3-2 C2: Dear Diary, Today I Became We
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A note regarding the clean up I'm doing. There were a couple minor changes to 1-1 and 1-2, these changes do not alter the plot in anyway but are contained in the spoiler below, for anyone who is curious.

Spoiler

1-1: Adjusted Eric Gowson's (George's default character, before making Stahlia) Life Summary Screen so that it matches the one Stahlia has access to through her [Custom Class].

1-2 A user pointed out an "exploit" I overlooked, where George could have gotten 500 extra Life Points by buying Prodigy I later on instead of first. Instead of correcting the text to make that exploit impossible, I added a paragraph where George realizes he missed out, and explains why he can't go back and do it retroactively.

Spoiler

*Buys Prodigy I*

I was left with 500 LP to spend on my ability scores so I started playing with the arrows. Unlike when I bought Prodigy, it seems I could use the down arrow to undo a purchase. After fiddling for a while I had more or less figured out how it worked. Firstly, I could not reduce an individual score below its minimum value. That minimum value, rather than E, was the value the scores had hit after I purchased Prodigy. I suppose buying Prodigy and then refunding the S rank intelligence to get more LP than I spent would have been a bit broken. …fuck me. I could have raised my skills first then bought prodigy… I was a bit dejected by this, but there didn’t seem to be a way to replace [Prodigy I] now that I had bought it. I decided to look into this on my next character and moved on.

Underlined sentences are the new ones.

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1-2 Removed the existence of the "Serf" social strata, because this literally never comes up again, and I have no plans to use it.

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And regarding the synopsis, genre, and tag changes:

Spoiler

Genres:

Adult and Adventure have been removed, added Psychological. NOTE: There will still be an "adventure", it just wound up taking a lot longer to get to that point than I planned.

Tags:

"Hidden Abilities" changed to "Hiding True Abilities"

"Selfish Protagonist" changed to "Seven Deadly Sins"

"Godly Powers" changed to "Divine Protection"

"Elemental Magic" changed to "Magic"

"Love Interest Falls in Love First" changed to "Engagement" NOTE: The romance hasn't changed. However "Slow Romance" and "LIFILF" were mildly redundant, and Scribble Hub only lets me pick 25 tags. There is no "Arranged Engagement" tag, so I had to settle for "Engagement".

"Non-Linear Story Telling" changed to "Conspiracies"

added "Mind Break" NOTE: Not as a porn genre, I still do not plan on writing smut/porn chapters. This is to indicate the Rosial situation, as well as a bit of the side effect of [Cold Hearted]

Synopsis:

Still ongoing. Added a line indicating when I will remove comments and what causes me to block users (it's dickwolvery). This line was added for... reasons.

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Claire, Second Month of 947.

Thankfully, despite likely noticing that the words didn’t quite fit, Stahlia did not press the issue and simply accepted Felicity’s new name for her. Stahlia gave Felicity something to eat and began having a conversation with the made, whose name was apparently Jacqueline. Felicity was also apparently “Pet” now, but I wasn’t going to call her that.

Jacqueline’s conversation with Stahlia was exceptionally enlightening. Given that Felicity had been ordered to not share anything that was to be discussed, and she wasn’t paying much attention anyway, owing to the food she had been given. This was irritating since due to the distorted connection; I was only catching snippets of Stahlia and Jacqueline’s conversation.

From what I could gather, Stahlia wasn’t exactly the most loyal of nobles, owing to a past transgression on the part of the kingdom, and Jacqueline was some sort of agent under her employment. Still, this bodes well for me and Felicity, I think. Stahlia will likely make at least a bit of effort to protect Felicity, and I can keep watching over her like this until I get things figured out.

Stahlia by this point had wrapped up her conversation with Jacqueline and called for Felicity. Felicity after a moment of looking at her empty bowl hoped down and moved over to Stahlia. Stahlia then proceeded to ask Felicity for permission to examine her. Phrasing aside, the examination seemed to consist of placing her hand on Felicity’s head and rubbing gently between her ears. The sensations I was being transmitted indicated that it was a highly pleasurable experience.

For a moment, I felt a bit jealous that Felicity was getting to experience something like this and I was not. Head pats are such a major part of isekai and anime in general… Damn this half-assed reincarnation! If only I was at least on the other side of the wall in Felicity’s head I would be able to at least tangentially experience it… Wait, what’s this!?

There was something reaching across the wall towards me. Something foreign. From what I was receiving of Felicity’s feelings at the moment, she also had this something moving throughout her, but for her, it was pleasant. To me, it was a gross feeling, like I was being groped all over at once. I jerked my head back away from the wall and lost the connection. What even was that? It felt wrong. Like I was being violated.

The only thing I could think of was that it was something Stahlia had done since that something had only manifested after she started rubbing Felicity’s head. So something that happened when Stahlia touched Felicity. Given that it happened right after Felicity spoke Japanese, I can assume it was probably something to check if she was a reincarnation… a lot of settings make appraisal uncomfortable for the person being appraised.

So assuming it was appraisal magic, that still doesn’t explain why it felt comfortable for Felicity, but uncomfortable for me. Maybe the difference is between physical contact and like, just mana or something. After all, I don’t exactly have a body, and it’s not like I was being directly touched… hopefully, Stahlia didn’t detect me, I still don’t know if she’s trustworthy or not. Felicity should be fine, as far as I know, she’s totally normal other than playing host to my soul.

I leaned forward to check up on Felicity again; it had become apparent that time seemed to flow faster for her than me when I broke the connection. I was correct, as Felicity was now having her tail combed out y a noble girl I had not seen before. Still, the fact that a noble is doing that to mimi-kin is unusual, given what I’ve seen so far. Is she Stahlia’s friend or something? A sudden feeling of discomfort was transmitted, and I had the disconcerting sensation of my non-existent tail twitching.

The girl spoke up, “Comon’ Stali’s coming back in a few days. Dad got a magic communication from the knights! You want to look pretty dontcha’?”

At the mention of “Stali”, who was presumably “Stahlia” by the noble girl, Pet sat back down after frowning. I was getting a sensation of barely contained excitement, but also resignation. Curling her tail around her waist, Felicity made a request of the Ojou-Sama “Let Pet brush Pet’s tail?”.

The Ojou-Sama agreed, on the condition that she be allowed to brush Felicity’s ears. Well, that makes two nice nobles… Stahlia and this girl. Maybe Dominic was just particularly nasty? No, I doubt that. Likely Stahlia just inherited modern values, and this girl is just plain weird.

I continued to watch Felicity carefully, not wanting to let time run away. I wasn’t sure how much time I had missed in that most recent instance, but it was probably in the realm of several months. Before long, Felicity had curled up in what was presumably Stahlia’s bed; there was little chance that a slave named “Pet” would be given such luxurious accommodation.

This is going to be a long night for me, isn’t it? …I suppose I could just break the connection for half a second relative to me… No. I don’t want to risk seeing Stahlia’s return. I might be able to glean some more information about the world, and I can test how much time is skipped any… time. Heh.

“Yo.”

The voice caused me to jump with a start, separating my head from the wall. In a panic, I quickly put it back, before realizing that there was a voice on this side. Shit! I need to see who that is if I even can see them, but I need to keep a connection or I’ll risk missing something potentially important.

“No, that’s not an issue; I’m forcing the timeframes to sync up. Honestly, the dilation is lasting longer than it should have. Don’t worry, I’ll fix that before I leave.”

Whoever this is, they seem to know what’s going on… shit, there’s a lot I want to ask them, but I can’t talk!

“I go by EvilGod when I interact with George.”

Fuuuuck… Reads minds, calls themselves an Evil God, is there a cellphone?

“I use a custom phone modeled after a Galaxy 21.”

Nai wa…

“Heh, no I’m not that one. But seriously, you aren’t going to ask what I’m doing here, Claire?”

I turned around at that, and faced the figure. It was strange, I could see them perfectly even though everything else was still pitch black. The figure was hovering in the air, cross-legged, and was perfectly and completely average in appearance, lacking any distinguishing sexual characteristics, I couldn’t determine if they were male or female. They’re like one of those characters that occasionally shows up in an anime and makes a running gag of their gender.

“Careful. Now, I do owe you an apology; Sorry Franklin went and got you killed, Claire.”

Excuse me wh- No. They can read minds. I can’t think anything rude. Remember that. But what do they want with me now…?

The Androgynous Youth nodded. “Glad to see you’re quick on the uptake. See, my brother and sister are breaking a lot of rules, but they’re doing it in ways I can’t really do anything about directly. That’s where you come in. I just need you to nudge George a little bit to break off my brother’s influence. Everything should fall into place then.”

George? Nudge George? But that would imply that George is somewhere I can reach… or Felicity can reach… No, don’t tell me, they’re going to merge our souls or something!?

The Androgynous Youth shook their head, “No, you should be able to communicate with Felicity, I already weakened the wall by sending her a good dream. You just have to breakthrough.”

Well, the explanation barely makes sense, and I know trusting and following gods in instances like this is almost never a good idea, but I doubt I have a choice. I nodded, even if I couldn’t see my own head, I was fairly certain that this self-proclaimed god could. I turned around and went to push my head against the wall.

The Androgynous crossed their arms, “Right, just call out to her with your mind. It should get through. Oh, and before I forget; It would be bad if it got out that I’m interfering this much… ‘I forbid you from speaking, writing, thinking, or otherwise using some method to inform about me. Invoke Authority.’

It felt like a dagger had pierced my flesh and I winced painfully. So that was a sort of divine order then… they really are some kind of god… I don’t want to even think about why I got that specific command though. Nope. Not gonna think about why an Evil god wants to move behind the scenes… I sighed, wondering what I had been dragged into and cursing my luck. This is the kind of shit I was trying to warn Franklin about… Never, and I mean NEVER get involved with gods in an isekai. That’s rule number one!

I ignored the chuckle coming from behind me, and tried sending a message to Felicity. After thinking about what would be the best greeting, I decided that I should just go with a “Hello, I’m Claire.” I was going to scare her either way, but given I was acting under the “request” of a God that I could presume was at least indirectly responsible for reincarnating me; the best I could do was try and scare her as little as possible. I pressed my head against the wall. The connection was a lot better now, indicating that EvilGod had been telling the truth about the barrier being weakened at the moment, it was closer to a 720p video now.

I briefly inspected Felicity’s dream before sending the mental shout across the barrier. She seemed to be dreaming that she was in my body. In fact, I recognized the room I shared with my husband. The sight made me feel a bit sad, but there was nothing I could do about it. Felicity had just looked at the mirror and seen my face, and she was panicking big time. That makes sense of course, if I had a dream where I wasn’t in my own body, I would probably freak out as well. And I’m… I was an adult. Felicity is four or five.

I focused my thoughts and sent a simple greeting, “Hello! Can you hear me? My name is Claire”

However, it seemed like the shock of seeing my body instead of her own, as well as the unfamiliar environment that was my room, had caused Felicity to destabilize the dream; she was waking up. I heard a sigh from behind me, “Fine, I’ll just go do it manually.”

The signal I was receiving through the wall went fuzzy for a moment, like an old CRT monitor losing the signal. When it cleared, Felicity was now standing outside the house, watching Stahlia climb out of a carriage. So the EvilGod skipped us ahead in time…? I crossed my heart to never cross them, then crossed it a couple of extra times when a duplicate of the entity popped into existence behind Felicity.

Of course they can exist in two places at once… they’re a god. The one behind me nodded and indicated with a quick flick of their hand that I should try and communicate again. Right, so they’re probably serving the role of conduit now, in place of the dream.

“Hello! Can you hear me? My name is Claire!”

Unfortunately, there was no response to my silent mental shout.

“Good, I’m sorry about this Claire, you’re probably not going to appreciate it much. But the way things are going, my brother and sister are really going to muck things up. You know how siblings are… always taking your toys and doing as they please with them… Well, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to go ahead and make an adjustment now. Pet, do your best for your Nee-San ok? Ok. Claire, try and help out George if you can alright? Good.”

Hearing both of the EvilGod speaking at the same time caused some sort of pain in the middle of my head, between my ears. It was like the world knew that having the same person talking from two different places was wrong. Still, I could feel our connection beginning to get better and better. To the point where I felt like I did when I was on Felicity’s side of the wall.

Then the connection got stronger still. What the hell!? What did he do!? I was now able to hear Felicity’s… my thoughts? It was like we were being pushed together, forced into the same place. This is bad! If this doesn’t stop soon, I’ll.. I’ll probably overwrite her. I had seen enough anime and read enough to know what happens when a young child suddenly acquires the memories of a previous life.

Typically, they undergo a complete personality shift, being overwritten by whichever life had the most experiances. Due to Felicity’s short life, it was very likely that my personality would be the dominant one after we merged. Of course, there were a few times when it worked out a bit better, without changing the person receiving the memories. Though, I highly doubt someone who self-identifies as “Evil” would spare a thought to the mind of some random five your old mimi-kin.

I had to get through to her, to enable the communication this god wanted, before I was forced to overwrite Felicity. I paid no attention to what Felicity was doing, and began metaphorically slamming my thoughts into the wall. After a short time, I found myself in Stahlia Nee-San’s room, thinking about the memories I had just gotten back.

Pet, Felicity, Claire Dayson. I had three names, but which one is me? What is this… sensation? I could feel an appendage I had never had before, attached to my back. Experimentally, I gave it a flick and wound up dragged a bit by its weight and inertia. I see so that’s what my tail feels like… wait, Claire has had a tail her whole life… hasn’t she? I was only managing to confuse herself.

Pet slammed her thoughts into the wall, desperate to save Claire from being erased, while at the same time Felicity wandered around Stahlia Nee-San’s room, going over their memories.

{Finally, I got through!} With that thought, I managed to shatter the wall, connecting fully to Felicity. My next thought was how much it fucking hurt. It felt like I was being ripped in two. Like two of my arms, my tail, my ears, one of my heads, basically half of my body was simply ripped off. No… hah. Felicity’s body. We had apparently been separated after I managed to break the wall.

“Nyah! W-who’s th-that!?”

Adorable, but I suppose I should calm her down. Felicity had, in reaction to my mental shout, let out a surprised yowl, and was now looking around the room carefully with her tail stood on end.

{Felicity, it’s me, Claire. Do… do you remember?} Hopefully, she still remembered… remembering? Experiencing? Hopefully, she still had some knowledge of who I was from the time we spent merged just now. Unbidden into my mind rushed a series of disjointed events, they seemed to be similar to what I had just experienced; that is to say, being two people at once. So these are her memories? Let’s see. After EvilGod did that “thing” they were talking about Felicity experiencing the same thing I was, though to a much lesser extent. Thankfully she didn’t feel that excruciating pain just now. That’s probably because her mind is smaller than mine; an ant doesn’t feel a boot stomping on it, but a foot will feel an ant bite.

But why did I suddenly get these memories...? Was it because I thought about if Felicity remembers what happened? I tried thinking about Felicity’s mother. A bunch of vague indistinct emotions and bland silhouettes entered my head. The quantity of them was surprisingly low. I can assume that this means that she’s started forgetting her mother… can’t blame her given how young she is and everything she’s had to endure. The thought made me want to cry.

Felicity suddenly brought her hand up to her face and wiped at her eyes, bringing her hand out, I could see that it was wet. Felicity stared at her hand with what I assume was a puzzled expression, “Pet’s crying? But Pet isn’t sad or hurt…”

That was an interesting development, it seemed that after the wall came down, I was able to more directly influence her. I’ll have to be careful, but for now…

{Felicity, My name is Claire. Do you remember how you felt a few minutes ago?}

Felicity looked up and around the room suspiciously, “Elienor Ojou-Sama? Are you hiding from Pet?”

Elienor… probably that noble girl who was combing her tail before EvilGod showed up… I need to hurry this along so they don’t get impatient.

{Felicity, I’m not hiding, I’m inside your head… You could think of me as a friend whose always been with you.}

Lying to her is a bit… but I don’t mean any harm, and I can explain more properly later. For now, I need to figure out who George is, and how exactly I need to “nudge” him, and do that all before a God gets impatient.

“A friend in Pet’s head?” The field of view suddenly skewed, indicating Felicity had likely tilted her head to the side in confusion.

{That’s right. I’ve been watching you for a long time. That person you saw earlier, he made it so I could finally talk to you.}

I felt a wave of hopeful joy coming from my host, which made me feel a bit bad, given that I was basically deceiving her at the moment. I could feel the odd sensation of ears I had never had before twitching excitedly, “Pet has another friend…?”

Oof. I’ll bet she only considers this Elienor person and Stahlia to be her friends. Well, I don’t mind actually being her friend, that would likely work out for the best anyways.

My thoughts confirmed I sent another line to Felicity, {Yep! I’m your new friend. Like I said, my name is Claire!}

The feelings of hopeful Joy I had been getting transformed into full-on happiness, and Felicity did a happy little dance. After a moment, however, the happiness faded and Felicity got a bit sad. I had an inkling about what was getting her down, so I hazarded a guess.

{Just because you don’t see me doesn’t mean we can’t have fun together. We can talk, and I know lots of stories I can tell you when you’re bored.}

It would appear that I was correct about the cause of Felicity’s sudden depression, as she quickly perked up following my statement. “Claire Nee-San knows lots of stories?” This was accompanied by a hopeful sensation. Getting used to feeling another person’s emotions is going to take some time… At least it seems that it only goes the one way, other than when I got really sad and she started crying… But even then, it sounded like it was just the physiological reaction. Still, I need to get a move on with my assignment.

Given that EvilGod thinks I can do something, that means George must be in Pet’s vicinity. Hmm. Stahlia is basically confirmed to be a reincarnation, but they were reacting to the Japanese. George never struck me as much of a fellow weeb, though he was versed in internet culture. Stahlia’s also got different parts than George, as far as I’m aware. She might have a penis… that is another popular trope…

“Can Claire tell Pet a story now…?” I figured I should put my Fujoshi ramblings aside and properly deal with the situation at hand.

{Not right away, how about later tonight? For now, can you tell me a bit about Stahlia and Dominic, Felicity?}

At the mention of Dominic’s name, I felt a cold rage and hatred emanate from Felicity. She apparently absolutely despised him and given their first interactions, I could hardly blame her. Felicity slowly shook her head no, “The bad man is a bad man. He stinks, and he did something to Stahlia Nee-San!” Oh? He did something to her? This sounded promising, though it might not be all that much, it was a lead.

{Right, Felicity, do you know what the bad man did to Stahlia Nee-San?} Felicity paused and lifted her arm up and placed a hand on her chin. After thinking for a moment, she shook her head, “No, just that Stahlia Nee-San smells like him sometimes!”

…Right. Let’s not go there. Still, I didn’t have very many hints about this, so diffing further into it would probably be a good idea. I was especially curious what Felicity meant when she said Dominic “smelled bad”. But describing a smell almost never worked with children, even most adults would likely struggle to do it well. “The Bad Smell smells bad!” was too much of a redundant line to be useful. I could probably do that memory recall thing, and experience the smell for myself, but just going through Felicity’s memories felt wrong.

{…Felicity… Can I look at your memories for a moment? I just want to see what the bad man smells like.} It feels kind of dirty. No, it is dirty. Asking a child to consent to something so invasive… There’s no way she would be able to understand what I’m asking her. Still, this was the fastest way to get what I needed, and once I was done with EvilGod’s quest, I would never ask her something like this again. After all, if I failed to work within my current limits, they might just forcibly merge our souls.

Felicity appeared to give my question some serious thought, much to her credit. Eventually though, she consented in a tone that indicated she lacked understanding of the gravity of my request, “Alright, go ahead! But Claire Nee-San needs to tell Pet a story later!”

I grit my nonexistent teeth and, for lack of a better term, sent a “request” to Felicity’s memories for the information I wanted. The olfactory memory that I was presented with was truly foul. Something like a mix of sweat, rotten eggs, and fetid meat. I felt a wave of nausea wash over me, and Felicity’s stomach lurched causing her to cough. That’s fucking foul. Stahlia smells like this sometimes? Never mind what I was thinking earlier. Something is definitely going on.

{Thank you, Felicity. I’m sorry I made you sick just now} Indeed, the fact that I had reacted to the stench memory so strongly that it got sent across the link… I would have to investigate if there was a way to “mimic” the wall that I had smashed. A mental barrier of sorts. Not only to protect Felicity from my own reactions when they went out of control but also to have the option of affording her some privacy; it seemed that all of her emotions were transmitted to me, no matter how slight. Living with someone in your head who knew what you were feeling at all times… I could think of a few shows and manga with a similar premise, and they were all dystopic. I wonder what my coefficient is, after everything I’ve done to this poor girl… Over three hundred for sure.

Still, I was starting to get the picture of what was going on. Most likely, Dominic was influencing Stahlia. I couldn’t be certain which one of them was George, but I was leaning towards Stahlia. I would have to coach Felicity through a conversation or two and try to surreptitiously question Stahlia before I could be certain.

{Well Felicity, I’ll make sure to tell you a very good story later ok? But for now, can you tell me a story? I want to know more about Stahlia Nee-San you see.}

Like a typical child, Felicity’s emotions were a constant ebb and flow. When I told her I would tell her a good story, she was excited. Then immediately sad after I told her it would be later. Then when I asked about Stahlia she got smug and happy. She opened her mouth to speak but I quickly cut her off.

{Wait, try thinking about what you want to tell me, instead of saying it. Don’t you think you might look silly talking to yourself?} Felicity seemed to think long and hard about what I said. It was adorable how she got all serious at the most seemingly random things. Actually, it wasn’t random; she seemed to seriously consider everything I was asking her. No matter if she understood it fully or not. Frankly, that’s a good trait to have. She’ll only get more careful as she grows up and learns more about the world. I need to make sure to foster this mentality of hers.

“Pet isn’t talking to herself. She’s talking to Claire Nee-San!” She seemed to be exceedingly pleased with that answer if the emotions I was reading were any indication. Right… how best to get around this… I hit upon an idea.

{Yes, but if you think about what you want to say instead of saying it loud, then you can have a secret conversation, like a spy!}

A sense of excitement emanated from Felicity, “Like a Spy!? You mean Pet can be like Jacqueline Ohime-Sama!?” Hold up. What now? I knew Jacqueline was doing some behind-the-scenes work for Stahlia from that report I overheard bits of… but like, she’s an actual spy? And doesn’t Felicity have the titles a bit backward? Her owner is an older sister, a noble girl is just a rich girl, and now the maid is a goddamn princess?

Leaving aside the new discoveries for later, I addressed Felicity again, {Yep! Just like Jacqueline Ohime-Sama}

Felicity paused for a moment, then tentatively “thought at me”.

{Can… Can Claire Nee-San hear Pet…?}

I intentionally pushed a bit of my satisfaction towards her, which caused her to stiffen slightly. Right, I should explain I can share emotions with her. I’ll refrain from telling her that her own emotions also get shared until she’s a bit older. I wouldn’t want to cause her to try and repress her feelings out of misplaced fear of me getting upset.

{Yes, Felicity, I can hear you. Now, can you tell me about Stahlia?} Felicity radiated happiness, and proceeded to telepathically communicate all of her impressions of Stahlia; how she was the best older sister she could ask for, how she was so happy to have been saved by Stahlia, how Stahlia being with Dominic made her anxious, and how Stahlia had forbidden her from going outside, which made her upset, but she figured there must have been a reason. Accompanying the deluge of thought communications, were occasional flashes of memories that were of particular importance. So memories can be transmitted involuntarily. At least, I highly doubt that Felicity is sending me these on purpose.

Honestly, this nekomimi girl practically worships Stahlia… It’s a little bit creepy. But ordering her not to leave the estate grounds? Even to the point of utilizing the slave magic? That’s a bit… I don’t know if George would have done something like that, he was a bit full of himself, but he was otherwise a normal above average student. If he did, then there must have been a very big reason.

Likely, if it was such a big reason, Felicity had most probably not been told about it. She was only five after all. Still, I doubted it was something so simple as the nobles not liking mimi-kin. If that was all it was, then simply announcing that Felicity was the property of another noble should be sufficient. I most likely won’t be able to figure it out without finding some way of appraising Felicity, if something like that even exists.

Of course, the easiest method would be to simply ask Stahlia herself, but until I knew for sure I could trust her, that was a big no-no. I could hardly have Felicity demand reasons for orders her master had felt the need to invoke the slave contract over. Not without revealing myself, and that was a big risk.

Stahlia picked that moment to enter the room. Right, I need to make sure that Felicity doesn-

“Stahlia Nee-San! Okaeri! Guess what! Guess what! Pet made a friend! You can’t see her because she lives in Pet’s head. Her name is Claire!” FUCK! This was probably the worst-case scenario. Now the ball was completely out of my hands and firmly in Stahlia’s court. How will she react…?

Stahlia’s eyes flashed wide and she stared at Felicity closely. After a moment of hesitating, she shot a look at Jacqueline, who had lost an arm since I saw her last. Jacqueline nodded, and spoke a word in a language I couldn’t recognize, “[#######]”.

Even with Felicity’s keen hearing, I could no longer hear anything outside of the room. So that’s some sort of sound isolation spell. I guess magic exists, as expected. My attention snapped back to the present as I heard Stahlia’s words, “Jacqueline. Go make tea and close your ears.”

The words were cold. Nothing like how I had heard her speak the last time I saw her a few hours ago, from my perspective at least. Stahlia waited for Jacqueline to leave the immediate vicinity and stuff some small pegs in her ears. Stahlia then turned her attention to Felicity and narrowed her eyes. I gulped my non-existent throat. I felt a bit of fear coming from Felicity, as memories flashed from her to me unbidden. Memories of the only other time she had seen Stahlia acting like this; the day she was purchased.

After watching Felicity for an uncomfortably long amount of time, Stahlia’s eyes briefly flashed. Then, enunciating the words very carefully, as if they had not been used in a very long time; Stahlia spoke in English, “Hay Pro-fess-or C. How is it go-ing?”

The voice was lilting, much cuter and higher pitched than I remembered, but there was no mistaking the nickname. Only one self-absorbed student had ever dared call me that.

Next chapter will conclude this Claire/Pet "mini-arc". Chapter is called "Dear Diary, Today We Planned Ahead." After that, it's back to Stahlia where we will briefly follow up on her immediate reaction to finding Claire, then go back to Ris for the winter break. Who knows what might happen after she gains some breathing room for a couple months?

So we hit 1k total readers, and 100k total views! A massive thank you to all of you who are sticking with the story, despite a bit of rockiness at the end of the last arc.

I would like to take the oppurtunity to ask my readers to consider leaving an honest review of the story as it currently stands, whether that be 1 star, 5 stars, or any amount in between.

Spoiler

I have something that's bothered me a little bit that I just want to get off my chest. A few people might have noticed that Tricked recently got its third review, and the first sub five star one. Now, I'm not upset about the rating. I think that, given the reviewer's subjective opinions, the rating is fair. What I have an issue with, is the last paragraph in the review, which accuses me of blocking them for giving critique...

Anyone who goes through my comments sections can see that I don't fucking do that. My typical response to Critique is to engage in good faith. Half the chapter comments are from me responding to people. I don't ban harsh critics, and to date, I have only banned four users (that reviewer is one of them, they were actually blocked, just not for the reason they gave). Still, having only three reviews, and the only one that isn't five stars accuses me of curating, is not a good look for the story.

To that end, I would like to ask you all to consider leaving a review. Positive or negative, give your honest thoughts. I would rather have twenty one, two, and three star reviews and take a rating hit, than have only one three star review making a spurious accusation.

FWIW, I have reported the review but mods have either chosen to side with the reviewer, or haven't gotten around to checking the report yet. Either way, it's been about 48 hours at time of writing. Keep in mind that Scribble Hub has a zero tolerance policy for harassment, so do not go after this guy. That policy is why I'm not going into detail about why I blocked him, and just acknowledging that he has actually been blocked.

The spurious allegation has been removed from the review, the above text is no longer relivant, though I will leave it in order to maintain a visible record of events.

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