~ Chapter 32: Luthecia's beautiful smile ~
In a sense, I acted exactly like a child my age who misunderstood something. Unable to see or think outside my own box, I hoisted all the blame on my shoulders and acted as the sole culprit of this whole situation.
In their eyes I was probably just a small child who believed that the one who should be found at fault for my sister being unable to journey through the world as an adventurer similar to aunty Eliza was none other than me, who had only one Blessing. That this very difference we couldn't control was to blame.
As expected though, my family had no idea what to think of my sudden outburst and just tried to calm me down. I, who usually acted like the mature one among the two of us siblings, was crying because of something childish.
Cassandra even offered me her share of cake if I stopped crying, something which of course I couldn't accept. This glutton loved her cake, after all. But the simple fact that she was willing to part with it to stop me from crying and get me to smile made me happy.
As for mother and father, they believed I was crying because I thought something bad was going to happen to them or my sister, which wasn't that far off from what was actually going through my head.
Eventually, I stopped crying and calmed down, although, my nose was still running, and I was still making a sad face.
“Oh, my poor child... Sometimes, I forget you two are only nine.” mother said as she wiped my face with a handkerchief.
Cassandra was frowning a bit, trying to understand what happened to me. As for father, he was showing me a soft smile.
I felt a bit embarrassed by all of this and even I couldn't completely understand what came over me. Maybe these sort of weird and chaotic moments were supposed to be normal for young children? A tantrum this definitely wasn't.
At the moment, I was just glad I had calmed down a bit.
Ah~ That was really embarrassing! I told myself when I remembered what sort of an unsightly look I must have shown to my little sister That was something I shouldn't have done! Her image of me should have stayed that as a cool, strong, and dignified older brother, not a nine years old with snot running down his face... who during his free time makes dresses. This thought made me reconsider a little bit my idea of how my little sister was probably looking at me.
There was nothing cool and awe inspiring about making dresses.
Well, at least with this, I have reached rock bottom and my little sister's image of me can't fall any lower... I thought while mother wiped my nose, but when she pulled her handkerchief back, a bridge of snot was formed.
“Ew!” Cassandra said and pulled back from me.
Nope! Now I've reached rock bottom! I thought.
A few moments later, it was time for me to tell my parents my birthday request, if I had one. Normally, we would just ask for the usual necessary items, so technically, those never counted as actual birthday presents.
With a smile on their face, my parents looked at me and waited patiently for me to speak up.
Nodding once, I took a step forward and cleared my throat, then I straightened myself and looked right into their eyes.
“I want you to release Luthecia from her slavery and offer her an actual maid's position in our house with an included paid wage and free days!” I declared firmly, then looking at the surprised maid, I added “This, of course, if she still wants to live with us.” and I smiled.
For a moment, there was absolute silence and everyone was looking at me as if I insulted their gods. I honestly felt like wanting to run for the hills, but it was better for me to stay and witness this till the end.
As such, I waited patiently for their reply while keeping up my smile and determined look in my eyes.
The first to speak was my little sister, but the words that came out of her mouth made me raise an eyebrow.
“Silly brother! Luthecia isn't a slave! She's a maid!” she then pushed her chest forward as if she had just said something praise worthy.
“Well... you are wrong, my dear. Luthecia is this family's slave. Your father bought her many years ago from a dealer while he was out traveling.” mother corrected her.
“What? That can't be true! We don't act with her like the others do!” she complained and furrowed her brow.
“Lady Cassandra, if I may, madam Melissa is right in her words. I am but a slave acquired by master Reynald. While this kindhearted family never treated me as one befit of my lower status, it is a fact that I am a slave. As proof of this, this leather collar of mine is endowed with submission magic.” Luthecia spoke in a calm, respectful tone of voice.
“Um... “ Cassandra knitted her brow and looked down at the floor.
Given the fact that she received this explanation directly from her, the little girl may have been at a loss of words, but on the other hand, I had more or less been aware of her current social status. The fact that most of the time I forgot she was slave didn't matter.
“That being said, I don't see a reason as to why we couldn't do so.” father then said while rubbing his chin.
“Are you sure about this, dear? She did cost quite a bit.” mother reminded him.
“And she has earned back every single coin and more! I for one did intend to free her at one point, so this time is as good as any!” he nodded and then showed her a smirk.
“Very well then. If Luthecia will agree to this as well, we will go tomorrow to remove the slave collar and get her properly registered as a free citizen of this kingdom again!” mother said with a bright smile.
“Master, madame... are you really sure about this?” Luthecia asked with tears gathering in her eyes and covering her mouth with her hands.
She was resisting strongly the urge to cry.
“Of course! Especially since my son wished for this as well! But if you don't feel like working for us anymore, we understand. Although, it will be hard to find another brilliant and hardworking maid like you!” father said as he began scratching his chin.
“No such thing, master!” she shook her head “I would gladly continue to serve you and your family as a maid!” she declared.
The determination and conviction in her heart to do so were the real deal. She wasn't faking it, and we could all see it in her bright smile and the small tears that wet her cheeks.
“I guess it's all good, then?” I asked with a wry smile.
“But young master, is it really alright to use your one year wish on one such as I?” Luthecia asked as she looked at me with timid eyes.
She was happy I did so, but she also hoped I wouldn't change my mind. It was a question more out of politeness.
“Of course! Why wouldn't it be alright?” I laughed.
There was no way I would suddenly change my mind and ruthlessly crush this hope of hers.
“Thank you...” she said as she wiped off her tears.
Luthecia then showed us a beautiful and bright smile the likes of which I had never seen before. It was mesmerizing and heartwarming as well, like a goddess took earthly shape through her and showed us her divine smile. She made me blush, but I was very happy to know that I was able to help her regain her freedom as a human being.
“Oh? So you can smile like that as well? I never knew!” mother remarked delighted.
“Then I guess that starting from tomorrow onward, we will have to introduce you not as our slaves but as our paid brilliant maid and servant. Isn't that right, Luthecia?” father laughed and looked back at her.
“Yes, master! And once more, thank you!” she made a half-body bow in front of us, while tears kept flowing down her cheeks.
She was happy, really happy about this gift.
Even so, I never did get to find out why she became a slave in the first place. I never bothered to ask anyway. It wasn't important anymore. As for the aura I previously saw around her, it vanished the following day after she returned from Briston as a free woman employed on our estate as a maid.
Luthecia regained her freedom that day, her dreams, and also the chance for a better future.
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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