“A baby is God's opinion that life should go on.”
- The Journey to the Afterlife
***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
“I want to hold her too!”
“No!” Seria turns away, shielding Illia with her body. “You suggested to call her Ingrid. She isn't some fair maiden from Norse mythology. She is directly related to some of the most infamous beings in the multiverse. There is no way that we can give her such a mundane name. She has to become fierce and carve out a legend of her own.”
That woman will be the death of me! “She'll be afraid of me if I am not even allowed to bond with her as a father. And you'll have to let go of her once our forces are ready to attack.” Our family won’t take forever to plan the attack.
Seria furrows her forehead in silent contemplation. “Why do I have to let go of her when we attack?”
Sensing a way to win the argument, I quickly shift my angle of attack. “Oh! Of course. I am sorry. I simply assumed that you want to be at everyone's side when we face the mystery man. Of course you can stay behind and look after our daughter. To be honest, now that I know about your intentions, I am really glad that you decided to stay out of harm's way to be with Illia.”
Seria pastes a paltry smile onto her face. “Nonono. Of course I'll join the attack. You have no idea of all the things that could go wrong! Mother and I have to be there! In the worst case scenario, both of us will be needed to stop father.”
Why would we have to stop Shade? Let him rain Armageddon on our enemies for all I care. Doing my best to project a calm and icy aura, I nail the coffin shut. “So you really intend to bring Illia along into a war-zone?”
Seria works with her beautiful lips, an inner conflict apparent on her face. She sniffs. “Fine. We'll hand her over to my younger brothers. They have to protect her with their lives while staying at the palace's safest room. If someone of questionable character comes even near her...”
The one with the most questionable character is you...
“Did you say something?”
“No.” Damn the marriage bond! I really have to learn to control that ability.
“Good! So take her while I go and get my brothers. It will be bothersome and will take a while. They have some kind of warning system. Once I catch the first one, the others go into hiding. It’s like being around is no good to them, yet they always tried to shoo away my potential partners.” She hands Illia over to me and hurries out of our private quarters.
Now I am not really sure if I should be grateful to her brothers. The three younger ones are idiots though. And I’ve yet to meet the eldest one, but he makes a point of not being around.
Then I suddenly realize that I’ve won! Sighing contentedly about my victory, I cuddle Illia, coaxing some happy baby sounds out of her. It feels so good to hold her for the first time. Seria didn't want to let go of Illia after the family disbanded yesterday. I had to go a whole night without so much as even having held my daughter in my arms. Holding her now feels like a big victory in my relationship with Seria.
Could it be that I'm slowly getting the hang of winning arguments against her? I certainly did well in convincing Seria to hand Illia over. She is surely irrational when it comes to our daughter. Hopefully that goes away with time. I am not sure on how to deal with such behaviour.
I bend over to kiss Illia on the forehead, smelling that she is in a little predicament. Oh, the joy of being a parent. I almost forgot about it.
My victory suddenly doesn't feel like a victory at all. Seria just didn't want to clean Illia up, so she handed her over. I sigh and walk to a shelf with a lot of books. I am quite sure that Seria organized some books with convenient spells to take care of babies. “Don't worry. Dad will relearn all the cleaning spells there are. You will be the cleanest child in the world... and not smelly at all.”
With a flick of my wrist, I open the windows and turn to the shelf, wondering if Seria has an index for her books. Maybe cleaning Illia under the shower is faster than searching the whole shelf? There are well over a hundred books. Only one thought comes to mind.
I've been had!
An hour later Illia is clean and pleasant-smelling. I am just about to sit down to watch a movie when Seria returns with her three youngest brothers in tow. She gestures them into the room and they file in as if they are conscripted soldiers. “Don't worry. You can join the fight the next time when the multiverse is in dire danger of ending. For now you can take care of the second most important matter.”
So babysitting Illia is the second most important matter in the multiverse? Interesting, though I suppose that it's true for the three of them. Seria will have their heads if they fail their task. Not wholly convinced that this is a good idea, I hand Illia over to Erez, the youngest brother. “Necessary baby stuff is in the bathroom. You might want to get acquainted with it.”
The young man snorts. “My body might look young, but I've regained enough memories to be confident about my abilities. I can take care of one, little baby.”
Seria glares at him.
“... of course we'll check if we need anything else. Illia won't lack anything!” He nods at the oldest brother and he heads towards the bathroom.
“We'll be going then. Thanks for babysitting!” I hurry to nudge Seria to the door and close it just as her brother enters the bathroom. The muffled scream of disgust is abruptly cut off. Hm, her quarters have good sound isolation. I suppose that it shouldn't surprise me if I take her old hobby of going on man-hunts into account.
“Why are you in a hurry? I couldn't say goodbye to Illia. We were parted for more than an hour.” Seria complains.
Yeah, well. The bathroom was a mess after I abandoned the idea of using a spell. The damned poop-monster fought with all her might against being cleaned. I've to summon a tsunami and flush the bathroom out once I get the opportunity. “She was sleeping anyway. The little rascal was tired after we fought our epic battle against the shadow king.”
Seria pulls her eyebrows together and regards me with a stern expression. “Are you riling her up to dislike my father?”
Oh! Damn! I suppose it could be interpreted that way. “O- Of course not! We just have a really tiring playing session behind us.” Training session, to be precise. Or should I call it indoctrination? The earlier you start, the more results you get.
“I've a strange feeling that I shouldn't leave you alone with Illia,” Seria mumbles and tilts her head, looking at me.
“You are being overprotective!” I smile and take her into my arms.
To distract her, I dig my fingers into her softness and hold her in a tight embrace. “Now, how about visiting the others? We don't want to miss the attack, don't we?”
She harrumphs and replies by embracing me herself. “Let us end the problem once and for all.”
I don't waste any time and teleport us to the now repaired citadel. Shade was adamant about using her as his flagship. I think that I've never before met a guy who is that enthusiastic about big, flying vessels with a lot of tonnage and doomsday weapons on board.