Chapter 36:

Volume 2: Chapter 2: When Friendship Blooms - Part 4

Nephalem


The next day began the same as always—mostly the same as always. I woke up, got ready for school, and made my way into the kitchen. My plan had been to cook breakfast for myself and Alicia.

As it turned out, I needn’t have bothered. A hardy breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns, and pancakes was already being prepared by Matilda.

I still wasn’t used to having a maid cook for me. Then again, it had only been two days since she and I started living together.

“Good morning, Lord Jacob,” Matilda said as I stared at her from the kitchen entryway. “Please have a seat in the dining room. I’ll have breakfast out in just a moment.”
“O-okay.”

Seeing how I wasn’t needed to cook breakfast, I trudged into the dining room, a large room shaped like a rectangle. My feet slid along the tiled floor that looked freshly polished. I sat down at the long table, in a chair near the head. I probably could have gotten away with sitting at the head of the table, but it didn’t feel right.

Seconds after I sat down, a yawning Alicia lumbered into the room. Her hair was in disarray. Several strands stuck out from her head, making it look like someone had rubbed a balloon against her hair.

The pink pajama bottoms hung loosely from her hips, and thanks to the white T-shirt she wore being a little small, I was given an impressive glimpse of her flat stomach and belly button. It was electrifying.

She sat down beside me, muttering a tired, “good morning.”

“Morning,” I greeted.

“I’m sorry about yesterday,” Alicia continued. “A lot went on, and I think I owe you an apology for everything that happened.”

I wasn’t sure which part of yesterday she was speaking of, but I went under the assumption that she was referring to all of it—the argument at school, the naked apron disaster when I got home, and the nekomata issue later during the night.

Giving her my most reassuring smile, I said, “don’t worry about it. I’m pretty much to blame for most of what happened, so don’t put it all on yourself.”

Alicia frowned at me. I wondered if I had said something wrong, but then the doors opened again, and the nekomata girl walked in. Adorning her small body was a large T-shirt that I had given her the night before. It hung down past her thighs. Unlike Alicia, she wasn’t wearing socks, so I got to see the slightly sharp toenails that she was sporting.

She stopped upon seeing us. Yellow eyes darted from me to Alicia, who sat on my immediate right. A large frown appeared on her face.

“Good morning,” I greeted her.

Like last night, the girl didn’t say anything. However, my words seemed to help her come to a decision. Before I knew what was happening, she walked over to me, and then slid herself onto my lap.

I squawked.

“What are you doing?!” Alicia shouted, standing up and sending her chair clattering to the ground. “Get off Jacob this instant!”

The nekomata girl squirmed against me as she shifted, sending shivers through my groin and making my face break out into a blush. I felt ashamed, but having this girl on my lap was making me aroused. My pants felt uncomfortably tight. It didn’t help that her small, shapely bottom was rubbing against me as she squirmed.

Once the girl had oriented herself toward Alicia, she pulled down her eyelid and stuck out her tongue.

Alicia turned red. “You… damn cat!”

I was more than a little shocked to see Alicia getting so worked up. Certainly, I’ve seen her get angry before, but that was rare. She normally acted composed, calm, as though nothing in this world could faze her.

I recalled the time when she had taken me out for ice cream; some goons had shown up and tried to hit on her, but she had remained collected and beat them with ease. That was the Alicia I was used to seeing. This girl, whose flaming red face matched her hair, looked nothing like that.

Before the situation could get out of hand, Matilda walked into the room. She was balancing several trays on her hands and arms. I found myself impressed.

“What is this?” Matilda asked. It was a rhetorical question, for she spoke again seconds later. “Are you two arguing?”

Something dark appeared around Matilda, something vile. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but staring at Matilda, at her bland, emotionless face, caused an unknown dread to well up inside of me.

Alicia must have been feeling it, too, because she sat down and looked at everything but her maid.

“Not at all,” she said. “We just had a minor dispute regarding seating arrangements.”

“I see.” Matilda glanced at the nekomata, still sitting on me. The nekomata looked at her, paled, and then looked away. “I hope you can be a dear and move. Lord Jacob can’t eat if you’re sitting on his lap.”

The nekomata looked like she wanted to argue, but then, quite suddenly, she stood up and moved to the seat on the opposite side of him.

“Much better,” Matilda said. She walked up to the table and set the trays of food down in front of them. Clasping her hands together, she bowed. “Please do not stand on ceremony and eat up.”

“Thank you for the food,” Alicia and I said before putting food on our plates. The nekomata just clapped her hands together before she started eating.

After Alicia had swallowed the pancake she’d put into her mouth, she looked at the nekomata girl and said, “if you’re going to stay here, then we need to come up with a name for you.”

The girl in question looked up, her two cat ears twitching.

“How about Koneko?”

The nekomata glared at her.

“Okay. Okay. Not Koneko. What about Kuroka?”

The glare intensified.

“Lady Alicia,” Matilda interrupted. “If you are going to give someone a name, could you please not name them after fictional characters from those manga you read?”

“But I like those names,” Alicia mumbled. Matilda stared. The nekomata continued trying to set Alicia on fire with her eyes. “Fine. Why don’t you come up with a name for yourself, then?”
The nekomata tilted her head and said nothing. I was beginning to think she really might be mute.

“What about Yūgure?” I suggested.

Everyone turned to stare at me, though none of the looks were more intense than the one the nekomata gave me.

“Why Yūgure?” asked Alicia.

“For the color of her skin,” I said, looking down at the table so I wouldn’t have to look at the stares. “I thought it would be fitting.”

“I believe Yūgure is a good name,” Matilda said.

I looked back up. Matilda’s expression was still expressionless, while Alicia’s seemed more contemplative, especially with how she was cupping her chin. I switched my gaze from them to the nekomata.

“Is Yūgure okay with you?”

The nekomata tilted her head and wrinkled her nose. I thought she was disgusted at first, but then her face cleared. Her lips curved into a small smile. She nodded. Somehow, seeing that made me happy.

“I guess we’re calling you Yūgure, then,” Alicia said with a sigh.

Breakfast came to an end soon. Matilda wished us a good day at school, then grabbed our plates and carried them away while Alicia, myself, and the newly dubbed Yūgure traveled toward the entrance. Alicia and I put on our shoes and walked out the door. It wasn’t until we had already begun walking to school that I realized Yūgure was following us.

“I’m sorry,” I said to her, “but you can’t come with us. We have school today, and since you aren’t a student, they’re not going to allow you on campus.”

Yūgure frowned. She didn’t do anything, didn’t say anything, merely stared at me with those pouting lips. I scratched my head and tried to think of what I should say to convince her to go back home.

“Look, uh, why don’t you head back home and wait for us?” I said. “I promise we’ll come back after school is over.”

While the frown on Yūgure’s face grew, I got the feeling that she understood me. She looked at me once last time before she turned around and went back the way we had come.

“That girl is so strange,” Alicia said as she and I started walking again.

“I guess,” I said. “It is a little odd how she doesn’t talk, but she might not be able to.”

“That isn’t what I was talking about.” Alicia tilted her head to point it toward the sky, though her eye was on me. “I meant how she knows you. Don’t you find it odd that someone who claims to know you has just suddenly shown up out of the blue like this?”

“It does, but I don’t think she means me any harm.”

“You don’t know that.” Alicia sighed. “But I won’t say anything. While I don’t want to admit it, I do agree with you.”

Although it was strange that someone who knew me had shown up, I had decided to not be suspicious of them. She could have hurt me last night. There had been plenty of chances while I was asleep. Even I would die if someone stabbed me in the heart.

“By the way,” Alicia began again, “about… about what happened when you got home…”

“When I got—oh, that.” I realized what she was talking about when I noticed the increasing hue of her cheeks. “Don’t worry about that. I’ll forget about it if you do.”

“Er, no, that isn’t… I mean, I do appreciate that you’re willing to forget about it, but I wanted to tell you that it wasn’t my idea.” Alicia looked away from me. “Matilda suggested I do it. She said you would forgive me if I did this… and I remember something like this happening in Highschool DxD, so I thought it would work here, too.”

“I see. Huh. I had no idea Matilda would suggest something like that.”

Alicia shrugged. “She is a succubus. What else were you expecting?”

“Ah.” I pounded my left fist into my right palm. “So that’s it. Matilda is a—wait. She’s a succubus? Really?”

“Yeah.” Alicia gave me a look like I had just said something phenomenally stupid. “You didn’t know that?”

“No. No, I didn’t. No one told me.”

“Oh. Well, now you know.”

Succubus were female demons who seduced men and drained them of their lives through sexual intercourse. They could also appear in dreams. According to religious doctrine of the Catholic Church, Adam’s first wife, Lilith, had been a succubus, or she had become a succubus some time after they married. I couldn’t rightly remember the specifics. It was something that had been in a book that Azazel had sent me last year for my birthday. According to the book, Lilith had left Adam after refusing to return to the Garden of Eden and mated with the archangel Samael. Learning that Matilda was one of those demons was interesting.

I guess it’s true what they say about how you learn something new every day.

**************************************************************************

Not much happened in this part. The nekomata now has a name, and we've learned that Matilda is actually a succubus. I suppose you could say that this part was all about world building. I wanted to introduce some new elements to the world without making it an outright info dump. I hope I succeeded.

As always, please remember to give this chapter a like, and don't forget to comment and let me know how I'm doing.


Bookmarked
You can resume reading from this paragraph.