Playing With Pets
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
Looking at Rir’s new title made me grimace. The poor wolf had been through so much that the world itself had deemed him worthy of being labelled as worn out.
“Sorry, Rir.” I gently pat the pitiable canine on the back as I spoke. “I didn’t know you had it that hard.”
My actions prompted him to whine in confusion and give me a bewildered look. Sorry man, I’ll try to treat you better from now on. I’m sorry for being such a shitty owner.
I continued to lament his suffering for a while but stopped as I heard a pair of footsteps approach me from the rear. Turning around, I saw Illuna and Lefi strolling over, hand in hand. What a sight for sore eyes.
“There you are!” The vampire let go of the dragon’s hand and dashed right at me, so I scooped her up in a hug.
“What’s up, girls?”
“Illuna wished to visit the outdoors and interact with our new pets,” said Lefi. “My purpose is that of an escort. I am accompanying her to ensure her safety.”
The terms outdoors and outside, when used by members of our household, typically meant anything that lay beyond the cave. One of the house’s rules was that the kids weren’t allowed to go outside unsupervised. It was too dangerous. Illuna had been kidnapped once already and we didn’t need a repeat. Any kid that wanted to play outside would have to be accompanied by an adult.
Though it may have seemed like it, the supervision requirement didn’t prove to be much of an issue. The grasslands were vast. As far as the kids were concerned, playing in the plains was functionally equivalent to playing outdoors already, so chaperoned excursions were rare.
“Thanks for bringing her, Lefi,” I said. “Looks like you’ve become quite the respectable guardian, huh?”
“I see not how my capacity as a guardian is indicative of change,” she replied. “Have I have not always watched over you and your childish antics?”
“Childish antics? That’s real rich coming from you.” I rolled my eyes.
As far as I was concerned, I was the one looking after her. But with that said, Lefi had proven that she was actually a decent caretaker. She was great at looking after the kids, and they all seemed fairly attached to her. And as of late, she had even started doing housework.
“Lefi sure does make for a pretty great wife.”
“W-What is this all of a sudden!?”
“Huh?” I paused for a second. “Oh, whoops. I didn’t mean to say that out loud.”
“I fail to follow! I understand not how you could have possibly derived that thought from the topic at hand!” shouted Lefi with her face red as a tomato. Ermahgerd. This woman be adorable.
“Don’t worry too much about it,” I said. “Anyway, how about you take a look at our new pets?”
Lefi sensed my desire to change the topic and hopped all aboard. She “cleared her throat” by faking a cough before beginning to speak.
“I assume they are of the species we discussed?”
“Pretty much, yeah. I grabbed a bunch of pre-evolutions based on the stuff you told me you had trouble with,” I said. “Er, kinda. There’s one that doesn’t fit into that category, but I’m pretty confident it’ll end up just as strong.”
Byakku was a demonic cat, a creature that stemmed from Japanese folklore. I was pretty sure that Lefi didn’t know about it, and that I was only able to summon it because my memories had carried over. The dungeon’s catalogue had mentioned that it had excellent potential for growth, and its final evolution was a master of illusion. It was going to be extremely powerful. I just knew it. I can totally imagine it saying “Amaterasu,” and creating a bunch of black flames that can’t be put out.
“I expected you to procure yet another young maiden,” said Lefi. “I am relieved to see that you have proven me wrong.”
“Yeaaaah… I was pretty worried that’d happen too,” I said with a grimace. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve already hit the cap on the little girl count. There’s already way too many for me to handle. Adding to their number just sounds like a recipe for disaster. Let’s not.
Illuna approached the group of four monsters with her eyes sparkling as Lefi and I talked.
“Wow! They’re all so big!” Her voice was filled with naught but energy. There wasn’t a speck of fear to be found no matter how hard I listened. “Nice to meet you everyone! I’m Illuna!”
The monsters’ reactions could be categorized into two groups. The first group consisted of the guys, Orochi and Yata. Both the snake and the crow seemed somewhat unsettled. They had no idea what they were supposed to do with the child that had suddenly popped up in front of them. Byakku and Wsprit, on the other hand, reacted more amicably. The cat approached Illuna and rubbed her face against the young vampire’s affectionately. Likewise, the water spirit also approached while happily bobbing around in the air.
Though I quite literally only just summoned them, I was already starting to get a grasp on their individual personalities. The guys seemed straight-laced. The girls, on the other hand, were much more friendly and open. Er, wait. Right. Wsprit is genderless, isn’t it? There goes that hypothesis. Well, either way, sorry Orochi, Yata, but as members of this household, you guys are going to have to learn a thing or two about dealing with kids. You’re probably going to find yourselves swarmed by them sooner or later. Just calling it out ahead of time.
Sooner appeared to be the word of the day, as Illuna’s interest immediately shifted to Orochi the moment she was done playing with Byakku and her fur. She approached the massive serpent and started running her hands across the bright red scales that covered the surface of his body.
“Wow! Your scales are so sleek and shiny!”
Orochi had no idea what to do. He desperately looked around at everyone present as if to beg for advice. Noticing his plight, Byakku heaved a bit of a sigh before turning towards him and meowing in a catlike manner. The only difference between the noise she made and a regular meow was that hers was a bit deeper and more elongated. After acknowledging his coworker’s advice with a nod, Orochi dropped his head to ground level and put it right in front of Illuna.
“Are you… letting me on?”
The snake hissed in affirmation.
“Yay! Thanks!” Illuna’s eyes sparkled all the more as she happily climbed on his head. The Giant Blood Serpent slowly craned his head back up and raised her into the sky. “Wow! It’s so high up here! I can see everything!”
The newfound view had her almost screaming in joy and excitement.
“You know, I’ve been thinking this for some time now, but Illuna’s pretty damn brave, isn’t she?” I said. “She really doesn’t seem to be afraid of much of anything at all.”
Normal kids would be terrified of being that high up. And that’s completely disregarding the giant ass, mean-looking snake. I’m pretty sure most people would start running the moment they saw him. Dude’s terrifying. Is this just a kid thing? Like, is she just not scared because she doesn’t really understand what he can do to her? Or is it more of an Illuna thing?
“I believe that there are two contributors to her lack of fear,” said Lefi. “The first is that you have labelled the creatures as pets. And the second is she takes after none other than yourself.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I turned towards the girl I’d put a ring on just in time to see her shrug.
“She bears your stupidity, Yuki. I suppose that you may also label it bravery if that is what you wish,” said Lefi. “For few have the gall to challenge a member of this world’s most powerful race to single combat.”
“Oh, stop it, you. You’re making me blush.”
“Offering praise was not by any means my intention,” said Lefi. “But whatever the case, her audacity bears a striking resemblance to your own.”
“Huh…” I couldn’t help but smile. “I guess you’re right. She really did get that from me, didn’t she?”
“Tell me, Yuki. Why is it that you have reacted with a display of satisfaction?” said Lefi, exasperated.
“Y-you would too if you were in my shoes,” I stuttered. “It just feels good to know that she’s so comfortable around me that she’s started picking up my habits. Really makes me feel like I’ve done a good job as her guardian.”
“I suppose I would…” said Lefi. “The argument that you have made is one I cannot deny.”
“See? I knew you’d get it.”
“Yuki! Lefi! Look! I’m flying!”
I would have continued looking at and speaking to the dragon, but Illuna called for the two of us, so I turned my head back in her direction instead. And as I did, I discovered that she was no longer on Orochi’s head. She had moved over to Yata’s back instead. The two were flying around the nearby skies.
“Uhhh… I-I’m not so sure that’s okay…” I struggled a bit to put my words together as I watched the two go. “I don’t even want to imagine what’d happen if she fell.”
“Take to the skies, Yuki. Spread your wings and accompany that bird of yours. I shall remain beneath them should the worst occur,” said Lefi. “I shall have you grill that bird and make it tonight’s dinner should he dare drop her.”
“Yeah uh… so I think I’m going to pass on the grilling part,” I said. I did just get him after all. Can’t be that strict with my new hires. R-right?
And so, Lefi and I spent the rest of the day drowned in worry as Illuna found all sorts of ways to play with our new pets.