Volume 5 Chapter 9-1: The Boundary that Protects One’s Humanity

「Cyril-niisama, that feels good.」
I was brushing Yukino in my workshop. Yukino was lying on my lap, dressed in her underwear to make it easier to brush her. She wore a thin tank top-like undershirt and low-rise string panties on the bottom, designed to let her tail free. Half of her white buttocks were visible.
Her silver, fluffy tail felt great to the touch, and I couldn’t help but feel happy just by stroking it.
「I remember where you like to be brushed, Yukino. Look, if I do this here…」
I focused my attention on Yukino’s weak point, the underside of the base of her tail, lightly touching it.
「Hafuu, Cyril-niisamaaa…」
In response, Yukino shivered all over, and I could feel her trembling through my hand. She was sensitive, and her reactions were amusing.
「If you want me to do more, just say so.」
「It’s fine. If Yukino feels any better, Yukino will lose her mind.」
Her voice was sultry. I felt my heart skip a beat, just a little.
「Ahem, by the way, Yukino, how is Kuu doing?」
I’d been concerned about the pregnant Kuu since I left. I hoped she hadn’t had any complications while I’d been away…
「Her health is fine, but Yukino is worried. Kuu-neesama lost her appetite lately.」
「I see, she’s three months pregnant now, so she may have entered that phase.」
At this stage, the physical changes caused by pregnancy started to become more noticeable. It was also the period when pregnant women were most anxious, as the peak of morning sickness coincided with this time. I felt guilty for being away at such a critical moment.
「I need to think of foods that are light, easily digestible, and nutritious, which Kuu can eat even now.」
While brushing Yukino’s tail, I started pondering Kuu’s diet. Soup should be the main dish. The venison jerky I’ve made from deer meat should be nicely aged by now; making broth with it could yield something delicious.
「Yukino has a recipe that Kuu-neesama can eat even now, Yukino will teach it to Cyril-niisama later. Yukino is proud of it. It uses the clear goat milk left from making cheese, with added cranberry juice and maple syrup. You solidify it with potato flour and chill it. It’s cold, wiggly, and delicious.」
「That sounds delicious and nutritious as well.」
Let’s analyze Yukino’s dish.
The ‘clear goat’s milk’ must be whey. Cheese was made by solidifying the fat content of goat’s milk; once the fat was removed, what remained became transparent. Whey was rich in protein and calcium, and since the fat had been removed, it lost its gamey smell and became easier to drink. Adding cranberry for tartness and maple syrup for sweetness balanced out the flavors. Lastly, potato flour acted as a substitute for gelatin to solidify the liquid. This would result in a nutritious and refreshing sweet and sour jelly—perfect for the pregnant Kuu.
「You’re amazing, Yukino. How did you come up with such a recipe?」
「Kuu-neesama was suffering, and Yukino wanted to do something for her, so Yukino remembered everything you taught her about cooking, and after thinking very hard about ingredients and cooking methods and trying a lot, Yukino did it.」
I was really impressed. She had been able to apply what she had learned, which meant she hadn’t just memorized the recipes but had understood the rationale behind each cooking step and the properties of each ingredient.
「Would you make that dish for me next time, Yukino? Hearing about it made me want to try it.」
「You’ll eat it, Cyril-niisama? Yukino will do her best!!」
「Thank you. I’m looking forward to it.」
Yukino was also my disciple in cooking. I was curious to see how much she had improved; knowing how hardworking she was, she must have made significant progress while I’d been away.
「By the way, Cyril-niisama.」
「What is it?」
「Yukino wants to talk about Kuu-neesama too, but now is Yukino’s reward time. Please don’t talk about Kuu-neesama or Lucy-sama now. Only think about Yukino.」
「You’re right, it’s Yukino’s time now. I’m sorry. I’ll focus only on you now.」
「Mm.」
Her words were curt, but her tail wagged energetically, clearly showing her happiness. I wasn’t prepared for the sudden movement and ended up dropping the brush.
「Yukino, I can’t brush you if you wag your tail like that.」
「So-, sorry, Cyril-niisama.」
Yukino immediately stopped wagging her tail, but it was obvious she couldn’t contain her joy. Now her black-tipped, silver fox ears started to twitch. Come to think of it, Kuu enjoyed having her fox ears nibbled on, but what about Yukino? Once the thought crossed my mind, I couldn’t stop focusing on those twitching fox ears. I had to try it.
「Hamu.」
I gently nibbled on Yukino’s fox ears. A shiver ran from the top of her head all the way down to the tip of her tail. It was a little funny.
「Kyaa.」
She let out a small scream and jumped off my lap, glaring at me with teary eyes while holding her ears.
「Cyr-, Cyril-niisama, what was that for?」
She looked at me with resentful eyes, filled with tears. She was clearly angry.
「I’m sorry. I didn’t think you’d be so startled. Kuu likes it when I do that, so I thought you might enjoy it too.」
My prank failed; Yukino really didn’t like it. I should have asked her beforehand, I felt bad.
「Yukino feels icky being bitten on the ear… Cyril-niisama, you’re cruel.」
「I’m truly sorry.」
「Do you like to bite ears?」
Yukino asked timidly, her tone filled with caution. If I was asked if I liked it or not…
「I like it, maybe?」
I found the fox ears on Kuu and Yukino cute. I liked to play with those cute ears.
「Well… if it’s Cyril-niisama, Yukino will endure anything. If you want to bite Yukino’s ears, go ahead.」
Yukino offered her head, trembling as she clenched the hem of her undershirt with both hands. She must have really disliked it. At this point, my guilt outweighed my curiosity.
「I won’t do anything you dislike, Yukino. I really didn’t expect you to hate it this much. I’m sorry, please forgive me.」
「You won’t bite my ears?」
「I won’t. So come here.」
「Alright, Cyril-niisama.」
She climbed back onto my lap.
「Yukino, I’d like to make it up to you. What would you like?」
「……Fox me. Yukino will forgive you if we fox.」
「That doesn’t count as an apology, you know. I want to do it too.」
「But Yukino wants to fox.」
「Alright then, let’s fox a lot.」
「Okay, Cyril-niisama!!」
After that, we foxed until Yukino was utterly exhausted.

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