~ Chapter 29: Overthinking ~
[Leonidas' point of view]
It so happened that my birthday was coming up. I was going to be nine years old now, just another one, and I would be ten. Then it was off to school with me and my sister.
Our family was a bit different from other noble families when it came to celebrating the birthday of its members. They were kept at a modest level and focused more on having fun together with everyone. We didn't bother inviting special guests or using this event to brag about our latest achievements. We ate some cake or pie, then we offered a small gift of appreciation to the celebrated one. My first gift ever was a small acorn I found in the yard.
Despite it being at the level of 'pathetic', father had it framed and placed in his office. It made me happy and proud he did so, and also made me understand that the value of a gift was only in the receiver's eyes. If you were the giver, it really didn't matter if you believed it was something expensive or dirt cheap like an acorn.
Usually, neither I or my sister requested a special gift from our parents. We left it all up to them, and we were happy with just discovering what it was when we received it. However, this year, I planned on requesting something for the very first time in my life. Cassandra thought it was a good idea as well, but none could guess what I was going to ask.
I actually feared it was going to be a tad bit too ridiculous to accomplish.
The reason behind this dates back to a few weeks ago when a strange golden aura only I could see appeared around our maid, Luthecia. What I saw was the effect of my Divine Skill [Oracle Eyes].
At first, I thought I was hallucinating, maybe I ate something bad or was under the effect of a mind control spell. Besides being able to see that aura nothing happened, and I didn't feel sick or as though my Magic Energy was being messed around with by someone else, so I dismissed these two possibilities and looked for another cause. In the end, I remembered what Sapherya told me about my Divine Skills, and I figured this golden aura must be it.
Basically, the gods were more or less telling me that individual, in this case Luthecia, was someone in need of my help.
It took me another two weeks of constantly stalking her around until I was able to figure out with what exactly I had to help. During this period of time I mostly helped her out with chores around the house, had her help me out with my tailoring, and I once accidentally bumped into her right after she finished her bath, making her drop her towel. The resulting incident led to a nosebleed caused by Cassandra's merciless slap. She wasn't in the bath with her, she just happened to come around the corner and see me ogling at Luthecia's naked body. My little sister immediately assumed I ordered the poor woman to strip and then I went flying out the window. Thank the gods for my fast reflexes!
As for what I had to help her with, well... Luthecia was a slave, our family's slave. She acted as a maid, dressed like a maid, was spoken to and replied like a maid, but the hard cold truth was that she was a slave bound to the chocking collar around her neck. She had no freedom to speak of. If we ordered her to do something, she HAD to do it. It wasn't a matter of will here.
So, her freedom was the problem, but how could I, a child, help her?
This was a question that had been needlessly probing at the back of my head like some sort of an annoying headache I couldn't get rid of. But if there was one thing I knew, that was the fact that during such moments and events in one's life, the main character usually made use of one of their cheat-like abilities or some god-sent circumstance with the help of which he could blow the whole thing out of proportions...
Since I didn't plan on going down on that path, I had to think this well and through. Thus, I decided to think of a more 'normal' approach to this whole mess. One that didn't involve me potentially revealing the fact that I was a more abnormal child than I already was. Or worse of all, reveal the fact that I was a reincarnated human.
In trying to figure out what to do about this, I went so far as to even ask my little sister about it, but I put it in more ambiguous terms so as to not make her suspicious of anything.
“Sister, let's say you were to have an ability that could solve a certain problem, but which would over-dramatize everything, and a not so flashy solution to that same problem. Which one would you choose to use?”
She pondered about it for a little bit, then she replied with “I don't know. It would depend on who needs to be beaten, how fast, and how many limbs I had to leave them with intact.”
Then she smiled cutely.
I could only stare at her with a blank expression on my face and worry if she was going to be able to survive in society or if society was going to survive with her in it.
“Sorry I asked.” I said before quietly retreating.
“Huh? Brother, you are acting weird.” she remarked as I fled from the room.
From that moment on, I decided not to request the help of anyone else in my family when it came to such things. I feared I was going to receive one weird reply after another.
It reached the point where I was actually starting to panic and during my sword practice, I once accidentally let my sword slip out of my grasp. It went flying through the air, spinning around and heading straight for my father. I immediately used telekinesis to keep the dangerous pointy end away from him, but in my panic, I just merely turned it around and didn't stop it completely, making the hilt slam right into father's forehead.
“Ow...” he groaned.
“Sorry, father!” I shouted.
“Leonidas, is there something the matter?” aunty Eliza asked as she ignored the old man and approached me.
“Huh? Well... I just stumble upon a problem, and I don't know what's the best way to solve it... Or rather, I'm afraid to act...” I replied and looked down.
Tilting her head head a bit to the left, she pondered about how to answer me. When she finally thought about something, she crouched in front of me until we were at the same eye level.
“Leo, I think sometimes we tend to over-complicate our problems by trying to see an answer which we believe is complicated from the very beginning. The truth is, some of the most apparently complicated problems are in fact simple and easy ones to solve. Sometimes the answer to a really complicated problem is so simple and easy to the point where we might find it ridiculous. That's why, if your problem has a simple answer, maybe you are just ignoring it from the start? Besides, you should never let your fear cloud your judgment! That can never end up good.” she told me in a soft tone of voice.
“Huh? What?” I merely blinked surprised as I tried to make sense of her words.
“Not getting it? Hm... Try and look at your problem from another point of view. Close your eyes, clear your mind, take a few steps back and then take another look at the problem again.” she patted my head and smiled.
“Oh look! Shiny stars! Urk...” aaand father fainted.
“And next time don't practice with a clouded mind. Your accidental attacks are frighteningly... precise.” she showed me a wry smile as she got up.
While she went to help my father, I continued to think about her words.
Without revealing my [Divine Contract] ability and causing a big commotion it was very hard to solve my current 'Slave to be or not to be!' problem. It actually looked quite impossible for me, especially if I didn't want to use force...
But, maybe aunty Eliza is right? Am I over-thinking this? Or... at least that's what I think she said... I thought as I looked up at the sky.
That day, I failed to notice that my aunty Eliza was more than your average muscle-head adventurer. At her roots, she was a noble, of sorts, who knew how to use the noggin on her shoulders for more than just strategies against monsters. She actually gave me some sound advice.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
Seeing how things have been a bit hard for me lately, I will try and focus around posting only at the end of the week, during a Friday or Saturday. I'm going to try the weekly chapter dump version of the schedule to see if this fits me better.
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