Chapter 20 – Truth of the Night
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With Alicia securely sleeping on top of my body and the bear fur blanket covering us, my mind went back to researching the skill system.

There was the [Appraisal] skill I had found before. Learning it for myself was nice, but I wanted something more, that could be used for more than just regular objects. The skill itself could be used as a basis for a skill that fit my desires better.

So, with that in mind, I scanned through the skill's source code and figure out how it roughly worked.

[Appraisal] worked through several steps. The first was to target an object. Next was to collate the user's experience in regards to similar objects. After that was to compare it against the world database and add some more detailed information. The final step was to display the information to the user.

It seemed like it worked based on the user's ability to identify and examine the targeted object, then supplemented that information based on the user's knowledge and the rank of the skill.

All four steps of the skill were useful for me, but the part that needed the biggest change was the script that referenced the world database. The skill itself only accessed the database for items, and didn't specify the databases for anything else.

I couldn't find the information for those other databases yet, and without the names of them, I couldn't access them using a modified version of this skill.

It wasn't enough, but it was a good start. I made a copy then removed the acquisition method before saving the draft.

Next was to find skills that accessed other databases. But this was the hard part, since the skill list was so massive. There were over a hundred skills in just the 'A' section, and many of them had nonsensical names.

It was virtually impossible what their purpose was without looking into the source code, and it was difficult to imagine that many of them were even used. Quite a lot of the skills that had more reasonable names had quite dubious purposes.

On one hand they felt like padding, but on another, they might've had a reasonable reason to exist. Or perhaps they once had a purpose, but now lost that purpose?

Scrolling through the skills, occasionally checking the source code, I continued through that night until a familiar sensation disturbed my concentration.

I glanced at Alicia from under the blanket and wondered what would happen if by body reacted and started to produce because of this little girl's unconscious nightly activities?

(Maybe I wouldn't have to feed her as much during the day?)

I let off a wry smile at the thought, then worked at distracting myself as I gently held Alicia's body.

"Mmmm...Scarlet..."

(Just what kinda dream are you having to be suckling while calling out my name?!)

 

"Mmmm....good morning Scarlet...ha?!"

It seemed like this too had become a part of our daily routine. The moment Alicia's min reached a certain degree of consciousness, she always reacted that way. I wondered if it was because she was aware she had some bad sleeping habits, or because she noticed something about me when she first woke up. I didn't think I was acting in any way aside from normal in the first few seconds of her waking up though.

"Did...did I do something strange...?"

"Hmmm...how about I ask if you had an interesting dream or not?"

As cute as ever, Alicia tilted her head to the side, forcing a smile onto my face. But a second later she quickly turned her head to the side as if she was trying to hide her expression.

"N, n, nothing! I didn't have any dreams last night!"

"Really? You wouldn't lie to me, would you?"

"Mmm..."

"You wouldn't, would you? Because you're a good girl?"

"Mmmmm!"

"You are a good girl, my cute little sister Alicia"

"..."

She put up a valiant effort, but in the end I successfully guilted her into telling me the truth.

"I dreamt..."

"Mmmhmmm?"

"You were carrying me, and I was hugging you forever..."

"..."

Alicia's face had turned red to her ears, but if felt like my own face was hot enough to boil water.

"Have you had dreams like that every night since we met?"

"*cough*"

That heat only intensified as Alicia slowly nodded.

Or rather, was I the cause for her nightly suckling?! Was I fated to suffer that until she was old enough to be independent?! Rather, she was already supposed to be old enough for a bit of autonomy, yet she wasn't, so would it be pushed even further back than that?!

"Did...you do anything...else in your dreams?"

The little girl's eyes turned into saucers as she covered her mouth with both hands. But I saw how she pursed her lips right before she covered them.

It was all connected. She hadn't been responding to my situation each time, but she'd been worried that she'd been acting out her dreams while asleep. The evidence that she found on my chest when she woke up was dubious, but to someone who dreamt such a thing, it only looked like proof.

"If...if you had been doing something strange in your dreams...then it's best to try to stop it. Just because it's in your dreams, doesn't mean that it won't effect your real life"

My face was hot enough to melt steel, and I couldn't look directly at the little girl sitting on my pelvis anymore. Even my words were starting to lose coherence.

"Umm...umm...do I have to?"

(Did she want to that badly?!)

If I was perfectly honest with myself, if she didn't sleep suckle, I had no problems with whatever she happened to do in her dreams. But the fact that there was physical results due to her dreaming was the real issue.

"You...you know that nothing comes out, don't you?"

"?"

From the corner of my eyes, Alicia tilted her head in confusion.

"From my breasts. No matter what you do, nothing comes out. You realize that right?"

"...really?"

"Yes really! Nothing's ever come out of them before!"

I was exasperated by her tenacity.

"...Scarlet really is a good girl, right?"

(Why was she so suspicious like that?!)

"That's right! I'm not lying...because I'm a good girl"

"..."

(Why was she hesitant?!)

"Here! I'll prove it! Try sucking on them right now!"

I pushed up my breasts towards her with my hands the best I could, but their size made it holding them that way awkward and difficult.

"I'm not a baby! I don't need to suck milk!"

But contrary to my expectation, she turned her head away and pouted.

"It's okay. I'm giving you my permission to do it this one time. Babies might be the only ones who suck milk every day, but there are times when even adults might suck milk"

I left it locked up inside that people who did that were typically known a perverts though.

"Really?"

"Really. I'm a good girl, aren't I?"

"That's right. Scarlet's a good girl"

Strongly nodding, Alicia finally agreed with me, and took a firm hold of one of my breasts. Being held in this way was stimulating in all the wrong ways, but it was for the sake of a peaceful night. I could suck up any amount of short term pain or difficulty if it was for that sake.

Timidly and cautiously, Alicia lowered her head to my chest, and tried to suck on my nipple. But as it should be, nothing happened. She tried sucking again, and even lightly bit it, but no matter how much she tried, no matter how many different ways she tried it, nothing came out.

Rather, if something really did come out, I was worried for what my life from that point would be like.

"Milk really didn't come out"

For some reason, Alicia seemed to be really surprised about that fact.

"Why did you even think that something like that would come out?"

"It comes out for all women?"

"..."

"Scarlet is still a little girl?"

"..."

(How did she come up with that sort of conclusion?)

I thought for a moment before answering.

"I'm...I don't know if I could be considered a little girl, but that's not the reason why milk doesn't come out"

Unsurprisingly, Alicia cocked her head cutely again.

"Women only start to give out milk when they have a baby. Until they get close to having their first baby, milk won't come out"

"So...milk will come out when you have a baby?"

"Yup, that's how it is"

"How do you have a baby?"

My whole body froze stiff.

"Scarlet?"

My mind blanked out and didn't register what Alicia was saying.

My body rocked back and forth as she tried to get a response from me, but at the time I didn't notice.

It took a while, but my mind rebooted enough to give her a single line.

"...I'll tell you when you get older"

"...?"

 

After we got up, the two of us made breakfast together and Alicia sat on my lap while she ate. Today's breakfast was oatmeal with plenty of cut fruit and honey.

As Alicia ate, I absentmindedly played with my hair. There was a noticeable improvement to it's quality compared to how it was a few days ago, and the scent the hair oil left was still going strong. I couldn't help but enjoy the scent as I lightly brushed it's length.

Before I knew it, there was a pair of cloudy eyes staring at my hair. Rather, they weren't staring, but the little girl's actions was akin to that.

"..."

When I paused for a moment, Alicia brought her face closer and took a sniff.

"It smells nice Scarlet"

For some reason she looked a bit envious.

"I applied it to your hair as well you know"

The moment those words left my mouth, Alicia grabbed a lock of her hair and took a sniff.

"Wow, you're right!"

"What? Did you think I was lying?"

"Nuh uh. Because Scarlet's a good girl!"

She violently shook her head before answering, then rubbed her hands on her head before sniffing them with a smile. Her actions kinda reminded of a cat grooming itself, but more roughly.

"So, which one do you prefer? This one, or the last one?"

"Hmmm...the last one"

Despite her answer, Alicia continued to sniff her palms.

But I had to agree wither her. Milk and honey wasn't bad, but it felt like it was better for the skin than hair. Fruit oils suited Alicia, but for myself, it felt a bit too childish. I wanted to spend time experimenting with different scents.

 

Once we cleaned up after breakfast, the two of us went outside for Alicia's [Spirit Perception] training and my own playing with the fluffballs.

I lightly played with the floating spirits by only keeping my arms in [Spirit Form] while also scattering mana treats around as I sat with an unmoving doll in my lap. To be exact she was moving, but only to the level of light breathing.

Her concentration was pretty impressive, beyond what I myself could manage at least.

As we played, I got better and better at controlling both [Spirit Form] and [Materialize]. The floating spirits were pretty smart, and noticed what I was doing. I shifted the parts that were physical and spiritual so that any parts of my body that the fluffballs would rub or bounce against were properly in spirit form and could fully interact with their bodies.

I wasn't always successful, but overall it worked well for a while.

Unfortunately, more and more spirits caught on to what was going on and they eventually swarmed me, trying to rub my body all over the place.

I would've indulged them if I was alone, but with Alicia here, that would've only lead to trouble, so with a big yell, I threw a whole bunch of mana treats around to give me space, then completely dropped [Spirit Form] and called it a day.

Alicia still hadn't learned [Spirit Perception] so she was pretty much unaware about why I yelled when I did, and thus I was forced to calm her down and convince her that she wasn't at fault.

 

After a lunch of deep fried fish cutlets and potato slices, I tried out something a little new.

We've been constantly running out of hair oil, but the main reason was because our production runs were tiny. Yesterday's oil was decent, but I couldn't help but think it was better as a soap or lotion rather than a hair oil.

For hair oil, we needed ingredients that worked for it, and thus I wanted to be able to produce them. The way I made the orange essential oil was decent, but there was a much better way, which was further improved thanks to magic.

That was the steam extraction method.

With that in mind, I quickly made a simple legged still by reshaping a copper ingot.

Together with Alicia's help, I added lavender we had picked the day before. The quantity wasn't very sufficient, but it was good enough for a trial run.

With some water added, I sealed the pot and placed a stone jar under the nozzle and heated the still with a magical flame.

While that was working, we extracted more conventional oils from various things we had while occasionally refilling the still with something new.

I used my evaporation spell to remove the remaining water from the essential oils produced by the still.

Once I felt like we've made as many oils as we could, the two of us started work on the mixes themselves.

We sniffed the scents from a variety of essential oils and base oils and came up with our own recipes.

The one I came up with to try was a combination of lavender and lemon oil using cream from goat milk and a yellow waxy substance I had gotten from a sheep-like monster at the 56th floor as a base. Since it was animal based, I'd have to go the extra step to rinse it off after letting it soak, but I liked the scent combination.

A soft floral scent and a refreshing note that sticks to the nose for a few seconds after sniffing. That was what I came up with. The wax itself was to help stabilize the mixture as well as add protective properties to the oil. A small dab and rub in my hair gave the impression that it worked as intended.

Alicia's concoction on the other hand was based on orange essential oil combined with cocoa butter. It seemed like in the end she liked that combination a lot, but I managed to get her to add an unscented oil so it would be a liquid in room temperature.

The mix really suited her quite well. It was energetic and sweet smelling, yet leaving a soothing note at the end. It was exactly the sort of thing she could only get away with thanks to her age. Smelling it again, it made me glad when I first came up with this sort of oil that Alicia was the only one to witness it.

In the end, we had made a ton of hair oils. First was the various samples each of us had made testing out different ideas. While they were rejected in the end, I hoped that they'd all be used at some point. Most weren't that bad at all.

Next was the main oils we had chosen. Since they were our favourites, we had made a bunch of each. Quite a ton for me in fact, due to the length of my hair. Alicia was fine with a bottle that was as big as both of my hands together. That should last her weeks even if we used them every day. For me though, I filled five bottles of the same size. Alicia even helped me make some since I had to make so much. And yet I was worried that I'd need to make more before Alicia ran out.

My excessively long hair really was a huge pain, but the results of taking care of it properly made it worth it.

Then, after we finished with the hair oils and everything was put away, we got to work on dinner. Alicia's stomach alarm had gone off and I didn't want her to keep waiting. With some quick work, we made herbed beef cubes with potato quarters and onion soup.

As Alicia ate, I worked on one last thing: a hair brush. I considered making a comb, but I wanted a brush. A brush felt more like really taking care of my hair, rather than a comb feeling like a cheap cop-out. Whether that was true or not, I had no idea, but it just felt like it.

I've only seen brushes made out of plastic, but such a material didn't exist in the dungeon as far as I've seen. Perhaps it doesn't exist in the entire world?

With that said, I had to make do with what I had, but my selection was limited for anything that seemed similar to the bristles of a brush. Most fur and thread was just too soft to be useful. I needed something that was hard, yet reasonably flexible.

The result of my searching through a pile of random crap was a sheet of boar hide. Specifically it's hair. Strangely, it was really tough and hard, yet it flexed reasonably well. With my material chosen, I shaved off a bunch of the hair, then implanted them into a thick wooden board filled with holes. Finally I used copper to fill in the gaps to hold the stiff hairs in place. It was a technique that was only possible thanks to magic.

Once I checked to make sure everything looked good, I used a claw to quickly slice the uneven bristles for a nice, clean finish.

And thus, around the time Alicia finished eating, I had finished a brush.

"Hey Alicia, hold still for a sec"

"?"

I tried brushing her hair a bit with the new brush.

"How does that feel?"

"Nice..."

When I leaned a bit to the side, I saw that Alicia's eyes were half closed, and she gave off a relaxed feel. It seemed like she wasn't just being polite.

I continued to brush her hair until static electricity started to build up and her hair wouldn't stay down.

I overdid it.

"Okay, let's go have a bath now"

"...what about you?"

"Huh? What about me?"

"That thing you made. You aren't going to use it on yourself?"

"I...huh..."

I had forgotten about that. But it would be a pain for her to brush my hair since it was so long.

"I'll do it later, since it's so long"

"Nuh uh. I can do it"

Without waiting for me to answer, Alicia somehow got a hold of the brush and crawled out of my lap and got behind me.

She awkwardly traced my hair with her hands, then pushed the brush down from the top of my scalp, following my hair. Since it was so long, she continued to push the brush down all along my back. But my hair still continued as Alicia reached the cushion I was sitting on.

The little girl paused for a moment before lightly taking hold of my hair and pulled it through the bristles until the brush escaped the full length of my hair.

I could only put on a wry smile with the amount of effort it took to brush the length of my hair even once. Even for me it would be a bit of a pain, but feeling how soft my hair had gotten made me happy. Having my hair combed by Alicia made me really happy. I was willing to sit there and let her take all the time in the world to comb my hair.

Once again, she stood up and placed the brush on my crown before tracing it down the length of my hair, ending by pulling the last of my hair through the brush with her hands.

"Is it good?"

"It's very good. You're like a pro at this"

"A pro?"

"Professional. It means that you're an expert"

"Heheh, an expert"

We kept this up for a while, but eventually I had her stop. Over brushing most likely wasn't good for one's hair. It was best to take it slow and do a little at a time.

I had to consciously make sure I didn't over brush Alicia's hair either.

The two of us took a bath and enjoyed the hair oil we had made before cleaning up and going to sleep.

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