Chapter 31 – What Are You?

Inside the carriage, the silent battle between Faye and the stranger small pink bird commenced.

“Hey, birdie? See the scenery outside this window? Don’t you want to roam outside freely instead of being caged up with me?” Ann asked, totally wondering why this small bird continued to perch on her and followed her to look at the scenery rather than flying outside and…enjoy life as a bird she should have?

“Chirp chirp~”

“Huh, you don’t want to? What a weirdo.”

“…,” Faye’s jaws were opened wide when she realized that her mistress seemed to be able to communicate well with the bird even without having her decode what the bird was feeling…!

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And they barely just met, hello?

“Arlea-sama is right! Little bird, flying outside is much better than being cooped up here, don’t you think?” Faye asked, trying to encourage the bird to shoo away from her and Arlea-sama she loved.

The little bird finally took notice of her, as she turned around to look at Faye…with a taunting look that Faye read as, “What, jealous, little bird halfling? Jealous because you can’t fly at this age?!”

Faye was already burning with jealousy, and now she was burning with anger. It wasn’t like she asked not to be able to fly, okay?

…Truth to be told, a bird halfling her age should be fluent in flying already, but as for her…not to mention her poor nutrition that stunted her growth including her wings growth, she had a moment in her life where she fell and got injured after trying to fly. That actually made her a bit reluctant to try again, not until she felt her wings were big enough…

Fine, it was partly her fault as well, then! But this and that were different things, alright?

“Eh, Faye, you…alright, let me help you learn how to fly from now on then,” Ann suddenly said, feeling bad after misunderstanding that Faye wished she could fly instead of being cooped up inside the residence. Faye’s look of horror after realizing this misunderstanding—sadly, wasn’t well received by Ann, as Ann thought Faye was feeling bad for getting her involved.

“No need to feel bad, no need to thank me too, I just want to do it for you,” Ann said with a very gentle tone. Faye froze in horror—why couldn’t Arlea-sama get what I mean like how she could with the little bird?!

Faye was about to open her mouth when Ann said, “Isn’t that right, birdie?” And the bird chirped happily, rendering Faye speechless.

Sobs sobs, who looks like the stranger bird butting in now? (T__T)

 

The two—no, the three of them arrived shortly in the Schwartzen residence. The moment Ann stepped inside the residence, the servants who welcomed her caught a glimpse of the little pink bird who was very standing out…then, they froze.

“Excuse me, Arlea-sama, but are you aware that there is a…small…pink…bird on your shoulder?” A maid braced herself and asked. For one, the bird was so small despite being conspicuous…The maid thought that since the bird was perched on her shoulder, Arlea might not notice it.

“Uhm…yes? I think she’s family now?” Ann said nonchalantly.

“Chirp, chirp~!” The bird was obviously happy.

Meanwhile, Faye looked sullen.

All the servants were shocked.

What was happening?

First, how could Arlea-sama bring a small bird after one time outing, and the two seemed to be so close at that?

Second, why did it seem like Arlea-sama was a mother who just picked up a child casually on the street, leaving her first child looking sullen behind them?

…The scene in front of them was just so wrong, no matter how they tried to comprehend it!

Ann noticed the odd looks the people around her were giving, and her brain immediately processed the whole thing and…oh god!

She finally realized what was the issue!

“Wait, are pets not allowed here? I mean, is someone having an allergy towards birds or does Allen forbid anyone from keeping pets?” Ann asked, relieved that she immediately noticed the issue!

…Little did she know that wasn’t the issue at all. But her concern was totally logical.

“Uhm…No, I don’t think so, but for things like that, I think it will be better to ask Allen-sama directly for it…,” the maid answered with a stiff smile.

“Oh…Hey little birdie, I’m not the boss in this house, so if the boss says I can’t keep you, you’re out, get it?” Ann pointed her finger at the birdie naturally, and the birdie perched on her finger as if it was the most natural thing to do in this universe.

“Chirp chirp…,” The bird looked so sad as she flew and rubbed her cheek on Ann’s.

“Now, don’t be like that. I don’t make the rules here. Don’t make me feel bad.”

“Chirp…”

This small gesture caused Faye to be shocked. The little birdie clearly pecked—no, she bit Arlea-sama until she bled, and yet, why were they so ‘lovey dovey’ to the point of couldn’t bear to part like this now?

“Please tell Allen that I want to talk with him about something later,” Ann finally asked the maid.

The maid nodded, thinking inside her heart. Even without Arlea-sama asking her that, she would have gone to report the whole matter to Allen-sama, who would definitely seek Arlea-sama for an explanation.

“Thanks,” Ann said as she casually strode inside.

T-the Arlea-sama thanked her?!

No sarcastic remark?

“Oh right,” Ann remembered something and halted, turning around to see the maid who welcomed her earlier.

“Y-yes?” The maid was somewhat nervous.

“Do you know what kind of a monster…or animal is this little birdie?” Ann asked, pointing at the weird little bird next to her.

“Uhhhh…,” the maid took a long, hard stare at the birdie that Ann was starting to feel nervous. The birdie was right next to her neck, so she could feel the maid’s stare burning her as well…As opposed to her, the small birdie smiled, showing her teeth, almost causing the maid to jump in surprise.

“Unfortunately…this servant doesn’t know…,” the maid sighed as she shook her head.

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“Oh alright then. Thanks,” Ann said as she thought of going to the family library after this to look up more about the little bird.

The maid totally didn’t expect getting Arlea-sama’s ‘thanks’ twice in a row, she couldn’t take it!

So, after washing up and changing her clothes to a more casual and homey one, Ann went off to the library and browsed encyclopedias and guides about birds and other monsters. After flipping through the bird encyclopedia quickly, Ann put it down and began to get immersed in the encyclopedias of beasts and monsters. After all, the bird guides were more or less the same as her original world, meanwhile…her original world didn’t have any monster at all!

Second, Ann was sure that the little pink bird was a monster, not an ordinary animal.

Ann got sidetracked a bit when she looked up the monster encyclopedias, but even so, she couldn’t find what kind of monster the little bird really was. She tried to open other books to no avail, and the library was in a little bit of a mess…Ann scratched her head in despair as she decided to try and prompt the ‘info box’ on the little bird. She groped the bird a lot while scratching her head furiously but none appeared…

It was good that Faye was gone in the maid’s quarter, otherwise a new (local) world war would erupt at that place.

However, unfortunately for Ann, her good image was about to be broken as it was exactly at this time that Allen decided to walk into the library unannounced.

Allen’s mouth opened as he wanted to call Ann, but he froze at the sight of his wife-in-name who was ‘groping’ a little bird while scratching her head like crazy. Next to a pile of books.

Right at that time, Ann decided to give up. She couldn’t find out anything about this little bird, so she should just let the matter drop. When she decided to not be so focused on the bird anymore, she finally noticed Allen!

“Oh, hey, you’re back! Uhh, you’ve heard from the maids, right? And see this little pink bird here? Can I adopt her?” Ann asked.

Her? She knew the bird’s gender?

Allen’s mouth twitched, but he could still ask, “What is this bird and how come it sticks to you?”

“It’s her,” Ann emphasized.

“Chirp, chirp!” The bird agreed.

“…,” Allen was speechless at the synchronicity of this bird-and-human duo.

“I don’t know what she is, too. Look at the pile of books, I’m not lying. As to how she came to stick with me…,” Ann proceeded to narrate the whole happening this afternoon and Allen froze when he knew that the bird wronged Ann first by biting her until she bled…But then Ann’s heart was so wide that she was able to forgive the bird and even came to like her to the extent that she would adopt the bird?!

Ann also froze when she realized Allen looked at her with a very weird expression.

That’s right, this little bird injured her when she wanted to give her food! But…

“Chirp, chirp!” The bird looked at Ann with her innocent, round, wide eyes.

Cuteness is justice, I guess!

“Anyway, she’s cute and I think it was her mistake at first. She’s also obedient and seems intelligent. And, she’s cute…,” Ann nodded and patted the bird’s head. The bird squinted her eyes happily until they turned crescent.

You mentioned cute two times… Allen’s face turned black. So, this woman actually loved cute things? That was unexpected. He knew for the longest time that this woman loved elegant and expensive things the most!

So…she really changed…a lot? How was this possible?

“Uhm, can I keep her? She should be harmless…and if she is ever harmful, I’ll take responsibility,” Ann promised as she completely believed that this bird wouldn’t turn out to be harmful. She didn’t know where her confidence and faith in the bird came from, but she just…felt like it was the rightest thing to do.

Ann’s words snapped Allen out of his thoughts. His brain finally processed Ann’s full story and he helped her analyze.

“So, the bird is a contracted beast?” Allen asked.

“Contracted, what?”

“Didn’t you just form a contract with the bird?” Allen furrowed his eyebrows. He wondered if the bird had some kind of an extraordinary ability for someone like Arlea to be willing to form a contract with it…It was really unthinkable for her to form a contract with a powerless decoration, right?

“Whaaa?”

But Arlea’s questioning gaze and tone caused Allen to doubt his judgement. Beside, if she wanted to keep the fact that the bird was her contracted beast a secret, why would she willingly tell him the contract they made? But wait, from the story…Arlea didn’t know at all that it was a contract and the bird forced her to?!

 “The thing it—”

A bird and a human stared dagger at Allen, so he immediately corrected, “The thing she did at first reminded me of a blood pact done to form a contract between a beast and a human. So, she is…”

“I see, so it’s like a Familiar, huh? Wait, that kind of things exists here?!” Ann spewed words that Allen couldn’t really understand, but he now knew that Ann even forgot about the contracted beasts so yes, the little bird was the one who did it arbitrarily.

“…Congratulations on getting your Contracted Beast, Arlea,” Allen’s mouth reflexively formed a smile when he thought about how funny it was that a woman like Arlea was swindled by a small weak bird like the pink one in front of him!

Ann blinked. First because of Allen’s unexpected smile, and second…because of the turn of events! She just came to learn about the existence of contracted beasts, and she suddenly had one already…?!

“Chirp, chirp!” The little pink bird cheerfully chirped.

- my thoughts:
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