Nothing comes out. My mind is a vast, ever-stretching blankness.
The one in front of me is a small girl, who has magically become my daughter less than 5 minutes ago. She is an android, yet looks astonishingly human.
Where do I begin from in such a messed up situation? What am I supposed to talk about?
Absolutely no idea.
I sigh as I drop on the sofa, trying to collect my thoughts; striking a conversation has never been my forte.
Perhaps it would have been easier If she looked more like a machine. But she looks like a human, behaves like a human, speaks like a human, sits beside me like a human-!?
I jump away toward the edge of the sofa, almost slipping onto the floor. W-when did she get here!?
She blinks in surprise while examining my sudden actions. Once our eyes meet, she averts her face and pouts.
“Hmph, I just felt like sitting down here.”
“I-is that so...”
I slowly crawl into the sofa instead of hanging on its edge. Despite what she says, she clearly sat down beside me on purpose, didn’t she? Her tsuntsun behaviour makes that pretty clear.
Even though we have just met and hardly interacted, am I to assume she bears some sort of affection toward me? Because I’m her owner, her “papa”?
If this were a video game, I’d have to work hard in order to earn the favor of a tsundere girl. However, for an android who is an entertainment product, it makes some sense to cheat through that process and to make her attached to the owner from the get-go
Regardless of whether she loves her papa or not, the fact remains that I have to interact with this kid to do my job. More specifically, I have to try testing her “knowledge”... whatever that means.
That damn Eric, he didn’t even bother to give me any hints about what sort of “knowledge” I should test. He totally threw me into the water and he doesn’t give a damn, does he?
In that case, I’ll try starting from the basics.
“Um... do you know your own name?”
“Huh? Do you think I’m stupid or something? Of course I know! Hmph!”
She glares through me in anger.
Good job, me. Good job...
Of course she knows her own name, she perfectly responded when I called her “July”earlier. She must have been programmed to know that name from the moment she was booted, even if nobody ever gave her that name.
... thinking of which, WHO came up with this name? Can the owner change it?
“Tch, what now?”
“Who gave you that name?”
“...? Wasn’t it papa?”
She tilts her head with a blank expression. She doesn’t appear to be angry this time, only sincerely confused.
Is this a default name for this model? It’s awful if the client can’t decide on a name himself.
“Say, can your name be changed?”
“Hm? Papa, you want to give me a different name?”
She looks at me in wonder, there’s no hint of irritation or anger. Maybe she’s not that much of a monster after all?
“Yeah, I want to change your name. Is it possible?”
“Hmph, since you beg so much then I might as well allow that.”
She crosses her arms and speaks mighty and bossy. It’s rather cheeky, but also funny and cute. Since she puts it in such an arrogant way, I can't help but to screw with her a little.
"How about... Blablaberia."
She fidgets and turns pale.
"B... Bla... Blabla..."
She mumbles something, probably trying to figure out this bullshit "name" I came up with. Take that, you brat! That'd teach you!
She falls silent and makes a difficult expression as she looks at her knees, her tiny fists are tensely clenched.
"P-papa, c-can you repeat it again? N-not that I didn’t understand it or anything, hmph!"
She speaks with a shaky voice which is hardly above mumbling. Her eyes shift from side to side, looking at me and then looking away.
She probably has a certain limitation on the names she can be called. However, as a classic tsundere, she is too proud to openly admit that weakness.
It was a funny experiment, but watching this little girl fidgeting and stressed... it makes me feel like a villain.
I hate children, because they always start crying the moment something doesn't go their way, like a certain younger sister. Yet, July is trying to deal with the situation on her own and feels uncomfortable asking for help.
Being proud like that isn't necessarily healthy, but I respect this attitude a lot more than that of a spoiled kid.
"Sorry, I was joking about that name."
July puffs her little cheeks and looks away, with irritation burning in her eyes.
"I'll give you a real name, a good one. Honest."
She only turns the edge of her razor eyes in my direction.
"Let's call you... Lily."
That's a nice name and shouldn't be too difficult for her. That is, if she can change her name in the first place and doesn't just pretend to be capable of such a feat.
"Li... ly... Lily."
She slowly repeats the name in mumbles and then turns to me with a cocky expression.
"Since papa begged so much, I'll allow you to call me Lily from now on."
Acting all high and mighty after figuring out such a simple name? The urge to call her Blablaberia intensifies.
Now that she accepted the new name, what happened to the previous name? Vanished without a trace? Kept as a memory?
Good, she does react to "Lily" now.
She looks at me, then around the room. After confirming that there's no one else and I'm definitely speaking to her, she retorts coldly while twisting her lips.
"Papa, I'm Lily. Have you already forgotten the name of your own daughter?"
"But you were July just a moment ago, weren't you?"
"Hmph, now I'm Lily!”
That was one heck of a FAST name discarding if I ever saw one. It feels like pursuing this subject further would only serve to annoy this girl.
What else can I ask this brat...?
While trying to figure out my next move, I hear the restroom calling to me. I stand up and head toward the door.
tap tap tap
Small steps follow me from behind, like that of a little doggie running after its owner. No doubt the one standing behind me is...
“What? I just felt like walking around a little, hmph.”
Heh, yeah right.
“I’ll step out for a bit. You remember that you need to stay in the room, right?”
She hangs her head with sad eyes; it makes me feel like a tyrant who enslaves little kids.
“I-I’ll be back shortly.”
“Hmph... not like I’ll be waiting or anything.”
She retorts coldly yet weakly.
Is she... sad that I’m leaving for a moment? That’s a little clingy.
I force myself to leave the girl behind and continue, toward the door. The remote controller lying on the table’s edge catches my eye; Lily’s name is supposed to be displayed on the back of the controller.
Since her name changed, will the remote now display a different name?
I pick up the remote and turn it around. It properly displays “Lily” and I find myself smiling in satisfaction.