Chapter 18: The Golden Daughter (1)

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“Hey hey!”

I was able to control the corners of my mouth from turning upside down through sheer superhuman restraint.

Because I came back to an uninvited guest at my camp after gathering some edible plants and herbs.

The guest was none other than the second-year top student, the so-called genius Elementalist, Yennekar.
She was sitting on my log by the fire, waving her feet around in greeting.

We met by chance at the Guardian Tree of Merilda before, and she would often greet me because we had overlapping classes.
Though I never properly returned any of her greetings. 

It's because I was trying to avoid Yennekar.
Besides, her best friends would always appear like ghosts to take her away from me.

I was actually thankful for that since I wanted to minimize my contact with her.
But to Yennekar who wanted to become friends with everyone, I must have been a big obstacle. 

I was sure her friends had already reminded her multiple times that nothing good would come out of befriending a jerk like Ed Rothstaylor.
Unfortunately for them, Yennekar had the attitude of a toddler.

She always had a bubbly appearance, and even when she seemed to just be sitting still and not thinking, she would ultimately still go ahead and do whatever she thought was right.

This very situation was conclusive proof.

“Wow, this is amazing! It's totally like a secret base here!”

She raised her hand and excitedly walked around in admiration, like an innocent child watching the first snow.

“Can I keep coming over to play?”

‘No you can’t,’ was what I wanted to say but I was afraid she would get hurt if I said it so straightforwardly.
Ah, this bright and energetic girl had some type of talent that made people want to protect her.
That must be why our classmates cared so much about her.

“Well, if you find anything good about this place, then you can come.”

“My heart is pounding because this place feels like such an adventure.
Ed, don’t you think so too?”

Of course, my heart was pounding every day.
A few days ago, I made a mistake when managing the campfire and the flame went out at dawn so I almost got attacked by a wild boar.

So even though both of our hearts were pounding, there was definitely a difference between the two. 

“I want to talk to you more… There are things I want to ask you… And there’s something I also need your advice on.”

‘Out of all the many people out there, why does it have to be me?’ But that would have been too cruel of a question to throw right at her face.

No matter how necessary it was to keep my distance, treating others too rudely would just make my personality complete trash.

But on the other hand, it was also true that there was nothing good about being too friendly. 

“How did you know how to find this place?”

My camp was located in a corner of the wide northern forest, far away from both the academic and business districts.

There were only a few people who knew that I lived out here.

“By any chance, did that Wolf tell you?”

The most likely answer had to be Merilda.

The high-ranking wind spirit Merilda was like family to Yennekar.
And this was her forest too, so it would make sense if she had told Yennekar about me surviving in a corner of her forest.

“No, Merilda talks about you a lot but… but she never told me about the location of your camp or any of your personal secrets.
Because that was your personal business.”

Wow, that bastard.
She was surprisingly protective of others’ privacy, wasn't she? I thought she would have told Yennekar everything about me already since she was such a chatterbox.

Then who the hell told Yennekar the location of my camp?

“And the answer is…”

Yennekar made a drumroll sound as if to announce who.

Twisting my own hair around, I didn’t give my answer right away.
Though I had already figured out who through the process of elimination. 

“So it was Bell…”

“Wow! Y-You’re quite quick-witted!” 

Bell Maya.
That name, which I was somewhat unfamiliar with, referred to a senior maid at Ophelis Hall, famous for being the most luxurious of the three Silvenia Academy dormitories.

How was she able to tell Yennekar about the location of this camp? 

Well, to talk about that, we'd have to go back to about a week ago.

 

* * *

 

 

[Name: Ed Rothstaylor]

Gender: Male

Age: 17

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School Year: 2nd

Species: Human

Achievements: None

 

Vitality: 6

Intelligence: 5

Dexterity: 9

Willpower: 8

Luck: 6

 

Combat Skills Details ≫

Magic Skills Details ≫

Life Skills Details ≫

Alchemy Skills Details ≫

 

 

It was my long-awaited weekend, a time when I could finally take care of the things I had delayed the whole school week.

First, I washed my sweat-soaked clothes from hunting all morning and hung them out to dry on a stone by the stream.

It had already been two weeks since that troublesome Joint Combat Practice class.

Getting tied up with the main characters of the story had aged me by about ten years.
I also felt twice as tired, feeling like I was walking on a tightrope, always anxious about adversely affecting the main story while living my daily life.

Though thankfully, after combat practice, there hadn't been any time when I got involved with the main characters.
It had been a comfortable time for me. 

Being able to solely focus on my studies and survival, my stamina rose by an additional point.
Although my relatively high Dexterity stat slowly began to decrease in gaining experience for another point.
From level 10 onwards, raising its level by even a point won't be easy.

My Vitality stat was really not that bad.
Of course, it would look pathetic to Combat Department students who had overwhelming combat specs, but it was already at a level that could serve me well as an ordinary person.

After all, the reference point for a high-performance stat was 10.
Whether it be one's proficiency level or basic stat, the gains would become extremely low once level 10 is hit.
From then on, bone-crushing efforts would be needed to raise them by even a little.

And considering how the end specs were around 20, there was still a long way to go.

But that was for extraordinary playable characters that went beyond the standards of an ordinary person.
My current stats were already enough to live my life.

Besides, thanks to my efforts, my body had already gained some muscles.

Having taken my top off, I looked at my body's reflection on the water. 

“As I thought, the Vitality stat has a real impact.”

I had continuously been on a tight schedule for the past two months, pushing my human limitations.
In order to keep up, my body started to adapt.

Even if I couldn't become a macho man with thick wild muscles, at least my body had started to form muscles on my stomach, shoulders, and my forearms.
This was a great achievement as Ed's original body was as skinny as an anchovy. 

Since this body had no physical talent to begin with, I thought it was fair to say I had made quite a bit of progress.

However, my proficiency level for both my bow and my dagger was very low.
My dagger was one of my most useful weapons but it hadn't even accumulated any proficiency.
I had been going at this for quite a long time now but I still had a very long way to go.

“I should be training now so I can afford to be more comfortable later on… This isn't the time to be unnecessarily lazy.”

I had some pretty significant results, but I shouldn't be satisfied with them alone.
I began to stretch my limbs, then bent my back and twisted my torso.
I needed to start moving to take care of the work I hadn't been able to do all week.

I was planning to make more firewood and cut some logs again.
Then I plan to weave a net with my remaining time in the afternoon.
I would gather all my remaining silk threads and layer them diagonally, then twist them into each section to make a complex net.

But why was I making a net? While it would be for fishing, I planned to use it more importantly with fish preservation. 

I usually stored my meat in underground storage, but since I hadn't been preserving them for much longer, they also spoil quickly.
Salting them all together had also become a problem since the salt I could harvest from my rock salt was never enough.

The method I thought of was to smoke it.
I could smoke the surface with wood which would slightly cook it.
Then I could dry it out.
Doing these would extend the shelf life of my fish by a few days, and would allow me to invest more time in my studies and other activities around the camp.

But the smoked fish was still not as efficient as meat when it came to shelf life.
Also, it tended to alter the taste which made it hard to cook. 

This was why I thought of making a net.
I would hang it on a branch by the stream and serve as a fish farm.
If this were to work out well, then I can even store my fish alive.
I can have both the freshness and the real taste of the fish.

It should be a worthwhile attempt.
I never had the energy to do it during the school week because of my classes and having to collect resources to live day by day.
But having free time during weekends allowed me to experiment.

I decided to quickly get on with making more firewood, then check on my school uniform which should be dry by then, and then I could start working on my net.

“Zzz… Zzz…”

I started stretching my body some more, warming up with my top off.
But as I arrived at my workbench, I found Lucy Mayreel curled up on the tree's base, sleeping.

I naturally picked her up and carried her on my shoulder like a sack of potatoes, then threw her inside the wooden shelter.

“Ooo, aghk!”

Lucy tossed and turned on top of the soft marten and squirrel leather-covered bed.
She then quietly breathed through her lips and fell sound asleep.

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It was Lucy’s naptime.
Right when I was just about to forget about her, she would come into my camp and use my bed.
I don't even sigh anymore when I see her. 

“I’ll go cut 50 pieces of firewood and then check on my school uniform.
I should be done in an hour.”

I spat on both my hands and grabbed my ax, then swung it down my first firewood of the day.

Clank!

“Waaahk…”

I heard a loud crash behind me so I turned around and saw Lucy gently stroking her forehead as if she had jumped up and hit her head on the wooden support stick.

Lucy never woke up unless you pinch both her cheeks.
But now she had suddenly jumped up on her own.

“What are you doing?”

“…something stinks!”

She then grabbed her witch hat and ran out of my camp like the wind.

I couldn’t help but admire her lightning-like movements.
In the blink of an eye, she had gone and disappeared.
All that was left was the aftermath of the wind magic she used to blow off my sweat.

“What’s with her?”

But it didn't take long for me to realize her reason.

“Who's over there?”

Out from the grass came Bell Maya, a senior maid at Ophelis Hall, Silvenia’s most prestigious dormitory.

 

* * *
 

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Translator – Plumper

Proofreader – kianianian

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* * * 

 

I knew the detailed setup for the maids of Ophelis Hall. 

Ophelis Hall was where all sorts of nobles and talented students lived.
And as the people who managed this dormitory, the Ophelis Hall maids all worked with the same skill and pride like that of a royal maid.
They were usually specialists in their field and had received special education for it since childhood.

But that was just part of their setup.
I couldn't remember anything memorable about them having a huge influence on the game's story.

They were just meant to emphasize just how special Ophelis Hall was, but there was none among them who had a significant impact on the main story.

In other words, the Bell Maya I had just encountered had no recognition.
If you were to look at her level of importance in the story, she was just a side character comparable to Ed Rothstaylor, a villain who was written for a few scenes and then thrown away.

“I was thinking about walking deep into the forest for the first time in a while, but I didn’t know I would be meeting the young master Ed here.”

“Ah, yes.
It’s been a while.”

“You don’t have to speak formally to me.”

Bell Maya was a very minor character in the story, but she would show up every so often and deliver a meaningful line. 

As an example, when the protagonist or heroine was faced with a challenge, she would say, ‘But the will in his eyes is still alive.
I’m sure he will definitely win’ or ‘If it’s her… She can surely overcome it,’ and other such lines.
She was someone who gave some meaningful foreshadowing. 

She never actually did anything to solve the problem, but she would give the player the confidence that the problem would be solved.
She was a necessary character that actually seemed kind of unnecessary. 

Other than that, she was the only person Lucy Mayreel, a magician who only did whatever she wanted, was scared of.

Whoever she was wouldn't really change no matter how much meaning was put into it.

She was just a member of the ‘Side Character Club’ like Ed Rothstaylor. 

“I’ll just speak formally.”

“I’m more uncomfortable with you speaking so formally.”

“Either way, I am no longer a noble.”

“But you are still a student at Silvenia.”

Her neat black short hair and modest behavior explained how she became a Senior Maid at Ophelis Hall, a place full of professionals. 

Even though she had come this deep into the forest, her elegant maid uniform didn’t have a single wrinkle, despite her being unable to use beginner's magic.

“If I’m speaking honestly, I am quite surprised.”

She didn't look the tiniest bit sincere despite saying such words.

“Your tone of voice has changed quite a bit, and you now have such a strong physique.”

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Only then did I realize that I was half-naked.
I rarely get embarrassed but seeing her unchanged poised expression was rather embarrassing. 

“I think it’s quite a wonderful change.
I am happy.”

“Oh, yes…”

“You can speak casually.”

“But I don’t want to.”

“……”

I couldn't tell because of her expressionless face but I may have poked at her strange pride just then.

“You have to.”

“But I don’t want to.”

“When you lived in Ophelis Hall, you did so.”

“That was then.
When I used to live in Ophelis Hall.”

All of the Ophelis Hall maids had a strange stubbornness that was hard to understand.

I saw that Bell was holding a big basket in one hand.
Glancing at its contents, it seemed like it was filled with all kinds of mushrooms, wild vegetables, and fruits.

Meals at Ophelis Hall mostly used high-quality ingredients delivered from various stores.
But when fresh ingredients were essential, there would be times that the maids would obtain them locally. 

Seeing her do this made me understand that internet meme about calling Ophelis Hall maids, ‘Human Livestock Manufacturers.’

TN: Author actually says internet meme

The students didn’t have to do anything, all they needed to do was sit still and open their mouths.

“I knew that you still attended the academy.
I help the young lady Yennekar with her morning preparations and she always talks about you, young master Ed.”

“Is that so?”

“But I had no idea that you are living like this.
When you left Ophelis Hall, your face looked like it was the end of the world.
I thought you would end up leaving the academy.”

How strange for maids like her to feel uncomfortable when someone talked to them with respect.
Just what kind of education did they receive to have this kind of mindset?

But what caught my eyes was the basket she was holding.

It was full of all sorts of mushrooms, wild vegetables, and fruits.

I felt limited by the knowledge I was getting from books when it came to edible plant life.
Since the contents of that basket should all be edible, if I could just get one, then the types of plants I could collect would increase dramatically. 

I never touched mushrooms and fruits, in particular, because there were quite toxic ingredients if not handled properly.
I couldn’t help but drool at the opportunity to open my door to more options.

Bell Maya may appear quite cold, but she was actually quite nice.
She would willingly accept if I were to ask for help.

Just as I mentioned, she was just a side character that had not much influence on the story.
Nothing big would change or happen should we interact or become closer to each other.

In fact, there may be more benefits than harm.
If we become a bit closer, then wouldn’t I be able to ask for ingredients, fabrics, and other various work tools left around Ophelis Hall?

At this point, wouldn’t it be more stupid if I were to push her coldly away?

The faces of the Ophelis Hall maids were rarely even shown throughout the entire game.
That’s right! It shouldn’t matter if we become close to each other!

After I came to that conclusion, I adjusted my voice and spoke to Bell Maya in a welcoming tone, with a comfortable smile.

“Coming all the way deep into the forest to procure such ingredients, you have been through so much.
But as for that basket…”

That’s right, it should be fine if we become friends!

And that was a choice I would regret making until the end of the story.

 

* * *

 

“Yeah, yeah.
I talk to Bell so much about you, Ed.
That's why when Bell and I were talking, she suddenly told me about how she met you here.”

Was Bell really going around revealing my private information like that? Something that even a high-ranking wind spirit was protecting?

No, I was sure the Bell Maya I knew was quiet and wouldn’t talk about others so carelessly.
After all, being tight-lipped was one of the most basic qualities of an experienced maid.  

And as far as I knew, Bell Maya was an elite maid equipped with such a basic skill.

“Since it’s the weekend, she told me to come and visit you.
Look, she even tied my hair up so prettily today? Look here, isn’t it pretty when it’s braided to one side like this?”

Oh, would you look at this kid?!

“Ah, is that so…”

“So, about this concern I talked about earlier…”

Yennekar sat down and held her knees, slowly getting to her point.

At first, I wondered why she went to me amongst so many other people.

While looking at the burning campfire, Yennekar finally managed to say it.

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“Ed, you might not have seen it since you left first.
But during the Joint Combat Practice last month, I ended up hurting some people.”

It was the event in which she summoned Takan, a high-ranking fire spirit, and covered the entire Nail Hall in flames.
It was one of the largest-scaled events that would take place this semester.

It was obvious who she ended up hurting.
Although it was just a natural reaction, considering the first year Lortel broke the rules first and used intermediate magic, that was only a secondary fact for Yennekar who had a good heart.

But why was I the one counseling her?

In the first place, all of the students were on Yennekar’s side.

Yennekar was bubbly and lovely, and to the second-years, she was a precious treasure.
Whenever she felt guilty or would blame herself, everyone would rush and come forward to encourage and side with her.

However, Yennekar knew that all of their evaluations and opinions were one-sided.

They weren’t able to make objective and fair judgments because they cared about Yennekar.
While she may be thankful that they were always on her side unconditionally, that didn’t mean any of the mistakes she had made would disappear.

That was why she came to me.
She knew I was less inclined to take her side.
I wouldn’t be judging the event simply from her perspective.

She was very kind and upright, that’s why her relationship with Lortel was this bad.

“You know, even when I try to forget it all, ‘As I thought, I went too far…’ and ‘Did I overreact so much that I ended up hurting her that much?’ I can’t get rid of these thoughts.”

“I see…”

“Should I go and apologize?”

“Do whatever you want.”

“But my friends always stop me from apologizing because she did something wrong in the first place.”

“Then don’t do it.
As long as you think it's right.”

“Hmmm~”

Yennekar sat still, her chin resting on top of her knees.

I decided not to force my opinions on her.
This was a situation where I couldn’t be sure how it would affect her.
Yennekar was too important for me to influence her behavior by making a right or wrong judgment.

But I couldn’t help but want to promise her everything would be alright.

“As expected of Ed.”

However, her response was more surprising than I thought.

“Ed… you never unconditionally take my side.”

“I can’t help it if it makes you sad.”

“Huh? No, no.
Don’t misunderstand.”

Yennekar smiled as she enjoyed the burning campfire.
Somehow, the tension in the air seemed a little less than usual.

“I don’t feel bad at all.
Not one bit.
In fact, I feel relieved.”

Simple meaningful words kept on coming out.

“I wish that everyone in the world was more like you, Ed.”

I didn’t have the time to think about what those words meant.
Because I had a pile of work I had to finish today.

 

* * *

 

“I would like to purchase 2 hours of your time, Ed Rothstaylor.”

It happened two days later.
The moment I came out of my Elemental Studies class to eat lunch.

She looked elegant and quite polite at first glance, but her bright turquoise eyes were filled with greed for money.

Her reddish-brown hair was neatly combed and was tied up to her shoulder blades, running down her shoulders.

There was a small bandage from the bottom of her neck to her forearm, a result of her injury during the Joint Combat Practice class.
It had been a long time since then, it made me realize just how serious her injuries must have been if she still had some wounds left.
That nice girl Yennekar must have completely stomped on her.

She was waiting for me in the academic district, sitting on a bench with a rather dignified posture.
I knew who she was.

She was someone who would become at odds with Princess Penia, acting like cats and dogs.
She was one of the four heroines of ‘Silvenia’s Failed Swordmaster’.

The only daughter of Elte Kehelland, the greatest merchant on the continent.
A rare businesswoman who climbed to the top of the tower of gold coins with only her desire for wealth.

In the future, people would pay respect to her by calling her ‘The Golden Daughter.’

 

____

 

To all the readers, we would like to apologize for the delayed release of this chapter and would also like to apologize for the continued delay of upcoming chapters until the corresponding issues are resolved.
We thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

 

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