Waking up with a sudden jolt, I opened my eyes. I blinked a few times but my vision stayed blurry. I tried to turn around and push myself up but my body didn’t move at all. I appear to be stuck.
The first thing I realized after opening my eyes is the softness surrounding me. It appears to be some kind of blanket. I looked to the side, looking for clues to determine where I was. I squinted a bit and recognized columns of bars surrounding me. It reminded me of the prison cells of a dungeon, however the ceiling seems to be open.
Am I in a prison somewhere? It makes little sense for the humans to take prisoners. Or maybe, I’ll be used as an example. Public humiliation and execution.
I grimaced and closed my eyes again.
If that’s the way it will be then let it be so. I no longer have the will nor ability to fight back.
It didn’t take long for me to drift back into sleep.
Only to be woken up by hunger soon after.
I sighed and opened my eyes again. A tall shadow loomed over me and I panicked. What is this, a giant? I thought I was captured by humans. What’s going on?
The giant reached down into my cell and grabbed me by my body, lifting me in a cradle position. It pulled me towards its body and tilted its head down at me.
I looked up, finally getting a good look at the giant manhandling me.
Beautiful, is the first thing that came to my mind. Her large dark blue eyes sparkled like a flawless lapis, expressive and serene. Joyousness and tenderness filled her eyes as she gazed over me. Surprised, I blinked and looked back at her. A warm and nostalgic feeling filled my stomach, and I looked away, in embarrassment. It was rude to stare after all.
“☌⍜⍜⎅ ⋔⍜⍀⋏⟟⋏☌ ⌇⍙⟒⟒⏁⊬, ⊬⍜⎍ ⋔⎍⌇⏁ ⏚⟒ ⊑⎍⋏☌⍀⊬.”
The woman spoke in a language I had never heard of. Despite learning all 14 languages that was used by each race, the words coming out of her mouth was unrecognizable.
She slowly lowered my body and moved my head towards her chest.
What’s this woman doing!?
I let out a voice of complaint but it sounded like a kitten’s meowing. I tried to form words but nothing coherent left my mouth.
“⍙⊑⏃⏁'⌇ ⍙⍀⍜⋏☌, ⏃⍀⟒ ⊬⍜⎍ ⎎⟒⟒⌰⟟⋏☌ ⍜☍⏃⊬?”
Once again, the woman said something incomprehensible and pushed my head into her breast. I let out another complaint and tried to push back with whatever strength I had left.
After a solid minute of fighting back, the woman finally released me and put me back into the cell. She said a few words and walked out of the room.
I sighed and tried to compose myself.
What, just happened…?
I was held, like a baby. I sounded…like a baby. This…place, looks more like a crib than a prison, like I originally thought. I can’t move my body, like a newborn…
Realization hit me like a brick and my eyes widened.
I’m a baby.
I turned into a baby.
What!? How!!? Why!!!?
As I was lost in my inner turmoil, my stomach rumbled again.
That woman, she was probably trying to feed me. I read about this, breastfeeding. A practice often used by humans. The act of transferring mana into a newborn through the milk of the mother produced by giving birth. Does that mean she gave birth to me? By using the practices of a human, does that mean she’s a human? Am I a human now?
I had so many questions left unanswered.
Suddenly, I heard the sound of a door opening and in walked the woman again. She walked over to my crib and sat down. She reached in and held a piece of cotton in front of my mouth.
It’s probably milk from a domesticated animal, considering I accepted none from her.
I opened my mouth and sucking on the piece of cotton. A sweet taste filled my mouth. I obediently drank from the cotton as she repeatedly wetted it with milk, until it was finished.
She put down the piece of cotton and smiled at me, from the top of the crib. Her hands reached down and petted my head softly and slowly.
It’s not that bad, being her child. If it’s this person, I might be able to call her mother. After all, my mother is no longer here nor is my father. I have no family left. Even if it’s make-believe, if she’s willing to call me her child than I’m willing to call her mother.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I drifted to sleep under the gentle caress of my mother.
Thus started my daily life, of sleeping, eating and more sleeping. Occasionally, I would try to move around, trying to get up but it would appear that my body’s muscles have not yet developed to that point.
Months after my first awakening, I started learning words. With the frequent visit of my mother, she would talk and sing to me. Periodically, she would bring me books to read. Not that I understood the contents as I had no understanding of the language they speak. Little by little, I started to pick up on the words. They seem to be a very primitive version of the human’s language.
I still remember the day my mother cried out in joy when I first called her “Mama”.
My mother’s name is Abigail Gwillyms, the first name I learned in this new language. Soon after, I learned my given name, Hilda. It must be the universe’s way of playing tricks on me. It’s too frightening of a coincidence.
Many more months passed and I could finally sit up and support myself. The first time I supported myself on two legs, my mother dropped my meal in shock and ran over to check if I had hurt myself.
“Mama I’m fine”
I would reassure her but she would never let me stand by myself until much later.
A few more months passed and the date of my birth had arrived. My mother brought a small cake into my room with a single candle in the middle. It would appear that a celebration of the date of your birth was common practice in human societies.
“Happy birthday Hilda!”
My mother cheered happily, bringing the cake closer to my face.
“Now, blow out the candle and make a wish!”
I looked up at my mother with her sparkling eyes and back at the cake. What a strange tradition.
I gathered air in my lungs and blew out the candle.
“Yayy~! Now, don’t tell anyone about the wish or it won’t come true!”
My mother’s awfully excited for such a weird superstition. Humans really are weird.
A few months after my first birthday, my mother stopped feeding me milk and allowed me to sit with her at the table. I still can’t eat solid foods yet so my mother would prepare for me, soup. Years passed and I finally graduated from the baby crib and into a real bed.
At this point, I found it strange that there was only me and my mother in the house. My father did not appear, at all. Not for the celebration of the new year nor the birthday of my mother. I decided to ask my mother one day.
“Mama, where’s daddy?"
My mom froze and looked down at me from her chair. She bit her lip and had a pained expression. She put down her pen and kneeled in front of me, matching my eye level.
“Daddy’s…not here. He’s busy…”
She then hugged me, while crying “I’m sorry” repeatedly. I didn’t know what to do or what to say so I hugged her back.
Later, I found out that my mother was a mistress of a powerful noble and I was born from that man. My mother was forced to abort me when he found out but she refused. She got kicked out shortly after. With no one to rely on, my mother turned to her parents who were minor nobles. Unfortunately, they refused to take care of her either and left her with a good amount of coins.
With the money she received and the money she got after pawning off her fancy dresses, she bought a store and opened a bakery. With her beauty and delicious pastries, she quickly attracted many customers and profits bloomed. Many men tried to solicit my mother but most were turned away as soon as they realized that she had a child.
As I grew up, I started noticing many quirks and oddities of humans. Many humans tend to display signs of an inferiority complex, especially when it comes to the other races. They boast about their beauty but elves tend to be more beautiful. They boast about their strength but beastmen tend to overpower most humans. They boast about their intellect but demons were far superior scholars. In comparison to others, humans are just a jack of all trades. Yet, they proclaim to be the superior race.
Of course, there are many nice and warm humans as well. After many, many months of begging, my mother finally caved and allowed me to help her with the bakery. I worked at the front, in charge of sales and customer interactions. Through those interactions, I learned that individuality was important when judging beings.
In my heart, deep down, I still held a grudge for the murder of my people. When I first started working, I treated strangers with contempt. Despite that, people returned my cold attitude with a warm smile. I didn’t understand that. Everyone said kind words to me despite being a stranger. It was the opposite of how I viewed humans. I always thought humans were a selfish, narrow-minded, and poor mannered race. Upon meeting others, I found that many humans had a kind heart.
I wondered if this was the reason that the gods favored humans so much. They really are a strange race.
Many more years passed and I am now age 14, on the verge of 15.
I stood in front of the mirror in my room. Silky black hair reached down to my waist, brushed in a tidy fashion. Big, black, and sparkly eyes looked back at me from the mirror. With full lips and rosy cheeks, I turned out to be abnormally beautiful. My mother had always used that as a topic to brag to her friends. It really is awfully embarrassing. But with the soul made by my previous mother and the body born from my current mother, it would be shameful if I wasn’t.
I sighed and adjusted the uniform I was wearing. A white cotton blouse with a black corset vest over it. A frilled black skirt reached down to my knees. It’s a very extravagant uniform, which is much more expensive than the dresses that my mother owns. It must have costed a fortune.
My mother wished for me to enter the education facility called "School". The uniform is mandatory. I already possessed knowledge that is far beyond any human had known, but my mother didn’t listen and signed me up anyways.
The uniform makes me feel restless.
Soft knocking sounded from the door as my mother slowly pushed open the door. She saw me and squealed, rushing over, holding me in a tight embrace.
“Oh, my, god! You look so adorable!”
“Mother, please stop, I’m no longer a child.”
“Poppycock! In my eyes, you’ll always be a child of mine!”
I blushed and looked away.
“Please stop treating me like a child, I’m almost 15.”
“15. Who still cries in her mother’s arms at night. Yes, of course, what a grown up you are~.”
Interactions with my mother always bring up memories of my previous mother. That’s all. That’s the only reason.
“Fine, fine. Take off your uniform and go to bed. You have a long day tomorrow. I’ll miss you, sweetie.”
“I’ll miss you too mother. Good night.”
My mother kissed me on the forehead and walked out of my room.
I looked longingly at the door and sighed again, for the nth time today. I quickly took off my uniform and dressed in my sleeping wear. I slipped into my bed and turned off the lights.
Tomorrow…is just another day.
I sighed a final time as I closed my eyes, trying to sleep.