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Chapter 30 Act 4: Good relationships, bad relationships

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Author: Starving Wind Original Source: Joara Word Count: 5256 characters
Translator: Anonymouss English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 3076 words
Editor(s): Silva

The next day, I was starting my day with a stroll outside like any other day. To be honest, I didn’t live a life filled with healthy habits in the past, but since I had naturally stopped smoking completely, I decided that I should keep this healthy body of mine by doing daily morning strolls.

“You’re up early!”

Katalina rubbed her eyes while in her pajamas, peeking out over the mansion balcony as if she had just woken up. Seeing her appearance, the bodyguards gasped in shock as they turned away from her.

“I think it would be better for you to wear something before you come out to the balcony.”
“Ah, goodness! I must be crazy.”

Only then she realizes what she was wearing and quickly headed back inside the mansion. The problem was that it wasn’t just ordinary pajamas, but ones that are transparent and show the skin underneath. It was slightly disappointing to me ‌I wasn’t able to see it properly since I was pretty far from the mansion.

Since I was about to finish my daily stroll anyway, I turned directly back to the mansion, went to my room for a quick shower before having breakfast with Katalina.

“Yesterday was really fun!”

After filling up her stomach somewhat, Katalina spoke while she gently wiped her mouth with a napkin.

“Mhmm. It had been a long time since I went shopping‌, anyway. I enjoyed it too.” Though of course, I never want to go again.

“Hehe~ Then let’s go again next time! I wasn’t able to properly shop as much as I wanted because of that harlot Stella.”

I screamed in despair in my mind. Even though we had spent so much time there, it still wasn’t enough for her. In some ways, I should be thankful for Stella for cutting it short. The bad memories I associated with Stella became diluted a bit.

“It’s strange, you know.”
“What is?”
“Usually girls really love shopping and talking about it… But every time a topic about shopping comes up, your expression becomes very stiff, it seems to me that you really hate shopping a lot.”

That’s right, if I actually was a young girl.

“So what are you trying to say?”
“Mmh, well I just get the feeling that you’re like a guy sometimes. Every time I go shopping with my dad, he makes the same expression as you do, Ellie. Hehe…”
“Ngh…”

Was it really that obvious on my face? I couldn’t help but let out a small cry of pain as she had completely figured me out.

“I’m not saying that’s a bad thing though. It’s just‌ I feel like I’m going around with a boy rather than a girl when I am with you, Ellie.1

You really have keen senses.

“In any case, who was Stella? It seemed like you have a pretty deep relationship with her.” I needed to quickly change the subject, so I used a topic that ‌I was sure Katalina would bite on.

“Stella probably has forgotten about you. She’s the eldest daughter of the Marquess Chester household who’s my family’s arch-nemesis and is the same age as us. They’re different in that while both of our families only have a single daughter each, their family has two daughters. But honestly, her personality is completely different from her younger sister Esther. They’re so different that they hate each other, even though they’re siblings. I think it’s Stella’s personality that’s the problem. This isn’t just because I don’t like her, but I swear that many people really hate her!”

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“All right, I’ll believe you. Is that all?”

“Ugh, yeah. Anyway, both of them play Blue Sky‌, so we may end up seeing them more often. Then again, nearly every young person plays Blue Sky these days…”

“What’s their Blue Sky ID?”

“For Stella, her ID is ‘Senas’, a terrible healer who doesn’t even get in the top 100 ranking players2, and a high-ranking officer in the Tempest guild which is our guild’s opposition. And Esther is ‘Eva’, a knight class character who’s within top 30 of the top player rankings. I think as a female knight, she probably thinks she’s the highest-ranking player. I’m sure she’ll be extremely surprised once she meets you, though. Fufu.”

“You say she’s a knight? Sword and shield, or two-handed sword?”

She definitely said she was a female user and a knight class, on top of being in the top-ranking players. That’s a rare combination, even in Korea, so it would be ‌weird if I didn’t have any interest in her.

“Ooh? Looks like you’re interested, I guess it’s because you’re a knight‌.”
“So you will not tell me?”
“I was ‌planning to see for myself today. I’ll use this as a chance to introduce you to her‌, so let’s get connected to Blue Sky already.”

And so after the breakfast was done, Katalina and I went to our room directly and connected to Blue Sky immediately. She changed into the same attire as I had, which was a tracksuit made for the bodyguards to train in, and stepped inside to connect to the game. Which unsurprisingly made her look like the average Blue Sky addict. Of course, she would vehemently disagree that she’s completely addicted to the game, but seeing as how her total playtime reaches the top percentile, it would be hard for her to deny it.

Ah, but I’m the same‌, aren’t I?

The place I arrived as I connected was the bedroom of the floating sky castle. It was completely expected since I had set this as the login location.

-Ellie, did you save any cities or villages nearby as a teleportation point?

Katalina’s whispers came into my message log, which showed that she was currently at Liverpool.

-I don’t have any other place saved except the mansion in London.
-Ah, you mean the first place we met?
-Yep.

Thinking about it, I remembered the moment where I was caught by her right as I was about to go out and tour around London, even though it wasn’t that long ago, ‌it was ‌a mistake in my judgment that ‌led me to meet her.

Of course, it’s not like I’m saying that if it wasn’t for that incident, I wouldn’t have met anyone ever. I would have eventually ended up meeting her ‌and have a different, new beginning. But it ‌was hard to completely guarantee that it would lead us to the situation ‌we have now.

While having miscellaneous thoughts like that, I teleported to the mansion ‌in London. After it blocked my vision for a moment, I found myself teleported to the bedroom of the mansion once again.

[Would you like to accept the invitation request from your friend Merlin?] 

It seems that she had already arrived at the entrance of the mansion.

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-Invite me already!

I was going to do that already.

Finally, I opened the door and Katalina walked in with a snow-white robe that fitted the look of a mage. When we were hunting together, I always saw her in a completely black robe, but seeing her in different colored clothing really made her look fancy and beautiful.

“How is it?”
“Hm?”
“I’m asking how good my robe looks, it’s been remodeled by my guild’s craftsmen.”
“Are you saying that this robe is the same item as the one you usually wore?”
“Bingo.”

Looking at it up close, I could ‌tell that in terms of design not much had changed. Even though there were just a few more additions of decorations and a slight change in the overall image, it really made it look much fancier and high class than before.

“It’s really amazing. I thought it was a completely different item.”
“Fufu, just tell me whenever, I’ll put in the request to remodel yours too.”
“Hehe, I’m fine really, but thanks for the offer.”

But it seemed like she wasn’t just making an idle offer. We had to argue for a long time as she opened up a trade window telling me to hand over my armor for a remodeling immediately, and I had to quickly change the subject and remind her what we came here for.

“Hey, weren’t we supposed to go meet someone?”
“Ah, that’s right! Oh dear, I think they’re ‌waiting for us now. This is all your fault, Ellie.”
“Ugh.”

I couldn’t believe what she said.

“If you just handed over your armor willingly, this wouldn’t have happened!”

She was correct on that, but I was asking a more fundamental question.

“Sigh, I should just let this slide since I’m so nice.”

She then sent a party invite to me, and once I accepted it, Katalina ripped up a scroll.

Then, the location we were in changed again. A sculpture that looked similar to the one in Liverpool’s teleportation point came into view.

And a group of people in front of us as well.

“Welcome, sis.”

A young girl with red hair and a half-plate armor that only covered her chest greeted us. I say a young girl, but all I am saying is that she has a bit of a youthful look, especially if you ‌looked at her body shape and chest size, you would definitely say she’s more developed than a young girl.

“It’s been a long time, Eva. Have you raised your level a lot since then?”
“Hoho, oh sis. My position in the ranks still hasn’t changed. As you know, I can’t really catch up to those high-ranking players who increase their experience points at light speed.”
“You’re just saying that intentionally to me, aren’t you?”
“Oh my, I guess I am.”

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They seemed to enjoy each other’s company greatly, making me think ‌they have pretty close ties.

“But ‌why was it ‌you told me to come here, sis?”
“Oh yeah, I had someone I wanted to introduce to you behind me.”
“Oh my! That lady behind you? She plays knight class as well and looks extremely high leveled too. And somehow, I feel a vague sense of familiarity. Is it just my imagination? You really look amazingly beautiful.”

After saying that, Eva asked for pardon from the guild member that was with her, then went to her own private office inside of the castle. Perhaps she was wishing to talk in a more appropriate place? Katalina wanted that as well, since she followed her with no objection. Katalina then smiled widely as she answered the question she asked a moment ago.

“Of course she’d look familiar to you. She’s Elizabeth‌.”

Eva’s eyes opened up wide as she heard Katalina’s answer. It wasn’t like her eyes were small in the first place, so seeing it opened up wide made it look like a wide-open deer’s eyes.

“It’s nice to meet you. I am Elizabeth of the Kent family.”
“Uweeehh!!”

Hearing my greeting, Eva let out a scream that sounded slightly like a shriek.

“How could you let out such rude noise as the daughter of a noble family? You’re being a disgrace!”

It wasn’t something that Katalina should say herself, but Eva nodded as if she agreed and asked for forgiveness from me.

“I apologize, Duchess Elizabeth. I just get really surprised easily. You’ll forgive me, right?”

She was doing her best to look cute as she smiled for forgiveness, so I couldn’t bring myself to be cold towards her and just ‌nodded slightly as I smiled back at her.

“Actually, Ellie hasn’t officially inherited the Duke title yet, so why are you calling her Duchess Elizabeth?”
“Huh? Wait, you didn’t know this, sis? A few days ago, the imperial family brought forward the day that she would inherit the title from two years later to next week.”
“Huuh?!”

This time it was Katalina and me who were surprised.

“Looks like you didn’t know. Well, I didn’t hear about it until recently as well. It will soon be officially announced and the documents detailing it will be sent to you.”

They should have just called us. Why are they going through the tedium of making a document and sending it to us?

“I see. Wow, so the date of succession will be soon! I’m excited!”
“Hehe, I’m excited too. It will be a grand party, the likes of which haven’t been seen in quite some time.”

Katalina and Eva laughed and smiled at each other happily, though I really couldn’t understand why.

While they were smiling and laughing, this ‌bewildered me. Even though I know not enough about the English nobility titles, I know that a Duke is the highest ‌title you can receive as a noble.

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Even if in the modern age the title wasn’t tied to owning parcels of land, I still knew that you would be higher ‌in the social pyramid and that all eyes would be on you, making it overall an enormous burden to bear.

I thought to myself I should put all my effort into learning etiquette. I didn’t want to end up making the family look like a fool.

“Oh, and there’s one more thing you’d be surprised by, Eva.”
“Ah, even more than the fact that Duchess Elizabeth is playing Blue Sky?”

Hearing Eva’s question, Katalina gave a wide smile. She then looked at me, as if pressuring me to say it myself by looking at me with no words.

“Let me introduce myself again, Lady Eva. In this game, I actively play it with my ID set as Artoria.”
“You’re joking, right?”
“Hey, you!”

Eva didn’t lose the smile on her face, but her expression still stiffened. Seeing that, Katalina became angry and wanted to say something, but I knew she would act this way so I stopped her by waving my hand downwards at her. I then disabled my ‘Real Mode’.

I sighed inside, knowing that I’m going to be doing this routine several times more‌, but there was no other way to completely prove my identity without going through this.

“Ahaha… You really are Miss Artoria.”

Eva finally realized it was the truth once she saw the real Artoria standing in front of her.

“I’ve told you back then, didn’t I?”

Katalina spoke with a quite angered expression.

“Aw come on, sis. I thought you were just making a joke back then. And I’ve never seen you once go around together with Artoria until now.”
“Tsk…”

Katalina clicked her tongue as if she had nothing to refute that.

“This is shocking! To think ‌Duchess Elizabeth is Artoria. Ah, I can call you sister right, Miss Elizabeth? Since I know you’re the same age as Katalina.”
“No, you can’t!”

Katalina snapped at her before I could say anything.

“Aww, I really can’t?”
“Call me sister if you want.”
“Alright!”

As you know, I am weak to a girl’s crying face, so I ended up allowing her to call me that way. I was hit with smiles from Eva on one side while with frowns from Katalina on the other.

Jeez. Katalina was the one who introduced me to her in the first place, so I couldn’t understand why she was adamant in stopping her from becoming friends with me.

“Then Duchess Elizabeth… I mean, Sister Artoria. I will properly introduce myself‌. My name is Esther Chester, as you know, the youngest daughter of the Marquiss Chester family. My in-game ID is Eva~ My age is just one year younger than you two at seventeen years old. Although it’s not much to brag about, I am the guild master of the ‘Sapphire’ guild.”
“Yep. Even though it’s not very big compared to the Volcano guild, it’s still a pretty respectable sized one since the Sapphire guild owns around 4 different cities and castles.”
“Mmmph!”

Eva’s expression turned pouty, as if she was a little annoyed. Seeing her puff up her cheeks and push out her lips in a pouty way made me think ‌she was definitely different from her older sister Stella.

Afterwards, the topic changed and once Katalina spoke about what happened yesterday, Eva spoke with an expression as if it wasn’t such a big deal.

“You did the right thing, Sister Artoria. Really, my older sister is really an embarrassment of a human being.”

It was a very harsh critique.

“She trashed the car ‌I owned, saying that it wasn’t to her liking. She also spent the household’s money on shopping without telling dad, and nowadays she’s trying to take some of my money‌, her own little sister’s!”

I felt that she was going a bit too far by revealing so much of the family’s weakness, but it allowed me to understand just how much stress about her older sister had built up‌.

Seeing her nearly tear up as she spoke about all the horrid things that her sister did make me think ‌she must have done even more horrible things that she couldn’t dare to speak out.

“Honestly, it makes me wish that Sister Katalina or you are actually my older sister instead.”
“So you’ve always had a bad relationship with her?”

Hearing her complaints in silence, a sudden thought made me want to question Eva.

“No, not always. We had gotten along very well together until 5 to 6 years ago. But after that incident happened…”
“That incident?”
“Ah, sorry. This is a secret that is kept by our household. I’m afraid I can’t say it to you.”
“No, I’m sorry for digging too deep into it.”

Seeing her ‌saddened expression, I felt a pang of guilt and apologized.

“Thank you for saying that. I feel that I will get along very well with you, sis.”

Thankfully, she quickly smiled again and pretended as if nothing happened, but I still feel sorry for her in the corner of my heart. Which made me wonder, what was the incident she’s talking about? It sounded like she had a story to tell, but I didn’t think too deeply into it because everyone has their own story that they want to keep a secret.

“So for that reason, can I ask for you to add me in your friend list?3

Eva asked while blushing, covering her two cheeks with her hands to hide it. Katalina, standing next to me, looked as if she had already given up trying to fight against it.

“Of course. I hope we get along.”
“Me too.”


Author’s Notes
End of act… Now, we’ll begin to get into the main part.



References

  1. Robinxen: What stereotyping is this?!
  2. Robinxen: You’re not pro level so you suck!
  3. Robinxen: Real life isn’t this easy

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