Chapter 7 – Negotiations
Reacting to my order, the door blocking the entrance of my bedroom opened. After entering, I made sure to close the door behind me. I approached the bed in the middle of the room quietly. Mother was still sleeping.
Seeing one more time the poor state she was in, I couldn’t help but feel anger boiling up inside me –again. Thinking back on my little game session with my aunt, as I thought, I went too easy on her. Good thing I didn’t kill her, it would have been a waste.
I sat on the bed beside mother, as I carefully examined her. Her injuries didn’t seem like they’d be too hard to heal. She had bruises and cuts, but nothing broken. No internal injuries. I already tried Healing Magic on my Aunt who was in a much worse state, so I should be able to heal mother. Unlike mother, my Aunt had no superficial wounds. Instead her insides were completely messed up. Yet, I still managed to heal her, so I shouldn’t have any problem with my mother.
I’m a bit apprehensive… It’s only Light magic, so nothing should go wrong, but this is the first time I’m using magic on mother. I can’t help but be a little worried. I already noticed more than once that my lack of control in my magic can generate some serious problems… But that’s only Healing Magic… Just Healing Magic…. Besides, I’ve practiced long enough on Aunt Nora. That’s right; there is nothing to be worried about.
As I placed my hands above mother, I concentrated my mana in my palms. I tried visualizing her wounds closing and her bruises disappearing. I imagined all the pain going away. After a few moments focusing on my mana, a bright light materialized and gently covered mother’s sleeping body. Slowly, all her wounds disappeared. If not for the traces of dried blood and tears on her face, no one would’ve guessed the poor state she was in just a few seconds ago.
Yet, it wasn’t enough. She seemed perfectly fine now, but there was still something missing. Her ears. The incision was gone and her ears cicatrized, but they did not grow back. They have a weird shape now, and they’re closer to human ears than elves’.
I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised. I expected something like this. While Healing magic can regenerate the dead cells and accelerate the healing process, it can’t do anything about what has been either destroyed completely or chopped off.
I hate this. I know elves are being discriminated here, but my mother’s ears were her most particular feature, and I loved them. I’m sure that if she had the choice, then mother would want them back too. They were part of her after all, a proof of her identity. I wonder if there is any way to grow them back? I need to find some magic that can actually re-grow limbs… There has to be a way.
I was suddenly startled as I noticed mother looking at me.
… Huh? When did she wake up? She didn’t see, did she? Did she see me using magic? She looks confused. Oh no, this is bad…
Mother slowly got up, without breaking the eye-contact. “Lyni…? You’re still awake?” She asked.
She looked at her surrounding, trying to recall everything that happened. “Oh… I fell asleep…”
She flushed a little in embarrassment, as she remembered giving in to her grief in front of me. Well, that’s kind of cute… I guess would be embarrassed too if I suddenly became vulnerable in front of a child. Anyway, it doesn’t seem like she saw. What a relief…
However, mother then realized that all her pain had vanished. She started to inspect her own body, looking at her arms, touching her face trying to feel the wounds, but there was nothing.
… I forgot about this. How am I supposed to explain this? She was badly injured and when she wakes up, all her wounds are gone. Of course she’d notice something…
Mother stayed quiet for a while, staring blankly at her perfectly healthy body in astonishment. She was trying to come up with a logical explanation for her sudden recovery. Then she looked up at me, raising an eyebrow, her eyes full of doubt.
Please don’t ask, please don’t ask, please don’t ask…
“Lyni… Did you…?” She started.
But before she could finish, I rushed forward, throwing myself of her. I hugged her tightly with my tiny arms and I started to cry.
“Mommy…! Sniff… Is mommy fine now? Lyni was scared…” I whined, while rubbing my face against her.
Yes, it’s all an act. And I feel really bad for deceiving her. But I don’t really have the choice. I can’t get exposed. Not now.
After two years living as a baby, my acting became pretty good and anyone would fall for it. But mother’s lack of reaction is worrying me. What kind of face is she making? Slowly, I looked up at her with my teary eyes.
… That’s not good. Her eyes widened, full of suspicion and her mouth remained an uncharacteristic grim line. That’s not the kind of expression you should have when your two years old daughter is crying, asking for attention. Did she see through my acting?
I expected her to start interrogating me at any moment, but she didn’t say a word, she just looked at me. After a short and awkward moment looking at each other, she finally broke the silence.
“Yes, don’t worry. Mommy is fine now. I’m sorry for worrying you”, she said, as she starting patting my head and gave me back my hug.
She knows… In the end, she didn’t ask for anything, but I think she knows. She definitely noticed something.
Ultimately, we stayed glued at each other for about fifteen minutes without saying anything. At first, it was because I thought it’d be awkward if I suddenly stopped crying. But as the minutes passed, I surprised myself feeling at ease in her arms. Listening to her heartbeat made me comfortable. It was telling me one thing: she is fine now. That’s all what matters.
I’m not sure what she knows, but I think she probably understood I didn’t want to talk about it and let it go. I’m grateful for that. At least, she didn’t reject me.
Everything is fine. As long as she is safe, nothing else is important.
As I was thinking this, once again, I received a notification from the [World System].
Azariah has been blessed by Aileen and received [Divine Protection].
What? But… I didn’t do anything…?
Well, that’s quite reassuring knowing that mother now has some kind of protection but… Seriously, how did that happen? How did I do that? And since when I could do that? Don’t tell me… From the beginning…? No way, that’s a bad joke… If I had known, I would have given her my blessings sooner… None of that would’ve happened.
Are you trolling me [World System]? Damn it… I should have included some kind of tutorial, explaining all my skills. Instead, I have absolutely no idea of what I can do. But, well… It’s not like if I had known I’d be reincarnated…
… What is Divine Protection though? I wonder how far it can protect her… Is it an invisible shield? Moreover, it’s written “Aileen” instead of Lynett. It’s been a long time since I have been called that way. Thinking about this, wasn’t here something similar written on my advanced status? My [True Name]… Does it have something to do with my soul? I’ll have to investigate this later…
Finally, after a while, mother slowly released me from her embrace. I looked up at her and I could feel my face paling when I met her eyes. Oh no, that’s not good…
“Is something wrong, Lyni?” She asked as she saw my expression.
“N-No…” I lied.
This is bad. This is really, really bad. Her eyes… They started changing…
The sky blue color of her eyes swirled into a warmer color as I gazed at her. At the edge of her pupils, an amber colored ring appeared and slowly grew to swallow the blue. Within a few seconds, her eyes completely changed color. There was no longer any trace of the light blue color she once had, instead, her eyes glazed like the sun. A bright and stunning golden color… Just like mine.
I suddenly remembered. Having golden eyes was the proof that you were either a god, or you had been blessed by a god.
Technically, I am a Goddess, right? And even though I’m not sure how it happened, I just blessed my mother. So her eyes changed into a golden color.
This is really bad. Not like I regret granting her a [Divine Protection] or anything, but that’s going to be troublesome. So far, only newborns could receive the blessings of a god. Yet, my mother has just been blessed. Those eyes were the very proof of that. Once people notice that, they’re going to start asking questions…
I can see troubles coming…
The next day, the whole mansion was in an uproar. A huge uproar.
The first issue was, of course, my aunt. For some reasons, it seems that Aunt Nora completely lost her sanity.
As soon as she regained her consciousness this morning, my Aunt started screaming non-stop like a mad person. It didn’t take long before people noticed something was wrong. Considering my Aunt’s temper, people were used to her occasional nervous breakdowns or her hysteric emotional outbursts. But this time, it was different.
First, the maids tried to calm her. But whenever someone got close to her, my aunt became aggressive. Not in a violent way though. Instead of beating up the others like she used to, she would bite or struggle like a confused child. At some point, she was so desperate to get away from something that she tried to leave the mansion. However, the Marquis did not allow that. Even if she was mad, even if she was his sister, she was still a Whiteheart. There was no way he could let other people see her like this. Having a rumor spreading about a member of the family losing their sanity is the last thing he needed. There have been enough rumors going on about the family recently.
So, since Aunt Nora would absolutely refuse to stay in the mansion, my uncle had to use force. He ordered Yao –yes, Yao himself, one of the strongest servant of the household- to capture her and lock her up for the time being.
No one knew what happened to her –beside me- but it surely was a big deal. Seeing Aunt Nora throwing a tantrum was not rare, but no one ever saw her so terrified. Actually, she was so frightened that she forgot about her pride, even begging the servants to let her go. People had no idea what caused such a fear within my aunt. Only she could tell, and right now, she was in no condition to talk.
She kept talking nonsense, saying things like there was a demon in the house that came for her and that she absolutely needed to leave the mansion if she wanted to live.
… Auntie… I was talking about your chamber, I never mentioned something like leaving the house. But well…
Additionally, she can’t stand the sight of children. It was well known that my aunt wasn’t fond of children, but this time, instead of simply disdain them, she would run away from them, begging for forgiveness.
Hum. I think I should pay my aunt a visit. Just in order to cheer her up, you know? Fufufufu…
The second issue was mother’s eyes. It didn’t take long before people notice the change in their color.
The first one to notice it was a maid that came to wake me up this morning. At first, she was surprised to see mother together with me from afar. But when she got closer to greet her and saw her eyes, her surprise grew even more. Her mind was unable to comprehend the images it was being sent by her eyes. She blinked several times, making sure she didn’t see it wrong and then she ran away.
She must have spread the world quickly, because soon after that, I received even more visits. Usually, the maids avoid me and I barely receive any visits in my room –because halves are bad luck they said. But this morning, they came one after the other, supposedly to check on me. Well, I’m not stupid. I know they were only here to confirm the rumor. Once they entered, they barely looked at me, saw mother, and then they left.
Not like I care, but they keep disturbing the precious time I spend with mother. Please stop coming.
Somehow, I can understand why people are so surprised about this. First of all, the mere fact that mother has been blessed as an adult is quite shocking. But there is also the fact that I, her daughter, have also been blessed –or at least this is what they think. Receiving the blessings of a god is already rare enough, so having two people from the same family blessed, this is unheard of.
Just wait until I bless my brother too, we will be three.
In the afternoon, I received an even more unexpected visitor: my uncle, the Marquis. Yes, the same man who has been ignoring me since day one. Obviously, he too came for mother. Once again, he didn’t bother looking at me; instead, he focused on mother. After seeing her eyes and staying silent for a while, he went straight to the point.
Mother did not answer. Well, it’s not like she knew what happened either… Or did she…?
“What’s going on? What’s wrong with your eyes? Does it have anything to do with my sister’s state?” He asked, one more time.
Oh. Uncle, you’re a smart person. How did he come up to such a conclusion? Is it the timing? As he was about to say something else, he noticed mother’s ear.
“You… What happened to your ears? Did Nora…?”
Once again, mother did not answer. She simply lowered her gaze. But that was enough for Uncle Jack as he immediately understood.
“Damn it, that stupid woman…” He muttered.
After that, he simply left, without uttering another word. Hum… I expected more. That’s fine, I guess? I’m still a bit wary about him though. I’m having trouble figuring him out. He doesn’t seem like a bad person but I can’t trust him. After all, he is the head of the family that had been mistreating mother for so long. He might even be even worse than my aunt, who knows? Skilled hawks know how to hide their claws…
This is the evening. After spending the whole day with me, mother left. So I’m all alone –again.
I decided to finally pay a visit to my aunt~ I mean, she’s all alone. She must be feeling lonely, right? I’m a nice person so I’m going to keep her company. I’m sure she’ll be happy to see me! Besides, I forgot to ask her something and I wouldn’t want her to start saying unnecessary things.
Using the [World System], I opened the door and left my room. I’m starting to become used to this admins abilities. They’re quite useful I must say.
On my way, I met several servants. They were all surprised to see me wandering freely around the house, but they didn’t say anything. Since I’m not supposed to be able to open the door of my room, they must have assumed that someone allowed me out.
As I arrived in front of my Aunt’s room, I pressed my ear against the door, trying to eavesdrop. I heard that Aunt Nora eventually calmed down during the afternoon, but she still refused any visits. I couldn’t hear a sound from a chamber, so she must be alone.
Good~! With a single word, I opened the door.
As the way was now completely clear, I failed to see Aunt Nora anywhere. Is she not here? I entered the room to take a better look. Then I noticed a dark figure curled up against a dark corner in the room. As she held her head between her arms, she kept muttering something.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”
W-wouah… She is so terrified. Her appearance is messy, her eyes are lifeless and she won’t stop shivering. Hum… Did I go too far yesterday? I didn’t think she’d break down in depression like this. She actually has a pretty weak heart, who would have thought? No… I think anyone would become insane after being tortured. She is so absorbed in talking to the voices in her head –at least that’s what it looks like- that she didn’t even notice me.
I approached her casually. Since she wouldn’t lift her head up, I gently patted her shoulder. She looked up at me.
“HIIIIIIIIII!! Noooo!! Don’t! Get away, demon! I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! Please leave me alone!!!”
… Ouch… My ears hurt. She is so loud.
“No, I just-“
“NOOOOOOOO! Someone help me!!!”
Each time I tried talking, she interrupted me talking non-sense. Eventually, the noise drew attention and a few moments later, my uncle, accompanied by Yao, entered the room. I stepped back a little.
“Nora! What’s wrong?!” Uncle Jack asked.
Yao didn’t say a thing. He just looked at her, his eyes glistened with emotions as his brows furrowed. He looks genuinely worried. Does he like her? Ew, that’s gross. Please don’t. You have a bad taste in women Mister cat…
“P-Please help me…!” Aunt Nora begged as she grabbed my uncle’s jacket.
She turned her gaze toward me. Her eyes met mine and I simply smiled at her. Slowly, I brought my index finger in front of my mouth, gesturing her to keep quiet. She stared at me for a while, shivering, then she lowered her gaze. She had perfectly understood my silent order.
"What happened, Nora?!" My uncle inquired.
“I-it’s nothing… Sorry, I just… Panicked… I’m fine…” Aunt Nora murmured, as her voice was wavering.
Not too convincing, but this will do. Yao, who had noticed my presence from the beginning, attentively studied my aunt’s behavior. Then he turned to me.
“What are you doing here?” He asked with a dull voice.
I tilted my head to the side, innocently. “Auntie called me here!”
As I said this, Aunt Nora flinched. She’s not helping, seriously… Both my uncle and Yao raised in eyebrow in surprise. My aunt despised children, and she despised me even more, considering the fact that I’m a half. So it was hard to believe that she was the one who called me. Uncle Jack narrowed his eyes, as he turned his gaze on her.
“…Is it true…?”
“Y-Yes…” She answered.
Such a bad actress… But since she did not deny anything, Uncle Jack and Yao eventually left, reluctantly. I waited for a while after they left before breaking the silence.
“Hello auntie! Are you doing fine?”
“What do you want…?”
She seemed to have calmed down. She didn’t dare to look at me in the eyes, but at least her voice wasn’t wavering anymore and she stopped shivering.
“I forgot to ask you something yesterday”, I spoke. “You mentioned something about mother provoking you. What was that about? You stayed still for a month without doing anything, and suddenly you snapped. Why?”
“… I forgot.”
I sighed. “Don’t lie to me auntie… Or do you want to play another game?”
A sudden chill run down her spine and made her skin crawl, as she remembered yesterday’s events.
“… It was about Lloyd… My eldest brother, and… your father.” She started. “Your mother, she… started to ask questions. About his disappearance.”
Huh? Father is missing? Is that why I’ve never met him?
“She started talking nonsense… Eventually, she even accused me of being related to Aoban’s mother’s death and your father’s sudden disappearance.”
“… That’s it…? Just because of that, you snapped?”
“You don’t understand… Everything went wrong from the moment that woman came. Everything was fine until then… But she destroyed our family, she ran away, and now she even dared to blame it all on me…!”
“No one asked you keep her a prisoner. You were free to let her go but you didn’t. That’s your own fault.” I coldly retorted, as I saw my aunt biting her lips in frustration. “And so… Was she right? To think that you were related to my father’s disappearance.”
“…No.” She answered, a bit hesitant.
I shrugged. “Fine, I’ll believe you for now. But if I find out that you lied to me, you’ll regret it.”
Aunt Nora slowly looked up at me. “Is it fine now…? Are you letting me go? What are you planning to do?”
“Nothing, auntie!” I shook my head. “I’m not planning to do anything, I just want a quiet life with my family. And yes, I’ll let you go for now. You can do everything you want, I don’t really care. But don’t you dare meddle in my life, or try to harm my mother or my brother in any way. If you do, I’ll make sure you regret that I didn’t kill you yesterday. Ah! And obviously, what happened yesterday is a secret between you and me. You will not say a word, understood? You don’t bother me, I don’t bother you.”
Without uttering a word, Aunt Nora just listened to me. She didn’t need to answer; she perfectly understood that I wasn’t leaving her the choice. It was not a negotiation but a threat.
“…Just who are you?” She asked.
“You don’t need to know. For you, I’m just Lynett, a two years old child, perfectly normal.” I smiled at her. “So, auntie, let’s forget about the past ok? From now own, I’m sure you and I will get along very well!”
Aunt Nora tensed up. I feel like bullying her a little now… I stepped forward, startling her as she was worrying about what I was about to do. I leaned a little, giving her a peck on the cheek.
“Recover well, auntie~!” I said, as I gave her my brightest smile.
Fufufu… Her face is priceless. Her mouth dropped open, staring at me in disbelief, she just froze. Without giving her a chance to react, I exited her chamber. Leaving my shocked aunt behind, I returned to my room. I love seeing her reactions. I might get used teasing her a little...