Volume 1 Chapter 16 – Deal


 Lynett


 

Ah~! What a nice weather we are having today! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and not a single cloud in the sky. A perfect summer day.

“Mother f****** asshole! I’m going to murder you! I’m jealous of the people who had the chance NOT to meet you! Your existence itself is a joke, a proof that the Creator had a good sense of humor! Why don’t you shut your mouth for once?! It’s not like you were going to say something smart one day! I don’t know what makes you so stupid, but it really works!”

“Aww! It’s cute when you try to be intimidating! I don’t know which language you’re talking in, but all I hear is b*******! Beauty is skin deep, but ugly is to the bone! I used to think you were pretty, but then you opened your mouth. Look at you, stupid fox! I can’t even beat you up, it would be considered animal abuse!”

That is right. A very beautiful day. I am currently sitting in an armchair placed by to the side of the courtyard, admiring the scenery in front of me while drinking some tea. I wonder what mother is doing right now? I should have asked her to keep me company, she likes tea after all.

“LYNETT! Aren’t you going to do something about him/her?!”

I sighed. “Shut up already, and leave.”

Seriously… Those two are really annoying.

It has been two weeks since Yoko and Harri first visited the mansion. Surprisingly, nothing much happened after that, so my daily life returned to normal. Except for one thing… Ever since, those two have been visiting EVERY-SINGLE-DAY. I first thought that it was because they were bored, and they would eventually stopped coming, but I was wrong.

I was naïve. By claiming this territory and imposing the No-fights rule, I thought the conflicts between Harri and Yoko would subside and that things would eventually calm down. Haha… I was sooooo wrong. Since they were not allowed to solve their disputes by dueling, each time they had a disagreement, those two just came here instead, asking me to be the judge. The worst thing in this story is that their disputes were always over something trivial. Seriously… How old are they? They are supposed to have lived for thousands of years, yet I feel like watching children.

Yoko and Harri’s daily visit first surprised everyone in the house, especially my uncle and my aunt. I am pretty sure Uncle Jack really regrets telling them to ‘come visit whenever they felt like it’ now. To be honest, I do not really hate it since they keep me company, but… Do they really have to come every single day just to complain? So far, their daily disputes pass as lover quarrels, but at this rate, their cover will fall apart.

Ever since I discovered the weird state of my aunt’s mana core, I couldn’t find out any more about it. I had absolutely no lead. If there was someone targeting the family, then the suspects were way too numerous. As nobles, they had a lot of enemies. Besides, it’s not like if I could have Yoko going around kissing people randomly, just to inspect their mana core. Especially not my uncle, he is married -I think. I never met them, but I heard that he had a family. They weren’t living here though… which is kind of weird if you think about it. As the Marquis, shouldn’t his family live with him in the main residence?

That’s suspicious…

“Ugh… This is annoying. I’m getting a headache…” Yoko complained, massaging her temples.

No kidding. You’ve been shouting non-stop for who-knows-how-long.

“Young mistress!” A voice suddenly called out.

Turning my gaze in the direction of the voice, I noticed Ivy running to my side.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“The lord wants to see you,” she said hastily, catching her breath.

Uncle Jack wants to see me? How unusual. Did I do something? Or is it about Yoko and Harri? I would understand if he got tired of seeing those two wandering around everyday… Oh well, in all cases, I don’t think I am in troubles. I turned to the two Mid Gods who were staring at me.

“I’m leaving for a bit. Be good and don’t fight while I’m not watching.”

They both replied with a forced smile, without saying anything. I know they don’t like to be treated like children, especially since they are the older ones, but since they are behaving like children, I will treat them as such. Leaving the silly “couple” behind, I followed Ivy as she lead me to my uncle’s office room. Why does she seem so nervous, though?

◊◊◊◊◊

She stopped. She looked at me. She gave a weak smile. She took a deep breath. She knocked.

It’s just a door, Ivy. What’s such a big deal? Did uncle threaten you, or anything?

“My lord, the young mistress has arrived.” She said with a clear and loud voice, making sure my uncle would hear her from inside the room. Hearing his voice asking us to enter, she gathered her courage to open the door.

Entering his office room, I saw my uncle sitting in his chair with his usual serious expression, as my aunt was standing at his side, looking away. Clearly, she did not want to be here.

It has been a while since I last came here. And when I say a while, I mean at least a decade. Thinking about it, I don’t think that I came here again since I first visited the mansion. I don’t remember much, but I think it didn’t changed a lot since then. That room was my uncle’s working place. As a child, I had no reasons to be here and thus, was not allowed to come here. Whenever he had something to tell me, my uncle would be the one to come to me, so today is the first time he summoned me.

Without entering the room, Ivy greeted my uncle and my aunt with a deep bow. Then, she gave me a quick glance full of pity before closing the door behind me. Uhm? Why am I pitiful? Am I in trouble after all? Thinking about that possibility, nervousness started to build up inside me.

“Did you ask to see me?” I spoke.

“Yes, have a seat.” My uncle ordered, gesturing a chair in front of his desk.

I stepped forward, stopping at his desk’s foot. I tried to think of a reason why I would be in trouble as I took a seat. I couldn’t find any. Well, actually, there were a lot of reasons, but the timing didn’t fit. Recently, I did nothing wrong. So maybe I’m not in trouble after all! Ivy must have misunderstood something! Unfortunately, my thought was soon refuted as I immediately heard something ridiculous.

“I need you to pack your things, you’re leaving.” Uncle Jack said, going straight to the point.


What? Excuse me? I think I misheard something. I can feel the sparks in my brain trying to connect the dots, but it just short-circuited instead. I need a loading time. Leave? Who? Me? Why? Am I being kicked out, right now? My mouth slightly opened and my forehead furrowed in confusion, I tried to study my uncle’s expression. He is totally serious.

“You’re leaving in three days,” he added.

He really is kicking me out. It isn’t like if I never planned to leave, but that is way too sudden. Before I had a chance to say something, he showed me a letter placed on his desk just in front of me, and asked me to open it, so I did.

“Do you know what it is?” He inquired.

“A letter of admittance under special circumstances to the Arcane Academy,” I simply responded, reading its title.

“That’s right. It’s yours.”

… Huh? What did he say? I need another loading time… He is sending me to school? I don’t understand, it doesn’t make any sense.

I’m not complaining, I mean, I have been wanting to go ever since I was reborn, but… Why? He has been reluctant to let me attend a school for so long, yet, now, he suddenly changes his mind? Besides, it’s not just any school. It’s the Arcane Academy. The same school brother has been sent to. It’s an independent institute, unaffiliated to any country, renowned in the whole continent. Technically, everyone can attend the Arcane Academy. But since it’s not situated in the kingdom, the students lived in dorms. So you either needed a lot of money or a powerful sponsor to send someone there. I can understand for brother since he’s the heir, but why in the world my uncle would be willing to spend so much money on me?

“… I’m going to attend a school?” I asked, unsure.

“Not exactly.” My uncle answered.

Huh…? What’s with that answer? That’s even more confusing. He’s sending me to school, but I won’t be attending. Can someone explain me the logic?

“There is no need for you to attend, that’s just a formality,” he started to explain, seeing the confusion on my face. “I’ve heard a lot from your tutors. Even if you lack basic common sense when it comes to anything sociological, it seems that you are quite a brilliant student in sciences and math, right?”

Is he complimenting me or insulting me? I’m not sure…

“With that level, there isn’t much for you to learn. I guess you could use the occasion to fix that lack of skills in sociological studies, but your tutors told me you were a desperate case, so I’m not expecting anything.”

… Those bastards. I’m doing my best, you know?

“All those theoretical classes are just a formality to you,” Uncle Jack continued. “What’s more interesting are the practical classes. It will teach you the basic battle abilities. I’m pretty sure you’ll do just as fine in magic classes, though.”

Huh? What does he means by that? Could he be aware?

As if answering to my unspoken thought, a grin crept onto Uncle Jack’s face. “You can drop the act now. I know you can use magic.”

As I thought… My cover is done for. How did that happen? When did I screw up? Who sold me off? There isn’t a lot of people aware of me being able to use magic so… My gaze fell upon Aunt Nora, who had stayed silent until now, causing her to flinch. She immediately starting shivering, averting her eyes.

“Don’t glare at her like that,” Uncle Jack said, as he saw his sister getting nervous. “She didn’t say a word until the end. It was the boy you helped for a request two weeks ago who told me about it. Quite a naïve child, I must say. He thought he was helping you.”

Axis…? That uncle of mine is one hell of a bastard, manipulating a child to get the information he wants. I was right to be wary of him. He is cunning.

“Anyway, to be honest, I have absolutely no interest in you attending a school.” He continued, returning to the main topic. “Like I said, it’s only a formality. You’ll only have to attend for six months.”

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

Ok, now that makes even less sense. I really don’t understand him. Why only six months? Is there something special happening after that? …Ah!!

“It seems that you’ve just understood,” Uncle Jack said with a small grin. “That’s right. I want you to participate in the Great Tournament.”

I think I’m finally starting to understand. The Great Tournment. A traditional continental competition that take place every five years. It was meant for schools all around the continent to display their best students in different areas. Considering the amplitude of the event, a lot of powerful households would be attending; even the royal families were invited. Basically, it was similar to the Olympic Games on Earth -except that it was only for students, and that it wasn’t a sport competition.

Anyone could try their luck disregarding the rank, the race, the gender. For students from unknown families, it was the occasion to outstand and make a name for themselves, while students from renowned families would receive even more fame. The only condition to enter was to belong to one of the schools participating in the tournament.

So this is why my uncle suddenly decided to enroll me to the Arcane Academy. He discovered that I had potential in magic and now wants me to participate in the Great Tournament to bring fame to the family. Humf! Not happening.

I was about to reject his offer, but he didn’t let me the chance. He probably read the expression on my face, as he spoke first.

“Lynett, do you want your freedom back?”

Huh…?

“Do you want your freedom back?” He repeated. “Because I can give it back to you. Not just yours, but also your mother’s.”

My eyes and my mouth wide opened in shock, I just blankly stared at him, frozen, unable to comprehend what he just said. A wicked smile played on my uncle’s lips, as he continued.

“Lynett, you are not a child anymore, and I believe that you are smarter than you let the others think, so I’ll just treat you as a proper adult. You’ve stayed long enough in this house to understand: it is time for you to make yourself useful. So I’m proposing you a deal.”

“A deal…?” I repeated, mistrustful.

“That’s right, a deal. A give/give situation. I want you to participate in the Great Tournament. Aoban will be participating too. I don’t need you to win it, you just have to make it past the playoffs. You can drop out after that, I don’t really care. In exchange, I’ll return yours and your mother’s freedom. You will be free to leave, we will no longer be chasing or threatening you. I’ll even give you some money to travel, buy a house, or anything you want.”

“What about my brother?” I asked.

“Aoban is the heir of the family. Even if I wanted to, I can’t really let him go. However, he is already eighteen year old. In only two years, he will be considered a proper adult. At that time, if he wants to leave, I won’t stop him.”

That’s not right. Something is off. That is way too convenient for me. I’ve always thought about leaving this place one day or another. Although they never really took any hostile action against us, I never really liked the idea of staying here, especially considering my mother’s past. However, truth be told, I never really found a way to escape this family without too many consequences. Using force? Sure, that’s easy. But what about after that? Brother and I would be labeled as runaways, and mother, as the adult, would be accused of kidnapping us. Killing my uncle and my aunt? Although a bit radical, it could have been an option if they weren’t one of the most notable families in this kingdom. Yep. Killing the Marquis and his sister is the best way to be labeled as criminals. In the worst cases, I’ll end up with the whole kingdom as my enemy. If it was only me, I could’ve handled it, but I definitely don’t want such a life for mother and brother…

But now, what? Regaining my family’s freedom legally, without having to be chased by the authorities? That sure sounds tempting. Considering my abilities, reaching the playoffs of the tournament shouldn’t be impossible. Besides, if I drop out right after that, I won’t be attracting the attention of some influential figure. Returning to a normal life without any restriction with my family… That sounds just too perfect. Why? Uncle Jack has nothing to win in this.

I squinted my eyes, looking at him unconvinced. “What’s the catch?”

“There isn’t any.” Uncle Jack responded with a smile. “I told you, it’s a give/give situation.”

“I don’t believe you…” I said. “You have nothing to win in this. You went into so many troubles to find mother and brother, then you accommodated us for years. You even gave brother a first-class education. Clearly, you had something in mind. Yet, now, you’re telling me you’re willing to give up on all of this? Only so that I would participate into some stupid tournament without even having to win it?”

Hearing this, Uncle Jack chuckled a little. “I think I’ll have to reprimand some of your tutors. It seems that you’re not that stupid when it comes to human behaviors, after all. Well, believe it or not Lynett, this situation is beneficial for me too. You are right. I did have something in mind, but I’m a business man. I will always take the best opportunity when it comes to me.”

“And that’s me?”

“That’s right. However, it is only an offer in the end. Feel free to refuse it.” He shrugged. “We can always go back to the original plan, but I don’t think you’ll like it.”

Narrowing my eyes, I tilted my head to the side. “What’s the original plan?”

“I was planning to marry you off to the Duke Rutherder. He already has two wives, but he was willing to take you as his third concubine. He is a simple man, you know? Once he heard you were a pretty young maiden with golden eyes, he immediately agreed to take you in, disregarding your race. ” Uncle Jack muttered casually.

HE WAS GOING TO DO WHAT?! The heck?! I mean, I guess I could have expected being engaged to someone as a noblewoman, especially at my age but… Two wives?! A third concubine?! What kind of macho man is he? I’m sure that Duke is one of those round, ugly and greedy noble you see in novels.

“Uncle… You’re such an asshole…” I unconsciously blurted out.

For a few seconds, Uncle Jack widened his eyes, but quickly regained his composure as a weak smile appeared on his face. “Well, coming from you, that was unexpected…” He chuckled.

“… You’re the one who told me to drop the act.”

“Indeed, but I didn’t expect you to become so straightforward.” He nodded with a grin. He marked a pause before continuing. “So, how about it? It’s not a bad deal, right?”

Dear Readers. Scrapers have recently been devasting our views. At this rate, the site (creativenovels .com) might...let's just hope it doesn't come to that. If you are reading on a scraper site. Please don't.

Uhm… I’m pretty sure there is more behind all this. My uncle is definitely plotting something. Still, he is right. Even if he is indeed plotting something, it is still a good opportunity for me and I should take it. However, if I do join brother in the Arcane Academy, that means I’ll have to leave mother alone here, right? I know it’s only six months, but a lot can happen in six months. And I definitely don’t trust my uncle, my aunt even less. I do trust Ivy, but Ivy doesn’t have the power to protect her if something were to happen. Besides, she is technically under contract with my uncle. So it means that there is absolutely no one I can trust in this mansion. I can’t leave mother alone in the middle of the enemy’s territory.

My uncle probably guessed what was making me hesitating as he immediately spoke up.

“If you’re worrying about Azariah, it’s unnecessary. We won’t touch her while you’re not here, you have my word. So you can go with an easy conscience.”

I stared coldly at him, narrowing my eyes. “Am I supposed to trust your word?”

“Well, that hurts my pride a little. I’m a man of my word, you know?” Uncle Jack said with a wry smile. “But since you’re also a mage, let’s make things easier. If you don’t trust my words, we’ll just have to make an [Oath]. I will swear that neither me or my sister will touch even one of her hairs. Is it fine, this way?”

I shook my head. “Not enough.”

My uncle raised a single eyebrow, furrowing his forehead, clearly not understanding.

“You’re a cunning person, uncle. You could still hire some third party to harm her, without breaking the oath,” I explained.

He let out a loud sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Don’t you think you’re being paranoid? I understand your point, but what else do you expect me to do? An [Oath] only guarantees the oath taker’s own honesty and integrity. It does nothing about third parties. And it’s not like I could force every single person out there to join the [Oath], right?”

I know I’m probably overdoing it. If my uncle had any intention to harm mother, he probably wouldn’t go as far as making an [Oath]. Besides, so far, he never touched her. I don’t think I have to worry about my aunt either; she did had her lesson twelve years ago after all. Still, I can’t fully trust them.

Circumstances changed. Now that I know someone is targeting the family, it’s even more risky to let mother alone with them. If my uncle and my aunt’s mana core were damaged without them noticing, then there might be an insider. Besides, if there is someone able to use soul magic against those two, then they aren’t to be taken lightly.

In that case…

“Yoko and Harri,” I spoke. “Allow them to stay here while I’m not here.”

Realizing my intention, my uncle widened his eyes, while Aunt Nora’s expression distorted in concern. After regaining his composure, Uncle Jack curled his lips into a grin.

“So you’re going to have your ‘friends’ watching over her while you’re not here?  You sure don’t do things in half. Well, I can’t say that I am pleased in having this eccentric couple staying here, but fine. It’s only six months after all. I do have a lot to earn after that.”

Hearing his approval, Aunt Nora clenched her teeth, clearly displeased. Ever since she met them, she didn’t bother to hide her hate for them. I can’t blame her. Not a lot of people would be able to handle them, especially not after being humiliated by Yoko like this. On the other hand, Aunt Nora hates pretty much everyone, so I doubt it would have made any difference if Yoko hadn’t mocked her.

“Auntie,” I called her out. Startled, her discontent quickly melted away as she returned to her nervous state, looking at me with her eyes full of apprehension. “Even if you don’t like her, try not to provoke Yoko. I’m saying this for your own good.”

She did not answer. Well, she has been warned. Whatever happens next, it is on her. Carefully observing my behavior toward Aunt Nora, Uncle Jack stayed silent for a few seconds before speaking up.

“There is one question I want to ask, Lynett.” He said. “I’ve been wondering for a while, but were you responsible for what happened to my sister, twelve years ago?”

I blinked several times at him, and then I turned my gaze on Aunt Nora once again. “You didn’t tell him?”

“B-Because you said it was supposed to stay a secret…” She muttered with a hint of fear in her voice.

“Well, at this point, it’s meaningless to hide it any longer, you know? He already knows pretty much everything.”

Uncle Jack sighed, lifting one hand to his forehand. “So it was really you… What did you do to her?”

 “Just a little magic trick.” I simply said, shrugging. “It’d be a pain to tell you about that night, so just ask your sister. I’m sure she’ll be pleased to recount you every single detail of our playtime.”

Without saying anything, my uncle stared at me with a serious expression. After a while, he finally broke the silence as a forced smile played on his lips. “Were you always this haughty? And to think I thought you were an obedient child… You sure played your cards close to your chest. How old were you then? Two? To be able to use magic at such a young age… You’re a real monster, aren’t you?”

… I don’t want to hear that from you, uncle. Between your sister who enjoys tormenting people both physically and mentally, and you, who knows all about it but let her do as she pleases, I’m not sure I’m the real monster here.

“Since you know about it now, you better not do anything behind my back.” I said, my expression unwavering.

“Of course not. I told you: I’m a man of my word.” He answered with a wry smile. “So, what is it exactly that you’re hiding? No matter how much I think about it, I just can’t seem to find a good explanation. Just who are you exactly?”

How ironic. Twelve years ago, his sister asked me exactly the same thing. I guess I’ll just have to answer the same way?

“You don’t need to know. For you, I’m just Lynett, a fourteen year old girl, perfectly normal.” I responded with an innocent smile. “You said one question, I already answered it.”

Uncle Jack let out a small chortle. “Indeed. But you were becoming so talkative I thought you might as well spill everything. You can’t blame me for trying, right?”

He leaned on his backrest and intertwined his fingers. Returning to his usual poker-face, he stared at me with cold eyes. “So, do we have a deal?”

Uhm… There is definitely more in this story than he tells me, and he is probably plotting something. Otherwise, there is just no way that he would propose me such an offer. No matter how much I think about this, he has more to lose than he has to win. My mind is telling me to refuse, warning me of probable future troubles, but if I were to follow my guts…

“Fine, deal.”

You may also like: