chapter 202: bloody bonds

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Naturally, I had no desire to wait to handle the matter with the halfling representative. Once Scarlet and the rest of the rank ten spirits were gone, I began moving back into the Citadel. Since there was not as much of a rush this time, I chose not to take the elevator passage. Well, that and the fact that it was hard to judge which section of the wall was which floor.

At least with the navigation perk I unlocked a while back, I could easily find my way to Trixy’s room, the path that it took simply didn’t lead through any secret passages. Probably some silly nonsense about walls not being proper paths. Either way, Aurivy continued to trail behind me, humming happily again as we moved to the room.

Once we arrived, I gave a firm knock on the door. The last thing I wanted was to walk in on her changing and cause a scene. “Huh? Uhm… come in!” Her voice called out from within the room. As I opened the door, I found her standing at the wardrobe, folding a shirt to slip into one of the drawers. “Oh, Keeper! Sorry, uhm… did you need something?”

Rather than answering right away, I focused my sight on her. Aurivy had said that I would need to look past the surface in order to see the information about the martial spirit contained within her. And sure enough, I found a second information window appearing when my gaze focused on the nervous girl.

Level 135 Trixy Lorane

Level 170 Rank 1 Martial Spirit

I gave a brief nod as I confirmed the information, sighing as I looked at Trixy. The girl was sweating all over, her eyes shaking. Her hands clutched at her shirt. “K-Keeper?”

“The creature living inside of you… is it going to pose a problem?” It was truly the lowest ranked martial spirit, just as Scarlet had said. Naturally, that meant that it also had the lowest intelligence out of all of them.

“H-huh? Pool? You uh… you saw him?” She backed up half a step as she said that, looking every bit like a deer caught in headlights.

“Is that it’s name?” I mused quietly, before shaking his head. “I just need to know if he will create an issue.”

“N-no! He won’t hurt anyone! He just protects me, I swear!” Trixy shouted out urgently, her voice itself shaking when she realized her outburst. “I-I mean. He likes it when he gets the chance to hunt, but you said that we won’t get to hunt anymore. I’m sure he’ll understand…”

I couldn’t help but let out another sigh at that. Briefly, I ran through a list of options in my head. Naturally, it would be impossible to let Trixy down on a regular basis to hunt. Doing so would be a gross misuse of Aurivy’s power.

After a few moments of thought, an idea occurred to me. “What is it that ‘Pool’ likes about hunting? Is it the fight, or actually killing something?” If it was just the creature’s instincts to kill that caused it to want to hunt, then this would be a problem. We might even need to get a new representative from the halflings.

“Killing? Oh, no! No, he just loves running around and fighting things! He only really kills to protect me… or when we’re hungry.”

I could feel a faint smile forming on my lips at that, and the giggle from behind me let me know that Aurivy had caught onto my solution. “Follow me, then.” I told Trixy, giving her a moment to process the order before turning around and walking out of the room.

“Huh? Oh, okay!” She called out, following just behind me. “Does this mean that we’ll be able to hunt again?”

“Not quite…” I shook my head at the question, leading her down the stairs. Thankfully, I could still feel the kitsune maid’s presence nearby. Her ki was stronger than Trixy’s, and even Melora’s, but it was far more well hidden. If there were more people in the Citadel, then I likely wouldn’t be able to find her without help.

Once we got to the library, we saw her sitting at one of the reading tables, a pile of books on either side of her. Although she had an intense expression on her face, her ears flicked as soon as we began to approach. Quickly, she closed the book that she was reading, and looked up at us. “Keeper. And… Halfling?” She asked, doing her best to recall the name of Trixy’s race.

Of course, Trixy had had no time yet to study English, so it came as no surprise when she was unable to understand the maid’s words. However, I simply nodded in her place. “That’s right. I would like to ask you to help me with a task involving this one.”

As soon as I finished my words, the maid had vanished from her position, instead appearing down on one knee in front of me. One fist pressed against the ground, as the other pressed against her chest. Her ears stood straight up, and even her tail had turned still behind her. “Whatever you command of me, Keeper.”

I did my best not to show my surprise at her sudden movement. With my full abilities unlocked, it was not often that things happened too fast for me to track. However, even though moving through chakra is instantaneous, I almost didn’t even feel her use chakra when she moved. Clearly, she used only the bare minimum required for the act, and did so as an instinctive response.

“Trixy. Let Pool out.” I spoke, switching to the halfling language for a moment to deliver those words.

Only allowed on

“Huh? Are you sure… well, alright.” She muttered to herself, before closing her eyes. “It’s alright, Pool, you can come out now.” The words were whispered, just barely loud enough that the rest of us could make them out.

Glancing back, I saw a bloody glow emerge from Trixy’s hand, red vapor seeping out of her pores. As the vapor congealed in the air, it took on a liquid form, which quickly solidified in the shape of a small dog. A blood-red hound just as large as Trixy herself, its body crouched low and dangerous. An audible snarl emerged from its lips as it stared not at me, but the maid in front of us.

However, its stare only lasted the briefest moment. As soon as the maid’s eyes opened, shifting upwards to look at the creature, the growl vanished. Pool’s eyes closed, and he covered his head with his paws, whimpering pitifully.

“Pool, are you okay!?” Trixy asked, understandably worried at the martial spirit’s sudden change in behavior. She stepped in front of the giant dog, trying to place her hand on its paws. However, Pool took advantage of the situation to hide behind her, his large body comically hidden behind the small halfling. “I’m sorry, Keeper, he never acts like this!”

However, I couldn’t help but laugh lightly as I saw the event playing out. Scarlet had proven that martial spirits were extremely sensitive to auras of blood, so much that she was able to identify the maid from the other side of the Citadel, as well as the presence of Pool himself. And now I understood why Scarlet said to make sure that the maid was able to act if things went bad. “Well, this will make things easier.”

I sent a silent prayer to Aurivy, asking her to translate my words to Trixy so that I would not have to repeat myself. Looking to the maid, I spoke with a small smile. “I would like you to ‘spar’ with the creature every now and then. It requires regular exercise to prevent it from running wild.”

The fox girl tilted her head slightly, before lowering it to the ground once again. “If that is your wish, my lord. I assume you do not wish the creature killed?”

“No killing Pool!” Trixy suddenly blurted out, turning around and spreading her arms to shield the martial spirit behind her. It seemed like Aurivy was translating the maid’s words as well.

“That’s right. There’s no need to kill it.” I confirmed, being met with a nod by the maid.

“Understood. I will follow your words.” After saying that, she lifted her head again to look at the martial spirit hiding behind Trixy. “Please inform me when he needs to… exercise.”

There was an audible gulp from the nervous halfling, and it seemed like Pool couldn’t take it anymore. His body exploded into a mist of blood, pouring back into Trixy’s body. Strangely, she seemed to relax after Pool merged with her once again.

“You can go back to your room now, Trixy.” I told her, looking back at the halfling. As if my words were a signal for a race, the small girl turned and bolted for the door faster than I knew she was capable of. She even seemed to be using ki to push herself to retreat faster and faster.

And, as my eyes turned back towards the maid, I couldn’t help but crease my brow. It was because of the information that I had been seeing from the maid herself ever since I first saw her. Also the reason why I could still not call her by name.

Level 313 Kitsune

Like the martial spirit, she simply did not have a real name. Aurivy, name, explain.

Ah, whoops! Sorry! Aurivy quickly responded to my mental message. In the ninja village, the Servants have no name. They lose it in their childhood training. It is up to their future master to name them. It is a mark of pride for them to be named by their master.

That… would have been good to know before. Here I was, worried that her name was actually Kitsune. That would have been about as awkward as running into someone named Human Smith or something.

Thinking about it for a moment, I called out the first name that came to mind, which was not completely terrible and something that I’d be able to remember easily. “Tsubaki.” It was the first name I thought of when I thought of a female ninja…

The maid’s ears twitched a bit at the sudden address. Though, when nobody responded to the name, she glanced up at me curiously. “Keeper, do you mean…?” She asked, and I could feel a tinge of hope in her tone.

“That is your name now.” I told her simply. To someone who did not know the situation, it might look like I had personally stripped her of her old name to brand her with a new one. Instead, from Aurivy’s description, this is literally what she has trained for.

“Yes!” She nodded her head in understanding. The maid… no, Tsubaki lowered her head to look at the floor once again, though I could see the fist planted against the ground trembling slightly. “Soo… bah… ki. Tsubaki will treasure the name given to her!” After sounding the name out to herself, she declared her intentions.

“You can rise now, Tsubaki.” I said, placing my hands behind my back. Unlike her quick movement before, she rose far more gracefully. In one fluid motion she was back on her feet, her hands folded neatly in front of herself.

“Is there anything else that I can do for you, my lord?” Tsubaki asked, a newfound eagerness in her tone.

“Not at the moment, no. If something comes up, I will be sure to let you know. For now, I will let you return to your reading.” She seemed to deflate slightly when I turned down the request. However, the moment I mentioned her books, her expression brightened once more.

“Yes, Keeper!” Tsubaki spoke with an energetic nod, already back in her seat faster than I could blink. The book that had been closed when we arrived was suddenly opened once again, a wide and happy smile on the kitsune’s face as she began to pore through it.

Well… that’s those problems down… I thought to myself as I turned to leave the library.

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