The Grand Castle never had any children present, and the few who occasionally visited with their parents were always well-behaved. This made Mille’s behavior even more unfamiliar and overwhelming for Erna.
“…how overwhelming it can be,” Erna finally said, her voice low. “When they cry like that, I mean. It’s like they’re tearing your insides apart.”
Kalion’s face softened in understanding. “I know it’s not easy,” he said, reaching out to take her hand. “But I also know that we could be amazing parents, if we gave it a chance.”
“I thought they would be quieter and more well-behaved,” Erna muttered.
Kalion couldn’t help but burst out laughing at Erna’s words. “Mille is seven years old, Erna. How can she possibly be quiet and calm all the time?”
“But the seven-year-olds I’ve seen weren’t like that,” Erna replied defensively.
Kalion shrugged. “Maybe we just seemed unfamiliar to her today.”
He got up from his seat, stretched, and rolled his shoulders and neck. Despite his years of training, he felt somewhat burdened by his mid-thirties body. Yet, he also noticed that some movements came more naturally to him now, thanks to years of practice.
I do get tired more easily now, though, he admitted. In the past, he could stay up for days without feeling the slightest bit sleepy, but now he found himself getting drowsy earlier. With that in mind, Kalion headed off to bed, knowing that good food and ample rest were crucial in situations like these.
“Erna, it’s time to go to bed now,” Kalion said, interrupting her reading.
Erna looked at the stack of wizard’s records she still had to finish with regret before climbing into bed. As she tried to cover herself with a blanket, Kalion stared at her chest, making her uneasy.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, sensing his hesitance.
“It’s nothing,” Kalion replied awkwardly.
Erna followed his gaze and immediately understood. She held her chest, which had become heavy and swollen ever since they stopped breastfeeding Lionel. While she was relieved that he was eating solid food well, the discomfort of not breastfeeding was taking a toll on her body.
Her chest, already on the larger side, was now even more troublesome to deal with, often making it difficult to find clothes that fit properly. Leaking milk and damp undergarments were just a few of the many discomforts she had to endure. She winced, feeling a throbbing pain in her chest.
“It still feels uncomfortable,” she muttered, feeling frustrated with her body’s inability to cope with the changes.
“Let’s sleep now,” Erna said as she covered herself with a blanket, trying to suppress her irritation. However, as she lay down and closed her eyes, she couldn’t ignore the subtle pain in her body. Her shoulders were tense from the weight of her large breasts, and her stomach felt uncomfortable. Erna tossed and turned, feeling unfamiliar sensations, until she drew a magical symbol in the air.
“What’s that?” Kalion asked.
“It’s healing magic. It also has pain-relieving effects,” Erna replied.
“Are you in a lot of pain?”
“I feel aches and pains all over,” she said, her irritation seeping into her voice. After using magic, her body felt much more comfortable than before. Thinking she should stop now and get some rest, Erna closed her eyes. The light from the magic went out, and darkness filled the couple’s bedroom as they sank into the depths of sleep.
Suddenly, a bright light appeared above them, causing Erna and Kalion to jump up in surprise. After a moment, Mille appeared above them as the light disappeared.
“Mom! Dad!” Mille exclaimed as she slipped and fell onto the bed, covering herself with the blanket.
“Ugh!” Kalion winced as she landed precisely on his belly, while Erna looked up, surprised.
“I’m going to sleep here tonight,” Mille said, hugging Erna’s arm. “Just for tonight, okay? The wind is making a lot of noise tonight, and it’s scary.”
Erna grabbed Mille’s shoulders and bombarded her with questions. “What wind? More importantly, how did you use magic like this? And even teleportation without any problems? You can use magic?”
“Mom…?” Mille looked at Erna with round eyes, confused by her mother’s sudden outburst.
Kalion tried to calm Erna down. “Erna, calm down a bit. The child is frightened…”
“Is that the problem now?” Erna’s voice rose as she spoke. “Because of the hasty repair of the defensive magic in the palace, no one can use magic except for me! But how could it be so easily…!” Realizing she was speaking too loudly, Erna closed her mouth and got up from the bed, picking up a column and records about magic from the nearby table.
Mille watched her mother’s frenzied activity and soon began to sob.
Despite her best efforts, Mille burst into tears again, loudly sobbing just as she had done during the day. The sound of her crying reverberated inside the bedroom, and Erna, who was frantically flipping through documents, shouted, “Please, try to be quiet! No, just go back to your room!”
Mille wailed, as if she was trying to make her point known, and cried even louder.
“I said be quiet!”
“I don’t want to!”
Mille let out a piercing scream, and Erna’s voice grew louder in response. Watching the two of them engage in a noisy argument, Kalion couldn’t help but think to himself, she really takes after Erna.