… Around morning.
Having finished washing the laundry for the mansion, Novem went out into the yard.
In her basket, clothing had been piled like a mountain.
While it’s true they had been away, the amount of clothing that needed to be washed from the labyrinth was formidable.
“The weather sure is nice today… I wonder if Lyle-sama is alright.”
From what she could recall from the morning, it was likely that he wasn’t.
Novem knew that, but since the individual himself was insistent on wanting to go, that was the end of the matter.
The right to decide lay solely with Lyle, or so Novem thought.
Looking across the yard, weeds had grown out, and the lawn had grown up in the time they were away.
Surveying her surroundings, Novem snapped her right hand’s fingers.
After that, she went into hanging up the clothes to dry, and pulling out the weeds. Getting the grass into order, and gathering the lawn refuse into a single place.
It was a matter of seconds.
“I don’t really like using that one.”
While she didn’t like the restrictions of that magic, there was much too little time for her to take care of the entire mansion alone.
Today, she was going to go on to clean its insides, and she also planned to prepare lunch.
“Miranda-san and Shannon-chan are coming back, and we’ve been under their care, so splurging a bit is… but I wonder just how much of a reward Lyle-sama accepted.”
Her eyes met those of a cat wandering atop the yard’s wall.
As Novem tried approaching it with a smile, the cat hissed with its hair on end, before hurriedly running off.
Seeing her own extended hand, Novem thought to herself for a while.
“As I thought, it’s no good.”
Cheering herself up, she picked up the basket to head in to clean the kitchen.
There, a voice called out to her.
It was Shannon.
“Hmm, so you’re alone today.”
Seeing Shannon smiling, and giving off a different atmosphere than usual, Novem didn’t show any signs of surprise.
“What happened? I don’t see Miranda-san with you.”
“She left me, and headed over to the academy. It seems there was some sort of problem. I wonder just what sort of trouble your comrades caused.”
As Shannon giggled to herself, her eyes were definitely focused on Novem.
Novem noticed she was being watched. But for the sake of the girl who liked pretending to be blind, she helped guide her to her room.
“It’s dangerous, so let me take you to your room. Even so, a problem at the academy?”
She thought that perhaps something had happened to Lyle.
But she could imagine the sorts of things Damien would perpetrate.
Believing that Lyle would be able to persevere through them, Novem extended her hand to Shannon.
Shannon returned a vulgar smile in return.
“… I think it would be best if you stopped making such a face, Shannon-chan.”
Upon being warned, Shannon started talking.
“I’m not exactly sure what happened, but onee-sama’s resistance has become incredible. Even when I try pulling at her heart, there’s nothing for me to grasp at… that’s why I think I’ll try taking you. I mean, you’re already something like Lyle’s doll.”
Hearing that Novem thought to herself for a moment.
That probably wasn’t a mistake.
She acted for Lyle’s wellbeing, and existed for his sake.
But Novem also knew those weren’t nice words to be directing at a human.
So she cautioned her.
“You shouldn’t be saying such things to people. Now let’s get you to your room.”
Shannon grasped Novem’s right hand.
A clear indication she could see it.
“… Shouldn’t you be more skillful than that? At the very least, you’ve been able to put on that unseeing act all the way to now.”
Up to now, Shannon made sure to play the blind girl.
She had never acted in such a blatantly obvious manner.
(Could she be panicking?)
After hearing of how Miranda was resisting, she began to feel something like impatience from Shannon.
The doll she had finally gotten her hands on was stolen, so actions she would never usually do were coming out.
Shannon’s something touched Novem.
“I’m not revealing anything! With this, you’re my doll! Since you look much weaker than onee-sama… weaker than…”
Shannon was acting strange.
Novem spoke in a kind tone.
“Please unhand me, Shannon-chan. Now let’s be off to your room.”
Shannon opened her eyes wide, and looked at Novem.
She hurriedly dropped the hand, and toppled onto her back.
However, she didn’t seem to be in pain.
Without removing her eyes from Novem, her limbs were shaking.
“Are you alright?”
When Novem took a step towards her, Shannon found a scream forming in her throat, as she retreated in kind.
“Your clothes have been dirtied. I’ll wash them, so let’s get you a change.”
They were natural actions from Novem, but the current Shannon saw them as something much more.
“What… just what are you… you’re not human. There’s no way you can be human…”
The words of the wide-eyed Shannon caused Novem to freeze up for a moment.
She tried putting her hand to her face, which had now become expressionless.
(… Not human. So I’ve been told that once more.)
It was a bother. As she thought that, Novem put on a kind face once more.
She was troubled over just how to call out to the shaking Shannon…
“Shanon-chan’s eyes… there’re really pretty, you know. I was sure they were amber, but now they look golden to me. Just what sort of world do you see with them? I’m quite curious.”
The fact that she saw the world differently, that she had the ability, all of it was known to Novem.
She had known, but had acted oblivious.
It’s just that Shannon had quit acting blind, so her interest had been piqued. She tried turning the conversation’s topic towards that, but…
What did Shannon think upon hearing that?
She hadn’t actually thought it that far through.
“Hiiii! Stay away… don’t come any closer!!”
Shannon screamed, before passing out in front of Novem.
Novem looked upon the scene.
Letting out a small sigh, she patted Shannon’s head.
And like that, she lifted up the girl’s body.
Into a princess cradle.
But there, she felt a presence closing in on the mansion at an incredible speed.
Novem looked over the fence, and spotted Lyle sprinting towards her…
“Are you alright, Novem!!”
I had coincidentally used a Skill.
Seeing the map spread out in a larger scope than I expected, I sensed a red presence by Novem’s side.
I hurriedly ran out of the academy, and used the Fourth’s Skill to get here as fast as I could.
With that momentum, I jumped over the Circry House’s mansion’s wall, but there was a mountain of pulled weeds where I landed, so fell forward.
As I was heading towards the ground, I made sure my body slid to reach Novem’s side.
I think there’s something wrong with the sliding part of it, but I think I showed up with quite an amazing pose, if I do say so myself.
“… A-are you okay, Lyle-sama?”
I stood and brushed away the dirt before speaking.
“I’m fine. I’m even applauding at myself for thinking of a new innovative landing pose on the fly. More importantly, are you okay, Novem?”
Seeing Shannon in her arms, I figured there was likely no problem.
I did look over her just in case.
“Yes. I was just a little startled… so why do you have that bug with you?”
Novem looked at the bug in my right hand with an expression of wonder.
I had spotted it while I was running here, and captured it.
I couldn’t really go around whacking the girl, so I thought I would punish her with her detested bugs.
“It’s Shannon’s punishment time!”
Saying that, I presented the bug before Novem, but…
“Ow! This one bites!”
The bug bit my finger, so I threw it aside.
With that, it flew off, and seeing that, Novem started laughing.
“I mean Lyle-sama… it’s as if you’re a little boy trying to tease the girl you like.”
I flipped my hair.
“Men are those that constantly live with the hearts of their youth. How about it, have you fallen for me again?”
As I said that, I heard the sound of a table being smacked from within the Jewel.
Everyone was acting together, and I heard laughing voices along with whacking sounds…
(Hmph, to the current me, it doesn’t matter how much the ancestors act up. This Mana overflowing through my body… truly wonderful.)
While I considered how dreadful my own talent was, Novem looked at me, and nodded.
“Yes, I’ve fallen for you many times over, Lyle-sama. Now, let’s carry Shannon-chan to her room. Ah, what happened to the materials and the reward?”
Having been asked, I prepared a response.
“No, you see the maid said that was a nice piece or something, so she ended up keeping it. I mean, they were only offering a slightly higher price than at the guild.”
I think selling it would have been fine, but she went on about it being a perfect thickness or something, we reached some mutual understanding, and talks proceeded in the direction of not selling it.
Damien took a liking to the awakened maid, so if we stopped by at fixed intervals, it became that we wouldn’t have to pay a maintenance fee for her.
He’s thought of plenty of ways to use a maid, it seems.
“A maid, is it? Was it not an automaton? Also, about the magic…”
“Fret not! I was able to learn the magic known as 【Golem】. But I really should be mad at that one. It’s something anyone can use, but the type that requires immense talent to master.”
“Ah, I see.”
Novem seemed satisfied with that.
It’s about the golem magic I was taught, but in essence it was ridiculously simple.
It was simple… but to put it bluntly, applying it was hard.
Even if you’re moving them, it’s not as if you’re seeing things from the dolls’ points of view.
You have to see them with your own eyes, and decide exactly how they’ll move. On top of that, if your own eyes get blocked up, it’s impossible to decide how they should move.
To use them like Damien, it really takes talent.
If I’m going to use multiple at once, two is my limit.
“So you did accept a reward. I heard that Miranda-san hurriedly headed off to the academy, but did something happen?”
“Oh, so you knew… the truth is, the automaton I took as a reward became quite an attraction. Something about it being a crystallization of the technology long lost, or something, and the academy students came to see it. It was amazing, you know. It was as if it were a real human!”
As I happily explained, the Fourth asserted himself.
『Oy, kid. Explanations are fine and all, but how long do you plan on having Novem-chan hold up Shannon-chan like that? Carry her to her room quickly, ya’ fool.』
The Third too.
『Really. Oh, I’d also like to request a line from you while you’re carrying her.』
If it was a single line, then I thought that would be fine.
“Oh, sorry ‘bout that. I’ll carry her.”
“Then I’ll leave it to you.”
As I said that, I took the girl in my arms, and looked into her face.
I’m not sure what happened, but I could see the whites of her eyes, and drool was dripping out from her open mouth.
It’s a waste of her good looks.
“Hmm… today I’ve got some fate with sleeping beauties.”
But the fact that I won’t waste it is one of my good points.
“Sleeping beauty, is it?”
“Yeah, the story where a kiss wakes the princess. That’s how I awakened the automaton.”
“… Kiss, is it? I see…”
As I said that, the Sixth…
『Today’s Lyle sure has a perfect cutting edge to him!!』
The Seventh too.
『This is a once in a lifetime chance Lyle! Someone like you is… fine, keep at it.』
The Second seemed to be in pain.
『Stop it already…! Any more of this, and my abs won’t hold up..!!』
They were quite lively.
Thinking that, I entered the mansion.
Novem walked behind me…
“Lyle-sama, what do you think of Shannon-chan?”
Hearing that, I…
“Hmm? I think she’s cute. Simply cute enough to eat up. But it’s unfortunate… for a girl this small, my kiss can’t be the one to wake her.”
Novem thought for a while.
“… Her body seems sturdy, and she doesn’t get sick, apparently. Her eyes are… well, let’s just give them a passing grade. She has the blood of the Walt House in her, but it’s a distant relation, so that’s not a problem. Okay, understood. I’ll do something about it.”
“Yep, I’ll leave it to you. Oh, whoops, I left Aria behind. I’ll have to go get her later.”
I saw her giggle to herself.
Unlike usual, the impression she gave off was quite soft.
It made me feel good as well.
(For me to be able to get Novem to direct such a smile at me… Aren’t I too amazing!?)