Volume 3 Chapter 8-1: Maple Syrup


Hot…so hot. I couldn’t keep sleeping and opened my eyes.

Both my hands and feet were entwined with something soft and hot.

「Oh now I remember…last night I was pulling an all-nighter and couldn’t get home…」

I had woken up inside the workshop that I had loaned the Fire Foxes. We were forced to move up the timetable on gathering materials for our new specialty products, they would help us earn lots of foreign income and I was rushing to prepare tools for that purpose.

Somehow I had managed to complete the preparations last night, but it was already far too late to head home. I attempted to move into the other workshop next door, but the young girls kept me here.

「Kuro’s…gonna chew on Cyril-niisama’s ears…」
「573 days til I’m Cyril-niisama’s wife….」

The three young fire foxes Kemin, Kuro, and Yukino were cuddled up to me under the same blanket as they slept peacefully while occasionally sleep talking. I couldn’t help but think they were adorable.

The other Fire Foxes didn’t seem to mind that a man like me was sleeping here so I decided to stay here for the night. If I went to sleep in the other storehouse then I’d end up sleeping in the freezing cold. The temptation of staying in this workshop that was kept warm by the Fire Foxes’ temperature magic was undeniable, plus I couldn’t help but yield to the petition from my adorable little sisters to stay.

I looked outside to see that it was almost dawn.

Some others had started to wake up as well.

Yesterday I had asked that they only leave the minimum number of people here to tend to the goats while I brought the rest elsewhere to take care of another important task. This was probably why some of them woke up especially early.

「Good morning Cyril-kun」

Kuu was wide awake and began to dress herself for the day. She was one of the girls who stayed up latest with me to finish my work, but she was strangely energetic. Even though she should be tired from her daily training…

「Good morning Kuu」
「Did you sleep well last night?」
「Ahh, it was nice and warm here. Plus I had some nice hug pillows snuggled up to me.」

I smiled wryly as I patted the three girls’ heads.

「You really love children don’t you Cyril-kun? I’ll head to the second workshop ahead of you to warm it up, please wake these girls and come over in a bit.」
「Sorry for the trouble.」
「If it’s for you, then this much is nothing.」

Kuu said happily as she departed.

As long as I was here the rest of the Fire Foxes couldn’t get changed, and even I felt some resistance to changing in front of all of them. Because of that I would move to the second workshop to change and prepare, but that empty building would be absolutely freezing so early in the morning. To remedy that, Kuu had gone ahead to warm up the building.

Once that was done, I could comfortably prepare myself for the rest of the day.

「But still…everyone is so pretty.」

I poked at my three little sisters’ cheeks as I looked at their sleeping faces.

In my opinion, if you took off make-up and closed your eyes, yet you were still beautiful, then you were naturally a beauty. This was only my personal opinion, but the three of them were very cute. It made me want to tease them.

Hmm…maybe I should poke their cute ears? The inside of their ears were filled with fluffy white fur that made me curious about what was inside. If I poked it with my finger then maybe I might find out.

I shook of that evil thought and simply shook them lightly awake.

After dressing properly in the other workshop I stepped outside. The cold outside was piercing, but after a while you got used to it. Winter was finally ending. The snow was no longer falling. All that was left was waiting for the snow to melt.

I was standing and thinking in front of the many jugs that the Fire Foxes had made.

The members of Nettle were approaching the level of skill that I expected from them. The hellish “cookie only” mountain training with Kuu and Yukino mixed in had been completed successfully. Simply watching them sit around on the mountain doing nothing was boring, so I harassed them plenty, but even so they overcame the trials over those couple days.

Recently I had raised the difficulty of the archery practice where they had to pass 7 out of 10 sets to succeed, but even so over the past two weeks none had failed.

The training program for Nettle was: rapid fire training in the morning, fortitude and concentration training afterwards, then carrying 20kg of goods up the mountain using 『Body Enhancement』 while running a three hour marathon, and finally various specialized cooperation training courses to beat certain actions into their minds and bodies.

The fortitude training was to have them standby for two hours while hidden, then at a random time I would use magic to send a floating ball of light moving 40k/h across their field of view around 200m away. They would have to watch for it, and shoot it down when it appeared. Nowadays, they all managed to accomplish it successfully most of the time.

This practice was surprisingly difficult. They had no idea when it would appear and would have to focus for the entire time causing their nerves to fray. Then, if they let their guard down and the light appeared, then they would miss their chance and fail.

It was hard enough to hit a small fast-moving object in the first place. Furthermore, I aimed for they moment they lost focus which raised the difficulty even further.

At first practically no one succeeded, but finally Roleau and Lucy were the first to accomplish it. After that, others began to succeed. I’m sure they were sharing advice amongst themselves.

To be honest, there was a trick to this. Rather than focusing yourself too hard on the task, you needed to split your mind between not focusing too hard, yet remaining alert so that you could maintain your guard the entire time. In that state you would be able to react quickly without overtaxing your mind and body.

Even the most focused person couldn’t remain completely concentrated for more than an hour. You needed to relax and focus. This contradicting feeling was the basis of being a good sniper and each member of Nettle needed to make this feeling natural.

They have all acquired the basic skills necessary, so now we only needed to enter a period of adjustment, practice, and planning.


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