Feel free to point errors or give suggestions.
Hmm… I tilted my head wearing a puzzled expression as I stood.
In front of me is a barrel with several heads sticking out.
This is surreal… I thought as I examined the features of the heads.
The heads have several defining features. It has fur, ears on top rather than the side, and whiskers. In a simpler way, it’s a head of a cat, but three times larger.
But to think that the barrel house would turn out to look like this, I thought. It’s far from what I have expected.
The barrel, called a barrel house, is a design proposal I made in order to house these cats.
When I was still staying at Academia, I received a report that a new race started appearing at Aves. Since I was continuing Grandfather’s ambition, I frequently receive reports regarding the Races.
In one of those reports, it was stated that they were very peaceful and simple-minded. But the citizens are troubled that they often obstruct pathways and a few important places. In order to resolve the issue, I sent a suggestion to observe their behavior rather than forcefully remove them from Aves.
From the result of the investigation, they are a race called Lynx.
According to the reports, they followed the river until they reached Aves attracted by the smell of the fish from the harbor.
Because of their desire for the fish, they forcefully entered the harbor from Formos and caused an uproar. Luckily, the uproar was short lived and was settled by making them work in exchange for fish.
From that time on, they worked with the citizens of Aves for food, but mostly for fish. But the problem started after they increased in numbers.
Based on the observations, the Lynx race usually sleeps near the barrels, where there is a lingering smell of food.
And because of that information, I came up with the idea of using barrels as their houses. My suggestion was to divide the barrel into three layers and bore holes on it, or just leave openings so that they could enter. In the end, this was the result.
“It’s far from what I imagined though,” I muttered unsure of how to take it.
“New round here little Missy?” Said the nearby stall owner.
I denied by shaking my head sideways.
“Hey Mister, why is a barrel house here?” I asked pointing at the barrel. “I heard they were supposed to be near the harbor.”
“Guess you’ve just returned huh,” He answered. “We put these things here ourselves.”
“Is that so?” I replied. “Hey mister, how much for one Chub?” I said as I pointed to the fish displayed in his stall.
“Oh, that’s 4 coppers each,“ He answered.
I reached for a large copper coin from my pocket and handed it to the stall owner.
“Give me two, you can have the spare,” I said smiling.
“Ahahaha, little Missy knows her way round huh,” He said with a wide grin. “Then I’ll give little Missy the good ones.”
I waited for the stall owner to return as he fetched the chubs.
“Here,” He handed.
I reached for the bag of two chubs. “Thanks.”
“Now for this barrel, it’s better to show little Missy instead,” He said as he approached the barrel house. As he reached the barrel house he started knocking on it several times.
“Hey, hey, it’s time to work! Wake up! No work, no fish!” He commanded.
“Meooow!” [It’s time for fish!]
One by one, the Lynxes popped out of the barrel until twelve of them were standing.
How did all of them fit in that?! I thought surprised of their numbers and their ability to fit in such a tight space.
This is definitely mysterious. At most, I thought, nine would fit for each barrel house, I pondered as the Lynxes stood with their two legs.
“Oh, a recruit eh?” The stall owner said.
“Nyaa! nyaa nyaa!” [I came for fish! Please let me work for fish!]
The new Lynx said as it gave a salute.
Again, this is somewhat surreal. Knowing what they are speaking off, but hearing it differently feels kind of awkward. I’ll get used to it soon, I guess…
“Very well then! Now, onwards! Carry the barrels!” The owner shouted.
Then they all ran to the carriage and unloaded the cargo from a nearby carriage and brought them to the stall.
“That good enough for little Missy?” He smirked.
“How much do you pay them?” I asked.
“One chub each per day.” He answered.
“Isn’t that a bit too low?” I asked concerned.
Even serfs back then had a better wage than this…
“Ya’see little Missy, they’re the ones who proposed one work, one fish,” The Owner said as he scratched his head. “It’ll be trouble if I add more, Lynxes would come runnin here.”
Hmm, so the Lynxes are equivalent to cheap labor, As a comparison, I thought. This would be a problem; the kids might have no job to work on if this continues.
“I get it now, thanks Mister,” I said as I waved goodbye.
“Come again, little Missy!” He returned a wave.
Each race can understand each other despite the difference in the language being spoken. It’s a natural occurrence when conversing with another race or an intelligent beast. From what we understood, it is an automatically triggered telepathy that functions like a voice in order to deliver the thoughts of the speaker. Unfortunately, No one knows the truth regarding its existence, but it was accepted as a natural gift.
Hmm… Maybe I should look for a Lynx later and bribe it with chubs to do work for me. It might be able to think of what to do with them if I try experimenting. I wondered as I walked down the streets of Aves.
Early this morning, I took a ride with the carriage for food materials heading towards the market. After the carriage stopped, I walked towards the harbor. That is till I saw the barrel house from a nearby stall.
Regarding my appearance, I used a hairpin that turns the color of my hair and eyes to brown. It’s an illusion type magic tool I made during my stay in Academia, with Its effect lasting for about six hours.
Regarding security, it’s pretty much safe. I mean, my father frequently strolls around Aves while he leaves his work to Argent. Because of that, the royal guards are already experts in these types of cases. They’re probably patrolling around here somewhere like ordinary Knights. But just in case, I brought my old sword.
If you are thinking of the phrase ‘like father, like daughter’ please stop. Unlike my father, I’m not taking a stroll to play around. Well, a part of it is to play, but it’s definitely different from my father. No, it’s definitely different; my stroll would definitely have results.
I walked around the city and visited places that I used to know. Some places were the same, but some places changed. New houses were built, new shops, stalls and a lot more. I also visited the park and watched the children play.
After I had an early lunch at a random shop I found, I went straight to the guild. It’s the best time to visit to avoid unnecessary encounters with adventurers.
The guild here is two stories tall. The first floor is for the reception and the second is for special purposes, such as meetings.
The place is deserted as I entered. I didn’t spend any time dallying and quickly checked the board for requests.
Just as I thought…
Currently, most requests are hunting for horn rabbits, goblins, wolves, and boars. There’s a wyvern subjugation request, but it would take time to tread the forest so it’s not that popular. The escort requests are mostly towards the northeast end of Laurel. That portion hasn’t been well-developed yet, but merchants wouldn’t let this chance pass. For gathering, it’s mostly herbs and mushrooms of different varieties.
Ah, there’s also a request for Formosa skins by tailors.
The dress I wore yesterday is made with Formosa skin. They are creatures living in a small lake northwest of Aves. These creatures are like soft translucent bowls with numerous strings attached. These creatures sometimes overflow from the lake during high tide and end up being washed up into the sea. This happens regularly and is actually the reason the sea was called Formos.
When out of the water, they lose their translucent skin. Aside from that, they can regain their translucent nature when mana is poured into them. Because of that, it’s usually made into negligees.
Just remembering that I was forced to wear such clothing send shivers down my spine. I really thought my body would be an offering to some sort of evil god yesterday. I recalled. Just think about it. That magic tool is large enough to make the whole dress translucent, even as a joke it’s bad for my heart. Really, it’s bad for my maidenly heart. Sigh…
Again I wandered around randomly while thinking where else I could go.
Hmm… What should I do? The meeting and immersion with the Tribe will be held next week. I still have a day before Argent’s request, and two days before the official ceremony. The work I gave Ark to look for a mentor in using a rapier is in progress. I recounted as I recheck my schedule from my memory.
While thinking of various things that I could do, I saw a Lynx holding an object while moping. The Lynx bore a white fur with brown patches here and there.
“Sniff. Sniff. Mrow…” [My fish…] He cried.
I approached the Lynx out of boredom.
“Hello,” I greeted from behind.
The Lynx jumped as I spoke.
“Mrow!?” [What!?] He screamed.
He turned around hastily and confirmed the surroundings.
“Mrow… Mrow?” [That scared me… Who you?]
“My name’s Mia, anyway what are you doing here?” I answered.
“Mrowww. Mrow!” [Is that so? Name’s Marco!] He continued. “Mrow mrow mroww.” [Person gave work, but no fish.]
“Mrow mrow mrow.” [Get this from little person.]
Marco showed the toy he was holding.
Ah, so someone used Marco to steal a toy. This is not good; I didn’t think the Lynxes can be used like this.
“Marco, can you find the owner of that toy?” I asked rather than reprimanding him.
“Mrow! Mrow mrow mrow!” [Yes! Little person’s smell!] He replied energetically.
So Lynxes have good noses…
“Let’s return the toy and then I’ll give you one of these afterward,” I said as I showed Marco one of the chubs I bought earlier.
“Mrow?! Mrow!” [Really?! Let’s go!] In pure excitement, he jumped on the nearby barrels and crates and went up the roof.
“Wait! Let’s take the streets instead!” I called.
Then I walked along with Marco while he sniffed around to locate the kid. While I was following Marco, I asked him this “why not just catch fish from the river.” And he answered like this.
[Sea fish better! But can’t catch sea fish so Marco work!]
And the same reason seems to apply to all the other Lynxes in Aves.
Really, they’re too simple-minded.
“Mrow!” [There!] He pointed.
There were two children at the park Marco pointed at. Currently, the girl is being comforted by the boy. From the looks of it, the toy came from the girl.
As we approached the features of the boy and girl became more distinguished. The boy had a spiky silver colored hair while the girl has brown hair tied into a side tail.
That’s rare. I thought. Very few have silver hair among Humans.
In Laurel, it is usually thought that bearers of silver colored hair are Royalty. The silver color is tied to Laurel’s Royalty since out of seven Kings; six of them sported silver hair.
Soon, Marco and I reached the children.
“Hello, we came to return this toy here,” I greeted as I presented the toy.
“Ah!” The Girl exclaimed. “That’s my toy!” Then she grabbed the toy from my hand, then immediately brought it to her chest. “Thank goodness…” The Girl muttered in relief.
“Who are you?” The Boy asked while glaring at me.
Aren’t you a little late asking that?
“My name’s Mia, I came here to return that toy,” I answered.
“Really?” He asked.
“Haven’t I returned it just now?” I added.
What? Is he a muscle head?
While conversing with the boy, I felt someone tugging at my clothes. It was none other than Marco.
“Oh yeah, here,” I handed over one chub as promised.
“Mreow!” [Fish!] Marco said as he hoisted up the fish with both arms.
“Anyway, are you both siblings?” I asked the two children as Marco started prancing around as if performing some sort of victory dance.
“What’s that?” The Boy asked.
“Un. We’re twins.” The Girl answered.
“Mrow!” [It’s fish!]
I think Marco and this boy would make a good pair. And twins eh? They don’t look the part.
“Then could I ask your name?”
“Ah, Sorry!” The Girl said. “My name is Fae, and this is my brother Rick.”
“My name is Rick.”
“Got it,” I smiled.
“Mia sis! Thank you for returning it! It was my only toy given to me by mama so it’s special to me,” Fae said as she grasps the toy in her hands. “I don’t know what to do without it...”
“Thank you, big sis,” Rick said followed by a bow.
It seems that Fae didn’t notice that Marco stole her toy.
“You should keep it somewhere safe next time.” I smiled at Fae and gave her a pat on the head.
I think I’ll get along with Fae pretty well.
“Hmm, want to go pla-”
I stopped midway as I sighted a familiar figure.
Isn’t that father?
“Ah, sorry I have to go. Marco, here’s another chub, look for me tomorrow and I’ll give you another fish.”
“M-Mrowww?!” [A-are you a Goddess?!] Marco said with sparkling eyes with pure admiration.
I left hurriedly and started chanting in a whisper while moving.
O’ ruler of light and darkness I beseech you,
I followed closely to what I believe to be my father, making sure not to be noticed.
Let dark overshadow light, in the shadows I hide,
Let light triumph over dark, Deceived their eyes become,
Manifest, cloak of concealment.
As I finished my chanting, my figure vanished and moved closer to a distance three meters away from him. Now that I got close, his features are exactly the same. The only difference is that he had a different colored hair and eyes.
He’s probably using the illusion magic tool I sent back. I thought as we turned into a corner, Father meeting with a woman.
Is she another one of his woman? I questioned with a disgusted expression. Every now and then, Father plays around despite having two consorts and one mistress.
Contrary to my belief, all that Father did was to greet the woman and ask questions regarding her household and health.
But after a while, Father’s eyes caught a glimpse of something when he looked over from behind the woman. After that, he gave a farewell and left promptly before two more people arrived.
The people who arrived were children, children that I am familiar with. It’s none other than Fae and Rick.
What? I followed Father outside the alley and compared both Rick and Father as I look at them repeatedly.
It’s not, right? It’s possible, but is it? I tried to deny the possibility.
My jaws started to clench. My heart started to race. Then a boiling feeling gradually built itself within my chest. Followed by numerous thoughts that clouded my mind and overshadowed my sights.
Father, what is this? Seriously, what is this? I don’t understand. I don’t get it. When? Why? Why are they here? Does anyone else know? What is the reason? How long were you hiding this? Are there more? Does Mother know this? Aren’t they your responsibility? Weren’t you that doting father?
Before I realized, I have unconsciously canceled cloak of concealment.
“It’s Mia sis!” Fae called.
I clenched my fists, trying to hold my anger.
Amelia, calm down. Slowly, breathe in, then out…
I suppressed my boiling emotions.
“Mia sis, is there a problem?” Fae asked concerned.
“Ah, sorry Fae, I was just thinking of something,” I said. “Anyway, can you introduce me to your mother?”
“Un! Sure!” Fae nodded.
I need to have a private talk with Father and a really long one at that…