The weekend has arrived, and I find myself enjoying the feeling of laying under my blankets on a cold Saturday morning. This past week turned out to be pretty exhausting, only because of my [Basic Combat] classes with Avern. He's pretty much the only reason why I get tired at all from school. Now that I can finally rest from his exercises, I'm going to spend the day in my room like this.
“Aria~! Rise and shine!” At least, that was my plan until my mother bursted in.
“Time to wake up and clean yourself up! We have some guests coming today, and one of them might become your friend!” She pulls the bedsheets off of me with an excited expression, letting the cold air rush onto my body. With the warmth of my blanket quickly fading away, I reluctantly rise up from my bed and rub my eyes.
“...good morning?” I drowsily greet my mother as I rub my eyes.
“Yes, it’s morning Aria, so hurry up and get yourself ready! Come down after you’re finished, I’ll be waiting for you!” Right after she says that, she dashes out of my room, leaving as fast as she arrived.
Sighing to myself, I climb out of my bed and proceed to wash myself up in the bathroom. After the usual morning routine of brushing my teeth and soaking my body in a bathtub, I put on a t-shirt and a pair of pants before heading downstairs. On the way down, a sweet aroma coming from the direction of the kitchen filled the air, making it my first destination. Inside, I see my father baking some snacks, most likely for Mother’s guests.
“Good morning, Aria. Did you sleep well?” He asks me. I simply give a nod in response as I make a bowl of cereal to eat for breakfast.
“Sorry that I didn’t make anything for breakfast, your mother was extremely excited for this event and demanded that I make snacks for them before they arrived. Sheesh, only if she told me yesterday, then I would’ve prepared them after lunch…” He mumbles the last line to himself, but I could still hear him clearly.
“Well, it’s not like I can refuse her selfish demands anyway. So just bear with me for this morning, okay?” I nod in reply again, since I could understand how difficult it was to live with my mother. Not that it’s a bad thing, but sometimes she just gets overexcited for small events such as these. It doesn’t help that her preparations for this day is pretty much last minute.
The sound of the doorbell resound through the house, and I can hear my mother in the living room run to the door. Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen a guest come over to our house ever since I was reincarnated. So for this family, this is literally the first time in six years that they’ve had someone come over. That’s probably why my mother was extremely excited about this.
“Aria, can you bring these cookies to the living room? I’ll join everyone after I finish this cake.” Having just finished my cereal, I nod to his request and take the two plates of cookies to the living room.
I hear voices from the hallway as I enter the living room, and my mother appears with two other adults. They were the same people my mother was speaking to in the [Guild Hall]. If I recall correctly, these two were former soldiers under my mother’s command during her time serving the kingdom. I wasn’t really interested in them, though. The person I was looking for still didn’t appear yet.
“Oh, I nearly forgot! Aria, come over here!” Pulling me over, my mother brings me to the couple and starts to introduce me to them.
“Lisa, Trax, I haven’t introduced you to my daughter yet! Here, this is my sweet little angel, Aria! Although she’s currently wrapped in bandages due to a curse, but they’ll come off eventually! Then, I’ll finally be able to see my little darling’s face!” As my mother goes off into her own dream world, her friends come over and start to examine me. I was with my father during their reunion at the [Guild Hall], so I guess they didn’t know that I even existed until today.
“So you’re Hana’s daughter, huh? Nice to meet you, I’m Trax, a former soldier of the kingdom. I worked with your mom before, and she’s saved my ass more times than I could count! Because of that, if you’re ever in trouble, feel free to come to me for help!” He flashes a smile at me after introducing himself. He had an average build of a typical knight, but his appearance didn’t stand out much. Both his eyes and his hair were brown, and he was a bit shorter than my mother. In my opinion, his most redeeming point is probably his personality.
“Lisa, introduce yourself!” Trax says to his wife, who was engrossed in examining the bandages.
“Ah, yes, I’m sorry! My name is Lisa Farlite, and I was a cleric working under your mother in the past. I’ve been under her care for a very long time, and I still have many things I’d like to repay her for.” She says while bowing. Who bows to an eight year old child? This woman is way too polite. Though, it did fit her image somewhat. With her blond, fluffy hair and her hazel eyes, she gave off a gentle aura.
“...hello. I’m Aria.” I say in a barely audible voice. Silence filled the room for a few seconds before they took the initiative to speak again.
“...so, not much of a talker, I see. That’s cool, we can do all the talking instead! So what’s up with the bandages?” Thankfully, Trax was an extremely sociable person. He cleared up the awkward atmosphere in a second, bringing up a topic to talk about.
“I think I recognize those bandages on her. If I remember correctly, this is the [Corrupted Cloth] that we found during our time in [Nelrime].” Lisa says.
“Oh~ is it now? I don’t really remember any of the cursed artifacts we found during our expedition days. They all just went to Kieran for study.”
“I remember asking Kieran about them a few days after finding them, and he told me of its symptoms. They’re supposed to greatly reduce the [Status] of a person to a ridiculously low level, but stat growth is increased until they’re removed. I think that one of the methods of removal was to simply wait for the curse to die out, since it had a time limit. I don’t remember what the time limit was, though.”
“Three years is the time limit, meaning that it’ll be removed by next year.” My father enters the living room with a finished cake, finishing Lisa’s explanation.
“Kieran! You finally finished the cake!” With the scent of cake filling the room, my mother escapes from her dream world and focuses her attention on the source.
“Yes, do you mind getting a knife to cut the cake?”
“Eh~ why didn’t you just bring it over with the cake?”
“I can’t exactly grab a knife if I’m holding the cake with two hands now, can I?” Upon hearing that, mother reluctantly gets up from the couch and goes to the kitchen to grab a knife. While waiting for her, I decide to grab one of the cookies off the plate and nibble on it.
“Hello Trax, Lisa. It’s been awhile since we’ve spoken to each other. Feel free to treat this home as your own.” Father greets the couple while placing the cake on the table and takes mother’s seat next to me.
“As humble as always. You haven’t changed much since the squad’s been disbanded, huh?” Trax says as he takes a seat on one of the couches with Lisa.
“Is that so? I myself thought that I changed quite a bit since the past, mainly because of Hana and Aria.”
“Can’t deny that, I guess. You seem a lot more laid back now than you did back then. Don’t you think so, Lisa?”
“Ah, yes. Kieran was a super strict person who always did everything efficiently. I would never have never imagined him marrying Hana, let alone serve us cake and cookies with a smile on his face like today.”
“What do you mean by that!?” The couple laughs at his reaction, while father simply lets out a sigh. I was actually pretty curious on how he was like back then, I wonder if I could get the couple to tell me stories of their expeditions together. My parents do tell me stories, but they like to over exaggerate some of the scenes to try and impress me. I swear, they try too hard to impress a kid.
“Mo~m! I smell cookies!” A loud voice suddenly resounds in the hallway as a young child appears through the doorway. It was the boy I saw at the [Guild Hall], who had the exact same appearance as I did during my time as a male.
“Thoth! Where have you been?” His mother asks him.
“Exploring! This house is a lot bigger than ours, I wanted to check out the other rooms!” The boy responds as he skips over.
“So this adventurous little child is yours, Trax?”
“Yeah, this little brat right here is Thoth!” He replies as he grabs the boy and places him on his lap. Upon hearing his name, I nearly drop the cookie I was nibbling on. Not only was his appearance the same, but his name was as well!?
“He really resembles the [Old Hero], huh? You even gave him the same name.”
“That’s right. Though there’s one difference,” He says with an awkward expression. “She’s not my son, she’s my daughter.”
This time the cogs in my brain just completely froze. I regain myself after a few seconds, but Trax’s words were swirling around in my head. Wanting to reorganize my thoughts, I stand up and try to excuse myself from the room.
“Oh, Aria, you’re going to leave already?” My mother returns as I do so, bringing back a knife and several utensils. “How about bringing Thoth to your room? You two can play together in there! You wouldn’t mind it, Hana, would you?”
“Not at all! That sounds like a wonderful idea! Thoth, would you go play with Aria?”
“Yeah, sure!” Replying to his mother enthusiastically, he—I mean, she— hops off her father’s lap and runs towards me.
“Come on! Let’s go!” Suddenly grabbing my hand, she pulls me out of the room with her. As we stand outside, she turns to me and asks, “So, where’s your room?”
Letting out an inward sigh, I reluctantly bring my look-a-like up the second floor and lead her to my room. Although she was excited to see it, that excitement faded away as soon as she entered the room. She was probably expecting something extremely frilly or girly, but I didn’t really care about any of that. The only things I had in my room were things I needed, such as a desk, wardrobe and a bed.
“Well, I guess I expected too much from someone who dresses like a mummy two months before Halloween.” She voices her thoughts out loud before jumping onto my bed. Well I’m sorry that I don’t have any fashion sense.
“So, your name’s Aria, right? I’m Thoth, nice to meet’cha!” Sitting up on the edge of my bed, she introduces herself to me while giving a bright smile.
“...nice to meet you.” I whisper back.
“...so you’re the quiet type, huh? Well, not that I care. What's with the bandages though?” Curiosity fills her eyes as awaits a response from me. Seeing this, I decide to reply with a joke instead.
“The hell do you mean fashion!? Why are you saying it like a question!?”
“The reason’s changed now!? And what war scars, you’re the same age as me!”
“The hell is that supposed to mean!? You’re just playing with me at this point!” I feel a smile forming on my face as I continue to give her half-assed excuses like these. Her reactions were far too amusing to watch.
“Well, since you’re clearly not going to tell me why you have those bandages on, let’s talk about something else then.” She eventually gives up after a couple more exchanges like that, but she brings up other topics to talk about. For the most part, I respond with either small actions or minimal words, so it’s mostly just her one sidedly babbling to me.
“Now that I think about it, you were at the [Guild Hall] before, right? I saw you there with your parents!” An ominous feeling fills me as she continues speaking. “Let’s compare our [Status] together!”
“No thanks.” I respond right away. If she leaked my [Status] to her friends or relatives, it’s very possible that it will spread to people who will want me to for my ‘talent.’
“Instant response!? Why not~!? Come on, show me! How about if I show you first?” Before giving me the chance to respond, Thoth pulls out a bronze card from the back pocket of her pants and forces it onto me. Losing to curiosity, I end up looking at it.
Name Thoth Farlite Age 8 Years Old Gender Female Level 14 Health 1,330 Mana 855 Strength 44 Agility 58 Arcanery 37
Her [Status] was actually a lot more impressive than expected. Despite being so young, she was already level 14 and her stats were equivalent to a typical [D-Ranked Adventurer]. Her father was most likely personally training her, bringing her out to hunt local monsters in the [Field Dungeon] nearby. Looking at her [Status], I confirm in my head that there's no way I can show her my own. I look towards my desk where I usually leave my [Status Card], but I didn't see the familiar bronze card laying on it.
“What the hell is this!? Level 3 and your stats are higher than mine!? No, wait, what's with the amount of health and mana you have!?” It's already in her hands!? Did she take it while I was distracted with her [Status]!? Wait, more importantly, she just found out about my own [Status]!
“Oh ho ho, so this is why you were trying to hide it…” A dark aura begins to emerge from the girl, causing the previously light-hearted atmosphere to become ominous. The source of it slowly turns towards me, a sadistic smile on her face.
“You know, I've noticed that you've been watching me ever since you saw me. You seemed to be shocked whenever I appeared. Even today, you reacted weirdly every time you learnt about me.” As Thoth spoke, she got off the bed and slowly began walking towards me.
“It was as if you were looking at someone who was supposed to be dead. And when you learnt about my gender, you froze on the spot. Like you completely believed that I was male, even though it was your first time meeting me.” Feeling pressured by her, I slowly back away from her as she moves closer to me.
“On top of that, your [Status] is extremely suspicious. Normally there'd be no way for someone who's level 3 have stats higher than another person ten levels higher, you know?” Suddenly, Thoth dashes forward and pushes my body against the wall. Bringing her face close to my ear, she whispers, “Fate seems to have played with you too, huh, [Hero]?”
“Hahahaha! Seriously though, your reaction when I pushed you against the wall! Completely priceless!” Rolling around on the floor with tears in her eyes, Thoth was currently laughing hysterically about the event that just occurred a few minutes ago.
Apparently, the girl in front of me was the [Demon Lord] in my previous life. Just like me, she suddenly found herself reborn into this world eight years ago. When she first saw me, she immediately found me suspicious, and was able to deduce that I was familiar with her appearance. Having a vague idea as to who I was, she came along with her parents today to confirm my identity.
“...you scared me…” I mumble while hugging a pillow on my bed.
“How so? Did you think I was going to eat you or something? Since when did you become such a coward, Thoth? Or should I call you Aria instead?”
Hearing her words made my heart ache a bit. I couldn't deny her words, since I can also see that I've become softer since I've been reincarnated. Perhaps it's due to the influence of my two loving parent, or overconfidence in my overwhelming [Status], but I've definitely changed from the past.
“Sorry, sorry! Didn’t mean it like that. In my opinion, this ‘new you’ that shows emotion is a lot better than the ‘old you’ that didn’t flinch at the face of death.” As if reading my mind, Thoth tries to comfort me with her words. “It's not like I didn't like the way you were back then, but it's more like, I can get along with you much more easily now, don't you think?”
“...yeah.” It was like this back then too, wasn't it?
When I first arrived at his castle, he invited me to join him in celebrating his wife's birthday party before we fought. Even though we were supposed to be arch-enemies, I accepted his offer and had a chance to speak with him before our final battle. During our interaction with each other, he learnt how to understand and communicate with me within five minutes, and was the only person to ever do so. Even now, with my entire body covered from head to toe, he was still able to read be clearly.
“...not mad, about dying?” I ask the girl in front of me.
“Huh? Why would I be mad? It was a deathmatch between you and me, where we both gave it our all. You were the victor, I was the loser. Simple as that.” Her casual reply catches me off guard, but at the same time, it relieved me to hear that she wasn’t holding a grudge against me for it.
“You know, it really sucked that we were enemies back then.” She suddenly says, and a sad expression appears on her face as she continues to voice her thoughts. “I thought you were a pretty cool guy when I first met you. After talking to you for a bit, I found myself wondering, ‘If we weren’t mortal enemies, how would we have ended up?’ Well, I guess since we’re both already dead in history so it doesn’t matter now, does it?”
“...it does matter…” I whisper quietly, but Thoth still managed to catch my words.
“Hm? What do you mean by that?”
“Not Hero,” I point at myself first, then point at her before saying, “Not Demon.”
Eyes wide opened, the former [Demon Lord] in front of me was definitely surprised at my words. I didn’t blame her, since I’ve never been this ‘talkative’ in the past as well. Her expression quickly shifts from surprise to happiness, as an innocent smile reappears on her face. Man, I find it hard to believe that this innocent-looking girl in front of me used to be that ruthless, evil [Demon Lord], who could blow away an army with a single spell.
“Jeez, now I’m getting soft too. Are you trying to infect me with something? Because I’ll tell you now, it’s definitely working.” She says jokingly, before proceeding to sit with me on the bed.
“You’re not wrong, though. This time, instead of a [Hero] and [Demon Lord], we’re just two human girls that are best friends now, yeah?” Although it still felt a bit weird being referred to as a ‘girl,’ I still nod in agreement to her words.
“Well then, let's redo our introductions!” She says and suddenly grasps both of my hands into her own.
“Hello there, my name’s Thoth Farlite! Although I'm eight years old in this body, I'm actually a [Demon Lord] that's over 200 years old!” After making her introduction, she stares right into my eyes, urging me to do the same.
“Hello,” A warm feeling wells up within me, and my next words come from those feelings. “My name is Aria Brynhildr. Nice to meet you!”
Thoth: “Wait, so you're telling me you're actually heavily cursed at the moment, and your current stats are less than one percent of your original?”
Aria: *Nod* *Nod*
Thoth: “So while I have to train to regain my stats you've kept yours?”
Thoth: “...you bas—!”
Thoth: “Since when did you start talking so much?”
Thoth: “I mean, back then, you were so quiet it was uncanny. I thought I was talking to a doll or something, you know?”
Aria: “...this life, better parents…”
Thoth: “Really? What about your previous parents?”
Aria: “Nobles, didn’t understand me.”
Thoth: “What!? How would they not be able to understand their own child!? Were they mentally retarded or something!?”
Aria: “...only you understood me…”
Thoth: “Seriously!? Humans are actually stupider than I thought! Jeez, just because you’re a little bit of a taciturn, they don’t bother trying to understand you?”
Aria: “...thanks for caring.”
Thoth: “Of course! You’re my best friend now, you know!? From now on, if anyone bullies you anything, send ‘em right to me! I’ll pound their asses right into the ground!”
Aria: “...” *Hug*
Thoth: “W-w-w-what’re you doing!?”
Aria: “You’re a great friend…”
Thoth: “O-o-of course I am! A great friend? Yes I am! Hahahaha!”
Aria: “...you adapt fast…”
Thoth: “Hm? Adapt to what?”
Thoth: “Ah, that? Well, I thought that since I’m reliving a new life, I should have a fresh start and a new mentality! Therefore, I’ve been trying my best to achieve the ideal, ‘female’ mindset at the moment! My goal is to be as elegant as those noble ladies at the top of human society!”
Aria: “...you mean tomboy?”
Thoth: “...are you implying something here?”
Aria: “Nope. You, very elegant!” *Nervous Nod* x 2