Chapter 10:

Curse's in the air

I Won't Kill Myself for the Second Time


[1 PM. Don’t forget.]

This short message was a replacement I received instead of today’s food delivery. I still had about two hours to decide on how to deal with it. The sweet bribe I had prepared for Aura was going to be repurposed. New clothes and neat appearance were already checked off. Even the unruly, short, jet black hair was finally tamed.

Why was I getting so nervous just from the perspective of meeting Victor’s younger sister?

A simple question.

I couldn’t get Votr's words out of my head, pretending that she was my real sister became impossible. Victor was someone who had never lied to her. That was her most important bond with him.

I’m going to change myself no matter what! - This was my new mantra, at least an updated version of it.

Meeting with Vio was the first step required to achieve that.

According to a plan I made it should, more or less, look like that:

Meet with Violet → Fulfill her whims → Create the right mood → Take her somewhere where we can talk in private → Tell her about Victor’s soul demise → Convince her that I’m telling the truth → Grit my teeth and allow her few free hits → Burn the bridge between us.

It was the first time ever, that I was going to destroy a relation not for my own sake but for someone’s. Telling her everything would also double as my way of paying the old Victor for using his body and belongings.

I hope you’re watching this Votr. I will show you that I can change.

There were two big problems. First, I had no idea how to convince her without making her think that Victor’s brain circuits burned out. Second, I really wanted to run away and forget about it.

“Pathetic. Alright! Let’s go!”

I still had a lot of time, but to avoid unnecessary thinking it was better to keep moving. Completing a reconnaissance mission in Café Nirvana wouldn’t hurt.




While riding on the bus I noticed that some people were looking at me strangely. Were the effects of yesterday’s hangover still present?




The Café was situated near one of the city squares. It was relatively snow and mud free and paved with dark flagstone. There was a statue of some famous person in the middle. I never paid much attention to such monuments, but this one was rather interesting. After all, it depicted a short-haired girl in a partial armor, holding a two-handed sword.

The sheer amount of details that the artist managed to include on this bronze statue was incredible. Her hair looked as if they could move with each blow of the wind. She had a lonely look on her face as if waiting for her beloved. No expense was spared on her bust area.

There was an information plate on the pedestal:

‘This statue to the memory of Lady Isabella Esther. To whose foresight and genius Eprya owes its existence and prosperity.

Was unveiled on 3rd March 1957 - the 500th anniversary of the foundation of Eprya.’

This statue was over sixty years old, which ruined my impression of it being a rather new one. Till now I was ignoring this island’s history, but checking it out later might be a good way to kill some time.

Oh, right behind Lady Isabella is the place of my judgment - Café Nirvana.

From the outside, it looked normal, except for the big and stylish signboard.

When I went inside one of the waiters greeted me and led to an empty table. Thanks to it I was spared the embarrassment of standing agape. Why?

Inside, it wasn’t even close to what I had been expecting. Instead of a fancy, girlish place, it looked as if someone had moved the time back to the Victorian era. Waiters and waitresses wore butler’s and maid’s clothes. Not the sexy type, the old style heavy type.

While looking around I caught the attention of one of the waiters and ordered a cup of tea and a slice of lemon cake.

The whole place was full of vintage Tiffany lamps. The dim light coming from them was emphasized by strategically placed curtains and highlighted rows of old photographs.

I had some experience with similar places, but they were all cheap knock-offs. In here, I was sure that each piece of the furniture was a genuine, expensive antique. I wouldn’t be surprised if they told me that this super-expensive-looking-porcelain-cup on my table had been used by Queen Victoria herself.

One mistake, twitch of hand and I can say goodbye to money. How am I supposed to relax in a place like this? Damn me and my poor man’s senses. To make it worse, even here people are glancing at me. Maybe I should have worn a suit or something…

To distract myself I used ‘Three answers’. I was curious. How was it going to work without a clear target around.

As for its cooldown, once a day meant that the skill was being reset every day at midnight. I didn’t have to wait twenty-four hours after using it.

One - Action: Asking the waiter with gray hair about the job offer.

Reaction: A possibility of scheduling a job interview.

Two - Action: Telling the waiter with gray hair ‘I know about the seal that blocks all light’.

Reaction: Attracting the attention of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 11th, 15th, and 19th.

Three - Action: Going to the men’s toilet and standing on the toilet bowl.

Reaction: A possibility to obtain ‘the doll that leads astray’.

What the… what is wrong with those choices?!

Only the first one was normal, but something was definitely not right with that gray-haired waiter and I… had to follow the third option at any cost.




At least the toilet was normal. No fancy additions or expensive adorning, otherwise this standing on the bowl part would make me feel uncomfortable. Alright, I felt nervous anyway.

I was hiding in one of the cubicles. To make it look as if no one was inside, I left the door slightly open. It was less suspicious that way.

Just as the question 'how long I have to stay here?' appeared in my mind, someone came.

Two sets of rather heavy steps.

“Here.”

The sound of a lighter.

“Thanks.”

“I thought you quit smoking? You were talking about it like a month ago.”

“As if I could win against that cursed thing. How can you ask that after dumping it on me?”

The voices belonged to two middle-aged men. I wasn’t sure, but I might have heard one of them before.

“So, where it is now?”

“You really want to know?”

“Uhm… true, forget about it.”

“Third communal cemetery. Buried under the name of Dorothy D. Olly."

“Why did you tell me?!”

“They say that sharing the burden with someone makes it lighter. I was the one who had to put it there in the middle of the night. Want to try it next time?”

“Leave me out of it.”

“Heh, trying to make use of that was a mistake.”

“True words. By the way, what’s with that name? Dorothy D. Olly, really?”

“Don’t look at me like that. Boss was the one who ordered the tombstone.”

“At least that name’s better than the one he gave his cat. How can…”

They left before I could hear the rest. I waited about five more minutes and went back to the table.

On the way, I glanced over the customers. There was only one person who fit the description of a middle-aged man, but he was sitting alone. It wasn’t the right person or the other one had already left.

Well, it didn’t have anything to do with me.

Now that I could take a deep breath, I started to question myself and my ‘Three Answers’.
Not only the results were way more incredible than before, but two of them had been openly announcing ‘do this to enjoy the chaos’. This power could become an unexpected ace or a prelude to my downfall. Treating it with care was a must.

But where did that sudden surge of courage came from. Is acting first and thinking later a result of me trying hard to change?

Yeah, right. It's obviously a side effect of some other things that have happened to me recently. The only question is… which one of them exactly?

Votroadan’s soul reformation? Shouldn’t work outside of his domain.

Being possessed by Rora? She should have her hands full with tuning.

A side effect of my power? Maybe after using it I simply have to pick one of the options.
The suspicious gray-haired butler? According to the second option, first I had to somehow attract his attention.

The creepy item they were talking about? ‘The doll that leads astray’.

If it really was calling of a doll from the grave… it made a huge mistake.

Me at a cemetery? Digging out a cursed item from the grave? In the middle of the night? Alone?

That doll has better chances with convincing Sora to become independent from Shiro.

Still… I have to think of some precautions. After all, it can try to brainwash me to do its bidding. What is the weakness of cursed dolls? Does it even exist? Or screw that, holy water and salt are multipurpose enough.

“Brother?”

“Huh? Ah! Vio. Sit down please.”

Is it 1 pm already? For a moment, I totally forgot about Vio and our meeting.

The priority of the running tasks in my head had changed somewhere along the line, so I set ‘fulfill Vio whims’ as critical again. I stood up and offered to take her parka… which was ignored, as she started to remove her winter defenses herself.

Today’s Vio didn’t have her woolen hat, her slightly curly hair was gathered into a cute side ponytail. She wore a girlish dark-blue one-piece dress and striped black and white knee socks.
It greatly shook my conviction to burn that bridge, as some people would kill to have such cute, pretty and…

“I will start ordering now, you better be ready.”

… cheeky little sister.

“Please keep it under 250$. That’s all I have on me.”

“I was only planning to eat my fill, but don’t worry brother, I will stand up to your challenge and use it all with care.”

She paused for a moment as if checking my reaction.

I was only looking at her with a smile, which seemed to ruffle her feathers.

"Waiter!”

Not even consulting the menu Vio called for one of the maids stationed all around the floor.

“Please bring every position from the cake's section.”

“E-everything milady?”

“You can fill up the gap to reach 250$ with as many cups of your best tea as needed.”

“Yes milady.”

Maid's voice quivered only for a second before returning to its servile tone, a true professional.
In the meantime, I was inspecting cake's section of the menu. There were twenty positions on the list with prices varying from 5$ to 25$.

For about 40$ you can buy enough food to last a week, two if you are trying to be economical…

“I-it’s too late to back down b-brother. S-since you didn’t s-stop me, I-I r-really did it!”

“Hmm? What’s wrong with that? Watching you eat it all will be fun. You’re not going to say that you won’t be able to, right?”

“I AM EATING IT ALONE?!”

“And the tea, don’t forget about the tea. Just how many cups will come? Just how many perilous trips to the lavatory my little sister will undertake? Just how many weeks you won’t be able to even think about a cake again? Oh the drama to come, the mysteries to uncover. Please eat and drink everything you ordered with care.”

All color drained from Vio’s face. Now I was sure. She couldn't use that sharp tongue of hers since we were in a public place. Was she worried about her public image or family name?

Later on, the backlash was going to be great. That is, it would be if there was any ‘later’ for us.

This Novel Contains Mature Content

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Trevor Vermintide
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James K.
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