I'll Never Set Foot in That House Again! - 0
My name is Chelsea. I am one of Baron Eucharis’ twin daughters – the one everyone calls a failure. Early in the morning, I wake up in a poorly constructed bed, change into worn out hand-me-downs, and clean the entire house.
To tell the truth, I don’t want to have to do any of this, but my mother doesn’t give me a choice. Our family is so poor that we can’t afford to hire a maid to clean the house. That means we have to do the cleaning ourselves, but I’m the only one who actually ends up doing it. My mother and twin sister Margaret always get to wear nice clothes, and they spend their time laughing at me without helping. Our house was built a long time ago, when our family was wealthier, so there are lots of unused rooms.
It takes a long time to clean it alone. By the time I was done cleaning all the rooms, it was almost time for lunch. Today, I somehow managed to finish the cleaning and slowly made my way over to the kitchen. I was hungry, obviously! I’ve been cleaning since before dawn without even having breakfast! But there’s never any food for me in this house. My mother ordered the chef not to prepare any meals for me, and if I grab something to eat on my own, without permission, I’ll be punished. All I get to eat are the leftovers, after everyone else is done eating. There aren’t any leftovers today, so I don’t get to eat.
“Ugh, I’m hungry,” I sighed, but of course that doesn’t fill my empty stomach. I give up, drink water to fill my belly, and leave the kitchen.
“Ew, why are you here!”
Walking down the hallway away from the kitchen, I was spotted by my sister Margaret, looking thoroughly disgusted at the sight of me. While Margaret and I may be twins, we don’t look anything alike. We’re fraternal twins, after all. Margaret takes after our mother, with deep red hair and eyes. She’s always bragged to me that her eyes are like rubies. Her skin is a pure white, and she has slender fingers.
I, on the other hand, have light pink hair so filthy that it looks gray, as well as large, purple eyes. My skin is rough and coloured with bruises from beatings. Our biggest physical difference, though, is in our heights. Margaret is a full head taller than me. If we stood side by side, anyone would think that I was the younger sister.
“Oh? Yes, I do indeed wonder why you are here. Do be certain to weed the garden today. You will not be allowed to eat until you are finished. Come, my dear Margaret. Let us study etiquette in the sunroom.”
My mother, probably hearing Margaret’s voice, came over and took her away without even glancing at me. It hurt, watching them walk away from me like that.
Why am I the only one who’s forced to clean?
Why am I the only one who’s not allowed to eat?
Why am I the only one who gets punished?
No matter how much I worry about it, I won’t find an answer, and complaining about it won’t change anything. That fact feels like it’s piercing through my body. I bite down on my lips to stop the rapidly welling tears and head for the garden.
It was spring, and the weeds had grown wildly since I weeded the other day. Sighing out here would just make me hungry, so I give in and head to a corner of the garden to start weeding. While diligently pulling out the weeds, I saw some people approach the front door of the house. There was an old man wearing a gray coat, a woman, and four people who looked like knights. My curiosity piqued, I peeked at the guests through a gap in the weeds. The woman rang the doorbell, and my mother immediately answered.
“Welcome, who might you be?”
“We’re from the Royal Research Institute in the capital, and we’ve come in response to your request.”
“We’ve been waiting for you! Please, come in.”
My mother gracefully leads the guests inside. Even from a distance, I can tell that she seems to be in a good mood. What’s this “request” that they mentioned? Normally, for fear of being whipped or starved, I wouldn’t slack off on my work, but for some reason I decided to secretly listen to their conversation today. The guests were just getting settled on the sofa by the time I reached the parlour window.
“Thank you all very much for coming here all the way from the capital. I am Medisina, the wife of Baron Eucharis. This is my daughter Margaret, who just recently celebrated her twelfth birthday.”
“I am Margaret, the daughter of Baron Eucharis. I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Both of them behaved as if there were only one daughter, which upset me. If she had just been a step-mother, I wouldn’t still be hurt after all this time. But she’s my blood mother who gave birth to me, so I don’t understand how she can be so cruel.
“Congratulations on your twelfth birthday. I am Adeline, the aide, and this is Lord Ischel, the Appraiser. First, allow me to provide an explanation for the sake of the young lady.”
The woman, Adeline, began to explain in depth.
In this world, everyone awakens a special ability called a Skill at the age of twelve. There’s a wide variety of Skills, but among the royalty and nobility, the number of Skills that are difficult to control is high. Therefore, they are required to have their Skills appraised by a special Appraiser. And then, if they’ve awakened to such a Skill, they’re required to receive training in controlling it at the Royal Research Institute in the capital.
“Alright, let us determine what kind of Skill you’ve awakened. Lord Ischel, if you would please.”
Lord Ischel stares fixedly at Margaret with a people-pleasing smile. After a bit, Lord Ischel places his hand under his chin, apparently deep in thought. Then, he whispers something into Ms. Adeline’s ear. Ms. Adeline opens a book and begins investigating it.
“Um… about my Skill…” Margaret leaned forward impatiently.
“Ah, Ms. Margaret’s Skill is [Fire Magic]. However, yours seems quite powerful.”
“Will Margaret perhaps have to go to the Royal Research Institute?”
“Indeed, it would be best for her to receive training to control it.”
Mother and Margaret’s faces lit up. I’m not sure if that’s something to be happy about, but I guess going to the Royal Research Institute could be a mark of honour for nobles.
In contrast to the two of them, Ms. Adeline and Lord Ischel knit their eyebrows. Once the two of them had calmed down, Ms. Adeline says, “There is another young lady in this house who just turned twelve, is there not?”
As soon as the words left her mouth, my mother and Margaret’s expressions turned sour. They look extremely uncomfortable, as if they’ve suddenly been put into a very difficult position. Their eyes wander around and gradually turn upwards.
“N-no, there’s only one.”
My mother had a fake smile plastered on her face, and my little sister nodded fervently.
“It’s written that Lady Margaret is the younger sister of a pair of twins in her status. There must be one more sister,” says Lord Ischel.
They can’t lie anymore….or so I thought, but then Margaret said something ridiculous: “She…has a terribly weak constitution, and she cannot even leave her room!”
She insisted there’s only one child, then she insists I’m unable to leave my room! This could be bad, couldn’t it? Margaret, smiling awkwardly, is desperately trying to fool the two guests. I’ve been in the garden this whole time though…
Ms. Adeline and Lord Ischel seem to be fed up.
“You have a lot of nerve, trying to lie to someone with a high-level Appraisal Skill, don’t you?”
How much information can that high-level Appraisal Skill see, exactly? Could he even know that they’ve been treating me horribly for the past five years? Their faces turn pale upon hearing the Appraiser’s words, perhaps because they came to the same conclusion as me.
“So, where is Margaret’s older sister?”
“….I’m having that thing weed the garden,” My mother said, turning her face downward. Having heard that, the group from the Institute stood up at once and left the room.
Wait, they’re coming to the garden! If I don’t get back to work right now, they’ll find out I was slacking! I quickly hurry back to where I was weeding earlier. I sneak a glance at the door and notice that they’re heading this way. I pretend not to notice and continue weeding.
“You’re Lady Margaret’s older twin, are you not?” For some reason, Lord Ischel’s voice was trembling as he said that.
I turn around to see the knights covering their faces with their hands, looking upwards, and Ms. Adeline on the verge of tears.
“Yes, my name is Chelsea.” I quickly lower my head. When I look up, Lord Ischel is kneeling on the ground to look me directly in the eyes.
“I’m a member of the Royal Research Institute, dispatched here from the capital. I will be appraising Lady Chelsea’s skill.”
“Okay, go ahead.”
I stare fixedly at Lord Ischel’s face. He seems to be staring at something directly above my head. I wonder if the results of the appraisal appear above the target’s head.
“Interesting! This is the first time I’ve seen this Skill,” Lord Ischel said after a beat, his voice full of surprise. Ms. Adeline pulls a thick book out of somewhere, waiting for Lord Ischel’s next words. “Lady Chelsea’s skill is called [Seed Creation], and it seems to be able to produce any seed that she desires. I’ve been appraising the Skills of royals and nobles for almost forty years, and this is the first time I’ve seen such a Skill.” Lord Ischel nods while murmuring to himself, and Ms. Adeline rapidly flips through the pages of the large book.
“Yes, it seems there’s no such Skill in the Skill Dictionary. In the case that someone awakens a new Skill, they must go to the Institute.” As Ms. Adeline closes the book with a flourish, my mother and Margaret come out into the garden.
“What! That child as well?!”
“You’ve gotta be kidding me…I have to go with that thing?!”
My mother sounded surprised, and Margaret, I’m sure, was glaring at me when she said that. And that’s how Margaret and I ended up heading to the capital along with the people from the Institute.