I’m Not Even an Otome Game Mob Character - Chapter 30
That day, I took a shower and slept at the cottage. I thought it would be okay.
I sent a wind bird to my parents telling them I’d spend the night here. Since it was Ojou’s birthday, the people at the kitchen were able to set some dinner aside for me. Once I entered the cottage I wiped myself down and changed my clothes. Nothing was out of place for me.
The next day, Dad, who’d received word of my staying here, went to the cottage and peeked inside my bedroom.
Though I noticed he was there I stayed in bed, not even raising my body.
I really thought I was gonna wait for him in the gardens.
My mind was somewhat dim. While I was wondering why I didn’t feel cold at all, Dad looked at my face.
My world went dark. It was Dad eagle-gripping the top of my forehead. Am I gonna get iron-clawed for sleeping in?
(TN: I think it’s a reference. If you know feel free to comment :))
I thought he’d raise me by my head just like that, but instead Dad wrapped me in the blanket and carried me on his shoulder. I was like luggage.
He carried me down to the first floor of the cottage. His periodic swaying and rhythmic steps lulled me to sleep.
I’m interrupting his work…
With guilty and frustrated feelings, I lost to the waves of sleepiness and let go of my consciousness.
The next time I opened my eyes, I was in my bedroom at my house. The familiar cushion comforted me, but I looked around since I didn’t know how much time had passed.
I shift my gaze from the ceiling to my side where my Mom is. Trying to talk with my dizzy head is tough.
I feel like all the water in my body has evaporated. The dryness of my mouth makes it hard to form words. I should be sweaty but I’m not sticky. It looks like my Mom wiped me down while I was asleep.
“There’s water. Wanna drink?”
I push my body up sluggishly and sit on the bed. Mom pours water into a cup from a pitcher and gives it to me. When I put my mouth on it, the water is warm. I think this is boiled water or something.
I drank until my throat didn’t feel dry anymore. Mom waited for me to finish before taking the cup back and asking.
“Would you eat if there was food?”
After getting confirmation that I was hungry, Mom smiled and said that she’d arrange it. And she patted my head.
“I’ll wake you up when there is. Sleep for now.”
I obeyed her and put the blanket back on. I thought I slept quite a bit, but when I lay back down my eyelids get heavy again.
“Zac. You pushed yourself, didn’t you?”
Her voice sounds more amused than angry. I answer with my eyes closed.
“I – didn’t.”
I only did what I could do. I practice martial arts because I want to. I also decided to be her dance partner. And neither Master nor Era-sensei gives me too much work.
“It was the young lady’s birthday yesterday, wasn’t it? Did you use magic before sending that bird?”
“I – mean…”
I only wanted to show her a big rainbow because I could and the time was right. I did use almost all my magic power, but the bird could fly so I thought it was okay. I wonder if using all your MP causes your immune system to go down.
“Even if these aren’t very big things on their own, you have to push yourself to do your best at every single one of them. Zac, you always try your best don’t you?”
She caresses my head and tells me I take after my Dad in that department.
“Even though you’re already working, you still do things when you have a day off.”
Does she mean me showing Leo around? Or my part-time job with Daniel-sama? Or the times people ask me to look after their kids?
I just let Leo play with the kids. My part-time job lets me eat sweets and see their garden so it’s kinda like I’m just playing around. Even babysitting only takes a little while so it’s nothing difficult.
I thought of everything but nothing seemed likely. Before I could open my mouth to deny her, she poked my cheek so I couldn’t speak.
“There it is. The things you thought of just now are stretching you out.”
Mom points to the fact that I was able to think of things at all when she said that. I furrow my brows, partly because I’m trying to keep my eyes open.
I’ve just been playing. For that to already be too much, I feel like my stamina is lacking and it’s frustrating. Especially because I’m training.
Mom meets my frustrated eyes and smiles gentle.
“What are you in such a rush for?”
She’s completely right. I don’t wonder how she guessed it, maybe because I’m sick.
“I’ll definitely regret it…”
Ojou is honing herself through practice. Day by day, she becomes more and more impressive. I can do nothing for her but watch from the side. If that’s the case I’d at least like to do the things I can do properly, so I can be even a little bit more proud of myself.
I promised to hurry and become a gardener. I don’t know if I can make it in time. On the other hand, Ojou has it all together. If I don’t do everything I can she’ll definitely leave me behind.
I’ve had enough of regretting the things I didn’t do in my past life.
Mom says in a kind voice. Even though her tone is normal, it sounds so confident.
“It’s alright so go back to sleep until you’re better.”
I mutter under my breath. If Mom says it’s alright then it sure will be. I relax and fall asleep.
And for two whole days I didn’t do anything but sleep, eat and drink. A nearby doctor took a look at me and said I’d get better with rest. I told him that I was sick because I fell in a pond. The old doc looked speechless, wondering why I did that in this season.
On the morning of the third day, I said I felt better. My Mom put her hand on my forehead, felt a slight fever and told me to rest more just in case. Since that’s what she said, Dad went ahead to work at the Ernst mansion.
Being asleep is one thing, but when my mind is clear and my body is primed, there’s no way I wouldn’t feel bored. I’d slept enough so I no longer felt like laying down. So I took advantage of the fact that I was alone in my room to stretch and do some training.
In the middle of my training, I suddenly remembered. Some time ago, when I went for my part-time job, Annika-sama worried about me because my face was pale.
I thought she’d mistaken me for the sickly Elias, but she might’ve just been worrying about whether I was tired or not like my Mom.
I just brushed her off, saying I was fine.
“I did a bad thing…”
Gotta apologize next time I see her. I should bring something as thanks for worrying about me.
I finish the set that’s been set for me by Master and there’s nothing left to do. So I go downstairs and call Mom.
“Mom, is there anything I can help with?”
“Zac. I knew you weren’t resting.”
She turns around and says to me exasperatedly.
“I’m tired of sleeping all the time. I wanna do something so my body doesn’t get sloppy.”
“There’s no helping it then.”
Mom accepted that I wasn’t going to sit still. She asked me to run an errand for food.
I put on winter clothes and left the house. The weather was nice and the sky was clear. I stretched my limbs while bathing in the sunlight and started to walk. I’d been shut in my house for two whole days, so the fresh air felt nice albeit cold.
I went to market street and there were a lot of people like always. It wasn’t that hard to navigate since it was still morning, but once noon hits, people will get to line up for restaurants. For a while there will even be sandwich stalls. It’ll be hard to walk against the crowd.
If I recall correctly, the auntie running the greengrocer said that she’d made a deal with the bread shop and butchery, and that’s how she was able to sell sandwiches. But it seemed like they were struggling to advertise the sandwich stalls that come out at noon. Or they weren’t advertising them enough.
Among my list of errands was an errand for that grocer so I quickly went to buy something for her. I decided which order I would visit the shops in, and turned to go to them.
I hear a voice I remember, stop and turn around.
But the owner of the voice isn’t there. Only a traffic of people going their own ways.
There’s no way she’d be here. But there’s also no way I’d mistake that voice.
The fact that I heard her voice but couldn’t see her gave me chills.
I look around the direction the voice came from. It was only an instant, but I saw a thunderbolt around the sky at an entrance to an alleyway.
I headed towards it immediately. A bolt from the blue.
Ojou has a lot of magical power but she’s never used it to attack another person before. Seeing her lightning attribute here is the worst thing that could’ve happened.
I arrived exactly where the thunder spirits had been gathering.
I saw Katherine-san flanked by five grown men in a desolate alleyway with nobody around, Ojou in tow.
Katherine-san had her arms spread, trembling in front of Ojou as if to be her shield from three of the men. Around her was a semicircle of thunder.
Ojou must’ve put it up while hiding behind her.
Katherine-san was glaring at the men. And though they were moist, Ojou’s pale blue eyes were fixed on her opponents without a single tear leaking.
The instant I saw those teary blue eyes, my mind went red.
“Don’t let your guard down! Keep your thunder up!!”
She saw me and I yelled at her before she let her guard down from relief. It wouldn’t be good if she let that membrane down in this situation. It was forcing the men to keep their distance from her.
Though startled and afraid, Ojou renewed her efforts and maintained the thunder membrane.
Before me and behind her were three people, before Ojou were two. There was one more in the middle wearing a relaxed expression. His eyes were used to looking down on people. He must’ve been something like their leader.
I don’t know if they’re trying to extort or kidnap her, but I can definitely feel their malice. All of them were well-built. Doing this in a place with no people meant that they very well could have been kidnappers into extortion or human trafficking.
They’re letting their guards down because we’re children. We have to escape now, while they’re still underestimating us.
“Who’s this brat…!?”
I threw decently-sized rocks I had picked up along the way at the three men in front of me, aiming right between their eyes. Master taught me to use nearby objects as weapons since I don’t have the reach of an adult.
As they stumble and clutch their foreheads, I dash towards Ojou.
“Katherine-san, Ojou, get down!”
Katherine-san takes Ojou right away to cover her and ducks.
With the momentum of my run I throw stones at the last two.
I throw them right through Ojou’s thunder barrier. The rocks get infused with electricity and work like stunguns. The two men raise their voices in shock and collapse.
“Katherine-san, can you take Ojou and run?”
Even though she’s trembling and I know I’m asking too much of her, I take a knee, meet her eyes and ask.
Katherine-san clenches her trembling hands, takes a deep breath and stops her shaking.
Katherine-san nods boldly, takes Ojou and stands. Ojou holds onto her tightly.
“Ojou, don’t let that down yet.”
I tell her before extending my hand towards Katherine-san. Of course, when I pass through the thunder membrane I feel pain. Rather than being shocked, it’s more like I’m getting a strong sensation of needles piercing me.
“Zac, your hand…!?”
“…It’s fine! Katherine-san, can you take my hand? It shouldn’t hurt.”
Ojou screamed, but I reminded her to not dispell the magic and extended my hand towards Katherine. She shouldn’t feel as much if she takes my hand. Well, I did feel something so she might feel something too, but I guess there’s no need to worry since we’re both wearing gloves.
“I’m taking you someplace with people. Don’t let go.”
I saw Katherine-san take my hand and go back through the three people I passed through. Because of Ojou’s electric membrane, the three got shocked as we passed by and couldn’t quite move.
I didn’t know if they had any other people, so I couldn’t relax. I ran away carefully so Katherine-san wouldn’t trip. She’s holding Ojou so we can’t go too fast, but it’s better than not going any faster at all.
The second we arrive at market street I shout.
“Kidnappers! Someone call the soldiers!!”
About half of the people turn towards me. Ojou dispells the barrier, startled by my shout.
The rest is history. Several people come out from the shops and someone calls the cops. Men arrive, ropes in hand. They head down the alleyway after my explanation to arrest the criminals. Some auntie passing by worried for Ojou and Katherine-san, so she accompanies them until the soldiers arrive.
I felt as if some time had passed in my rush to escape, but in reality that must’ve only taken a dozen minutes or so. I let myself relax and sit down until they arrive.
Once they do, Ojou and Katherine-san are taken to the nearest station for protection. I’m taken with them for questioning.
An old soldier worried about the wound I showed him as I told him about what had hapened. He had the combat medic look at it. The burns around my wrist would turn into reasonable blisters so I was advised not to pop them. But when I look I really get the urge to do so. What should I do? I have to control myself. He also said that the numbness in my hand would go away after a while. And that just in case, I should come by again a few days later for a checkup.
As I was being questioned, I wondered whether I should leave it at this. But I wanted to call my Mom so I told them who I was. The soldier uncle rebuked me, saying kids shouldn’t be so rash, and promised to let Mom know.
Ojou and Katherine had made to wait at the station until someone came. Knowing I, an employee of the house was probably also worried, the uncle soldier let me see them.
They were having drinks in a cozy place that must’ve been the reception room. From the sweet scent, it was probably hot chocolate.
Once I come in, Ojou widens her eyes, puts down her cup and dashes towards me.
“Are you alright!? Your hand…”
“I’m fine. It’s just a little numb.”
I took advantage of how the bandage couldn’t be seen under my sleeves, smiling and moving my hand for her to see. I did plunge it into magic so I’m just getting what I deserve. So I don’t want her to worry.
As if trying to see through what I said, she looks to my hand, then my face, then my hand again and my face. It seemed like she couldn’t really accept it, but she was relieved that I was okay.
When I looked over to Katherine-san, the space below her eyes was red as if she’d been crying.
“Katherine-san, great job. You did good.”
“…No, not at all.”
Even though it was unreasonable for a young girl, Katherine-san did her best for Ojou’s sake. She was strong even when she was scared. If she hadn’t moved there we wouldn’t have been able to escape.
She acted modest and her eyes moistened a little bit. Her expresion told me it was from guilt.
I had expected her to be guilty. Turning my eyes back to Ojou, I ask soberly.
“So, what were you doing in a place like that?”
Ojou’s shoulders trembled looking at me.
“…I-I- wanted to visit you…”
“Without telling anyone, without even bringing a bodyguard?”
“…But Roy-sama also comes downtown doesn’t he!?”
She shouted in protest, but I calmly replied.
“Leo tells people and he brings his bodyguard. Besides, he comes because he can also defend himself to some degree.”
Ojou is silent for a while. Katherine-san tries to defend her, but I ask her to keep quiet with my eyes.
She’s looking down. I kneel to meet her eyes and grab her hands.
I call to her. She looks at me, terribly afraid. I look back and tell her.
“Please be aware of how cute and pretty you are.”
Ojou’s cheeks dye themselves thinking that I’m poking fun at her, but I tell her with my eyes that I’m being serious.
“People who know you like Katherine-san and I know that you’re pretty and cute both inside and outside. But even people who don’t know you will see that you’re cute and pretty.”
She’s confused. Not sure where I was going with this.
“There are many people who think that cute and pretty things are things that have value. For those people, you’re like a gem – they see you as just a thing. Weren’t their eyes scary?”
Ojou shakes for a second and nods, remembering those eyes that didn’t see fellow human beings when they saw her.
“Among the people you don’t know, there are people who don’t see you as a fellow person. So please take care of yourself.”
“…I’ll be careful.”
“Yes. Thank you.”
She bites down on her lower lip hard and says resolutely. I let out a smile of relief from hearing that.
This is the perfect opportunity. I’ll let her know this too.
“You see, Ojou. I’ve wanted to invite you downtown for a long time now.”
“But I couldn’t guarantee your safety. So I thought about getting stronger, which is why I’ve been training under ma-Heins-san.”
I smiled. How foolish. Ojou looked like this was a bolt from the blue for her.
“But that wasn’t enough. I should have told you and we should have thought about it togeher… I’m sorry for letting you be afraid.”
If I had told her in advance, she wouldn’t have done something like this. This is the consequence of not talking about the hard stuff with her. It’s so pathetic, I really don’t feel like I’m truly smiling.
Ojou shakes her head in denial. She must be blaming herself.
I notice that the numbness in my hands had worn down, so I grip Ojou’s hands lightly so it doesn’t hurt. Giving her my warmth.
“I’ve been training, but… I never wanted things to go like this.”
My training feels like a club activity. I don’t want to have to actually apply it. I’ve never thought that even a bit. I wish I’d never had to for all my life.
I don’t know what face to make, so I bury my forehead in her shoulder so she can’t see it.
“I was so scared.”
I thought Ojou would go away. That was so scary.
When I found her, I felt so angry at the men that I almost wanted to kill them. My head was filled with red. But that was just to keep the fear away.
I could’ve lost this warmth in my hands just now.
I don’t want to be so scared again.
“…I’m sorry. I’m sorry Zac.”
I feel her shaking above my forehead and in her voice. I turn to her and see Ojou sobbing.
“I won’t make you cry again, Zac…”
She says bravely, even with tears falling from her face and body heaving with sobs.
“But you’re the one who’s crying.”
I somehow smiled.
This is partially because she’s been holding it in until now. Still, I brush her forehead because I shouldn’t have made her cry.
“You must’ve been scared too.”
“I- I was…”
I was trying to calm her down, but it seemed to have the opposite effect. The dam broke and she cried even more. Then she pushed her forehead onto my chest and wailed.
She grips my clothes as if to make sure I’m there and I pat her back to tell her it’s alright.
I stay with her until she calms down, but she cries herself to sleep. She’s not letting go of my clothes so I carry her and we sit down on the sofa she was on. Katherine-san takes out a handkerchief and wipes Ojou’s eyes.
While I wondered what I should do, the door opened and I saw someone I knew behind the soldiers.
“Sorry I’m late.”
The Duke brought master, his butler Heins-san with him to pick up Ojou. Katherine-san stood up right away, stepped to the side of the sofa and bowed her head. I couldn’t move since Ojou was clinging to me so I didn’t know what to do.
The Duke walked up to me like water, took a knee and traced the outline of Ojou’s sleeping face with his palm.
“Poor girl… it must’ve been so scary.”
The Duke purses his lips looking at her teary face in sympathy.
His words gave me a heavy sense of guilt. I tightly bite my lips and keep them closed.
“I’m glad you’re safe Isaac. Good job escaping.
I’d braced to be scolded. Instead I ended up gaping as he stroked my head.
The Duke smiled curiously at my reaction.
“Katherine and Isaac are both precious employees of our house. Why wouldn’t I be glad you’re safe?”
I never thought he’d worry about me, so I was surprised. Even though he’s just smiling gently, the Duke looks awfully reliable. At the same time, I remember that we’re children and get a little embarrassed.
“Th-Thank you very much. I’m sorry for making you worry.”
I had to somehow thank him even though my cheeks were getting hotter. That heat came from gladness. Gladness that I worked for the Ernst house – gladness that filled my chest with heat.
The Duke seemed satisfied with my answer. He somehow gets Ojou’s hands off me and carries her up.
“Now then, I want to prioritize Dia first so I’ll be going back home.”
I stand up straight with a snap.
“Yes, please do!”
Then I bend my body in a 90 degree bow. The Duke’s amused voice comes from above.
“Then take care on your way home.”
I panicked and called out to him. He turned around gracefully.
“What is it?”
“I know you’re busy, but can I please have some of your time? I have something to discuss.”
“Got it. Another day.”
Then the Duke left. I sighed softly with relief.
The Duke makes time for me even quicker than I’d expected. He calls for me on the evening of the next day while I’m working.
Master guides me to his study. It feels like I’m being called to the principal’s office. Only people who do something amazing or amazingly stupid are called there. Though I never did either of those in my previous life so I never came.
I greet him and enter the room. The Duke smiles, letting me know that I don’t have to be nervous. He’s glittery and sparkly and I realize that there’s no way a principal could be this young, so I relax. Even though we’re in a room his blond hair is dazzling.
“So then, what did you want to discuss?”
From behind his desk the Duke smiles and asks.
“Before that, I’m very sorry for the incident yesterday!”
I bow my head deeply and apologize.
“In the first place I’ve been neglecting my own body even though you’re allowing me to work for you, and that’s why that happened. I didn’t make sure to tell her that it’s dangerous downtown, either…”
I was making my case with my head down when I heard an airy pffft sound.
I raise my head to see the Duke laughing from his throat and tilted my head, not sure why he was.
“No, sorry. I was just thinking that you’re a good kid.”
I really don’t feel like he’s praising me when he’s trying to hold in his laugh like that.
“I’m the one who decided it’d be best for her to be with you. I should be the one apologizing. It’s the parent’s job to teach their child about what’s dangerous. Via got mad at me, saying that she took after me in a bad way.”
The Duke smiles bitterly. If he says all that, I can’t apologize any more than this.
That’s enough for this incident, the Duke declares.
“Well then, what else did you want to discuss?”
“Please give Ojou… Lydia-sama, bodyguards.”
I’m taking time from the busy duke, so I get straight to the point with my request.
The duke’s eyes widen. They’re pale blue, like Ojou’s.
“I’ve heard from ma-Heins-san, that you’ve been planning on giving her bodyguards. I wouldn’t want anything like yesterday to happen again, so please give her some as fast as possible.”
“No, I wouldn’t.”
I can’t think deeply. So I just want to avoid what I don’t like. If something is too hard to do on my own, I’ll want help. That’s all.
“I see… you wouldn’t.”
The Duke repeats my words and smiles again as if something is funny. While Ojou would call me an idiot and get mad at me, did the Duke find it funny? But I’m trying to be serious here.
After laughing for a little bit, the Duke opens his mouth.
“No problem. I’ll see. I’ve been wanting to get some faster myself.”
“Thank you very much!”
My face shines at his answer.
“…You won’t say you’ll protect her yourself?”
“Hm? It’s more important for her to be happy.”
Rather than a question it was more like he was muttering to himself. It was so absurd that I replied on reflex
The Duke widens his eyes and laughs at my blank look. Again, he calls me a good kid.
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