and our futures…then we needed to do things properly. Nothing would change before this.
In other words, this was a test of my logic and endurance.
My suggestion was to try it after breakfast. It was better to endure it to that extent if we had plans later on.
“Hah, this sure is calming.”
“I’ve realized a lot of things. Spending time with the two of you is like being with…Father and Mother.”
“Oh, Caduceus has returned.”
A black liquid intruded from the closed window. Just as I thought that a black pool had finished forming on the floor, a large figure rose up from the center…it took on the appearance of a black cat. Its body was about…50% larger than that of a normal cat. As for its eyes, they shone with a metallic brilliance.
It was a magic creature, the familiar Shadow Mercury. We named it Caduceus.
Although its liquid body was originally amorphous, as was evident, it had a solidification skill.
Currently, it was guarding the house at night. Specifically, it could spread out into a mesh, and had currently taken the role of observing the entire house.
The body of the Shadow Mercury felt like an eyeball or a brain. It was also capable of detecting incidences within a large radius as if they had occurred within the palm of its hand.
Perhaps it was well suited as a night guard due to its black color.
The shape of a black cat collapsed after I ordered Caduceus, who was sitting on top of the table, to report.
Just like that it reduced its size and took on the form of the property.
It allowed him to reproduce the people he had scanned coming and going from night until morning since it was tiny.
Caduceus replayed its memories three-dimensionally. Although it was something like watching the screen of a surveillance camera…its replays were detailed enough to show things like the clothes of the people who were coming and going.
Perhaps these replays would reveal a blindspot in Caduceus’s Perception ability.
Although the Shadow Mercury’s stats were dependent on the owner’s blood, which was used as a material and provided by Grace and I…Caduceus’ stats were high, beyond the expectations of Beatrice, the Alchemist we asked to make it. It cost 1500 Kilig. Well, it was a bargain.
Speaking of why I would do such a thing, it was as a countermeasure against crime and people like Count Morris. Well, it was something along those lines.
“That person hasn’t moved since earlier.”
What Grace pointed out was a person who was standing in the corner of the wall at the back of our house. It was someone wearing a hood, and I didn’t know if they were visiting…but I saw that they were looking around hurriedly and examining their surroundings.
To put it simply, it was clearly suspicious behavior.
“Perhaps they are related to Count Cardiff?”
“If that’s so, it’s strange to behave like that.”
Rather than saying that they were observing our house, it was more like they were being cautious of the surrounding traffic. The best description I could give would be that, although it appeared like they were observing us, the person was approaching our house because they were taking cover.
After paying attention to this person for a while, they finally put their hands on the hood and exposed their face.
After that, its head and ears, which were the features of a beast, shivered slightly, and then it put on the hood again and left.
“It’s someone from the Beast Race…right?”
On top of the Mini was one black ear, which it could use to listen.
So, it was someone of the Beast Race who was being cautious of our house’s surroundings. I hadn’t the slightest idea as to why though.
I couldn’t see them as a person from the Count’s house or as someone under the Prince.
“Caduceus, did you record the size and appearance of this person?”
The Mini’s form changed, and then it took on the form of a mini beast person. It was possible to distinguish its clothing…but Caduceus didn’t understand the vital parts of their appearance that well, so it seemed that was its blindspot.
“…Inform me if you find people within the town with a stature similar to this beast person.”
While still looking like a beast person, Caduceus nodded.
I’d like to ask them about their story if it was something I could do. However, since I didn’t know what their purpose was, I should also consider the chance that they could suddenly attack me if I were to speak with them. It was a rather difficult situation.
“Well, let’s put this person on hold. What are your plans for today Ashley?”
Ashley had become my fiance after all. I had decided not to use the tone and manners of a stranger whenever I spoke with her. It was correct to say that I would show her my usual self.
“I have Rossetta-sensei’s lecture today. She said that today, the lecture is on protective and strengthening magic.”
…The lectures Rossetta taught were beyond Healing Magic.
Regardless of Ashley becoming my fiance, it seemed she planned to teach her such cards. Ashley was capable of learning without limiting herself to Healing Magic.
Rossetta said that, if she became a Lord who could use Healing Magic, then she should gather combat experience, since she would have to return when her territory had abnormal Demon outbreaks or was under attack.
In short, perhaps what she meant was that she could descend into the Labyrinth if she raised her skill in Magic a bit more.
Experience was a bonus if one defeated Demons within the Labyrinth in BFO. It seemed this was true in reality as well, and it would show up as an increase in one’s strength, stamina, and Mana if they continued to defeat Demons within the Labyrinth.
It wasn’t that she would limit herself because it was a combat experience, it was more that Ashley had a constitution where she would easily become ill, like Mom.
It appeared that she had shown some improvement…by resorting to descending into the Labyrinth little by little, and tempering her body with Rossetta while she was young.
If I had to say it, it was similar to using Labyrinth Leveling as a way to stay fit. Bringing Ashley along with us now meant that her Magic was almost ready for combat.
Rossetta would probably get a feel for her eventually, more or less. Perhaps it would become a wait-and-see situation while she provides support on the safer floors. I should get a Red Dimension Stone before that.
“I’ll head out with Caduceus for a bit if Rossetta is coming. Please look after Grace as well after I put her in her Released State.”
“What do you plan to do?”
“I’ll walk around by myself and do some shopping.”
Although I had decent, passable staves and robes, I planned to fish out the enemies that were acting independently.