Chapter 68:

Volume 3: Chapter 1: Preparation - Part 4

Nephalem


Alicia had ignored everyone that day, not just Yūgure, but also me as well. I’m not sure what I did to deserve being ignored. At the same time, the idea of starting a conversation when she was reeking bloodlust like a broken fire hydrant shot water terrified me.

I was probably better off letting her simmer down before we spoke.

The three of us walked home after school, myself, Alicia, and Yūgure. That was also pretty awkward. It wasn’t because Alicia was being moody—well, it wasn’t just because she was moody. Certainly, that was part of it, but the other part was…

“Could someone explain this to me?” I asked the two girls walking beside me.

“What is there to explain?” asked Alicia. “We’re just walking home together. Right, Yūgure?”

In response to her words, Yūgure nodded. It was a surprisingly insync move—surprising because they were so out of sync it wasn’t even funny.

Yūgure was walking on my left, and she was hugging my arm. This was… it wouldn’t have been a stretch to say it surprised me, but honestly, I was more than merely surprised. I don’t think that word adequately described how I felt.

People didn’t touch me. My very presence exuded an aura that made people shy away from me. It was that aura, the power of a Nephalem, that caused humans to act so fearful toward me.

For someone to touch me so easily, so willingly, it astonished me.

At the same time, it made me happy. I’d never admit it out loud, but the lack of physical contact in my life had left me with a craving for physical intimacy. At the same time, having someone touch me made my spine tingle. It was like, despite wanting to have that contact, my body was predisposed toward shying away from it. That was also why having two girls, two really pretty girls, holding my arms, made me break out into a nervous sweat.

Which reminded me, Alicia was hugging my other arm, which she’d done after Yūgure grabbed onto me.

I think she didn’t want to be upstaged. Or something. It wasn’t like I understood women. Or men for that matter.

I tried not to let either of them know that I was on pins and needles the whole way home, though, fortunately, I think they were too busy having some kind of mental battle with each other. By the time we stepped through the door to our house, the temperature around me had metaphorically dropped to sub zero levels.

“I… I’m home,” I said in a hushed whisper. I didn’t know why I was whispering. I just felt like if I did, something really bad would happen.

Alicia, Yūgure, and I took off our shoes and set them on the rack. Grunting a brusque, “I’m home,” Alicia stomped into the living room. Yūgure and I followed behind her.

“Welcome home,” Matilda said, bowing to them all as they entered.

Matilda was our maid. Technically, she was Alicia’s maid. Like Yūgure, she had dark skin, but hers was several shades darker than Yūgure dusk color. The hem of her black and white maid outfit fluttered as she moved. Her feet made off-beat clacks as her heeled shoes hit the floor when she walked. While her outfit was, definitely, that of a maid, there was a notorious gap that showed off almost obscene amounts of cleavage.

Matilda was a succubus.

I had only found that out a few weeks ago, around the same time Gabriel tried to kill me. It had surprised me at first. She acted so prim and proper, always addressing Alicia as “Lady” (and sometimes “Princess”) and me as “Lord.” Whether it was setting the table, cooking dinner, or cleaning the house, she did it all and in such a way that I could only think prim and proper. The idea of her being a succubus gave me the same kind of shock I had after learning that Alicia’s father was one of the Seven Kings of Hell.

“Matilda.” Alicia’s brows were creased, and the frown she’d been wearing had grown rather prominent. “What’s the idea of letting Yūgure attend school?”

“I thought it would help her adjust to life as a human,” Matilda said simply, calmly, as though she had been expecting this. “It is easy to keep up a transformation, but it becomes difficult under duress. This will help teach her to keep her transformation up at all times, even when surprised.”

Even Alicia couldn’t fault that logic.

“Okay. I understand that. But…” Her eyes narrowed further. “Why did you place Yūgure in our class?”

“Because I thought it would be a little easier for her if she had a few familiar faces,” Matilda answered, and again, I had the sense that she’d been expecting that question.

Alicia wrinkled her nose, which I knew she only did when thinking about something really hard. It was actually pretty cute.

“She’s too young,” Alicia said at last. “Yūgure is only fourteen years old. She can’t be in our class.”

Matilda looked ready to field that question, but just then, Yūgure scribbled on her notepad and showed the contents. I could actually read it this time. It said: I’m 16.

“You’re lying,” Alicia’s voice shook as she spoke. “You have to be lying. There’s no way you can be sixteen years old.”

I confess to being pretty shocked myself. I had Yūgure pegged at around fourteen or fifteen, maybe even thirteen. To think she was actually the same age as us. It just went to show me that I couldn’t just a book by its cover.

Or a cat girl by her stature.

“Yūgure is telling the truth,” Matilda said before turning to the girl in question, as if doing so meant this argument had come to an end. “Yūgure, why don’t you go and get dressed in your maid outfit? I’m in the process of making dinner and could use a hand.”

For whatever reason, Yūgure looked up at me after Matilda said this. I stared back at her. What did she want?

“She would like your permission, Lord Jacob,” Matilda said.

My permission? I would’ve asked why, but at the moment, my brain was pretty much filled to capacity and I couldn’t deal with any more surprises. Honestly, I thought it was for the best if I humored her.

“Sure, go ahead and do that.” After a short pause, I smiled. “I’d like to see what you cook for us.”

As the last word left my mouth, Yūgure’s eyes suddenly took on a shine that I hadn’t seen before, and her lips curved into a delicate, artful smile that was breathtaking to behold. She nodded once. Then she hurried off, traveling down the hall and up the stairs.

“You’d like to see what she’d cook for you, would you?” Alicia asked, giving me a stink eye.
I somehow felt like I had stepped on a landmine.

“W-what?” I asked.

“Nothing.” With a huff, Alicia also began heading up stairs. “I’m going to get changed.”

I watched her go, more than just a little confused. Had I said something wrong? Why was she so angry? She had totally just ignored me.

“Lord Jacob,” Matilda began, “you have a lot to learn about women.”

I had no idea what Matilda meant by that, but I was inclined to agree.

Considering I lived in a house with three women, learning more about them was definitely a must.

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Part 4 is here and the harem--I mean, the romcom has begun in earnest. I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. Please be sure to vote for it after you finish reading! Thank you all for reading, and I'll see you next chapter! Ja ne! (^-^)


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