A/N: The maid thinks of herself as a lovely little spider who’s just a bit different from others, that’s all.
“May the Goddess’ will be done…”
We are at the Church. Milady Sharon has been accepted for lessons in this ‘theurgy’ thing without any problems. As I stay back behind her, a middle-aged priest walks up to me and covertly slips me a piece of paper.
“Ten gold coins, is it?”
“The Antidote spell that the young lady would be learning is quite suitable for nobles who are dabbling in the arts. Let us give thanks to the Goddess for her benevolence in granting us the knowledge.”
One needs to give an offering if one wants to get lessons in theurgy. In other words, the priest is pretty much saying: “She’s a noble, she needs the spell, right? It’s not even that much, just pay up.”
So, ten gold coins.
We have enough leeway in our funds now for a pricy purchase or two, but as the manager of milady’s finance, needless expenses are to be avoided.
“It’s not very affordable for the common person, is it?”
“Our learners would be able to receive a part of the Goddess’ miracles. They have all gladly made their offerings.”
“Yet I am quite sure the man who had just left had said that it was three gold coins for him.”
I see a twitch on the priest’s cheeks.
“…it would not reflect well on a noble if they were known to be unable to pay more than a commoner, would it?”
The priest nods, showing obvious relief at my agreement. Humans don’t feel very comfortable when someone else keeps on blankly staring at them in the eyes, do they?
“If I may make an idle observation, revered pastor. For a holy servant of the Goddess, would it not give rise to undesirable rumors if they were seen to, say, stare at a certain… area… of young ladies?”
The middle-aged priest’s smile freezes on his face.
“…what… might you be speaking about?”
“Oh, nothing, nothing at all. I understand that milady is quite beautiful. She has attracted quite a bit of attention from many of the male persuasion when she was on her way here as well. It bothered her, it seems.”
She jiggles just by walking, after all.
“…she must feel rather uncomfortable indeed.”
“Of course, these men were but commoners, so I had no intentions of raising a fuss as long as they stay discreet. But only because they were commoners, I must add.”
“Kind pastor. If possible, might you be willing to further instruct milady on some harmless knowledge on theurgy? I am willing to give the aforementioned donation.”
“Thank you, good priest. As a token of my gratitude, here…”
I slip him a few pieces of paper with printed pictures on them. The priest gives them a glance and carefully, reverently put them away in his pocket. The two of us share a pleased smile.
“”May the Goddess’ will be done.””
The generous priest has decided to also teach milady some curative spells.
By the way, these printed pictures are a kind of ‘monochrome photographs’ that were taken by a magitool. Newspaper use them, and the academy also has a few of the magitools.
And by sheer coincidence, in my pockets are photographs of miss Akiru and miss Hina after they’d been administered medicine and their faces were looking quite… indecent. My, I wonder how these photos existed. Heheheh.
“Letty, they taught me Cure and Strengthen!”
“I expect no less, milady.”
“But I’m not sure if I can handle them…”
The cheer on lady Sharon’s face clouds with worry.
“Milady, you’ve learned theurgical spells in order to help with your magic control in the first place. Let us proceed in our studies.”
“I’ll do my best!”
Milady clenches her wee little hands in determination. How dangerously cute.
That aside… I’ve been feeling a rather strange gaze.
Yes, it’s true that ever since we entered the cathedral, I’ve sensed a slight pressure coming from the statue of the Goddess, but this other gaze feels different.
“What is it?”
Milady whispers in my ear, smiling in mischievous amusement.
“That knight over there has been looking at you, you know?”
I follow her gaze to see a knight wearing a suit of eye-wateringly shiny silver armor, looking about halfway through his twenties. He had been there when milady and I first came into the cathedral, I noticed. He left some time afterward, but apparently he’s returned.
“I see, he must be a pedophile.”
“Come on, Letty…” Milady gives me a look full of disappointment.
Oh, yes, of course. For noble girls in this world, being halfway through their teenage years is enough for them to be considered a mature lady. While I’m not exactly a little kid myself, I would have expected him to look at milady instead with how maternal she looks. Why me?
“Milady, instructor Marsaw is there.”
As soon as Eric Marsaw, the magic academy teacher, enters the cathedral, the aforementioned silvery knight displays a beaming smile. He runs up toward the instructor.
“Ah, they’re homo-”
My mistake. It was not a word suitable for my angelic lady’s ears.
“Oh, over there…”
“I see that the instructor hasn’t come alone.”
Behind instructor Marsaw is a petite young woman. I say petite, but that is only in comparison to the instructor and the knight, both of whom look to be over 180 centimeters. She is probably around my size.
She has long black hair and wears a pair of thin, silver-rimmed glasses. Among the middle-schoolers from Earth, she used to be the class president. Her name is…
“Hello, miss Sharon, miss Fleurety. I didn’t know you two were here too.”
Instructor Marsaw notices us and greets us with a smile. Like the knight, instructor Marsaw is also rather handsome. They’re being targeted by quite a few sultry gazes from the female churchgoers.
“Greetings, instructor Marsaw.” Milady says.
I follow suit. “It has been a while, instructor.”
“…although I do hope you would attend class more frequently, miss Fleurety. Ah, yes, miss Chieri is also here.”
Oh, yes, her name is Chieri. Of course I remember.
If memory serves, her family manages a shrine. Behind the thin silver-rimmed pair of glasses, tense almond eyes pierce at me.
I remember her, of course. I remember how she, as the class president, hadn’t done anything.
Miss Chieri averts her gaze. She then turns a gentle smile toward instructor Marsaw, seeming as though her earlier coldness hadn’t existed.
“Teacher, allow me to introduce myself.”
“Sure, go ahead.”
Chieri smiles sweetly. She steps in front of milady.
“Lady Sharon. I believe this is the first time we’ve talked, yes?”
“Eh? …ah, yes, indeed it is, lady Chieri.”
Truly, milady is a terminal patient of shyness. Just getting talked to by a girl of the same age is enough for her to get nervous and her face to turn stony.
Miss Chieri’s smile gains a hint of satisfaction. She walks even closer to milady.
“I’ve always wanted to talk to you. I hope we can be friends from now on.”
Chieri stretches out her hand for a shake. Milady reflexively responds and brings out her own…
But before they could touch, I grabbed both their arms.
“Excuse me.” I say.
Milady gapes at me, while Chieri looks at me quizzically. I slowly release my hold and begin to rub and pull at the flab on both their arms.
“‘Good’?! Is that what you have to say?!”
Please, no need for such exasperation. I only like it if it’s milady making that sort of gaze.
At any rate, after my flabbiness comparison, it seems there is no need to change milady’s diet yet.
“May I introduce myself as well?” The silvery knight says, smiling at milady and me. “Greetings, lady Sharon. I am Elias Loewe. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
The knight kneels and brushes milady’s hand with his lips. She panics and reverts to her instinctive haughtiness.
“Ah, yes, of course you should be! I am Sharon de Michel!”
Things are as usual. But then he also kneels in front of me, a simple maid, and he takes my hand in both of his. He kisses it so reverently I’m half convinced he thinks of me as his Goddess.
“My lady most lovely. May I have the honor of hearing your name?”
Chieri was born as the only daughter of a shrine near her middle school.
Yet even since her childhood, she had never been a pious girl. She treated priestesshood as nothing more than a job, and she saw the shrine as nothing more than an establishment that did business in faith.
When she was summoned in this world and gained a Skill called [Theurgy Aptitude], she had thought that life had quite a sense of irony.
Chieri was aware that she was a logical girl, maybe a bit high-strung as well. Half the reason she had become the class president was for her academic records, while the other half was because she knew she wouldn’t be able to stand letting the job go to someone less intelligent.
So even when the class had a girl being ostracized, she still ignored it. She didn’t even try to hide the fact.
It was her class. She wouldn’t allow her peace to be disturbed, even if the girl had been completely blameless.
Chieri had often heard the girls in the class chattering over this or that handsome boy, but she had never really understood them. She expected she would inherit the shrine someday, and so ever since she was a grade-schooler, she had always thought that she would be marrying a mature and rich man in the future, one who wouldn’t interfere with what she did and had his own work to focus on. She was practical that way.
Unfortunately, this was real life. She wouldn’t find such a man when she was still a kid. But then, her cousin, an older girl, misinterpreted it as her wanting to have a romance with an older man, and so she had given Chieri an otome game.
It had changed Chieri’s world.
The game was called Light, Darkness, and Love Online 2 – The Millefeuille of Love. An installment of a series, the game was an online open world simulation game. While the title was undeniably rather dubious, once Chieri tried it out, she instantly got hooked.
Not because it allowed her to vicariously experience a romance with adults, no.
It was because through the game, she had discovered a perverse sort of pleasure in seducing grown-up men, in bewitching them and driving them mad with love as a little kid.
The available seduction targets in this game who were adult men were, according to the official introduction, the imperial knight leader and the magic academy’s instructor. And of course, Chieri had mostly focused on them in her hours and hours of game time.
In these sort of romance game, information was the most powerful weapon. And when the class was summoned into this world, Chieri had been the fastest to realize that it was the game’s world. She immediately concealed her knowledge.
She expected that surely there were other ‘heroines’ who were aware of this game, too. She quietly began making her moves, hiding from the other heroines while changing this world to her advantage.
A fortunate surprise was waiting for her.
In the game, if a player tried to seduce more than a certain number of targets at the same time, there was a chance they might encounter a special, secret character. Now that the game had become reality, Chieri had thought it would be difficult to do the same, but then the [Theurgy Aptitude] Skill she had gained afforded her an opportunity. She was called to the Church, and there she met the secret character.
Elias Loewe, the most powerful holy knight. If certain conditions were fulfilled, conditions that were unknown to her, it would result in the appearance of an ‘outside enemy’. The heroine and Elias would cooperate to defeat them.
Yet now, that holy knight, that stunningly beautiful man was kneeling in front of the bullied girl, kissing the back of her hand and looking at her with so, so much passion.
Unforgivable. It should have been Chieri instead.
Ever since the summoning, the girl had had a rather drastic change in personality. Chieri wondered if it wouldn’t be her actual personality instead if she hadn’t been bullied.
When Chieri heard that the girl had Partnered with Sharon, one of the villainesses, she had thought it fitting that the undesirables were sticking together. But then, a possibility came to Chieri’s mind: that the girl knew of the game and still decided to become Sharon’s Partner regardless. If so, she might just be Chieri’s most dangerous enemy.
And her apprehension was proven. Just when Chieri was about to cast a tactile-type surveillance spell on Sharon, her arm was pinched by the girl and her spell was nullified.
Chieri wouldn’t allow anyone to stand in her way. The girl and Sharon would be removed from the face of this world, she quietly swore to herself.
A/N: Willingly walking into the spider’s parlor.