Chapter 18: part 1
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Month 5, Day 19, Year XXXX
Reign's Manor


“Welcome to our humble abode” Alusu greeted.

When the guest arrived they were greeted by the servants of the Reign family and the head family, their adobe stretch out beyond their sight. It was very big that it couldn’t be compared to any average duke, after all this Duke was a former hero and an S-rank hunter. The Duke also controls the import and export goods of the Demiurge Kingdom.

The servants lined up in 2 rows along the side while the head of the family was standing in front of them.

The guests is both female and male. Starting from the female, she is born 2nd of the baron family and has chance to succeed the heir of the family. However, she’s also the reason that her family is still alive.

Her family is poor after all, they didn’t have a fief to manage but only fields, so with blood and sweat she worked as a hunter and barely save their family. They also have many debts to pay because of her late father, but now her late father is dead and the debt will be charged in the next generation of the family.

Well, she’s not here for nothing, after all the Reign family decides to give reward to the ones that accompany Steph for a day, 500 gold coins, just barely enough to pay the entire debt. Alusu accepted her because she’s apparently curse too.

She has the ability to see things that everyone can’t. A unique ability that said to be a curse and with this, Steph won’t stand out because she’s not the only one that has cursed. Although, her ability to see things is not exactly as the heroes.

Because the heroes could see their status and could easily grow faster at short amount of time. However, such a thing didn’t apply to the former hero. Alusu and Grey couldn’t see things like that, but they were able to subjugate the demon king.

By the way, Alusu has a skill called [Item master]. A skill that allows the user to master any items it held, even a pebble can become a weapon and annihilate the enemy at a proficient manner. He also has a [Recover] magic.

Alusu assumed that the blonde hair Steph that they released the curse was only but a doll. The original Steph has a silver hair after all. Well, Alusu can’t request help from the church anymore because the cardinal is terrified by Steph. So he decides to tell about Steph’s original appearance.

The girl – Nervae Baron Silmon. She had a sturdy, muscular physique unbefitting to be a lady-like noble. She had reddish hair that extends to her waist and was tied in a single red knot that formed a ribbon. She wore a one-piece white dress that has no designs nor fashion.

“Greetings my Duke. It’s an honor to meet you, I am Nervae Baron Silmon” She introduced herself with an elegant curtsied at the end.

Her mannerism is outstanding despite her no effort in clothing.

The other guest, the high merchant – Arthur in the past is a hunter however, when he met the witch in the forest, he was cursed because of her and made him unable to muster the strength to hold heavy things

Unable to use swords nor bow, he became a merchant with the help of his father – Mike. His father in the past is a merchant, however when he lost his wife in the middle of his travel. He quits and decides to become a librarian of the Reign town. Because he has abundant amount of money to spend in his entire life and with the support of the Reign family.

The Reign family gave the library (to take care) to Mike for free and was being paid by it too. Anyways, Arthur is a cursed person. The amount of people knew about his curse can be counted by fingers.

When Nervae finishes her introduction, she raises her head and notice a maid within the rows of the servants. A maid that had no face and was surrounded by thorns, numerous alluring black rose that has yet to bloom was attached. She and together with the black rose emits a shadow smoke.

“Thank you for taking care of my father.” Arthur said as he bowed deeply and rose to introduce himself “I am Arthur. It’s nice to meet my father’s benefactor”

When Alusu heard it, he pondered for a brief as he looked at Arthur and realize his familiarity. Alusu doesn’t really give attention to Mike, because he only needs to take care of the library.

“Don’t mention it, thanks for coming all the way here from Cradin town, with that being said.” He averts his face towards the pale-looking lady. “Are you okay Nervae?” Alusu ask with a worried expression.

Nervae was brought to her senses with a twitch of her body, she looks back to Alusu and said while unconsciously stuttering her voice.

“Ah-h, I was won-wondering what was that frozen for-forest?” She calmed down in the process “It has a really dense mana that rivals the magic stones\

When she said that while averting the problem with a wry smile at the end, she couldn’t help but to look at the maid again. The maid’s face was replaced by a familiar face – it was Rachael’s. The thorns along with the roses around her had disappeared.

“Ah~ about that” Alusu said slightly worried “Its Steph’s [Frozen] magic that went berserk when she was about to be kidnapped by the bandits”

She averted her gaze to Alusu “I-I see” she said “Somehow this place has the same mana as the frozen forest, or I feel like it”

Rachael hears this, she immediately enhance the effects of the ring more and slowly the dense mana will be gone without letting someone to notice.

Hearing that made Alusu to ponder. He too, has known this for many years, if it wasn’t for the frozen forest that reminded him, he would likely get used to the density of the mana. The normal people wouldn’t be able to sense this mana because of how often use magic.

Alusu haven’t ask what Grey felt when she came here.

“Is that so?” Alusu said “Have you eaten yet?”

When Alusu questioned them, they both swayed their heads and it made Alusu to smile.

“Why don’t we eat first? I want to know more about you”

With that, they went to the dining hall to eat. Rachael, on the other hand, hid herself until the tea party comes. Although, the lunch is a very good opportunity to let the guest know about Steph, but she restrained herself. Because she might ruin Reign’s reputation.

Although in the end, Alusu told about her daughter’s appearance.

When the lunch ended without the party host, Alusu called out Rachael to discuss something with her. Meanwhile the guest will be guided by a butler to tour around the mansion.

Both Alusu and Rachael sat opposite at each other in the office. The room had an eye-catching desk, it has paperwork that are piled up and fill the entire desk. The bookshelves attached at each opposing side of the room and books were carefully arranged, it even has reward medals that are made of gold. One particular trophy that Alusu took pride on is the ‘Alusu Reign, the hero, the savior’ trophy and is made out of mithril.

The windows were open, inviting the cool breeze from the forest as it fights the heat from summer away. They were thankful at day but not at night. It was freezing cold that some people have to wear a thick robe. Thankfully, Alusu gave them permission to use the winter clothes proportion.

Slurping the cup of tea on her hand with an elegant movements, they were both alone in the room. Alusu started to discuss their topic after gently putting the tea on the table.

“About Steph tell me about her that I don’t know” He casted a serious gaze onto Rachael.

She nodded and responded false information to Alusu.

“First of all, Milady Steph is a lovely and smart child. She is able to comprehend things that adults can, perhaps she’s at the level of what Sir Linux had learned” She pauses for a brief to take a breath before continuing. “It’s possible that Milady Steph is not required to go to school”

She wants to cut all the obstacles (problems) that may happen in the future. Alusu gave a nod and said as his gaze cast down to the ground.

“If that happens, she may not be able to socialize with other people, she may not even find a good marriage partner. If she won’t able too, I have to arrange her marriage to someone” Alusu wasn’t worried about his daughter’s academics, because he already knew it.

He had already assumed that most books in the library was already read by her. If she really doesn’t need to go to school, Alusu can always hire a home-school professor. However study is different from experiencing it, hence her logic and common sense may not apply to everyday use. That is, of course, transactions and for general daily lives.

Hearing that, Rachael immediately replied. “I heard that she doesn’t want to socialize to other people because of how terrifying she gets when she’s angry”

Trying to avert the conversation from the threat – marriage, she skillfully made a half-fact half-lie information. She continued.

“Ah! Right” She made an expression of something she remembered suddenly. Alusu looks at her before she continues “She’s able to control her [frozen] magic pretty well without breaking a sweat”

Alusu raised an eyebrow, he does not see any potential at Steph’s magic. After all he can’t detect her mana, she’s more capable to be a scout, ninja, or perhaps assassin class. When that thought came to Alusu, he immediately said with a slightly terrified voice.

“Those dolls… Are they made from the bodies of the maid like Steph said?”

‘If so’ Alusu assumed in his thoughts ‘she’s talented at killing people without feeling guilty about it’

“Yes, it is so.” Rachael nonchalantly responded as if it was a natural thing and there wasn’t a room to argue about. “To be frank, Milady Stephany only did it as a self-defense because many servants wants her dead.”

When he heard about this truth, he became worried. His sense of justice couldn’t identity which is the bad or good. No, in the end there is no bad or good. It’s up to the people who wants to believe, hence he believes at his daughter.

“Is that so?” Alusu made a face of something he clearly does not know about, and he is madly sweating from her forehead and hands. His wasn’t able to protect her daughter… Or so his thoughts were filled with it.

Rachael was able to fill up Alusu’s question with half-ass lies. Rachael delivers the finishing blow to Alusu.

“Yes and with that, I now have a new reason to protect. I want to make Milady Stephany to smile and let her see the world around her.” Her words are sincere and her gaze is serious, which almost made Alusu to puke. It somehow reminded him of his past life

“So, may I please ask for you to help Milady Steph as well?” Rachael said. She called her ‘Steph’ as a friend, not as master-servant relationship.

When Alusu saw the depths in her eyes, she was serious about it. It made Alusu to be somehow happy, but, as well as being disappointed at himself. He couldn’t make Steph happy if he was alone. However, this time he has Rachael.

He entrust Rachael everything to her.

“Yes, I will gladly help for my daughter’s happiness and to recognize me as a father!”