“We are finally doing this, huh?”. I told Letty as we approached the sitting room where the journalists are currently gathered. In the past, I easily avoided such public exposure as I was considered a minor. Even so, just by the words of my dad alone, my name was all over the kingdom.
Only God knows what will happen now that I’m actually holding an interview.
“We are here, Aria. And it’s not like there are a lot of people in the room, I only invited three. So, just relax”, she comforted me.
Only three people, who are waiting to put me in the spotlight in front of thousands of people. It’s a good thing that there are no cameras in this world…yet.
Seeing my unfazed nervousness, she moved closer, lightly hugged me, and said, “There, there. Teacher used to hug and pat me like this when I was too stiff before an important meeting”, while patting the back of my head.
Well, this is nice…But Mom never patted me before…Meh, who needs her headpats when I have my Letty.
“Okay, let’s get this over with. And remember to act professional when we enter the door”, I reminded her not to make any slip-ups that might give away our relationship. Letty isn’t ready to become a noble yet.
Mom has been nudging her to make up her mind about our engagement lately. I bet she plans on dumping her work on Letty once she becomes a noble. Let’s not go off topic and focus on the task ahead.
“Yeah, you don’t need to remind me”
With that, I took a long breath and opened the room. I composed my expressions in order to mask my nervousness. I took long steps to project confidence despite the turmoil in my heart.
“Greetings, Lady Ernius. It’s an honor to be able to conduct this interview”, the three of them said in unison.
“Likewise. As you already know, I’m Aria Ernius, the president of Alteria Innovations. And this lady behind me is Lady Letica, she is our company’s treasurer and a trusted acquaintance”. I introduced ourselves as per etiquette.
“Greetings, Lady Letica”
After the pleasantries, the interview commenced. And oh girl, am I impressed. Letty is so good at answering these questions. I know for a fact that she didn’t rehearse any of those answers because she was busy getting me prepared. They keep asking questions about our shop, our company, and our competitor, Rose Emporium. Letty kept answering them effortlessly. When the questions get a little personal, she skillfully deflects them and steers the conversation towards the topic at hand. All I had to do was say a few lines at max and Letty handled the rest.
“Now, Lady Aria, we would like to hear your side on the recent uproar of rumors about stealing ideas”
“All such rumors are groundless… And as Let- Lady Letica explained, all products in my store are either a result of our team’s collaboration or we have secured the selling rights from their inventors themselves. You can also find due credit to their creators on products that are not owned by my company”, I replied.
Then, the interview moved on from rumors to just me.
“Here is a long-awaited question. At the mere age of eleven, when most of the kids just start to realize their dreams, how did you come up with Mana-comm? And even after the launch, why was there so much secrecy around you?”, one of the journalists asked.
There it is. I even rehearsed an answer for this.
“Well, I was just a little girl who missed her mother dearly when she moved to the academy. I thought that it would be magical if I was able to talk with my Mom despite being miles away from home. And so I started my search for long-distance communication using Mana. I knew it was possible due to the presence of skills like telepathy, it was just a matter of time before someone figured it out. I was just lucky enough to stumble across some good inspiration”, I said.
Hehe, bet you didn’t see that coming. This should paint my image as a shy genius who loves her family dearly.
“And for your second question, I just got lucky with the invention of Mana-comm and didn’t want people to get the wrong idea. So I chose to work on my skills and focused on my studies, so that one day I might be worthy of people’s expectations”. Heh, now they would think I’m a saint who doesn’t care about glory like a typical noble does.
Now will you stop asking me anymore questions and go back to the shop related stuff? I haven’t rehearsed any more answers.
“Onto my next question, a large group of people believe that Mana-comm wasn’t invented by you, it was bought with your money and influence. Such rumors escalated because of your lack of appearance and no new mention of any inventions for more than five years after Mana-comm’s emergence. How do you feel about such rumors?”, he asked.
What? Are we really going back to that thing again? At that time, I was just chilling and having fun after working my butt off on Mana-comm. Why do they want more? Aren’t you satisfied with what I did already? Even with the limited knowledge that I had from my past life, it was an extremely intricate task to design its three storey stacked mana circuits.
Sensing my hesitation to answer, Letty stepped in,
“I must interject here. It’s disheartening to hear such groundless rumors about our President. The Royal Academy has all the proof you need to prove her legitimacy. So please don’t believe such rumors that disregards all her work and the countless hours of effort that she spent on her craft”
Aww, if it makes her this upset, maybe I should start upholding my honor as well. I shouldn’t let some random nobodies make light of my hard work.
But she didn’t stop there,
“In fact, a lot of people might not know this, but she shared the research papers regarding Mana-comm’s inner workings so that others could use this knowledge and improve upon it. She said everyone, including common people, should be able to use this miraculous technology. She could have kept it all to herself and easily accumulated more wealth than one could ever imagine, but she didn’t. She wanted to make everyone’s life easier by reducing the price of those devices to the bare minimum. And yet… the same people are tarnishing her reputation. It is truly shameful!”. She raised her voice as she neared the end.
Letty is something else..
Are we still talking about me here? I mean, sure, I published my research and reduced the price of Mana-comm as soon as I got the chance. But I didn’t have such saintly beliefs back then. All I wanted was to push off the development process to others. And I already have more money than I could ever spend, earning more would only paint a target on my back for people’s jealousy.
Well, at least that stopped their barrage of questions.
“I apologize if I said something hurtful. It wasn’t my intention”
After that, he asked a few more personal questions about me and Letty, which we respectfully declined to answer. Especially the one about Letty’s identity. As such, the interview concluded, and all the rumors will hopefully die down now that they’ve heard from me.
“Phew, they are finally gone”, I said as I dropped down on the couch that we were sitting on.
“You did phenomenal, Letty. You were so good at answering their questions. Thank you so much! Also the last part, that was something else”
“Well, it was true…”, she said.
“Hah, you jest. Anyway, come here. I’ll reward you for your hard work”
I pulled her collar and deeply kissed her. She’s so sweet.
“Mnmm, wait. Teacher will be here any moment now that the journalists have left”, she said, after forcefully breaking out of my hold.
“Mou… alright. We’ll continue it later”
The next day, our interview was published in most of the well-known newspapers. It helped in clearing up my reputation as well as giving Letty a much needed exposure as our company’s treasurer. The articles highlighted my genius ideas and provided whatever proofs they managed to gather. Great, now I’m the talk of the town again. Just what I needed.
Even so, I’m happy with this bittersweet outcome and honestly, quite thankful to Letty for convincing me yesterday. Although I have a feeling that the saint thing is going to backfire.
Now that the launch was a success in a true sense, I can relax and get back to reading Jeremy’s diary before getting into the shop stuff once again. I am not stopping until Rose Emporium is out of business! Why do I feel like I am forgetting something? Oh right, the taser gun. Welp, I’ll finish it later. For now, let’s take Letty to my room and read the diary in one full stretch.
Also, on the day of launch, I completed my quest to develop gadgets. The rewards were like this:
Develop magical gadgets
90 EXP (For 9 magical gadgets) + 15 EXP (Bonus)
Now this bumped me up to level 4 and filled the next EXP bar halfway. Great!
Last time, I put my stat points in CHA and DEX. But this time, I know that I should have put them in INT, as it helps me control mana better, making it easier to construct magic circuits.
I also naturally gained points in INT and DEX during my time at the academy. DEX increases my concentration and basically improves the way I handle normal tasks. Its description is pretty vague as it is being taught in schools.
So now, my status looks like,
Name – Aria Ernius
Level – 4 (75/150 EXP)
Sex – Female
Age – 17
Class – Scholar (Magic Engineer)
Talent – A
HP – 20/20
MP – 20/20
STR – 10
AGL – 8
INT – 15
DEX – 12
CHA – 13
Now, let’s get to reading,
As I read past his childhood years, the entries started taking a shift from romance and debauchery to training, achievements, and debauchery. He was really power-hungry. At the young age of 20, he was able to defeat the captain of their squadron in some sort of duel.
The kingdom at that time was under the control of the military dictator. He was ordered to take on a near-impossible challenge by the dictator, who clearly wanted to get rid of a potential thorn in the bud. As he was forced to take on the mission, he wrote his will and everything before going off. He also hid his ‘Secret ring’, as he likes to call it, under some temple near his hometown so that no one would find it after he died. It was a storage ring that he used for important stuff and to hide his secrets.
That reminds me, where did I put my storage ring? I haven’t seen it ever since I got back from the academy. It must have mixed in with my other jewelry. I’ll have to ask Letty to find it for me later. Dad wouldn’t be happy if he found out that I lost his present.
He made some insider reference to the temple as his and Sally’s favorite makeout spot.
Honestly, I wish I hadn’t read the fine print under the temple’s drawing calling the basement a sex dungeon. Come on, in a temple’s basement, really? I won’t tell this to Letty.
He led his squad to monster territory as a last-ditch effort before the kingdom was forced to rely on suicide bombers to deal with the hideous monster that was causing havoc while nearing a large city.
This was his last entry. He was really prepared to die at that time. Unlike his usual character, he became all sentimental while writing his last entry in this diary.
What happened after that is the famous rebellion story recorded in every history book.
A miracle happened. To absolutely nobody’s expectation, Jeremy pulled through and defeated the monster with half of his squad still alive. This was the start of the biggest rebellion in the kingdom’s history.
His faction fought with the dictator’s faction and finally brought peace to this land. Although I don’t know how much to believe them, all that the historians like to do is glorify history. I’m surprised that there is no mention of his pervy character in any of these so-called history books.
Hah, as much as I wanted to tell Letty about all of his debaucheries, I didn’t, I told her a toned-down version of his acts. There is no need to break her illusion about the ‘Hero King’.
“So that ring, do you think it’s still under the temple?”. Letty asked.
“No way, that was 150 years ago…”. Then it dawned on me, “Oh God! This book! This book was supposed to be a clue for the original protagonist to find a powerful spell technique. How did it end up with us?”