39 Head Pats!
An almost unbearable heat had conquered my cheeks, forcing me to avert my gaze again and yet again. Miriam was preparing for the night and unknowingly gave me far more eyecandy than I could handle without feeling guilty enought to call myself the worst kind of human. In my desperation, I had I even started reading the books the vixen had stuffed into my itembox.
When I summoned them, they had appeared like expensive works of art, handwritten and with delicate drawings describing each and every detail of the magic spells I could now use. Their binding wasn't exactly colorful or flashy, it was just two colors of leather sewn together to form braided patterns, but those were easily flawless enough to be called artisanal masterworks.
«If only she would put as much effort into being a decent god ...»
「I am trying, you know?!」 Shiro protested. 「I gave you the chance to reincarnate, gave you a new, unique body and even gave you magic. Isn't that all you expect from a god to do?」
«You killed me, you gave me a girl's body and your magic is only good for trolling!»
«You promised me to never mention the goblins again!»
「I give you items and quests! I am a good goddess! The best there is!」
«So this world only has you?»
「It has hundreds, probably, but I don't remember meeting them.」
«So it has hundreds that are doing a better job!»
「But they don't summon heroes!」
«Who would want to be a hero?!»
「Didn't you say you want to be stronger?」
«Strong enough to get rid of you!»
「You meanie! Rika is so mean!」
A hand was suddenly placed on my shoulder, making me almost jump up in surprise.
"What- what is it?!" I heard myself stammer.
"You seem upset about something. Are you sure you are fine sharing the tent with me?"
"Of course I am fine with it! I love it!"
"I had thought you would rather be with Ofris, instead."
"We are not like that!" I answered, somewhat panicked by her sudden attack. "He is just a friend! A friend!"
"I'm not judging you, Rika. My fiancé is older than me, too, though not at that degree."
"A fiancé ..."
I felt something inside of me break, as Miriam began talking about her fiancé and how awesome he was. She told me something about his job, his looks and his character, but I couldn't even remember the start of our conversation anymore, let alone such details.
«She has a fiancé ...»
「Ofris is better anyway. I don't want my Rika to be stared at!」
«It is your fault that I am stared at! It has always been your fault!»
"There it is again," I heard Miriam complain, "that fool mood of yours ..."
"I can't help it."
"Is it because of what you read earlier?"
It was just a lie, nothing more but a silly attempt to avoid her ever finding out about Shiro, but she questioned me again, making me feel slightly cornered: "What is that book about?"
«... damn it.»
I sighed, before searching for an answer, though the only one that came up right now was the truth, or at least half the truth about my own story and ordeals.
"It is about a guy who got his member cut off," I told her, "he is turned into a girl to be tortured in any way possible ..."
With every word I said, Miriam grew even paler. She was almost white as chalk when she finally protested.
"Tha- that's horrifying!" She stammered. "Why would you choose to read something like that?!"
"I have no choice ..."
"I get it that you want to find out how the story ends, but you should stop reading when it makes you cry like that!"
I really was crying. How could I not be, thinking about all the things that had happened to me? This new body of mine had made me far more emotional than I had ever been before, for whatever reason, but even the me from only a week ago would have cried with all of this happening!
A green screen popped up in front of me, giving me at least the faint feeling of being saved from her staring at me. Naturally, she couldn't even see this wall that should block her view. From her perspective, it must look as if I stared at her, while my tears got even more bitter.
『Quest-Chain accepted: A frail heart
Quest 1/3: Head pats!
Description: Let yourself be soothed by either Miriam or Ofris. The following quests depend on this choice. Unlocks additional rewards upon receiving head pats.
⇒Ofris Route: 5000 Exp, Improves effects of title 'A maiden in Love', Manual: How to keep a fox x2
⇒Miriam Route: 500 Exp
Optional rewards: Bar of chocolate x1』
I didn't even get to choose what to do, as Miriam was simply overwhelmed by my reaction to her questions. She couldn't help but run for the one person she believed would be able to better my mood and calm me down.
Before I realized, I was already sitting next to him, covered in a blanket and warmed by both the campfire in front of me and the gentle hand that petted me without resting once. The quest updated several times, but I just closed my eyes and pretended it never existed.
«If only I could just stay this way and forget about all that ...»
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Rika: Is there an option to block those quest screens?
Shiro: Why would anybody want that? Quests are awesome!
Rika: You literally made me act like a child today.
Shiro: That is only your imagination.
Rika: You even promised me chocolate if I do what you say!
Shiro: But chocolate is nice!
Rika: NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR CHOCOLATE!
Ofris: Chocolate? Did anybody say chocolate?!
Ofris: Tell me where the chocolate is!