All posts by Ph.D

21 – Tea Party

Since morning today, we’ve been making preparations to go to a tea party.

Who would have a tea party with such a loner queen as lady Sharon? …is probably what some of you people out there might be foolishly thinking, but milady has indeed received an invitation. Everyone still remember, right? Hmmhm, of course I still do. Right up until I don’t.

 

“L-Letty, is this good enough?”

“Of course. You look wonderful in them, milady.”

 

The invitation came from her schoolmate, a young lady of a viscount family. This would be milady’s first time going to a tea party.

Milady’s ensemble today is a simple dress, albeit one with plenty of room in the chest area in order to bring out all of milady’s charm. I had wanted to get her in all sorts of cute clothes, but milady is unfortunately overly gifted in a particular department. It’s difficult to find ready-made clothes that fit her.

To give you an idea of milady’s size, it is large enough that the employee of the clothing store we went to had clicked her tongue when she looked at milady.

“…Letty, you just had another unflattering thought, didn’t you?”

“I was just thinking about the innate inequality between people, milady.”

“My, Letty, that sounds like a grand topic.”

The grandest in the world, I would say.

 

“Welcome, lady Sharon. I am most grateful that you have accepted my invitation.” The viscount’s young lady turns to me, “It is good to have you here as well, miss Fleurety.”

“O-of course, you’re welcome, come back anytime!”

Milady outdoes herself once again with her stranger anxiety. She’s panicking so much her response doesn’t even make sense. But that’s what makes her beautiful.

“Come, come, let’s go.”

“…umm, ah, yes.”

I had to give the viscount’s young lady a nudge to jolt her out of her temporary blue-screen. After her reboot, she gets back to guiding us to our destination.

The young lady was born to the Liniello viscount, and her name is Clarice. She is in the same study group as me in class. We’ve received her invitation since before milady’s homecoming trip, but I still haven’t been able to discern her intentions.

 

“Hey there, miss Sharon, miss Fleurety.”

“Hello, lady Sharon… Kamishiro.”

The whole terrace has been reserved. There, we find two people already seated and enjoying their tea.

“Salutations, instructor Marsaw, lady Chieri…” Milady says.

The same two we met before. Instructor Marsaw looks to be in a good mood, but miss Chieri doesn’t seem to be in very good cheer. I can see her frowning a little.

Milady takes her seat. I move to my usual spot behind her.

“…miss Fleurety, please feel free to sit down.” Lady Clarice says, a hint of dismay on her face as she glances at the empty seat.

“My apologies. I am lady Sharon’s maid, and as such, I should not be seated at the same table.” I say, bowing my head.

Strangely enough, milady seems rather sad as she turns her eyes up at me.

“Letty… please. It’s a request from me, too.”

“But…”

“Then I won’t ask you to. I’m ordering you. Take the same seat as me.”

“Milady…”

Of course, I know that despite saying it’s an order, it’s really just her looking out for her humble servant.

“Then, allow me.”

As she has asked me to take the same seat, I climb on lady Sharon to sit on her lap, facing her.

“You know that’s not what I meant!”

*thwack!*

It’s been quite a while since she took out the slipper again.

 

“Speaking of which, miss Sharon, I heard you’ve picked up theurgy?”

“…ah, yes, sir, but I’ve only just started.”

Indeed, with age comes wisdom. While everyone else is still gaping at me as I sit down on the seat next to milady as though nothing had happened, only instructor Marsaw makes conversation, looking as calm as ever.

“As I’ve mentioned in class before, theurgy is quite good for training your magic control. Keep at it, miss Sharon.”

“Y-yes, sir.”

“Teacher, I’ve also learned Purify,” Chieri suddenly cut in, leaning forward and sounding like a cute honor student who’s asking her teacher for some personal tutoring, “And I think I’m getting the hang of Barrier now… but I’m nervous, doing this alone. If you wouldn’t mind, teacher, would you—”

“My, has something happened?”

This time, it is lady Clarice who interrupts Chieri with a smile on her face. Chieri’s lips twitch.

“The Church has requested miss Chieri’s expertise in theurgy.” Instructor Marsaw answers, smiling kindly and seemingly oblivious to the current atmosphere.

“My, is that why she has learned Barrier…? Has something happened at the Church?” Lady Clarice says, her eyes faintly narrowing.

Chieri lightly brushes instructor Marsaw on the arm and chuckles. “That’s a secret, right, teacher?”

 

I can practically feel the sparks flying. Meanwhile, milady cowers in fear, unable to face the carnage with her lacking skills in womanly combat.

Well, it doesn’t really have anything to do with me anyway. In place of the viscount house’s maid who’s frozen in place, I begin to prepare for milady a cup of veeeery sweet caramel milk tea.

 

“Oh yes, which reminds me, I saw Elias talking to miss Fleurety here at the Church. I was honestly surprised, you know? He rarely shows interest in women.” Instructor Marsaw changes the subject. I have no idea if this is him reading the mood, or not reading the mood.

Chieri’s shoulders move in an almost unnoticeable shake.

That day, the silver-armor-wearing knight had continued to be quite insistent in trying to talk to me. A gift of roses then arrived for me a few days later. I immediately made them into rose jam.

“He’s not interested in women? Does that mean he’s interested in men, then?” I ask instructor Marsaw.

“No, that’s not what I meant….”

“And you’re friends with him, teacher… or are you ‘friends’ with him?”

“Please stop.”

Strangely enough, instructor Marsaw’s face rapidly pales. On the other hand, lady Clarice blushes, looking as though she’s discovered something that she likes very much.

“It’s not that, he’s—”

 

“My, my, what an intriguing conversation.”

 

I really have to wonder if the people of this world are culturally inclined to interrupt others. Despite the terrace being reserved for the tea party, the doors are now open, and a very good-looking lady who looks to be in her early twenties strides toward us. Her hair is a scarlet red.

“…lady Camilla.” “Instructor Reese!”

Lady Clarice and miss Chieri’s voices overlap.

Oh, yes, of course I remember her. Like instructor Marsaw, she is also a teacher at the magic academy. Camilla de Reese, the young lady of a duke’s family.

“Clarice. Why have you called Marsaw but not me?”

“My apologies!”

Clarice hurriedly bows, intimidated by the lady instructor’s aggression.

“Instructor Reese, don’t be so harsh…”

As instructor Marsaw tries to mediate, lady Camilla coquettishly leans on him, fingertips caressing his leg.

“Come on, Marsaw, aren’t we coworkers? I told you, just call me Camilla.” She purrs.

 

Indeed, she makes miss Chieri look like a kid in comparison. While lady Camilla is the third daughter of a duke as well as an instructor of the academy, it doesn’t change the fact that instructor Marsaw is still her senior. A rather saucy woman she is, to be acting so familiar with him.

 

“You over there. Are you acquainted with Elias?”

Lady Camilla throws out her chest and ask me, condescension in her voice. How disappointing. Milady is far more impressively endowed.

“Instructor Camilla, your ringlets are truly luxurious.”

“My, is that your attempt at deflection?”

Despite saying that, she still seems quite pleased. Her lips faintly twitches in a smile, while her fingers brush through her scarlet curls.

Right, right. My hands meet each other in a gesture of realization, and I turn to milady.

“Letty?”

“Milady, today’s snack will be chocolate cornets.”

“What were you looking at to get that idea?!”

 

***

 

The words had offended Camilla’s sensibilities and signaled the end of the tea party. Chieri waited until no one was looking at her and quietly sighed.

Today’s tea party had been extremely… stressful. Not only was the viscount young lady — the main heroine — there, but also two of the villainesses.

There were three villainesses in this game. Sharon was a character that showed up in all routes to annoy and harass you, but never really doing more. On the other hand, Camilla only appeared if you proceeded with the adults’ routes, but she made for a truly terrifying villain.

Chieri had seen her in the game many, many times. Nevertheless, when it came time to face her in the flesh and not through a two-dimensional screen, Chieri found her to be an even more intense woman than she had expected.

Thinking that today was a ‘game event’, Chieri had pestered Marsaw to take her along to the tea party, but then she found out the main heroine had also invited Sharon. She had no idea what the viscount young lady had been thinking.

At first, she thought she would have to make enemies out of all of them at the same time, a headache-inducing prospect if there ever was one. But then her mind changed tack. Maybe the real problem was Kamishiro, after all.

The presence Camilla displayed had been crushing, yet the girl still had the nerve to ignore the woman without even blinking an eye. If it had been Chieri, she was sure she wouldn’t have been able to do it.

I guess I really have to deal with her first…

 

“Instructor Reese… may I have a bit of your time? I would like to consult you on a matter…”

 

***

 

“Hey, Letty, where is this?”

Today, milady and I are on a shopping trip downtown. I take a look at the memo she shows me, and my eyebrows slightly furrow.

“This store is located in a back alley. I shall go and make the purchase, milady.”

“You can’t. Instructor Camilla has asked me to do this, and so I will.”

At school, there may be times when an instructor requests their students to run an errand for them.

Rather than being a personal chore that the teacher needs doing, it’s more meant to serve as a sort of practical lesson for the noble boys and girls who haven’t had much contact with the common people.

All the same, as milady is a marquis’ daughter, there hasn’t been many teachers who have sent her for errands. Lady Camilla was the one to have asked her this time, however, so milady couldn’t refuse.

“My apologies. I have overstepped my bounds.”

“Don’t mind it, Letty. Besides, umm… I still want you to stay with me.”

Milady is already somewhat blushing by the end, her voice shrunken into an embarrassed whisper. How cute.

 

“Hey there young ladies, brave of you to come here without bodyguar—”

A man appears before us right after we enter the back alley and starts running his mouth, so I let him have a taste of my spiked club.

“Nice shot.”

“Letty?!” Milady sounds shocked.

“Quite a ruffian he was, to have scared milady so.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about! What are you doing so suddenly?”

“What do you mean, milady?”

Anyone who would say something so cliché in this sort of place would inevitably meet the same fate.

“Oh yes, do you mean we should have tied him up and interrogate him? My apologies, I have been hasty.”

“No, that’s not what I meant either…”

I have held back as much as I could on him, but the man is still twitching on the ground with hands between his legs. He does not seem to be available for questioning.

But there is no need to worry. He hasn’t been alone. The few men behind him are already taking out bladed weapons, see? Though I can see some fear mixing in with the anger they’re showing on the faces.

 

“Damn this bitch, she thinks she’s hot shit?!”

“Don’t bother kidnapping them! Just fuck ‘em up!”

 

So, ‘kidnapping’, is it. Simply to take a ransom? Or perhaps they’re working for someone?

I ready my Orc Killer EX in an actual stance. Seeing me, milady tugs on my sleeves.

“You can take them down, but, umm, don’t do that ‘Nice Shot’ thing again, okay?”

“Hmm.”

How kind of milady. I understand, her face is flipping between a pale pallor and a bright blush, after all. Besides, if I do the upswing with my full strength, I don’t think they’d be in any condition to talk.

“Understood.”

 

I approach the group. One of the men runs at me with his weapon. I trip him with my spiked club and once he lies on the ground, I make a putt with Orc Killer EX.

*splat*

“Birdie.”

“Urflp…”

My gentle strike hasn’t been enough to make him faint. It only turns his face ashen pale and sodden with cold sweat while his body shivers.

 

“Come on, be grateful for milady’s kindness. One more hit…”

“No, that’s not it!”

 

Don’t worry, milady. There are still plenty of balls left to hit. Let’s see what they know about their backer.


A/N: It was very kind of the maid and her mistress to have allowed them to stay conscious.


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20 – Enemy Contact

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?”

“Yes, indeed.”

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.”

“…understood.”

“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.

“Hey, Letty.”

“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?

…hmm?

“Milady, instructor Marsaw is there.”

“My.”

 

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-”

“Letty?!”

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.”

“Hello… Kamishiro.”

 

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.”

“Y-yes.”

Chieri stretches out her hand for a shake. Milady reflexively responds and brings out her own…

 

*thwap*

“…Letty?”

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.”

“‘Good’?! Is that what you have to say?!”

“…really, Kamishiro?”

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?”

 

***

 

‘…damn it.’

 

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.


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19 – The Church

“Sharon…”

“Father…”

The Michel marquis has gotten so weak that he nearly falls over trying to stand up, but he does so anyway, calling for milady’s name. The two share a tearful embrace.

Gidel had never allowed her to meet him, and the only letters she ever received from the family had been full of heartless words. Nevertheless, milady still believed in her father.

It seems the Michel marquis had been bedridden for a long, long time due to being continuously fed poison by Gidel. He can move around somewhat now that the poison is gone, but the danger has not fully passed. He still needs rest.

Well, I suppose there’s also a little bit of my poison involved in his condition too, but that’s irrelevant. Just a bit of an accident, really.

 

“S-Sister!”

“…Yohanne?”

The boy is looking at milady with so much reverence in his gaze, it’s like his personality has been switched. Are those cheeks blushing because he has just been embraced in milady’s bountiful blessings a moment ago? What a lecherous kid.

“U-umm… can I still talk to you at school, sister?”

“You can, Yohanne. We’re siblings, no need to be so reserved.”

“Yes!”

Yohanne. Lady Sharon is your older sister. Do you remember that? Do you?

 

In the end, everyone in the Balla count’s house, from family members to high-ranking servants, were discovered to have gone missing. Gidel was the only exception. She had been arrested as a suspect, but was then found to be of unsound mind. The rest of her life would be spent in the asylum, it seemed.

I found out that she wasn’t immortal. Still, I left her alive to take responsibility for the incident.

Now, the only remaining person to carry the Balla blood is Yohanne. After he turns of age, he would either become the next count, or the Balla territory would be absorbed by the Michel house. There are also talks of having the territory become milady’s instead, but the matter is still for the far future.

 

I’ve managed to deal with most of Gidel’s lackeys within the Michel family’s servants.

The job of explaining things to the truly ignorant servants — those who had been deceived by Gidel — would be done by the young maids that I’d saved, so I expect there would be no problem on that end. The only troublesome ones are the servants allied with Gidel who weren’t aware of her crimes, such as Mia. I only left them under surveillance, however; they might prove to be useful for something.

“Then I shall leave the matter to you, sir Franz.”

“Understood, miss Fleurety. I will accomplish my duties.”

Mister Franz has changed from his gardener attire to a butler uniform. Quite a few of the high-ranking servants are gone now, so he has been reinstated to his old position.

From what I’ve heard, he and that one knight named Bardo are now making contact with the people who had been forced to resign, calling them back to service.

Well then…

 

“Eep!”

Just giving her a glance is already enough for lady Akiru to squeak fearfully. She shrinks away from me.

Ah, but there are quite a lot of black rings around her eyes, aren’t there? I’ve recruited her help with a bit of my experiments, though I do hope she wouldn’t turn out like lady Hina. That young lady now loses control of her bladder whenever I come close.

 

I have had a little talk with lady Akiru, and she said this world is the world of an otome game. A likely claim. I decided some verification was in order, and so since the young miss cannot die, I administered a nearly-fatal dose of my medicine. Unfortunately, it only confirmed that she truly believed what she was saying.

In other words, this world is a world with an incredible resemblance to that of the so-called ‘otome game’.

According to Akiru, there are several ‘heroines’. In order to conquer their targets, they would have to bring down the ‘villainesses’ and raise their affection points with the target.

And one of those villainesses is supposed to be lady Sharon.

…what a farce.

 

“Letty?”

“My apologies. My mind was occupied with a small matter.”

Milady and I have returned from the Michel territory to the capital, where the academy is. There are quite a few concerns, but as I have no concrete evidence yet, I cannot afford to burden milady with more worries.

“My, Letty. That’s unusual for you.”

“I was thinking to write a thesis about the inverse relationship between milady’s scholarly ability and bust size in order to present it to the academy.”

“Can you please not?! Seriously!”

“It was only half a joke, milady.”

“…fine then, I guess.”

Which is to say that I am also half-serious. The headmaster has shown a surprising amount of interest, and he even told me he would fund all expenses for my research from his own pocket.

“Milady, in order to raise your scores, we will look into studying magic today.”

“Alright…”

Milady sulks somewhat as she looks at me with upturned eyes. How devastatingly cute.

 

If lady Sharon is supposed to be one of those so-called ‘villainesses’, then I need only defeat the heroines. At the same time, getting her grades up and clearing her stigma of being a terrible student are also very important.

How much effort should I spend on entertaining this silly idea, I wonder…

 

“Which reminds me, I’ve heard that theurgy would be good for learning magic control.”

“Theurgy, is it?”

Different from the elemental magics that we learn at the academy such as earth, water, fire, wind, and a few other types, theurgy is magic that uses the element of ‘light’. While the academy also teaches the basics of theurgy, this type of magic is mainly the Church’s domain, since many healing spells are theurgical in nature.

“Have you not gone to church before, milady?”

“Umm… I’ve gone for a prayer or two before, but getting theurgical lessons… well…”

“Aah, I understand. Milady used to be impoverished, after all.”

“Shut up!”

Apparently, one needs to give a rather sizable donation if one wishes to learn theurgical magic from the Church. With the funds we’ve earned from the dungeons and the actual support that the marquis house is now giving us, we can afford it.

“Alright, we’ll go to the Church!”

“Yes, milady. I shall accompany you.”

 

And so we get ready for a trip downtown. Getting there on foot wouldn’t take more than an hour, but just as milady and I leave the dormitory, we find the dorm mother’s horse already waiting for us with the carriage.

“Your name is Nir from now on.”

“Grrr!”

“Umm, Letty, are you sure it’s fine to name it without asking the dorm mother first…?”

It is, it is. The dorm mother never manages to stay conscious whenever she catches sight of Nir here, anyway. She must be quite the sheltered lady if seeing a horse with four extra legs is already enough to make her faint. Just in case, I drape Nir in a sheet of cloth to hide his changes.

As I expected, Nir is rather speedy. We arrive at the church several times faster than in a normal carriage.

 

“So this is the church…”

“Yes, it’s the cathedral of the Church that venerates the true Goddess.”

We’re not talking about a building for worship. We’re talking about a religious organization that is named ‘The Church’. How confusing. Which reminds me, I do recall lady Akiru mentioning that this world has an actual Goddess who grants Oracles to the heroines.

The entrance is a staircase with ten steps. Milady jiggles whenever she goes up a step, which is why she’s been the target of quite a few gazes from the men visiting the Church.

“What’s wrong, Letty?” She says mid-way through the stairs, her head turned to look back at me. I haven’t moved from the bottom.

I’m not sure how to describe this. The moment I try to go up the stairs, I immediately feel some sort of pressure, like I’m being rejected. It makes it rather difficult for me to proceed.

But, well, it’s not strong enough to stop me completely.

“No, it is nothing. I will be with you in a moment, milady.”

I smile at her and make a forceful step forward. Something crackles, almost like static electricity on a cold day. From deeper within the cathedral, a faint column of smoke begins to rise.

“My… are they making a bonfire?”

“How about some roasted sweet potatoes for today’s snack, milady?”

“Ooh! Yes, I’d like that!”

 

***

 

“What happened?!”

“I-I don’t know. The protective talisman just suddenly burned…”

 

The talisman at the cathedral was the core of a holy barrier that repelled malice and all things evil. Legend has it that it was first set up centuries ago by the Saint, a holy woman who had received an Oracle from the Goddess, and it had protected the cathedral from wicked humans and dark spirits ever since.

What would it mean, then, that the talisman burned?

The thought that there could be an existence powerful enough to destroy the Saint’s protection did not even come to the minds of the priests and priestesses. They all believed it had been because of a lack of piety, and they could do nothing but helplessly watch in panic as the talisman continued to burn.

 

“Everyone, calm down.” “Sir Elias! Oh, thank the Goddess!”

The priests and priestesses all exclaimed in relief and cheer.

 

Arriving at the scene was a dashingly handsome man. He was the most powerful Holy Knight, the only man in this country — as well as the surrounding countries, in fact — to have received the Goddess’ Protection.

With unshakable composure, he stepped in front of the priests and raised his right hand.

 

[Holy Light]

 

Light suffused the chamber. The moment it touched the talisman, the flames were instantly snuffed out.

“As expected of sir Elias!”

“How wonderful… he truly is loved by the Goddess.”

Words of praise and rejoice rang out one after another. Even as Elias responded to their cheers with a hint of a wry smile on his face, his eyes were still fixed at the charred talisman.

…what has happened? He thought.

At the great hall, Elias had felt a malevolent presence, albeit for only a single instant.

It had vanished so quickly that he almost thought he was imagining it. But then, from the burning talisman, he sensed a wicked magic power lingering. It had been the reason why the fire couldn’t be extinguished, as well as why Elias had decided to use the evil-repelling theurgical spell Holy Light to purify the magic power.

As Elias was deep in his thoughts, one of the priests called at him.

“Sir Elias, what should we do? The cathedral cannot be defenseless…”

“Indeed…”

 

The protective talisman was imbued by the theurgical power of the Saint hundred of years ago.

While Elias could also use powerful theurgical spells thanks to the Goddess’ Protection, his repertoire were mainly combat-focused. He could manage during the short-term, but he couldn’t make a talisman that would last centuries like the Saint had.

Then Elias remembered. His friend Eric Marsaw, an instructor at the magic academy, had told him that among the boys and girls summoned this year, there was a person who was a prodigy in theurgy.

 

“Perhaps they could do it…”

 

Deciding to contact Marsaw, Elias returned to the great hall. The moment he did, he noticed a noble-looking silver-haired girl entering the hall…

“How lovely…”

…and his gaze was instantly stolen by the adorable black-haired maid walking behind her.


A/N: No Elias don’t go there, that way lies madness.

There’s been a lot of names and since more of the middle-schoolers are going to show up from now on, I thought I’d list out the names of the female middle-school students.

秋留【akiru】 牡丹【botan】 知恵里【chieri】 伝子【denko】 依波【ena】 吹亜【fua】 銀子【ginko】 比奈【hina】

They’re literally named in ABC order.


Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter

Final Afterstory 06 – The Rabbit Goddess Descends

Dozens of fighter aircrafts flew toward me. This country’s military, I supposed.

I sent them a warning-slash-threat in the Divine Language, but it did nothing more than send them into a few seconds of inactivity before their assault resumed.

I flew, breaking the sound barrier and with a wave of my hand, freezing and bringing down the rain of missiles. My palm faced toward the fighters.

I’d given my warning. I wasn’t very excited to kill them when they hadn’t attacked me out of hatred, but neither did I have the time to shoot them down gently enough to let them escape with their lives. Earth wasn’t Yggdrasia. There was no World Tree here to save their souls. I closed my eyes for a second to pray for them, and I slowly clenched my hand.

 

“—[Causality Alteration]—”

 

The fighters’ cockpits were instantly painted red from the inside. The majority of the aircrafts continued streaking past me, their speed unchanged, and they plowed into the distant ground.

They were all soldiers. Over the past ten-odd years, they’d had many, many wounds from training and combat, and I expected some of them had even died instantly when I activated my ability. How ironic… the more they’d hurt and killed for their country, the higher their likelihood of death.

“…still.”

While I might pray for their passing, that didn’t mean I’d start feeling merciful now, of all times.

I was the Goddess of Yggdrasia, not Earth. I would save this planet, the planet where I was born, but I had no plans to save the people on it. I was a koujin, after all.

 

“Stop throwing yourselves at me!”

 

Despite their losses, there were still fighters several kilometers away who were willing to continue attacking me. I threw daggers from my inventory to take them down.

One of them, the squadron leader from the looks of it, was still unwilling to retreat even when they were the last fighter left. I cut off the aircraft’s wings, prompting the two pilots inside to escape, and I tore apart the parachute of the more strong-willed of the two of them, catching him in mid-air. He was slick with cold sweat as the man felt my strength with his own skin, but he still glared at me with all his bravado.

 

“Damned demon!”

“All of this was caused by the ignorance of your own leaders. I had nothing to do with it.”

His language wasn’t one I spoke, but the Divine Language would let me communicate with nearly all sentient creatures.

He understood me, I was sure of it. The man in his forties who looked to be a commanding officer grimaced as my voice sounded directly in his mind, and he howled in outrage.

“Spare me the lies, White Demon! I know you! You are the demon that had attacked the country to the west and murdered tens of thousands! The higher-ups told me it was you that was the cause of this disaster, and even our neighboring country and the nation to the west told us you were to blame for their losses! No matter how much of a monster you might be, you won’t be able to stand against the whole world—”

“…right, I got it.”

I see, further questioning would be useless. I released my hold, and the man’s screams faded off as he fell faster and faster. My cold gaze stayed on him as I let slip a whisper.

 

“…so this country had decided to blame me for everyone they’d done, then.”

 

I had thought it wouldn’t be very productive to try and convince them, but only now did I truly understand how futile communication would be. This country had bought off technicians and researchers from the West and had touched upon the ‘parallel world’ despite their insufficient understanding, and their unanticipated failure had triggered a global existential threat. They must have thought that if what had happened were to be brought to light, the nation would lose much of its credibility.

From a certain point of view, I could understand their thought process, but it was much too foolish. They thought the few percentage of the world that they saw was everything. Even when the world they lived in was in danger, they still prioritized their nation’s reputation.

I didn’t want to believe that all humans were so idiotic. Yet there was far too much of a possibility that the neighboring country, those who had committed the same mistake, would try to keep this fiction alive as well, thinking that their own reputation will be at stake if the truth about what this country had done was to be revealed.

As the situation devolved, sooner or later, the middle-eastern countries and the United Nations would get involved. The people would then try to find an outlet for their dissatisfaction and fear, and they might just turn their eyes toward me — a well-defined enemy, and an easy target to push all their responsibilities on.

Should I demolish this whole region before it came to pass, then? But how much time would it take to comb through it all? Furthermore, how much of the local nature, flora and fauna would be destroyed? Not to mention that I didn’t even know if Brian’s core was here…

If humans were truly such a foolish species…

“…then maybe I should exterminate them to protect this world.”

 

It was then that I noticed something approaching me. It was still far away — several hundreds… no, several thousands kilometers away. And they were coming from more than one direction.

“—[Dimensional Manipulation]—”

I re-accessed the military satellite that I was still keeping a connection to. New info appeared in my mind.

…the neighboring country’s mobilizing its army? There are fleets of warships crossing the Pacific?

How? That’s too fast. It had only been a few hours since I came back to Earth. Even if they’d immediately set off then, there was no way they could have gotten so close.

“Then… had they been expecting this?”

It didn’t look like their preparations had been for my arrival, exactly. My guess was that the other countries had realized that this country was the cause of the disaster. They saw the chaos as an opportunity to further their own interests and bring in their own armies, using the disaster as a pretext. Their troops had been denied entrance by this country and had been waiting outside the border, but my appearance had given them the ‘reasonable cause’ to interfere.

There was a possibility they weren’t here to fight me, but the grey mud instead. I doubted it. They didn’t come loaded with incendiary weapons; they were equipped with what was obviously meant for human-against-human combat.

 

Was every country the same? Were they all people more concerned with robbing from others rather than dealing with a global threat, than the safety of their own lands?

Either way, I would still be their first target to attack, being the most obvious enemy to them. The military satellite told me their fighters had already taken off from their fleets to head straight for me. Meanwhile, this country’s air force also once again resumed their attack.

I let loose a bit of a sigh, a holdover from when I used to be human, and prepared myself to obliterate them. But just as I focused magic into my arms and got ready for interception, one of the fighters heading my way was suddenly shot through its wings. It fell.

“…what?”

 

Several flying objects showed themselves from behind the fighters and gave chase. They were far smaller than the aircrafts, yet overwhelmingly faster and more mobile. Impotent before their assault despite outnumbering them several times, the fighters began dropping like flies.

I knew this feeling…

“…mana?”

From these flying objects, I felt mana when it should have long since disappeared from this world. In that case, were what they were using to shoot down the fighters offensive spells?

They were about five meters in length. Their pitch-black armor brought to mind the image of an insect’s carapace that had been streamlined for flight. One of them changed form into what looked like a griffon and spoke directly into my mind with a telepathic spell.

 

“Sorry I’m lateeeee, miss Dark Bunny Ladyyyyy!”

 

“…what.”

…was that voice Jennifer?! The former researcher of the 12th research center, the gaming addict that had declared herself a worshipper of the Dark Lady, that Jennifer? I thought she was currently working in the management team for the VRMMORPG World of Yggdrasia after it had gotten downsized? Why was she here?

 

“Lady Shedyyyyyy!!!”

The griffon flew at me like an excited dog bringing a frisbee back to its owner, all the while talking in Jennifer’s voice. I dashed forward and gripped her neck.

“Jennifer… is this one of those mana-using avatars? Is your country still doing that? Had they not listened to a single thing I said?”

I put more strength into the hand holding the griffon’s neck, cold mist emanating from me as I fixed my frosty glare at her. Jennifer frantically shook her head.

“N-n-n-no, ma’am!! I mean, this is the final MO-21 model of the mana-using militarized avatar series, but I haven’t betrayed you! And it’s not like I can anyway when you’ve made that Contract with our President!”

“Then talk. What’s going on?”

“Y-yes!”

 

By her words, the mana-using avatar that she was using had been designed as the final model. All the research about magical weapons had been destroyed by my hands along with the research centers, but only the data about this MO-21 model was intact, having been programmed into the game as the final form of the playable monster avatars.

Jennifer and her co-workers had only discovered it about a year ago. As evolving into it required an absurd amount of magic point — four thousand — the management team had deemed the evolution impossible to acquire or even control with the current setup that they had. Removing it from the game would require a complete overhaul of the current monster avatar system, and so they’d decided to leave it alone until a solution could be found.

But once dark pixies began to appear on Yggdrasia and Earth, the management team started to consider what the players should do. It was during their talks with the leaders of Yggdrasia that ‘messengers’ of the World Tree appeared.

 

“…from the World Tree?”

“It’s true! The messengers looked like ghostly children. They said if the players were willing to cooperate, then they would allow us to use our monster avatars on Earth, and the avatars would be infused with enough mana to operate. They also said they wanted us to help miss Shedy.”

“…”

The Saplings… my friends, my family. They were doing this for me?

“Those messengers was amazing! They’d already understood how the avatars worked, and they helped us to evolve all our monster avatars into the MO-21 model! They’re so much smarter than me!”

“…”

My brows slightly furrowed. I think I had an idea of what happened. To have done this sort of nerdy stuff in secret, it could only have been No. 01.

I attempted to extract information from Jennifer’s Model MO-21. What I got were reports of players fighting dark pixies with their MO-21s all around the world, as well as bringing down the fighters deployed to attack me with contemptuous ease.

And that was happening when the players weren’t even trained soldiers. If the magical weapon project had been allowed to be completed, that country might have ruled the world by now.

So if the players had that many monster avatars… wait a minute…

 

“Jennifer, were all the MO-21s being controlled by a central system?”

“Of course! Some of our employees and a few players are military hobbyists, and they said we have to have a central control system if we’re going to be piloting these things. They even stayed up nights after—”

“Got it. Tell all the avatars to stop harassing the human armies and head for where dark pixies are appearing instead. I’ll be giving direct orders through the central control system.”

I removed my hand from Jennifer. She twirled her MO-21 in the air and gave a salute with the griffon’s front leg. Surprisingly dexterous.

 

“Understood! We are the Dark Army, the Bunny Lady’s Royal Guards! All ten thousand of us are now under your command, miss Shedy!”

 

*

 

The aerodynamic Model MO-21s danced in the skies.

People of the modern age were used to the sight of avatars being used in dangerous workplaces. However, in situations where rapid responsiveness and snap decisions were required, such as piloting a military aircraft, the human controller still needed to be present on the scene in order to maximize performance.

Yet having a human on board also meant having a human weakness.

On the other hand, the mana-using avatars had been attuning themselves with mana through actual combat in another world (albeit presented as a game), and their nervous systems had been strengthened as a result. Their performance far surpassed any and all modern weaponry.

The players hadn’t fought any other humans aside from the soldiers they encountered on their way to their destination. Even during those encounters, they hadn’t killed anyone, being nothing more than civilians themselves.

But that was fine. There was no need for their consciences to be burdened with death. I was the Dark Lady, the Goddess, and the weight was my responsibility to bear.

The MO-21s scattered throughout the world at speeds approaching that of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Their destinations were wherever there was the grey mud, the breeding ground for dark pixies. As soon as they arrived, I gave them the order through the central system that I’d linked to.

 

“Begin the assault. Your targets are the dark pixies.”

 

The MO-21s began their extermination. As I expected, it didn’t take long for them to eradicate the dark pixies while still keeping collateral damage low. These avatars possessed more magic points than greater demons after all, while their targets were nothing more than low demons.

 

“Thanks, everyone. It’s my job from here.”

My gratitude was answered with a multitude of voices from the players.

I began attuning all ten-thousand of the MO-21s to me until they were completely suffused in my power, and through them, I activated my ability. In the air, the pitch-black insectile MO-21s all turned white, while those that had transformed into griffons grew rabbit ears from their heads.

 

“Fear not, humans. Fear only feeds the demons. Rest assured, for I am here. Your planet will be saved.”

 

As I Spoke, particles of light scattered from the MO-21s. All humans and creatures of Earth turned their gazes to the rain of light.

 

[Causality Alteration] [Dimensional Manipulation]

 

The luminous particles began to scour through the past and future of all electronic devices throughout the world. From them, I saw everything about how the grey mud had appeared, how it was spreading, and how it would expand.

“…found it!”

I immediately cut my connection to the central control system and teleported to a mountain range to the east of Eurasia.

My vision flickered, and I appeared in the middle of an enormous blizzard. As though in response to my magic power, the mountains instantly erupted with grey mud.

 

“L̷̶͝Í͠T͏̧͜T̕͏̶͞͝L̡̢͜͠͡E͢͠͏ ̵҉̧̀B̷͘͡͞U̶N̡̢͘͟͝N҉͝Y͠Ỳ̷̡̢̕Ý̸͢͡҉Ỳ̵͢Ỳ̷͜͞!̕̕͢͡͞!̵͏̴͠!̶̀”

“Brian…!!”

 

The tsunami of grey surged toward me. I focused all the magic I could muster into my arms, and I brought my Divine and Demonic powers together with a clasp of my hands.

 

“—[Chaos Fulmination]—”

 

With me as the center, a sphere of annihilation expanded outward for dozens of kilometers, erasing and ravaging the grey tsunami. The mountains were stripped bare of layers of earth and rocks, revealing an unassuming research center hidden within.

 

“Palesnow!”

 

I called for my kin. The sentient sword appeared in my hands with a flash of its snow-white blade and a sudden emanation of coldness.

I brought it down. My blade sundered the research center several kilometers away in two and proceeded to slice apart a broken VR capsule, as well as Brian’s skull inside it.

 

“ÁĄ̕͢͡A̡͜͠͏͟a̷̧͡àA͏͞Ą̷̸̧̀ą͢À͞A͟Ŕ̢͢͝R̨R̸̴̵̷͢Ŕ̢͞G͜͏̛G̡͠҉͠H̸́̀H̵͝!̴͢͟͏!̶̷̧̀!҉̶́͟”

 

With his demonic core now in pieces, Brian screamed his death throes. No demons could continue to resurrect once their core was destroyed.

But I wasn’t done yet. I swung Palesnow together with an activation of Causality Alteration, and the sundered research center then began to melt into nothingness, bringing Brian with it.

He was gone. The demon named Brian, the man named Brian, had never been born.

 

With his disappearance, the grey mud all around the world began to vanish.

The particles of light I had spread throughout Earth slowly whirled into the air. People everywhere looked up into the sky, enchanted by the sight as though children seeing snow for the first time.

 

***

 

*boing-oing!*

“Ook!”

 

As soon as I returned from Earth to the roots of the World Tree, Blobsy and Panda immediately leaped at me.

“I’m back.”

I was finally home again. A sense of relief washed over me, and I found myself with a hint of a smile. I held my two kins in my chest. The World Tree greeted me with the rustling of its leaves and the dancing rays of dappled sunlight.

 

I dragged my weary body toward a length of root and sat down. With Blobsy and Panda in my arms, I let myself be taken by the gentle embrace of sleep.

There were so many things we’d talked about.

There were so many things I wanted to say.

The world in front of my eyes slowly changed. Sitting on the World Tree’s branches were ninety-nine of my friends and family, and they welcomed me back with cheerful smiles. I beamed in gratitude for their help and spread wide my arms.

 

“Love you, everyone.”


A/N: In stores now: ⅙ figurine of the Bunny, Goddess ver., for placing in shrines. 1000 dollars, tax included.

I think it’ll sell pretty well.

This is the end of the afterstories. Sorry for my infrequent uploads. I’ll be fixing them up bit by bit later.

Now that this chapter’s up, I’m setting Apotheosis as ‘Completed’ again. Thank you for reading.

I might update again if I have a new idea.


Previous Chapter | Index | End

Afterstory 05 – Brian the Demon

“I͞’̴ve̵ ̢be̢͢͝ę̸n̶̵ ̷w̛͢ai͞҉̨t̡҉i̢̨͠n̛͏g̡̢҉ ̨͜͞f͢͜o͜r̵̢͘ ̡͜͠y̶͟óù͠.̨.͟.̴͡ l͡͡itt͠͠le͝ b̷̡ú̵͘n͟ńỳ.̧̀.̵.̶͘”

 

From the mass of grey mud corrupting the vast, snow-drowned forest came a thought. A voice that rang directly in my mind.

I knew that tone. That madness.

“…so it’s you, Brian…”

 

Brian had been one of the people in charge of the parallel world department. He had toyed with the lives of a hundred orphans, including me, and after my counterattack wounded his body and mind, he began to be obsessed with me. In the end, he even summoned the Unseelie Lord Fiorfata. Just as he was receiving its ‘blessing’ and was about to turn into a demon, I killed him.

So how did he survive? I thought I’d erased every last bit of him. Did he have a core remaining somewhere else after his demonic transformation…?

[Brian] [Race: Dark Pixie (Seedbed)] [Demon]
・A soul of utmost profanity. Blessed by a high-rank demon, it has since transformed into a demon itself.

[Magic Points:*̸̴̢̧*̡͢͞*҉̵̛͠*̷҉̨/͏̵*̸̛҉*̵̷͜͝*̶̧*̸̕͝] 
[Total Combat Power:*̵͏*̸*̷̀*̷҉͢/̡͜*̷̧*̧̧͜*͟͠*̵͟] 

He had fallen. He was utterly, irrevocably a demon now. And while I expected him to be nothing more than a low-rank demon, the… colony? The colony that was his body was much too big for my Identification to work properly.

 

“Ļi̶͟t͘̕͝t͞t̶t̸̵́t̵͞҉t́̀͟le̴͘͟ b̴̢u͟n̨͜n̸y͏̡ý̨yy͏̵y̸̢͜y̧!͢͏!̶̧͡!̨̕”

 

With Brian’s screaming thought, the sea of grey mud that stretched as far as I could see — the demon’s Blessed Corpus — roiled and rippled. From it came an innumerable amount of tentacles that shot toward me.

This thing was dangerous. Even as low-ranking as he was, Brian was still a terrible threat to a world that had no defense against demons of any kind. If I leave him alone, he would overrun and devour everything.

I couldn’t let a single speck of him remain, here or anywhere else.

I activated Causality Alteration and Consumption, taking in all the light and heat around me and combined it with my internal magic to create a white sphere of power that rested between my palms.

I slammed my hands together and crushed it.

 

“—[Absolute Nadir]—”

 

An explosion of absolute zero rushed out, snap-freezing all the tentacles it touched. Everything within several kilometers disintegrated into atoms, and a storm of diamond dust carried the frigid cold outward for kilometers more. The boreal forest was remade into a glacial wasteland.

I floated in the center, a gouging, frozen-solid crater with a radius of several kilometers and a depth reaching nearly a hundred meters. My narrowed eyes scanned the surroundings.

 

-͜͞b́͢҉ų̴̡̢͝n͏̡҉̧͝ņ̢͘͜y̵͜-̡̛͢b̸̸͟u̡͘̕͢n̡͝-̴͘͠r̵̨͘à̛̕͝b̵̛҉b̨̢i̧̛̛͜t̛́͘͟͞-̕l̵̡i̸͢͟t͢͟ţ́͏͠l̴͢e̢̕͏̨b͏̸͜͡u҉̶͡n̸̛͝͞ǹ̵y̶͜͟͏-̷̨l̵̸̵̕i̢̨̛͢t̛͠-́f͢͞u̵̢͡z̷̴̴̷z̵̕͟͢͡b̀a̶l̵̀l̢͢͟͢-̨̀͞͡l̡̨̢i͏͢͠t̷̨t̸̢͜͜t̴͞͡t͡͝-̧͘͘͠l͡҉̨̛a̸͜͡͠ǵ̶̶̀͟ơ̧m͠͏͘͘o̵̕ŗ̨͢p̷̡̨͠h̛͢-̢͡b͝҉̶͠u̸̷̶̶҉n̸̢͡n̴͝y͘b͢ù͜͢͠͞n̴̴̢͘-̸̶̡́͟f̨͢͡͞l̵̴u̶͜f̴̸̷f̨̀͠-̵̴͟͢͝l҉̴́í̴͞l͠͏̨̡’̢b͠͏̵ų̧͏n͢n̢͜͜͢-̵̨́́̕b̶̴͞u̷̢̨̡-̵͘b͢͟҉ư͠͡n̸͘ń͞ì̵͟͟͝è̶̡h̵̸́͡͞-̶͞͠b̀͞u͘͏̵̨n̴̸̡̕͝n̕͜y̶̸̛͢-̨̛̛́b̶̵͘͜u҉̸n̵͘͠͝-̀͜r̡̢͟҉a̶҉͡b͜͠b̨͞i̷̷̸͘͞t̷̕-̢́͘͟͠l̛i̶̡t͏̢̀t͜҉͠͠l̢͢͞ę̶͜͠͠b̶̨̀u̶̷̧n̢̕̕͝ǹ́͘͢y̨͘-̵̸͞l̵̨͘ì͢͝t̴̡́̀-̵͘͡f̛ú̸z̛z͢͏b͝҉a̛͜͏l҉̶̴̡l͏̸͝-̸̸̡͘l̸̨̡i̧̨̛͠͠t̢́t̨̛t͝҉͡t͏̛͟͠-̵̷̛l͝a̶̧͏͜͡g̷̶̨͟͢ò҉̴̢͞ḿ̴͡͠ǫ̷r͟͝͝p̡̀͟͜h̢̡̛͝͡-̷̧̛́b̷҉̵͘u͏̵̵͞n̕͏n̶̵҉y̧̧̛͘͝b̴͘͞u̡͠n͢͡͡-͏̸̷f̧͏̵̕l̶͞ú̷̕͟f̢̨̛͢͡f̵̨͢-̷͘͘͟͟l̛͏҉i͜͟͜l̶̢͘͢͠’̶̵̶̀͘b̵͡͠u҉̀ņ̸̵̀͢n̶̨͘͞-̛͟b̸̨́̀͢ù̕-̷b͏̕͢ú͡n͏͏ņ̢i̴͏҉̷e͏͟h̢͝͠-̴͡b̷̕͜u̸̡͢͢ń̸̡͜n͏̸̢̕y̵̧͢-̢̛́͟͢b̶̢͜͝u͏̴̷̀n̡̛͘͏-̢͢͢͡r̀͜͡͠a̛͢͜҉̢b҉̶b̷̴̵́i͘҉ţ̡͜-̧ļ͘͡ì̶̵̕ţ͟͞ţ̴̕ĺ͟e͝͞͏͡͏b̨͘͢͜u̴͠͞͠n͞͡n͢͞ỳ̛͜͜-̴̨̛͘͡l̡͏ì̵̷͟t̨̨̀-̀͘͟f͏̢̢͟u̸҉͠z͡͠z̢b̡͘a̧̛l̢̢l̸̷̕-̀͘҉l͏i̵̴̕t̀͘͜t̷̡̕͝͠t͘t͏̵̶̷̧-̴̵͡͠l̸͢͜͡͠a̧͜ǵ̡̕͝o̷͡m͏̴̧̛o̕͡͏r̀͝͠p̸̵̀͢ḩ̷̛͢-͏̴̷̕͘b̸̶̧́u̴͞n͞͏͞n̵y̧̨̡̕̕b̨͜͞u҉̢͝ņ͘-҉̷́͠f̨̀͞͝l̛̕u͘҉͏̶͟f́f̡̕͜͡-͏̵̕͢͡ļ͠͞͠i̵̵̷l͝҉̀́͟’̛҉̵̡͠b͢u̵ņ̕͜͠ǹ͘̕-̸̕͜b̶u̶̡̨͞-̸̧͘͠͡b̷́u҉̨͢n̶̛͘n̛͡͏́í̡̢e҉̸̢͡ḩ̡͏̷͘-҉́b̛̛͜͢͝u҉̸̶͝ń͟͏ń̷̡̢ỳ̡͢͜͝ý͟҉̵̵ỳ̧̢͠͠.̕͏̛͜.̀́.̡̕͞

 

Innumerable minds screamed from the tidal waves of grey that were crashing toward me from outside the devastation I’d caused. The flood began to spew out dark pixies in unending number, and the swarm of locusts darkened the skies in mere seconds.

From what I could see, it seemed the grey mud was comprised of countless microorganisms the size of amoebas, with each and every single one of them being the demon Brian by themselves.

How did their minds work, then? Were these microorganisms working together to create a sort of ‘brain’?

No, probably not. As Brian was a demon now, he should have a core somewhere. But not here, it seemed, though I had expected it to be, since this was also the place that had a dimensional gateway.

 

Similar to Fiorfata, Brian was an annoying opponent to face, albeit due to a different reason. He wasn’t powerful, nor did he have a lot of magic power. In exchange, he could possess and sacrifice the life-force of creatures on this world and use their souls as a substitute for magic power.

At this rate, all life on Earth would be consumed. How much time did I have left? How far had Brian spread?

I needed more information.

 

[Firebloom], [Rimeblossom]!”

 

With the mist from my left hand and the blizzard from my right blasting forward, I spun in place, freezing and incinerating all the dark pixies. Afterward, I shot upward into the sky at supersonic speed to look for information.

I climbed, higher and higher. One thousand became two thousand and five hundred, then four thousand. When the azure color of the sky began to give way to blue-tinted blackness, I looked downward, and I saw that below me was the Eurasia continent.

While there were a lot of radio waves bouncing around in the stratosphere, it was still difficult to directly extract information from them even with my ability. Instead, I tracked the signals to a military satellite nearby and teleported to it.

At this height, the stratosphere held barely any air. My crimson claws sank into the satellite. With Dimensional Manipulation, I accessed Earth’s cyberspace.

“…unbelievable.”

 

In countries with developed networks and centered on the Eurasia continent, the grey mud, the seedbed of dark pixies, was everywhere. At the moment, the worst of the damage was still contained in the middle of Eurasia. The spawning dark pixies were still manageable with the local military presence.

But it was only a matter of time before the defense break.

Demons needed mana to maintain their manifestation. The dark pixies were only sustaining themselves by absorbing the life-force of this world, so mundane weapons were still having an effect. But while it was enough to repel the demons, it wouldn’t be able to exterminate them.

I needed to act quickly, otherwise Earth would destroy itself in the chaos even before the demons devour them all.

 

At that moment, through the military satellites’ surveillance network and my own senses, I saw something. Something flying very, very fast.

…a missile!

Considering the trajectory, it was probably fired by the military of the country I’d arrived in. Nearly a hundred of the missiles climbed into the stratosphere, drawing an arc as they moved toward the forest undulating with grey mud. They slammed into their target and covered the area with a carpet of flame.

I’d heard that a large amount of fire could have a degree of purifying effect. Would fire from a missile work, too?

Immediately afterward, a chorus of screaming minds rushed past me. I couldn’t help but hold my head with my hand.

In the end, the fire worked. Sort of. Brian had manifested himself here by using matter from this world, so it wasn’t surprising that the mundane fire had had some effect, but not as much as appearance would suggest. It only looked damaging because the fire was burning the forest that was serving as food for the mud.

The barrage of screams I heard just now was the death throes of creatures that had been living in the forest. The negative emotions that came from them only created more miasma to excite the demons.

Burned and losing its source of food, the grey mud looked as though it had stalled. Then it absorbed the miasma and began moving again, and this time, with no food source to slow it down, it surged outward to look for more offerings.

 

I knew it, I had to find and destroy the core. But where was it? How would I find it?

[Dimensional Manipulation]

I cranked my ability to the maximum and searched for any notable magical signal nearby, but found nothing. Yet I could only continue searching. I had no other choice.

Then I noticed another flying object.

More missiles? Strange, though… they’d fired nearly a hundred, but now there was only one.

I looked at its temperature… hold on…

“…a nuclear warhead?”

 

Even nuclear weapons would only have the same result. If Brian’s core wasn’t directly attacked, no amount of heat could do anything more than temporarily stalling the mud. If anything, it would only damage the environment.

I couldn’t allow that. What I wanted to protect wasn’t the people on this planet. I wanted to protect Earth itself.

 

I released my hold on the satellite and chased after the warhead, expelling my internal magic to accelerate even more.

The ballistic missile had gone beyond the stratosphere and was beginning to drop, its speed reaching several kilometers per second. The projectile was glowing red-hot from the air friction. I caught up to it and with all my strength, I released an upward kick at the missile’s belly. My claws slammed into the warhead.

[Consumption]!!”

It exploded. Space began to burn by the white light, but all of the heat and light were soon devoured by my ability. Nothing remained that would indicate there had been a nuclear explosion.

 

I sighed, winding down from my effort.

I was a Goddess now. I wasn’t harmed by the radiation or heat, but my mind was still tired. I supposed it had been because I had eaten the malice of humans, that which had expressed itself as a man-made weapon.

Yet I couldn’t rest, not yet. My cold mist should be able to keep the mud’s spread in check while searching for Brian, and without damaging the planet.

I began moving, but this time, I noticed several objects approaching me.

 

“…fighter aircrafts?”

There were dozens of them. I could feel them making some sort of communications with each other after they saw me, and they then began to attack me.

This country had decided I was an enemy, I see…

I could understand why. From their point of view, I was probably just another demon rampaging through their country.

I wouldn’t try to convince their leaders. Discussions with politicians would just turn into them trying to find ways for their side to benefit anyway, and I didn’t plan on wasting hours for that.

So I’d just say one thing.

“…sorry.”

 

I threw a random weapon I had in my subspace inventory and downed one of the fighters. With the Divine Language, I broadcasted my will.

“Get out of my way if you don’t want to die!”


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Afterstory 04 – Toward Earth

“World Tree!”

I called for the heart of the world, asking Saplings all over the world to inform me of anything useful… and useful only.

The World Tree managed the software side of the world while I dealt with the hardware. I was loathe to interrupt its work, but if dark pixies were returning, then there were more important things to prioritize.

The moment I called, the World Tree sent me multiple carefully curated leads. It sure worked fast… actually, was it just me or did the World Tree sound happy when it responded to my request?

 

According to what it showed me, dark pixies were appearing in several locations around the world and attacking both people and animals. Looking at the places, I realized they were all on the path that I had once taken when playing tag with Fiorfata back then.

Were the dark pixies being spawned from the magic, or maybe the miasma that still remained from my fight with the Unseelie Lord?

…no, I didn’t think so. It was true that quite a lot of the dark pixies were at locations where our fight had been the fiercest, but it that case, the Central Continent should have been the worst victim of the current dark pixies assault by dint of being the location of my final confrontation with Fiorfata. It wasn’t.

The worst affected was instead the southern hemisphere. To be precise, it was the region to the south of where Quarancinq, the city where Fiorfata had manifested, used to be. I knew Fiorfata had done a number on the place, so it wasn’t surprising that dark pixies were now being attracted there… but I still felt like I was missing something.

 

“…let’s just do what I can first.”

Most other locations had monsters, demihumans… and that Hero to deal with the dark pixies, so I could leave them alone. Instead, I headed for the locations that had been hit the hardest first.

“First off, the sea.”

 

My teleportation was still limited at the moment. If my destination wasn’t connected to the Sapling network, or if it wasn’t in my field of view, then I couldn’t be accurate. I focused my mind on where I wanted to go and a phantom appeared in front of me, taking the shape of the member of my family that had been reborn as the Sapling closest to my destination.

I took their outstretched hand, and the scenery in front of my eyes shifted.

—good luck—

“Thanks.”

 

I departed from the easternmost edge of the Central Continent, crossing the ocean at several times the speed of sound. My flight sent me toward a group of sea dragons fighting a massive horde of dark pixies that had spawned right in the middle of the ocean.

“Get out of the way if you don’t want to die!” I shouted.

The sea dragons hurriedly dove toward the ocean floor. A white ball of pure magic formed between my hands, and I fired it at the mass of tens of thousands of dark pixies.

 

“—[Nadir]—”

 

In an instant, all the ocean that I could see snapped into ice. The horde of dark pixies all froze and crumbled into diamond dust.

“This is…”

Now that I was here, I finally understood. There were mana and miasma here, but more importantly, I also discovered that space here was warped.

Had the dark pixies come from this spatial distortion? But if so, then where from?

 

“World Tree! Tell me of all the spatial distortions on this planet!”

 

The reply I got was a list of locations. Where was this? The ocean? This was… an archipelago without a Sapling?

Nowhere else was space as distorted as in that whole region. The area was far away from the Sapling network, and there were a lot of dark pixies.

I couldn’t teleport directly there. There wasn’t any Sapling nearby, and if the spatial warp was truly the cause of the dark pixies, then it wouldn’t be the best idea to expose the Sapling network to tampering by using it.

 

[Dimensional Manipulation]!”

After I fixed up the space here with my ability, I departed, flying by my own power to the archipelago. Not very far away, luckily. Only about a fourth of the way across the planet.

I flew straight east, switching between flying and short-range teleportation to reach a continent. I aimed my left hand at the dark pixies that were fighting with the monsters there.

 

“—[Firebloom]—”

 

The merciful mist descended to heal the monsters, while at the same time turning the dark pixies and the miasma into purifying petals of flame.

I repaired space with Dimensional Manipulation and headed further west. Just about when I exited the continent and re-entered the sea, I caught sight of the archipelago I was looking for.

I found myself frowning right after.

“Fishpeople…”

 

I understood now.

While the World Tree’s blessing reached even the ocean floor, the Tree and the Saplings themselves were on land. These fishpeople had never directly experienced the World Tree’s blessing, and so they thought it insignificant. They wanted more. They wanted to gain another blessing even from outside this world.

Their money-making through the slave trade, their attempt to prevent the other races from working together, it was all because they wanted this to succeed.

 

In front of me was a settlement of fishpeople large enough to have housed several tens of thousands. Now, all of it was swallowed by a muddy grey mass.

Some of the inhabitants were still alive. Most of them, however, had already had the grey infesting them throughout their whole bodies. One after another, their strength failed them and they sank into the mud, turning into nurseries to give birth to more dark pixies.

These fishpeople had used the money they’d gained to buy up everything that the Earth people had left behind. They had torn open space and time in order to summon the Blessed Corpus of the Unseelie Lord, Fiorfata.

 

…save me…

…I can’t…

…it hurts…

…God, save me!

 

Voices of agony, voices of things about to cross the threshold of life and unlife, prayed to God for salvation.

I understood their desperation. However…

 

“Don’t pray to God only when it suits you.”

 

The air trembled as I Spoke words laden with divine authority. The wailing stopped as though frightened, and the ever-spawning swarm of dark pixies crumbled into dust and disintegrated.

No good and kind god is here on this world, not anymore. This is the only kind of mercy I can grant you. The only kind I know.

 

“—[Rimeblossom]—”

 

The Demon’s Oblivion. The blizzard from my right hand shot forward to lay waste to the malevolent energy and souls, transforming them into fluttering petals of ice. The grey-colored Blessed Corpus disintegrated, taking the whole settlement of fishpeople with it.

The threat was gone. I just needed to fix up the spatial topography here, and things should come to a close by themselves.

…the Earth-made equipment had been destroyed, yet the dimensional distortion here still remained. Where had the Blessed Corpus that had passed through that distortion come from?

“…Earth, is it.”

There were greedy people making another mistake again, it seemed…

I sighed in resignation. I raised my hand toward the dimensional distortion that still connected the two worlds, but just before I could embark on another dimensional crossing, my hand was knocked away with a sparking jolt.

 

“…World Tree?”

It felt like… the World Tree stopping me from going to Earth?

I would ask why… but I already knew. The World Tree was kind. I had suffered during my time on Earth, and so it was worrying for me, fearing I would once again be hurt if I went there again.

 

“…it’s fine. I got a lot stronger now. I had nothing but bad memories of Earth, but it’s still one of my homes. Please, World Tree… let me protect my two homes.”

I implored. Then, I felt my restraints melt away.

 

“Thank you… I promise I’ll be back. You’re here, after all. You and everyone.”

 

I activated Dimensional Manipulation on the distortion, and I made the transition toward Earth.

This was the first time I came to Earth by myself without using the MMO game’s equipment. I didn’t know where on Earth I would arrive at. I only knew it would be where the cause of all this lay.

I appeared in the sky. The chilly wind of a snow storm blasted at me.

 

“…what… is that?”

 

I saw a vast forest coated in white snow. It was half-submerged in squirming, writhing Blessed Corpus, the grey mud stretching out as far as I could see.

 

“I͞’̴ve̵ ̢be̢͢͝ę̸n̶̵ ̷w̛͢ai͞҉̨t̡҉i̢̨͠n̛͏g̡̢҉ ̨͜͞f͢͜o͜r̵̢͘ ̡͜͠y̶͟óù͠.̨.͟.̴͡ l͡͡itt͠͠le͝ b̷̡ú̵͘n͟ńỳ.̧̀.̵.̶͘”


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Afterstory 03 – The Nightmare Begins

Coming out of my three-year hibernation, I decided to go check out a human town.

There were a few human villages nested deep inside forests the way demihuman settlements used to be, but there was only one single ‘country’, or at least something close to being a country, that had a lot of humans congregating, where interaction with demihumans was actively being maintained.

 

The human race once numbered in the hundreds of millions. The virtually-suicidal decisions that they’d made time after time during my fight with the Unseelie Lord and their loss of the World Tree’s blessings meant that the human race, complacent in their luxury and safety as they had been, was now barely a shadow of themselves.

Quite a few of them had still been alive when I finished reviving all the World Tree Saplings, in fact. However, their population took a further dive as many humans found they now had to contend with the threat of monsters, a threat they’d forgotten how to deal with since generations ago, as well as the vengeance coming from a small group of vindictive demihumans.

But all was not lost for the human race. With the help of demihumans and some of their own people who had taken up arms to be Adventurers once again, the dangerous but less intelligent monsters began to be culled. Slowly but surely, a new country was established, and the human race began its journey of recovery…

…according to what the Saplings told me, anyway. The consciousness of the new Saplings had come from my fellow orphans and secret alpha testers, and they could be quite… playful, from time to time. Sometimes they also told me about stuff I honestly couldn’t care less about, like “The neighbor just had a litter of kittens!”

So I had no idea how much of what they told me were accurate.

 

I took out a pure-white hooded coat from my subspace inventory and put it on. I landed in the only human country in this world.

While the humans had their own leader in the form of a representative instead of a king, formally, this was actually a ‘multi-racial nation’ run by a council whose members included demihumans.

Over half of the country’s population were humans. Yet watching the faces of the humans walking around town, I saw less excitement for their civilization’s revival and more a kind of unease.

 

Well, I suppose I could understand why. It was exactly because humans were weak that the other races had allowed them to parasite on the World Tree in the first place. Now that they no longer had access to their incredibly convenient magitools, I expected they would feel conscious of their physical disadvantages compared to demihumans.

I understood, but I wasn’t going to do anything about it. I mean, I was a Goddess of this world now. I wasn’t going to start favoring one single race over another.

One of the former orphans who was knowledgeable in Oriental culture told me that I was similar to a sort of koujin, a wrathful god of purifying flames. By nature, I was very much not any kind of merciful Buddha.

 

“We humans had once sinned—”

From far away, I heard a faint voice that sounded like it had been amplified by a magitool.

“Hmm?”

On a whim, my feet carried me closer. A single human man and several demihumans were standing on a stage and making a speech in a plaza.

“…Tiz?”

He was that one ex-emperor of some fallen country or another. Haughty, but quite an interesting character. By the end, as a leader of humans, he’d realized his sins and helped me with the destruction of the Saplings. Next to him was… the girl of the pair of elven twins, if I remember correctly.

So to summarize Tiz’s speech, he was basically reminding the humans not to be idiots again now that three years had passed since they’d started rebuilding. In the same breath, he was also warning the radical faction of the demihumans to stay quiet since the humans were being honest workers now.

…I sympathized with him a bit, to be honest. He was doing this for the good of everyone, but he was probably also making enemies all over the place.

 

It was now the part when Tiz was shaking hands with the elven girl. I sighed. Paying no mind to the people around me, I teleported to the roof of a building some distance away. I appeared behind a man aiming a black, cylindrical weapon at the plaza.

“So what are you doing?”

He jolted and whipped around, almost tumbling.

“W-Wha-who are you?!”

“I won’t ask again, fishman. What were you about to do with that?”

His hood dropped, revealing wetly glistening scales.

them again? Just what’s going on with the fishpeople?

But more importantly, while the weapon he held looked rather beaten up, I still recognized it as a magic gun made with Earth technologies.

 

Despite his initial surprise and vigilance, the man began to smirk once he saw me. Apparently a young girl didn’t warrant his caution.

“…ain’t it obvious? Humans working with elves mean our profits go down… that’s all!”

The fishman suddenly aimed the magic gun at me.

Not a bad response for someone being on the receiving side of an ambush, I’d say. Let slip a bit of tasty intel to distract your opponent, then attack mid-sentence.

Unfortunately for him, he’d made three mistakes.

One, that he was possessing a magic weapon made with Earth technologies. I didn’t know where he got it, but it was not the kind of thing that should ever be allowed to remain on this world.

Two, that he was about to repeat history when this world was just beginning to know peace.

And three… that he pointed it at me.

 

In the few tenths of a second that it took for him to pull the trigger, I leisurely watched his finger move in slow-motion as I pointed my hand at him and squeezed.

 

As a young man, he once got his legs almost bitten off by a shark. Now they were torn to shreds.

As a boy, he once got bitten by a venomous snake. Now his flesh festered as the poison coursed through his whole body.

As a child, he was once trapped in a muddy stream and nearly drowned. Now he suffocated, coughing and wheezing as a vast amount of seawater poured out of his mouth, and he slumped to the ground.

 

I took the magic gun from the fishman’s corpse and crushed it into a chunk of metal with my hands, then threw it into a dimensional gap.

…huh, I wondered if it would later cross spacetime to become an out-of-place artifact in some other world…

Not like it had anything to do with me if it did, though. I gave Tiz a quick glance, the man still too busy making his speech to the people to notice me, and I muttered under my breath.

“Good luck with your work, Tiz.”

 

Then I teleported to the top of Mount Leonard, the highest point in the Central Continent. The vast world of Yggdrasia stretched out before my view.

…somehow, I felt like something was about to go wrong.

It wasn’t about the fishpeople who were getting up to no good these days, or at least, it wasn’t just them. My unease was coming from the instincts I had as a Dea Ex Machina.

 

[Dimensional Manipulation]

I closed my eyes, opening my arms wide, and I connected to the worldwide Sapling network. I began to pick up information from everywhere.

 

I’d become the Goddess of this world. That said, I still wasn’t experienced enough to be able to see the whole world without lifting a finger.

I scanned through the flood of information, ignoring the ‘recommended cat videos’ that my Sapling friends were sending me, and I noticed something happening in a village of wolf beastmen in the northern hemisphere. They were being attacked.

Wait, weren’t those…

“…dark pixies?”

 

When the Unseelie Lord Fiorfata manifested, it had also summoned these low demons as its kins and soldiers. Individual dark pixies weren’t much of a threat, possessing only the equivalent combat power of a simple footsoldier, but they had been summoned in hordes. For less well-defended towns and villages, complete annihilation had been a real possibility.

I had defeated Fiorfata. It wasn’t exactly possible to truly kill a demon of such power, but its revival should take thousands of years, at least.

 

Then why were the dark pixies here? How had the Unseelie Lord’s kins return to this world? Dark pixies themselves normally resided in the Netherworld, and while they could naturally manifested in the material world, it only happened very rarely.

Then was there some idiot calling dark pixies here again…?

 

At any rate, I needed to eliminate the dark pixies first.

I closed my eyes and stretched out my hand to the scene I held in my mind. But before I could activate my power, a group suddenly jumped in and started massacring the demons.

…who?

The group was full of armed women. There were so many of them I didn’t even bother counting. They moved and acted like a single organism, and the dark pixies dropped like flies.

A single man jumped out from within the women. One of his hands held aloft a magic sword, while the other dramatically flicked his blond-colored front bangs. He grinned a blindingly-white grin.

 

“Have no fear, my venerable madams, lovely ladies and adorable chéries! I, Calimero, is here, and I shall not allow a single—”

 

I instantly cut the connection out of sheer reflex. I blinked.

So he was alive.

…well, whatever. That meant I could leave the place to him while I go look for the cause of this mess.


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Afterstory 02 – Portents of Nightmare

“Commence the unsealing of subject ‘BRIAN’. All staff, be on high alert.”

 

In the quarantine laboratory of a research center, a certain superpower was attempting to unseal a hibernation capsule that they had acquired in utmost secrecy from a country to the west.

The capsule had been excavated from the ruins of a military compound in the western country. There were suspicions that the compound had been the location for an experiment to connect to another world, and for testing the new weaponry system that made use of the unknown form of energy gathered from said world.

Yet the weapon testing had ended in the complete destruction of the military compound.

Just what had happened?

Details were unclear even now, but the current theory was that it was an accident, one that had happened when the weapon platform nicknamed ‘The Girl of White’, or ‘Whitehare’, had ran out of control. The vast area that the compound used to occupy was now an icy wasteland, the horrifically low temperature having destroyed everything inside it.

Afterward, the country’s army began to examine the area through long-range reconnaissance. They discovered the underground section of the base several months later, from which they excavated several objects of interest.

The building had collapsed. A part of the surface structure had fallen into the space that served as the foundation. Seemingly due to the ‘accident’, everything excavated were frozen, and they continued to be so even after they’d been sent to various laboratories for further examination.

Among the excavated objects, the capsule was the most intact. It was sent to a lab with a researcher that had been bought off by the superpower. The researcher then defected to the superpower country, bringing along the capsule.

 

The capsule was transported to a research center used for space development that was situated in the outskirts of a city. With the use of robotic arms and avatars, the unsealing of the capsule commenced in the quarantine lab.

When it was first found, all the machinery connected to the capsule had been pulverized. It was a miracle that the capsule itself still remained, even if half-crushed. The name plate was barely legible on the surface full of scratches and cracks, and the letters spelled out ‘BRIAN’.

 

“…surface temperature… minus 136.6 degrees Celsius. Scans show a very faint organic signature inside.”

“Human?”

“It doesn’t match anything on Earth, if the results are to be believed.”

“So extraterrestrial, then… or could it be extradimensional?”

“Even assuming that this is actually life, it’s not carbon-based like us… this is life as we’ve never seen before.”

“Amazing…”

 

High officers of the government and the space agency were watching from behind thick glass. The robotic arm carefully pried open the warped door of the capsule. With a pair of forceps, a remote-controlled avatar scraped off the strange frozen mold-like substance inside.

 

“Avatar Control Division, reporting in. The low temperature is causing a delay in the response time of the avatar, as well as some other minor glitches. The operator has requested a raise in room temperature.”

“Is it going to be a problem?”

“We are unsure. The quarantine lab used to report normal ambient temperature, but now the object has lowered it to minus 62.7 degrees Celsius. It should still be well within operating temperature of the avatar, however…”

 

While humans still hadn’t abandoned their dream of one day reaching the stars, the development of avatars meant that most space programs now used them for dangerous work outside of spaceships.

Was it truly just the temperature that had caused glitches in these space-rated avatars?

 

“No point in having the work be delayed, I supposed. I give permission to raise ambient temperature.”

 

With the permission of the president of the space agency and the high government official, the quarantine lab began to warm up. The remote-controlled avatars resumed their work.

They didn’t know that this cold was a curse by the Girl of White.

The heater was running, yet the immediate area around the object continued to retain its low temperature. One of the avatar operators turned impatient. As soon as permission was granted, they raised the temperature of the forceps themselves and made contact with the substance.

It was the beginning of disaster.

 

“Active life signs confirmed in the substance!”

“Following procedure, immediately force-disconnecting all avatars!”

“Avatar 03 isn’t responding to force disconnection!”

 

As the other avatars vanished, having been disconnected, only the avatar making contact with the substance still remained. Some grey-colored substance clung to their fingertips.

 

“W-What the hell’s this?! It’s moving! IT’S MOVING!”

“Calm down, 03. Damage to your avatar won’t hurt your real body!”

“I’m going to break your connection terminal! Brace for impact!”

“Hurry! It’s getting on my arm! My arm’s going grey… aaaaAAAAHH SAVE ME! OH GOD, SAVE ME!”

 

The grey consumed all of Avatar 03, and it disappeared. A moment later, so too did the strange substance vanish like dust.

Shocked silence descended on all those witnessed the scene. It was then broken with a scream from the Avatar Control room.

 

***

 

From the calming spiritual world of the World Tree where my family was, I returned. My two kins lying on my chest woke up as well. I gave them a pat with my finger.

“Good morning, Blobsy, Panda.”

*boing*

“Ook.”

They snuggled into my chest again. With the two in my arms, I stood from the World Tree’s roots, poking Palesnow in my subspace storage with a finger, and I looked up at the green canopy that covered the sky.

“Hey, World Tree. I’m going out for a bit.”

The World Tree’s branches shook, turning the sunlight that slipped between the leaves into a kaleidoscope.

 

I heard someone calling for me.

It was the voice of the elven boy that had given me my name.

We’d made a promise to meet again once, long ago. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a spirit of the land as he believed me to be, and I looked different now, too. There hadn’t been a chance for us to meet.

That aside… I’ve only just gone to sleep for a few years. Apparently that was enough for the idiots to start forgetting the pain.

I placed Blobsy and Panda back into my subspace inventory. After so long, I once again walked as a Goddess of this world.

[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Joker]
・Dea Ex Machina. An artificial goddess born in cyberspace. Possesses the right hand of a Demon to destroy all, and the left hand of a Goddess to save all.

[Magic Points: 550,000/550,000] 50,000 ↑
[Total Combat Power: 605,000/605,000] 55,000 ↑
[Unique Skill: <Causality Alteration> <Dimensional Manipulation> <Consumption> <The Divine Language>
[Racial Skill: <Fear> <Mist Form>]
[Superb Identification] [Deity Form (❤)] [Subspace Inventory]
[Overlord] [Goddess of Yggdrasia]

…I’m just imagining the changes. Yeah. Must be my imagination.

 

So anyway, since I was an artificial goddess, I wasn’t actually bound by the Naming, but that still didn’t change the fact that he’d done it. I probably had a link to him in some form.

It was why I knew where he was. I could see what was happening near him too.

Don’t worry… I hear you. I hear your voice.

 

[Dimensional Manipulation]

 

Upon my activation of the skill to cross through space, the world itself, as though to celebrate my descent, dramatized my arrival with mist.

Really, the World Tree was so sweet on me.

Right, so… beastmen and… a fishman, I see. It wasn’t that the will of just humans alone were weak. It was all humanoids.

The beastmen had regretted their past. They’d fought for the sake of the world.

So I gave them mercy.

The mist that grew from my divine left hand burned all the beastmen, incinerating them until their souls were purified, which were then returned to the World Tree through the Sapling. One day, they would be reborn in this world.

 

“N-no, no no no, I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s them, it’s them!”

The final remaining fishman tripped over himself to run away, all the while passing the blame over to the beastmen.

I hadn’t seen any fishpeople in the fight before. They had ran away from both the humans and the war, it seemed. I didn’t blame them for it… but that didn’t mean they would be forgiven for inflicting the pain that the beastmen had once suffered.

I didn’t suffer fools lightly.

The blizzard from my demonic right hand froze the fishman whole while he was trying to run away, freezing him down to his soul. All of his existence disintegrated as specks of ice.

 

“Goddess…?”

I heard the whisper of the elven boy. He was staring at me with his face bright-red, for some reason. I saw myself and my own faint smile reflected in his eyes. I’d changed so, so much from being the white cloud that he had once seen me as.

“It’s nice to see you again.”

I said my goodbye and gave him a pat on his cheeks, and I left.

I thought I heard him call my name then.

 

I flew far up into the clear blue sky. Beautiful nature, healed from its wounds, spread across my eyes.

But… I felt uneasy. I didn’t know why.

Maybe I should take a look at the mortal world, I thought. I headed for a human town.


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Afterstory 01 – The White Goddess

Not many people knew the truth about the world that was now only accessible in the form of an MMORPG, that it truly existed.

Those who did included only the management of the game, certain players, some people within the upper echelons of the government and military… and a few other superpowers who had, by chance, gotten their hands on the information.

Eager to find new lands to bring into their fold and to send their citizens into, one of these superpowers had bought off and gathered up the scientists and engineers formerly involved with the ‘parallel world’ project. But just as they were on the verge of their first successful test, the Girl of White had turned the whole military research base into a desolate wasteland.

Officially, the country announced it to be an “accident”, one that had resulted in the death of “thirty-five unfortunate souls”, when the truth was that tens of thousands of people had disappeared, never to return, while losses were estimated to be in the range of trillions of dollars. It was a national disaster.

 

The nation trembled in fear of the shadow of the Girl of White, and they washed their hands of all research related to the parallel world.

But the superpower neighboring them didn’t. They knew what had happened, yet they still desired the boons of the new world. They continued their work with the utmost discretion.

This country had vast lands, but not enough people or natural resources. The harsh climate stalled their crops and consequently slowing their population growth, while their lack of resources did no favors to their industries. They were forced to survive as a militaristic country.

They desired the resources of the new world. At the same time, they also knew to be far more circumspect than their defeated neighbor and the superpower that had first discovered the parallel world.

They knew that the first country had failed in an endeavor to gain infinite energy.

They knew that their neighbor had failed a connection test that had been meant as the first step in a plan to send citizens over.

The superpower surmised that, due to a reason still yet unknown as there had been barely any survivors from the previous incidents, the act to connect to the other world itself would invite some form of grievous devastation. So the country did not plan on making any kind of contact; they would only investigate the things that had arrived here from the other side, and they would see if they can gain anything from them.

 

One day, in a military research compound of the country, a certain something arrived after being sent through multiple other countries.

The container doors opened. Under the researchers’ instructions, the soldiers carefully carried the item outside. It was a hibernation capsule used for VR, one that was made by a certain country. The glass was fogged, hiding the contents, but there was a name on the capsule. A name in Latin letters.

It read “BRIAN”.

 

***

 

Yggdrasia, a different world. A world held up by the World Tree and ninety-nine Saplings. A world protected by an artificial Goddess.

Once, this world had been under the rule of the human race, thieves who had monopolized the World Tree’s blessings for themselves. Its mana was being consumed without end, and the world was heading toward a slow destruction. And once Earth began their silent invasion to gather mana, it only hastened the process.

But the apocalypse was then stopped by one person, one single girl who had been called the Dark Lady. By her exaltation into a Goddess, she had protected the world.

 

The ascendant reign of humans was cut short when the world was ravaged by what would later be called ‘The Dark Lady’s Great War’. Now, humans were allowed to continue living far away from the World Tree’s blessings, under the supervision of those who had once suffered under their hands, who had once been their slaves: the Demihuman Union.

Peace had come to the world. Yet after the Great War, three years were enough for the greedy and the corrupt to begin forgetting the painful lesson they’d been taught.

 

Deep within a forest, the ruins of a simple settlement stood. Its former inhabitants had lived in nomadic tents, and so there hadn’t been any sign of a standing house. All that remained in the grass were traces of a makeshift log table and a butcher’s workplace.

Next to them was a small tent, so new as to be out-of-place. Its size suggested that it wasn’t meant to be a permanent dwelling, but for traveling purposes instead.

Morning came. A young boy appeared from inside the tent. He walked to the nearby stream to get water.

He looked about ten years of age. His lithe physique and pointed, long ears hinted to his elven ancestry, a demihuman race. While elves were famously long-lived, elven children still grow as fast as humans, so the boy was truly as old as his appearance suggested.

 

The boy’s name was Yol. When the world was still the dominion of humans, he had lived here with several other families, hiding away from the humans’ eyes.

At the time, aside from the babies, Yol was the only child in the village. He hadn’t been old enough to help out much, so he spent his time just picking firewood and fruits by himself.

Then one day, what looked to be a child appeared in front of him.

Their face and body was hidden under a cloak. He didn’t really know for sure if they really were a child — he only knew they were small. They didn’t talk, didn’t make a sound, didn’t let him get close. The gestures they made in response to his words were the only way Yol knew they understood him.

The strange child-like form only ever appeared in the forest whenever Yol was alone.

Then one day, he heard from the adults that some human slavers had been about to attack them, and that they had been defeated by a ‘white mist monster’. Yol immediately though that child was the Forest’s Spirit, and as a sign of their friendship, he had gifted them a Name. He promised them they would meet again.

 

After the human threat had passed, Yol was now free to travel the world.

All the same, monsters still continued to be a danger, and there were also some humans who had chafed under the rule of demihumans and had escaped into the forest to live as bandits.

Yol wanted to visit the forest where he once lived in. At first the adults hadn’t allowed him, citing his youth, but once he turned ten and learned magic, he finally gained permission, if only for just several days to visit the forest. But after arriving and staying for a few days, the friend who he had thought to be living in the forest still hadn’t shown up.

On the final day, there was an unexpected encounter.

 

*snap*

Hearing the sound of cracking branches, Yol looked up. It wasn’t the friend that he had been waiting for, but several demihumans.

“Heey, little guy. You’re an elf, aren’t you. Why are you here alone?”

“…who are you, misters?”

 

They were feline beastmen clad in what looked like the attire of hunters. Yet he thought it strange that hunters would go so deep into the forest, and not only that, he also noticed a large-set man to the back of the group, his face hidden under a hood that glimmered as though made of wet leather. The man sent shivers down Yol’s back.

 

“Oh don’t worry, kid, we’re just coming to visit the elves who used to live in this forest. We heard that they moved to this area. Where’s your family now?”

“…we used to live here until three years ago. Nobody’s here now.”

The man who’d talked to Yol slightly narrowed his eyes. A moment later, the feline beastmen behind him began to quarrel.

“Fucking hell, who the fuck said there were elves here?! Fucking waste of time!”

“It ain’t my fault! There’s no way to know how up-to-date information about elves outside of towns is!”

“Shut up, you two, the kid’s gonna figure it out. I just got him calm.”

 

“M-mister?”

The kindly-sounding man’s gaze was now ice-cold. Yol flinched backward a step. An arrow flew from the direction of the men to stab into the ground next to his feet.

“Now now, stay right there.” The bow-wielding feline beastman then turned around and bowed to the hooded man behind him. “Sorry boss, no elf girl here. Just a kid.”

“It’s fine, shit happens. Kids sell for a decent price too anyway. Life’s been comfortable enough these days for the perverts to start showing up, so there’s good demand now.”

The hooded man pulled off his hood, revealing grey skin covered in scales.

 

He was a fishman. A race that shared the sea with the merfolk.

In contrast to the merfolk whose bottom halves were that of a fish, the race of fishpeople had legs, allowing them to walk on land. They still could not go too far from the water, however, and longer journeys would require them to wear a specially-treated coat.

So why had the man gone to all this trouble, leaving his home so far behind?

He was a slaver.

 

The merfolk were, as a rule, all beautiful, and so they were frequently hunted to be pet-slaves for humans. On the other hand, the most the fishpeople were useful for was simply labor, and only near the water, at that. It was why that had avoided the same fate. And as they had not joined in the Great War, they had survived with their wealth and power undiminished.

The War had drastically reduced the population of humans and demihumans, but not the fishpeople. After joining the Demihuman Union, their influence ballooned by virtue of being the only race with their population and wealth intact. They used their money to buy up magitools that had been left behind by the formerly dominant human race, and they began to approach the prosperity that humans had once possessed. And like humans, they then thought about making slaves out of other races.

Peace had come to the world. Even beastmen, those who should have understood the painful lesson better than anyone else, now began to lose themselves to their desires. They were about to repeat history once more.

 

“W-Why are you doing this?! The world is protected by the Goddess—”

Finding his courage, Yol began to shout, but the first man silenced him with a slap.

“Shut the hell up. She was one of those who had broken the world in the first place, and now you tell me to worship her? You think I’m an idiot?”

“B-but…” Yol whimpered.

“Hey now, don’t damage the goods.”

The fishman spoke, having came near Yol. He pinched the boy’s cheeks and turned his tear-stricken face upward.

“Regrettably, us fishmen never met that White Goddess or whatever her name is. Can’t believe in a god you’ve never seen, you see? And besides, we haven’t heard a thing about her in all these three years. You sure she didn’t die together with that Evil God she fought?”

 

Yol bit his lips in frustration. The human Hero named Gold was someone Yol truly looked up to, and he had been proud of the fact that he had once fought together with the Dark-Lady-turned-Goddess. Gold told him that she had forgiven all the evils that humans had wrought, that she was a true Goddess who had saved this world from its fated ruin.

Then why were these demihumans doing this? Why were they repeating the same foolishness of the human race that they had once hated? Why were they making a mockery of all the Goddess had done?

Yol whispered. He reverently asked for forgiveness from the Goddess, and he said his apologies to the friend that he still hadn’t met.

Forgive us, Goddess, we have been ungrateful to our savior… and I’m sorry, my friend. I don’t think I can keep that promise now…

 

Don’t worry. I hear you.

 

“…eh?”

Yol jerked his face up. The female voice seemed to have come from everywhere and nowhere at all, yet everyone else didn’t seem to have heard it. The first beastman grasped Yol’s arm and growled.

“Stand up. I’m sure you know where the other elven villages are… wait, what?”

Feeling a sudden chill, the men looked up, eyes darting around. A white mist began to envelop the area.

“What’s happening? Why is there mist?”

 

“H-Hey! I can’t move!”

Everyone turned toward the panicked shout. A feline beastman off to the side was rapidly being covered by white frost. His legs were frozen mid-step.

“S-Somebody, help—”

The ice rushed across his whole body, freezing him still as his hand stretched out in a desperate plea for help, and the ice statue fell forward. It shattered into white dust.

 

“W-what…”

“What is that?!”

The men looked on in stupefaction. Appearing from within the mist was a girl clad in a scarlet dress with crimson eyes and snow-white hair, her steps unhurried.

The girls looked to be about fifteen, maybe sixteen. Adorning her graceful features was a pair of long, floppy ears, like those of a rabbit’s.

There were no rabbit beastman in this world, with one single exception: the girl who had opposed mankind, who had been the bogeywoman of two different worlds. Formerly called the Dark Lady Whitehare, everyone now knew her under a different name.

“T-The White Goddess?”

 

“—[Firebloom]—”

 

Flame burst out from the divine left hand of the Goddess, turning a feline beastman into burning petals in a blink of an eye. The first beastman stretched out his hands toward her as though begging for forgiveness, and the burning petals began to spread from his fingers, purifying his evil soul. Flames of mercy burned until he was no more.

 

“N-no, no no no, I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s them, it’s them!”

The final remaining fishman trembled in terror, rambling and making half-formed excuses. He tried to run away. The Goddess pointed her right fingers at his back.

 

“—[Rimeblossom]—”

 

“It’s not my faul—”

The fishman was interrupted by the raging blizzard coming from the Goddess’ demonic right hand that swallowed him whole. All of him, even his soul, broke apart into petals of ice and dissipated. Not a speck of himself remained.

 

“G…Goddess?”

Yol could only mutter in astonishment as the White Goddess eliminated the demihuman slavers in a blink of an eye. She patted his blushing cheeks and smiled.

“It’s nice to see you again.”

She whispered, and the White Goddess disappeared in white mist.

Yol stood still, watching her departure as his cheeks still burned. Her words triggered something in his mind.

 

“…Shedy?” he mumbled.


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18 – Interlude – A Day in the Life of a Maid

Argrey Kingdom was a country in the middle of the continent, and its capital held an academy for magic. At the beginning of their fifth and final school year, noble students and those with good academic results would be performing a summoning in order to call upon intelligent beings from other worlds to become their lifetime Partners.

The number of the summoned did not necessarily correlate to the number of the summoners, and neither was there any guarantee that all of the summoned would agreed to become Partners. It was why the students would have to win over the Partner candidates by themselves. Upon being chosen, the student would then be recognized as an official magus, and their Partner would bring them prestige as a noble.

The students of this year had succeeded in summoning human boys and girls just like them, an achievement that hadn’t been seen in centuries.

They had a year, only a year, until their graduation to earn the summoned humans’ trust. And yet on the very first day, a marquis’ daughter infamous for her poor academic skills had already gained her Partner.

The human girl named Fleurety had slid into the role of being a maid to Sharon, the marquis’ daughter, with such ease that left everyone flabbergasted. Like a whirlwind, the maid rapidly brought chaos to the status quo around Sharon.

And so, let us have a look into a day of this rather… eccentric… maid.

 

A maid’s day began when the sky was still dark.

Her mistress lived in the dorm of the boarding academy, and her room was connected to a servant’s room. This room was where the maid of our story resided.

The room was bare and empty, looking as though nobody had been living in it. The maid woke up, not on the cleanly-made bed, but on a spiderweb woven in a corner of the ceiling.

She did not have anything against beds. She simply felt safer in the nest that she had made herself.

And she did not need to sleep, either, but she was prudent enough to know that inhuman behavior would be frowned upon.

 

“Geez, Letty. Do you even know what ‘prudence’ mean?”

“I do, milady. It’s tasty and goes well with rice.”

“Wait, you actually don’t?!!”

 

But let us return to our story. A maid’s day began when the sky was still dark.

After her morning ablutions, the maid headed for the Dark Woods to prepare her mistress’ breakfast. She was picking up fresh eggs from a cockatrice’s nest when a griffon passed her by, and it immediately prostrated itself before her and gave her the prey it had just hunted as an offering.

The endearing sight was one commonly seen ever since the maid began to frequent the forest. Truly, nature itself favored her. She would not need to worry about finding meat ever again.

The sun rose as the maid prepared breakfast. She left to get the newspaper for her mistress, and a horse came to pester her for food.

“Good boy, good boy. No leftovers, alright?”

“Gggrrr…”

The maid kindly watched over the horse as he munched on a whole, still-living goblin.

After their journey together, the horse had become very attached to the maid. He liked her even more than he liked his owner, the dorm mother. The fresh food the maid continued to give him had been very good for him, and he had recently grown another four legs to make a total of eight.

“You’re just like me now, aren’t you? Good boy…”

“Gggrrrrah!”

Now, the dorm mother would faint every time she looked at the horse. The maid wondered if the woman was jealous that the horse didn’t show the same friendliness for her.

The dorm mother was still young, still just in her forties, and it was no surprise that she might feel… insecure at times. The maid understood, and she would not tell anyone that the dorm mother sometimes went downtown to pay underage boys to help her ‘destress’.

And breakfast was done. The menu for today was mixed salad and bacon quiche.

 

“Hey, Letty… The dorm mother seems kinda strange these days. Have you noticed?”

“She is happy that her horse had returned healthy, milady.”

“Ah, I see, it is a very energetic horse. I’m happy for her.”

Once more, the maid felt the joy of serving under a mistress who loved animals so much that she would call a horse that could kill a charging boar with a single kick ‘energetic’.

 

The maid also accompanied her mistress to class.

Karl, her mistress’ childhood friend, began to talk to the young noble lady. But the maid would not allow him to touch her.

“Wait, hold on, I haven’t done anything!”

As the maid quietly took out a spiked club, Karl turned pale, his hips pulled so far back he looked like a shrimp in an attempt to protect his irreplaceable treasures.

 

After school, the maid often spent her time frolicking with her mistress, but sometimes she also went shopping alone. Her mistress loved sweet things, so the pantry must always be stocked with sugar and honey.

“…shit, it’s you again.”

The store that the maid favored was located near the salt dungeon. The owner was a strange man. Despite having such a cute customer visiting his store, he always grimaced whenever he saw her.

“What do you have for me today, mister?”

“Dammit girl, I’m not a treasure vault for you. I only had that cursed stone because somebody foisted it on me after it accidentally got out of a noble’s storage, you should know.”

“Oh, but you sold it in the end. All’s well that ends well.”

“…maybe, if I hadn’t been forced to sell it for peanuts.”

The cursed stone was, indeed, the heavy ore that had been used to coat the end of Orc Killer.

“So I don’t have anything for you today, alright?”

“I have heard that you have just imported some good rum from the neighboring country.”

“…hey, maid girl.”

“What is it?”

“Are you spying on my shop? Why the fuck do you know that?! The rum’s for selling to a trading firm, leave it alone!”

“Such a scandalous accusation, mister. I’m not telling you to give me everything, just a few bottles. Milady loves the sweets I make from them.”

“…just one bottle, alright? One gold coin.”

“Three bottles for one gold coin, please.”

“You fucking wot, maid?! That’s below cost!!!”

“My? Didn’t you get them by trading the monster materials that I sold you the other day? How much would a bottle be, then, calculating from that?”

“…here, three bottles for one gold.”

“As well as some of those rock candies, please. In return, here…”

The maid glanced at the shopkeeper’s head and covertly handed him a bag of dried seaweed. He took a quick look inside, then took it just as sneakily.

“…I’ll deliver them to your place.”

“Thank you, mister.”

There was now a faint covering on the shopkeeper’s head. But it wasn’t hair. It was actually the seaweed that had infested him.

 

Gathering information was also one of the important duties of a maid. So went the teachings of the kind Maid Chief. The maid understood that she could not rely on just the Seaweed Spirits, so she went to work herself.

As had become custom, the maid called for a gathering of snot-nosed urchins and gave them rock candies in exchange for information. Indeed, not many watched their words around children.

“…I heard that the viscount’s son was buying the same thing again, in the northern forest.”

“My, my.”

“An independent Explorer named Bob found some strange magic tool. He’s hiding it.”

“Details?”

“…it’s for assassinations.”

“I see.”

The maid gave some more rock candies. “Thank you, miss!” they said, waving their hands as they departed.

Indeed, the smiles of children could warm anyone’s heart.

 

The maid returned to the dorm and prepared her mistress’ dinner.

Today’s dinner would be beef stew. Beef-ish. The maid did get a lot of meat from something cow-like the other day.

And after the dinner came homework.

 

“Ah, so milady truly is bad at math.”

“N-No! No, that’s not it!”

 

It was to be expected. After all, the young lady’s bosom had grown even larger thanks to her maid’s efforts.

After homework was done, it was bathtime. With a washcloth that the maid had made herself, she scrubbed her mistress pristine and spotless, turning the noble young lady’s skin into the envy of silk and satin.

 

“Good night, Letty.”

“Yes. I wish you a good night as well, milady.”

 

But even after her mistress had fallen asleep, the maid’s day was still not over. She still had the laundering and ironing of clothes to do, budgets to manage, pharmaceutical substance to process, underwear thieves to exterminate, so on and so forth. She only slept when dawn of the next day neared.

The duties of a maid were daunting indeed. However…

 

“It’s still so much easier than helping the Maid Chief.”

 

The maid sounded rather traumatized.


A/N: The Maid Chief seemed like quite the strict person.


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