I felt some sense of déjà-vu as I woke up in the same white room as before. I had a nasty taste left in my mouth and an empty stomach.
“Is it better now?”
This time I was not alone. Embarrassment flushed over me as I recalled what happened. After recognizing Carnelian I grasped his clothes and fainted. After that I was in a state of waking up, vomiting and fainting again. And Carnelian stayed with me throughout… .
I hid myself behind my own hands.
“Don’t. Just don’t.”
I heard a soft chuckle. “It’s alright. This stuff happens. I’ve been through a lot. Are you still sick?”
Not wanting to admit the real reason for me throwing up, I slightly nodded. Carnelian himself did not seem to notice his casual tone. Last time he was casual as well but just a little bit more formal. I enjoyed this casualness I hadn’t had in a while because of my high status.
“You gave me quite a shock, you know?”
I smiled at his similar words. “I am sorry”, I told him upfront.
“Ah! That’s not what I mean”, he fidgeted a little with his hands probably out of nervousness. “It’s just, I couldn’t imagine you to just collapse after you had that confrontation. You were cool, you know.”
“I was?”, did the Side Quest activate because of this?
“Yeah, incredibly confident. I think it’s nice to just say your thoughts upfront.”
He appeared a little sad when he said that and I had to snort about the irony. I did not mean what I said at all. Well… not everything, I was just slightly influenced by Sophien at the end. Furthermore I would have to continue to play a role. It would be uncertain how much of what I did and said would be my own will and what would be the Game System command or task. And here he was envying these empty words, leaving me with mixed feelings.
“Just don’t tell anyone about what happened afterwards”, I joked and in turn glossed over this topic. I did not want to lie to him.
As thanks I became a genuine laugh. “Alright.”
Talking to him calmed my still tense nerves. This time he led the topic to my new major and what I would have to expect. He worried that I was still too ill to really participate in the morning and evening training and I had to assure him that I would take it slow.
We talked until late in the evening and he only left when it was time for me to eat.
Name: Sophien Alma Rubien
Health: 21/21 → 7/11
Mana: 25/25 → 12/12
Stamina 21/21 → 6/10
Attack: 12/12 → 2/2
Defense: 19/19 → 9/9
Speed: 21/21 → 7/10
Mental Health: 21/21 → 6/11
Mental Fortitude: 21/21 → 7/11
Aptitude: Fire, Light, Darkness
Fire Ball Lvl. 3, Fire Wall Lvl. 2, Barrier Lvl. 1 (locked), Mana Breath Lvl. 3 (New↑), Calmness Lvl. 5 (affected↓), Poison Resistance Lvl. 5, Body Enhancement Lvl. 3 (affected↓), Sense Enhancement Lvl. 4 (affected↓), Awareness Lvl. 4 (affected↓), Enemy Detection Lvl. 1 (affected↓), Evasion Lvl. 1 (affected↓)
Special Ability: Save Point System
My Stats were even lower than before but luckily my Skills did not plunge any further. I activated my Mana Breath as usual. It slowly evolved into a calming technique for me before trying the dish in front of me.
It was soup again and I sighed because of my unbalanced diet. Just who told me to always faint, it was my own fault but the taste startled me nonetheless. I couldn’t taste anything. It was a big warning signal that my body was nearing its limits.
‘Damned assassin!’, I cursed.
This was my first time seeing someone dying in front of me. And they were dying for me. A shudder ran down my spine. Never. I wanted to never experience this again. It was this awful to see people dying for me whom I barely knew. What would happen if I knew that person or even cared…?
I continued to eat my soup emotionlessly. Nutrients were very important to me right now even if it tasted disgustingly tasteless.
I anticipated someone might come in to kill me as my silverware showed no signs of poison, however, I did not expect that my guards wouldn’t notice anything or that that assassin just killed them indiscriminately.
At least I could be sure that it was the same assassin that tried to kill me a few days prior in the Duke’s estate. These yellow cat-like eyes couldn’t be common.
I sighed and put my spoon away.
Was it a personal grudge or was he just hired by someone? If it was the latter then the culprit was likely the Prince… Damn engagement.
Ines came in to clean up my plates and sighed when she saw my distressed appearance.
“I am sorry to interrupt your thoughts, Young Miss, but you might want to get some sleep. Your countenance still looks a little sick.”
I chuckled, “You don’t have to be so careful with your wording as long as we are alone. I don’t mind and would feel more comfortable.”.
“Understood”, she said while leaving with my plates.
I chuckled again at her strict attitude but did not lie down to sleep. First of all I had to find out whether these cat-eyes would really act tonight or might postpone it, should there be no opportunity. So shortly after I could sense the presence I called for Ines again.
“Yes, my Lady?”. She must have come right out of her bed since her hair was a little ruffled.
“Sorry for waking you up. As you can see, I cannot sleep probably. Maybe because I slept during the day. Would you accompany me to the garden?”, I wasn’t worried that the assassin would hurt Ines. In the Duke’s estate he did not hurt her and here he only hurt people who were versed with the sword. Of course that was no guarantee but it still served me as an indicator.
Ines and I went around the academy. It was a little creepy considering how few servants and students were still up.
Cat-eyes never left us once but I could not pinpoint his whereabouts. Was it because of my low stats or because my skills weren’t high enough? Maybe both. Seeing that I couldn’t pinpoint him and his killing intent seemed to rise, I turned to Ines. “Bring me to the girls dormitory for those studying magic. You were there before right? When I first came to the academy.”
“Of course, my Lady. Do you want to go anywhere specific?”, she asked, a little baffled.
Even under these circumstances I became a little excited at her more natural appearance. “Yeah, you know her. Ellen Graystone, bring me to the room of that commoner girl.”
As expected, the killing intent dimmed in intensity. Assuming by his behavior, he would kill me tonight regardless of witnesses. Then I had to find out whether he was just hired or wanted to kill me because of personal reasons and the only person who enchanted someone enough to kill me was the Heroine of this Game.
“B-But my Lady, it is late at night…”
My heartbeat was rising all the way to the dormitory while cold sweat ran down my spine. I wasn’t sure whether I was too sensitive because of my activated skills, exhausted because of my body’s situation or just imagining things. Regardless of the reason it became harder and harder to breathe.
Ines indicated me to wait for her, however, I felt the need to act. That damn assassin was definitely playing with me.
‘Just why can’t I locate him? Shouldn’t I at least feel from which direction he was staring?’
In my nervousness, I started talking to the system.
Your body is very unwell right now and he is a professional assassin. Without training it would be near impossible to pinpoint him.
‘Really? Is there a special reason?’ We arrived at the room and Ines began to knock. It felt like a predator was eyeing my neck besides there being only Ines and me.
As far as I am briefed by the Game System, assassins come normally from an Assassin Guild which in turn teaches their top killers dark magic involving shadow magic. You on the other hand do not even know how to use the magic skills this body has already learned so… He stopped talking.
Just then, the door opened and a student I didn’t recognize opened the door. “Tell Ellen Graystone to come out. It is important”, I ordered her and saw her fleeing rather quickly.
A short time later a disheveled Ellen stood in the doorway.
Up till now, I could clearly feel that bastard’s presence but it became fainter and fainter the moment Ellen appeared. What was he doing? By now it was clear that he had no intention to leave, so why retreat?
Was it because Ellen was talented in light magic? Or did he just not want his love to see this side of him?
“It would be a lie to say I am delighted to see you this late at night, Miss Sophien.”
Indeed, she had a little temper. In Mare she might be a Princess but here in Laurit she was just a commoner. You could take any useless noble and he would punish her for her rude remark. The equality rule in the academy at this point in time was just an useless accessory.
“Ellen, as polite as ever.” I smirked. “In your arsenal of admirers and… male friends, are there any skilled in concealment and assassination?”
“Wha-What are you saying?” She paled at a speed visible to the naked eye and I felt the chill return right down my spine. If he liked her, he wouldn’t kill me in front of her eyes, right?
“I am saying to call back that dog sniffing around me all night long.”
I looked into the large gray eyes of Ellen. Slowly I lowered my eyesight. A sharp knife was embedded into my back and I had to vomit some blood.
“Poison?”, I mumbled whilst Ines and Ellen began screaming.
I slowly slid down the door frame. Great! The knife was poisoned. Just a scratch would be enough to kill me.
At any rate, I could feel no hesitation at all. This damn assassin had no connection to Ellen whatsoever.
“Argh!”, I groaned and slowly slid down to the ground.
“M-miss Sophien! Are you alright?”. Again I saw Carnelian making a fuss and wanting us to go to the infirmary.
“It’s fine, really. I just need a little break. I am still a little ill. You should know about the improvement of my body right? I am just not accustomed to my new stats so let me rest a little.”
“Ah! But still…”, he began fidgeting with his hands again.
“Alright, alright. Help me to the next bench.”
At this Carnelian gave me a sunny smile. “Yes! Leave it to me!”
It took me a while to gather my senses. Like the system said, this weakened state was damn dangerous. This time my stats and skills dropped. And there was still no solution in sight.
“Are you alright?”, Carnelian brought me a glass of water.
I guess it was time to talk to the Prince.