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Chapter 65 – The smell of home is morning tea
"Good morning. Hmm? Diana's up too?"
"I always get up early. It’s just that I don't get out of bed."
"I don't think that counts as getting up…"
The next day, I found Diana idly drinking tea in the living room. It was still pretty early in the morning, around 7 o'clock. A fairly rare time to see Diana outside of her bedroom. She seemed to have low blood pressure, as she was not a morning person.
The other two servants of my mansion—Marina and Aurica—had usually completed two tasks each by this time. Breakfast had already been prepared too. I wasn't very good at mornings either, typically sleeping until 7 or so. And that was only because I had started to get up earlier because of the shop I ran in Erishe. Back when I was a pro NEET (though technically I still am one), it was normal for me to sleep all the way to lunch.
That's why—or rather, I had never seen Marina and Aurica sleep in once. Marina gave off more of a sloppy impression, but she always helped Aurica in the morning, either because she liked doing the chores around the mansion or she was used to it from living a poor lifestyle. Marina and Aurica were good friends and she seemed to get along with Diana too. Diana and Marina slept in the same bed every day too. That probably deepened their friendship.
…It was such a shame that I lost the timing to say "Master will sleep together with you!", though. I guess the hurdle was too high for a virgin – a virgin that's unfamiliar with roleplaying to do super roleplaying like that… even though I had more ambition than anyone else…
Aurica was working well every day too. She was up with the sun, fetching the water and airing out the rooms, lighting the furnace, cleaning the stables and feeding the horses, and even went to the village to prepare fresh eggs and vegetables. Lately, Marina had been helping with the water and horses. It was so charming to watch them work together like that.
I left the living room and headed for the dining room, just in time to catch Marina and Aurica harmoniously setting breakfast on the table.
"Aurica's 17th birthday is next week! Marina wants to celebrate it."
"Leave it to Marina. The silver coins from my liege were saved for this purpose."
"Eh? I'm happy but I'd feel bad. You can just give me a pretty stone."
It seemed like Aurica's birthday was approaching. And she wanted a pretty stone… Maybe it was a difference in culture but I couldn't tell if she was just being polite.
"That is not possible. The 17th birthday is special. Leave it to Marina."
Marina thumped her chest. Aurica couldn't do anything against the usually meek Marina once she adopted a big-sister role. They got along with each other well. Aurica seemed pretty attached to her too. Not to mention Marina still hadn't used the silver coins I gave her for New Years. Well, it was her freedom to use it on what she wanted.
I quietly returned to the living room and sat on the sofa. Then I called out to a sluggish Diana who sat across from me.
"Hey, Diana. I heard Marina and Aurica talking over there. Is the 17th birthday a special one here? Do you become adults at 17?"
"Umm, people usually become adults at 20… But 17…? I'm not sure about 17… Sorry, I'm not too familiar with human culture yet."
"By human, are you saying… it's different for each race?"
"With different lifespans comes different growth rates. For example, elves usually become adults at 30… Oh, maybe for the Turk tribe it's 17…"
"Adults at 30… how old are you, Diana?"
I had been too scared to ask an elf their age until now but since she said they become adults at 30 I wanted to know after all. Jephthah had said she was a "young elf", but that was no help… She could even be over 100…
"Are you curious, Master? About my age."
Diana smiled mischieviously with her teacup in one hand.
I answered honestly.
"Of course. You look like you're around 20, but you feel a little too calm to be 20 years old… are you over 100 after all?!"
"Eeeh, 100?! …Master is being rude so early in the morning. I'm… still 21."
Eh? Diana was the same age as me?
I froze in surprise.
"You don't need to be so surprised… Did you prefer an older elf, Master? Geez."
"Ah, no, that's not it. Wow, you're the same age! That makes me really happy!"
"Huh? Yeah, we're the same age. I'm 21 too."
"I thought Master was younger than that…"
Kind of like how Japanese people are often mistaken for being younger when overseas? Or perhaps she meant my actions and thoughts were childish, rather than my appearance… Well, it probably didn't matter to elves whether someone was older or younger anyway. There was a famous quote that "once you're over 30, everyone's the same age", so maybe everyone looked the same to an elf because of their long lifespans. There was definitely no way she came to the conclusion that I was younger simply because men who didn't make advances to women were sexually undeveloped. That… shouldn't be the case.
Thinking about it carefully, this situation was strange. You could even call it unhealthy.
Though this world was slightly primitive in the sense that male-female relationships progressed rather fast, nothing had happened even though one man and three young women were living under the same roof. I may be a Japanese, but if I were more of a manwhore, they'd all be pregnant right now. I would've been able to expand my store more and buy more slave women for sure.
But acting in that kind of way was, you know… Just because this was another world didn't mean I could act freely like I was in a dream. I am still a human. I hadn't become Superman or anything. Nothing had changed about my reality as a useless 21 year old NEET (virgin) that had been traumatised by a black company!
Give me the mind of a hunk, not this cheat-like ability!
Diana was still in her casual clothes; a thin one-piece dress made of spider silk. It wasn't something I bought but rather, one of Diana's personal belongings that seemed quite expensive. Spider silk was made from the thread of a demon beast called a spider (it felt weird calling a spider a beast, but that was how they were categorized in this world). Clad in a thin one-piece, and slippers (these were the 100 yen shop ones), she sat on the sofa with her legs crossed, sipping at her tea vacantly. She appeared relaxed – in the same manner my sister looked when she listened to her unnamed concerts on Sunday mornings.
…Yeaaah. Maybe she didn't see me as a man?
That thought passed my mind, but it was probably just Diana's princess-like attitude.
"Are you like this at your home too, Diana? High elves are the royalty of elves, right? Do you live in a castle or something?"
"I don't know what you mean by "this" but this mansion is overflowing with spirit power, so it feels quite similar to my home. My house was the best mansion in my village, but it wasn't a castle. It was just a regular mansion."
If she felt relaxed because she treated this place as her own home, then it was a good thing. I didn't know where Diana's home was, but it probably wasn't anywhere nearby. Well, in this world, it was normal for a 21 year old to be completely free from their parents, so she probably didn't feel homesick at all.
"And… it's true that high elves are like the royals of elves, but it isn't like there's an elf country or anything, you know?"
I recalled something like that being mentioned before. Then why were they treated like royalty?
Royalty without a country to rule… I don't get it.
"But what was it like in the village you lived at before? Were all the villagers high elves?"
"In the village, my family were the only high elves, the rest were all regular elves. But it wasn't like my father was the village head… if anything, we were like an honourable race…"
And he wasn't even in charge of the village. What was with that? They were kind of like our emperor. But I had thought elves were a rare species, so for there to be a whole village of them… maybe they weren't as rare as I thought? Based on what Jephthah had said, elf slaves seemed to be of the highest tier, always being caught and used as sex slaves…
"So your village was like… Hidden deep in the forest to avoid the bad humans?"
"…It wasn't like we were avoiding the humans, but we were in the middle of a huge forest so you could call it a hidden village. The reason why our village was there was simply because it was easier to live in an area with great spirit power."
"I see. If it was a big forest then the woods would probably be really deep. It'd be like a game world if you had a world tree in the middle and lots of villages surrounding it, hahaha."
"…Eh, how did you know, Master? It's true that the elf village is at the base of the world tree. But not many know of that…"
Are you serious?!
I had thought it was like a game, but there had to be a limit.
"Then can you revive dead people with the leaves of that tree? If you drink morning dew, can you restore 100% of your stamina? Is there a labyrinth in the middle? A holy sword at the roots?"
"The world tree is just a big merse sequoia tree. Reviving people with leaves? What are you on about…? But I have heard of a legend where there was a sword pierced in the roots… How did Master know about that?"
I was lost for words.
There was no point in telling her there used to be a game like that…
"That's just how world trees are like in my world."
"That's right. More importantly though, I'm interested in the elf village. I'd love to go there. Maybe greet Diana's parents too."
No, maybe not the greeting. What would I say?
Your daughter is my slave, heehee!
They'd beat me up.
But, if there was an elf heaven in this world, it had to be at the roots of the world tree. Not to mention, having Diana there would be like a free pass to everything. Maybe we should visit the elf village before going to the mining town the old dwarf would rampage in. I'd take my SLR camera and take a bunch of photos to publish under the title of "Elf Village". It'd be a big hit. And it'd be a lot healthier than selling other-worldly goods through net auctions at a slow-moving pace – being too cowardly to take my money to buy-back centres at the same time. It'd be like selling information rather than goods, CG would fly as an excuse, and it would be perfect for my fairy thread…
Without realising it, such delusions flashed through my head.
"You should definitely come, Master! I'd like to introduce father to you too,"
Diana-hime said happily.
By introduction, did she mean that she was planning on saying "This is my Master!" to him?
They'd beat me up even more for that!
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