38 – Young Child – A Big Emergency
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My mom screaming in pain. My dad's panicked screams echoing with hers. Mama Lily reassuring my mom and glaring at my dad.

It was a mess.

A loud, painful, stressful and giant mess.

First order of business? Kick Dad out of the house.

He was making things worse, so I promptly tossed him out with some wind magic and told him to go pick up Sylphy or something.

Next up... resolving the current situation.

Breech births were bad. Since the head wasn't coming out first, an extended delivery would be dangerous for both the mother and the baby. Oxygen deprivation, bleeding out, potentially broken bones... I didn't know a lot about it, but I knew it was dangerous.

If the baby was still in the womb, then maybe trying to turn it around would be feasible. I was pretty sure that doctors could do that. And Mama Lily had training in deliveries, so she would have tried that.

But it seemed like we were past that point. Or rather, my new sibling... and sister, judging from the lack of 'that' down there, was already past that point.

"Nn...! L-Lily...! I-It hurts...!" My mom's pained gasps.

"C-Calm down, Zenny. Everything will be fine." Mama Lily held onto my mom's hand and stroked it, trying to reassure her. But I could see panic welling up in her eyes as well.

I took a deep breath and then looked at Mama Lily. "What should I do?"

I had ideas, but they were all risky. In a situation like this, it was important to defer to the expert. And that expert was Mama Lily.

Was it because of my calm voice?

Mama Lily started to relax. She stared at me and then nodded. "It hasn't been long, so the situation isn't too bad yet. But..." She looked back at my mom and bit her lips. "...If your mother cannot deliver the baby soon..."

"It hurts." My mom's breath hitched and she said, "It huuurts, Lily!"

"It will be fine, Zenny. Just push."

"I'm trying!"

My stomach churned at hearing my mom in so much pain. But I forced myself to stay calm. I had to stay calm. And I had to stay focused.

...Because a familiar visitor was floating around outside the window.

I could see it. A faint white mist swirling around outside. Whitey. And I could almost imagine that guy laughing at the situation- No. I could actually hear it.

A faint low chuckle, muffled and taunting.

But I ignored him. Instead, I focused on Mama Lily.

Mama Lily bit her lips, her eyes flitting between my mom and my unborn sibling before saying, "Rudy. How confident are you in your healing magic?"

"Very."

Considering that I used it every day on myself, it was actually the one I was most confident with next to using holy mana for Divine Strike spells to keep Whitey at bay.

"Then..." Mama Lily stood up and let out a deep sigh. "...Listen closely to my instructions."

-LIV-

Paul kicked off the ground, running towards Buina village. "It's fine. It should be fine. Everything's fine."

His heart pounded in his chest and his stomach churned. But even so, he forced himself to calm down by repeating those words.

Well, he tried to.

It should be fine. Lilia was there, and she was an experienced midwife.

...Well, she had extensive training in delivery at least.

And there was Rudy too. His son was a Saint-ranked magician. Well, in just water, but Roxy had said that his son could easily use anything below that. And his son had also been pouring over the healing primer that Zenith got him for his fifth birthday each day for the past year.

So it was fine.

In the worst case scenario... In the worst case scenario, they would just cut Zenith open and then heal her after the baby was delivered.

'... ... ...?'

A muffled whisper in his head. Like his subconscious trying to get him to worry.

Paul shook his head and then grabbed the pendant hanging from his neck. The gift that his hard-working son made for him. He clicked it open.

On the heart itself was Zenith's picture. In it, she was smiling with kind eyes. A loving and tender gaze that she... honestly hadn't shone him for a while, but that Rudy managed to perfectly reproduce.

Seeing that calmed Paul down a bit. And then he looked at the back of the opened door. There, another picture was etched into the metal. Lilia, smiling with a gentle and calm gaze. Soft and tranquil, with quiet reassurance... Again, an expression that Paul hadn't ever seen directed towards him.

Still, seeing that made him relax.

"...It will be fine." Paul nodded to himself and then closed the pendant, focusing on the path ahead.

Laws's house was on the far end of Buina village, away from most of the others.

Part of that was because Laws enjoyed tranquility and silence. Most of it was because the villagers didn't get along with the half-elf and his family. Especially not after what happened to Sylphy.

It was tense, but things eventually settled back down after Rudy started to escort Sylphy back to their place and Paul spent more time with Laws.

After all, no matter how much the villagers didn't like the guy, if Laws was Paul's right hand man, they'd tolerate it.

They had to, considering that he was the one both in charge of defense and in charge by the kingdom over the area-

"Hm?"

Paul noticed something in the distance. He was still far away from the village, but he could see that there was something off.

A group of carriages were by the gates. And there was a small crowd around them as well.

"Merchants? No, that emblem..."

It was familiar. One that Paul had beaten into his head in the past by his old man. Not to mention one that he saw whenever he made his formal reports.

Two unicorns rearing on their hind legs. A sword pointed downwards in the middle and a crown over its hilt.

The Asura Kingdom.

Except, that was odd.

While the overarching authority for the Fedoa region was definitely the Asura Kingdom, the Boreas Family was the region lord. Therefore, if there was an incident, or if there were people coming by to check on him, those people would bear the Boreas emblem, not that of the Asura Kingdom.

But those carriages didn't. Which meant that these people had come straight from the capital.

Paul frowned and rested his hand over his sword. It was a reflex. And rationally, he knew there was nothing to worry about. Hell, he was doing a better job than most people with his position considering how often he patrolled and cleared out the magical creatures.

...But something told him this was off. That things could get hairy, especially if he was slow.

And his instincts hadn't failed him yet.

Paul lowered his body and then focused.

One of the meticulous diagrams that he saw when flipping through Rudy's notes. A fragment of an explanation he read by chance.

Using the Sword God's speedy attack as propulsion, mixing in the fluid movement of Water God to sheathe the sword and then pivot while maintaining speed, using North God's haphazard footwork to maintain balance...

He didn't get the written explanation, but he got the gist of it. So...

Draw the sword, slash, sheathe, and repeat.

A flurry of dashes to rapidly close the gap.

The distance that should have taken Paul a while to cross was covered in a few minutes. And when he did, he saw them.

A group of a dozen knights standing in the middle of the village plaza. One man in particular looked out at the crowd with a condescending expression. Short and greasy black hair parted to the side. A sword on his left... and the Notos emblem on his armor, showing that he was the guy in charge. The commander leading the knights.

The familiar faces of the villagers filled with concern and worry as they huddled around the knights in a crowd.

Paul stopped at the edge of the village and then started walking over. Idly resting his hand on his left hand on his sword, he made his way through the crowd of villagers and then raised his right hand to hail the knights. "What a surprise! It's not often we see men from the capital all the way out here."

The villagers immediately parted, clearing a path to Paul. And as they did, three people remained. Laws, his wife, and Sylphy, huddled behind the two.

Laws reacted first, turning back. When he saw Paul, he let out a sigh of relief before turning back to face the knights. "I told you already, there isn't anyone like that here!"

The knights didn't respond, remaining at attention. But the commander, the man bearing the Notos emblem scoffed. "That is exactly what villagers hiding a fugitive would say."

Seeing that Paul was ignored, he frowned and walked up to Laws. Keeping a steady eye on the knights, he tilted his head and said, "What's going on?"

Laws looked at Paul and said, "These knights said that the Prime Minister issued a warrant for a dangerous criminal here." He pursed his lips and said, "They were just about to start barging into people's homes before you arrived."

"Really now?" Paul rested his hand on his sword and stepped forward. "Rude."

The knight commander wrinkled his nose and said, "I should say that to you. Daring to step forward while-"

"Where's the warrant?" Paul narrowed his eyes and said. "Even if you're knights from the capital or some high-ranking noble, you don't have the right to search people's homes without proof. So unless you guys can pull one out right now, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

The knight commander narrowed his eyes. "You dare?"

Paul laughed. "And you cocky pricks say the same lines even after all this time, huh?" He grinned and idly fiddled with his sword.

An easygoing and arrogant attitude. But at the same time, his heart was racing.

The situation was weird.

If the warrant was real, then why weren't members from the Boreas family here? They were the ones in charge of this region, not the Notos. And while it was a longshot to expect his cousin Philip to be here since that guy was restricted to his role as the mayor of that fortress city, Paul's boisterous and unyielding uncle Sauros was the lord of Fedoa. He wouldn't let some arrogant men from the capital trounce all over his territory, even with an official warrant. In fact, that guy would march off himself to see if it was true.

But then if the warrant wasn't real, why were they here? It was a false pretense... to do what?

A chill swept through Paul's heart. At the same time, he heard a muffled whisper in his head.

But it was inaudible. Just a faint murmur.

He ignored it and focused.

The knight commander drew his sword. "Hmph." He pointed it at Paul and said, "Obstructing justice is a crime."

"Yeah, and so is drawing your blade against civilians."

"Hah! As if their lives matter. And since it seems you villagers won't cooperate..." The knight commander looked at the villagers before stopping on Sylphy.

Laws's eyes widened and he stepped in front of her.

The knight commander laughed. "Well. This area *has* had magical creatures acting up..."

Paul tensed.

Laws pushed Sylphy back and said, "Luffy. Go to Rudy's house."

"D-Dad...!"

"Luffy!"

Sylphy pursed her lips and stared at the knights, hesitating.

Paul shifted his stance, taking a step back with his left foot. Looking at Sylphy, he said, "Listen to your Dad, Sylphy. And get Rudy- Fuck. I forgot."

Zenith was giving birth. Paul forgot about it in this mess, but... "This fucking day..." Paul muttered.

Terrified muttering echoed from around.

Tension filled the air as the knight commander swept his gaze around, a sadistic grin on his face. And then...

"Men!"

The knight commander shouted.

With that, the sound of swords being drawn filled the air.

Paul drew his sword as well, narrowing his eyes.

...It'd be tough. Thirteen guys, one of him.

If Sylphy helped- No. He couldn't ask her to. Even if she was as good at magic as Rudy, she was softer than him. She didn't have the same combat edge that Rudy did and only barely restrained.

Should he have opened with him saying he was Paul Greyrat and the knight in charge?

...No. His brother Pilemon was the current head of Notos, but Paul was still notorious. And there were people who were more than willing to find someone to replace Pilemon.

Someone like Paul, who was actually the proper heir. Then if they found out about his talented son Rudy...

...Maybe he shouldn't have been so curious about how Rudy would react if those bastards tried something, because it was sure as hell looking like he was going to find out.

Dammit.

The knight commander grinned and said, "You know the drill."

A sudden flash in the distance behind the knights. Coming from the direction of the path to the fortress city Roa.

Paul's eyes widened.

A rapidly approaching silhouette. One he knew well... and one who he knew the ins and outs of.

And from what he recently heard from the letters that he and Philip had been exchanging... someone who was just the right person to fix this mess.

If *she* was coming, and separate from these knights, then Paul's uncle definitely didn't approve of them being here. And if Paul's uncle didn't approve of them being here, he was going to make a ruckus in the capital. And if Paul's uncle was going to make a ruckus in the capital...

"...Well." Paul cracked his neck. "Might as well see how good I've gotten then."

He'd been pretty stressed out with this morning's events. This would be a good distraction.

...Beating them all might be hard. But he didn't need to do that. All he had to do was buy a few minutes of time.

And compared to his monstrous son who was slowly reaching Paul's level, some lazy and arrogant Asura nobles playing as knights were a breeze.

The knight commander paused and looked at Paul. "...Are you resisting?"

Paul ignored him and said, "Sylphy. You can fly, right?"

"A-A little...? At least to your house?"

"Good. Then head back to our place and tell Rudy to come here as soon as he's finished. And that we might be moving soon."

In the best case scenario, his old friend was arriving to stop the knights and resolve this... probably not peacefully, but without having to run a coup on the Notos family to resolve it.

In the worst case scenario, Uncle Sauros was pissed off enough to not help Paul... which meant he was on his own. ...Which also meant that he'd have to unleash his son on the world.

His monstrous son who definitely had a killer instinct from how viciously he sparred with Paul. Who was only six years old but a Saint-ranked magician. And a Saint-ranked magician who could silently cast spells in an instant... while also fighting with a sword.

Huh. Good thing Rudy liked playing fair against him.

Probably wouldn't against these assholes though, especially if he knew how that pervert was staring at Sylphy.

"...Okay, Mister Paul. Th-Then... I'm going." Sylphy nodded.

A gust of wind, blasting her off into the air.

The knight commander narrowed his eyes. "You-"

Paul stepped forward and swung his sword. "You talk too much!"

The knight commander raised his sword to block and shouted, "REBEL! Men, raze this-"

"And you guys are too slow!" Paul spun around the blade, pivoting with his heel.

"Water God style? Hmph! Usele- Impossible!"

A rapid acceleration without losing speed.

Steel clashed against steel and a body flew through the air. "Again! Talk too much!"

Screams filled the air. Panic and worried voices. Footsteps fleeing in every direction.

In the corner of his eyes, Paul saw some knights break off to chase them. But the moment they did, a flurry of arrows shot towards them, forcing the knights to stop.

Laws lowered his bow and said, "I hope to Milis you know what you're doing, Paul!"

"Don't worry!" Paul avoided a blade swung at his head and then flung his sheath at the guy in return.

"Gah!"

A knight crumpled and fell to the ground.

The knight commander roared and ran towards Paul, swinging his sword.

Paul easily parried it and laughed. "My six-year old son fights better than you."

"I will *gut* you where you stand and-"

The knight commander froze.

Paul grinned.

The reason for that...

"And you call me a muscle-brain, Paul. I thought becoming a knight meant you'd be smarter than this." A cool and suave female voice echoed.

The source of the voice was a wild beauty standing behind the knights. Lightly tanned skin, the signature furred coat and treasured sword of a Sword King, a pair of fluffy ears, a tail... and a smoking hot trained body that Paul still thought about sometimes when reminiscing about the past.

Paul laughed and said, "I'm guessing Uncle Sauros isn't happy about this if you're here, right Ghyslaine?"

"Hm. And you must be in a pinch if you're not calling me muscle-brain." The woman... No. Ghyslaine Dedoldia, the Sword King personally trained by the current Sword God and also the woman currently employed by the Boreas Family household in the Citadel of Roa.

She cracked her neck and said, "Well. I can understand why considering who these guys are. Now..." She gave the knights a feral grin and said, "Lord Sauros expects a proper explanation why the Notos Family sent men across his territory under the flag of the Asura Kingdom. You will oblige... will you not?"

-LIV-

In a dark void unreachable to any being currently alive, a figure wreathed in white mist clicked his tongue. "None of that worked either, huh? What a weird kid... Just what is it that keeps twisting fate to his favor the harder I push?"

Silence.

Then...

"Hm. Well, if direct attempts on and around him and his immediate surroundings are no good, let's try something more subtle..."

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