The University of Magical Research and Affairs — Part 2
The professor didn’t speak until Leila and Emyu left the office and closed the door.
“I wanted to talk to you about two things. The first has to do with your child.”
Her voice carried an oddly serious tone, so I took a moment to steel myself before I asked her to continue.
“Alright. Lemme have it.”
“I understand that this isn’t something you will enjoy hearing, but it’s important for you to be aware of, and has to be said. Children whose parents belong to different races are often stillborn.”
“…I guess that is kind of what you’d expect, with different species being different species,” I said, with a deep breath to keep myself calm.
“That isn’t to say that it is impossible to bear a child with someone from another race. They’re not hard to find, and we even have a few living in Baachsburg. But it’s often an unsuccessful process. The Supreme Dragon’s case is particularly peculiar, given that she is not currently in her true form. There isn’t a doctor out there capable of providing a reasonable prediction of what may occur.”
The news didn’t come as a bolt from the blue. It was something that I had considered, at one point or another.
Lefi and I both happened to share a number of biological quirks. More specifically, we had both suddenly popped into existence, as if to spite the natural order. Us having a kid sounded like a bit of a sketchy affair, from the very start.
“Or at least that would be how things would go for most other families.”
Her tone lightened up right as my mood started to sink.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you appear to have quite the notable supply of elixirs, seeing as how you are willing to distribute them. Elixirs are known to most as the medicine of the gods, capable of saving even those that have already opened death’s door. With those on hand, I doubt that the mother, at least, would be put in any danger.”
She spoke in a soothing tone. 100% Intentionally.
“All you’ll need to do is ensure that she has access to medical care and the appropriate facilities therefor. And seeing as how you happen to have quite the reputation, it shouldn’t be very difficult. I’m sure that King Phynar would be happy to assist and provide a doctor if you just ask. Most would, to get on your good side. Your raw power is enough to sway nearly any diplomat.”
“And that’d help reduce the chance of the kid being stillborn?”
“Precisely. I’m sorry if I scared you, that was not the intention. I just felt that it was necessary for you, as the man of the house, to be aware and prepared for any eventuality. Your duty is to support the women in your life, and getting the preparations in order would be an excellent way of doing just that.”
“Thanks, Professor, for being frank. I’ll keep everything you’ve said in mind.”
“When you get to my age, being nosy winds up being one of the few things you happen to excel at.”
She grinned and gave me a big old slap on the back. Damn, that’s one hell of an audacious old lady. Not that I should be surprised, seeing as how she’s the one that raised Leila.
“So what was the other thing you wanted to talk about?” I asked.
“It’s Leila. I was hoping to speak to you about Leila.”
“What about her?”
She twisted her lips into a frown, as if to demonstrate that it wasn’t easy for her to speak her mind.
“Well… I was wondering how you felt about her.”
“Uhhh… she’s reliable as hell. We normally say she’s our last resort.”
“Your last resort?”
Without her, the whole castle would pretty much be unlivable. And if shit goes south and you have no idea what to do, you can always ask her for help, and she’ll fix everything up something proper.
“I… see? Beyond that… how do you feel about her… personally? How important is she to you?”
“I’d die for her.”
“Even though you aren’t romantically involved?”
“Even though we’re not romantically involved. She’s family.”
As the exact opposite of a saint, I had no intention of ever throwing my life away for some random stranger. But my family was different. For them, going that far was perfectly natural. Because that’s what being family is about.
She brooded over the claim before beginning to speak.
“In that case, I would like to make a request,” said the professor. “Leila’s curiosity has always been her main driving force. And if things are left as they are, she’ll be single for the rest of her life. I’d like for her to experience the joy of wedlock, but she isn’t the type to actively seek it. That’s where you come in. From what I gather, she’s rather fond of you.”
I didn’t know how I was supposed to reply, but I did admit that there was certainly some truth to the professor’s words. Leila’s number one priority was always learning, and as a result, she had the tendency to care a lot less about everything else.
“Devoting her life to the study of labyrinths is a choice she made on her own, and certainly a reasonable pursuit, but as her guardian, I have… other thoughts on the matter.”
“Uhhh, I know this is kinda getting off topic, but did you raise her?”
“Effectively, yes. Her parents died at a very young age, just like Emyu’s. I adopted them because they both happened to be rather talented when it came to their studies. But that isn’t to say I was the only one that participated in their rearing. Most orphaned children are raised at least in part by the community as a whole, but I’m the one that functions as their guardian and primary caretaker.”
Leila had always told me that she was raised by the professor, but I never knew she was an orphan.
I’ve pretty much always been carefree and living my best life out there in the Wicked Forest, but now that I think about it, this world sure is rough. Wait… I literally just fought in a war a while back. Huh… Guess it isn’t just all sunshine and rainbows on this side either.
“I can’t say for sure when it comes to Emyu, but I know Leila definitely thinks of you as something of a parent. You’re always the one she brings up when we talk about our relatives and whatnot.”
Eldegaria chuckled. “I’m glad to hear that. But yes, I’m sure you’re aware of the circumstances. I know that you already have three wives, so asking this of you is… perhaps not entirely ordinary. But would you mind seducing her?”
“I’ve devoted my own life to research, and now that I’ve gotten old and withered, I often look back on my youth and find myself feeling a little lonely.” She spoke with all the kindness and warmth of a mother. “I don’t want her to feel the same way. Can you show her what it’s like to love?”