Volume 1 Chapter 6 – The Judge


Nora


“Auntie~ Won’t you play with me too?”

What’s wrong with this kid?

In front of me stands a small child looking at me with her innocent eyes. A doll-like face, honey golden pupils, black hair that fell to her shoulder, and not even a meter tall. That’s right, that’s Lynett. That woman’s daughter, and additionally, my brother’s bastard child.

“Play with me?” She repeated, as she did not get an answer.

Is this child a f****** retard? Did she not see her mother’s state? Yet she comes here and asks for a play? Kids are naturally stupid, most of them don’t even understand the concept of death and danger. But this one must be the biggest retard of them all. Well, what can you expect from a half?  She has impure blood after all.

“No way, get lost.” I pushed her away.

“Eeeeeeh~? Auntie you meanie! You’ll play with mommy but not Lyni?” She whimpered.

I tried to study her. I couldn’t help but feel annoyed at her inhumanly adorable face. When she grows up, she’ll become dangerous. She’ll probably use that face of hers to manipulate people and get what she wants. Like mother like daughter. Yet, there was not a trace of doubt or suspicion in her eyes. She simply smiled naively at me. Does she really have no idea?

“Did… your mother not warn you about me…?” I asked.

She shook her head. “Auntie played a lot with mommy so I’m a little jealous…  That’s why I came here! Play with me Auntie! You know, I don’t mind playing exactly the same games that you did with mommy…” 

Ha… Haha… Hahaha! Your daughter is a retard Azariah! Seriously, she begged me so much so that I could let her return to her daughter’s side, but look at this, that same daughter is here, asking for a beating. I wonder what kind of face she will make if her kid returned to her beaten up…

No, I can’t. Jack told me not to mistreat the child.

… But wait. Lynett is two, right? I heard that children do not remember anything that happened in their first three years when growing up…

A huge grin appears on my face.

“Sure, let’s play!” I told her.

For a second, I could have sworn that I saw her smirk mischievously.

“But there must be rules~” Lynett added, as she started playing with her hair.

So she wants to impose rules… Well, of course. She’s a brat after all. Brats like to play with rules that give them advantages. Especially after seeing her mother, she’ll feel safer that way. Well, whatever. Not like a kid can come up with complicated rules.

“Fine, I’m listening. What kind of rules?” I asked.

“There are only two rules.” She said after thinking for a while. Then, she smiled widely, rising one finger in front of her. “First~! No matter what happen, you are not allowed to scream. If you do, you’ll be punished.”

… What did she say? Is this kid being serious right now? What kind of game is she planning to do?

For a moment, I frowned, looking at the child innocently smiling at me, full of doubt. But I quickly regained my composure. It can’t be… I must have misunderstood it. She must simply be afraid to wake up the others, since it’s late in the night.

“Fine. What’s the second rule?”

She raised a second finger. “Secondly~! Once the game begins, you absolutely can’t withdraw. The game will end with your victory or mine, giving up is not allowed.”

I narrowed my eyes, trying to figure out why she came up with such rules. As she was a brat, I was convinced she’d ask for an advantage or something like this.

“Fine by me. How do I win?”

 “You win if you manage to kill me before I kill you.” She said, as all the innocence in her smile vanished in an instant.

… Does that brat even understand what she just said? Is she seriously thinking of playing a death game?

“Hey, are you crazy, brat? Are you even aware of what it means?”

“Heh…? If you’re scared I can add another condition. You also win if you manage to get out of the room alive.” She replied nonchalantly.

Irritated, I clicked my tongue as my eyes twitched. This kid is a retard after all. Not only she wants to play a death game, but she actually think that she can win. This is seriously getting on my nerves. I’m being underestimated by a brat, a half-breed on the top of that. I’ll make sure to give her a good lesson… Since she’s the one who came up with such rules, she won’t be able to complain later on.

Of course, I’m not planning in killing her. We might need her after all. But I’ll make sure to make her understand her position, and who is she dealing with. I’ll scare her a little so she won’t ever dare to disobey or talk back. And if she ends up too injured, I’ll just have to heal her, so that Jack never finds out about this.

“So, are you ok with the rule?” Lynett asked.

“You’re going to regret this, kid.”

“I’ll take that as a yes…” She said, as a grin appeared on her face.

Then, her smile slowly disappeared. She stayed silent for a while, seemingly thinking about something, before looking up at me. “I just want to ask one thing, auntie. Why did you do it? What did ever mother do to you?”

I frowned in surprise. So this is about revenge after all. The kid saw her mother injured, she got pissed and came to me. I thought it was weird for her to ask for a play, especially since she never initiated any form of contact with me. She’s such a fool. What does she think she can do? Did she ever see herself? Am I supposed to be impressed by a two years old child talking about killing games? I grinned.

“Why, you say? Because I felt like it”, I said as I could clearly see her eyelids twitching. Well, that’s cute. I like your annoyed face, child. “You see, that little bitch pissed me off. She dared to provoke me, so I punished her a little.”

Lynett did not react any further. That’s a shame, I really wanted to see her face distorted in anger. Instead, she just blankly looked at me without saying a word. After staying silent for a moment, she sighed.

“Is it funny? To bully people weaker than you… Do you enjoy it…?”

I smiled. “Sure~ I love it. A brat like you wouldn’t possibly understand. Tormenting all those worthless people… That is indeed a lot of fun!”

I tried to provoke the small child in front of me, but once again, Lynett did not react. How boring…

“You know… There was this one boy that I really hated.” She suddenly spoke up. “He used to bully me all the time. Because I was bed-ridden, he made fun of me… Even though I didn’t ask for it… I really hated him. Actually, I hated him so much I wanted him dead.” She looked up at me. “He was just like you auntie, he enjoyed bullying people.”

What is she talking about? Was she ever sick?

“But I got scolded”, she continued as she shrugged. “Mom and dad told me it was wrong to wish for the death of other people. They said that people could change. As long as they’re alive, as long as we give them a chance, people could change. So they told me not to judge people for their past mistakes.”

Is this kid seriously trying to discuss about philosophy with me right now?

I’ve been wondering for a while now, but is the child in front of me really two years old? A child of this age should be whining whenever separated from their mother, yet, here she is, talking about death as casually as if she was talking about her day. Speaking of which, since when could she talk so well?

A sudden shiver ran down my spine, realizing that this kid might have been acting up all along.

“My point is, Auntie, I gave you a chance. But you wasted it…“ She muttered. “I really didn’t want to judge you, but you no longer give me the choice. I guess some people just can’t change after all…”

I tried to comprehend what she just said, but my mind was unable to cope with the situation. The scene was quite unbelievable, shocking actually. Trying to regain my composure, I let out a nervous laughter.

“Ha…! And what are you going to do about that? You want justice? There is no such a thing as justice in this world, kid! The strongs make the rules and people like you just have to shup up and comply. That’s your own fault, you can only blame yourself for being weak and powerless! You want fairness and equity? Then go pray the gods! Good luck in having them hear you!”

For a moment, Lynett’s face washed blank with surprise. I had expected her to break down in tears because of the frustration, but instead, a grin crept onto her face, stretching from one side to the other. She started laughing hysterically.

“Fu… Fufufu… Hahahahahaha!!”

This brat is insane. She must have lost her mind.

“What’s so funny…?” I inquired.

“S-sorry… Haha… It’s just that… You just said something hilarious!” She took a deep breath in order to retrieve her composure. “You see, auntie, there is no need to pray for the gods, I’m already here for you.”

What is that supposed to mean? That damn kid is seriously starting to get on my nerves. She comes here in the middle of the night, and now she’s lecturing me. A two years old brat is actually giving me a lecture, what kind of bad joke is this? Lynett probably saw the annoyance register on my face before I could hide it. A small smile played on her lips as she spoke.

“Are you getting impatient? It’s fine, let’s start the game. Shall we?”

Damn brat. She’s definitely looking down on me. A shitty half-breed is looking down on me!

I clenched my fists. Glaring at her with my eyes full of hatred, I tried to intimidate her but she didn’t even flinch. She just smiled.

I’m going to make that annoying smile of you disappear…  I started chanting an incantation.

“Come forth, dancing fire. Devour my magic. I command you. Using your deadly flames, destroy the enemy in front of me. [Fireball]”

A flame appeared in front of me. Making sure I did not use too much mana, I made the flame the size of a tennis table ball. I don’t want to hurt the kid too badly, so I’m holding back a little. Lynett did not move, she just widened her eyes. Humf… She’s scared. But it’s too late for you to back down. I aimed the small fireball at her.

… But nothing happened.

She didn’t even try to dodge and took the blow directly in her face. It definitely hit her, yet, here she is, absolutely unharmed. Just like if the flames suddenly vanished when it came in contact with her. What’s going on?

I frowned in surprise, trying to understand what had failed. Then I looked at Lynett. She was just as surprised as me.

“Eh… Auntie you can use fire magic…?” She asked, breaking through the confusion.

“O-Of course I can! This much is nothing, who do you think I am? The Whitehearts aren’t solely dedicated to Light Magic!”

“Is that so… I didn’t check your status so I didn’t know…”

Checking my… What? What is this brat talking about?

I bit my lips in frustration. For some reason, my magic had failed, and now the kid is not taking me seriously. I’ll just have to try one more time. This time, I’ll put more mana in the spell. But before I could pronounce another incantation, I was drawn from my thoughts as I felt something hot grazing my cheek.

Appearing out of nowhere, a fireball of the size of a fist had been sent in my direction. Barely missing me from a few centimeters, it ended up hitting the wall behind me.

… What just happened? Who did this?

“Huh? I missed…”

My gaze turned in the direction of the small voice that just spoke up, as my eyes fell upon the little girl tilting her head in disappointment.

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“No way…it can’t be…”

Looking around the room, I failed to notice anyone else. It was just me, and her… That’s impossible. She’s just a kid. She’s only two, I’ve never heard of children below the age of ten using magic. Moreover, she didn’t even say a word! Voiceless incantation? A brat like her? There is just no way!

Then I remembered. Her golden eyes. A child blessed by the gods.

“S***… she’s receiving help from above…” I thought, as I clenched my fists.

“Sorry auntie.” Lynett spoke. “I shouldn’t aim at your face. It’d be bad if your hair got on fire again. It just started to grow back after all.”

I widened my eyes, looking at her, trying to process what she just said. But my mind refused to admit the evidence.

“Y-You…! It was you?!”

“Hehe… Yes, it was~” She chuckled.

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S***, s***, s***. That damn half! I’ll kill her! She has been looking down on me from the very beginning! She’s mocking me!

I immediately casted another spell, this time, without holding my mana. But once again, nothing happened. Why?! Damn it, if magic won’t work, I’ll just have to cut her flesh! As I rushed to my desk to pick up a pair of scissors, it flew away out off my reach before I could take it.

“Sorry auntie, you can’t. I don’t like sharp things.” Lynett suddenly spoke.

I turned at her. Could it be… Wind magic? She can even use wind magic? What the hell is this kid?

It doesn’t matter. If I can neither use magic or weapons, then I’ll just have to beat her up with my fists. I charged at her, ready to strike. First, I was going to break her nose. Then, once that arrogant smile of hers disappears, I’ll make sure to take my time in teaching her a lesson.

But I was stopped half-way, as a sharp pain passed through my body. All the nerves and muscles in my body suddenly contracted. I collapsed on the floor in pain, letting out a short scream. It only lasted a few seconds, but the pain was so intense that I quickly got out of breath. I was panting. I tried to breath, but the air just won’t go in. It felt as if my lungs were slowly filling with water. For a moment, my eyesight went blurry. Everything ached, everything sagged.

When the pain finally subsided, I tried looking around me in confusion. Then I saw Lynett. She was just smiling. Was it her? What did she do? What kind of magic was that?!

“Auntie…” She spoke. “You screamed.”

Huh? I narrowed my eyes.

“You broke the first rule, remember?” She continued, as her smile widened, slowly showing every single tooth. “I’ll have to punish you~”

Before I could think of anything, I felt a second pain searing through my abdomen. Without meaning to, my body curled into something fetal while the pain burnt and radiated. My mind conceded to the torment, unable to bring a thought to completion. Suddenly, I felt something bursting inside of me, causing me to vomit blood.

“Huh? Did it break?” Lynett said. “That’s not good… Sorry auntie I didn’t mean to, you see I have some control issue. I’m lacking a bit of practice…”

I looked at her in terror, understanding that whatever just happened, it was her doing. Suddenly, she stepped forward, placing her hands on my stomach. Startled by her action, I flinched.

“W-What are you doing?!” I tried to shout.

“Don’t move, auntie, I’m healing you. You felt it didn’t you? Your intestines just exploded. If we don’t do something, you’ll die.” She casually responded.

As she said this, I felt a warm sensation enveloping my stomach. It was definitely Healing Magic. She didn’t lie, she was healing me. I didn’t understand. First, she attacked me, and now she was healing me. What was she thinking?

“W-Why…?” I asked, hesitant.

“I’m not done with you yet, auntie. The game is only beginning. All the suffering you caused to mother, I’ll make sure to give it back to you.” She marked a pause, as an innocent smile appeared on her face. Then she continued.

“You see, I’m very glad you accepted to play with me! This is the first time I’m using healing magic, actually. I’ve wanted to practice it for a while, but since I had nothing to heal, I couldn’t. And I’m not crazy enough so that I would hurt myself in order to practice some Healing Magic. I don’t like pain, I’m not a masochist, you know? But you, on the other hand…”

W-What is this kid talking about…?

“So, auntie, here is what going to happen. I’m going to break every single one of your bones. Slowly. Once the pain is too much for you to bear and you’re about to faint, I’ll heal you. Then we can do it again. Over and over, until I decide to stop. And you can’t scream, remember? Because it’ll only make things worse”

My mind was starting to fail. I couldn’t formulate a thought as my body froze.

In front of me was a naïve looking two years old child, planning to torture me. Her expression did not match her words, which was even more terrifying. I suddenly realized. This is not a child. It’s a demon, the devil itself, who took the form of a little girl. From the beginning, I never had a chance and she knew it. My life was in her hand, and she was just playing around. I could feel despair and fear slowly devouring me. I’m going to die.

“Y-you’re insane…” I managed to murmur.

“I know~ But that’s your fault you know? You caused this.”

Why, why, why, why?! How did I get involved with such a monster? I always made sure not to piss off the wrong people so why? It’s all that bitch’s fault. I should have killed her instead of letting her go. Damn it, what do I do? My whole body is screaming, telling me to run away. I want to run away, but she won’t let me.

I suddenly understood why she came up with such rules. From the very beginning, she had no intention of letting me go.

S***, s***! I can’t die here, not like this! I don’t want to die!

Then I suddenly remembered. The second condition. The game will end if I manage to get out of the room alive.

That’s when adrenaline hit such a fever pitch that fear isn’t going to cut anymore. It was ordering me to move. My legs exploded into violent motion as I rushed toward the door. But it wouldn’t open. I desperately tried to force the handle, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t open it.

“Why? Why? Why now?!”

“Oh… I had forgotten. I just recalled that I had locked the door. Sorry auntie~” Lynett chuckled.

What? When? How? S***, this is a bad joke! This brat is not sorry at all!

“Y-you… You’re cheating! You said the game would end if I managed to get out! But how am I supposed to get out if you lock the door?! This is cheating!” I shouted.

“Not necessarily”, she shrugged. “The door isn’t the only way for you to get out of the room, you know?”

As she said this, she looked away. Following her gaze, I noticed she was looking at the window. Cold sweats started to form on my face.

“You… You want me to jump out of the window…? This is the second floor! Are you insane?!”

“Yet, this seems to be the only way out. But don’t worry auntie, I’m not going to force you. I’m just fine playing with you all night! In the end, the choice is for you to make…”

Damn it, she is serious. She is planning to torture me!

“W-Why… Why are you doing this to me…?” I asked with a weak voice.

She frowned. “Are you being serious right now? You perfectly know why. What was it you were saying? Blame yourself for being weak and powerless.” She answered with a cold voice.

“L-Look… I’m sorry okay? I-I won’t do it again… Forgive me… I swear… I’ll never bother you or your mother again. I won’t even lay a finger on her, so let me go… I’m sorry, I really am! Please! I’m begging you, forgive me!”

Lynett stayed silent for a while, considering it. Or so I thought. She smiled.

“Noooooooo way~!” She said with a cute voice. “And you know what auntie? I think you’re right. Bullying people weaker than you is really funny~! So, shall we resume the game?”

I can hear her cruel and cold crackle, draining all hope within me. It choked the breath from my lungs and left me weak at the knees. Salty tears suddenly spilled over onto my cheek, leaving a dry feeling of despair.

“N-No… please… please… I’m begging you…!”

Once again, pain assaulted me, throbbing my guts, like a knife twisted in my spine.  Its savage, bitter blasts cut right in my bones and gripped my brain with its claws. Every few minutes I would scream, but it would become even worse, as something would choke my throat, preventing any more sounds to come out. Then I would go quiet, just panting, before the torture session resumed.

It was only the beginning of my nightmare.


Lynett


Crap. She stopped breathing. Is she dead?

Crap, crap, crap. I killed someone. I didn’t mean to do that… Actually, I think I did. But I wasn’t right in my mind, I was pissed and I lost it. Did I just become a murderer…? Crap… Mom, dad, sorry. After everything you did to teach me how important one another’s life is, your daughter still killed someone. I never expected to take someone’s life one day.

The worst thing about this is that I don’t even feel guilty. My aunt may have been a bitch, but she was still human. How can I not feel anything? I don’t think I regret this actually. That was quite… satisfying… People are so fragile. Who would have thought that killing was so easy? S***. Do I have a problem? What am I thinking? Am I becoming a sociopath? No, can’t be… Anyone else would feel the same if they accidentally killed the bitch that hurt their family… Right…?

What do I do now? Do I have to hide her body? It’s only a matter of time before someone finds her. Do I run away? But… How am I going to explain that to mother and brother? S***. This is really bad. What if they think I’m a monster? O-oooh… I don’t want to think about it… Damn it Aunt Nora. Even after your death, you still bring me troubles…

No, wait. She’s not dead yet, right? I once heard the doctors saying that a person could stay alive for about thirty minutes, even after their heart stopped beating. It’s not too late. My aunt can still be saved. I can still revive her.

… But… Do I really want to save her…? If I keep her alive, she might bring even more troubles later on. A bitch like her is better off dead. No… Death might be too sweet for her. She tormented mother for years, I didn’t bully her enough. That was too quick. I’ll save her.

I approached Aunt Nora’s unconscious body and placed my hand on her chest. As I thought, I couldn’t feel her heart beating. I tried to inject my mana in her. I’ve never done this before, I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out… I have to focus, to think about what I want.

I want to heal her. I want to restart her heart. I want to revive her.

Dear [World System], if you really follow my will, then I’m ordering you to bring back her soul.

Heal.

Light suddenly erupted from my hands and started to envelope my Aunt’s body. As my mana filled her, I could feel her internal injuries healing. I stayed like this for about two minutes, then the light disappeared. Under my palms, I could now feel a pulse. Aunt Nora’s heart started to beat again, and she was now breathing. I let out a relieved –somehow- sigh. I’m not sure if or when she’ll regain consciousness, but at least she’s alive.

“Be grateful Aunt Nora. I have more use of you alive than dead. This is the second time I’m sparing you. If you’re smart enough, you’ll understand there won’t be a third time…”

 Leaving behind my unconscious Aunt, I left her chamber and headed back to my room, making sure no one saw me.

As I was on my way, reevaluating the incident, I received a sudden notification from the [World System].

<『New title earned : [The Judge]』>

Umh… Seems legit.


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