It took Ren and Erizora a couple minutes to be led to the dining hall where they would have their breakfast. Unfortunately, since Erizora was too big to fit into one of the chairs, they provided her a cushion to sit on with her knees. As soon as Pasesi made sure they were comfortable, she went right off to the kitchen to direct the cooks into preparing food for them.
“This isn’t turning out as bad as we expected things to be, isn’t it, Ren?” Erizora asks. “We were warned we might lose our lives, let alone our chastity if we get near Master the way he is, but aside from the chest grab I forced him to do on me, he hasn’t harmed a single hair out of us. Heck, aside from being unable to lie, he even let us have full control of ourselves.”
Indeed, these slaves and their merchant, Carmen, were filled in on the cursed weapon’s powers and side-effects by Tephalia. Even if just being near Jinma in this state could be signing a death wish, Ren and Erizora’s will to repay his debt overpowered whatever fears or doubts they had. Besides, if they weren’t around, there’s a possibility that Jinma could kill someone else due to the curse’s side-effects. Having even one of Tephalia’s citizens to be killed under these circumstances, she couldn’t have that.
And so, without Jinma’s knowing, Tephalia and Carmen settled on a deal in private on what the slaves should do with him when he wakes up. Even when they’ll be under his supervision for 36 hours, they’re still technically in Carmen’s legal ownership, her ‘property’ in a sense, until they’re officially redeemed to a new master. Should anything happen to either or both of them, Tephalia would have to pay hefty collateral that would result in quite a dent to her city’s economy. This is the condition Jinma wasn’t aware of when mentioned in the letter that he could do ‘whatever he wanted with them.’ Not even the sky’s the limit to what could be accomplished, immoral, or otherwise.
It could be better and quicker for her to just off Jinma then while he’s still unconscious to be safe, but the tanto’s actions are partially her responsibility for the role she plays with it along with being Dondegarm’s lord, and she’s one who’d rather not let those who fell victim to the curse, be they the assaulted or the possessed, suffer any further than they already have. This is especially so for Jinma, who played the biggest role in saving her city with that very cursed weapon, something that she thought would never happen.
That, and he has caught her attention in more ways than one.
And so, by the time the deal was made and the letter was handed to the slaves, they were also given these instructions when Jinma wakes up in the guest room:
- Be prepared for anything and keep Jinma busy with whatever orders he enacts until Tephalia checks in.
- Do not mention anything about the side-effects if he asks.
- Should he show any signs, pull the chord to notify the service staff.
“‘Hold out for as long as you can, and the city of Dondegarm are in your debts. I will take care of everything else from there.’ That’s what Lady Tephalia said. Even though I was ready to put my life that Master saved in his hands to do with as he pleased, I never would’ve thought things would turn out this way,” Ren says. She then puts a hand to her bosom and looks down. “He must’ve sensed how on edge we were back there, and so he did so much just to calm us down when it should’ve been the other way around, especially with how tense he looked when he woke up. We’ve seen how brutal Master’s battle tactics were from last night, but … he seems far kinder than he appears when he’s not in a fight.”
“Being in the presence of such power last night, I lost count in how many times he got me in an ‘accident’ with my underwear, but it was so breathtaking the way he handled those guys, I lost my sense of shame at that point. I was ready as you were to put my body on the line for his aggressive pleasures. Perhaps a little too excited for it, I must admit. I’m not sure if I should be disappointed that didn’t happen, but … for a brief moment, I felt as if he really saw and treated me like a regular girl despite my beefy body. And those bouquets he pulled from out of nowhere, even if they couldn’t stay around for very long, is it weird that I felt so happy he did that?”
Ren shakes her head to Erizora’s question. “No, I don’t think so. I felt the same way, too. He shows as someone to be depended on, knows right from wrong, strong in body and mind, generally kind to everyone no matter their race… if he fits everything in my criterion, would he …” she trails off while staring into space.
“Ren? You feeling okay?” Erizora asks.
“Eh? Oh, yeah. I’m gonna smell the flowers for a little bit …”
“Okay, hurry back.”
Ren then gets off her seat and leaves the dining hall. It takes her a bit to get to the toilets as she had to step out of the manor and head to a separate building where the Lamia servants do their preparations for the day.
“I feel like I might fall in if I’m not careful …” she mutters to herself before doing her business on the larger than normal toilet stall and thinks. Come to think of it, Master wasn’t very enthused about the idea of having Eri and I serving him for the day. It may be my first time doing the Gold-Level service, but from what the other girls told me, they get right to business when they get to a room. Master on the other hand … looked like he was holding back, or was he just too tired after everything last night? From how he woke up this morning, it sounds like he was anxious, or even scared of something happening if whatever dream he had overnight got him screaming. He said it wasn’t us, but was he just being nice? What if he’s not into having those relations with girls outside of his race? Being master and servant, let alone friends is one thing, but romance and mating is a whole other level.
He almost fits everything in my criterion, but if he doesn’t feel that way towards me … somehow, I don’t know how I’d live with myself.
“Is it true that human who’s sleeping in the manor really wielded the cursed tanto without getting possessed?”
“Oh, yeah. I was there, and he was relentless with the White Rapture and Bear Moles that went after him.”
Ren’s uneasy thoughts make an abrupt stop when she hears two girls discussing last night’s events involving Jinma. She quickly activates her ‘Stealth’ skill and holds still in the stall she’s occupying.
“Won’t Lady Tephalia be in danger if she’s in the same room as him though? Don’t those who’ve previously held the tanto get dangerous side-effects from the curse even if they’re separated?”
“From what I’ve heard, yes, and it gets ugly really fast. Apparently, Lady Tephalia and those before her have dealt with this situation a few times.”
“Have they cured them?”
“If there was any cure that was successful, I’d have heard it. All I know is when those who were previously possessed get too hard to control under the curse’s side-effects, they’ve had to put them down once they’re restrained.”
“You mean …”
“We’re blessed to have the history of poisons and drugs our ancestors created, with one of them bringing people into a painless, calming death once injected.”
Ren gasps and covers her mouth, recalling the last words Tephalia said to her and Erizora from last night.
“I will take care of everything else from there.”
Is she … going to kill Master?
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s better this way than leaving them alone restrained. I heard they wind up dying the following day due to some strange internal blood loss if they’re left to their own devices. I can’t imagine how painful that would be compared to just injecting poison with a needle.”
“That’s so sad …”
Master, no … Ren thinks as her eyes well up.
“Shame too for the human who’s with Lady Tephalia right now. Looking past how ruthless he was dealing with the White Rupture and the monsters, I thought he was kind of good-looking.”
“He even saved Ashe and Salelia who’re tending to him and Lady Tephalia right now. If they thought bearing his children was a good idea, I would give it a shot myself.”
“Right … hey, how does Lady Tephalia not get possessed if she needed to confiscate the tanto?”
“She has a special glove made of charms to prevent the tanto’s curse from reaching her. I’m sure she has it with her at all times.”
“Ah, okay then. There’s certainly a lot that goes on in this city, is there?”
“Yeah, it’s a wonder how we made it to this point …” The two Lamia servants slither out of the lavatories and went back to their businesses, leaving Ren who’s still in her stall.
“… No, it can’t be. Master can’t die yet! I won’t let him! Not at least until I know what his true feelings are!”
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Hello and welcome. You may call me Orange Rain, and I looooove orange soda.
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