Chapter 4: I became a 2 year old
「……This is, not good.」
There was no one around….. I was largely conscious of the small sound of a sweet voice that could be heard from one of the relatively smaller rooms within the mansion.
In that room, there was a faint odor of paint remaining. And along with a big, brand-new canopy bed, there was a tiny little dresser that could be used for children playing house.
At first glance, there was no one in here, but that was wrong.
Although glass, in this world, was a precious material, this room was furnished with a full-length mirror so large as to make you wonder at its price.
And standing small and quiet in front of it was a little golden child.
That’s right. It was me.
I was now 2 years old, and I was dumbfounded upon getting a proper look at my own appearance for the first time.
My okaa-san…no, my okaa-sama was a very beautiful person.
Her silky blonde hair was soft to the touch, and whenever okaa-sama would carry me in her arms, I would bury my face in her hair.
On my first birthday, I met otoo-sama for the first time. I wondered if he was busy with work. He seemed to be sorry about not being able to come home too often.
Otoo-sama was also a great looking person. I’d say he was in his mid twenties or so? He exuded an attractive aura, with his considerably handsome looks and reddish blonde hair.
Being the daughter of these two people made me look forward to how I would look like in the future.
Although a prince-sama would be hoping for too much, but at the least I would have good enough looks to have an heir to a reasonably good household fall for me. And while having such lower middle-class thoughts, I felt relieved from the bottom of my heart, that my future would be without hardships.
And so back then, when I was still a baby, seeing myself reflected in the dresser mirror while being carried by okaa-sama, I had thought to myself that there wouldn’t be a problem since I was a baby this cute.
……Or, so I had thought.
「……This, isn’t happening.」
No no, it wasn’t as if my appearance was bad or anything. In a way, it was as I had anticipated.
But it was a future expectation years away. It would have been fine if I had started to blossom at around age 10, and until then remained as a wee little sweet child….
When I tilted my head, my gold colored hair that was without any curls, smoothly moved as if flowing.
Wasn’t this……exactly the color of my former body…the color of my fur…? This wasn’t blonde hair at all. It was more like gold threads.
My skin was like a normal white person’s, but I couldn’t see the pores of the skin. What was up with this….
As for my looks, I inherited all the good parts from my parents. My small cherry blossom lips and golden long eyelashes were very pretty and lovely to see.
If that was all it was then, overlooking the fact that my looks were rather showy, I would have felt glad for being born well…and that would have been the end of it, but the problem began here.
On my body…there were none of the tell-tale aging signs of a regular living person.
Veins, skeletal frame, muscles. Without exception, some form of 『flaw』 in the appearance would accompany the growth of all living things in the world as a result of lifestyle habits, fatigue and sleep conditions, etc.
That alone would still have been acceptable. Being appreciated and complimented with the saying 『you’re just like a doll』, would simply have had a more literal meaning to it.
But I wasn’t a doll. To be frank, I didn’t like this kind of doll.
My gaze was too strong.
The color of my eyes was a pinkish light gold that resembled both otoo-sama and okaa-sama.
My eyes that should have been of a gentle hue, pointlessly emanated a strange intensity, or should I say, an odd light. As proof, it was bad to the extent that when I fixedly stared at a maid-san that should have been familiar with me, she would flinch.
This wasn’t right. A scary 2 year old like this didn’t exist.
What happened to my body during the past year? Was it the hair after all? Was it the fault of this demon’s hair? Shaving my head bald or something may have been a solution, but that would have been putting the cart before the horse. Because I wanted to make a living in this world as a human girl.
I thought that maybe the humans of this world wouldn’t notice anything wrong with my appearance.
But I knew. Having 『knowledge』 from the world of my dream, I could understand.
And that made me shudder.
「……This isn’t the appearance of a human being.」
Within the first room of my own that was given to me after turning 2 years old…I couldn’t do anything but blankly mutter those words to myself.
From that day onwards, my goal became 『to live like a human would』.
Coming from a normal person, it would have meant to become a proper and praiseworthy human being…or so I supposed, but the goal I spoke of was in the literal sense.
Since my outward appearance was out of place among human beings, to deceive the other humans, I would behave in a way so that at the very least, I would be considered a normal human being on the inside. It’s the rational lifestyle of a feeble demon lost amidst humans.
Thinking back carefully, I seem to remember that otoo-sama appeared to be shocked when he saw me being dressed up on my 2nd birthday. So he was scared back then….
I felt bad for otoo-sama, but there was no other way than to have him get used to it. I would try snuggling up to him like a cat the next time we meet. It’s my area of expertise after all.
Now then, it was the month after I turned 2. On the first day of the month, it was decided that the three of us, otoo-sama, Vio and I, would be having an outing.
And once again, at the end of spending long moments being treated like a dress-up doll, I was made to don an extremely stylish attire.
It was a gothic dress made out of a deep blue satin fabric with excessive amounts of lace.
……This wasn’t children’s clothing. It was like it was designed for adults to wear. A dress meant for adults that was tailored to doll-size.
Just saying, wasn’t this more expensive than an adult’s dress? I won’t be able to wear it by next year you know?
Good grief…while I may be 2 years old, our household’s sense of economy was a cause for worry.
「Yuru, what’s wrong? Do you feel unwell?」
Okaa-sama enquired in a concerned voice as I was brooding inside of the carriage we were in.
「U, uun(Y, yeah).」
I ended up causing okaa-sama to worry. But that made me happy.
When I smiled with those feelings in mind, I was tightly hugged close by okaa-sama.
I’ll put the matters of economy on hold for now.
Leaving that aside, I was very much looking forward to today’s outing.
「Okaa-sama, are we there yet~?」
「Just a little further, Yuru. Once we get there, will you properly behave?」
It may have seemed like I was conversing rather normally for a 2 year old, but in actuality, if I tuned down the language correction ability of a demon, I would sound like this.
『Okaasaa, arew there yeet?』(orz)
A 2 year old’s lisping was adorable. And sly.
At any rate, okaa-sama. Even though you told me to behave well, if I was to try moving on my own, someone would immediately snap me up into their embrace, so I wouldn’t even be able to run about you know?
Even now I was being held by okaa-sama after all.
I could understand how they would become overprotective, seeing as how I came back to life after being stillborn, but this was too much. If it was a normal child, she would end up becoming unable to normally walk you know?
Even at home, the most I did was to transport food into my mouth with a spoon. Furthermore, since my sense of taste was weird, if I were to be negligent with my food intake, they would snatch away my spoon to feed me.
And as for the purpose of today’s outing, it was because a 『childrens magical power examination』 was being held at the magic academy branch of this town, for children 2 years old and above who wished to undertake magic education.
Magical examination…magic. That’s right. Today’s purpose was to examine my aptitude for magic.
Fantasy is all about the magic, right♪?
It wasn’t everyday that you’d be born as a demon, but the sole acquaintance I had back then was a muscle-brain by nature, not to mention violent, who ate up all the demons that likely had intelligence, so I had all but given up on any opportunities to learn magic.
Upon arriving at the magic academy, this time it was Vio-san who held me in her arms when we got off the carriage.
「Vio-san, I can walk you know?」
By the way, the words I spoke just now really sounded like this,
『Biosa, I, can wal…k?』(orz)
Well that doesn’t matter, but the Vio-san who could perfectly understand this kind of baby talk sweetly smiled at me.
「No, Yuru-ojousama. I must beg your pardon, for it is too dangerous outside. Also, please feel free to call the likes of me without honorifics.」
You’re amazing Vio-san. As expected of the eldest of the three maid girls. She was only 19 years old, tall, black-haired and a beauty too.
Passing through the main entrance, we saw a wide courtyard.
I thought that a day like today would have been a holiday, but there were a fair number of students that were in their teens. Girls and boys talking intimately to one another as they walked side-by-side. Must be nice~….
If possible, I would like to enter this academy, and not just for the magic.
Apparently, otoo-sama, okaa-sama and Vio were all students of this magic academy.
From what I heard from the nostalgic talk between okaa-sama and Vio, it seemed that there were two kinds of schools in this country.
The first kind was the school for children without magical power.
There you could receive a normal general education, so to speak, on subjects such as literature, arithmetic, history, morals and etiquette, and if you wished so, you could also learn fencing after school.
That was the entirety of a 6 year education starting from the age of 7. Even though 20 year olds were considered to be adults in this world, wasn’t the educational period too short?
The second kind was the magic academy, but here you would be taught lessons on magic on top of the general education you would receive at the normal school.
They must cram students’ heads full of lessons…or so I thought, but it turned out their educational period lasted 10 years. Moreover, they even had uniforms and a guaranteed social status as a student.
There’s quite the difference huh~. But after listening carefully, it seemed that the children with high magical powers were more numerous among the nobles, so it must be something that couldn’t be helped.
For that reason, I wanted to enter this magic academy.
There were classes for nobles at the normal school as well, but I want to experience a normal bittersweet love~.
Nobles would make their debut into high society at the age of 13, but it was kind of like a marriage interview, which sounded wearisome.
I didn’t want to experience a grade schooler’s love, but at the least, a middle schooler’s love.
It was an impure motive, but if I had no talent for magic anyway, I would automatically be sent to the normal school.
I’ll try my best for the magic examination!
There were quite the number of people in the examination hall when we entered. At a glance, I saw that there were around ten children around my age.
When we approached the reception desk, the receptionist onee-san seemed to jump with surprise when she turned to look at us.
To look so surprised upon seeing someone’s face, how rude….When I intently glared at her, the onee-san appeared to be flustered as she began giving an explanation to okaa-sama.
Not bothered by what happened, okaa-sama and Vio were calmly nodding as they listened. Impressive indeed.
……Uh-oh, that was bad. I had to behave like a human would.
The magical power examination seemed to involve some manual work aspects.
You didn’t get to place your hand on a crystal ball and they didn’t tell you anything like, “your aptitude for magic goes like this”. Instead, at every examination booth there was a spell charged wand, which would shoot out a teensy bit of magic upon being waved, and it counted as a pass if the magic activated. If it didn’t activate, it was a fail. Absolutely simple.
But would a 2 year old even know how to channel magical power…?
Sneaking a peek to one side, I saw that one child was releasing a flame like a lighter. I wondered if that degree of magic meant that the child had overflowing amounts of magical power.
There were other booths marked with water and wind-like signs too, so it might be that a person’s aptitude wasn’t limited to one type of magic.
First of all, I was to begin with trying normal magic. It was normally activated through magical power and spells.
Although it was called normal, it was a versatile kind of magic.
It seemed that there were various types, but for the time being there would be no problems choosing among earth, water, fire and wind elements.
「…Th, then ojou-sama, please try using this one.」
Another one afraid of me….Please don’t be scared of a 2 year old.
Pulling myself together, I took the wand that was passed to me…this was a pencil right…and I waved it.
「It appears that ojou-sama doesn’t have an affinity for fire…. I am so sorry.」
Why apologize? Was it because I looked like a noble? Come to think of it, what was the status of our household again…?
Recovering my thoughts, I went to try the other booths.
「Yuru-oujousama, there is still spirit magic remaining.」
Her thoughtfulness was painful.
Vio spoke to comfort the me who successively failed at the water, wind and earth booths.
But I wonder why the magic wouldn’t activate…? When the oji-san in charge of the examination saw that the wands would start shining just from my touch, he had told me that my magical power was high. Was it that I simply had no affinity whatsoever..?
There were 6 booths remaining to be tried.
4 kinds of spirit magic and…eh? There was supposed to be light and dark spirits in fantasies. I wonder if there was none in this world?
And the others were….
When I turned to look at the last remaining 2 booths, Vio spoke in a voice only okaa-sama and I could hear.
「Ria-sama. Lately…there has been a bad reputation of summoning magic going around.」
「Even though it isn’t that dangerous, apart from demon summonings….」
Demon summonings…huh. Certainly it brought a bad image to mind.
Upon further listening, I learnt that summoning magic was capitalized on the research of magic circles, and nobles would study it mainly to take part in the research. It seemed interesting.
「Okaa-sama, what about that one~?」
「That one is for holy magic. It’s used for things like healing people.」
「Ria-sama. Becoming a user of holy magic, there is the risk of being taken in by the church….」
I wondered if she had some sort of bad experience with the church in the past….
When Vio, who could use healing magic, said those words with knitted brows, okaa-sama showed a troubled and bitter smile.
Okaa-sama was acquainted with the ojii-chan from the church after all. It was quite the troublesome matter.
And apparently, holy magic wasn’t something that only the church and its members could use.
「For now, let us try out everything. I think that it isn’t right for us to limit the possibilities for Yuru.」
I had a feeling she was in a bleak mood, so I gently patted Vio on the head, which seemed to make her feel a little better.
The next booth was for spirit magic. I had a bit of expectation for this one. Because demons and spirits were both inhabitants of the same spiritual world, I thought of them as an existence similar to myself.
Those wind spirit midgets. They ran away looking frightened the moment they saw my face.
Even the examiner onii-chan was in blank amazement from seeing the lesser wind spirits fleeing as fast as they could, just like the wind, and not allowing even a moments time to call out to them.
The water spirit made me cry inside.
When I drew near the tiny water spirit that was in the form of a woman, she covered her face and cowered, so much that no matter what the spirit user ordered, she wouldn’t move an inch.
But I knew why. It looked like the spirit user couldn’t understand the words of spirits, but I could hear it. She was continuously muttering…
『I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry…』
Catching on to the current situation, the earth spirit returned into the ground without a word, and didn’t respond to the summons for a second time.
The fire spirit was a little better. But it was no good. When I asked the fire spirit who was fixedly glaring at me,
「You’re not going to disappear…?」
The instant I spoke, it vanished with a puff.
「……It appears that ojou-sama does not have an aptitude for spirit magic so….」
Well~, next up was summoning magic.
Mm? It’s not like I’m feeling down in particular. It’s true I tell you!
「Please try touching the magic circle here.」
A straight-backed ojii-san with the air of a professor instructed me.
The ojii-san had embarked on a lengthy explanation, as if conducting a lecture, however…what was this person doing to a 2 year old really….
To summarize, this general purpose summoning circle was a very casual product, from which you couldn’t call out anything big. It would casually connect to some realm, and casually summon an insect demon, or if your magical power was high, an adequately small animal demon would appear.
I casually nodded and touched the summoning circle.
From somewhere far away…I heard a voice I had memories of…as if it was crying out from the deep depths of the earth.
When I unintentionally, or should I say unconsciously, slapped my hand onto the summoning magic circle, the light given off by my magical power disappeared.
Having accidentally heard that voice too, the professor ojii-san inspected the magic circle with a blue face, and though he was puzzled about my previous actions, he turned around to face the three of us.
「My apologies. It seems that the summoning circle was broken. However, although it’s uncertain for the ojousama, I believe that she has an aptitude for summoning magic.」
That was dangerous…a close call. There was no doubt about it. That voice…he was mad alright.
At any rate, I finally received a pass…although just barely.
But later on I came to know, that anyone with magical power was able to use summoning magic circles….
After giving our thanks to the professor and standing up, we headed to the final booth for holy magic.
Feeling delighted that her daughter would be attending the same academy as she did, okaa-sama held me in her arms on the way to the booth.
「Isn’t it great~, Yuru.」
In contrast to the joyfully smiling pair of mother and daughter, the facial expression of Vio wasn’t too good.
……It couldn’t be helped. When I stretched out my hand toward her with a curious look on my face, acting like a child that didn’t understand a thing, Vio finally took my hand with a laugh.
Did she hate the church that much?
Now then, the last booth was for holy magic, but I was fine with not taking the examination if Vio disliked it that much. To be frank, I didn’t mind it since I’d already earned the qualification to enter the magic academy.
But on the contrary, Vio encouraged me to take the examination, influenced by the talks of my future possibilities and the like.
A fish-san was flopping about on top of a chopping board.
Even now, the light being given off from the wand I was holding prevented the fish from dying.
「It appears that ojousama has a strong aptitude for holy magic.」
Are you serious, I’m a demon you know?
In the booth, there was a fish on the verge of death. Placed on top of a chopping board and unable to breathe, the fish only desired for its suffering to quickly end…or so I imagined.
At that moment, a strong light had shot out of the wand held in my hand, which prolonged the suffering of the fish.
Quite cruel if I may say so myself.
As I thought…I’m a demon after all.