“Lia, Faron, and Raeliana—did Mother call the three of you here?” I looked at them and asked before the three of them shook their heads at the same time.
“The mistress did not tell us to come here, rather the three of us decided to follow after you milady. After all, we are not the servants of the ducal family but the servants of the young mistress of the Windsor family,” Raeliana answered with a smile.
I was a bit taken aback by her response; my initial expectation was that they would answer with the Duchess ordering them to follow after me but it seems like the Ayumi in their memories which should be the false Ayumi the Goddess created is godsent to them that they swore their loyalty to me instead of the house.
“Well, convincing the madam to allow us to come here was a pain, after all, we swore our weapons to the princess and not the ducal family. They should assign us to wherever the princess is instead of some random place in the fief,” the blonde man—Faron yawned.
“You should stop speaking in such a disrespectful way, Faron!” the red-haired knight, Lia smacked the head of Faron who looked at her with a wry smile.
“The two of you should learn to soften your smacks, if possible…” he mumbled.
“You should learn how to speak respectfully in front of the young mistress!” Lia rebuked to which Faron scratched his cheeks as a little chuckle managed to escape my mouth. If only I had more of the fake memories the Goddess made up, it would be nice especially knowing that I actually have more people to rely on.
Amidst my little chuckle, the four of them suddenly froze as all of them looked at me with shock on their faces. I couldn’t help but wonder if I did something disrespectful or weird to them and tilted my head in confusion, “Did I do something wrong?”
“Lia… I am not hallucinating, right? Our Princess actually smiled like that?!” Faron suddenly struck Lia’s abdomen while looking at me with utter shock.
“Indeed… I could have sworn milady only knows how to show a fake smile—who would have thought she could smile this beautifully…” Lia pinched Raeliana’s cheeks as if checking whether she was dreaming or not.
“Eeeh… do you mean I never smile like this?” I asked with embarrassment before all of them including Tanya nodded.
“I don’t think you knew my lady, but you were once called the Ice Princess back when you were still in school because of how cold you were—not to mention, you always had this unapproachable feel around you that made it hard for others to come near you…” Tanya smiled wryly.
I couldn’t help but be a bit shocked inside—so the fake Ayumi was actually someone who didn’t know how to show real emotions… or simply a shy person inside? Isn’t that some kind of trope that can only be found on animes?!
“Ehem… let’s not talk about that—how about we head inside the town hall right now… the three of you are pretty drenched in the rain,” I coughed once before all of them nodded as we moved towards the town hall, entering inside as the three together with the little Liza dried off their clothes a bit.
“Right, milady… if I remember correctly, rain shouldn’t be possible in this area yet what we are seeing right now is indeed rain. Does that mean the curse has been broken or are you utilizing some sort of water spell that we do not know of which should be the more plausible answer especially when you consider your mana supply being drained a bit too much?” Raeliana inquired.
Indeed, breaking a curse sounds impossible without the assistance of a high priest of some sort which is already hard by itself, though I am more intrigued by the fact that Raeliana can actually peek into my mana supply which means her eyes or intuition is another level above the average.
“It’s not some sort of water spell as you imagined, rather the curse is now broken which means this town will soon be able to start moving on farmland soon. We still have a lot to change with this place to turn it into something even more habitable but with the curse being broken, everything else should be like puzzle pieces waiting to be placed on their spot,” I looked out towards the window with a smile.
There was no assistance from the system at all other than the fact that they reward me for every quest I finished but I have no way of knowing what my next quest was nor is there any way for me to know what other quests there are. Not to mention, the recreation of my body somehow made me lose a lot of the system functionalities such as the mini-map and health bar.
It was a lot different from the tutorial stage—it was really like we are no longer playing around. Not to mention, I can totally feel myself changing a lot mentally and emotionally with these new fake memories implanted into me. It was like the two Ayumi merged.
“This place is so dusty and stinky, where is the maintenance here? Princess, are you sure you want to live here without bringing your stuff from the house?” Faron complained as he looked around with a frown on his eyes.
“If I can’t endure this kind of issue then would I be worthy enough to be called their leader—Faron, you should know me at this point. I am not someone who wants to live in luxury while my people suffer in poverty,” I turned around and looked at Faron straight in the eye.
Thinking about it, the original me would definitely not say something like not… or rather, I wouldn’t even though of saying something like that. It was indeed Ayumi Windsor’s personality that has been affecting me more than what the Goddess initially said. The Goddess didn’t lie though, I can distinguish between the falsified memories and my true memories but that was only between the memories of the two.
Personality-wise, I could feel Ayumi Windsor’s persona slowly merging with mine—Ayumi Ai’s persona which is what is slowly becoming of me. It was even more evident whenever I look at the cruel state of the citizens here, my heart felt, even more, angrier than I was supposed to.
“Raeliana and Liza, the two of you should be knowledgeable about the geography and all those other details of the town, right? I need both of your knowledge right now to change the dire state of this town, as confident as I may look…”
“I understand nothing about managing a town at all. I learned little politics and economics but even then, I refuse to give up on this place… which is why I hope the two—no everyone here can help me change this place into one where people can finally smile… is that fine with all of you?” I trembled a bit… I felt nervous while saying those words—afraid that I would lose the image of the Ayumi they knew inside by saying something like that.
I have little knowledge about what they see Ayumi Windsor as… they could have the image of a confident Ayumi or an Ayumi who is strong—who would never back down in the direst of situations, etc… I felt scared that I would end up betraying the image they have of me inside and would leave me to handle everything by myself. I wasn’t a confident person nor am I someone strong… I am simply a human being.
“My lady…” Raeliana mumbled before smiling as she kneeled down with one foot, staring at me as if she was proposing, “We are your people, my lady. It is within our duty and wishes to be someone who could assist you at any point in time…”
“Indeed, Raeliana stole the words from my mouth,” Faron laughed before taking out his sword from its sheath and stabbing it to the floor together with Lia as they both replied, “We are your swords and shields, milady. We swore our swords to you from the beginning. You are the only person who can wield us, not the Windsor family or the Royal family.”
“My lady, from the day you picked us up, we were already ready to be used by you. That is why you should never need to ask whenever you need us. We are always ready to assist you no matter what situation it may be,” Tanya kneeled the same as Raeliana.
I felt tears falling from my eyes… I didn’t understand why I felt like crying—was it Ayumi Windsor’s emotions or was it mine… I couldn’t comprehend the reason for my tears, but I felt like these tears of mine came from the bottom of my heart.
“Hey, Tanya! Don’t make the Princess cry!” Faron looked at Tanya and shouted.
“You brat! You should stop accusing people of something!” Lia smacked the head of Faron as Raeliana looked at them with a sigh.
“Fufufu… the four of you are really idiots,” I smiled while wiping the tears off my eyes, “I am glad though—once everything here is finished, I hope I can have a picnic with the four of you, is that okay?”
“We’d be honored to have a picnic with the Princess herself,” Faron answered as I looked at them with the biggest smile I could muster. I felt unbelievably happy, my heart felt really warm seeing all of them on my side. One day, once everything is finished—I will tell them about the truth but for now, let me bask in this at least for a bit longer.
“Thank you everyo—”
“My lady!” Tanya screamed as she reached out to me just before I fell to the floor. I could feel my eyelids slowly closing as I slowly fell asleep.