Chapter 38:

Volume 2: Chapter 3: Discovery - Part 1

Nephalem


Alicia would never consider herself a morning person. As rays of light shone into her room through the window, she grimaced and tried to squint her shut eyes, which, in the end, didn’t do much. Light filtered through her eyelids, and so, with a sigh, she opened her eyes and greeted the world with a glare.


Sitting up in bed, Alicia stretched out her arms. Her bones cracked. Another grimace came to her face as she stretched her stiff joints.


“I probably shouldn’t have stayed up so late… nnnnggg…”


Last night she, Jacob, and Yūgure had stayed up really late watching anime. She had been hoping to watch it with just her and Jacob, but Yūgure had been glued to her friend’s side the moment he came home from the library. Alicia had thought about telling the girl to leave them alone. She didn’t in the end. However, it was only because she didn’t want to cause any friction between her and Jacob.


Thinking about the nekomata who had joined them made her frown. Yūgure didn’t talk. She didn’t know if the nekomata couldn’t talk, or if she simply refused to speak. There was definitely something off about that girl.


Perhaps she was being overly suspicious, but Alicia didn’t trust Yūgure, not a bit. Jacob might be willing to trust everyone, which she didn’t understand because he should have been the least trusting person she knew. However, she had been through far too much, been betrayed by people she had thought she trusted far too many times, to trust some yōkai who had randomly shown up on their doorstep. That Yūgure somehow knew Jacob only made her more suspicious.


Getting out of bed, Alicia stripped off her clothes and padded into the bathroom. She quickly rinsed off, then came back into her bedroom and dressed in her school uniform. Looking at herself in the mirror, Alicia became giddy as a broad smile appeared on her face.


'I’m wearing an actual school uniform.'


The short skirt and knee high socks were exactly like what she had seen in her anime and manga. Swaying her hips, she grinned as the skirt swished about her legs. Then she looked at her chest. Reaching up, she cupped her breasts and hefted them up. Her short-sleeved sailor fuku uniform was tight across her chest, despite being the largest size they possessed. The buttons looked like they might snap off.


'It’s because my breasts are so big.'


Her bust was 99 centimeters. That made her a G-cup. While this made finding clothes somewhat difficult, especially since her waist was so slim, being only 58 centimeters, she wouldn’t change anything. She was quite proud of her figure.


With her moment of narcissism concluded, Alicia headed out of her bedroom and traveled down to the kitchen. She wasn’t surprised to find Matilda there. Her maid stood in front of the stainless steel stove and skillet. The sizzling of French toast popped in her ears, and the scent of cinnamon wafted into her nose. Today’s breakfast was going to be delicious.


“Matilda,” Alicia greeted.


“Good morning, Lady Alicia,” Matilda said. She did not look away from her work. Alicia watched as the maid flipped the French toast. “Please wait in the dining room with Lord Jacob and Ms. Yūgure. I’ll bring breakfast in there shortly.”


“I actually wanted to speak with you before breakfast,” Alicia began. “I have a favor to ask you.”


“Oh?” Matilda did not stop cooking, but she could tell that the woman was all ears by the way her bonnet wiggled. “What did you wish to speak with me about? Do you have a special request for dinner tonight? Would you like me to record more of your anime for you?”


“Um, no.” Alicia blushed. She was always a bit embarrassed when Matilda mentioned recording anime for her. “I want your help with something. Do you remember our conversation about Jacob the other day?”


“Of course.” Matilda cracked an egg, put it into a pan, and stirred until the yoke blended with the white. “I remember telling you about how Lord Jacob sees the world from his perspective. I take it you have a request for me concerning this matter?”


“I want to stop people from bullying him,” Alicia continued. “To that end, I would like you to speak with the principal and politely request that he enforce his policies about bullying and intimidation. I want any person who so much as says a nasty word about Jacob expelled.”


Matilda used a spatula to put the French toast onto a tray. She then set another batch on the skillet. As the sound of sizzling once more filled the air, Alicia’s personal maid peered at her.


“I could do that, but you know it won’t solve the problem, right?” Matilda asked before continuing. “If no one comes forward about the bullying, then it will be impossible to punish anyone, and you know as well as I that Lord Jacob won’t say a word.”


Clenching her hands into fists, Alicia said, “I know. That is why I want you to also convince the principal to allocate funds into creating a network of security cameras that will be placed in classrooms, hallways, the boys’ locker room, and the boys’ bathrooms. Any place that Jacob goes, I want monitored. That way if someone bullies him, we’ll have incontrovertible evidence.”


For the longest time, Matilda didn’t speak. She finished putting the last of the French toast onto the tray. Then she turned around, facing Alicia, a knowing, cunning smile on her face.


It sent a chill down Alicia’s spine.


“Jacob has become very important to you, hasn’t he?”


Alicia knew, immediately, that Matilda was not talking about friendship, but something else, something far more intimate.


She tried to contain her blush. “I… don’t know. Jacob is important to me. He saved me when I was about to die, allowed me to stay with him despite the dangers, and helped protect me even though he had no obligation to do so. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be alive today. He is important to me, but I don’t know if my feelings for him are… like that.”


“Fair enough,” Matilda said. “It’s only been a little over two weeks since you and he met, and love doesn’t always blossom overnight. That said, I do think you should consider what Jacob means to you. I doubt you’ll have to worry about anyone putting the moves on him, but your father has expressed an interest in meeting him, and while he is a King of Hell, he is also a father. His first question to you is most certainly going to be about your relationship with Jacob.”


“I understand,” Alicia mumbled softly.


“So long as you understand. Now, come. Breakfast is ready.”


As she followed Matilda, Alicia thought about her relationship with Jacob. She thought, and she questioned, and she wondered.


'Just how do I feel about him?'


She didn’t have an answer.