Shannon endured the sleepy feeling, and raised the upper half of her body.
In the past, even if she was to sleep in, her tender sister would kindly wake her. She would prepare breakfast, and make in a way easy for Shannon to eat.
Then her sister would head off to the academy, and she would spend the rest of the day in leisure.
Lunch was always prepared already, so if she ever got hungry, she had only to reach for it.
When night came, her older sister would take care of her once more.
There had been servants around a couple of times, but Shannon’s eyes… when she tried testing her demon eyes, they ended up running away.
No, she drove them away.
And now, that girl’s new life was…
“Urgh… I have to get up already.”
She didn’t want to leave the bed, but the reason she raised herself so early in the morning was because she had a terrifying mentor.
Shannon changed her clothes, and headed for the kitchen.
While her sense of vision had gone out, her other senses had sharpened.
At the same time, her lack of eyesight served as the catalyst to awaken a Skill.
With her specialized Skill, Shannon could observe the fluctuations of others’ Mana to discern their emotions and the like.
Her demon eyes showed her the flow of Mana invisible to other people.
By touching that flow, she had created techniques to manipulate others… but…
“You’re late, Shannon-chan.”
When she arrived at the kitchen, there was already a woman hard at work preparing food.
It was Novem.
The sensation of waking up was quite a horrid one. Even so, when she forced herself to move, she was still scolded for her lack of punctuality.
It was as if the environment she had lived in had been a lie. Her current life started in the kitchen.
“Please wash your face. When you’ve finished that, set out the place. Then… no, before that, please observe how Lyle-sama and Poyopoyo-san are faring.”
Not too long ago, it was a normal sight to find Poyopoyo moving around the kitchen alongside Novem. But right now, she and Lyle were holing themselves in the mansion’s storehouse.
From morning to night, they repeated a process of shaving and melting metal.
Occasionally, intense quarrels could also be heard.
Using the ability of her eyes, Shannon confirmed Lyle and Poyopoyo’s state. The fact that she could confirm it without moving from her spot was likely due to the high level of her sight.
She selected only whatever information she was interested, and she could see it whenever she wanted.
There, Novem spoke.
Novem’s Mana, which would never give the slightest hint of swaying in the slightest was, upon closer inspection, extremely dense. It wasn’t something that would be noticed if looked at normally, but it was clearly abnormal.
Shannon had never seen a human being like that up to now.
“Then please go wake the two of them. Make sure you tell them to wash their hands and faces as well.”
Novem continued her cooking.
To Shannon, there wer three humans she was sure she wouldn’t be able to defeat.
The first was her sister Miranda.
The next Novem.
And the last one was the one she met at a party, Celes.
If one of those unopposable three were to giver her an order, the current Shannon had no choice but to follow.
“… I got it.”
Leaving the kitchen, she headed for the door out, and left the building.
She couldn’t exactly tell whether the morning sun was bright or not, but she could understand that the weather was nice.
Even if what entered her senses was different, rather than visual information, Shannon’s eyes were able to pick up a much greater variety of stimuli.
Heading towards the storehouse, she found junk littered all over the place.
Lyle had lined up some wooden boxes, and he was lying on top of them.
While he had a blanket draped over him, he was quite exposed.
Poyopoyo was in what she called sleep mode, and her eyes were closed as she stood. Both of them were covered in something like black soot.
Shannon looked at the large box that had been left in the center of the room.
There were some wheels lying close to it. She thought they might have been trying to build something like a carriage, but from what she could see, it was likely something else.
“Just what is this junk… they’ve spent several days making something like this?”
While Lyle was supposed to be an adventurer, recently, he had been commuting to the library and academy, only to work with Poyopoyo whenever he got back.
The library to meet Clara.
The academy to drop by Damien’s laboratory.
The one Shannon had some memories of playing with in her youth, Aria, would go off somewhere in the morning to receive instruction.
After graduating, her sister Miranda went off to a private school to acquire adventuring knowledge pertaining to traps.
While it didn’t seem necessary, Novem continued training her magic.
The three of them were moving to polish themselves.
And within that, only Lyle…
“S-stop it… no more Best Lyle…”
(… What’s Best Lyle supposed to be? Is this man a narcissist?)
He seemed to be having a nightmare.
From a gap around his chest, a blue Jewel was visible.
(I can see six lights from it. Within Lyle, I can see yet another light.)
She couldn’t think of it as something similar to Aria’s gem. Lyle’s blue gem was…
Within it, she could see six distinct lights.
Another similar one was shining in Lyle’s body, and it looked accustomed to being there.
“… S-stop… I won’t do it again, so…”
Shannon pinched the writhing Lyle’s nose shut.
“It wasn’t my fault!”
Lyle shouted that out as he leapt himself awake. He took a few deep breaths.
When he observed his surroundings, he suddenly looked extremely relieved for some reason.
And the lights within the blue gem began moving about.
Lyle held his hand to his forhead, and looked at Shannon.
“… Why can’t you wake me up normally?”
“Eh? I did try using my voice to wake you at first.”
As Shannon lied with a straight face, Poyopoyo, who had waken up at some point, started speaking.
“That’s a lie. You called the fruit of my and the chicken dickhead’s love a piece of junk. On top of that, you didn’t do anything like calling out to him.”
Poyopoyo said that with a tidy expression, but the area around her nose was quite blackened.
“… You guys should go wash your faces and hands. Novem’s waiting.”
“Is it about breakfast? What did she make today?”
As he stood and started to leave the storehose, Lyle appeared to be curious about the breakfast menu.
In contrast, Poyopoyo…
“That damn vixen! For her to taint my holy sanctuary!! Chicken dickwad, I’ll take care of breakfa…”
“No, just eat Novem’s cooking. And wait, for an automaton to sleep in late… why don’t you learn from those other three?”
The three referred to the ones acting as maids at Damien’s place.
Shannon also thought that, but Poyopoyo gave an excessive response.
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t compare a special model like me to some mass produced trash! Are you listening here? If you don’t properly listen, I’ll cry, you know! I’ll cry enough it’ll annoy the hell out of you, you know!”
“… You’re already plenty annoying.”
As Lyle said that with a smile, Poyopoyo declared, ‘I hate that smile of yours,’ or something along those lines as she followed him in high spirits.
(I wonder what those ancients were thinking when they built an automaton like that.)
Connected to Lyle by a thin thread, his magic was flowing into the maid’s body. That flow was definitely something different than that of a human’s.
No, it was similar, but there were clear differences.
As the two headed towards the mansion, they continued verbally abusing one another, and it looked like they got along quite well.
Shannon closed the doors to the storage room, and as she had barely ever moved her body up to now, it felt quite heavy.
When she tried to enter the mansion, Aria burst out of the door
“Crap, she’ll be angry! If I’m late, then Lyra-san’s fist is…!!”
Holding a sandwich with ham and vegetables in her mouth, Aria put her hair in order with a comb, and confirmed her apparel and equipment as she ran.
Recently, she was getting numerous cuts and bruises, and whenever she got into the bath, she would let out a voice of ecstasy of, ‘Ahn~ it’s soaking into my body~’ as if it were a hot spring.
Compared to when she first came to the mansion, it felt like she was getting manlier and manlier.
But in front of Lyle, she put up a front.
If the girl herself was asked if she was aware of that, her face would likely turn red in confusion.
In the past, the fact that she was born into a militaristic family served as the reason for why she swung around her spear with a tomboyish impression.
But now, the feeling she gave off was closer to a female soldier.
After staying a while in this town, that trend only grew stronger. Under specialized instruction, she was definitely polishing herself, but Shannon worried that she was losing something important as a woman.
(Should I perhaps tell her that Lyle saw her when she was sleeping on the living room sofa in her undergarments? And wait, where is she even headed?)
In comparison to Aria, who looked to be stepping off her original parh, Miranda had finished her preparations, and headed out the door.
“Oh, Shannon. You were still out here? I thought you had run away from helping Novem, but you were in a place like this?”
Shannon looked at her grinning sister.
She wasn’t wearing her academy uniform. A skirt, and a long coat gave her a rough appearance.
She was also wearing a bag, but inside it was tools pertaining to traps.
Not too long ago, she was like a kind mother, but now, her blacker parts were coming out, putting Shannon through hell.
It’s just that more importantly…
“… I-I forgot!”
Novem had told her to go wake up Lyle, but she had unintentionally spent time loafing around the yard.
As she immediately burst into the mansion, Miranda spoke.
“Do your best today as well! I’ll be back in the afternoon.”
Even being told that, to Shannon, Novem waiting in the kitchen for her was the higher priority.
When she finally got back, she found Novem ignoring Poyopoyo, as she watched over Lyle eating the meal she had finished preparing.
“You vixen! That role is mine, and mine alone!”
“Is it tasty, Lyle-sama?”
While she was creating a heartwarming scene, when she noticed Shannon, she directed a smile in her direction.
Her emotions weren’t disturbed in the slightest. More so, she was even more serene than when she was talking to Lyle. Her gentleness was brought to too much of an extreme that it turned terrifying.
She was never disturbed. Normally, humans… even the automaton Poyopoyo could be flustered. But Novem never showed a sign of that.
When she first noticed that, Shannon had found it ridiculously ominous.
Her instincts had screamed out to her in peril.
“Go wash your face and hands first. Once you’ve finished breakfast, we’ll start cleaning up.”
She wasn’t angry.
But Shannon could only find that fact to be scary.
At that time.
“Ah, I’ll be dropping by Damien, and heading to the library after that, so I don’t need lunch. I’ll just eat outside. Poyopoyo is…”
“It goes without saying that I will accompany you. I have to keep watch so that the bespeckled woman doesn’t lay her hands on your chastity.”
After staring at Poyopoyo, Lyle turned his face to Novem.
“Damien didn’t tell me to bring her or anything, so I’ll be leaving her. Make sure you work her to the bone.”
“Maassstteerr! But I cannot disobey orders!”
An energetic Poyopoyo’s mana fluctuated in a way that Shannon was unsure to read as happy or sad.
Lyle was normal. He had a doubtful fluctuation.
And Novem also swayed just a little.
“Understood. Do you have any requests for dinner?”
While Lyle started thinking over his evening meal, the lights in the blue gem started to move. It was as if they were calling out to the boy.
She got the feeling Lyle was listening to them as well.
(I wonder what that gem really is.)
Aria’s red gem never displayed a phenomenon like this. She could see four lights in it, but they quietly remained, as if they simply existed there.
They never asserted themselves.
Lyle’s blue one was as if it gave off a lively feeling…
The lunch prepared by Poyopoyo to her last breath was eaten by Novem and Shannon.
Shannon was worn out today.
Cleaning, laundry, shopping…
If it was going to turn out like this, then even if she hated it, she should have left the servants, or so Shannon started to regret at this point in time.
“Shannon-chan, your way of eating is unrefined.”
“Isn’t it fine? I mean, I can’t see or anything.”
Novem fixed her eyes on her.
“Hiii! I’ll do it properly! That’s all I need to do, right!?”
“That’s right. I’m sure you can do it if you try, so make sure you eat properly.”
Now, there was no way she could oppose.
In the past, she was able to touch the flow of others’ mana, and throw it out of order, but having touched Novem, and learned fear, she was too scared to be able to do it.
Her mental motivation… she didn’t want to touch it.
“Yes, please eat it properly. I couldn’t make it for the chicken dickhead’s sake, but as it was an order, I put my heart into making it, damn bitch.”
The food Poyopoyo made was delicious.
It was unthinkable that it was something produced by a machine.
For a normal human… a standard woman, it would be dubious if they could make anything on this level.
But her tone was quite terrible.
Shannon tried asking.
“You heart definitely isn’t in this, is it? Is Lyle really that precious to you?”
“D-don’t be stupid. T-there’s no way I like a guy like him. It’s just that his figure as he tries hard is dazzling, and his defenseless sleeping face is cute, and… anyways, it isn’t anything like that!”
It felt as if she had suddenly started reading lines from a play, and seeing the automaton suddenly act them out, Shannon began to question whether she was broken.
Novem was normal. She didn’t say anything.
As Poyopoyo finished up her lines, she gave a refreshed face.
“Fufu, recently, I’ve been able to apply quite a bit of my collection of lines I’ve always wanted to say. At this rate, the last scene is definitely going to be my route’s happy ending. I’ll say whatever I must.”
(This girl is a pain… as I thought, the ancients had a screw loose somewhere.)
She abandoned the automaton that had become immersed in self-satisfaction, and returned to her meal…
When everything was over, and all that was left was for her to sleep, Shannon entered the bed, and opened her mouth.
“Hah, I’m tired…”
She had relied on the servants and Miranda too much, so the lifestyle she couldn’t get used to was quite hard on her.
On the first two days, she was plagued with harsh muscle pains.
Up to now, she had played the part of the fleeting young maiden without anything before her eyes, but she had been left groaning on top of her bed through sore muscles.
The smile Miranda raised upon seeing that was quite irritating.
However, in order to have her sister forgive her for all she’d done up to now, she couldn’t go against her.
Day by day, she would acquire more knowledge on traps, and she showed rapid improvement that would make one think she was gifted with genius in the field.
If she went against a sister like that, just what sort of hell would she go through… she was too afraid to try doing anything.
“And wait, just what’s so great about that kid?”
It was the same question she thought every day.
What’s so good about Lyle?
Miranda wasn’t one to choose just based on the merits of his face.
Shannon also understood he excelled as an adventurer. Of all things, even if he was the lowest himself, he had eight Skills on him.
And Aria also put on her womanly front before him. Though that one was obvious.
Poyopoyo didn’t even try to hide it.
And then there was Novem.
That Novem only ever showed a sway in her Mana when Lyle was concerned.
“… Just what part of him is so good?”
As of late, that’s the only thing she could think.
At this rate, her sister would continue to close her eyes to him, and it seems that she was going to reach an irreversible level of strength in the wrong direction because of that.
She wanted to stop that somehow, but she couldn’t’ think of the means.
“Just you watch. I’ll definitely get back at you, Lyle!”
Saying that, Shannon thought about Lyle all the way until she fell asleep…