Chapter 37 – Visit
Alright, Lynett. Do not panic. Think rationally.
Why is there a naked girl in my bed?
I never thought I would’ve found myself in a situation like this. I thought it only happened in the movies. One would think I partied so hard last night that I ended up blacking out, bringing a girl into my bed. But this is a misunderstanding. I promise. I have never touched a single drop of alcohol in any of my lives, I never got drunk, and I certainly did not party last night.
After the duel ended, I tried to connect with my brother, but he was immediately brought to the infirmary to treat his injuries. It seems that my attacks left some burns on his skin. Although it was not serious, it needed to be treated soon so as not to let a scar appear.
It’s… not my fault? I mean, how was I supposed to know he was going to take the blow directly?
So I tried to meet up with Vivian and the others instead, but I soon changed my mind as I was assailed with questions the second I left the pit.
The next participant, who had witnessed the fight, couldn’t believe his eyes. He asked me how I did it, if there was any trick, if brother lost on purpose, how big my mana pool was, stuff like that. In short, it was a real pain in the ass. Fortunately, he was soon called to join the battle zone as the next duel was announced. However, I then realized it would be the same fuss for everyone, so I decided to leave the arena before the end of the event, to avoid meeting anyone else. I did come across a few people on my way back to my room, but the word of my victory had not yet reached the ears of those who didn’t come to see the fight, so it wasn’t a problem.
I’m going to have to wait for things to calm down a bit before showing my face again. Fortunately, it was now the weekend so I had planned to spend the next couple of days locked up in my room without going outside. And that’s what I did. I locked myself in my room, collapsed on my bed and quickly fell asleep, exhausted by this overwhelming day.
Which brings us to the current situation. I repeat it but, why in the goddamn world am I waking up next to a naked girl?
Why? How? Who? When? And… WHY?!
Alright, calm down Lynett. You have done nothing wrong. It might be a prank. Let’s analyze the situation for now.
The door is still locked, no one could have entered the room while I was sleeping. Nomi is the only one else to possess the key, but her bed is empty. Maybe she’s the one trying to pull a prank on me? But it doesn’t sound like her. Thinking about it, did she not return last night? Or maybe she just woke up before me? In any case, I’m just grateful that she’s not here to witness this very misinterpretable scene. Now the window. It is indeed open, but this is the second floor. You’d have to be extremely agile to climb up here, and then again, there are bars over the windows. A human being wouldn’t have been able to pass through.
So, how? I have not a single clue.
The girl was… kind of cute, I’ll admit it. In fact, I’d even say she was extremely cute. But she was also very young. She looked even younger than Jalone which made things even weirder. Two pointed ears sprouted out her head, disclosing the fact that she was a demi-human. Her hair was completely devoid of any color and stopped just above her shoulders. It was completely smooth. I could tell without even running my fingers through it that there was not a single clump in it. As the girl readjusted her position in her sleep, her bangs moved aside to reveal her long eyelashes. Yeah, she’s cute.
Should I wake her up? Probably not. She could misinterpret the situation herself.
I tried to get off the bed as discreetly as possible, so as not to disturb the stranger’s sleep. Then, I unfolded the untouched blanket and spread it over her naked body. And I headed to the door.
I had planned to stay locked up in my room for the whole weekend, but now, I think I’d rather face the outside world.
However, as I was about to step out of the room in silence, the door opened itself. And Nomi appeared.
Fuck. My. Life.
It didn’t take her long to notice the stranger in my bed. Her face distorted in disgust as her eyes fell upon me. She is totally judging me.
How should I say it…
The awkward exchange of stares lasted for a few seconds. Very long seconds. Nomi didn’t utter a single word. She didn’t dare to. Her judgmental glare was enough, anyway. Then, she closed the door, as if nothing happened, and I heard her quickly walking away.
Yeah, I knew this would happen.
I stormed out of the room to catch up with her.
“Wait, this is a misunderstanding!!” I tried to clarify the situation as I grabbed her arm.
“Don’t touch me!” she yelled, shaking my hand away. “I don’t swing that way!”
“What way?! Like I said, this is a misunderstanding!”
Nomi cringed, avoiding eye-contact.
“Wow, and here I thought you had gone up in my estimation after yesterday’s duel,” she quipped, choking down an ironic chortle. “Now you just dropped down as low as possible! Pedophile!”
“For the love of…! Just listen to me! This is not what you think it is!”
As both our voices rose above a reasonable sound level, a few students left their room to see what was going on. Nomi ground her teeth at the unwanted attention. She leaned forward to whisper in my ear.
“Get her out of our room, now!” she ordered with a curt voice. “If anyone finds out about this, you and I are both in trouble.”
Yeah, I bet.
Nomi gave me a meaningful look before walking away under the curious stares of the others. And I did the same. As naturally as possible, I retraced my steps. I returned to my room, making sure no one was peeking inside as I closed the door behind me.
What do I do now?
As I could feel myself growing restless, I noticed a couple of eyes staring at me.
Crap. She’s awake.
Probably woken up by my sudden dispute with Nomi, the young girl was sitting on my bed as the blanket I spread over her fell from her shoulder, revealing everything.
Uh… Should I look away? I probably should have, but, seemingly not bothered by being seen, the girl was staring intensely at me, making it difficult for me to break the eye-contact. Young lady… Did your parents not teach you about modesty? I know we’re both girls but… I can seriously see everything. I’m not the one who’s supposed to be embarrassed, yet, I can feel my cheeks blushing.
“Erm… Hello?” I tried to speak up.
The young girl did not answer immediately. She silently stared at me for a few more moments before a smile broke onto her face. Then, she jumped from the bed and she threw herself on me.
“W-WOUAH! Hold on a second, what are you doing?!” I panicked.
The young girl embraced me as she buried her face in my chest like a child.
“Uh, erm… I think you got the wrong person?” I didn’t dare to push her away. “I have certainly not given birth before, and I’m too young to be a mother.”
The young girl looked up at me, displaying a gentle and innocent smile.
“You are the boss’ mother, therefore, you are my mother!” she said.
I frowned, trying to comprehend the meaning of her words. Then, I finally noticed the tails swaying back and forth happily in her back.
Huh? Not one tail but two?
At that moment, everything suddenly became clearer. There were not a lot of multi-tailed beasts in this world to begin with after all, but this fluff? I’ve already seen it before.
“The boss… Are you referring to Yoko?” I asked.
The young girl nodded. Finally receiving confirmation that I had not kidnapped a child in my sleep, my heartbeat returned to a somewhat slower pace as I let out a relieving sigh. I still didn’t know how she got in here, but this child was somehow related to Yoko and I long stopped trying to apply logical thinking when it comes to my gods. I returned my attention to the young girl, who was still looking at me with her round and beaming eyes.
“What are you doing here?” I questioned. “Oh, and how did you pass through the barrier?”
That’s right, the barrier. I thought intruders couldn’t enter the Academy. And that girl is clearly neither a student nor a member of the school staff. I mean, there were children in this school but, although she looks like one, that child does not fall under the mortal category. The multiple tails in her back are speaking for herself.
“The boss sent me to find you,” the young girl replied. “This territory’s barrier has a lot of flaws, so it was quite easy for a high-level spirit like me to enter.”
I blinked a couple of times at her casual explanation.
“Yoko sent you to find me?” I repeated, raising an eyebrow.
Oh… Oh no. I don’t know why, but I have a bad feeling about this. This can’t possibly be good.
“Alright,” I cleared my voice as I mentally prepared myself for whatever was coming next. “What for?”
“To deliver a letter,” the young girl said as she looked away.
Following her gaze, my eyes fell upon a small envelope on the mattress, right next to my pillow. Totally panicked by the presence of a stranger in my bed, I had absolutely not noticed it before.
A loud sigh escaped my mouth. Alright, here we go.
“By the way, how did you find me?” I wondered as I approached the bed to reach for the envelope. “I doubt you took a carriage and I don’t see a map with you. The region is vast. It mustn’t have been easy to find me.”
“It was,” the young girl contradicted. “I just tracked your scent.”
My scent? She knows my scent? I narrowed my eyes.
“Do you know me?”
The young girl gave me a meaningful look before her lips played into a mischievous smile.
Suddenly, light erupted from her body, a white glow enveloping her. Her figure changed shape as it started to shrink. Once her transformation was over, the light subsided, and a little fox appeared on the spot where she had been standing before. A very little fox. It was no more than forty centimeters tall. For a normal fox, it should have been the average size. But this girl was no normal fox. She was a fox spirit, a kitsune, like Yoko. And I have seen how big Yoko is in her fox form, and if I’m correct, this isn’t not even her maximum size. It is, however, suddenly easier to imagine her slipping through the window bars like this.
Then, I finally realized. Those adorable tiny paws, this fluffy white fur, those round little eyes. I’ve seen them before.
“Y-You! You’re the two-tailed fox I met in the enchanted forest!” I suddenly remembered. “Yoko’s pet!”
The little fox nodded its head in an adorable manner.
Awww…! Yeah, she’s definitely cute.
I had completely forgotten about her. Thinking about this, it’s true that she was with Yoko when I first met her. But then, Yoko kind of gatecrashed the Whiteheart’s residence and made herself at home, completely abandoning her forest. And I haven’t seen that little fox since. I wonder if it stayed in the forest this whole time.
As I was thinking this, the little fox’s body emitted light as it returned to its human form.
Aaaaaaaand she’s naked again.
“First, why don’t you put some clothes on?” I suggested, averting my eyes.
I grew a little too comfortable with her, I completely forgot she was naked this whole time. Although her dress was revealing, Yoko at least had the decency of transforming with some clothes on, so I’m pretty sure she can do the same.
But the young girl frowned at my proposition.
“Why?” She asked, her head tilting to the side. “I find human clothes quite uncomfortable.”
“Maybe, but aren’t you cold? You no longer have fur right now, so…”
It might be summer, but the Academy is located in an elevated area, so it is significantly cooler than most provinces of the region.
The fox girl hesitated for a while, clearly not willing to dress up. But I can almost see the hairs on her arms standing up.
“I’m going to lend you some clothes,” I told her as I understood she wasn’t going to admit it was a bit chilly.
I headed for the dresser and pulled out a simple dress from one of the drawers. She’s not that much shorter than me so it should fit her without a problem. I handed the clothes to the fox girl. Although reluctant at first, she ended up accepting it.
As she was dressing up, I remembered the reason why she was here, so I picked up the envelope I just placed on the chest of drawers. It was a very simple one. No crest, no signature. Well… No visible signature. There was definitely a subtle trace of Yoko’s mana on the envelope.
I took out the letter, and as the fox girl was struggling to put on the dress I just gave her -like, what the hell? It’s just a dress- I started reading it.
‘ Dear Lynett,
I’m leaving on a journey.
Harri will stay at the mansion.
I’m lending you this child as a gift.
Her name is Two. Use her well.
See you later~ ♥
What the hell, Yoko?! What do you mean you’re leaving on a journey?! What about my mom?!
That goddamn fox! I shouldn’t have trusted her! What is she thinking? She had the past millennia to travel, so why now? What’s with the timing? Not so long ago, she was ready to destroy an entire kingdom because she didn’t want to leave, and now that I’m asking her to stay, she leaves?!
For fuck’s sake! You and your whims, Yoko! Next time I see you, I’ll get back at you for sure!
“I’m done,” a soft voice brought me back to reality.
“…You put it on backwards,” I told the fox girl, as the sudden pressure within me dropped in an instant.
Alright, let’s calm down first.
Mom will be fine, Harri is still with her.
As for Yoko… She wouldn’t let me down. That’s not like her. Yoko may be capricious and unpredictable, she is also trustworthy. She must have her reasons. But that’s exactly what I would like to know. What are her reasons? She didn’t mention anything in the letter. Or did she?
I inspected the letter more carefully, trying to see if I missed anything. Then I saw it. On the back, at the very bottom of the letter, written in small print:
‘ PS: Your aunt is missing. ♥’
Ok, now I’m panicking.
What in the world is going on at home?! What happened?! Why is Aunt Nora missing?! Not like I care if she disappeared or something, but she wouldn’t have suddenly vanished without a reason! What the hell is wrong with this family? People just keep disappearing without a trace! First my dad, now Aunt Nora?
I thought it would be safe to leave mom alone… Should I go home after all? Does Aoban know anything about this? And what about Lukas?
O-Ooooh… My head.
“Now I’m done,” the fox girl once again brought me back to my senses.
She put it on correctly this time.
“Hey,” I called out, “do you know anything about this?”
I showed her the letter in my hand, but the young simply shrugged at its sight.
“Did Yoko not tell you anything?”
She shook her head.
“She said she’d be leaving for a while, so I should deliver this letter to you and stay at your side until she returns.”
So she does intend to return eventually. Good.
I kept re-reading Yoko’s letter, but I couldn’t find any hidden message in it. Then, my eyes stopped at the following sentences: “I’m lending you this child as a gift. Her name is Two. Use her well.”
I looked up at the fox girl, who was seemingly waiting for me to do something, as my eyes squinted.
“Your name is Two?” I asked, doubtful.
The young girl nodded.
“That’s not a name, that’s a number.”
“The boss named me,” she explained.
“Why did she name you ‘Two’?”
As the fox girl turned around to proudly show me her tails, I suddenly understood.
Oh my god, Yoko. You didn’t. Tell me you didn’t name her Two because she has two tails. So, what? When she gains her third tail it changes to Three? Wow… I can’t believe you once said human names were not original when you yourself suck at naming people.
“So, what do you intend to do?” I inquired of the fox girl. “You’re not thinking of staying here, are you?”
Two tilted her head at the side, not understanding my question.
Yeah, she totally is planning to stay here.
“Hey, listen,” I tried to reason with her. “You can’t stay here. There are only mortals here.”
“You’re not a mortal, though,” she retorted.
“Well, maybe not… But at least I have this!” I showed her the ring on my pinky finger. “It means I’m allowed to stay here.”
Two furrowed her brows.
“How do I get one?” she asked, determined not to leave.
“You can’t, it’s for mortals.”
“I’m an exception.”
Her shoulders slumped as she lowered her head, clearly disappointed. Her lower lips protruded in a sulky pout, she cast her sad eyes on me.
No, no, no. Don’t give me that look.
“Why do you absolutely need to stay?” I averted my eyes on the floor, trying not to succumb to her charms. “This is a very boring place, you know?”
“I am to stay at your side,” the fox girl explained, “the boss’ orders.”
“Look, you don’t have to listen to her,” I told her, “I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with Yoko, but she’s not here right now so you’re free to go anywhere you want.”
“This is where I want to be,” she insisted anyway.
What a stubborn girl! Is this a common trait in the fox race? Yoko is also stubborn as hell.
“Are you going to abandon me too?” The young girl suddenly asked.
Abandon? What do you mean abandon? I am not your mother, I do not have that possibility to begin with. Startled by her bold question, I shifted my gaze on her. Looking at me with pleading eyes, her face was the perfect picture of misery.
God dammit, I’m weak.
That’s right, she may not be a mortal, she is ultimately still a child. And no child would want to be left behind. If Yoko was some kind of maternal figure to her, it’s no wonder she’s so desperate to cling on me as her own mother basically threw her onto me. Shame on you, Yoko. Shame.
“Fine, you can stay,” I told her in a resigned sigh.
As I said this, her face lit up, brighter than the sun, and a beaming smile spread across her grim features. Yeah, this is definitely the innocence of a child.
It should be fine. I don’t think her staying here will cause much of a problem. She may not be a mortal, she is no deity either. Her emerald green eyes were the very proof of that. On the other hand, I need to implement rules of precautions. Yoko probably told her about my identity so we can never be too careful. But even before protecting my identity, we need to protect hers.
“You’re going to need a name if you want to stay here,” I started to explain.
The fox girl furrowed.
“I have a name,” she said.
“No, like I said, it’s a number,” I retorted, “it doesn’t feel right as a name.”
She tilted her head, her eyes raising to the ceiling, as she carefully considered my proposition.
“Is there any name you would like to be called?” I inquired.
But the young girl did not reply. Instead, she furrowed even further. However, as no idea seemed to have crossed her mind, she simply shook her head, her expectant eyes locked on me.
Mmmh… How troublesome. If she has no idea, I’ll have to pick one for her. That’s quite a big responsibility. Names are quite important. They follow us for the rest of our lives after all. So I need to choose a name that will fit her, but at the same time, I don’t know what her personality is like. And appearance-wise? What’s her most striking feature? As I thought, it would be those tails, right? Those white, soft and furry tails. Just like… Oh! I got one.
“Cotton,” I spoke up. “How about Cottontail?”
“Cottontail?” the fox girl repeated. “Is this my name?”
It was hard to read her expression. I couldn’t tell if she was disappointed or not.
“If you don’t like it, we can choose another one,” I offered.
However, it didn’t seem necessary as a smile finally broke onto her face.
Dimples formed on her cheeks as her lips curled up into a smooth parabola. It was just a simple smile, yet something about it felt so genuine that for a split second, everything felt like it stopped around me. For some reason, at that very moment, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I felt connected with her.
Is she… using her charms on me?
Suddenly, the fox girl bent the knee. As a sign of reverence, she lowered her head and placed a hand on her heart.
“I, Cottontail, accept the [Name] you have bestowed me,” she started. “In gratitude, I pledge my loyalty to you and recognize you as my master.”
“I swear to uphold your standards and to fulfill to the best of my abilities your highest expectations. Until the last breath leaves my body, I swear to slay your enemy. I shall honor your name and not bring you any shame. And in the night, you shall be my guiding light.”
You have successfully formed a [Contract] with Cottontail.
That… wasn’t supposed to happen.
Now I get it. She wasn’t using her foxy charms. It was just the [World System] bonding me with her.
Cottontail got up, now displaying a proud smile.
“Did we just form a [Contract]?” I asked her with a confused voice.
The young girl proudly nodded.
“Because you have honored me with a [Name],” she explained.
A na-… That’s it? That’s the one condition to form a [Contract]? A [Name]? But then…
“What about Yoko?” I suddenly remembered.
Cottontail raised an eyebrow.
“What about her?”
“Weren’t you also in a [Contract] with her?” I asked. “How did you manage to form two [Contracts] at once?”
If I understand well, in this [Contract], I am the master. Which makes me the contractor, and her the contracted one. And as far as I know, while it is possible for a contractor to enter several [Contracts], it is not possible for a contracted one to have several masters.
“I have never formed a [Contract] with the boss,” Cottontail clarified with squinted eyes.
“Huh?” I drew my head backwards. “But didn’t she also name you-”
She didn’t! I said it myself! ‘Two’ is not a name, it’s a number! Did Yoko know? Is that why she gave her a number instead of a proper name? A warning would be nice, Yoko!
“Mother?” Cottontail called me out. “Is something wrong?”
“No, I…” I marked a pause, staring right at her. “Are you going to keep calling me that?”
The young girl innocently tilted her head to the side.
“Is this not okay?”
“…No it’s not.”
She let her gaze randomly wander in the room, seemingly pondering.
“How about Lynett?” I suggested. “That’s my name.”
“Master it is,” she turned a deaf ear.
Oh, well. I guess it’s fine. It’s not like if arguing will change her mind, anyway. Whether I like it or not, I have gained a servant. Now then, what does this faithful servant status look like?
Huh? Did I see that right? ‘Familiar of the Goddess of All Creations’? Not ‘servant’ but ‘familiar’? Isn’t that degrading? Is it because she’s not a mortal? Her real appearance is that of a fox after all. Yeah, that must be it. It is a bit weird though, as she is in her human form, but at least she’s cute. Yep. I wanted a cute familiar, now I’m saved. I’ll take Cottontail over Pikachu anytime.
That being said, she has some really high stats. Yoko and Harri aside, she has the highest stats of all the people I encountered ever since I reincarnated. I guess this much should have been expected from a fox spirit. They are considered an S-ranked magic beast after all. I’m a bit worried about her growth though, as she’s not an adult yet. She’s probably not even at half of a future capability. But fox spirits mature slowly. They gain a new tail every century, which means Cottontail won’t suddenly grow more powerful for a while. That’s good. She’s already too powerful to be handled by most mortals anyway.
Suddenly pulled out from my thoughts, I heard a loud knocking at the door. I made the status screen disappear as I shifted my attention to the entrance, wondering who was there. Nomi wouldn’t knock, so whoever it was, it wasn’t good.
“Hello?” a voice sounded across the door. “Lynett, are you here? This is Mrs. Kelly. May I see you for a moment?”
The Chief Secretary? Yeah, this is not good.
“Cotton,” I turned to the fox girl, “hide!”
Although Cottontail did not question my order, it was a small room, so her options to conceal herself were limited. But with the now destroyed closet and the compartments under the bed, there was truly nowhere for her to hide. Or at least, not in this form.
“Transform back!” I instructed.
The girl complied. In one instant, her figure shrank as her appearance changed into that of a white little fox. I picked up the small animal in my arms and rushed to the dresser. There, I emptied one of the drawers before laying down Cotton in it. However, before I had a chance to close the drawer, Mrs. Kelly entered the room.
“I’m coming in!” she announced far too late.
Our eyes met, and I froze on the spot.
The Chief Secretary gave me an amused smile, as she quickly understood the situation.
“Are you trying to hide that?” she asked, her eyes falling upon Cotton. “Is that a magical beast?”
“Erm… That’s my familiar,” I tried to justify myself.
“I see. So you’ve already contracted your first familiar, huh?”
Mrs. Kelly approached to observe the little fox closer. She extended her hand forwards, but Cotton refused it, looking away. The Chief Secretary didn’t take it to heart, though, as she immediately turned her focus back onto me.
“This is a cute familiar,” she praised. “You don’t have to hide her, you know? You’re free to summon your familiar in your free time, as long as you keep it under control.”
Does she not see Cotton’s tails? Or does she not care?
“You wanted to see me?” I changed the topic.
“Oh, right!” Mrs. Kelly exclaimed as she remembered her reason for coming. “Are you free right now?”
“I need you to come with me,” she prompted. “You have a visitor.”