Volume 1 Chapter 8 – Rumors


 Lynett


 

It was a lovely day of summer in the Estate of the Whiteheart family. The cloudless sky held a soft blue glow and the golden sun radiated down on the mansion. Outside, there was a sweet fragrance of freshly cut grass and the birds chattered in the trees.

In the garden, a young girl could be seen. She wasn’t a child anymore, but her face still had the exuberance of youth, keeping some childish features. Her golden eyes shined as a puff of wind swept though her platinum hair. That’s me though.

A dozen of years have passed and I am now fourteen years old. I’m almost as old as the time I died on Earth. If we consider both my lives, mentally speaking I should be thirt-… Ahem… Let’s not say this out loud.

After my little clash with my aunt, my life here in the Whiteheart mansion changed for the best.

First of all, I am now technically a member of the family. It’s only officially though, since whenever I’m in public, I’m not allowed to use the family name. The reason for my sudden recognition as a fully member of the Whiteheart family is because of mother. To be precise, it’s because she was blessed. Since we both received the blessing of a god, people assumed that there was something special in our lineage. So, disregarding the fact that I’m a half, the family decided it was in their best interest to have me with them.

Secondly, Aunt Nora is no longer a problem. Actually, she became a quite obedient child! She’s still the same impulsive woman who likes to bully her servants –old habits die hard- but at least, whenever I’m here, she behaves. In my presence, she never dares to do anything and becomes pretty docile. She also avoids me, mother and brother as much as possible. Well, she keeps her promise. It’s good.

However, while Aunt Nora started to behave, Yao on the other hand started to become a trouble. He noticed the weird changes in his mistress’ behavior and started to suspect me or mother to have something to do with it, which is not wrong. Now that I’m a Whiteheart, he can’t do anything against me or mother, but he doesn’t hide his dissatisfaction, and occasionally, he would secretly stalk me. Siiiiigh… Not exactly my ideal of being pursued by a man…

Uncle Jack is… Well… it’s Uncle Jack. Even as a fully member of the family, my relationship with him is non-existent. At least, he speaks to me now –sometimes.

The servants? They love me. At first, because of the racial prejudices, they avoided me, but eventually, I grew on them. I must say that only good things happened since I arrived: the heir is back, someone got blessed and Lady Nora is now much calmer. So the rumor going on about halves bringing bad luck soon disappeared. Besides, no one can resist my cuteness~! This became even truer over the time, as my already-too-perfect face became even more inhuman as I grew up. Yep, definitely a goddess’ face.

The fact that my hair is now back to its original color didn’t help either in making me look normal. Since there was no point in hiding it anymore, mother stopped dyeing it. So now, my hair is back at platinum blond while mother’s is sky blue again.

Additionally, I am not restricted anymore and I’m allowed to go outside. But I’m still strongly supervised.

So, basically, over the years, I became a popular young mistress from a noble household.  Not bad, right? Still, there is just a little problem. I have absolutely no friends.

My long awaited school life never came. Unwilling to let me attend a school, my uncle hired tutors for me instead. And since I’m a ghost member of the family, I don’t attend to any parties. In the end, I never really had the chance to meet other people of my age.

…This is terrible. I did not sign for this. I didn’t reincarnate to become a loner again.

In order to fix this, since I wasn’t restricted anymore, I went outside a lot. I was hoping to randomly meet someone and befriend them. You know, like bumping into some handsome guy or having an eye contact with some cute lady. It happens all the time in the novel, so why not? Unfortunately, life is much crueler than that.

Nobles didn’t have a good reputation. Because of a couple of spoiled and rotten nobles –like my aunt- nobility was labeled as haughty and conceited. Most people avoided them. Whenever I went outside, I was always accompanied by one or two attendants, so it was obvious that I belonged to some noble household. Moreover, my inhuman appearance and my golden eyes didn’t help as people would get intimidated and never approach me.

Poor me… Loner forever… Still, I won’t give up.

◊◊◊◊◊

Today was another day.

 I was walking in the city together with Ivy, one of my personal maids. Market stalls lined the route as many people were shouting around. Housewives were rounding the stores, trying to bargain the price of nuts, powdered spices, or other imported merchandise.

First mission of the day: getting rid of Ivy.

Ivy is a nice person. She’s in her forties, possibly her fifties. Since she doesn’t have any children, she acts very motherly toward me. I like her a lot, but I can’t always have someone watching over me.

“Young mistress, how about a snack?” Ivy asked, as she pointed her finger towards one of the stalls selling nuts and dried fruits.

“Sure!” I nodded.

Ivy gently smiled at me, before approaching the vendor. On the side of the road, I noticed a young boy sitting, intensely looking in my way. Usually, people would avert their eyes whenever meeting mine, but the boy didn’t. He never broke the eye-contact. Hum. Potential friend? No… Too young, he looked maybe half my age.

As Ivy came back with a bag full of snack, she followed my gaze and her eyes fell upon the boy, still looking at me.

“Oh… An orphan? He must be a beggar”, she spoke.

I approached the boy.

“Hey, there.” I spoke, crouching down in front of him.

Since I received no reply, I continued. “Are you hungry? Want some?” I showed him a dried persimmon that Ivy just bought.

The boy shyly nodded, as he took the fruit. He slowly ate it, his face enlightening each time he took a bite. Once he was over, he looked up at me, as a small smile appeared on his face.

“Thank you, big sister”, he said, giving me a sudden hug.

The boy waved happily at me and disappeared in an alley.

“The young mistress really is a nice person!” Ivy chuckled, after witnessing the scene.

I shrugged. “No one asked to be an orphan, the poor boy was just unlucky.”

As we were about to continue loitering around, I noticed something was missing. I slowly raised my hand to touch my neck, but I couldn’t feel anything. It’s gone. The necklace mother gave me for my first birthday, it’s gone. I never took it off and always wore it, yet it was missing.

“Haha… Of course… Damn brat.” I muttered. “And to think I was trying to be nice…”

“Young mistress? Is something wrong?” Ivy asked.

“Ivy. Wait for me, I’ll be right back.”

Before giving her a chance to answer, I ran after the boy. I could hear her shouting something behind me. Her job was to watch over me, so if I disappeared like that, she was going to have troubles, I knew that. Sorry Ivy, but I can’t let the kid get away. I’ll make sure to make up later. Following his path, it didn’t take long before I caught up with the boy. When he noticed me, he flinched in surprise.

“W-What? Already here?!” He spoke.

He tried to speed up, but I didn’t let him the chance.

Bind.

His legs tied by an invisible force, he fell. Since there was no longer the need to run, I simply walked to his side, as he was desperately trying to get away.

“You tripped? You’re quite clumsy for a thief”, I said as I feigned ignorance.

“I didn’t trip! There is something that is preventing me to move!” he answered.

“Is that so? How unfortunate.” I presented my hand in front of me. “Now give it back, what you just stole from me.”

“Humpf! No way!”

“I’m not exactly leaving you the choice, you know? You’re not in position to negotiate. Give it back before I call the guards. You may be a kid, but they will be merciless with a thief.”

He clenched his fists, looking at me with his eyes full of anger. “Y-You! Aren’t you a noble?! It’s just a necklace anyway, you could probably afford more!”

“That’s not the problem. This necklace was a gift, I care about it. Besides, it’s not exactly of high-quality. You wouldn’t get much if you sold it.”

“Liar!” He retorted. “Isn’t it a magic item? That’s worth a lot!”

… He can tell? Over the years, I infused my mana in it to modify its attributes, so it can’t be considered an ordinary ring anymore.

“I won’t give it back!” The boy insisted. “I need that money for my sister’s medicine!”

I sighed. So his sister is sick. Well, I guess it’s quite a common story in a world like this. I’ve been sick myself, so I can’t ignore this. I crouched down in front of him.

“I’ll give you some money, so give the necklace back.” I told him.

As I said this, the boy widened his eyes. “R-Really…?” He asked, not convinced.

“Yeah, here.”

I placed a pouch full of coins in front of him. The boy looked at it in astonishment for a few seconds. After a while, he finally returned his gaze on me.

”Big sis… I can’t tell if you’re really nice or just stupid…” He said.

“Shut up. Are you going to take it or not?” I asked, slightly irritated.

“I-I’m taking it!” He suddenly exclaimed.

“Good. Release.

With the sudden pressure gone, the boy got up, a bit confused. He looked up at me, narrowing his eyes and frowning his forehead.

“Sis… Could you be… A mage…?”

“Yeah, something like that I guess. Does it matter?”

“No…” He shook his head. “Thank you very much… I’ll remember you.”

The boy deeply bowed down in front of me. After giving me back the necklace, he picked up the pouch and left in hurry. And just like this, a couple of gold coins disappeared. Well, not like it matters anyway. The Whiteheart are one of the richest families around, besides, that was my allowance. I’m free to do whatever I want with it. It’s not like they were watching my every move… right…? Looking around me, I noticed that I was now alone.

… Hum? Isn’t it my chance? Ivy is not here and there is no one to keep an eye on me. I’m absolutely all alone in an unknown place. Shouldn’t I take advantage of the situation? I feel a little bad for Ivy, since I did tell her I’d be back soon, but as long as I don’t take too much time, it should be fine.

Second mission of the day: explore the city and seek out for information.

Being sheltered all the time is not the best thing in the world to keep yourself informed. My tutors are pretty good. They teach me a lot, but in the end, it’s still all theoretical. There is no better thing than seeing the world yourself and listening to people’s gossip to learn some interesting things.

I ventured deep into the town. It was a maze of narrow winding streets, but all paths eventually converged and unveiled the plaza. The architecture of every building was different which made the city pretty unique. Without my attendant, it was easier to blend in the crowd. People were still a little intimidated by my looks, but at least they weren’t avoiding me anymore.

As I kept wandering around the city, my eyes eventually rested on a particular building. The building wasn’t especially more unique than the others, in fact, it was pretty common. But it was sporting a sign displaying a sword and an axe over a shield. It was flooded by people wearing various kind of equipment: swords, bows, leather armors, iron plates… That’s right. It is “this”, right? That’s definitely “this”.

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An adventurers guild. The high-light of every RPG games. Adventure is romance!

Feeling an urge to satisfy my curiosity, I decided to enter the building. There were a large number of adventurers inside. The receptionist was surrounded by people, either taking or submitting a request. There was a bulletin board on the right, and on the left, there were a few tables arranged like a tavern.

I soon noticed a small figure arguing with a group that seemed to be in a party. I immediately recognized the boy who tried to rob me a few moments before. What is he doing here? I quietly approached.

“Come on! I have the money! Why won’t you do it?” the boy exclaimed.

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“No way, brat”, one of the adventurer responded. “I already told you money isn’t the issue. No one would accept the crazy request of a kid, anyway.”

“But…!”

As I stepped forward, the boy finally noticed me.

“B-Big sis?! What are you doing here?”

“That’s my question.” I answered coldly, as my eyes fell on the small pouch I just gave him. “Money for you sick sister’s medicine, huh?”

His face suddenly paled.

“Sister? What are you talking about, young lady?” The adventurer spoke. “This kid doesn’t have a sister!”

Ah… I knew it… I can’t believe it. I got tricked by the same kid twice.

“Y-You got it wrong, big sis!” The boy exclaimed. “I’m sorry for lying to you, but I really needed that money! To save my father!”

First a sister, now a father. I couldn’t help but be doubtful of his words. He probably saw the suspicion in my eyes, as he continued.

“My father disappeared a couple days ago… So I submitted a request in the guild, to find him. But no one was taking it, so I thought I would raise the reward…”

Oh… Is that so? Well it can’t be help then. It’s not like I can blame him if he shows such a sad and guilty face.

“Don’t listen to him young lady” the adventurer said. “His request is not about saving anyone, it’s a subjugation request. He wants us to exterminate some kind of monster.”

… I almost fell for it… A third time… This kid is dangerous. But, a monster? Why would a child request the subjugation of a monster?

“What, you haven’t heard about the rumors, miss?” The adventurer asked, as he saw me raising an eyebrow.

I shook my head.

“Well, you see, since a couple weeks ago, strange things started to happen outside the city.” He explained. “Half of the forest burnt down, and several craters suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Some merchants’ caravans have been attacked and a few citizens went missing. No one really know what’s going on, so people started to blame it on some imaginary monster.”

“It’s not imaginary!” The boy suddenly shouted. “It’s real! I saw it! It kidnapped my dad! You have to kill it!”

So that’s why he submitted a subjugation request? I looked at the adventurer.

“Shouldn’t the royal family do something about this?” I asked. “I mean, even if it’s outside the city, it’s still within their territory. Besides, the disappearance of a few citizens should draw attention.”

“Nope, they won’t. It’s always like this, they will not raise a finger until absolutely necessary. They’re not going to believe some unsubstantial rumor, especially when it talks about a monster. It will probably take a few weeks before they stop ignoring the matter.”

“But it will be too late then!” The boy shouted. “My father will be already…!”

The adventurer sighed. “Sorry kid, but we can’t help you. Even if what you say is true, even if there is a monster, no one here is crazy enough to take on a monster capable of destroying half of the forest within a few days and who can create craters. You would need a party at least B-ranked for this.”

The boy went silent for a while, lowering his gaze. He was clenching his fists and biting his lip in frustration.

“But we have to do something…” He muttered. “Besides, it wasn’t even a monster. I saw it with my own eyes… It was a God…”

What? Now this is getting interesting…

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