Chapter 7:

1.7. Familial Pain

The Writer's Illustrator is Stuck in Cookie Cult (LN)

Finishing up the last bit and walking out, I patted the frightened Lia’s head and showed her a smile. Together, we went to the living room.Bookmark here

“If you want to study, study in the living room. Don’t let me catch you hiding in your room watching that V-tuber thing,” my mom, Narie said.Bookmark here

I nodded.Bookmark here

She went to the kitchen to vent her anger. It’s also something my mom in my previous life did. If she was angry, she would do chores and then blame me for not keeping the house tidy.Bookmark here

I sat back on the couch and began creating a rough schedule of what I should study the next few days. History, ICT and Geography are all subjects later in the week, so I have five days to prepare. Good enough.Bookmark here

I saw Lia tapping hir pen on hir head, watching tutorial videos on how to solve algebraic equations. Xe prefers to study on paper.Bookmark here

“Struggling with algebra?”Bookmark here

“Un. I don’t get this part.”
“Let me see.”
It’s to do with simplifying. Simple.Bookmark here

I did my darndest to explain my method of resolving these equations. Lia studied my workings with a serious face full of intent. One thing led to another, and I found myself explaining how to do multiplication equations.Bookmark here

“Got it? You just have to do a lot of these questions, you’ll get it with enough practice.”Bookmark here

“Un,” Lia nodded, “Thank you big bro.”Bookmark here

[Master, it’s 8 pm. CutieTT’s livestream is playing, Ah~Ah~ has sent an invitation for you to join hir.]Bookmark here

“Randell, go away until 9 pm.”Bookmark here

[AI disabling until 9. Master, how could you?!]Bookmark here

Lia stared at me.Bookmark here

“Innis asks why?” Bookmark here

“Cuz Randell is distracting.”Bookmark here

Lia made a complicated expression before turning hirs attention back to hirs work. Bookmark here

I made a note to unsubscribe to this streamer. Or, to practically every other channel. Bookmark here

===Bookmark here

If I’m not wrong, xe’s AI is called, Innis. Their features are customizable, mine’s a file explorer. Lia’s AI avatar is an ice cream. Bookmark here

Personality of the AI can be adjusted in the settings. Most people leave it on ‘change alongside the user’. Bookmark here

It was nearing 10 pm, my aether and mother have already gone to the bedroom. Father is late, not sure if the overtime is caused by unfinished work or not wanting to come back home.Bookmark here

Lia who has been studying with so much focus previously was now playing a shooter game. As for myself, I was listening to an audiobook regarding emotional management. TBH, if somehow mom or aei checks on what we’re doing in the living room, we’d be swiss cheese ready for laser bombardment.Bookmark here

I’m not adverse to the muddy well of this family. Some day, their influence is going to get to me. If I go down along with everyone else, it’s the end. I need to amp up my mental strength.Bookmark here

[Master is weird. Randell calls Innis to persuade master to be concerned of his own condition.]Bookmark here

[Hello! Innis has infiltrated user Bananaduckling’s account. Mister Avner has been acting weird since yesterday. What seems to be the problem?]Bookmark here

Bananaduckling. What a great username Avner.Bookmark here

“Another soul replaced Avner’s soul.”Bookmark here

[Source of Master’s explanation is not sufficient to diagnose issue. Master, was not a chuunibyou.]Bookmark here

[Reference to various dramas and movies. Question, did Avner hit his head anywhere during sleep?]Bookmark here

“No, I didn’t. And can you please let me go? I’m fine, really.”Bookmark here

[Sudden change of behaviors, found, possible symptom of NtBM. I suggest Avner approach the nearest clinic. This is an emergen..]Bookmark here

I shut down my glasses.Bookmark here

NtBM. Nanotechnology Blood Mutation. In short, it’s the vampire disease which started the whole <Cookie Cult> ordeal.
“That’s annoying.”Bookmark here

Lia’s glasses made a beeping sound, hirs eyes shrunk. Xe turned to me cautiously.Bookmark here

“I’m not a vampire.”Bookmark here

“Innis says.. you might be.”Bookmark here

“Might. But not.
“Should we.. tell aether..”Bookmark here

“No. And don’t listen to Innis. I’m seriously not a vampire. If I was, I would be anemic by now.”Bookmark here

Lia nodded doubtfully. I wasn’t even sure if xe knew what anemic meant.Bookmark here

“I’m going to bed.”Bookmark here

“Yes. I’m tired.”
I know that it’s normal for Avner and Lia to stay up until 11 pm, sometimes to 12am. The me in the previous life made it a note to sleep by 10pm. Sometime earlier, at 9. That’s mainly to do with how I schedule my day.Bookmark here

Right now, I’m experiencing a distortion. As you would know, habits make up 90 percent of what a person does on a day to day basis. Since my daily habits are combined with Avner’s, there’s this sort of incongruence in my mind whenever I want to do something.Bookmark here

For example. Avner brushes his teeth during his showers, I brush my teeth after showering. I drink water first thing in the morning, Avner doesn’t.Bookmark here

There are many other examples, I’m just noting two.Bookmark here

“Big bro.”Bookmark here

“Good night.”
I’ve set an alarm for 4 am. One hour earlier than Avner’s normal routine to give myself some time to think.Bookmark here

“You said you would.. study.”Bookmark here

“I will. Tomorrow.”Bookmark here

I sounds like I’m giving a lot of excuses. Which I am.Bookmark here

Lia nodded, and began clearing the table. Xe followed after me to my room, our room.
“You’re going to sleep early too?” Bookmark here

Lia, who had already crawled onto bed, nodded nervously. Hirs glasses were placed by the bedside. I got to see hirs bare face for the first time as Shin. Xe’s cute, really.Bookmark here

Lia doesn’t actually suffer from short-sightedness, so hirs AR glasses don’t have any degree to them. Bookmark here

“Okay. Good night.”Bookmark here

I turned off the lights. It’s a mystery why Lia and I share the same bed. The relationship between elves and males are no different from males and females. I don’t have any recollection of how Lia ended up sharing a room with me.Bookmark here

“Big bro. It’s dark.”Bookmark here

“I forgot.”Bookmark here

I normally don’t sleep with night lights.Bookmark here

I put on my glasses and told Randell to turn on the night light.Bookmark here

“Good night Randell.”Bookmark here

[Good night master.]Bookmark here

I finally get to lie in bed peacefully. Today was a crazy day indeed. There’s a lot to process.Bookmark here

Everything will work out alright. I have to keep hold of that. Bookmark here

I can’t be worried. I can do this. I’ll find Novelle and figure out why this happened. Maybe it’s possible to return to the real world. That’s just hopeless coveting.Bookmark here

There’s too much I don’t know. So little time, so much to do.Bookmark here

Darn it.Bookmark here

“Big bro. I’m sorry.”Bookmark here

“What is it?”Bookmark here

“This morning. I cried in class and.. you were called to the teacher’s office.”
“It’s alright. I’ve not been taking things seriously after all. I’m one of the reasons why you cried.”Bookmark here

“Really?”Bookmark here

“Really.”Bookmark here

Xe’s indecisive. She can’t make up her mind what it is that caused her to cry. And because I was contradicting myself from what I said to her earlier this afternoon, wouldn’t that make me indecisive too?Bookmark here

I turned to face hir, we stared at each other for a few seconds. Xe blinked a few times.Bookmark here

“I promise I’ll do my best next exam. Don’t worry about it.”Bookmark here

Avner’s natural reflex came in and I began stroking Lia’s hair. Then xe pushed my hand away.Bookmark here

“Don’t bite me.”Bookmark here

Xe turned away.Bookmark here

“Good night.”Bookmark here

===Bookmark here

dotturndot: ._. Bookmark here

Who’s biting who?Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.